Analogue – the excitement is back

What a beauty. The Pro-Ject Perspective Anniversary.

When Philips established the “CD-Revolution” in the 80s, I was one of the early adopters of a CD-Player (CD 101). I loved the “clean” sound of music, the very dry base-feeling and the absence of noise. In the following 20 years, I lost my interest in hifi completely. Music was an instant-on, sometimes radio, most of the time listening to CDs als background noise.

Then the iPod showed up and changed everything. I got back into the music. I listened to it in every spare time. Via earphones, not on the stereo. The high-end feeling was gone, all that counted was – music.

Then surround showed up. I bought my first, second, and now my third surround equipment, and was watching music dvds. The experience was and is awesome. Life concerts like PINK FLOYD’s PULSE, Waters’ IN THE FLESH or even brand new productions like BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION in superior quality on a plasma with a soundscape, that takes you away. But.

On a summer day two years ago, I was working in the garden, and the nearest music equipment was the old SONY ESPRIT stereo with a Thorens TD 145 mkII turntable and a cheap ORTOFON OM Pro cartridge. I decided to listen to an old Kate Bush album (THE DREAMING), while working in the garden. Turned the amp loud and was about to proceed into the sun when the sound of the album struck my ears.

What the fragg? This soundscape, this extraordinary stage, this …

Well. This is analogue. Forget your CDs, your mp3s, your iTunes tracks. Analogue is so different. Yes, I use a streaming server every day. Yes, I use it with a PIONEER LX 73 and a Dynaudio 3.1 speaker system, and yes I use a decent CD Player, that is not all bad. But the difference was so clear, that I was planning to get into analogue again sooner or later.

In the 80s I had a favorite album from ANDREAS VOLLENWEIDER – “Behind the Gardens – Behind the Wall – Under the Tree”. I rebought this album as CD in the 2000s and was listening to it. The effect was underwhelming to what I recalled. The second track on the A-side was “Pyramid – In the Wood – in the Bright Light”. This track had a sythesizer soundscape especially in that middle of the track, that was floating over the music. A very high, almost metallic tune, that was to be heard in the whole room, that was totally “decoupled” of the speakers. The CD-version didn’t show this (for me) sensational effect. So I went back to my Thorens, to an “inferior” 25 year old stereo equipment, with an inferior cartridge. When I listend to the track, the excitement was instant-on. Even the cheap cartridge with the internal phono pre amp showed a better performance. So I decided to get involved again. Ordered a clearaudio nano phono amp and a Pro-Ject perspective anniversary turntable with an ORTOFON Rondo Red cartridge.

The clearaudio arrived 4 days before the turntable, so I decided to give it a test with the old Thorens. First try was – you guessed it right – the VOLLENWEIDER album. Oh boy. What a difference. The precision of the phono amp was phenomenal. The sythn soundscape was even more intense and made my flesh creep. I had forgotten, what extraordinary music can do to your health … So I looked forward to the Pro-Ject turntable.

When it arrived, I had to build it up (this is another story, ’cos the manual is some sort of the biggest crap I ever saw … and the engineering of this turntable is so mixed. Good ideas side by side to crappy things and dumb solutions I can’t believe they still exist in 2012 …). After 2 hours the turntable was ready to start.

Then I started the special VOLLENWEIDER track. When the synth soundscape tuned in, the speaker systems exploded in a soundscape I have never heard before. The difference to the CD was comparable to the difference between an old fashioned radio to a normal hifi.

Now I’m hooked again with analogue. Hearing one album after the other, to experience something, I’ve nearly forgotten in the last 15 years. Divine stereo sound. Analogue – the excitement is back.

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