• Ben Lewis-Smith

Listening in lockdown: the joy of vinyl

In my brief moments away from virtual music making, I have found a great joy in rediscovering my vinyl record collection. I've dusted off the amp, rebalanced the tone arm (sort of) and fired up my Rega RP6 The act of removing the record from its dust sleeve, perusing the blurb, firing up the amplifier and gently placing the needle in the groove has been a great pleasure. With music on tap, through streaming sites, the listening experience is dampened and our digital soundscape becomes background noise. There is a certain charm in how the record needle transmits the undulations within the groove through the tone arm through the phono stage and amplifier to the speakers and to the listener. The fact that every part of the listening experience is visible (or at least conceivable) brings the music alive in a way that no digital storage system ever can do. Unrefined analogue joy!

"A record's groove – and there is generally just one that spirals gently to the centre of the disc – is tiny, usually around 0.04-0.08mm wide (depending on the level of the signal). If you were to unravel it, the groove on a 12-inch LP would extend to a length of about 500 metres."

(What Hifi)

Regrettably a number of my beautiful 1950s Decca recordings have been misplaced (thrown away) due to house move and no storage space in which to keep them - if I ever hit the big bucks I will certainly have a climate controlled vinyl room (obviously) and an underground wine cellar (naturally). Playing in the below video is Buena Vista Social Club, a repressing, on 180 gram vinyl purported to have better acoustic properties. For a great article here on the workings of Vinyl Records

Kit list:

Rega RP6 turntable

Rega Io amplifier

Mordaunt-Short Mezzo speakers

All UK made.

All very best wishes,


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