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In praise of vinyl records

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Vinyl Record Day is August 12

For all the pleasures of digital, there's something special about vinyl

CNN —  

I can’t explain why I still own vinyl records.

I have a turntable, but it’s no $5,000 audiophile job. I’ve got a few LPs that aren’t available on CD, but I also have plenty that are, and I can’t tell you the last time I pulled them from their sleeves.

Yes, I know vinyl is hip again, but pretty much every LP I own is older – sometimes MUCH older – than the interns in the CNN Digital newsroom. Believe me, I don’t keep those albums because they’re suddenly fashionable.

No, I think it’s a combination of sentimentality, nostalgia and pleasure, three closely related moods. (And, truth be told, some laziness.)

As we celebrate Vinyl Record Day on August 12, I think about those black-wax platters – perhaps 100, give or take – that take up space in a living-room bookcase. I think about sliding an LP out of the sleeve, the satisfying hiss and pop of the needle gliding into the groove. Occasionally, I do more than think and actually play a few.

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Perhaps you hear what you want to hear, but the sound feels warmer and more personal than the 1s and 0s of a CD or MP3.

And then there’s the cover, a 1-foot square big enough to examine the detail. Forget doing that with a 5-inch CD – or an MP3 thumbnail graphic.

Maybe you’re a vinyl junkie; maybe you look at its resurgence as a passing fad. Either way, it’s hard to beat the thrill of dropping that needle onto the disc. The joy is always the same: Just let the groove take you away.

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