You’ve been really passionate about the return of vinyl. Can you elaborate?
Earlier this year, vinyl music sales in the UK exceeded digital downloads. In 2016, more vinyl was pressed worldwide than any year in history. The previous biggest year was 1982, and in 1983 CDs took over. Vinyl is an incredible musical experience. MP3 is a highly compressed audio format offering less than one tenth the quality of a CD. And CDs are about one quarter the quality of what’s was actually recorded in the studio. Well, vinyl, when played through a high-quality turntable, pre-amp, then CAT amplifiers and loudspeakers provides an experience that’s quite frankly as good as the best digital studio recordings and has a warmth and an analogue feel to it that’s really desirable. It’s phenomenal.
So the sound of vinyl is winning people back?
The sound is fantastic. But then there’s the experience of listening. Vinyl involves the listener directly in the experience in a way that digital simply can’t offer. There’s the romantic, tactile feeling of being able to handle an album. Then you put the needle on the record, listen to a side, then turn it over, and you listen to the whole album. There’s the sleeve art to appreciate. We have clients who are members of bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Eagles, and even modern artists, and they love that this technology is surging back and people are rediscovering the beauty of recorded vinyl albums. It’s more emotional, there’s an order to things. It becomes an event, an exciting moment. Our famous recording artists structure their albums in a manner that takes the listener on an emotional journey. It’s not an exciting moment to pull out your phone and shuffle one of a thousand random tracks.
And what about new technology that’s blowing your mind?
We’re working with the teams from Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium, who have developed Auro3D, Dolby Laboratories in Los Angeles, California, who have developed Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio formats to help the advancement of next generation sound. First, we had Mono, then Stereo, then we developed surround where you have all these channels in a circle around you. These new formats build the third dimension of height into the playback experience so that you have a complete sphere of sound around you. The effect is incredible, and so we’re working to deploy this with some of our superyacht clients.