THE MAGIC OF VINYL: how vinyl evolved and regained its value in the 21st century
Someone collects books, someone collects paintings, and someone — vinyl. It would seem that nowadays, the younger generation is much likely to chase temporary emotions, for example, traveling or attending concerts, where the sound is often not the best (and this is a topic for a separate article)…
But the pandemic has forced people to rethink their priorities, with all of us being obliged to spend more time at home. And then the story with home movie screenings and listening to music as well returned.
One thing at a time.
Vinyl is not only the ideal form for collecting music, which is similar to books. Listening to records, and not, for example MP3 is a completely different way, which creates a different effect of perception, real immersion and understanding.
The record immediately makes you distract from other activities. If you want to play a vinyl plaque, you need to do several movements: get up, get an envelope from the shelf, take out the record, put it on, turn on the audio system.
To reproduce, you need to make some kind of effort. Also, you cannot change the track on a record. At least during the first listening. You have to listen to the whole album.
A lot of albums benefit from this. A person gradually gets used to listening the whole thing, and if the music does not cause rejection in him, it becomes closer, has a greater impact.
The purchase of the new vinyl is an occasion to gather friends and family to listen to music.
The oldest sound recording in the world dates back to 1860. First Sounds found it in 2008 in a Paris archive. An inventor named Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, thanks to the phonautograph in that same 1860, recorded a French folk song only 10 seconds long. The machine scribbled out audio tracks on a sheet of paper blackened by the smoke of an oil lamp.
The next step was taken by Thomas Edison 17 years later. He invented the phonograph, which is now considered to be the “grandfather” of the modern vinyl record players.
During that time, the plates were replaced by special rollers covered with foil, or waxed paper. The phonograph worked almost like a modern record player: the needle moved along the grooves on the roller, reproducing sounds.
And already almost on the threshold of the 20th century, in 1897, Emile Berliner, after a decade of searching, came up with records in the form in which we know them today.
Shellac was chosen as a material, produced by South Asian insects, which resembles wax. Also at Berliner’s needle left a tortuous trail of constant depth.
Many of the terms in the music industry originally appeared because of listening to vinyl records. For example, the word “album”. Earlier, a disc could fit only one or two songs, which is why they had to be changed often.
And in order to listen to all the songs (more than two), you had to carry a whole album of records with you. Hence the modern definition of a music album, which also applies in case you listen in digital format.
A single, for obvious reasons, is one or two songs that were released on the same disc.
The invention of 45 rpm records revolutionized the world of vinyl, as more than two tracks could now be recorded on a single record and the need for heavy albums was no longer needed.
Vinyl fans can be called one of the most attentive and diligent people, since they listen to the whole records. And with regard to a musician, this is the most correct approach, since he creates a product from more than one composition, and sometimes even the order in which songs are played in an album is important for perception.
VINYL IN 2021
Today vinyl is what is associated with vintage, craft and the ability to “touch” music, take a break from phones and applications while listening.
Yes, there is a possibility to stream your music through expensive streaming services like Tidal to get the best possible audio experience, but vinyl is hard to even compare to digital format of music.
Because the process of making an LP is very different from a digital album. Firstly, separate mastering, more freedom for depth of composition. As a result, the vinyl record sounds as close as possible to what the musician wanted to convey.
Some young people have not saved up enough funds to purchase a vinyl turntable yet, since this is not a cheap pleasure: you also need speakers, cable, phono box and amplifier. The whole system!
So we will not explain why a good record player cannot cost as much as two vinyl plaques. And so, in this case, hipsters either buy low quality setups, which had awful sound, or they simply collect vinyl to decorate the interior.
Yes, one should not cut off the fact that some modern musicians use the release of vinyl as a purely marketing tool, and not pursuing pure sound. Electronic music on LP is also a rather useless story, because the compositions are created in the program.
And vinyl is about putting on a record, closing your eyes and hearing what was the arrangement of the musicians during the recording. It’s like an orchestra is playing right in your room.