She was an accomplished pianist and had purchased vinyl since her high school days, amassing an impressive selection of 50s and 60s rock in addition to a comical amount of obscure 45s with everything from sing-along children’s music to Italian opera. I wasn’t just going through my mom’s music; I was unearthing the tangible reflections of her life, a personal art gallery of tastes and experiences filled with the good, bad, and ugly. Vinyl absolutely sounds different from digital music — it’s a complicated engineering process, turning record grooves into sound, one that involves a lot of electronic processing and ways to get around limitations, such as the fact that the inner groove of a record can’t carry nearly as much information as the outer bands. About one hundred years later, the phonograph record helped cement the idea of breaking music up into albums, with most holding anywhere from 30-60 minutes of music. The years in which the long-playing vinyl was the dominant format — this varies by genre, starting earlier with jazz in the 1950s and later with rock and pop music, starting in the late 1960s — are the years when the industry was most invested in making the format as good as it can be. The key is to start collecting your favorite albums first and then venture into things you haven't heard yet." Cameron Schaefer, pilot and early AoM contributor, has spent the past few years raising his two children with wife Marelize, hacking away at his backyard vegetable garden, knocking out an MBA and most recently venturing deep into the world of vinyl records. Some records, a cold jug of milk, a plate of cookies, and your best gal. The typical ritual during those times together, which I began referring to as “Tuesdays With Levi,” involved me scanning his shelf looking for bands I recognized (even when I found bands I considered my favorites, I realized I’d only consumed their music in bits and pieces and had rarely, if ever, listened to their albums in full, as most were created to be heard), Levi methodically placing the record on the turntable, me pouring a round of wine or beer, followed by several minutes of silence while we actively listened to the day’s selection. I write about music for a living — I used to edit the online music magazine Pitchfork, and I’m the rock and pop critic for the Wall Street Journal — and here and there I’ve included thoughts on collecting. And while this isn’t all bad, it deprives many, even self-described “music lovers,” from a much deeper relationship with music, one that can only come, like most good things, through a certain amount of attentiveness, care and, most importantly, time. ... Get recommendations from fellow collectors and check out the dealer’s business record, including the Better Business Bureau and online reviews. The problem lies in the myriad of ways the analog signal can break down before ever hitting the ear of the listener, mainly due to dirty vinyl or low quality audio equipment. So copies of Steely Dan’s Aja, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and, to pick a brilliant album that’s less discussed in audiophile circles, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, are still standard-bearers for sonic quality all these years later. Sometimes, the grease, gunk, and various smudges that accumulate on the surface over decades are easily removed by a good washing. Today if you walk into our living room you’ll see my mom’s records displayed proudly, along with some of my dad’s sprinkled in. Angle the brush so the front edge of it is in contact with the record. However, when you purchase something through our affiliate links, Discogs may earn a commission. I’m not calling for the death of the mp3. It’s a challenging record for vinyl because there’s so much music on each side (29 minutes on one side, 25 on the other), so the grooves are spaced closely together and the relative volume of the mastering is low. The three Schaefers would sit in the living room, my dad in his leather recliner, me seated near my mother, who was cross-stitching with one eye on her work and the other watching me eat grotesquely large ice cream sundaes. I didn’t yet own a turntable so I stored all of this information away knowing that my days of living without one were numbered. His name was Levi, he loved vinyl, and he had no one to share his thoughtfully curated 500+ album collection with. However, assuming clean vinyl and mid to high-level audio equipment, most people favor the sound of vinyl, noting the warmness and fullness of the sound as opposed to the harshness of a CD. The exceptions to my rule are the half-dozen or so artists that I collect regardless of quality. Collecting rocks and minerals is an exciting and rewarding hobby – full of fun, adventure, and hands-on opportunities to learn more about our world's geology – all while building an important anecdotal and historical record. Many different turntables are being produced, from the starter models, to the high-end audiophile units. 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