Record Story Day is Saturday, April 21 — a day that will be celebrated by none other than former White Stripes front man Jack White. He has his own record label, Third Man Records. Their slogan is "Your Turntable's Not Dead."
Mr. White is correct.
Record labels all over the world are still putting it on wax despite the MP3 boom. There are as many reasons to adore vinyl records as there are music lovers. Records allow plenty of room for artwork, liner notes, variant pressings, glow-in-the-dark wax, and even records that smell like peaches (seriously). Not to mention the fidelity — and the pop and sizzle — that purists crave.
If vinyl is so great, you might ask, why bother transferring it to another medium?
So you can take it with you.
"You can have it digitally but you still have your vinyl seasoning. That's the salt and pepper right there," said Travis Lawton of Providence, R.I.
A drummer, chef, DJ and audiophile, Mr. Lawton owns 2,000 records. He had to build special shelves to keep them in his home. He scavenges at yard sales, music stores and record shows to add to his (mostly rock and roll) collection. He can't remember the last time he bought a CD. If there's music he wants, he'll find it on vinyl.
If he wants to save it digitally, he has options.
"There are the record players that are built to hook up to your computer and then there are the little boxes — an RCA jack in and USB port out," he said.
If you're looking for some old-timey nostalgia device, the Frontgate Songwriter CD Recorder will fit the bill. It's a good-looking product with wooden accents and conservative styling. The belt-driven turntable plays 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records in 7", 10" and 12" format. Its CD recorder also records cassettes — you know you have some in a shoebox somewhere — and it comes with an AM/FM radio and remote. It also costs $400.
If that's too steep — and it probably is — you might be better served by a simple turntable that is built to transfer your collection to digital. The IT ITUT-300 Turntable Vinyl to Digital USB is a plug and play unit that does just that for about $40.
If you already have a good turntable, all you need is an adapter. Your turntable cranks out audio via the RCA cables Mr. Lawton mentioned — they're the red and white ones. Find a USB adapter that accepts RCA cables and you're all set. You can easily find these online for a few dollars to quite a few dollars. Chances are if you're reading this you're savvy enough with audio tech to figure it out.
If you're not — if you just want to make sure you'll never have to stop listening to those Gene Autry records your Old Man left you — then try the USB turntable for about $40.
Note: This was written by Victor Paul Alvarez, a Digital Crave contributor.
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