Old-fashioned vinyl records are enjoying a huge revival in popularity, with Tauranga's main music stores stocking more and more of these once scorned discs.

Collectors and people who enjoy the warmer sounds from vinyl are leading the comeback of a format that was sliding towards extinction.

With album sales growing by nearly 70 per cent last year, no one was happier about the revival than Tauranga drummer Chris "Rhooky" L'Rhook, who enjoys the special qualities of LP records.

He said that pretty much anything that came out on CD nowadays could be picked up on vinyl, including Lorde's album Pure Heroine.


"You can even buy vinyl in The Warehouse. The best things always hang around," he said.

The drummer for Tauranga cover band Budgie and the Smugglers - some of the band are surf club members - said he liked the old way of doing things.

Mr L'Rhook said analogue vinyl recordings were superior to digital because they picked out the real high and low frequencies, and were more what you would hear in the recording studio.

He liked the old way of recording because musicians had to be good with their instruments. It was done in one take without any digital cutting and voice tuning, or the rest of the "computer stuff" that allowed the industry to focus on how a person looked rather than if they were talented, he said.

Asked to pinpoint what it was he liked about the vinyl sound, he said it was more human.

"If something is not perfect, it can be picked up, and to me that is more real."

Celebrating Record Store Day today is Traks music shop owner Lex Clay, who says vinyl's sound is the main thing for him.

"It is about handling it and putting it on the turntable and sitting back and relaxing to the purer sound - it is not as compressed as a CD or digital music."


He said although he still sold more CDs, vinyl was taking off and was now the growth side of his business. The best selling record was Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, with Nirvana Unplugged in New York a close second. Led Zeppelin's first four albums were steady sellers, with Van Halen, Pearl Jam, Bad Company and Portishead among his growing selection of titles.

Mount Maunganui record collector Garry Chapman sells the occasional album through Trade Me and has been struck by the age of local buyers. "Almost invariably they are young people."

The trend was underlined at book fairs and the large number of teenagers that crowded the record bins.

"You can see the joy on their faces when they find an album they want."

Mr Chapman put the resurgence down to the warmth of the sound, the album artwork, and that it was something tangible. "The odd crackle is part of the ambience."

His favourite era was the Californian surf and psychedelic era of the 60s and 70s. He was heartened by the vinyl revival, saying a lot of the music with emotional and sentimental value collected over many years would not end up being dumped.

Well cared for albums by New Zealand bands of the 60s and 70s like Human Instinct and Space Farm were commanding hundreds of dollars.

Eastern Hi Fi owner Graham Whitaker said vinyl had never really gone away, but the explosion was being driven by the number of young people buying turntables in the $700 to $1000 range.

"We sold four turntables on Wednesday."