Phono stage sound cannot be replaced by mp3s

As I was looking at the website of one of my favourite phono stage suppliers the other day, I caught a really disappointing piece of news on their phono amp related feed. It made me feel very nostalgic, and no less sad, to learn about the discontinuation of Panasonic’s Technics range of turntables. In a statement released recently, Panasonic said that they had to reflect, with their range of products, the current transformation from analogue to digital in the audio market. It seems there’s nothing to be done to preserve the analogue era. I wouldn’t mind too much if there really was nothing being lost in terms of quality, but there is. It seems like the epoch of turntables, the phono preamp, even vinyl itself, is slowly fading out in favour of digital information.

There are lots of reasons to be upset about this. To begin with – and this is a partial view – I think it is sad to not have anything physical to collect when it comes to music. I recently saved all of my many, many records (I have been an avid collector since the age of 14) via a USB turntable to my hard drive. This is great, because I can take all of my music anywhere without a big box of records weighing me down.

But still, these mp3 in no way replace the originals; they are more like shadowy representations of the vinyl. So on that count, yes, mp3 are useful and clever, but no, they are not better to have! The other thing is this: I’m not a sound technician, but they sound far inferior to me, and I have it on good authority that my instincts are correct.

As I return to Whest Audio’s site to look for my new phono preamp, I do so with something of a heavy heart. But, nevertheless, I do it defiantly: I will not give up on vinyl, ever! As far as I’m concerned, until they can reproduce that epic sound, there will always be a demand for vinyl, turntables, and phono amps. I’m confident that they never will be able to fully reproduce the sound without a phono stage, and even if they could I for one would stick to my memorabilia in any case! I know lots of others like me; I just wish that Panasonic and Technics were!

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