Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

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Oldbones
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Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Oldbones » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:28 pm

I'm getting ready to move to a new home near my daughter. Part of that process has involved several sessions of sorting and culling my collection of vinyl LPs. As I'm a member of this forum and - as you'll have inferred - a bit of a 'whitterer', it won't come as a surprise to find out that I naturally have a substantial number of records which feature guitar music and/or favourite guitarists. It's been an interesting and enjoyable experience to play many of those old LPs and although I found that I'd fallen out of love with many players or styles, four names kept having to be moved onto the 'keepers' pile. So with me, when I move, will go the late lamented Davy Graham and John Renbourn plus Peter Green and - of course - Gordon. It's been really lovely to play those older recordings and to feel as if you're in the company of friends you haven't heard from for a long time.

So, hopefully within a couple a months, Gordon and I will be on the move. He in spirit and sound, and myself in the flesh.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Sue » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:04 pm

Hope you've bought the lavish new Last Of England LP ? That's DEFINITELY a keeper !!

I really ought to cull mine, but they all have memories attached, so I still keep them even if I rarely play them....

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby BRC » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:24 pm

Oldbones,

Whilst practising a day of indolence I happened upon the website and your posting. My first reaction was to simply read, contain my thoughts and enjoy the indolent lifestyle to which I would like to be accustomed. Ah well!

I couldn't resist making a contribution (non financial, of course) bearing in mind the juxtaposition of your post and the imminent release on vinyl of Gordon's 'The Last of England'. My own vinyl collection has not seen the light of day for several years now as I decided to parcel them all up in secure boxes, sealed and carefully packaged. The reason for this being that our granddaughter (definitely 2 d's) was getting to the age where she could open the cabinet where all those nice, shiny, well-kept discs were kept. There are some reasonably rare items amongst them, including original mono issues of The Beatles first four albums plus a 'Sgt Pepper' replete with untouched cut-outs ... if you see what I mean. Too much at risk to leave to a child's sticky fingers (no i don't have that album).

I digress! Most of my vinyl collection has been repeated by CD purchases over the years so adds to the debate of CD versus Vinyl. The big question is can I tell the difference in sound quality between the two. Let us consider some simple physiological facts. I am less than 18 months away from my 70th birthday (where did all that time go) and my hearing range is considerably less than it was 50 years ago. Okay, I freely admit that my hearing is not as good as I would like, but, I can still enjoy a wide range of music. However, most of us around this age can not hear very much above 12Khz (open to discussion) though am reasonably okay at around 80hz. CDs seem to me to adequately meet that hearing range and, probably, better.

What then does vinyl offer me in 'quality' hearing experience compared to CD? Not so much a rhetorical question as a point for debate, though my answer has to be 'nothing' sonically. Aesthetically the cover art and disc notes are much better (I shall leave the eyesight debate alone in comparing with CD covers and notes, from fear of attracting too many adverts and pleas from private medical companies inviting me to take up their services). There is also the issue that other than the first time played the vinyl will start to wear and pick up static, notwithstanding the array of magical devices that are supposed to eliminate this, and the consequent wonderful 'chip shop' background noise - wonderful if you are actually in a chip shop with the accompanied aroma and see-through hot shelf/cabinet - not so great when trying to enjoy the quiet passages of a piece of music (whoops, I nearly typed 'cod' there).

Hopefully that is enough to open up discussion, although I have just realised how warm and humid it is here in the South East today, forcing me to return to my aforementioned lifestyle and seek some suitable cool drink. Don't mention a 'nice cool beer' as having recently returned from visiting friends in South West Germany, along with a very good meeting with a fellow website member, I am still upset at not having enough space in the car to bring back a couple of crates (20 x half litre bottles per crate) of a very pleasant pils lager (no chemicals) at only 6 Euros per crate ... including crate and bottle deposits ................ I am not really a lager drinker, but, when needs must!

KInd regards to all
Brad

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Oldbones » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:22 pm

Hi again Brad, good to hear from you again.

I read your thoughts with interest. I've also pondered and experimented to see if I can detect a difference between vinyl and CD. Being a bit of a BOF at times, I even combined one of my culling sessions with having particular LP's on the turntable and their CD releases in my player. I tried them with recordings by Jethro Tull, early Rolling Stones (their first mono LP), Gordon, John Renbourn, Camel, Tangerine Dream and, just to provide a bit of balance, Gorecki.

Like you, my hearing isn't what it was, especially on the right side where I've lost some facility to detect a lot of the higher ranges, but on the whole it's pretty good. (For instance, I'm in one room typing this and in another room and around two corners I have Barclay James Harvest on CD singing 'Hymn' at low volume and I can hear it clearly).

To be brutally honest, I couldn't really detect any substantial difference between vinyl and CD except for Tangerine Dream. I recall that way back before CD's arrived, Edgar Froese (RIP one of my all-time heroes) often talked about their need for a crystal clear means of both recording and converting onto a playback medium. In this he was obviously looking ahead to digital. I could probably fool myself into thinking I detected a 'warmer' sound via vinyl, but I'm not sure what that would be ... something with a less digitally balanced audio spectrum I suspect, without sophisticated control over the very high and very low ranges and kept more within a mid range.

Personally, I don't mind the odd crackle or hiss unless it's on very quiet music - or that of TD. I guess you're like me and have always been fastidious about keeping LP's carefully. I don't fusss with fancy cleaning solutions - a soft, lint-free dry cloth does everything. If necessary, a wash with water to which a drop of washing up liquid has been added, and then drip dry and finally a dry-wipe.

I don't buy new vinyl - the costs are beyond reasonable and are frequently exorbitant. A friend of mine scrapped all his vinyls years ago and converted to CD. He's now ditched those and is gradually re-buying all these massively expensive re-releases and boxed sets. That isn't for me. I'm not a purist that way. I've kept what I want to keep. A few may have financial value, but all my LPs by - for example - Billy Strange, early Glen Campbell (during his sessionman days when he released instrumental LPs), early John Renbourn and Gordon - they've all been kept because the music is damn good and the recordings mean something to me. (If I'd never come across those early LPs by Billy Strange I probably wouldn't have developed my lifelong addiction to the 12 string).

Speaking of 12 strings, I've just added a new thread about an amazing Yamaha 12 I was recently lucky enough to be able to play for half an hour or so.

Best wishes.
Alan.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Oldbones » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:37 pm

Sue wrote:Hope you've bought the lavish new Last Of England LP

That's an interesting one. As I've just commented in a reply to Brad, I don't buy new LPs but 'Last of England' was actually a recording of Gordon's that didn't really strike home for me. There could be two reasons for that: I bought the CD in May when I was still at a very low ebb and that probably affected my response to it. I did review it for Amazon and - sorry about this - I gave it 3 stars. I always try to be fair in my reviews and I did end it by saying it wasn't for me but that was no reason to think others wouldn't like it. My first paragraph was writ like this (to paraphrase dear old Ernie)

"...If what you want is what I call "meandering musings" then you'll like this recording. If what you want is Gordon in his highly melodic, tuneful mode, then you won't. He has a superb knowledge of chords and how to meander and shift between sequences of chords, which is what most of this CD consists of. As for the title 'Last of England' I didn't discern anything even coming close to 'Englishness', perhaps because I thought he would be playing with melodies and chordal structures often associated with English folk and traditional music. It's nice, and that's about as far as I can go..."

Happily for you, mine is the only non-5 star review so that probably tells me that my tastes are a bit too specific when it comes to particular musicians. It doesn't reflect on my range of musical interests - that's vast - so maybe I just hope and long for particular types of music from a few, very special heroes and heroines?

The majority of my CDs are now packed up in piles of boxes, but when I unpack them after I've moved, I'll give it another spin or two to see if my responses have changed.

Sue wrote:they all have memories attached, so I still keep them even if I rarely play them

Absolutely. It was hard at first to REALLY carry on the cull I began many years ago, but once I accepted the need to be brutal and keep only the recordings which had deep personal and emotional value for me, then the process actually became quite cathartic.

Perhaps I can redeem myself by saying that none of Gordon's LPs went into the cull-pile, so the ones I bought then mean just as much to me now.

Hope I'm forgiven for 'England' but it's best to be up-front about these things.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Sue » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:55 pm

Oldbones wrote:Hope I'm forgiven for 'England' but it's best to be up-front about these things.


Nothing to forgive - your opinion is just that, and as valid as any other. However much you enjoy an artists work there are bound to be some things that you like slightly less from time to time.

Better be a 5* review next time though or we'll have to 'send the boys round' ! :wink: :shock:

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby BRC » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:14 pm

Having had my day - a few hours anyway - of indolence, I have been busy for the past few days so unable to come back in on this, until now.

Firstly, I am really enthused by 'The Last of England', which I bought on CD. I can see that should you be 'purist' about Gordon's work then maybe, just maybe, the more elaborate approach of this album in it's over all production is not necessarily to your taste. That is regardless of whether it is played in digital or vinyl format.

Secondly, there is nothing wrong whatsoever in having different opinions, tastes or views to anyone else. The main issue is the freedom to express those points in an honest, non-aggressive way. It is such a pity our politicians - worldwide as well as domestic - do not have the grace to do just that.

Back to the posting here - I also prefer to keep those vinyl issues that mean something to me and not just because they may have some monetary value at some time in the future. Mind you, we probably have between us some 'valuable' albums as when we bought them the future was a long time away to now! Some day I may play some of those albums again (before my hearing is beyond listening to them), though for the immediate future they will stay safely packed away.

It is highly unlikely that I will purchase the vinyl version of 'The Last of England' - I consider the CD an excellent version to listen to and enjoy. However, I give my very best wishes to Gordon, Paul and all others involved in production and promotion of that version for a successful launch.

Kind regards
Brad
P.S. I went to visit friends in Germany on 11th June 2017 and shot some video of leaving Dover on the Dover to Dunkerque ferry. I intend to add to that further video of other locations over the next year and see if I can produce a suitable visual to accompany the title track ... just for my own consumption. At least it will keep me off the streets ... or will it?

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby steve » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:54 pm

To join this discussion late in the day I'd only like to repeat what I've said in the original thread that the LP of "Last Of England" sounds much better than the CD due to the superior mastering. That, in my opinion, is the major problem with 99% of pop recordings these days - since Oasis set out to slam their music harshly into the radio sets of anyone with ears over 20 years ago, the music industry appears to be hell-bent on mastering EVERYTHING to insanely loud levels, even softer "acoustic" music like Julia Holter, for heaven's sake!

It makes absolutely no sense to me to destroy the natural dynamic range of any music by pumping all component parts to the same level but that is exactly what has been going on since 1995. CD's have enough 'headroom' and dynamic range to cope with most music but unfortunately very, very few utilise the media to optimum effect due to the mastering engineers getting excited about the space to pump everything to '11'. The industry has gone all very Spinal Tap for some reason. For anyone curious about this phenomenom I'd urge you to Google "The Loudness Wars".

Modern LP's do not suffer from this problem so obviously they tend to sound more dynamic with the gap between the loudest and quietest sounds being widely increased. Analogue LP's (not the modern digitally created ones) also tend to have a much fuller sound as digital media (not sure how effective high-resolution will become over time) at 16 bit/44.1 kHZ cannot resolve the natural instrument decay as effectively as analogue media. Steve Hoffman is one such mastering engineer who is often championed for his dedication to preserving the "breath of life" in music ie. not suffocating it with heavy-handed remastering.

On a semi-related note, I'm off to see Gordon tonight at the vinyl launch concert. I already have the LP (with signed poster no less!) and CD but any excuse to see Gordon live one more time.......I can't wait!!!!

Steve
Mirrors should think longer before they reflect ~ Jean Cocteau

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Tom McCauley
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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Tom McCauley » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:57 am

Morning all!

Sorry I've been rather quiet here recently... been rather busy again so catching up on the forum.

I have a lot of old vinyls and 45's (the smaller vinyls) which my mum has, but they're all kept in the loft along with a record player she has.
I did persuade her to check her collection was still intact as most of them warp over the years!
Tom McCauley

Presenter at Warrington Hospital (www.radiogeneral.co.uk)

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Re: Culling old vinyls can be an emotional experience

Postby Oldbones » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:55 am

Tom McCauley wrote:most of them warp over the years!

Warping has never been an issue with my LP's or 45's. I've always kept them upright and tightly enough stacked to be accessible but mutually-supporting. No - my problem with 45's wasn't warping it was a young daughter with a cup of hot chocolate who, about 30 years ago, accidentally tipped the lot into the DIY case I'd made for over 150 singles. It's a very interesting job washing vinyl but thankfully the disc labels don't come off when soaked. The sleeves, however, were another matter altogether.

I've now culled my LP's down to the point where they fit nicely into two of those superb Really Useful boxes made to hold vinyls.

I note you're in the Warrington area. When I move house in a few weeks time, I'll be in that general area, in Culcheth.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.


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