Monday 30 December 2013

Vinyl Philosophy Page on Facebook

Feel free to visit the Vinyl Philosophy Page on Facebook, leave a comment, click on like, share a post, have fun...

Direct link here: or just click on the picture above.

Friday 27 December 2013

Close Up of a Needle in the Groove

I'm not sure who took this amazing photo, but someone shared it on Facebook and I thought to share it here as well simply because it's a wonderful pic. If you took this please let me know so that I can credit you for it!

Conor Oberst Vinyl Quote

Saturday 14 December 2013

Vinyl Feature: Diana Ross and the Supremes - Greatest Hits

Released in 1967 this album contained a collection of Diana Ross and the Supremes A and B side hits, and was the first LP to name the group under the new title of Diana Ross and the Supremes. It became their second number one album and it would be years before another female group would achieve the same.

Friday 6 December 2013

Hamba Kahle Tata Madiba

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Phonograph Answering Machine using Vinyl Discs

This Peatrophone phonograph answering machine from 1953 directly recorded telephone messages to a blank disc and could store 140 messages, each limited to 23 seconds of recording time... however the catch was that the recording was permanent. Yes, that would be permanent. Forever and ever. No recording over the old messages! A brand new disk was required every single time the old disc was full of messages. Haha! Anyhow it was the only answering machine available at the time and apparently it worked.

These pictures are from the Popular Science magazine of May 1953.

Well that was one use of vinyl recording that I didn't know about before! ;-)

Industry standards: Technics SL-1200

On the Resident Advisor website is a wonderful article written by Jordan Rothlein about the legendary Technics SL-1200 that was a firm DJ favourite for many years and continues to be used today. Head on down to read it by clicking on the link provided further down this page. 

From their website:

In the first of a new six-part series, RA's Jordan Rothlein looks at why a gimmick-free turntable from the '70s became the most important piece of DJ gear in history. 

There's some gear DJs expect to see in every club they walk into. Our new series Industry Standards will look at the history, technology and personalities behind these classics of the craft. Once a month for the next six months, we'll grab one item out of the booth, scratch through the front panel and see what we find. Along the way, we'll introduce you to the folks who made them, and pick the brains of those who use them week in and week out.

What we'd tackle in our first edition was a no-brainer. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more ubiquitous presence in the DJ world than the Technics SL-1200 MK2, the deck that started it all.

CLICK HERE to Read More

Friday 29 November 2013

Vinyl Feature: The Best Of Nat King Cole

A beautiful compilation album released in 1968 by the man who put the oo into smooth! It was recorded on the Capitol Records label and on the front cover it says that it is playable on both stereo and mono phonographs, which is very reassuring to know! Hehe!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Vinyl LP Cover Art - from the great to the downright awful

A favourite among many vinyl adherents has always been the incredible art displayed on the outside of the cover containing the grooved black vinyl medium of audio purity we love so much. Despite our obsession with the music inside the protective cardboard cover we have always had a love affair with the outer creativity that was advertising the wares within. Not all of it was good of course, and I will add a few really awful ones at the end just for fun.

First up a few that are recognizable by just about everybody that has breathed in the last 50 years.

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon

Saturday 16 November 2013

Vinyl record renaissance: Wax makes a comeback

Vinyl record renaissance: Wax makes a comeback: People who gave away their record players and record collections years ago may be regretting it now. A vinyl record renaissance is underway, thanks to a new generation of music fans who prefer vinyl. In fact, young people are fueling a 33-percent jump in sales so far this year.  As Nancy Loo reports, in tonight’s Cover Story, it’s keeping some local record stores alive.

“This might be my favorite album of theirs”  says 14 year old Brian Johnson as he pulls a Led Zeppelin record out of a milk crate.  It may be an old music format, but among those pushing high fidelity to a new high are high schoolers.  “Records, I think the way they sound and how imperfect they are, almost gives them a sense of being and like, what’s the word, it gives them a lot more character.” This new wave of music appreciation among teenagers and college kids has helped to keep stores like Val’s Halla in Oak Park in business.  And the owner of Val’s Halla, Val Camilletti, says that’s not spin. “Vinyl’s very hot.”  Val almost packed her business in last year.  She’s thrilled that kids have turned the tables. “They buy music with the same kind of passion that their parents and grandparents bought the music from me.”

Read more and watch the video:

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Vinyl Feature: The Best Of Peter, Paul and Mary

I haven't had an album featured on Vinyl Philosophy so far that has so little information available about it on-line. While there is lots of info available about all of Peter, Paul and Mary's other albums, this particular one seems a little lacking in information.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Things to do with old Vinyl Records # 7 - Handbags!

Fancy your very own designer handbag with a cool music theme? Well here is your answer, LP handbags! Just remember not to use good records for this or you will break my heart, just use the really warped or scratch damaged ones that are not playable any more. Thanks!

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Monday 4 November 2013

Vinyl Feature: Les Paul and Mary Ford - Hits of Les and Mary

Les Paul and Mary Ford were a husband and wife hit singing duo during the fifties who sold over six million records. This album was a collection of hits and was released in 1960 under the Capitol Records label as a "mono high fidelity" LP that the producers said could be played on both mono and stereo equipment and they further promised on the back cover that "It cannot become obsolete."! Little did they know what a roller coaster vinyl records would embark on, becoming "obsolete" when CD's were introduced and then staging a strong comeback several years later.

Monday 28 October 2013

It is possible to live in harmony with your environment!

I grew up in the sixties and seventies when we had high ideals about improving the planet through love, peace and harmony with nature and our fellow human beings. Sadly many of those ideals were lost along the way as the eighties and the realities of earning a living set in. Once in a while it's great to hear about people who never lost those ideals and who decided to forge ahead despite the odds. Here is one such story, and it makes me want to go out there and start a small farm myself! I guess I'm just a hippy at heart! :-)

"Growing your own food is a dangerous act because you're in danger of becoming free."
- Jules Dervaes

You can see the "Path to Freedom" website by CLICKING HERE.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Top Ten Crazy Turntable Designs! (yes, but can they play records?)

There are some crazy turntable designs out there to suit every crazy taste under the sun. So if you are not happy with your old traditional boring looking player here are some examples that may tickle your fancy instead.

VPI HR-X turntable

Thursday 24 October 2013

Wood Glue method for Cleaning Vinyl Records

I have never tried this myself, but from what I have heard it works really well for very dirty records that have deeply embedded dirt that can't come out with regular cleaning. I would test it first on a record you don't mind potentially ruining, but my logic dictates that it should be ok as long as you follow the simple instructions given here.

Monday 21 October 2013

How to Set-Up Your Pro-Ject Turntable

Vinyl in the News: Back in the groove: Daft Punk and Arctic Monkeys send vinyl LP sales rocketing by 100 per cent

Back in the groove: Daft Punk and Arctic Monkeys send vinyl LP sales rocketing by 100 per cent

Bands help push the popularity of the revived format to renewed heights this year

Daft Punk helped push annual sales of vinyl LPs over the half a million mark for the first time in more than a decade, according to an analysis by industry body BPI.

Releases by the French dance duo as well as Arctic Monkeys and David Bowie have helped push the popularity of the revived format to renewed heights this year.

Almost 550,000 LPs have been bought by music fans so far in 2013, already giving vinyl its most successful year since 2003. 

Read the rest of this news article on  The Independent's website by CLICKING HERE!

Friday 18 October 2013

Focus on Equipment: the Rega RP1 Turntable

Refoaming a pair of Snell E3 speakers (it's easier than you think)

When buying a second hand pair of speakers that are older than 10 - 20 years it is always a good idea to check them carefully for foam rot. Over time the foam surrounding the speaker cone can get perished and quite literally fall apart. The sound quality will be severely degraded when the foam is a gonner and especially the bass will be affected badly, and if left unattended you will eventually cause permanent damage to your drivers which will potentially be very expensive to replace.

Look at these examples of speaker rot I found online:


It's a very common problem but fortunately it is also very easy to remedy. For those who feel they cannot take on a DIY project like this most hi fi repair shops can do this repair fairly easily and at a reasonable cost. For those of us with some basic DIY skills repairing our own speakers is a piece of cake and much cheaper than having someone else doing the refoaming it for us.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Vinyl Feature: Don McLean - Homeless Brother

Front of cover

Released in October 1978 by folk singer Don Mclean Homeless Brother was the fifth of twenty albums spanning a career of more than forty years. This was not his most commercially successful album only making it to 120th place on the US Billboard 200 at the time, however it is pure Don Mclean at his absolute best with the great folk style and fantastic vocals that he is known for.

The quality of the recording and the vinyl pressing is outstanding as well and sounds so real it's almost as if he is sitting in the room and performing for us personally. Very engaging!

How To Setup A Turntable

The vinyl revival: Sales of LP records double in 12 months

Sales of LP records double in 12 months to reach 550,000 thanks to releases by artists including Arctic Monkeys

Vinyl sales have doubled in the past year, with record industry body BPI is predicting that more than 700,000 will be sold by Christmas.

- Vinyl record sales have doubled thanks to famous names releasing LPs
- Around 550,000 have been bought so far in 2012 and could exceed 700,000

Sales of vinyl LP records have doubled in the last 12 months to their highest level for a decade.
Around 550,000 have been bought so far and the record industry body BPI is predicting that more than 700,000 will be sold by Christmas.
An online poll of 1,700 vinyl buyers found that 86 per cent of them said it was their favourite music format. A third of today’s LP fans are aged under 35.

Full Story:

17 October 2013

Don McLean on TV-am - 1984

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Things to do with old Vinyl Records # 6 - Art!

Possibly the most difficult of the lot in technical and creative terms. Could be fun to try though, so let me know what you have done and send pics of course!

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Vinyl Feature: Smokie - Greatest Hits

Released in April 1977 the album "Greatest Hits" by the band Smokie contained all 10 of their singles up to that time spanning their (then) 12 year career. They went on to be one of the longest surviving bands from that era and still exist today, although only one of the original band members is still with Smokie.

Their first ever hit was "If You Think You Know How To Love Me", they had 13 top twenty hits during the 1970's, and went on to sell over 30 million LP's and CDs. To date their mega hit song "Living Next Door To Alice" has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

Front of Cover

Chris De Burge Canadian TV Interview 1987

Saturday 12 October 2013

Vinyl Feature: The Beatles - The Red and Blue Albums

The Red Album front cover

Today I am featuring two double albums together simply because they belong together having being released on the same day as complementary collections of The Beatles "A-side" singles hits spanning their career together. Despite having singles hits with cover versions this series only included songs composed by the Beatles themselves.

The first album is titled "The Beatles 1962-1966" but came to be commonly known as "The Red Album", and the second album "The Beatles 1967-1970" which came to be known as "The Blue Album". They were released together on the 2nd of April 1973 and I think it is still one of the best compilations of Beatles songs ever created.

Thursday 10 October 2013

In conversation with Shawn Phillips

Recreate the Disco Era! - How-to make a Disco Ball

Got all that old disco music and want to throw a great disco theme party? Well you will need to get the mood right and this easy DIY disco ball would be just the right thing to help you get your boogie down:

Don't have any disco music to have a disco party? No problem, Amazon have a brilliant 5 cd collection of classic disco music that will keep you jiving for hours! Click on the link below and have it delivered to you in super quick time:

Audio Note Factory Tour in the heart of the factory

A brief and informal look inside the Audio Note factory.

Things to do with old Vinyl Records # 5 - Lamps!

These look like they require a higher level of skill than some of the other examples, but I think with a bit of determination they should be doable.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Vinyl Feature: Simon and Garfunkel - The Concert in Central Park

Back in 1982 I was in my final year of high school in my home town of Pretoria South Africa and had a drivers licence, a very laid back attitude towards life in general and towards studying for my final exams in particular. The year before Simon and Garfunkel had performed a free benefit concert in Central Park New York and I was eagerly awaiting the live album that had been promised by the media. When I finally purchased it sometime in 1982 it instantly became a firm favourite and would be played on many long hazy evenings together with friends in mostly very smoke laden environments with the smell of stale beer providing a special ambiance. It remained at the top of the playlist for several years until it was stolen along with my entire record collection one fateful night. (You can read about that by clicking here.)

Front Cover

Monday 7 October 2013

One Love - Song Around LA - Playing For Change

I think Bob Marley would approve!

Turnaround - A Vinyl Records Documentary

Vinyl Feature: Barbra Streisand - The Barbra Streisand Album

Released in 1963 this was Barbra Streisand's debut album when she was a mere twenty years old and was just the first album in a long and very successful recording career that spanned almost 50 years! She is quite a raw young talent here with some rough edges but all the potential for being one of the great female voices of her generation. She matured over the years and, in my opinion at least, became one of the all time greats.

Despite being quite new to the game Barbra Streisand had great success on her first recording venture and The Barbra Streisand Album went on to peak at number 8 on the US Billboard pop albums chart, and was certified a gold album by the RIAA.

The Barbra Streisand Album - front cover

Thursday 3 October 2013

Guest Post: "Acrylic Flexy Rack" by Arnold Cruz from his blog "The road to nirvana"

I recently looked into upgrading my shelving for my hifi setup and in my searches I came across what looked like a very good looking and practical shelving system called the Flexy Shelf (or Table) and had it in the back of my mind to build one and post my results here on Vinyl Philosophy. As it turned out I went with the wall mounted shelves instead, mainly because I already had almost everything I needed lying around at home.

Despite this I still wanted to do one and continued to look at other peoples attempts to plan my way forward. In my searchings I came across a particularly nice looking example on the website of Arnold Cruz at The road to nirvana and then proceeded to ask him if I could repost his Flexy Shelf post right here on Vinyl Philosophy so that more people could benefit from what I think is one of the prettiest Flexy Shelves out there. So with his permission here it is:


Acrylic Flexy Rack

An article on the online site TNT Audio inspired me to try working on a version that suits my personal preferences. The original article calls for MDF shelves, but I decided to go a notch higher by using Acrylic (or sometimes called Plexiglass).

My first version was based on the layout and measurements of the original article and looked like this:

the doors interviews 1968 (HQ)

Wednesday 2 October 2013

How to Build a Speaker

Vinyl Feature: Diana Ross & the Supremes - Greatest Hits

Front of Gatefold Cover

When it was released under the Motown label in 1967 this signature album of Diana Ross and the Supremes topped the charts worldwide reaching number one in the USA on the U.S. Billboard 200 as well as the U.S. Billboard R&B Albums Chart and peaked at number one spot on the UK Albums Chart. Ten of the songs on this album were number one hit singles and the album sold a total of about six million copies making it one of the most successful albums by an all female group in history!

Tuesday 1 October 2013

NBC’s Kate Snow reports: Big artists embracing vinyl!

                                              Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

LOVE - Black Beauty - Vinyl Album for sale

Arthur Lee’s legendary band LOVE's first-ever official release of their album Black Beauty is available on vinyl from Amazon. Not cheap, but certainly a worthwhile buy for fans of LOVE or just 70's rock in general.

The link below will take you straight to Amazon's page where you will be able to purchase it for yourself:

I am not sure how long they will have stock of this gem so if you want it you better order it right away. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Neil Young - rare 1985 NZ interview

Interviewer: What do you personally think that people like about your music?
Neil Young: I haven't got the faintest idea… 

Music is what feelings sound like - Wallpaper

Monday 30 September 2013

My 7 Simple Tips to improve your Listening Experience

While most of us dream of having the space for a separate listening room just for our music listening pleasure the reality of the matter is normally somewhat less dreamy. The fact is most of our sound systems are located in the lounge areas of our homes and this area normally also serves as a tv watching room, family congregation room, games room, chill out room, reading room, etc.

Few of us will ever have the same high level listening room as this one that was custom built by ModWright Instruments on their premises:

...but we can dream can't we? ;-)

"Behind the scenes" at Abbey Road - Vinyl Cutting

Things to do with old Vinyl Records # 3 - Clocks!

In the third post in this series we continue to explore the possibilities of things to do with your old records once they are too scratched and otherwise damaged to be used as a viable source of music listening pleasure. We have all thrown away old damaged LP's, but I am highlighting here that at our vinyl's retirement age we could turn that old friend into something more practical and beautiful, and it is even good for the environment folks! Recycle, recycle, recycle... now we can tell our lefty friends that we have done our bit for the environment!

My personal favourite, clocks!

Sunday 29 September 2013

Vinyl Feature: Readers Digest - Great Original Hits Of The '50s And '60s

I just spent a large part of my Sunday slowly listening my way through the Readers Digest - Great Original Hits Of The '50s And '60s Collectors Edition box set which I picked up a short while ago at Erikshjälpen in Åkarp for the paltry sum of 50 SEK. It offers a great walk down memory lane with a well chosen selection of hits from the 50's and 60's (yes, like it says on the box, stop being picky...) and packaged in a good quality sturdy box containing 9 discs. My copy is in MINT condition and looks as if it may have been played once. Maybe.

Front of Box

Neil Young Vinyl Quote

Vinyl Collecting As A Hobby - Video

Leonard Cohen interviewed by Jools Holland on Later (BBC2) 1993

Saturday 28 September 2013

Why Analogue Refuses to Go Away

I am currently at home recovering from a hernia operation that I had last Monday, and because of this I have a lot of time on my hands right now to sit and listen to music, read and think on such things as the meaning of life, which is the tastiest breakfast cereal and why the analogue medium refuses to go away. When I say analogue I am not only referring to music, but the whole range of “old” stuff that was set to be replaced by it’s newer, more modern counterparts years ago and despite all odds stubbornly refuse to disappear and in some cases, like vinyl records, are actually staging a measurable comeback.

Over the last 49 years since I was born the world has changed radically and quite beyond belief. In South Africa during the sixties we didn't even have television and had to wait until 1976 before it was finally introduced to an eagerly waiting public. Before my father acquired the large wooden cased floor standing television set that graced our living room we would sit down to dinner every evening as a family, and have conversations about our day, what was happening at school or work or with the ailing neighbour down the street. It was a time that I still cherish to this day and for me those were some of the happiest times of my childhood. However, the day that the new television came into our house I distinctly remember my father sitting down at the table, dishing up a plate of food and then departing, food in hand, for the sitting room. We never ate our dinners at the dining room table again, except on special occasions, and the relationship that we had as a family was never quite the same again. Progress had come, but was it really progress at all?

Friday 27 September 2013

Foreigner (the band) Interview

Caring for your Vinyl Records

Having spent a great deal of money purchasing your precious vinyl record collection you will certainly want to make sure that you take good care of them. I will give you my own suggestions and tips gleaned from 40 years of hands on experience. Please keep in mind that these are merely my own recommendations and many other opinions exist (especially on internet forums) so just take this as a starting point and then figure out over time what works best for you.


When storing records it is important to ensure that the place you store them is cool and dry. Vinyl records do not react well to heat and will warp if left in direct sun for even a short period of time. I had a friend once that stored a number of records directly on a wooden floor that turned out to have damp issues and the rising damp caused the record covers to mould and in a few cases even caused the paper sleeves to stick to the vinyl itself. The general rule for me would be to only store records on good sturdy shelving, off the floor and away from any direct sunlight.

Also make sure that your records are placed vertically, and not stacked horizontally, to prevent having weight on them that can lead to warping or buckling. Vinyl weighs a lot more than you think!

Thursday 26 September 2013

Do you want to own the world's largest record collection?

Paul Mawhinney, who used to own a store called Record-Rama, started his record collection over 60 years ago and in 2008 decided, for various reasons, that he wanted to sell his massive collection, today valued at $53 000 000, for a mere $3 000 000. In his collection is the first flat record ever made from 1881, and countless more rare and collectable records. The whole shebang is stored in a climate controlled warehouse.

However, to date he has had only one offer which turned out to be a hoax. Here is a short documentary that was made when he first decided to sell the amazing collection:

If you want to buy the whole collection (or just bits of it) you can contact Paul via the details on Record Rama's website.

Elvis Presley interview - 31 March 1972

Things to do with old Vinyl Records # 2 - Bowls!

After posting about vinyl record tables that various creative people had made to convert old damaged vinyl records into something useful, I came across what must be the easiest thing to make from an old vinyl record. A simple bowl. I found a whole lot of them when searching online and because it looked quite easy I couldn't resist and had to do one myself! I documented it with my cell phone, so please excuse the photography, but it is good enough to get the idea.

First step was to find a junky old scratched up record, and I had one of those. Then I found a stainless steel bowl in the kitchen that would serve as my "mould":

This one seemed about the right size so I drew a dot in the middle to make it easier to line up the disc when I put it on top of the stainless steel bowl like this:

Katie Melua - Ketevan - available for pre-order on Vinyl!

Katie Melua's new album, Ketevan is available for pre-order from Amazon. Nice to see that it is available on vinyl as well as cd. The link below is to the page for the vinyl copy, but if you prefer buying cd's (or even mp3's) then it is simple to navigate to those pages as well.

Even though I live in Sweden it is still cheaper for me to purchase my new music from Amazon in the UK, and have it posted here, than it is to purchase it locally. All from the comfort of my office.

Things to do with old Vinyl Records # 1 - Tables!

At some point or the other we have all had records that were just simply too scratched or damaged in some way that prevented us from being able to play them. Mostly we just toss them out and hope to be able to purchase another copy some time soon to replace it, but in this series of posts I will look at how other people have reused their old vinyl in creative ways. I may even try out some of these myself!

First up, Vinyl record coffee and side tables:

If you come across any other creative ideas, send me the link and I'll look at possibly posting or incorporating them right here on Vinyl Philosophy.