Well not really. What is happening is that I’ve rediscovered my love of vinyl. While doing some Christmas shopping last December I stumbled into Planet of Sound on Bank Street looking at headphones. Listened to a pair and of course fell in love with them. Grado makes a fantastic mid-range set of cans in the Grado SR325is. Some day they will come home.
While in the store, the nice clerk MADE me listen to a pair of speakers just for the heck of it. Source material was a great Jazz LP by Art Pepper and a mandatory listening to the 180 gram release on LP of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I was immediately struck by how warm and full the sound felt as it came out of this great system. Brought me back a good 20 years to when I used to hit The Record Runner on a bi-weekly basis to walk my way through all those record bins. This moment of nostalgia was not fleeting, I thought about it quite a bit over the next few weeks. Then while out hitting a thrift store with a friend the flame blew a bit stronger. Jeff was perusing the vinyl in the store looking for Christmas albums and odd ball artwork. At this point I decided it was time to jump back in. The allure of large format media, liner notes, double LPs and even flipping a record to the B-side was just too strong to ignore.
So what does one do when a bug bites? One starts to look into things quite seriously. First up we’ll need a turntable of course, since we’ve not had one in the house for quite a while. An appeal to some Facebook friends got us a loaner of a beautiful Systemdek IIX from Greg and Abigail. This table is a work of art with a fully suspended platter and tone-arm assembly.
The table did need a new cartridge and once that was installed and connected to the big stereo in the basement we could start listening to the sweet sweet vinyl sound of our youth. This turntable will eventually be replaced with a Pro-Ject Debut III.
Of course, now we needed some source material. It was now time to find out what record stores still exist in Ottawa. An internet search revealed several candidates. So Jeff and I planned a little shopping expedition. The first trip out got us to:
- The Turning Point – I’d been here before when last I worked in the downtown core. Got a few good albums all for around $7 each.
- Birdman Sound – Only found one record, but it was a rare bird that I haven’t had in the collection for a long time.
- The Record Shaap – turned out to be closed.
- Planet of Sound – They’ve got themselves a nice record section of new vinyl. They contributed a 180gm pressing of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, probably my all time favourite Jazz album
That first shopping trip netted me 5 new albums in all. But we knew there were a couple more places to check out. A second trip was planned to hit the Record Centre. Now this place is a gem. Lots of new stock, old stock, sealed items etc… Ended up buying 2 more albums here, with lots more to come I am sure.
Lastly, I turned to the internet to see what is going locally that might not be in stores. Stumbled onto www.discogs.com which is a great site if only for its reference database. While searching out some hard to find Windham Hill records that I used to own I hit on AndysWax. Local dude with 10,000 LPs listed for sale. Not only did he have the albums I was specifically looking for, but a couple more that I wanted. So in goes the order. A couple of email chats later and we’d discussed payment and delivery. Very prompt response and great product as advertised. I’m sure Andy will get more of my money of the next few years.
Here are the four they I received from Andy:
Obviously all my old milk crates were sold with all the old albums almost 20 years ago. So what to do about storing the new collection? Ikea to the rescue. They have a line of storage products called Expedit that have spaces perfectly designed to store a 12×12 inch LP. Fifty bucks plus taxes later and we have:
Stay tuned as we continue down this journey and explore what was once a true pleasure in searching out music.