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Turntables And Vinyl Are Still Around, Didn't You Know?

  1. Fade

    Fade

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    It was the 1990s and Hip Hop was hitting everyone full force. There were artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, Redman, KRS-One, Rakim, Group Home, and of course all the West Coast ones as well: Dr. Dre, Snoop, E-40, Too Short - and the list goes on and on...

    What was also coming out full force at the same time was deejays and this new thing called "turntablism". That word wasn't actually an official term used for scratch deejays, but it worked so everyone just went with it. Everywhere you looked there were stores selling turntables, as well as other stores selling vinyl records. What was once just a hobby for Hip Hop deejays to make mixtapes or rock a party, was now a worldwide phenomenon.

    Scratching The Surface

    In 1972, Technics released the SL-1200 turntable, which was solid in its own right, but it was in 1979 when they released the SL-1200 MK2 - Hip Hop literally changed forever. Ask any scratch DJ who invented the scratch, and they will quickly tell you it was Grand Wizard Theodore. Everyone knows the story about how he held onto a record while he was taking his headphones off to listen to his mother yell at him, and how the record made a cool sound.

    That "cool sound" quickly turned Hip Hop into something much more than just Disco and Funk breakbeats going back and forth while an MC rapped over it. Now the DJ was able to do his own thing and actually create music, which really took off when DJ Cash Money won the DMC World Championship in 1988.



    It was then that everyone got a good look at what you could really do with a turntable, and from that point on, deejays from all over the globe set out on their own turntablism journey.

    The 1990s Changed Everything

    Turntables were huge sellers in the 90's because becoming a scratch DJ was the thing to do. And for those that got into scratching, can you blame them? After watching Qbert, Mixmaster Mike and Apollo tear it up at the DMC and completely flip the game upside down, it's no wonder the turntable even outsold the guitar in Japan.

    Not only were these deejays battling each other all over the world, there were others that were turning it into an art, essentially labeling themselves as a "turntablist". This is when the battling scene started to slowly fade away, and more music was being made, as well as more deejays being used in lots of Hip Hop songs.

    But then the 2000s came alongÂ….

    The Death Of Turntables And Vinyl

    Some say it was meant to happen and that it was only a matter of time, but after 2000, and especially after the Scratchcon conference that took place that same year, the turntablist was no more. Whereas in the 1990s there were dozens if not hundreds of websites dedicated to scratch deejays, now the few that were left were quickly dying off as well.

    In 2010, it was official - Panasonic was no longer going to make the Technics SL-1200 line of turntables.

    It was a really sad day for all deejays, turntablists, and hobbyists alike.

    Because of the decline and eventual demise of the Technics turntable, it was vinyl records that also experienced a huge downfall. I used to go to my favorite record store every week and grab the latest 12" records, but then it became nearly impossible to find any stores that even carried records. Some of the young store clerks didn't even know what a record was.

    The Resurgence

    It's funny how that saying "everything eventually comes back in style" really does mean a lot (except if you're talking about Zubaz pants). The latest statistics have shown that guess what? Vinyl sales are on the rise - big time.

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    When compact discs came out in the 80's, a lot of people didn't care for them because they prefered their vinyl and cassettes. Then as the stores started to stock more CDs than anything, and people saw how easy it was to use, it became a huge seller.

    Now, hardly anyone buys CDs anymore.

    What has happened is hobbyists are starting to flock to the record stores in droves because they want to buy vinyl, plain and simple. They want to touch the record and see the big pictures on the album cover, rather than just downloading an MP3 onto their phone. At least now they have an actual connection to the music.

    Since the vinyl sales have increased, that has led to one very important thing: turntables are back!

    Most deejays today rely on some sort of controller, or they still use turntables but they have software such as Traktor or Serato. Both are equally great, but I just find it very interesting that turntables are still being manufactured today. It's unfortunate that the Technics is not being made, even though there is tons of interest and many people are buying used ones, but at least there are companies that are still making turntables.

    Pioneer is one of the few companies that are actively involved in the turntable market. They recently released thePLX-1000, which many people are excited about because not only is it new, it also looks eerily similar to the Technics SL-1200 MK2. Take a look:

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    The body, the placement of all the knobs and buttons, the pitch slider, platter, and even the tonearm and its base - it's like a 1200 clone, which is a great thing. Obviously Pioneer knows there is still a big demand for the Technics 1200, so they tried to emulate it was much as possible. They added jacks for the RCA outputs, as well as a detachable power cable, unlike the Technics 1200 which had both grounded internally, a big turnoff for a lot of deejays.

    Check out this great introduction video about what the PLX-1000 can do:



    Right now, if you are looking at buying a turntable and want something new, the Pioneer PLX-1000 is a great option. You could easily buy a used Technics 1200 off eBay, but even though it will last you a lifetime, you will probably have to find someone to do some maintenance on it, unless you know how to do it yourself. With the Pioneer, it's brand new, plus it looks great as well.

    In Closing...

    The great thing about all of this, is that Pioneer has been listening to what people want, and by making a new turntable like this, I'm assuming this will help usher in a new wave of deejays that will get into scratching and vinyl. With all of the controllers and the many software options on the market today, it's nice to see that there is an actual new found interest for turntables and vinyl.

    More Information On The Pioneer PLX-1000 Turntable
     
  2. Pug

    Pug

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    Great article. It's interesting to see the graph of vinyl sales, I thought it would be higher in the 90's. Still, you go to any 'good' record shop, and there's usually a lot of people in there, all ages and creeds. It's nice to see, although they best stay out of the hip-hop section, cause that's my shit.
     
  3. Fade

    Fade

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    Ya me too, I thought that the 90's would show a higher amount of sales, but I guess it was the niche market that was doing well, compared to today where it's overall.