What The Tech? Vinyl Records - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What The Tech? Vinyl Records

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For the first time since 1991, vinyl records are outselling digital downloads. That's a big deal in the music industry and for music fans who've insisted for years that digital music from downloads or even cds isn't the same high quality as music recorded and pressed onto vinyl LPs. 

The last time vinyl record sales were this high, Johnny Cash was still recording music and Ariana Grande wasn't born. 

The resurgence in events like National Record Store Day prompts new artists to release their newest albums on vinyl, sometimes even before it's available for streaming. 

It's great news for United Record Pressing in Nashville, TN. The company is one of only a few in the country still making records. Mark Michaels, the CEO of URP told me, few people saw the recent resurgence coming. 

"In 2009 we had gone down to running one shift a day, 6 hours a day. Today we run 24 hours a day 6-7 days a week and we're in the process of opening a new plant," Michaels said. 

Used record stores are busier than ever with millennials browsing the bins purchasing the same vinyl albums their parents and grandparents purchased in the 70s and 80s. Amazon has opened an entire vinyl record store on its website selling music from new artists, old artists, turntables along with the once hard-to-find stylus' and cartridges. 

If you're interested in getting back in the groove of listening to music on vinyl there are some things you should know before buying a new turntable or dusting off an old one. 

  • New turntables are reasonably priced. On Amazon the biggest sellers are all-in-one turntables that have their own speakers. Many of these are under $100 some as low as $39.00. 
  • Sound from those players are okay but vinyl enthusiasts will likely want higher end turntables that connect to a home stereo system. 
  • audio-technical, Pyle, Pioneer and makers of other high-end turntables are releasing new models regularly. You can expect to pay $200 and up for these brands. 
  • Many new turntables can be connected to a computer to transfer the music digitally to a cd or mp3 to listen on a smartphone or in-car system. 
  • Many of these turntables can be connected to bluetooth speakers. 
  • Older turntables that spin at a consistent speed will work fine but they may not connect to a modern stereo system without a pre-amp. Newer audio systems don't have a phono input or ground connection. For those turntables and systems you can buy a pre-amp for the connection. Those pre-amps range in price from $15-$100. 
  • New turntables often have built-in pre-amplifier for connecting to surround-sound or high end audio systems.
  • Older albums from the 70s-80s are being reissued and sold at bookstores, Urban-Outfitters and on Amazon. 
  • Original albums from The Beatles, Elvis and Creedence-Clearwater Revival can cost in the hundreds of dollars if in good shape. 
  • Many new releases will include a digital download code so that it can be put on a computer or smartphone for listening on the go. 

Vinyl records are hot again so it's a good idea to look through those old boxes for gems.

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