Records were supposed to die. First came the assault by cassette tapes, then CDs and digital downloads, but not only did vinyl records survive, they’ve staged an incredible comeback. Over the past decade their sales have grown to nearly 12 million units in 2015 up from just under a million units in 2005, according to Nielsen. Most remarkably, individuals 35 and younger account for 72% of sales.
Analysts suggest one reason for the growing popularity among different age groups is vinyl’s ability to produce sound the way the artist intended it to be heard. Other explanations: people like the experience of touching records, and the collectability of album artwork.
Following widespread calls for return of Technics, Panasonic brought back the brand in 2015, and earlier this year unveiled its 50th anniversary turntable, the Technics Grand Class SL-1200GAE. The turntable delivers special warm sound quality of analog vinyl discs.
Only 1,200 of these limited edition turntables will be available—starting this summer. Each will bear a unique serial number.
Audiophiles bring their favorite records
High-end audio boutiques around the U.S. are holding “listening parties” to give those audiophiles bearing their favorite vinyl records a chance to hear them on the Technics Grand Class turntable, and sign up to purchase one of the limited edition pieces.
In addition to the retro rise of vinyl records, audiophile-quality headphones are also seeing a surge in popularity. At the listening parties, attendees are testing out the Technics EAH-T700 over-ear headphones, which provide world class audio by incorporating a two-way drive to ensure the widest range of sounds and an anti-vibration frame to minimize unwanted vibration. Dealers are also showing the OTTAVA All-In-One Music System—a CES Innovation Awards honoree--and the Grand Class G30 Series consisting of the SU-G30 Network Audio Amplifier and the ST-G30 Music Server, designed to deliver a professional quality musical performance in the comfort of the home.