Finding rare vinyl for an affordable price is no easy task. Once you find that rare remix 12” that you’ve been searching for, you end up in a bidding dogfight on eBay with some rabid fan for whom price is no object. Once your rival rockets through the maximum bid you were willing to spend, you just hang your head in shame and wait to begin the process all over again as soon as somebody else places the vinyl up for auction.
Those days could be coming to an end, as the Orchard is now offering archival-quality (which means damn good) digital masters of out of release gems for the first time. Music aficionados can now easily find rarities that have up until now remained out of a reasonable price range. That is, as long as you are willing to purchase the rare tunes as digital files rather than possessing the vinyl itself.
The program has been named Digital Wax, which was created by audio designer Kondo-san and artist Simon Yorke. Initial labels participating in this program include SST, Delicious Vinyl, Lookout! Records, In the Red, Amphetamine Reptile, and Bizarre/Straight. The newly mastered vinyl releases will be available starting next month in various online retailers, including iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, MSN, Yahoo! and over 70 others under the moniker When It Was Wax.
So how were they able to create audiophile quality digital files from the rare vinyl? Here it is straight from the horses mouth: “A modified Simon Yorke S7 turntable fitted with a Kondo IO-j cartridge feeds the esoteric, rare, expensive and exquisite Kondo M1000 preamplifier, via a Kondo KSL SFz step-up transformer. This signal is in turn converted via an audiophile A-D 2 channel converter, and archived in DSL. All wiring is Kondo age-annealed 99.9999% pure silver wire, and all components are isolated by Vibraplane active isolation platforms.”
Yeah, I didn’t understand it either.