As a musician, I love buying guitars. I started saving money for my latest purchase, and then just as I was ready to pull the trigger and buy that gorgeous Telecaster, some tiny but persistent voice in my head mentioned the word: "Turntable!"
Now, I've given up on analog music reproduction long time ago. There are many reasons why analog is tedious, while digital is ultra convenient. As a self-proclaimed audiophile, I've spent a lot of time and a lot of money building my dream digital sound system. So why would I now start burning money on messing with analog sound reproduction? I have amassed thousands upon thousands of hours of high quality digital music, and I only have meagre 100 or so LPs in my collection.
But the irrational persistent voice in my head could not be swayed, so one thing lead to another, and about ten days ago I got me a brand new analog rig. After messing around and setting everything up, I waited for the cantilever in my cartridge to break in (20 to 30 hours of playing), and so yesterday I sat down for a good listen.
I put on Chick Corea's "Leprechaun". A forty years old record, still in almost perfect shape. From the very opening of the side one, the sound nailed me to my seat. This was something else, a different kind of listening experience. By the time I finished listening to both sides, I felt an intense feeling of well being flood through my veins. Something was right with the world, I felt unlimited happiness emanating from every fibre of my body.
Intrigued, I decided to play the same album ("Leprechaun") in digital format. Immediately heard the difference. Something was missing from the digital playback. What is it?
I couldn't put my finger on it. After scratching my head a bit, and going back-and-forth between the LP and the AIFF file, it dawned on me. The essential difference between a good analog playback and a good digital playback can best described by one word: ENERGY!
I felt that there is some sort of added energy that was coming out of the LP. Now, how do we measure that energy? It's not the decibels, because just cranking up the digital playback still does not convey that energy. I really am at a loss when it comes to defining or measuring that mysterious element, that analog energy, but I thought maybe someone on this forum is more articulate than I am, and could perhaps add their opinion. The only thing I can come up with is that by the sheer physicality of the turntable (it is a mechanical contraption that is producing a lot of kinetic energy as the platter is spinning), this kinetic energy somehow makes its way to the sound coming out of the speakers. And with digital, since nothing is moving, that kinetic energy is missing.
Whatever it is, my turntable is making me very happy!