Why I listen to records. It has nothing to do with sound quality.

Finding himself home alone for a few hours and his to do list completed, he flicked on the light switch and walked down the stairs to their basement. His eyes scanned the shelves filled with close to a thousand titles, organized alphabetically and chronologically. He needed a few minutes to consider his options.

What was his current state of mind? How much time did he have? How did he want to feel? What memories did he want to recall? Something familiar? Something old? Something new?

The tips of his fingers slowly brushed the spines as his eyes scanned each title. His decision made, he gently removed his selection from the shelf and walked across the room. Removing it from it’s protective sleeve he carefully placed the center spindle through the small whole in the black vinyl disk, raised the tone arm and set the needle.

He sat cross legged on the floor in front of the turntable, slowly examining the cover art, allowing the music to wash over him. Within minutes he was transported, no longer in their basement. He’d listen to the entire album while reviewing the liner notes and enjoying a much needed distraction.

I love music and I love listening to records. I’ve been collecting them for over 15 years. I prefer listening to music on vinyl for several reasons, the least of which is the quality of the audio.

Music is art, a performing art the same as theatre and dance. It’s also an art as is literature and the visual arts. It deserves the same level of respect, therefore, when I’m in the mood to listen to music I often try and create an atmosphere where I can devote my attention to the art itself. This requires me to take my time, focus on the music and be able to really hear and see what the band/artist is trying to present.

I much prefer vinyl records to other formats, especially digital, because it forces me to slow down the entire process of experiencing the art. Listening to records takes time. It’s an investment. That’s the point. Isn’t great art worth investing in?

Listening to records also helps me focus on the music because it’s not easy to throw on a record and go about your day. You can’t simply select shuffle then play and leave it alone. Having to flip the album further slows down the process and keeps me close to the turntable, which helps me to focus on the music.

And then there’s the size of the packaging, the album cover and liner. It provides the band/artist with so much more space to convey their message. I’m drawn to the large scale (when compared to CD’s and cassettes) cover art and the easier to read liner notes. I usually end up Googling the cover art, history of the band/artist or any number of musicians that played on the album.

Surprisingly I rarely consider the quality of the audio when I’m listening to records. I simply enjoy how the entire experience makes me feel. Art intends to evoke emotion. When it comes to vinyl records, I’d say mission accomplished.





5 thoughts on “Why I listen to records. It has nothing to do with sound quality.

  1. Pingback: A Journal of Musical Things"Why I Listen to Records. It Has Nothing to Do with Sound Quality." - A Journal of Musical Things

  2. Well said. When I started re-collecting vinyl five years ago, I was struck how much I enjoyed returning to the brick and mortar record stores and spending a few hours browsing and flipping through discs. The art on all my old favourite albums looks so much better in the 12 x 12 size.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Why I listen to records. It has nothing to do with sound quality. – Music & Hi-fi Appreciations

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