March Vinyl Acquisitions

I actually made it a month without buying any records!  Of course, I was recovering from illness and working through the 2,000 records I bought in January, plus it was the shortest month of the year, and I had a couple business trips (photos from one coming soon!), but the fact remains I didn’t buy any vinyl in February.  I had worked down the January acquisitions to less than 100 records to process, which included clearing one of my two shelves of about 150 records that were “in queue” to be listened to as well.  So overall, a good month for working through my acquisitions, and I felt like I had reclaimed much of my available space in the man cave.

I made up for it in the last 8 days, buying about 825 records, of which about 75 are “junk”. Of the 750 I like, about 475 are mostly Motown and soul, and the other 275 are classic rock.  They’re currently sitting in 9 crates and boxes, so all of that available space I created in February is about gone.

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9 boxes of vinyl remaining after sorting out the “junk”…

The group of classic rock is fairly spectacular in my opinion.    It came after the Motown collection, and Mrs. Outspoken’s response after I received the call about the collection was “Really?   You have all these albums yet to clean and listen to, and you’re buying more?!?!”

Yep.  I gotta buy when the opportunity arises.  I went 7 weeks or so with nothing, so buying 2 collections in a little over a week might seem a little over the top, but both were great deals at under $1 per album.

So what makes the collection of rock so great?  How about 4 Zeppelin, 4 Pink Floyd, 4 David Bowie, 4 Allman Brothers, 3 Beatles, and 20 Bob Dylan for starters?    Other artists with multiple albums include Van Morrison, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Steeley Dan, Springsteen, Foreigner, Rush, Yes, Kansas, CCR, ELP, Grand Funk, Heart, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Jackson Browne, the Cars, and Aerosmith.  It’s basically a compendium of 70’s and 80’s radio rock music, including some of the softer folk-ish tunes, with none of the pop-disco stuff.

Then there’s some oddball stuff too – stuff I just don’t see. The Butterfield Blues Band, Steve Hackett, Kate Bush, Patti Smith,  Nektar, and some Christian praise stuff by 2nd Book of Acts and Phil Keaggy.  Honestly, I could probably enjoy listening to about 80% of this collection, and if it comprised my entire collection, it would represent probably 60% of what I’d want to have.  Basically, the guy who assembled this collection and I had similar tastes.  🙂

One of my favorite finds so far has been an album from The Monroes.  It’s an EP, only 5 songs, and it was their only album.  I really enjoy it.  Definitely and 80’s sound, but 80’s guitar, not the electronic stuff.

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It was missing a lot of Beatles (but hey, it has Abbey Road), Hendrix, and some of the psychedelic stuff I like, but overall, it’s a great collection in my opinion.   I’m sure I’ll find enough titles to cover my costs, but I think I’ll be keeping a much higher percentage of this collection than normal.

Both of these collections came through my previous contacts; the albums are finding me at times!  It’s also part of why i got the deal I did on them.  I’ve treated the sellers fairly, and they’re active collectors, so I was in a way helping each of them move a large quantity of records quickly.    I also agree to buy them all, and don’t get into cherry picking the collection  or nit-picking on the condition of certain albums.

The way you treat people is important in life and business.  Over the course of my career, I’ve always been focused on process improvement; how to find ways to do “it” better.  It hasn’t really mattered what “it” is, as the basic problem solving methodology of Lean works anywhere (at least I’ve yet to find an application where it doesn’t).  While some people call me an efficiency expert, I look at it more as improving the overall performance of the teams and systems of an organization.    We change the system to change the result, and coach the people through the systemic changes.  But it’s about more than results; for the changes to stick, it’s also about behaviors.

As we change the behaviors and systems to produce different results, we start changing beliefs within the organization.  What happens when the shared beliefs of an organization change?  One, we change the future of that organization.  Two, we have created a culture change.

How’s all this tie into me buying arguably too much vinyl?  Honestly, I wasn’t sure at first.  But for one, I buy with no fear of spending too much, because I have a several year track record of all my hobbies actually producing money.  I have the tax returns to prove it.  🙂 Plus, I’m spending cash that has come from the hobbies.

Therefore, I believe, as does Mrs. Outspoken – even if not as completely as me – that I’m not being irresponsible or delaying our objectives, because in the end I actually contribute towards those shared  objectives from my hobbies.   And I believe I’ve done so buy dealing appropriately with others, and the evidence of that is the number of opportunities that tend to find me.

Second, since there was so much David Bowie in the one collection, would be this album:

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A line from the song Changes is perhaps the foundation of the best inspiration I can think to provide today:

“These children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through.”

No matter what it is you’re trying to do or achieve, there are often people who will try to hold you back, make you feel like it’s too hard, not worth it, or even impossible.  Don’t listen to them.  Act responsibly and with intention, treat people with dignity and respect,  but be courageous at the same time.   You can’t do what everyone else thinks you should do and still achieve the greatness that is within you.

Great things aren’t done by being average.

 

 

Comparing CD’s to vinyl

Since I now have a handful of releases which I own both the LP and the CD, and the new Dual 508 has me hooked on listening to music, I decided to see for myself if I could tell a difference in the sound of the music.

This isn’t scientific, but listening to music is more about how it makes you feel, right?   So here’s the method i decided upon after some messing around:  I’ll play a track or a significant part of a track on one medium, then play the same on the other.  I’ll try to describe any differences I hear, mostly subjectively since I’m not breaking out any measuring equipment to do this comparison.

I started with the Escape Club – Wild, Wild, West.   Unfortunately, I lost my notes, so I went back and re-listened to a few songs.  The audio level is a few decibels higher on the CD, so I make sure I adjust the volume when I switch sources.

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On Wild, Wild, West, the bass is significantly stronger on the LP, and overall the sound is cleaner sounding.  It sounds more like our band playing than a recording.   The guitar and vocals are more balanced, and the sound just fills the room better.  Walking Through Walls is a closer call, but there is definitely a larger presence to the sound of the vinyl; it is less directional and harder to pinpoint the sound coming from the speakers, even with identical setting on the amp other than volume level, which seems to be 6 dB lower output on the vinyl.  Love the sound of the LP on this one.

Led Zeppelin IV

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On Black Dog, the cymbals on the CD sound very harsh, and almost outside the mix, like they were added in later.  The guitars are a little more present and integrated on the vinyl, and I was expecting the hear  that the vocals sounded more buried on the vinyl, but in reality they sound more focused, and also more like part of the sound instead of vocal on top of the instruments.  Finally, there’s a slight ringing noise – almost a liveliness –  to the vocals and guitars on the vinyl that just doesn’t come through on the  CD.

Rock And Roll was similar, but worse for the CD.  It sounded so compressed I just didn’t want to listen to it after listening to the vinyl track.  However, I would give the nod to the CD on the first half of Stairway to Heaven for overall sound quality.  But, I didn’t find myself settling into the music, and once the drums came in around the four minute mark that slightly harsh feeling was there again.  And the final guitar solo was not as much a part of the music on the CD either.

Led Zeppelin IV – vinyl wins.

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Next up was Bon Jovi: New Jersey.  On the opening track Lay Your Hands on Me, the CD did a better job of allowing the guitar to cut through, but the vinyl actually filled the room better by making better use of the stereo imaging.  On Bad Medicine, the drums hit harder on the CD, but the vocals and guitar riffs were much smoother and fuller sounding on the vinyl.  Adjusting for input level variances, at the same listening volume the CD just sounds harsher, colder, and more “noise-like” than musical.

Bon Jovi New Jersey – Vinyl wins – but the CD is still very good.

I figured this was how it was going to be – CD is cleaner,but vinyl just sounds warmer, smoother, and “better”.  Billy Joel 52nd Street followed the same results as the previous 3 albums.

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Then I started listening to some of the Beatles albums.

Rubber Soul was the first.  Other than some of the tracks being different, which came a a huge surprise to me, this was almost a toss-up.  The CD was as good or better than the vinyl on most songs, but on a few the vinyl was clearly different and maybe slightly more appealing.  But songs like Norweigan Wood and Michelle were clearly better on CD.  Throw in Drive My Car and Nowhere Man on the CD which are absent from the LP, and CD wins this one.

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Then it was on to Yellow Submarine.  Same thing – the CD was as good or better on most songs, but Hey Bulldog was so much better on the CD.  The LP was almost lifeless on this song, and the instruments were buried – no bite at all to the guitar.   No pun intended.  CD wins again.

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Thankfully, Abbey Road was more of a pleasant surprise.  In fact, other than the crackling noise of the worn LP, I found the CD and LP to be very similar aside from the 6 or so dB difference in output.  The bass was a little better as well on the CD.  In fact, I think I’ll put the CD in my car.  Slight nod to the CD.

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I wrapped up the session with The Little River Band’s Greatest Hits.   This time it was back to the previous experiences of the vinyl being a little more integrated and warmer.

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Maybe the vinyl mastering just got much better in the 1970’s and 80’s, or maybe the Beatles LP’s are just pretty worn from years of use, but on everything after 1970 or so I preferred vinyl.  And it may have something to do with the CD mastering as well.  Maybe the Beatles CD’s are more critically mastered than others.

Whatever the reason, I know I’ll tend to favor the Vinyl  versions if I can, and I think a clean LP is a good benchmark to evaluate the quality of CD’s.  Now off to find The Dan Reed Network and The Nylons on vinyl….