Bring Out Your Dead: Thoughts on the Vinyl Revival
All of us at The Absolute Sound who worked like mad to keep vinyl alive after the mainstream had officially declared it dead bear some responsibility for this travesty called The Vinyl Revival. The simple truth is that those who choose the right gear in the right combination and connect and calibrate it correctly and put it in the right space in the right way and continually maintain and finetune and tweak what they have can arguably experience a sonic benefit that could be just as convincingly attributed to subjective bias.
That would pertain, generously, to a small fraction of the hipsters who now bow down before vinyl like it will somehow save their pudgy souls. The other simple truth is that the vast majority would get better sound out of a cheap and easy to maintain all-digital rig than from the pricey, and laughably configured, setups they’re using to play their expensive virgin pressings on.
Like the rest of hipster culture, the vinyl thing is just another empty gesture borrowed from the past and embraced because it’s known and safe but has the aura of being vaguely transgressive. And, like everything else hipsters touch, they’re driving a stake through its heart by trying to keep it alive, taking something valid—for those who know its value—and turning it into a silly, affected joke.
We TAS staffers from vinyl’s darkest days did a great job of bringing LPs and tubes back from the dead. But they now exist almost solely to feed a vast army of zombie poseurs. Being more responsible for all that than we’d probably like to admit, the big question now is: What are we going to do about it?
Michael Gaughn—The Absolute Sound, The Perfect Vision, Wideband, Stereo Review,
Sound & Vision, marketing, product design, a couple TV shows, some commercials, and