Aging Well

Not everything ages well. Tweets and rash social media posts are a great example. Twitter’s (X’s?) lack of an edit button ensures that tweet vintage remains pure and unrefined. Music is an exception. The good stuff (on classic vinyl, of course) ages like a fine Cabernet, as does the gear used to experience it.

Recently, I got a bug up my butt to dig out my old stereo. For you millennials, those are kind of like fax machines. Anyway, this system was purchased back when station wagons roamed the earth, say 1977 give or take a year. The original Yamaha receiver died (may it rest in peace) so I had to replace that with a significantly newer Denon. But the Sony turntable and Polk Audio speakers are original. I upgraded the cartridge and stylus to an Audio Technica something or other back in 1981.

Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys LP record

Perhaps the most interesting thing is listening to an album side – as designed by the artist. In the era of single-track purchases, does anyone meticulously lay out an album side anymore? Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon might be the clearest example of the elegance of writing and ordering songs to follow a carefully orchestrated progression, but most any original album followed that roadmap back in the day. Album artistry. Think Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the convenience and infinite availability of digital music too. There’s just nothing quite like the warmth of analog, with a few subtle clicks and pops thrown in for effect.

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