My new record player: Denon DP-300F

So Doist offered me a welcome gift when I joined, and I bought something I’ve always wanted—a record player. It’s been on my wishlist for ages, but I never really bought it because 1) it’s expensive, and 2) it’s hard to justify in this age of electronic, streaming music. I initially thought of a Fluance RT-82 but it was out-of-stock, and so I picked a Denon DP-300F. It’s a bit more muted-looking than the Fluance, but honestly it works better: fully automatic, and it’s much easier to setup.

The last time I felt this way after getting something was when I bought a bike[1], and I’ve since realised I like nice, tangible, lovely things. It’s part of the reason why I really like Apple products or a Leica camera, or a Royal Enfield. It’s the sense that when you use them, you are holding something thoughtfully, intentionally designed for a purpose.

This is how it looks & sounds:

I played Beatles first—of course.

I bought some records too, and have been listening to em non-stop since I got this 😀

Each record is just wonderful—both to listen to, and then experience its covers and how it feels inside. Here’s the Beatles one:

This is music from a different age.

So why records? I got into this knowing it’s an extremely temperamental medium: I had to adjust the tonearm quite a bit to even get the record to play. It’s from an era ago: and there’s cracks and pops in the music at times. Sometimes the stylus skids over the tracks, causing echoes or distortion. The records get dusty, just like books and have to be cleaned, and they have to be stored strictly vertically, otherwise they may warp or bend. It’s… difficult, and I’m sure many a record owner would have breathed a sigh of relief when cassettes came around, and then CDs, and finally the end of physical music.

Why records? Because:

  1. It is physical music. There is a sense of certain tangibility in owning real things that you’ll never get from a virtual medium. The texture of the cover as you take out a record, the act of cleaning a record with your brush. Placing it carefully on the mat. Picking up the stylus and placing it down for the music to come alive. This is part of the reason why beautiful hardware from Apple still sells.
  2. It slows you down. There’s only a handful of tracks on a side before you have to manually flip the record around. You have a limited music collection, and you tend to re-listen, and find nuances in music instead of searching for the next fix. It’s much like the archaic focusing tech on a Leica M: so much slower than auto-focus, but that is the whole point. You slow down and sometimes you take better photos.
  3. There’s a bunch of bad things in old tech, but there’s a lot of good too: records are physical, it won’t ever disappear from my library because of artists rights issues, and my copy will wear with me the more I listen, it’ll be my own unique sound. If you have a favourite concert pressed direct to a record, it’ll be the closest you’ll come to actually being there—there’s no remixes or editing possible here.
  4. And then there are memories: of a record you’ve always wanted to own, but somebody gifted them to you. Of the first time you listened to a record with friends. It’s a piece of a dream come true.

That’s enough about records. As you probably can guess, I love this gift. 🙂


[1]: It’s a tale of woe for the bike unfortunately. I had to move away to Bangalore, and then my back pain really acted up, and the bike remained unused for so long that it started to rust. I sold it off. Some day, I’ll buy another.

highs and lows, etc.

In the left passenger seat of my car today, while it was slowly slithering the hot way to my college (my bike has not yet recovered from an accident), I experienced something like an epiphany. It could’ve been because it’s been a while since I sat really still – the whole of the past two weeks has been a frantic rush to set things straight. So I thought about good things and bad things… and a little time later I had a simple but very moving revelation: I know so many interesting people 🙂

People: who make me laugh, angry, sick, think, sad, amused, confused; who have a thread of ze vital life in them so that when they act I’m so amazed; who have funny bones of brontosauric proportions so I LOL so often; so much of the talented crowd: music crazy band-members, sweet devilish wicked vixens, incredible inspiring coders, people who read, and people who are so, so different from me which only makes them more interesting.

I’m not a person who can maintain a close network of thousands of friends. Like I was bored with Friendster after a week – it brought too much organization to a thing I do not pay much close attention to. But I know lots of people, from my school days onward, people in my college, people I met through organizations I’m a part of, online friends who I met in chat-rooms and forums, people I met through my writing, who emailed me about this site, and all the other little projects that I have going around; I know lots of people! Some of these people I can call good friends… I don’t talk to them everyday, I don’t think about them everyday, but meeting them and talking to them is like a new experience every time, I learn so much from what they think.

An epiphany is a revelation. But it’s also a very cozy feeling of comfort, something almost sublime. I’ve known for some time now that I can’t live as a self-contained universe. But today, I’ve also discovered my happiness in knowing people.


AWOL again! And this time I was setting my affairs back in order. Some loose ends which have been far too loose far too long have now been tied up, and in that process I’ve also rediscovered my love of working.

Yeah, you read that right. Working. Not many people know me today as a compulsive 24×7 workaholic. It’s a role that I’ve not suited into for some time now, but it has always been a part of me, lurking underneath. Here’s a short list of how hard I worked since you last saw me: 😉

I watched Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 again, in order, and Tarantino continues to impress with his gimmicks. Today I also saw another very nice movie: Things I can Tell Just by Looking at Her. It’s a very amazing concoction of scenes and clean editing that makes it a lovely emotional experience.

I also read a lot. A sweet Irish tale that I can’t remember the name of, the Magician: Apprentice and Master novels; a good amount of non-fiction about the Gujarat riots and Hindu nationalism, and I’m currently plugging through Poul Anderson: The Boat of a Million Years and Avatar and I also read Greg Bear’s second in the Darwin series: Darwin’s Children. Too much to talk about when I’m talking about books, it’s too chaotic right now, I’ll probably mention some gems later.

I took a DVD today featuring Linkin Park’s songs and some extra footage. They are a really great band and the DVD also exposed me to my first multi-angle viewing experience, wherein I can change camera views on the fly; it was really cool :-).

I’ve also got to tell you about QVM, a parallel virtual machine that’s our mini-project this term at college. It’s an amazing framework which allows an end-developer to create an application using the processing power of an entire grid of computers in a local network. Stay tuned to Sig9 for more information about that.

Dido

I think I haven’t raved about her enough… her tracks are really amazing, I first encountered her through (my then obsession of) Eminem’s rap… his semi-sadistic tale of Stan ripped off her sweet “Thank You”, but Dido has really matured through the years. Her newest album “Life for Rent” rivals the Corrs’ Borrowed Heaven for production quality (and that’s saying something). The vocals (and lyrics) are pretty exciting too; some great songs from that album: “White Flag”, “Stoned”, “Life for Rent”, and “Do you have a little time?” (the last is probably the best, I love haunting repetitive tunes… mellowdrone’s “And Repeat” is another favorite.)

There’s this really great article about Dido over at Guardian.