Becoming a vinyl convert

Kieran from our web team shares how he’s come to appreciate that most classic of album formats

The sleeve of the 3 LP gatefold version of the Woodstock album
The signed copy of Jack Savoretti’s “Written In Scars” that started it all!

I’m going to be honest right up front. I’ve always been a vinyl sceptic. As a kid, my experience of analogue music formats basically consisted of audio cassettes and FM radio – stretched tapes and fuzzy reception, and we never listened to records.My folks had LPs packed away in dusty old cases, but I’d never seen or heard them used – they were relics of a bygone era. As a teenager, I moved on to digital – CDs, DAB and now more recently Sonos and Spotify.

My wife, on the other hand, had always liked the idea of vinyl ever since winning a signed copy of Jack Savoretti’s “Written In Scars” as a competition prize and fancied a turntable for her 40th birthday. Luckily, I work for just the right company to oblige – so I got her the Pro-ject Juke Box (you can find the new version of the Juke Box package on our website, here: Pro-ject Juke Box).

I’m pretty sure these were just rock albums when they were pressed – now they’re firmly in the “Classic rock” category

Setting it up was a doddle – with an integrated amp and speakers included in the package, all that was needed was speaker cable. And of course, the ever-helpful Woolacotts staff were available to offer advice about the set up.

Luckily, she’d already received a selection of LPs from friends and family. The first album she played was that copy of “Written In Scars” and she instantly loved it. I, however, still didn’t get it. But then I remembered my own vinyl collection. Although I’d never listened to them, for as long as I could remember, my father had a collection of classic rock LPs that had sat in our garage, spare room or loft. As well as inheriting his impeccable taste in music, I also inherited that box of records. And for the last 18 years, they had also lived in my garage, spare room or loft.

A first pressing of Deep Purple’s classic “Machinehead”

I dragged out that old record case to have a look through it and discovered it was full of the best possible stuff; Deep Purple, Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison, the gatefold Woodstock album… It was all pretty dusty and grubby after decades of poor storage, but I spent some time cleaning up Deep Purple’s Machine Head and put it on. It had pops and crackles, but there is something magical about hearing a 50 year old pressing of one of my favourite albums in its original format. And then there’s the ceremony of sorting through the albums, removing one from its sleeve, inspecting it and placing it on the turntable, before gently dropping the needle and hearing that first few seconds of crackle before the opening bars of track 1.

I hate to admit it, but I think I’m a convert. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as convenient as Sonos and obviously I can’t listen to it in the car, but there’s a definite place for it. And there’s something undeniably cool and collectible about limited edition coloured vinyl – like my wife’s special edition purple version of KT Tunstall’s “Drastic Fantastic”. I’m going to finish cleaning up all those old albums, get them a new case for protection and pull them out to listen to on a regular basis. And who knows – over time I may get some new additions to the collection, too…

KT Tunstall’s “Drastic Fantastic” on a very cool limited edition purple vinyl

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