Give Me Bass With My Vinyl

I’ve been a dedicated vinyl lover going all the way back to the ‘60’s (no, I’m not that old but the great thing about having older brothers is they introduce you to all the good stuff earlier than you would have found it on your own). While my playback equipment has improved beyond comprehension but the enjoyment of playing records has always been grounded in the warmth and humanity vinyl conveys. These days, one of the nicest things about vinyl is that it bridges the gap with a younger generation, or at least the cool, smart kids with good ears and the right priorities in life – good music and good sound; they’ll figure out the rest.

So, what could be better than listening to vinyl? Listening to vinyl via a Full Range system—that’s with a capital F and a capital R for clarity. Specifically, extending the low frequency capabilities of one’s playback system has produced such dramatic results for many throughout the years, that I am always surprised when I meet analog lovers who still don’t have some version of a subwoofer — the faster and more tuneful, the better. My method of choice for the past 23 years has been REL — long before my partner and I bought the company, I found that REL’s ability to extract deep bass from my records transformed the listening experience.

Why should you care, especially if deep bass per se is not a passion of yours? Even if you NEVER play music with deep bass, even if all you have in your record collection are the Top 1,311 best violin, piccolo and viola tracks ever committed to vinyl you are missing the ENTIRE hall, room, sound space, venue and LIFE that the recording was made with.
All of the contextual cues that signify space, hall size, energy of crowd, intimacy, out-of-control audience reactions originate with deep bass. In short, music’s contextual reference, its reason for being, life, energy, passion, drive and gravitas are so greatly diminished as to render less-than-full-range music systems vastly less fulfilling. We are all bound by a universal love for music, we are moved, informed, impelled and, sometimes, revolted by music and its messaging through a good system. And it all starts in the bass and builds vertically upward from there. Listen to an acoustic recording without deep bass and you will be struck by the loss of scale in the recording.
Everyone has their top 20 records—the ones that seem to both sound the best and have great music on them. My personal experience when I got my first REL home was how many more top 400 records elevated into this category. Further, it took decent records and made them so much more listenable and enjoyable. That first night, my roommate and I stayed up until 5 am discovering new/old treasures. And I’ll admit it, until I bought a REL I sometimes avoided really big pieces knowing that my system at the time couldn’t do it justice. Now I can, knowing it will handle any genre and scale of music with ease.

Vinyl is, in part, addictive for its ability to produce copious amounts of liquid, rich, sumptuous bass. Playing it back on a system capable of plumbing the depths of low bass limits one of the richest aspects of the medium.

Enjoy the Music!
John Hunter
Owner & Design Director

April 19, 2017 - Posted in: Reconsider