Home > Business, Examples, Optima, Products, Technology > Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past

AuthorAfter returning home from a recent trip, a comment a customer once made to me came to mind. He said, “Lambda – most of the young people in our office do not even know what it is…kinda like when they ask – what’s a turntable?” Similarly, in the world of digital music and easy access to any song via the internet, the genre and art form of vinyl records is now largely lost. Or so I thought. 

My wife and I just threw a combo high school graduation / 18th birthday party for my daughter. During the party, a few of the dads and I were talking about our record collections, college-era behemoth stereo systems, and how they are all in storage because the Sonos or Big Jambox systems that are wireless and full of Bluetooth sound fantastic. Sad, but true – my full Harmon Kardon system, Bose 901s, and Technics SL-1200 turntable are sitting on my basement shelves collecting dust but I refuse to sell any of it because some day, one day, I will take over the basement again and spin some of the 400-500 LP’s that I still store (Frampton Comes Alive on vinyl – killer).

So at the party, me and a few mid-40s and/or early 50s guys reminisced about the days of using milk crates and the art of balancing the turntable arm so when you had it turned up to 11, the bass did not cause the needle to sip and scratch. It was a “those were the days” kinda moment – while the DJ played some awful crap that my kids call music. But to my surprise, in walks a bright-eyed 18 year-old who asks if we still really had a turntable and would we consider selling it, or even better, let him buy some of our albums. What??? (I think to myself). The kid says, “Oh yeah, vinyl is making a comeback but there are so few record stores that it is tough to find albums”. Really? Do tell. The basis of what the lad said was he likes vinyl because the sound quality is rich and the occasional hiss or pop is a great advantage to unprocessed music. I had to get an explanation on this so he enlightened us. “Digital recordings are so altered and auto-tune is so over-used that you don’t really get to hear what the live music actually sounds like and it covers up bad artists and musicians.” It’s true – there is something genuine about the music from a vinyl record. And the process of cleaning it and lining the needle up to the dark, shiny groove/start of a song is therapeutic compared to skip to the next song, skip to the next song, skip to the next song (and rarely listening to the whole song let alone album). The kid was on fire so I did offer to let him borrow any album(s) he wanted on the condition he returns them in clean condition.

Gallery shows close up images of recent Lambda prints
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So, fast forward a few days, and I hear this Lambda and turntable comment so I had to dig in and, of course, share the story from the weekend. The mutual conclusion was that Lambda is the high-end right now and provides the best digital print solution. The end result is a photograph, with lasers exposing the media rather than light through a negative. In my eyes, all of the inkjet, latex or dye-sub printers are aiming to achieve the continuous-tone, high-end quality of a Lambda photographic print. I guess there are still a lot of people out there who value Lambda and the price point because Optima still runs three Lambda machines (while many others have chosen to shutter their machines citing reasons that the inkjet print they offer is superior). Well, it’s not – and I think they say that because they don’t want to invest the time, money, or resources into maintaining their Lambda machines – kinda like keeping up the turntable in the basement.

Mid-year resolution for me is setting the system back up, breaking out Frampton Comes Alive and letting the neighbors hear the 901s unleash that concert sound. Of course, this unleashing of 11 gazillion watts of power will likely be when I have the house to myself – but until then, I am going to start doubling back on the benefits of Lambda to see how many other folks out there are not fluent in the selling benefits of Lambda. Onward!!!

About the Author
Dave Brown is the Vice President of Sales at Optima™.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, other Authors, Optima Graphics or Taylor Corp.

  1. July 22, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Every other Tuesday, I have a beer with my best friend of 41 years. We meet at a taphouse in DT Oregon City that features two remarkable things: 15 ever-changing taps of microbrews and a turntable with sizable collection of records.

    Last Tuesday, I heard Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass and Kevin Rogers. Who doesn’t like to sing along to “Lucille” once every 41 years?

    You’ve encouraged me to pull a few of my records from the milk crates and take them for a spin this weekend. And yes, Frampton is in the crate. Thanks Dave!

  2. Kat Andres
    July 22, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Vinyl is definitely alive and pretty much all my boyfriend and I listen to at home. Some artists even put out albums on HD vinyl nowadays (meaning one album might take up both sides of two or three full records and you have to flip every two songs). It’s expensive but the sound quality is unmatched, it’s like they’re right there in the room with you giving a live performance. Like if you printed a true large format (film) photo on the Lambda. Nice post.

  3. July 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm


    Well, woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand.
    Whose wine, What wine, Where the hell did I dine

    Must have been a dream I don’t believe where I’ve been.
    Come on, let’s do it again…Do you…you, feel like I do?

    Yea 70’s…good post!

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