electronics and gadgets

[Uncle Bob] Crazy about vinyl? Here are some helpful tips

Roberto Coloma

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[Uncle Bob] Crazy about vinyl? Here are some helpful tips

COLLECTION. Vinyl and CDs collected by the author over the years.

Photo by Roberto Coloma

Vinyl really sounds richer than digital if you have the right gear. But it is an expensive and addictive hobby.

MANILA, Philippines – So, you have a permanent BPO job, you rent or co-rent a condo unit in Makati or Manila Bay and you have spare cash at the end of the month.

One Sunday, you go to Legazpi Village and see young adults like you checking out the vinyl – vinyl is always singular – by flipping the top of the album towards themselves to check out titles to buy. It’s called crate digging.

Pretend you already have a vinyl-ready audio system.

Taylor Swift or jazz legend John Coltrane? Ah, everyone has Taylor but Coltrane is a cool cat and his face on an album cover will look great in selfies.

The used Coltrane costs P2,000 but you can recover it by just having free pantry coffee for a week instead of going to an artisanal , single source cafe with tattooed baristas.

But you don’t have a vinyl-ready audio system, so stop daydreaming and let’s backtrack.

To play vinyl, you need these things:

  1. A turntable with a cartridge and needle or stylus that “reads” the grooves on a record, so to speak.
  2. A phono-ready amplifier which will boost the signal from the stylus.
  3. Speakers to play  the music at the volume you want and are controlled by the amplifier

Don’t even try to mix and match differrent audio brands if you’re a newbie. You will inevitably make mistakes and waste money.

I have long respected a UK brand called Rega, which caters to both newcomers and veteran audiophiles.

I contacted Rega Philippines to get an idea of the cost of a starter system. 

It so happens that they have a limited-edition, yellow-dominated turntable named after the great artist Juvenal Sanso. 

The design is derived from his work “Impact of Creation.”

Rega told me the price.

“Hi, Roberto! The turntable is ₱65,000. You may opt to get the complete system, including turntable, amplifier, and speakers, for ₱125,000 with free speaker stands and cables,” Rega said.

Go for the full package. It’s virtually plug and play.

I’ve collected vinyl records and compact discs for more than 40 years. Vinyl really sounds richer than digital if you have the right gear. But it is an expensive and addictive hobby.

Furniture, Table, Tabletop
The author’s turntable. Photo by Roberto Coloma

If you don’t have the money for vinyl or have other priorities, subscribe to Spotify on your mobile phone and listen to music through earphones or headphones.

Better yet, buy a wireless speaker like JBL. You can play Spotify via Bluetooth on the speaker. Some of them sound pretty good, delivering punchy bass (low notes).

Even if you eventually switch to vinyl, Spotify will enable you to audition albums and pick really good records.

That’s all from Uncle Bob, your audiophile tito. – Rappler.com

Roberto Coloma, better known as Bobby, retired in 2022 after 40 years as a foreign correspondent. He started his career as editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, the student newspaper of the University of the Philippines.

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