A few weeks ago I bought a secondhand record player; a proper one – a Technics 1200Mk2, like what the DJs use.
Why would I go and do a thing like that, since I’ve never really had a vinyl collection?
- Fundamentally, it’s an over-complicated, expensive way of avoiding having to switch my computer on to listen to music. I’ve been using Apple Match for the last 3 or 4 year, and Spotify for the last couple of years, but found increasingly when I put music on via my Mac it a) took ages to get going from switched on (guess I should get a new hard drive), b) once it was running I was instantly into all the distractions of the Internet. I spend enough time staring at screens through the week to know I don’t want to start again first thing on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- I don’t feel like I really have a music collections any more: years of digitising my CDs and downloading tracks has left me with nothing really to show for it, bar loads of CDs bought in the 90s, many of which are unlikely to get played again, and countless MP3s never properly listened to. I never used to have a problem with iTunes but over the last year or so I’ve found it increasingly annoying to use; each new update brings a heart-sinking feeling: ‘what have they done this time?’. There will be no changes to the UI or OS of the Technics, I’m pretty certain.
- A few things happened over the course of a couple of months that put the idea in my head, and it wouldn’t go away. I went to the Independent Label/Craft Beer Market at Spitalfields and came away with a nagging thought that it’d be nice to be buying some physical music; I read Richard King’s hymn to a record shop, Original Rockers; and finally, my daughter and I found ourselves in the Red Door Cafe in Greenwich one half-term lunchtime. Here they have a turntable and a great big pile of records for customers to choose from. It was quiet in the cafe; we ate our lunch slowly and my daughter got stuck into a sticker book while I worked through their Ray Charles and Elvis collection. Something about it stuck in my head for weeks afterwards. My daughter had never seen a record player in action before, and I really enjoyed handling the vinyl. At the back of my mind getting my own record player vinyl started to seem like a great idea.
So in the end, I ordered the Technics.
Other things I like about it:
- One volume control, on the amplifier. No faffing about balancing virtual volume controls on iTunes, Spotify, sound card, etc.
- It sounds excellent.
- Listening uninterrupted by computer reboots, video adverts, and so on.
- An excuse to hang around in record shops again.
Time will tell if the novelty wears off, but I’m loving it so far.