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Finding My Salvation....A Vinyl Love Story

frend2001

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Dear Fellow HiFiens

Having been a music lover and self proclaims techy I've always been interested in Vinyl, somehow that rotating disc always fascinated me but haling from a middle class family I was restricted to a BPL 2-in-1 and a few audio cassettes.

It was mid 90s and I used to spend my weekly pocket money solely over
cassette but always had issues with them, like I had to adjust the head of my 2-in-1 every time I played a different cassette and then there was hiss associated with them, that made me grind my teeth but alas there was no escape.

Then came audio CD in late 90s and I heard them at a friend's place and boy was it good ? to me hearing a no noise crystal clear sound without hiss and humm was like being in heaven ALIVE.

But what about price ? I was in college and again had little money with me, but my Super Daddy surprised me by giving me the money but I still had to give an arm and leg and then still could just buy an akai mini hi-fi with in built 3 CD changer. The mini comp system was made in Japan and was worth it's salt. But the problem was buying CDs to play and lemme remind you in those days audio CDs were about 350 apiece so what I was to do ?

most of CDs were exchanged between friends and so on...

to be continued.............................
 
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reubensm

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This is more or less a story that is common across middle class India from the 1980s and 1990s, and is very much the same with me. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
 

frend2001

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There was host of shops around city which used to record a cassette as per your list.
They used to charge 25 to 50 Rs per cassette, although I had a mini hi-fi CD changer but since CDs were so expensive, I used to frequent one particular shop for having my cassettes recorded. That fellow was himself a music junkie and in those days had a collection of audio CDs which was more then 1000....

apparently he first bought them for his personal listening and after got this idea to make money by recording cassettes by CDs. In my city nobody was doing that.....and the results of a cassette recorded by CD was definitely much superior. He had 2 remarkable sounding sets of AKAI HX-A1 cassette deck and the recording was superb.

I was his regular customer and boy was he busy ? he used to record 20-30 cassettes in a day by working on 2-3 recording machines simultaneously and since I had little money to spend I was just contend to sit there and listen to him recording. Then came the home PC revolution and like all guys my age I convinced my Dad that a home PC is a must of my studies and as it happens parents immediately relent to expenses relating to studies and education.

I soon had my PC at my rooms and along with it came the game changer thing......." MP3 "

to be continued....
 
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global rhythms

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Oh yeah I can relate to this. All the cleaning sessions that I used to do to fix the cassette player's head just to sound it right.

And the amount of money that I used to spend back then when I was in college to buy cassettes from Planet M. I used to take pride looking at my cassette shelves after the monthly ritual of dusting and carefully lining them up in an order
 

frend2001

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Though I had heard MP3 at the place where I used to go to learn MS-Office...yeah you read it fine, back in those days it was the holy grail of computing......Yes sir I can write formulas and MACROs in excel......hah

Anyways there it was......playing MP3s in winamp and blasting shamelessly thru tiny desktop speakers......now as I already had the taste of my Japan Made Hi-Fi Akai system.... I didn't give it much attention first but one thing intrigued me, which also caused the total downfall of analog media.....the compactness and play it anywhere capability. All you had to do was to write them up in a black CD and take to other PC and voila!!! you have all your favorite songs in a tiny 8.4 GB hard disk.

I soon connected my PC's line out to AUX port of my Akai Mini Hi-Fi, and yeah the sound was incredible even though it was usually 96 Kbps, 44.1 Khz rips. I was simply bowled over by sheer customization I could do which the output.....you want flanger, reverb, bass-boost, surround, enviornment change.....what not.

I was a happy soul.......I was getting so much that I could barely keep track of it.

My PC had a onboard sound card, Somebody suggested to buy a creative sound card, I did that and voila....even a new revelation......channel separation.......undistorted highs and pulsating lows......i was in a heaven.

Slowly my cassettes started fading into oblivion, I really felt bad and guilty at times for ignoring them.

Acquiring each cassette was a memory for me.....emotional fools that we are.

MP3s stored in my computer were simply data written in 1 and 0. There simply was no story about them. I had to go out and buy a MP3 CD, maybe haggle a bit.....
pay 30 bucks to a bearded fellow on footpath and thats it.

Buying cassettes was different, there was a shop, a seller who understood about cassettes and music.....used to discuss about the quality of cassette by different companies and types of music and what not......I think that was an integral part of whole experience.

The fellow selling pirated MP3 Cds on footpath doesn't give a damn about anything, he wants his money and wants you to get the hell outta there before cops show up.

So I kept my cassettes for sheer memory associated with them, afterall I literally had numbered and sorted all of them.

I was listening to a lot of music thru MP3 but the "TOUCH" was missing.

It's like phone sex, you can enjoy that in your brain but there's no contact, no touch.

to be continued.....
 

dheerajin

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it is like ..you are telling my story...thanks:D

anyway subscribed to the thread..looking forward for continuation..
keeping cassettes in array was much fun than keeping CDs...
 

metalmickey

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You sounded like me!...yes emotional fools we are...have not played tapes in years but they still decorate my shelves with pride!....cd's can never give me that love!...running to music world in spencer plaza in chennai was weekend outing and that is all I ever wanted!.,, being an explorer found genres only by those labeling on the cassette sleeve and that is how I fell in love with so many bands....inclusive of my all time favourite band "scorpions"...their album sleeves were enough to get any adolescent kid's attention!....thanks for the write up mate...
 

kuruvilajacob

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When my daughter was home recently, I played some tapes I used to play in my car stereo years back and it brought back lots of memories of old times. Unfortunately, my late wife used to be so fond of some of them . So it was both a mixture of sadness and nostalgia while listening to them
 

frend2001

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@kuruvilajacob

sir, that's the bliss of music, only music and fragrance can initiate time travel and invoke nostalgia......

and thank you for visiting my thread and dropping such gr8 lines

also my thanks to reubensm, global rhythms, metalmicky, dheerajin
 
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frend2001

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Life was getting on and I was listening to my heart's content but as I mentioned before the physical act of pulling a cassette out of it's cover, putting in in the deck, rewinding or forwarding to that one track which you wanted to listen to, was missing.

All these things accumulate to an experience which is missing when playing MP3s thru computer.

But there was certainly one more thing to consider, even though the whole cassette playing experience gives a kick but there was a hard fact also.

MP3 are far better sounding then cassettes. yes, it's a hard fact with no sentimental value.

Slowly my cassettes found their home in a dark cardboard carton. I felt guilty for that but then again there was no option.

While surfing the net earlier this year I stumbled upon a blog, the writer of which was posting rips from Vinyls. For the kick of it I downloaded the Vinyl Rips and ...hey I was flaberaghast, I mean I couldn't believe my ears.

The detail, the richness, the sound stage produced by Vinyls was totally a different world. No MP3 or Audio CD could even touch Vinyls in sheer details. Man, I was hooked.

And hooked big time.............

then began my quest of acquiring LPs and a decent record player, but to find LPs that has stopped production some 25 years before was indeed a task.

to be continued.....
 

global rhythms

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While surfing the net earlier this year I stumbled upon a blog, the writer of which was posting rips from Vinyls. For the kick of it I downloaded the Vinyl Rips and ...hey I was flaberaghast, I mean I couldn't believe my ears.

The detail, the richness, the sound stage produced by Vinyls was totally a different world. No MP3 or Audio CD could even touch Vinyls in sheer details. Man, I was hooked.
I have still not dwelt into the analog Vinyl world but the few Vinyl rips that I have definitely sound rich and organic than FLACs and other loss-less formats
 

kuruvilajacob

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I am 60 years old and way back in the 60's I was hooked on to music through lovely Radio Stations like Radio Ceylon, VOA,BBc and Radio Kuwait. In sound quality and reception , Radio Kuwait had no rivals. Sadly, they stopped transmissions to India. Then it was tapes and little bit of vinyl on ceramic players and then CD . Once I got hooked on to the new vinyl systems with magnetic cartridge and matching amp and speakers, I knew that it cannot be beaten for it's depth, naturality, warmth, feel, clarity, richness and physical presence. It's like having a studio in your home because whatever the recording engineer wanted while mastering is already there in the grove. All you need is to retrieve as much as you can by using the best combination you can afford. There is no other media which can give you that flexibility. If you go through the new HI-News Magazines, there are more articles on Turntables, Tonearms, Vinyl releases, Record cleaning Machines than ever before. Advice for those who want to take the plunge into Vinyls is not to waste time but jump on to the Vinyl Bandwagon and enjoy the music.
 

frend2001

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I was in love.....

In love with the range and the soundstage of vinyls.....

now began the biggest feat, how to go about acquiring a turntable and vinyls..

I followed the instinctively basic route.

Acquiring by goodwill.

boy, was is easy ? literally who so ever I talked to and inquired about vinyls was looking at me as if I've come from MARS....!!!!!

Their usual questions were like ...

LP ? areee have you gone crazy ? They were a big nuisance.....took up a lot of space and there was a lot of fuss about them....

Forget it.....you get only 7-8 songs per LP now you can fit whopping 500 songs in a single USB stick and listen to them anywhere...

Man.....it took all my patience to explain that no matter what.....I want to have vinyls..

But sadly.....I was too late.

It has died.
 

navinsinha

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Vinyl would Never Die Brother!

I was in love.....

In love with the range and the soundstage of vinyls.....

now began the biggest feat, how to go about acquiring a turntable and vinyls..

I followed the instinctively basic route.

Acquiring by goodwill.

boy, was is easy ? literally who so ever I talked to and inquired about vinyls was looking at me as if I've come from MARS....!!!!!

Their usual questions were like ...

LP ? areee have you gone crazy ? They were a big nuisance.....took up a lot of space and there was a lot of fuss about them....

Forget it.....you get only 7-8 songs per LP now you can fit whopping 500 songs in a single USB stick and listen to them anywhere...

Man.....it took all my patience to explain that no matter what.....I want to have vinyls..

But sadly.....I was too late.

It has died.
 

frend2001

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You can understand my horror, when a family friend informed me that he's given away his collection of some 1000 vinyls to a junk dealer for a mere 3000 bucks.

I was pulling my hair out....

I visited some odd 10-15 old shops who'd been in music business since decades, most of the owners have been replaced by second generation, who are again pure businessmen.

They don't give a rat's %^&* about your humble inquiry about vinyl, they wanna sale either CDs or would offer to copy MP3 into USB Stick.

In between these encounters I came across some very different men.

There is some kind of thumb rule maybe.

Old guys who are full of knowledge and understanding about Music and equipment are mostly very soft spoken and humble, they are willing to help you out and not out to make a killing. At the other hand there's the so called new breed, most of them are straight away opportunists, I mean one guys demanded 300 bucks for a scratched and way beyond hope vinyl.

But the coin has other side too, An old guy sat me in his shop, looked at me with respect and talked about good old days. In his words, "THE GOLDEN DAYS of music", he affirmed strongly that there is no media that can beat a well pressed vinyl, he's been to DUM DUM plant of HMV and had seen vinyls getting born.

His rant was again like music to me, alas there's someone who knows about vinyls ans is ready to share. Because who so ever I turned to talk about vinyls was either sceptical or laughing.

He has a collection of 6000 LPs.....I was getting goosebumps just by seeing those many records in front of me.

But this guy was not selling them.....

I could touch them but can't own them...


to be continued.............
 
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reubensm

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Luckily I did not have to look beyond home to discover vinyl. We had stuff playing on vinyl at home from the time I was born. I was lucky to have a father who was into vinyl from the 1950s. The challenges that I faced where related to getting spare cartridges and building a vinyl collection. When I went to local shops in Trivandrum and Chennai, people looked at me as though I was from another planet. They were 2nd or 3rd generation guys and did not know anything about vinyl. People quoted exhorbidant rates for LPs, sometimes as high as Rs.3000 for a bollywood LP (The Burning Train). However I spread the word and now have a 800+ strong collection, most of which were accquired from friends and well wishers without even token payments. The most I have paid for an LP is Rs.700 odd, from flipkart for new ones and Rs.80-100 for old ones. I never buy beyond that range.
 

srisaikat

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frend2001,

Dear friend, I become nostalgic, that 'head adjustment' part of cassette player which I taught from a neighbor uncle who used to have fascination about Music & Audio equipments. After teaching that part I bought a tiny screw driver to enjoy each cassette at their best. My age was 13-14, have a National Panasonic stereo 2-in-1 and there was a tiny hole in front to adjust the head. There was large collection of cassettes, but few of them were different in terms of quality, they were superior sounding than the rest. Why was that? I asked my uncle. He replied that few one was recorded from LPs as per customize list and also the quality of cassette was superior (mostly TDK, Maxell, SONY, Fuji, GoldStar). I became curious about LPs. One day that uncle took me a shop where they have very large collection of LPs and they used to record them on cassettes using AKAI, Technic, Sony, Fisher systems (there was quite some collection of systems). They use to take 40 Rupees for 60 min. length of cassette and 60 Rupees for 90 min. length. After that I regularly used to visit those shops (later I discover few more shops like that). My whole pocket money I used to spend there. Whenever I had leisure period I used to be there. That was my holy place.

So "MP3 are far better sounding then cassettes", is not always true. If your track source is LP and record them using high quality systems with proper settings and high quality cassettes and if you listen those cassettes adjusting the head using real good stereo system, then it will nearly identical to the tracks of LPs. It is just from my very own experience.

One day there I found a new shop with CD system opened near that LP shop where they used to record cassettes from CDs. I made a cassette from them. Some thing was missing....You may not believe but after 2 weeks I re-recorded that particular cassette from my old LP shop.

I enjoying this thread very much.
 
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sann

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frend2001,
So "MP3 are far better sounding then cassettes", is not always true. If your track source is LP and record them using high quality systems and high quality cassettes and if you listen those cassettes adjusting the head using real good stereo system, then it will nearly identical to the tracks of LPs. It is just from my very own experience.
.
True, the little screw driver was my best friend when I listened to the cassettes on my fathers Nelco tape recorder.
Digital source can never have the body and the soul (IMHO)
-sann'
 

reubensm

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I agree with Srisaikat, what a wonderful thread. Finally I got some time now, a break at work so I thought I'll write my story. Actually my story goes back quite a bit starting with my father, as I technically did not start off but just continued with what my Dad started.

Dad was born in the late 1930s, and when he was about 3 or 4 years old, his father (my grand dad) brought home a wind-up HMV gramophone. My grandparents started collecting 78s and good old granny used to tell me that Dad would stand by the Gramophone and watch 78 after 78 playing. Later when he was about 10 or 12, a Ferguson valve radio entered our home. Again, as a teenager, Dad would sit and tune stations from all over the place, and catch up with music. My grandparents found this quite a nuisance as they were more interested in listening to the news. When Dad entered his high school, the American Library opened its doors here and they used to lend records and books. Dad became a student member and would borrow records (I think he said 2 per week) and bring them home, keep looking at them for a week and then would simply return them. Of course, these were LPs and he could not play them on the needle wind-up gramophone. When he reached college, he read in a book about a project wherein a guy converted a gramophone to play microgroove records. This was the 1950s. He saved up and bought a mono ceramic cartridge and built a light weight tone arm with a counter balance (later on in life, when he showed it to me, I could not stop laughing but was amazed that such a thing could play a record) and made some adjustments to the governor of the gramophone and thus could play LPs through the radio. This was the first break through with amplified vinyl-based music in our home. He told me that he would have to wind the gramophone after every track on the LP. That could have been quite an experience :)

Later on, he opened up the radio (much to the annoyance of grandpa), took its speaker out and mounted it in a huge box customized to work like a horn speaker (again a design from an American library magazine). Once he got his job with the Department of Telecom, he was able to quickly save up some money and buy his first record player, the first model of the HMV calypso (with the metal tonearm). Now he could play LPs, 45s and 78s without having to wind :)

This was the mid 1960s. Friends started coming over to listen. He started buying 45s (LPs were quite expensive in those days) and built up a decent collection. A friend was almost permanently at home recording these on his portable grundig reel recorder. Then in the early 1970s, a major breakthrough. Dad was sent abroad for some Telecom training and he came back with a Garrard SP25 Mk1 deck (it did not have a plinth). Major major upgrade. I would have been 2 years at the time. It had a goldring magnetic cartridge which was later upgraded to Shure M75-6s. A NAD 1020A preamp arrived in the 1980s to replace his DIY phonostage which was started when he bought the Calypso turntable and evolved through the Garrard days into a integrated amp sized cabinet, loaded with components.

to be contd.....
 
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