Looking for a New Hobby?

Looking for a New Hobby?

Milo Schooleman, Journalist

The beginning of the turntable

Have you ever used a record player? To be honest most of our generation, growing up on Spotify, Youtube and instant click/instant gratification, never once used one. Your parents might have one stored up in the attic or in some closet collecting dust. Or the most you ever experienced is when your mom played a classical or a soulful jazz composition while she was drinking red wine.

But even though the record players and vinyl records’ golden age have been much forgotten, there’s still something holy about them that holds the test of time and adds to music history, and creates an art that will never be forgotten. To understand what the record player, vinyl records and cover art are about, you have to look back at the beginning. Thomas Edison invented the first  record player in 1877, even though it was technically a “phonograph,” which is a machine that used cylinders instead of discs to create sound. Ten years later Alexander Graham added wax to the main design, which now could record sound waves. The new patented design would use hard material for its disc to produce sounds. Through the early 1880s many improvements would be added to the phonograph, making it into a record player with resemblances to modern day record players. The improvements include needle reads, a turntable and a system of belts that made the turntable spin the record. Now with a good design and a burgeoning demand, the first additional record player was mass produced in 1895.

Main-stream resurgence 

After the introduction of the radio, the turntable lost much of its spotlight. This trend persisted  until the late ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. That’s when turntables experienced a resurgence through pop culture and also due to a few new features, such as playback and the new Hi-fi sound, which to enthusiasts refers to a more high-quality sound. The record player would then have a spotlight in the ’80s and ’90s during the hip-hop scene where DJs were able to use their hands to scratch the vinyl against the stylus to produce a new sound.

In addition to the sound, album covers were vast in collection and great visually. Not only do customers experience one form of art though music, they also get another through print.

The view from a boomer: A Q&A with Susan Schooleman (my mom)

Q: What are the favorite albums of your generation?

A:  Pink Floyd – the wall

Led Zeppelin IV

Paul Simon – Graceland

Michael Jackson – Thriller

Q: Why do you think vinyls are making a resurgence?

A: ¨Back in my day, our generation was into a TV show called Happy Days and a movie, called American Graffiti. Both glorified the ’50s. Looking back now it seems that we were looking at a time we would like to idealize and replicate. I think many modern generations go through this phase because of the videos, photos and movies that glorify it and the aesthetic look of it.¨

Q: What was your favorite album?

A: ¨No question about it: Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club by the Beatles.¨

Q: Why’s that? 

A: ¨Because the album redefined all albums by introducing techniques we still use. Some songs are linked together. A reprise was introduced, in which a short of another song appears later in the record. Also the lyrics were listed for the first time like the mattered. And of course there’s the iconic cover. ¨

Q: What do you think of music today?

A: ¨This is how old I am, I remember when I was 17 my high school teacher said he just went to a convention and they created a small disk that would hold a lot of songs and replace records. We would see this new technology in 10 years.

Sure enough when I turned 27, the CD came out and I actually thought about what he said. 

Unlike you guys, I love the new inventions, like CDs and Spotify. When I think back to albums, I think of how they skipped. How we sometimes had to tape coins on top of the needle to hold it down. I think other music delivery systems sound way better. I don’t understand why your generation embraces the turntable.¨

Where we are now

Now with music streaming apps and websites, you would expect that turntables and vinyls to take a major hit, but think again. Many music lovers are now turning to vinyls for a new way to listen to music, with the thrilling sounds that can only be delivered by a record player. Add to that the beautiful cover art and the physical albums you can have and collect, and there’s no surprise that each passing year more and more people seem to be turning to turntables. In fact, in 2014, more than 13 million vinyls were sold in America and the growth continues, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. The association reported it hasn’t seen sales this high since 1989.

Album cover art

Album covers are one of the various ways in which first impressions affect an audience’s perception of a given musician or band. Album covers’ design may also add to how an audience forms an opinion of them and their music. There are various ways in which an album cover appears. Some examples include a photo of the artist, which promotes the visibility of the band. Because the first impression an album cover makes is crucial, many of them try to make a loud stance in album stores with bold artwork that can trip up anyone’s eyes.

The downside to the hobby

The one downside to records is the cost. To be frank, it can cost a lot, with a low-quality record player costing $50 to a better set costing $200. And records can cost anywhere from pennies on Craigslist and thrift stores to thousands of dollars for collector albums.If you’re looking for a new refurbished record Some good album stores around Denver are Twist and Shout, and Wax Trax Records. But usually a mainstream album will cost anywhere from $20 to $30. But I hope the price doesn’t prevent you from pursing this hobby, because if you love music and love the artwork of the different genres and cover art, you should definitely look into albums.

Here are albums that are not well known but great recommendations if you want t o branch out to different genres and start collecting albums: