Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vinyl LP Records - Why they are still popular, their care and cleaning

All commercial records pressed prior to 1957 were monaural (mono) meaning they only had one signal channel to speakers or headphones. Stereophonic LP's had been tinkered with since the 1930's - the idea being that recorded
music sounds better when each ear is presented with a different element of the overall sound.

But stereo was very expensive - in the early 60's only wealthy adults could afford state-of-the-art "hi-fi" stereo systems with two speakers. Teenagers, the biggest consumers of records made do with cheap mono record players
with one speaker. And stereo records cost more than mono. Because of this, artisits like Frank Sinatra were more likely to put out stereo recordings while pop stars kept to mono recordings. That began to change in 1966 when inexpensive stylus cartridges allowed stereo records
to be played on mono turntables.

Most popular rock bands of the 60's put very little energy into their stereo recordings. They put all their efforts into performing, mixing, and mastering their mono tracks. Stereo mixes were almost an afterthought.

Take 1967’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which is now considered one of the greatest stereo experiences on vinyl. At the time, the Beatles and their world-renowned producer George Martin lavished great time and attention on the mono recording. The stereo mix was left to a secondary producer named Geoff Emerick, who tossed off the task in three hours. Later, George Harrison would insist, “You haven’t heard ‘Sgt. Pepper’ if you haven’t heard it in mono.”

Many audiophiles today insist that original mono recordings sound far better than their stereo versions. Mono recordings can be slower and more sparse, faster and more aggressive, or sonically more dense than stereo recordings
of the same songs.

Excerpts above were taken from the following article at Collector's Weekly. See the following link for more information: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/records/mono.

Some newer bands are still releasing in vinyl.Red Hot Chili Peppers released stadium arcadium in vinyl. A vinyl record captures a special time and space that a digital recording can't. It is warmer, and often has more depth. Plus many covers are pieces of art that you can hold in your hand - for example Bernadette Peter's self-named album with the Vargas art cover.

LP records aren't hard to care for. You can purchase special kits for cleaning old LP's, but I have found a solution of a little baby shampoo in lukewarm water works very well.I wash the record with a very wet microfiber cloth using this solution and following the grooves on both sides. I rinse well with lukewarm water,let drain for a few minutes, then I lay it flat on a microfiber towel and finish drying by wiping with a dry microfiber cloth following the grooves,flip it over and do the same drying on the other side.I have done this with records that were totally "stuck"in a groove (hence term broken record) and they played perfectly after!

Vinyl records should never be stacked - they should be stored vertically to prevent warping and damage to them.

I also have an Ion turntable that plugs directly into my computor. It come with software that allows me to record and convert these wonderful old LPs into MP3 format and transfer to my iPod. I'm sure there are other companies that make these.

I have LP Records for sale @ http://www.addoway.com/donnasstuffmore/storefront/.