- Vinyl record sales are soaring in a sign of growing interest in retro gadgets.
- Victor has released a new turntable. Some of them he offers Bluetooth connectivity.
- Observers say retro electronics offer a simpler taste of time.
While most manufacturers are constantly competing to create sleeker and more powerful gadgets, demand for gizmos that look to the past is also growing.
Victor has released a new line of wood music centers, suitcase turntables, hybrid record players and desktop stereos. Record sales are booming, and the latest music players offer modern conveniences such as his Bluetooth, but also cater to those whose tastes run into vinyl.
Ryan Mungia is the co-author of a book on retro technology called “Do You Compute?” Selling technology from the atomic age to the year 2000 problem,” he said in an email interview, saying the old technology reminds him of simpler times when technology felt like something newer.
“There’s a sweet naiveness to retro electronics, from CD changers to calculator clocks, that ‘takes us back’ as much as listening to a particular song,” he added.
the needle hits the record
The nostalgic trend of personal electronics is clearly visible on turntables. Record sales nearly doubled last year, from 27.5 million in 2020 to 41.7 million in 2021, according to MRC Data’s 2021 US Year-End Report. According to the report, this marked his 16th consecutive year of record sales growth in the United States.
The Victrola brand has been selling record players for over a century and is still releasing new models. Some of the latest products, such as the $800 Stream Carbon, work with the Sonos wireless sound system.
Victrola’s head of product and brand, Don Inmon, told Lifewire in an email that the appeal of a record player is “beyond what you hear through your speakers. I put it on my turntables, etc. It adds a unique element to every aspect that is often overlooked in new media.”
Putting that needle on the LP and watching the record spin is satisfying.
Kirin Sinha, CEO of augmented reality company Illumix, is a longtime fan of vinyl records and record players. Now, she said, many people seem to have a renewed interest in, or a newfound love for, records. She said more stores carry turntables and current artists are now releasing vinyl records.
“Whether it’s for the sound, or just nostalgia, or what many perceive as a simpler time, both records and record players are enjoying a resurgence in popularity.” says Sinha. “There’s something satisfying about putting that needle on his LP and watching the record spin.”
Technology that never dies
Apart from new releases like Bluetooth record players, there is also a community of dedicated enthusiasts looking for gadgets that were discontinued years ago. For example, consider Sony’s MiniDisc player, which used physical media and was first released in 1992.
MiniDisc aficionado Alvin Lopez said in an email interview with Lifewire that he “enjoys the format because of the physicality of the device and the media.” Like some people who love records, the look and feel of the disc, the “ritual” of inserting the disc and listening to it, has a calming effect on me, the same feeling I get while recording. ”
According to Lopez, MiniDisc technology holds up well against modern upstarts like the MP3 format.Minidiscs, which can be inserted into a dedicated player to listen to or record music, are scratch-resistant, do not deteriorate in sound quality each time they are used, and can be reused for hundreds of thousands of recordings. [which] It’s very appealing and it’s my music medium of choice,” he added.
According to Mungia, some old tech items never went out of fashion. He cites Casio’s calculator watch as one of his gadgets that has remained popular since it first appeared in the 1980s.
“When I saw Marty McFly wearing it in the movie Back to the Future, I was hooked,” said Munguia. “I didn’t have any savings at the time, so last year, on a whim, he bought it for about $20.”
Mungia said he enjoys playing Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo’s NES.
“My taste for video games (and watches) is still in 1988, and that’s okay,” he added.
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