/ Technology

Have you joined the vinyl records revival?


Vinyl records show no signs of stopping in their ascent from an underground niche to the heights of mainstream cool. So what’s persuading us to get back into the groove?

The ‘vinyl revival’, it’s happening as I write – more and more of us are returning to the turntables to get our music fix. Some are merely coming back after a digital hiatus, rediscovering their hidden gems tucked away in the attic. But there are also many young people who are discovering vinyl for the first time.

Last year in the US, vinyl sales eclipsed revenues from ad-based free streaming services such as Spotify Free and YouTube. But what’s fascinating about the vinyl revival is the variety of reasons driving people to buy records.

Vinyl revival

This may or may not surprise you, but it did me. An ICM poll of people who’d bought vinyl in the last month found that 48% of those surveyed hadn’t yet played their recent purchase. And a further 7% admitted that they didn’t even own a record player.

Presumably these people are drawn to records because they can display their music collections in a physical and tangible way. Or in the words of one young student quoted in the linked BBC article:

‘I have vinyls in my room, but it’s more for decor. I don’t actually play them. It gives me the old-school vibe.’

If this quote irritates you as much as it does me, then you might be part of the remaining 52% of people who would only buy a record so that they could actually listen to it.

Of course owning the physical disc and looking at the artwork is nice, but there are sound reasons to choose the vinyl listening experience too (pun intended).

Audiophiles will tell you that the distinctive ‘warm vinyl sound’ is real. The sound is caused by the way turntables deal with bass frequencies which gives a slight fuzz. There’s also the inevitable surface noise which some people prefer over the sharp, ruthless accuracy of a high quality digital file.

Sound reasoning

Personally, I love my record collection for all these reasons. Records are not just nice objects to own, but I also enjoy the ritual of playing them and subjectively like the sound too.

So have you joined the vinyl revival, or did you never abandon it in the first place? What is it that attracts you to records, or what keeps you away? And have you found any hidden gems stashed away in your attic?


I still listen to vinyl records, most of which were bought in the 80s. There is something more satisfying about a record than a CD or a download, though I moved to CDs when they became cheaper. As I write, I’m listening to Brahms Piano Concerto No.2/Ashkenazy. Excuse me while I turn over the record to listen to the third movement. 🙁


I have not joined a “revival” but have a small collection of classical and jazz from the late 50’s onward. They include World Record Club issues when my father was a subscriber. My favourite is probably a collection of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies presented by the Hungarian Embassy.

The problem with vinyl is clicks from scratches.

I have been given a number of very interesting 78s that I am looking forward to playing for the first time. I don’t have a suitable turntable and keep on the lookout for something at a sensible price. Anyone got a recommendation? It is a pity many did not survive – I well remember one use suggested for them was heating in the oven and forming them into plant pots. What a waste.


You may have friends that are happy to pass on a decent quality turntable that has been stored for years. It will probably need a new drive belt and to be checked by a competent person. A lot of 70s/80s hi-fi equipment was not earthed to lessen the risk of mains hum.

I don’t know about playing 78s but a wind-up gramophone might be the answer. One of my earliest memories was playing single and double-sided 78s on my grandmother’s Dulcetto gramophone.


I do have a decent turntable for the vinyls, but not for 78s wavechange. An old record player might do the job – I’m keeping my eyes open occasionally. Our old radiogram played them but that was the size of a small sideboard, and mostly empty space.


Turntables that played 78s as well as LPs were always a bit of a compromise because the tracking weight was probably too high for the LPs and low for the 78s, but one of the Which? ‘Best Buys’ will play 78s if you want new rather than secondhand.


I have a loft full of old vinyls but sadly nothing to play them on.

I recently found myself browsing in an antiques store and came across an old Hermes typewriter in good condition which I very nearly bought as I had just spent a whole morning attempting to connect Office 365 to my computer and thinking how much quicker I could have typed that all important letter in about ten minutes flat on an old typewriter for the price I paid for access to my WP.

Returning home I checked it was still possible to obtain replacement ribbons online so I may return to the antique store in the hope it hasn’t been snapped up by someone like me who can still find a use for the golden oldies without having to endure the frustration of modern technological advancement.

I hope I haven’t veered too far off topic!


When typewriters suffered the same fate as gramophone records, Hermes was redeployed as a god of parcel delivery. Before investing in the secondhand Hermes it is worth checking for correct working of the operating system, particularly for sticking typebars. Open Office provides a free alternative to supporting Microsoft.


Hermes “god of parcel delivery ” wavechange –not in this lifetime rated the worst in the UK on several,UK customer complaint websites ,owned by a French lady who pays here staff a pittance ,uses third parties in private cars – self employed contracts . chap your door with a feather and run away ,throw your parcel,over the garden wall -clunk-Crash !!! Yes I know all about them.


We have 700+ vinyls – almost all of music pre-dating 1950 – and I’ve carefully digitized them and added them to our large digital collection. The discs themselves are stored safely and away from sight.

For me, anyway, AAC is the best compressed option and beats the crackly, uneven quality of vinyls hands down. I watched someone from a dead ’60s group playing one and eulogising over the crackling. He must be mad. CDs were the best thing to arrive for audiophiles, even if so many are unwilling to admit it. In orchestral terms the reproduction is close to flawless and their digital successors, AIFF and Mpeg, have delivered superbly recorded music for years.


Agreed, it’s very hard to beat a high quality digital format for accuracy, but I think there are certain charms to the vinyl sound.


The first couple of CDs that I bought were historic recordings and I was very disappointed by the artificial sound created. For example, in removing background noise, the natural sound of the concert hall had been suppressed. It did not take long for more intelligent and sympathetic remastering to arrive and of course modern CDs are very good indeed.

About 15 years ago I did buy some hardware and software to digitise my my modest record collection and remove the imperfections but I soon lost interest and realised that the imperfections did not concern me.

George Roy Forman says:
19 April 2016

I Agree that digital copied music is superior to vinyl.
As a musician / recording artiste , and ex radio presenter, I still
use Sony’s Minidisc for backing tracks at live music venues.
Sadly, it has been overtaken by iPad and the like .For me, these
discs are miniature marvels that can hold around fifty pop length
songs, ( admittedly in mono,..less in stereo ). Easily edit each track,
cutting off unwanted pieces of music, changing the running order
is a doddle, as is programming a running order, and titling each track.
Vinyl ?..nah,..you can keep the hiss,..the clicks, and the occasional
needle jump. Warm up the audio with a nice valve mixer !.


Agreed Ian. . . .My ears are far too full of noise here with wifey and her endless country music and it gets worse because she moves to UK/IRL supposed country and when the vinyl starts I’m outa here. . . .Crackle crackle sounds to me near as bad as listening to radio Luxembourg on MW decades ago
No digital every time, , there is so much less noise yet one can hear the music


I have just treated myself to a pair of Sony wireless and noise cancelling stereo headphones as I recently celebrated my umpteenth birthday, together with a Taotronic wireless stereo transmitter which converts my existing old TV, iPad, radio etc to Bluetooth. The sound is brilliant and I can play all my favourite music as loud as I want without disturbing anyone else. I can also clearly hear the TV whilst it is in mute mode without using the sub titles, being a little hard of hearing now and can also use them in silent mode to cut down on any unwanted exterior noise.

I am fortunate that I have a technophile son to set it all up for me as I didn’t have a clue so the old vinyls will sadly remain gathering dust in the loft, at least for the time being anyway.