05 Sep

Downloading vs Ripping MP3’s from Vinyl Records

As I’m sifting through news stories and articles looking for something to talk about, I keep coming across ads about LP to MP3 converters.

What the crap?

Isn’t the point of records to enjoy the high quality music? I understand that a lot of people have records, but don’t really care to listen to them. So they want them converted. But what I don’t understand, is that downloading music is supposed to be illegal, UNLESS YOU OWN IT!

If I own the vinyl record, It is not illegal to own the MP3.

But this is where it gets kind of weird. I have talked about ripping MP3’s from vinyl records before, but it could probably be done again. There are two ideas about ripping MP3’s from vinyl.

Do you own the content of the vinyl, or just the vinyl? That is the question.

Some say we bought the album, we own the music on it, and can copy it (for ourselves) as many times as we wish in any format we wish.

Others (mostly record companies and their lawyers) say that we only bought a piece of vinyl that just happened to have music on it. We own the vinyl, but not what is on it. If you want to have the music on CD, then you need to buy it on CD. If you want to have MP3’s to take with you, then you have to go and buy the MP3. Even if you already own it on one format.

I agree with the first idea, and I’m sure most people do. However, if you agree with the second point of view, I’d love to hear why. Because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Anyway, my point is that the Vinyl to MP3 industry is booming. These record players that convert vinyl are selling in high numbers. But why? If I can download it legally (because I own the vinyl), why would I want to buy something when I can just get it on U Torrent?

Anyway, whether you download it or rip it, you have still lost so much quality in the conversion process, that it’s almost pointless. I don’t like to listen to MP3’s on my big stereo. Small speakers are ok, but not the good stereo.

25 Aug

Billy Joel – An Innocent Man on Record Album

This is one of my albums by Billy Joel. As a pianist, I think that I’m supposed to love the song Piano Man more than anything else, but I don’t. I’m sick of hearing it by every hack pianist in the world.

An Innocent Man had some great songs, such as “Uptown Girl”, “The Longest Time” (which I think was played by every radio station at every hour during the entire 1980’s), and “Tell Her About It”.

This is a must have album for every record collection, and you can get An Innocent Man, or anything else by Billy Joel at Musicstack.

Billy Joel - An Innocent Man Vinyl LP

An Innocent Man was Billy Joel’s 9th album released in 1983. This album went 7X platinum, spent 111 weeks on the Billboard Top 200, and hit the #4 spot on the same list. That’s pretty impressive. It also had three #1 spots with “Tell Her About It” “The Longest Time” and “Leave a Tender Moment Alone”. Surprising to me is that “Uptown Girl” never hit #1. I thought it was one of the more popluar songs on the album, but it did go to #2.

Included in the track listing is an MP3 of Easy Money.

Track Listing:
Side One:

    • Easy Money

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      An Innocent Man
      The Longest Time
      This Night
      Tell Her About It
  • Side Two:

    • Uptown Girl
      Careless Talk
      Christie Lee
      Leave A Tender Moment Alone
      Keeping The Faith
  • I also have Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2, although I’m not sure I really care to talk about compilation albums here. I’ll have to think about that.

    11 Aug

    Men at Work – Business as Usual on Vinyl

    I love the 80’s. I really do. That’s when I grew up. I love most everything about them, especially the music. Although some of the pop music I could do without, I still think it was better than today.

    Men at Work is one of those iconic bands with their single “Down Under”. I’m not sure I know anyone who would change the station if that came on the radio. Of course, if you are lucky enough to own the vinyl (like me), you can listen to it anytime you like. If you don’t own the vinyl, you can buy Men At Work, and more at Musicstack.

    Men At Work - Business As Usual Vinyl Album Cover

    Released in 1982, Business As Usual spent 15 weeks at #1 on the US album charts. It also sold 6 million copies in America, and 15 million worldwide. It was knocked out of 1st place by none other than Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

    I consider Men At Work to be sort of a minimalist type of music. There is not a lot of instrumentation, and the arrangements are very sparse, yet it’s very melodic and easy to listen to.

    “Down Under” has become a patriotic song in Australia, and is named the 4th greatest Australian song of all time. It is also VH1’s 96th song on the 100 Greatest Songs of the Eighties.

    The track listing is as follows;
    Side One:

    • 1. Who Can It Be Now? – mp3

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      2. I Can See It In Your Eyes
      3. Down Under
      4. Underground
      5. Helpless Automation
  • Side Two:

    • 6. People Just Love To Play With Words
      7. Be Good Johnny
      8. Touching The Untouchables
      9. Catch A Star
      10. Down By The Sea
  • Re-Mastered Bonus Tracks:

    • 11. Crazy
      12. Underground (Live)
      13. Who Can It Be Now (Live)
      14. F-19
  • 10 Aug

    Vinyl Record Day is Coming Up

    Yes, there is a Vinyl Record Day. Why, you may ask? Well, simply put, to celebrate the record. Obvious, I know. According to the Vinyl Record Day website;

    The Preservation of the Cultural Influence, the Recordings and the Cover Art of the Vinyl Record

    Celebrating our Fondest Music with Friends and Family

    Promoting the Future of Vinyl

    Nationally Establish August 12th, the date Edison invented the phonograph in 1877, as Vinyl Record Day

    You can do a number of thing to celebrate Vinyl Record Day, on of which is to donate to the non-profit organization. They recommend that you gather with your friends, and play your favorite vinyl records. If you have a business, you can have a VR Day sale.

    Basically, enjoy the vinyl that you have. Listen to it and appreciate it. Although that is probably kind of stupid to say, because anymore, most people who have vinyl listen to it to appreciate it.

    30 Jul

    ZZ Top – Eliminator Record Album

    All right, time for some good hard rock.

    Eliminator by ZZ Top is now at Diamond status for sales. It’s not surprising as this album rocks. There are great songs such as ‘Gimme All Your Lovin” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs”. You can buy this album by ZZ Top at Musicstack.

    ZZ Top - Eliminator Vinyl Album Cover

    Eliminator is the 8th album by ZZ Top, and is #396 on Rolling Stones Greatest 500 Albums of All Time. Here is the track listing:

    Side A

    1. Gimme All Your Lovin’
    2. Got Me Under Pressure
    3. Sharp Dressed Man
    4. I Need You Tonight
    5. I Got the Six

    Side B

    1. Legs
    2. Thug
    3. TV Dinners
    4. Dirty Dog
    5. If I Could Only Flag Her Down
    6. Bad Girl

    Instead of an MP3 this post, I thought that I’d put up a video. So here is the video to ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin”;

    Can I just say that the 80’s rock.

    The car on the front of this album is actually Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals) 1933 Ford 3 window hot rod, as seen in the video above. Many of his cars are featured on album covers and in videos. Oh, and a little known fact, ZZ Top made a puppet music video for Sesame Street for the letter Z.

    28 Jul

    ION and Stanton Turntable with USB or iPod Dock

    I know that there are already turntables out there with USB ports, and other ways to transfer your vinyl to digital, but this actually has an iPod dock. Just drop your iPod on there and don’t worry about wires at all. Of course, it apparently only works with a 5th generation iPod or 2nd generation iPod Nano. Pretty stupid, maybe just getting one with the USB would be better. So you can see that below.

    A vinyl collector’s dream come true, a Turntable with Universal iPod Dock converts your vinyl records into digital, portable music. This USB turntable records directly to a fifth-generation iPod, a second generation iPod Nano, or to your home computer. A great gift for any music lover – including yourself. Built-in sync dock lets you transfer recordings to other iPod models through your computer. Recording software is included for archiving record to other MP3 players or CDs. Supports 33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. Professional features clean up tracks for the best possible sound. Adjustable anti-skate control for increased stereo balancing. Software analyzes your vinyl and automatically retrieves album, artist and song information (PC only). Connect to any home stereo with an AUX input for everyday use as a great turntable. Mac and PC compatible. iPod not included. Requires Windows XP or Vista to run on a PC; OS X 10.3.9 or higher to run on a Mac. Read more technical specifications.

    I know that there are vinyl purists out there who will say that these turntable are a sacrilege; that if you claim to be an audiophile, you should never use the digital format. Although I think that there are less of the absolute purists than ever. The fact is, I can’t carry my album with me, whether on trips, or to a friends house. Also, when I am working, I don’t like to be bothered, (which is why I don’t use Twitter) so I end up using my iTunes for my MP3’s rather than getting up every so often to change sides or albums. Not that I don’t like to do that, but not when I’m working. (Yes, I work from home, haha suckers).

    CASE PACK: Sold Individually DETAILS: li Ion USB turntable *Ideal for archiving your records to MP3 (and play them on any digital media player!) *Also features a line level output for connecting to your home stereo system (line-level RCA output with built-in preamp) *Revolutionary USB turntable allows you to convert your old vinyl collection directly to CD or MP3 with included recording software *Plug and play USB *no drivers needed *Supports the recording of 78 RPM records through the included software *Computer requirements: PC running Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP, Mac running OS9 or higher, one available USB1.1 port or higher, *Compatible with most standard operating system drivers *Includes dustcover (ADD) *Compatible with Windows Vista software *Silver UPC: 855960000573

    Also I have included the Stanton T.90. I haven’t actually used the Ion turntables, so I can’t guarantee their quality. However, Stanton is pretty good, so you would be safe with it, although it is a lot more money.

    23 Jul

    Coverdale Page on Vinyl Record

    About 15 years ago, this album came out. I still remember hearing it on the radio, as it got a lot of airplay. However, it took a long time to actually hear who it was. David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Deep Purple, and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Great combination. I think they really had something with this album. I always wondered why they never did anything more together. You can buy Coverdale Page on vinyl or CD at Musicstack.

    Coverdale Page Vinyl Album Cover

    David Coverdale almost sounds like Robert Plant on this album. I’ve heard him sound like that before, but it really seems to come through here.

    A lot of people think that this album is Zeppelin Light. I can see that, although others say that it is better than LZ’s “Walking Into Clarksdale”. I hate to categorize albums like that. I feel that if the artist is truly trying to create music, who are we to say it’s not good enough. After all, how can Jimmy Page help sounding like Led Zeppelin, he is Led Zeppelin.

    This song, “Shake My Tree” is the first cut of the album, and I love the sound of Page’s guitar. Coverdale starts singing like he has a throat full of sandpaper (which I am jealous of by the way) and then starts singing up in the stratosphere, and that is where I think he sounds like Plant.

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    Here is the track listing for Coverdale Page:
    Side One

    1. Shake My Tree
      Waiting on You
      Take Me For a Little While
      Pride and Joy
      Over Now
      Feeling Hot
  • Side Two

    1. Easy Does It
      Take a Look At Yourself
      Don’t Leave Me This Way
      Absolution Blues
      Whisper a Prayer For the Dying

    This copy I have is also an import from England. I don’t think that makes it very valuable, but hey, it’s an import.

  • 05 Jun

    Monetgiro Lusso Audiophile Turntable Costs more than a Lexus

    Yes, you read that right. This Montegiro Lusso Turntable does cost more than many new cars including the top luxury cars. Sounds crazy I know.
    Montegiro Lusso Turntable
    Doesn’t it look cool? But where are you going to put it. I mean, it’s chrome and black, except for our kitchen (stainless steel and black appliances) where else will this fit in, unless you have the ultramodern decor in your house.

    The Montegiro Lusso record player (calling it a record player sounds almost derogatory) is separated into three pieces to minimize any vibrations or motor noise. It is belt driven, and, get this, also has a second tonearm! Why? I don’t know. I guess it is for different sound depending on what you want or what you are listening to.

    The price for this starts at $47,000. Yes, you read that right, 47 with 3 zeros after it. I don’t know about you, I love good sound but $47K seems a little bit much to me.
    Montegiro Lusso Belt Driven Turntable MotorMontegiro Lusso Turntable Tone Arm

    21 May

    Vinyl, Cassette Tape, Recording and Engineering

    I saw an article in Tulsa Today News about records and basically the ‘revolution’ that is happening. There are some good pars that I will show here.

    “…but nothing sounds as good as a vinyl record. That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact. That’s why some records were cut direct-to-disk, bypassing analog tape with 1/8” track widths. By comparison, a cassette is just a little wider with four tracks on it, and those awful 8-track tapes had one-fourth of that track width.”

    If you don’t understand what he’s talking about above, here is some help.
    Cassette Tape Track Diagram
    The above picture shows the tape as you would look at it stretching from left to right. They put four tracks on that little thin piece of tape. Each track is just over 1/2 a millimeter! Not much room for information there.

    Of course, 8-tracks had even thinner tracks with even less room for information.

    “Studios used tube amps until the manufacturers sold them a bill of goods that transistors were the way to go. The studios then bought tube pre-amps to regain some of the lost quality. With CDs, they lopped off the highs and lows and were able to get more than twice the time on one disk. MP3s subtract even more signal.”

    We have talked about CD’s and MP3’s before enough.

    “…you have the car stereos with grossly disproportionate low frequencies that amount to scrotal massage – nothing at all like music is supposed to sound.”

    LOL. I love how he put that. I believe he is right though. I think we have been conditioned to think that we need a whole lot of bass in our music. Everything should be balanced, it’s why they mix and master the music before we get it.

    The article goes into the benefits that we have in digital recording, although it doesn’t sound as good, “You can alter the sounds into digital samples of other instruments, turn a wobbly drummer into a human clock and even make a tone-deaf banshee sing on pitch. In short, bad musicians can be made to sound almost talented. Is this a good idea?”

    No, I don’t think it is a good idea. If you like a band, then go to hear them live, aren’t you disappointed when the singer can’t really sing (Axl Rose)?

    More and more engineers are trying to stay away from crappy bands, and only working with those that have some talent and don’t need all the tricks to make them sound good. Also, more band are taking the hint and are writing and rehearsing all their songs prior to recording, instead of doing it in the recording studio.

    Let’s hope this leads to better music.

    15 May

    Billy Thorpe – Children of the Sun – A Vinyl Classic

    Yes, I own a vinyl copy of Billy Thorpe’s Children of the Sun. I love this song. It is still a radio staple, although not to the level that it once was.

    Billy Thorpe had big success in his native Australia, but here in the US, we really only know him for this one album, and not so much the album, but just the one song, Children of the Sun. I have listened to the album, but none of the songs, although good, really grab you. Children is just such a different song with such a different sound that it really stands out. Funny how they put it on the B side though.

    Billy Thorpe - Children of the Sun Album Cover

    Thorpe said about the song “Thanks to the engineering skills of Emmy award winner Larry, (Laurence) Brown and Spencer’s belief in me and the project and his absolute determination to get it right, the track turned into a sonic masterpiece that stuck out like dog’s balls on the radio. It became the night time “ear phone” track on hundreds of US radio stations and was used all over the USA as the demonstration recording in major hi fi shops.”

    Yes, the other songs are not that memorable, but Children of the Sun is awesome.
    Here it is in MP3 form (I hope you have Flash):

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    The track listing is as follows:
    Side One

    • Wrapped in Chains
    • Dream-Maker
    • Simple Life
    • Goddes of the Night

    Side Two

    • Children of the Sun
    • We’re Leaving
    • We Welcome You
    • Solar Anthem
    • The Beginning

    I always wanted this album, and the guy I used to buy my records off of said that it was a tough one to find, but that it was worth it. “Dude, when the spaceship lands, you can hear it all around you, it’s sweet” he said. “Hearing it on CD it just sounds like a spaceship.” He had a way with words. He also always was suspiciously coming out of the back room a little too happy when we came in the store.

    Anyway, he did end up finding this album for me at a vinyl record show. However, if you want this, I know they have Children of the Sun at Musicstack, so go buy it.