Arts & Entertainment

The resurgence of retro

 | August 26, 2011

We’ve seen the resurgence of flared jeans, Jackie-O sunglasses and even the rise of retro sound in popular music, and one of the best ways to experience retro sound is on the analog turntable.

People are finally coming to their senses and learning to love the sound of analog. There’s something very organic in the sounds emitted from a turntable, and like a lot of vintage items, they tell stories.

As a new owner of a beautiful vintage turntable, a Dual 1229Q, I became very interested in what’s causing this analog trend, what it’s doing to the value of turntables and of course, what stories they have.

While The Beatles are beyond my time, there’s nothing quite like enjoying Abbey Road on a hot summer day, crackles and pops included.

Dual was started in Germany by Gebrüder Steidinger. The company started out manufacturing springs for gramophone motors, later branching into turntables. The 1229Q model was designed to avoid the skipping, one thing that can be annoying about older turntables.

Vintage turntables have really increased in value, and searching for a quality one can be a costly and time consuming process.

Melody Butler, owner of Penny Pinchers Department Store in Kamloops, says turntables turned in to her store rarely stay there for long.

“They usually come in about once per week and, if working, usually only stay on the retail floor for one or two days,” she says.

There’s no doubt that it’s “trendy” to own a vintage turntable right now. On a superficial level, these items lend an air of sophistication and historical knowledge, maybe a better taste in music.

I’d been searching for the Dual in order to listen to some favourite records that I bought for a steal: Abbey Road, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I have no reserves in bragging that the turntable was bought for $35. A search through various online dealers shows the value to be between $100 and $260. Is it actually worth that much? Probably not, but we all like to own cool things.

Kyle Wright, who works in electronics at Penny Pinchers and loves analog sound, says portable turntables are very popular.

“I honestly just love the higher highs and the lows that vinyl gives,” he says. “We sell a lot of portable ones (turntables) and can never keep them in stock.”

Butler concurs that the vinyl trend is especially popular with the younger generation.

“We’ve noticed a steady increase in people choosing vinyl to listen to, especially those in the under-30 generation as they feel it’s more organic listening,” she explains.

While a lot of trends will come and go, the love of vintage turntables should stick around. The sound is phenomenal and the stories behind each model can really bring a depth to music listening.