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August 2, 2006

Bose and Vinyl - Multi-Generational Audio

A few months ago I added an auxiliary input to my Bose SoundDock. Some folks thought it foolish, but the risk has been well worth it. I can cart it around with me and either use the iPod, or hook up any other audio source. That was the original idea, to get something portable that has excellent sound. I'll reiterate that I spent months considering the options, both reading and making numerous visits to listen to different units.

A few weeks ago I got to thinking about the record player and vinyl sitting collecting dust in the basement. Since I now have an official office in our house I figured it might be worth a few minutes to drag it upstairs. So this week I grabbed the record player and my old tape deck and set them up in the office.

The sound is pretty amazing. I'm not going to pretend that the Bose has better sound than my headphones, or a full-blown amp/speaker setup, but the record player hooked up to the Sounddock produces great, full-bodied sound. And the sound quality form the record player comes through, sounds better than digital audio from the iPod or other digital sources.

I'm not a serious audiophile (haven't ever spent thousands of dollars for a piece of audio equipment), but throughout the day yesterday I put on a wide variety of records and had a few "moments" where I couldn't help just sitting back and enjoying the sound. I think what happens is that I've listened to these songs so many times on the iPod in a compressed mp3 format that it's a bit startling to hear the full-on sound from the record.

Two in particular caught me off guard, Love Vigilantes from New Order's Low-Life album and Is It Really So Strange? from The Smiths' Louder than Bombs. I went back to those tracks a few times to double check that it wasn't just a fluke.

So it's a multi-generational audio setup. To be complete I guess I need to throw in an 8-track and a CD player. That would capture all of the audio format choices I've seen actively used (8-track is a stretch, was something my parents had). Never did much with reel-to-reel, although we toyed with one to make recordings of ourselves.

Posted by mike at August 2, 2006 7:20 AM