A Little Lo-Fi Fun


Too Many Notes
Apr 26, 2012
Ever since I was in college in the...erm...well, you know, 1969 was a lot of fun for example...I've been a high fidelity enthusiast. But before that, I was just like other young folks my age with a mono lo-fi record player for listening to music.

Over the years my hi-fi rig got more complicated and high end, until I got into putting together a studio 27 years ago. At that point I combined the high fidelity experience with the recording experience, and I've always concentrated on listening to and creating music at the highest possible fidelity level. The high fidelity equipment was transferred to my studio, and gradually replaced with other studio stuff as the state of the art changed.

I'll admit that I wouldn't consider listening to music on lo-fi equipment. Car stereos were bad enough! Fast forward to this past December.

My son came in for a visit, and wanted to play some music in the den, where I don't have any hi fi equipment. He pulled this tiny Bose speaker out of his bag, and while it was not hi-fi, it wasn't bad listening to music on this thing. Instead of concentrating as I usually do on the audio quality, I just concentrated on the tunes. And it was kind of fun! I wound up getting one myself, and I use it a lot when I'm not in the studio.

About 15 years ago, I realized I wasn't using my turntable any more. I had a lot of records I'd maintained like a maniac, and a very fancy turntable with an SME tone arm and expensive cartridge; my brother wanted the turntable, so I traded it to him. I kept my records until about two years ago, when my son in LA told me he wanted some of my old records because he'd bought a turntable. So I sent him a bunch of the best import records and collector stuff I had. But I kept a few faves around for myself, too, just in case.

Yesterday, a father's day gift he sent me came. It's an old-fashioned, all-in-one record player with built-in speakers and a USB connection for ripping my vinyl. It's not in the least bit fancy, you can't even adjust the tracking weight on the tonearm. It's pretty lo-fi compared to my studio gear or my old hi fi rig.

But darned if it isn't a heck of a lot of fun to pull out the vinyl I hung onto and just listen to music without thinking about audio quality, the way I did as a kid! Since my record buying days ended by the mid-80s, it was especially fun to rediscover the stuff I didn't replace with CDs or later with Hi-Res digital files. Boz Scaggs! Rick Ocasek! The Bee Gees. And Arnold Schoenberg, because I'm that 12-tone guy, too.

Old-school? You bet. Fun.
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I still have all my vinyl. I gifted CDs for maybe half a dozen favourites.
Some years ago I converted them all to digital, which meant playing them all one more time. Now that they are convenient to listen to while travelling there are some favourites that are back in play: Robbie Robertson & Jackson Brown come to mind.
Back in 1969 I was knee deep in rice patties back in Nam. (Just kidding, I was sitting in front of that babysitter device known as a TV watching Batman and the space program.)
ANyhoo... The first actual vinyl record album I ever bought was Metallica's Death Magnetic at the same time I bought the CD. I don't have a record player and I'm not planning to get one but I just thought it would be cool to have the record. I haven't even broke the plastic wrap on it. The first music I ever bought was on cassette tape. (and not 8 track either). I don't have any intention of ever buying an MP3 either. I hope Neil Young's high definition audio invention takes off. Right now I only buy CDs.
I have a crappy sounding Crosley all-in-one-old-timey-lookin' music console that I occasionally listen to records on.

I lost most of my record collection (besides the stuff I've been involved with or produced) through a series of moves, girlfriends, and sneaky roommates.... When I put on the records I've mixed my heart sinks a little, thinking "What was I thinking? This sounds like crap!" Then I put on my pink vinyl dub plate of Black Eyed Peas "My Lumps" that permanently lives on the platter and think "I guess it is all about the song, and very little about the sonics".

Glad you're able to disconnect and just enjoy the tunes, it's hard to do when you listen to music all day every day.
I have an Ion turntable that is supposed to make digitizing easy, but only if you like Windows... I gave up on it almost 10 years ago.

I suppose I'll have to do it the real way at some point and use my real turntable into the Mac.

You have a very nice son! I am glad he appreciates you.

Now - Excuse me - I have to into the garage and dig out my turntable (still in a moving box from last move in 1996) and some old Dave Mason records.

You have a very nice son! I am glad he appreciates you.

Now - Excuse me - I have to into the garage and dig out my turntable (still in a moving box from last move in 1996) and some old Dave Mason records.

My favorite iteration of Traffic was the one with Dave Mason.