The good news is that since I got my ridicuously overpriced new turntable I've been a lot less obsessed with equipment and a lot more obsessed with music of varying degrees of quality (mostly "low"). The bad news is that having a pretty damn good record player introduces fascinating new problems, such as the totally unpredictable quality of albums. I bought a very expensive new pressing of Lou Reed & John Cale's "Songs for Drella," an album I once enjoyed frequently in the cassette format. Unfortuntely the sound quality sucks ass to the degree that I'd be better off digging out my old cassette (or finding a used copy on CD).
A lot of these new LPs are really, really good, better than CD without a doubt, especially those from Analogue Productions, but I'm pretty pissed about the Reed/Cale deal (only much later did it occur to me that I maybe got a bum pressing and I should've returned it...too late). Some of my shitty bargain-bin records sound really good, too, even .38 Special's "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys," and today's selection: Jethro Tull's "War Child" which I bought for fifty cents. That's a damn good deal. Meanwhile, Joni Mitchell's "Dog Eat Dog," which I purchased some years ago, sounds like crap (price paid: unknown, probably $4.20 or less). Not even the smooth vocals of Michael McDonald on the title track could save this one -- though, granted, the mid-Eighties production and battery of synths (featuring Thomas Dolby) probably wouldn't lend itself to good sound no matter how clean and untarnished the source.
Of course, much of this seems moot when you look at the number of awful MP3s I've bought on iTunes recently to fill out my Yacht Rock collection: Kenny Loggins, Toto, Stephen Bishop, Little River Band, Orleans, Bill Quateman, Ambrosia, Pablo Cruise, Firefall, Gino Vannelli...oh, my life . . . ?