It's a bit late for a Father's Day gift, but if your dad also happens to be a geek -- or owns a computer -- you can add new life to his vinyl records with the Crosley Radio Revolution CR6002 travel turntable.
Crosley's built a product line of nostalgic looking devices, but this portable turntable is anything but. Sure, it plays those old 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records, but it doesn't look anything like the record players you've seen back in the day. In addition to a modern look and USB connectivity, the CR6002 also comes with few modern amenities. Take a peek:
Software suite for ripping and editing audio content
Imagine it. Here’s a diamond stylus racing through a vinyl groove, somehow turning all those little bumps and ridges into beautiful, stunning music.
First, consider the vinyl. If the vinyl is virgin—never used before, not recycled—it’s a pure surface. If it is recycled, it will have impurities, little lumps of dirt and dust and maybe some bits of shredded label too, and that will show up as a granular surface in the groove which will slightly degrade the overall quality of the sound.
Now think about the stylus, a precisely shaped triangle of diamond mounted on a precision cantilever made of aluminum, boron, ruby, diamond, beryllium, or even carbon fiber for stiffness—each with its own physical characteristics that will influence the quality of the sound.
I’ll say it again. There is genuine magic in a vinyl record.
The grooves pressed into the vinyl are direct analogs of the sound waves that struck the microphone. Because they’r analogs, the physical medium becomes part of the process of sonic reconstruction. Every single factor in the signal chain—the physical characteristics of the stylus, the cantilever, the coils, the magnets, the tonearm, the turntable motor, the connecting wires, the preamplifier components, the equalization curve—everything affects the signal quality. Every single component votes on the overall sound.
That decades of engineering brilliance have made it possible for such stunning sound to come out of such an obstinate signal path is the triumph of passionate will power over the inordinate obstinacy of the physical universe. During the seventies and eighties, I invested a small fortune into high-end stereo gear and a much larger fortune into an admirable collection of rock and classical and electronic music.
Playing a vinyl record is an act of devotion for an audiophile. You handle it lovingly, you use a special blower to bow excess dust off it, you give it a wipe with a clean micro-fiber cloth or maybe you run it through an expensive record-cleaning machine, you install a special brush on the end of the tonearm to remove errant dust from the grooves before the stylus gets there, you lower a dust cover over the whole affair so that dust doesn’t land on the record while it’s playing. And you make sure you have the whole thing sonically isolated on so that even an errant foostep won’t be felt by the stylus and produce an audible thump in the music.