In an age of MP3 players, CDs and i-Pads, it is quite surprising to see the return of Long Plays (LP). The music-playing instrument of the previous century, which seemed to have vanished into the haze of history, is slowly coming back to the drawing rooms of music lovers.
Popularly known as Gramophone, the turntable is becoming a vogue inside an esoteric circle in Dhaka city. There are around 50 members in this cult-like group, who maintain a close bond between them. Some are experts of the mechanism of turntable and some possess rare records.
"We never talk about anything else but popular records, perfection in sound etc. when we spend time together,'' says Harun Al Rashid, a journalist by profession, and a known face to this group.
Harun has been listening to music through this device for seven or eight years. He has almost 3,000 records in his collection.
While music shops that sell CDs and magnetic tapes are closing down in Dhaka, there are outlets that have started to showcase long-plays.
Md. Rafiq Ahmed, a resident in North Ibrahimpur area, has more than 10,000 records in his collection. Out of his deep affection for LP records, he bought the whole collection of records and players from a music shop named Antora Recording Store in Jashore in 2017.
Use of vinyl records – as the long play disks are known – has recently increased worldwide. In 2018 U.S. sold 16.8 million long plays where in 2006 the number was only 0.9. Shipments also increased in recent years in a great number. Germany sold 3.3 million LPs in 2018.
Why do music lovers crave for LPs? Because, to them this age-old system ensures a perfection in sound that nothing can guarantee.
"People are searching for a long-lived medium of music after the age of CD, VCD and DVD. Requirement for experiencing a perfect and subtler sound is the main reason behind its popularity", says Rafiqul Islam, owner of Uttaran Recording Media.
Keeping a turntable demands a special care. From setting up a turntable to fixing a stylus on the disc properly needs a lot devotion. Specialty in design and setting it in one's own hand is also a reason to be affectionate about it.
Though no company started formal business in this field in Dhaka, interested people are buying and selling HMV gramophones in an informal way.
Nowadays turntables from different companies such as Audio-Technica, Project, Rega, Thorens are popular.
The music shop, Ganer Dali in Yakub Supermarket, 2/B, Elephant Road is considered as the 'pioneer' in bringing popular records and selling in Dhaka.
In Uttaran Recording Media, a music shop in Farm View Super Market in Farmgate sells a small number of records.