As a teenager back in the England of the early 70’s, my first love was music – rock music, prog rock, guitar based rock, anything that sounded ‘heavy’ and wasn’t to be found on ‘Top of the Pops’. Any money that I was able to acquire was typically spent at one of my local record stores, buying those treasured discs of black gold – or vinyl, as it’s more commonly known.
When not blessed with the necessary £2 or so in my pocket, I would just spend hours in the record stores, flicking through the racks of albums – those works of art became great friends, friends that are still in my heart today.
But time and technology marches on, and by the late 80’s, album collections including mine, were banished to dark corners of attics, to be replaced by the far less attractive Compact Disc, which in turn has been replaced by, well bits and bytes I guess, as we mainly download or stream our music these days.
Although I find it disappointing to ‘own’ digital music, yet not have anything real to hold and display in alphabetical order, one benefit it has meant to the expat, is that there’s one less thing to worry about when moving around from location to location (or Station to Station as David Bowie said).
But despite all of the changes in listening habits that have been inflicted on us, it’s refreshing to know that vinyl albums are once again very much visible in the ‘entertainment’ stores of today, (although my jaw drops when I see the price tags that are being imposed). Here in Dubai, Virgin Megastores are in many of the major malls, and can be a good source of vinyl treasures.
Whilst I hadn’t personally owned a record player for many years, at Christmas 2017, my wonderful Mrs E placed a new turntable, and a couple of albums (Eat A Peach, by The Allman Brothers Band, and Presence, by Led Zeppelin) under the Christmas tree, and so began a new love affair with vinyl. My rekindling started slow, as the only way to hear the records was to link the turntable to our TV’s ‘soundbar’ which didn’t really hit the spot as far as the sound experience was concerned, but I persevered and have re-grown my collection a little in the months since then, even managing to bring back some of my old albums from the UK that were gathering dust in those aforementioned dark corners.
But in recent weeks, things have changed, the quality of my sound experience has improved considerably, as we bought a new ‘sound system’ – a Naim MuSo, it sounds and looks awesome (and weighs a ton too)! Naim are a British designer and manufacturer of high quality audio equipment, and this was the first product of theirs that I have bought. Primarily designed for streaming, it is also blessed with a number of connection options, including an analog socket, through which I can link my turntable.
So now my albums sound great again, and I can enjoy my Spotify account at a whole new level through the MuSo’s 6 built in speakers. My 45 year old vinyl discs such as Ziggy Stardust, and Brain Salad Surgery have a new lease of life, and newly purchased albums such as Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, all sound amazing – I’m a very happy vinyl junky again 🙂