In the Groove: Saigon's Vinyl Renaissance

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Pham Viet Quan  (范越君)Pham Viet Quan (范越君)1 month ago
In the Groove: Saigon's Vinyl Renaissance

Ten years ago, if you had told me that college students would be rummaging through crates of vinyl records, not just for show but to genuinely enjoy the music, I would have raised a skeptical eyebrow. My own encounter with vinyl was limited to observing my dad's collection, safely ensconced in his sacred listening den, a place I dared not disturb. He wasn't overly passionate about them either; they seemed more like relics of a bygone era. But here we are, a decade later, witnessing a resurgence of interest in vinyl among a generation even younger than myself. It's a phenomenon that initially perplexed me. As an audio enthusiast, though not a vinyl aficionado per se, I've kept my ear to the ground on where to find these cherished discs. And now, not only do I know where to procure them, but I've even sought them out for special occasions, like for my dad's birthday presents. It seems the allure of analog sound has woven its spell on a new wave of music lovers, and I find myself intrigued by this cultural revival.

Vinyls need dedicated system, and time to configure them

Indeed, diving into the world of vinyl requires more than just spare change; it demands a substantial investment of both money and resources. For those with deep pockets, crafting a high-fidelity system can become a labor of love, costing a small fortune and countless hours of meticulous tweaking. However, for younger enthusiasts, there are more accessible options, including modern turntables that can even stream vinyls via Bluetooth, catering to a new generation of audiophiles.

The allure of vinyl is multifaceted. Firstly, there's the undeniable charm of analog sound emanating from the grooves and needles, offering a warmth and depth that digital formats often struggle to replicate. Secondly, records produced before the 90s carry with them a nostalgic appeal, having been crafted using genuine tapes and analog systems, evoking a sense of bygone eras.

Building a vinyl system entails several key components: a turntable, a phono system (comprising the needle and magnetic coil that delicately trace the grooves), a preamplifier, an amplifier, and finally, the speakers or headphones. Beginner-friendly turntable models often come equipped with integrated phono and preamp functions, simplifying the setup process to just selecting the amplifier and audio output.

Undoubtedly, investing in a vinyl setup far exceeds the modest expense of a $3 Spotify subscription (at Vietnamese prices). So why do people willingly pour vast sums into this hobby? The answer lies in the intrinsic value of the pursuit itself. For many, it's not merely about the cost, but the joy of meticulously crafting their own audio sanctuary, curating a collection of tangible records, and reveling in the pure pleasure of the listening experience. After all, in the realm of hobbies, the satisfaction derived often transcends mere monetary considerations.

Contemporary Vietnamese artists releasing albums in vinyls

In today's music scene, vinyl isn't just for old classics anymore. New releases are hitting the shelves in record stores, and you might be wondering why. Well, there are a few reasons. First off, there's a certain prestige that comes with owning vinyl. It's not just about the music; it's about having something tangible, something special to call your own. Then there's the sound. Vinyl enthusiasts rave about the warmth and depth that you just don't get from digital formats. There's something about the slight distortion that gives music a unique charm.But beyond all that, collecting vinyl is a personal thing. It's about curating a collection that reflects your taste and personality. And let's not forget the satisfaction of supporting artists in a meaningful way. Sure, some might call it a hipster trend, but there's no denying that vinyl is making a comeback. As for me, well, I'd love to dive into the world of high-fidelity audio, but let's just say it's a future project. When the time is right, I'll be setting up my own vinyl system. Until then, I'll just enjoy the music.

Bluish cafe is both a cafe and a records store

Bluish cafe is both a cafe and a records store

Bluish Cafe
15A Trúc Đường, Ward, Thủ Đức, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam

Analogue experience include cassette

Analogue experience include cassette

Some locations for vinyls, new and used

Hãng Đĩa Thời Đại (Times Records)
6 Đ. Nguyễn Văn Nguyễn, Tân Định, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam

they have both Vietnamese and international artists, pricey but all new and authentic

they have both Vietnamese and international artists, pricey but all new and authentic

Indie, old records and fun to browse

Indie, old records and fun to browse

Vina Groove
43/4C Tăng Bạt Hổ, Phường 11, Bình Thạnh, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 70000, Vietnam

Vietnamese cafes are offering music played on vinyls (NEO- coffee)

Vietnamese cafes are offering music played on vinyls (NEO- coffee)

My handheld system, Astell&Kern SR15 and Grado SR325x

My handheld system, Astell&Kern SR15 and Grado SR325x

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