by James Rada, Jr., photography by Phil Grout
Ask a teenager today what a record is and they’ll probably tell you that it’s something that athletes who are the best at their sports have. So they might get a bit confused if you show them a round piece of vinyl and tell them it’s a way to listen to music.
In an age where music is increasingly nothing more than small audio file on a computer, the sound of recorded performances on vinyl is nearly forgotten.
Whirled Records and Off the Record in Hanover seek to change that. These music stores sell new and used vinyl records, in all their sizes, as well as the turntables and accessories needed to play them. You can even find a good selection of used CDs.
“There has been a resurgence in vinyl records over the past five years,” said Jay Rhine, one of the owners of Whirled Records. “Some people prefer the sound. Others like the physical experience of a record with the cover art, liner notes, and lyric sheets.”
He says that LPs with their collection of songs portray a snapshot of the artists at that time in their careers.
However, vinyl records were the main form of music distribution throughout the 20th century and into the 1980s. Then they began to be replaced by cassette tapes, which were, in turn, replaced by compact discs. In the 21st century, digital downloads have been gaining ground on CDs.
Many people feel that vinyl records have a better sound.
Michelle Mills with Off the Record said, “Music on vinyl has a deeper, richer sound. There’s more dimension to it.”
Although vinyl records now make up only a tiny portion of overall music sales, the numbers are growing.
“Most new releases are also coming out on vinyl,”
These new releases are made on a heavier vinyl that improves sound quality and also come with some innovative packaging and gimmicks. One artist had a hologram in the center of his LP where no songs are recorded. When the record played, the angel appeared to be waving its hands up and down. Another LP was layered in 24K gold.
While many of the customers looking for vinyl records are looking for new releases, a sizable portion of the customer base are people looking for rare pressings of albums or experiencing the nostalgia or records from when they were younger.
“Vinyl records take people back in time and in memory,” Rhine said.
Mills said that there is a huge market that is looking for vinyl records for a sense of nostalgia.
Currently, the major market for vinyl records is the LP played at 33 1/3 rpm. This also makes up the bulk of the stock at Whirled Records and Off the Record.
Speed Vinyl records are played at one of three speeds: 78 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm, and 45 rpm. The 45 rpm record typically had two songs, one on each side. The other two record speeds contained multiple songs that could be played on both sides.
Album Cover The records were typically stored in paper sleeves that were then inserted in cardboard sleeves that often featured extravagant art on the outside.
Liner Notes Besides showing what songs the album contained, the back of the album covers had information about the artists and other notes about songs or inspiration for the album. This liner notes could also be found on the inside album line.