Why Vinyl Records Are Back
Here's a surprising statistic: According to NPR, sales of new vinyl records are up 10% in the first quarter of 2007. Record stores that sell used vinyl are reporting a spike in sales as well. Which begs the question: What's up with the resurgence?
One theory is the advent of USB turntables, which plug right into your computer's USB port and make it easy to turn your vinyl records into MP3s or other audio files (versus the complicated old way that involved figuring out confusing sound card configurations and mixers).
Enthusiasts also prefer the warmer, analog sound of records. MP3s, on the other hand, can have the harsh and tinny sound typical of digital music files (and they don't always reproduce every sound or instrument in the original recording). And let's not forget that you don't need DRM (Digital Rights Management) or other piracy controls with vinyl -- after all, you can't encrypt a record.
The NPR story coincides with the announcement of Stanton's newest USB turntable, the T.90. The heavy-duty unit comes with a host of DJ-friendly features, including a high-torque, direct-drive motor and an S-shaped arm, which makes for stability during mixes and scratches. Controls are also in place for the DJ -- a key lock allows the user to adjust tempo (for beat matching) without affecting pitch, for example. The dual start/stop switches are also a DJ favorite. The S/PDIF (also known as "optical") output jack hooks the table into audio systems with optical inputs (for premium digital sound).
No official U.S. price or release date has yet been announced, but the T.90 is set to ship in the U.K. in April, according to this British e-tailer that's selling it on pre-order for $374 (meanwhile, CrunchGear says it's going to retail for $435). Either way, the relatively high price tag might sound a bit much for the average consumer. But if you're serious about your vinyl, or a DJ, you'll find the Stanton T.90 to be the current cream of the crop in USB DJ decks.
We suggest you wait for an official announcement from Stanton, coming any day now, so you can be sure you buy it from an official company dealer.
From Engadget and CrunchGear. The story on vinyl resurgence can be heard at NPR.