By Dave Thompson
There’s a lot of things to love about the resurgence in vinyl sales and releases. But there are a few things that can get under your skin.. Every record collector has their bugaboos. And here are 10 pet peeves, and we hope you will tell Goldmine your’s, too.
10. “How much did it cost?”
Readers of a certain age will remember howling with rage when they discovered that CDs were going to retail at twice the price of the equivalent vinyl. The financial boot is now on the other foot — except that CDs often have twice as much music as their waxen counterpart.
9. Too many colors
“First ever release on a day-glo pink swirl margarita-colored picture disc.” Yes, very well done. Very very well done. Go you! Now can I have a copy that won’t sound like the cat has found a paper bag to play in, please?
8. The death of completism
A great collection is a complete collection. The problem is, record companies know it. Why else would they release the same old songs on the same old LP, with the only difference being, say, a modern-day remix from a former associate who misheard the dying words of the Beloved Icon?
Yes, they’re only trying to make some money, and it’s up to us whether or not we feed their hunger. Usually, we decide we won’t. But then, late at night when the will is at its weakest, that little voice whistles in on the wind. “But ohhhhhhh! What about the collection?”
7. Returns (part one)
As costs soar, standards fall. How many more newly-purchased LPs will we need to return before record companies realize they ought to use better quality jackets to prevent the disc from slicing slits into the edges before the buyer has even had the chance to play it?
6. Returns (part two)
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of quality control, what’s with the spindle holes that are too tight to fit the record player’s spindle?
5. Returns (part three)
And seriously If your staff must play frisbee with the records they’re packing, at least ask them to hold them by the edges? I’ve seen less dabs on a wanted poster than on some of the albums I’ve bought.
4. Mixed Formats
Another CD box set… but wait! It’s not ONLY CDs!!!!! It’s also a UNIQUE opportunity to pick up matching coasters and a reproduction poster!!!!!!!! PLUS a LIMITED EDITION half-speed remastered 45rpm TRIPLE VINYL copy of A Bunch of Previously Unreleased Dodgy Outtakes + Live At An Unpronounceable Venue Somewhere You’ve Never Heard Of, that is utterly and eternally unique ONLY to this box set. Well, at least until it’s repackaged for some distant Record Store Day.
3. How analog is it really?
It’s true, it’s not as easy to reproduce music on vinyl as it is on CD. But that’s not an excuse not to do it. Simply plopping digital recordings onto vinyl is no more honest than putting a needle drop onto CD. It not only makes a difference to the sonics, it also negates the purpose of buying the format in the first place.
And let’s not even get started on “audiophile quality” half-speed remasters taken from digital recordings….
2. The Return of the 8-Track
There is no doubt that an album repressed on 45rpm is going to sound better (not necessarily by a lot, but noticeably) than one pressed at 33. It’s also true that converting a single LP into a double, or a double into triple, will also make a difference to the sonics. Wider grooves or something.
But at what cost?
When Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains The Same was expanded thus, the original side-long “Dazed and Confused” suddenly became a side-and-a-half long. Yes folks, it fades out on one side, and then fades in on the other. Just like 8-Tracks used to do. And when Bob Dylan’s Desire was converted to 45… well, remember that thrilling little segue between “Romance in Durango” and “Black Diamond Bay”? Gone. Just like 8-Tracks used to do. Which leaves one wondering…. Why not just buy the 8-Track?
Seriously? You really need somebody else to scratch up one side of your latest purchase — and then hand it back to you with all the fanfare of delivering a Picasso to the local art gallery?
If you buy a double album’s worth of vinyl (and let’s face it, that’s what you're paying for), you might reasonably expect a double album’s worth of music. Not a scratchy drawing that you could have done myself with a ruler and a pointy stick. Or purchased for a fraction of the price from one of those dealers who sell “Near Mint” albums that, upon receipt, look like they’ve spent the last five years in the bottom of a bird cage.
And now… over to you
OK, I’ve had my moan, now it’s time for you to have your’s. Let us know which aspect of the vinyl revival gives you the greatest frustration/grief/pain in the turntable, and maybe we’ll compile another Top 10 from your responses.