They crack, crackle, rumble and after approximately 20 minutes had to be flipped over. But in spite of these idiosyncrasies – or perhaps because of them – lots of people are now investing in LPs again. With a market share of just two per cent, the once iconic LP made of polyvinyl chloride may be no more than a fringe phenomenon of the music business. But a fourfold increase in sales in just five years shows that in an age dominated by screens and interfaces, analogue objects that stand out for their haptic qualities, still have the power to capture the imagination. Especially interesting to witness is the way designers and entrepreneurs are responding to this revival of a technology once written off as archaic.
The mystique of the Technics SL-1200 and SL-1210 by Panasonic remains unbroken, even though technically superior models by Numark, Stanton and others have been on the market for years. But since Panasonic announced the end of its cult object back in 2010, the question of which turntable is to replace it in the DJ booths of this world has become an ever more pressing one. Pioneer has now fielded an alternative called the PLX-1000. Despite its visual resemblance to the iconic Technics players, the PLX-1000 is quite more sophisticated. Whether it can end the reign of the Technics once and for all or, like the others, will find that they are too tough an act to follow remains to be seen.