would you bother?

hey all.i am considering getting into vinyl but don't own a single lp.if it was you in this position would you bother or not?
I'm one of the "geezers" on this site, and have been spinning LP's for more than 50 years, so I may not be the best person to respond. I've been playing LP's, and tweaking my analog front end, for so long that it's one of the most enjoyable aspects for me of the high-end audio hobby.

For many people, I think the decision on whether to buy a turntable, etc., depends on how much money you have to invest not only in a good analog front end (turntable / tonearm / cartridge / phone preamp), but also how much money you have to spend on buying LP's. A good analog front end, with phono preamp, will cost AT LEAST $2000-2500, and twice that much is not unrealistic.

The price of both new and used LP's is on the high side, and not everyone has the patience to set up and tweak the turntable/tonearm combo so it reaches maximum performance. If you are not absolutely convinced that you want to add analog playback to your system, you might be better served to spend the money on a really good SACD or DVD-A player and the appropriate recordings.

First off...do you have any analogue gear? ie, turntable, phono pre, etc.

Secondly...are you rich? If the answer is no, I wouldn't bother. It can get out of control, that's if you want exceptional sound. Of course you can approach this with a budget system but don't expect too much.

Bottom line...too many factors involved to which only you can answer, however, I love music and I truly enjoy records over cds, my answer would be WHY NOT BOTHER?
Just over a year ago I bought my first TT and LP in over 15 years. I now have close to 500 LPs. I still think it was worth the effort. I had almost given up on high-end systems as the digital stuff was just not involving enough to keep me interested.

Then I had the good fortune to over-hear a speaker demo at a local hifi store. The customer was into LP's so the store owner had setup his Linn TT ahead of time and they were spinning some CSN&Y. It caught my ear immediately. I promised to stay out of the way so they let me listen along. There it was, the sound I had been missing for so long but had forgotten what the secret was. Next the owner changed the Levinson SS pre with a McIntosh tubed pre. Another huge leap towards where I wanted to go. I have never heard any SACD or DVD-A that sounded as good as a well setup TT.

Heed Sdcampbell's words. It is getting harder to find LPs without paying a premium, but even so it is usually cheaper than buying ceedees. From my experience this is no different with SACD and DVD-A. These formats still have limited releases and cost alot more than the average used LP.

Ok, I'm going on too long. But I think you get the idea that I know for me it was absolutely the right thing to do.
I was you 12 years ago, took the plunge and have not looked back. A key word I would suggest is patience. I have a very limited budget and my system is still lo-fi but I enjoy the hell out of everything about this deal.

I don't know where you live, but you might look around and see if there is used vinyl available inexpensively. You can get into this hobby at any price range you want. There is lots of help available also, when you have more questions.

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With so many re-issues of great recordings This is a fabulous time to spin Vinyl.
Personally I struggle with the concept of people pouring tons of money into a system and then not bothering with vinyl cuz "it's too much trouble". Some of these same people have $1000 power cords! Our hobby is all about the music, not whether or not it's convenient.

I would suggest you conduct a A/B with an analog set-up that you can afford at a local dealer vs. a similarly priced digital front end. Better yet, bring it home and try it out in your system! Use the same music to compare; If you find the analog sound is worth the trouble, buy the 'table from your dealer. Trust your ears, Jeff
I bothered to get a turntable and have found that I could have done without it. It is a bit of a hassle and the need to attend to it is frustrating.

The reason I got my table in the first place is probably the same reason for your inquiry, it's the unknown. We could read every review and opinion written and still not know for sure what it is all about until we get it home and live with it.

I still believe I can live without it, but I am much better for the experience. I think it is necessary if you wish to get an overall clearer perspective of the many aspects of this audio hobby.
many thanks for your responses.i am surely not rich but do know a friend who can swing a discount for vpi gear.my small town has no vinyl retail store however the internet seems to have a great deal of online record shops.my pre-amp-m3a audible illusions-is phono ready,so it's at least a start.
I would forget about it, unless I had deep pockets and a lot of patience.
It all boils down to software availability and that boils down to several factors...

1. Are you prepared to wait for the few new releases to come out on LP vs. CD?

2. Are you prepared to pay a premium for LP reissues of music you may already have on CD?

3. Do you live in a large urban area with several used records stores?

4. Do you have the time and patience to scrounge around these stores on a regular basis?

5. Are you into 70's-80's rock as opposed to classical and jazz? (There seems to be a lot more competition for the good stuff in the latter genres.)

6. Are you prepared to spend time and resources to rejuvenate your used record store finds?

If you answered "yes" to three or more of these then it is probably worth the plunge.
OK, I'm 22, the "digital generation." I grew up with CD, and later MP3. "Perfect Sound Forever!" Three years ago I had nothing but maybe an LP and a couple 45RPMs, and LOTS of CDs. When I heard what vinyl could do, it was a no-brainer. Best part is, the availability of new vinyl is getting better and better. Take a look at my system and see where my priorities fall, vinyl vs. CD ;)

Vinyl is certainly not as convenient as CD and requires some care and attention (though don't even get me started on fussing around the computer for mp3's consistently inconsistent mediocrity)...but if you're looking for the best SOUND...it's vinyl. And no, it's doesn't *have* to take tons of money, either ;)
It costs very little to get into vinyl in comparison to CDs. There was a used LP sale near where I live, this weekend and every LP was $1.00. How much do CDs cost? You don't need deep pocket or a lot of patience, just the maturity of an adult (which some AudiogoNers seem to lack).

Turntables are not extremely expensive or difficult to set up but they sound a lot better than CDs. I have $3500 in both my CDP and my TT and there is little comparison between the two. LPs simply sound better, but it is not nessesary to spend anywhere near that money to get LPs to excede CDs.

For less than $500 you should be able to get a competitive TT setup. Used LPs are easy to find and fairly cheap, unless you buy them on AudiogoN, then you will get gouged.
I guess I would fall into the old geezers group too. After 40 years of playing and collecting vinyl I would be hard pressed to start over again. If I were starting out today I would look at SACD over vinyl. It has been my experience that good SACD has many of the strong points of vinyl without all the fuss. Don't get me wrong, I love the sound of vinyl, the big lp covers, the whole vinyl experience but collecting and playing vinyl can become a job. Don't forget the storage issues, lps are big, heavy and take up a lot of space. That said ,if any of you fellows want to give up vinyl, let me know, I would be more than glad to take some of it off your hands.
What's all this "be prepared to spend a ton of money" crap?!! There is a lot of choice for excellent reproduction at good prices, with 'table, tonearm, cartridge and preamp for a total of under a grand, considering the huge amount of quality used 'tables out there. With good choices, you can assemble something in this price range which will make most digital media sound like the dross it is. The tubed ASL Mini Phono sells for $200 new, there are the lower Regas, used Thorenses, ARs (which musically-speaking can kick the ass of a lot of high-end dross out there), Aristons, the Shure 97, Grados, cheaper Denons, and so forth. Are you after status or are you after music? As to software, apart from the over-priced re-issues, there's vinyl to be found in every Salvation Army, Neighbourhood Services, flea market, garage sale...there's a surplus (thank you "Perfect Sound Forever!). While it's true it is difficult to get good jazz cheaply, it is not impossible, and there absolutely tons of good used classical, if one doesn't religiously follow TAS lists of "finest recordings." The older Deutche Grammophons, Philips, Deccas, RCAs (even Red Seals often show up), Columbia, Turnabouts and more can all be surprisingly good. At 25 cents a pop, you can afford to take a risk. As to needing expensive cleaning machines, yeah, if you're anal-retentive, otherwise use your eyes to see if the album is clean and unmarked by scratches when purchasing, even at 25 cents. Experience will eventually tell you which marks are significant and which aren't. Radio Shack sells an excellent brush - the Discwasher - at $20 with walnut handle for dirtier records, as it has "wet-clean" capabilities. Otherwise a carbon-fibre brush is good for most albums. Relax already, no need to imtimidate our guests! Buy a cartridge - the Shure V15 for instance, that doesn't force you to adjust the VTA for each record, instead maybe once every two years. Sit back and enjoy the music. If you've got a VPI and an Audible Illusions already, you're well ahead of the game: $200 for Shure, $20 for Discwasher, 25 cents to $1 for records. Yeesh. Have fun!
Even when vinyl was the dominant medium, I would buy something and immediately transfer it to tape.
I couldn't stand geting up every twenty minutes or endure the surface noise and the devil's "pop" at the most intimate part of the music. Seemed like every time you'd play an LP there would be a new crackle.
I think things are better today with premium vinyl formulations and advanced record cleaning machines.
However, with limited resources, I focus on digital or vinyl but not both (if you're after primo sound).
Wow, no LPs, huh?!_____Tough call!

I think if I were you, I would buy a few of my favorite recordings on LPs. Try to pick a few of your very favorites, espcially those that were either recorded for analog first (ie. before the '90s) or are accoustic in nature (preferably both!) This is not a huge investment, maybe up to $50-100 or so.

Then, I would go to a friend who has a good analog setup, or failing that, to a dealer (who not only has the analog system you are thinking of, but who also has your amplification and/or speaker system), and who will let you play through all your albums (dedicating an hour or two to your listening session).

Then after you have tried that, if you are not convinced that analog is for you, then sell those few albums for a slight loss, and enjoy your collection of CDs, knowing that you gave analog a decent shot.

I'm betting your will end up joining us who are hooked using analog, but if you don't, at least you gave it your best shot. (If you don't that's great too! All the more LPs for me!)

Good Luck!
I agree with Johnnantais with respect to the silly hand-wringing over cost. The ONLY issue with respect to cost is that if you have no LP's, it will cost a good deal to build a library of music. But, if you also have no CD's, or very few, even building a music library will be cheaper with vinyl, unless all you desire is 50’s jazz or rare classical pieces. You can spend what Johnnantais speaks of and maybe be very happy, especially when compared to the same money spent on digital. You can also spend 3-4 times, or more, what he is speaking of and be thrilled - and I'd wager much more thrilled than the same dollars spent on digital. I think most people that say no to this have either bought products that don't mate well, are suspect to begin with, and/or lack the knowledge or are too lazy you do a proper setup.

Taking off on the Johnnantias, I'll toss down the gauntlet.

Say there are two guys who have the same linestage, amp, and speakers. Now, let's deal in retail pricing. I'll buy a Nottingham Spacedeck w/Spacearm ($2,700), Shelter MKII ($700) cartridge, a K&K Audio phono stage ($1,800), a $300 IC of your choice, and let's throw in $500 for a VPI 16.5 vacuum machine and 4 bottles of Record Research Cleaners while we’re at it since I can anticipate the wailings with respect to cleaning. That's $6,000. NOT chicken feed to most mortal folks, like me.

You go out and spend $6,000 retail on a transport, DAC, IC, and any kind of CD cleaner/Auric illuminator/etc. you want.

We'll butt heads with the same music and let an audience decide. I'll place my money on the big disc. In short, argue all you want with respect to the cost of building a music library from scratch and I’ll agree. Trot the same argument out for the price of equipment, and you got just that, an argument! :-) (BTW, I'd also throw down the gauntlet for nearly any price level one might want to select, instead, on a comparative basis).
if the TT comes with remote and you can FF and skip to the next track then YES.
If I were you -- no way would I start into vinyl at this point. Clicks and pops and constantly fighting the war against dust in your grooves...I don't care if
you gave me the LP, there's no way I want to be stuck playing LP's with all those clicks and pops. Fuhgedaboudit! Digital has gotten too good to put
yourself through all that -- same with digital players. I gave up all my vinyl a little while ago and have never looked back. Just my opinion.
With vinyl, you won't WANT to FF and skip to the next track.

And even if you do, it's a small price to pay.
I guess I should qualify my answer. Personally I would not because of all the maintenance issues associated with vinyl. On top of the cost of good quality vinyl(180g-250g) about $40.00 a pop. SACD is just to good for me to even consider getting into vinyl. However, having said that you seem to have an interest. You can always try it (buy used) and if you don't like it sell the equipment here on audiogon. As you can see there are quite a few enthusiasts who love it.

Go for it 4yanx! Hopefully, there will be a real shoot-out. I put my money on the big disc.
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yes. it does not have to take a lot of money, but as noted by previous posters, it DOES take quite a bit of patience. i was asking myself this very question about 2-3 weeks ago, and i just set up my first vinyl setup this weekend. total investment (after a minor reconfiguration of my equipment) was very modest, but it has been one heck of a fun and educational experience. and the sound? i have a very modest system, but i think the sound is top notch. and yes, the vinyl is substantially better than cd on my system. plus, your pre-amp has an excellent phono stage, so you don't even have to worry about that.

i think you will also find that the vinyl/analog community is a very helpful, supportive one. if you are the type of person that doesn't mind being meticulous about things, and get your reward from the music itself, i think vinyl would be a great move for you.

as for software... i listen to classical music about 75% of the time, and the availability of old classical records is great. prices do seem to have increased lately, but buying used vinyl is no more expensive than buying new/used cd's.

so, to make a long story short, i think it is absolutely worth it to give vinyl a try. even if you end up thinking it's not worth the hassle and maintenance, at least you can say that you gave it a try. more optimistically, you may find that, like me and hundreds of other people out there, music is simply more engaging and rewarding through a well though out vinyl setup.

good luck,
In retrospect, and if I didn't know better, it may appear that the initial post in this thread was crafted to spark the "conversation" that has followed. I will just leave my challenge out the for anyone who wants to bite.

Funny how those who never post, or vary rarely post, in the section of the 'Gon are drawn into this thread.
as with most of the questions raised in these forums it is left to the individual to decide for themselves what is best.my buddy up the street is into vinyl big time and before any of my components were anywhere near good quality,his system really impressed me.now that our systems are closer together in terms of a fair comparison,another session at his place for a vinyl vs cd comparison would help me decide.just my opinion but it appears within the vinyl arena that upgrading ones arm,cart.,ect makes it all the more appealing.a person can go with vpi or rega,start slowly and relatively cheaply and as funds become available,upgrade without having to replace the unit completely.
You know you either want to get into finding old records, finding good supplies, or you just go with the digital trend and be done! Yes, there is some absolutely stunning, superb, and glorious(even better on the whole than the digital offerings out there often) sound to be had from good analog, no doubt. I think however, you are either willing to commit to hunting down analog and making a hobby out of it(records), or your not. I'm not personally. I just like plain CD, maybe better, and HT. And I do like music. But unless you're ready to commit, and/or you already have a good record collection, you should strongly consider your time and effort. It may be worth it, maybe not.
If you go to the shows every year(CES/Hifi show/etc), you may listen, and like. If so, and your gut say's, absolutely, then you might get a small Project table, Rega, etc, and pick up a few records. Then, if you're absolutely, sold, go further. Hope this helps.
Me personally, I grew up in the digital age of gen X'ers. I just happend to dig HT/Digital, and music second. So for me, it's easy. good luck
2 years ago, I didn't have one single record, nor did I have a turntable. I now have over 1000 records and a fine turntable system, and my digital player has been sold.
Well, lets just say, if you will not bother, you will never know. It is not a requirement for vinyl afficionados to be rich. I started 9 months ago without any LP to call my own. Just like TWL, I accumulated more vinyl than expected in such a short time. Mine is now close to 2000. Vinyl will totally change your listening habits and equipment choice. It will make you patient, it will make you choose your gear wisely. It will teach you how to really listen to what a sound of an instrument or voice should be. It takes much more effort to listen to it than CDs. If you have the heart to try, please do. You will not regret it. By the way, TWL, is the one to listen to for the advice on vinyl equipment choice. One last word, "Teres".
There are many used record stores with a lot of product. the problem is that you will have to invest in some record cleaning equipment. You will be surprised how good some of the bad looking vinyl can sound. With time you will be able to tell the difference between a worn out record and a dirty record. The used vinyl I find is very reasonable.

It really doesn't make much sense unless you are convinced that vinyl is way superior in sound to digital, and that is your main concern.

Many vinyl disciples have a huge investment in records that they have been collecting for decades.
If I had a thousand(s) LP's, I would want to believe that vinyl was the best sounding format, no matter what came along in the future.

Nevertheless, vinyl MAY BE the best sounding format there is. However, if you read other threads on Audiogon you'll see that at least some of the same people touting the virtue of vinyl here, are also saying that you don't get the most out of the format without the best gear. Meaning big bucks. Check out the prices of some turntables, and audiophile records.

So, what to do? There is nothing wrong with doing both. I have a decent Pioneer turntable, and about 300 LP's. But, I started out when vinyl was the only game in town. I still enjoy listening to them once in a while, but it is a lot more convienient to listen to cd's. LP covers, on the other hand, are much better to hold in your hands than a jewel box (to read too). That is one thing I miss with cd's.

I think well recorded cd's sound better than LP's with the equipment I own. I also think I could buy better vinyl gear that would sound better than cd's.
I re-iterate my earlier point: that spending loads of dosh is not necessary to building an extremely musical amd informative vinyl rig. The trick is in choosing musical items over analytical items, in which of course, the more money you spend the more information you retrieve (with certain exceptions, however...). Vinyl's great advantage over digital media is it's musicality. Therefore aim for Prat and that sense of organic flow first, everything else second. Classic 3-point suspension designs such as the ARs, Aristons, Thorenses, and Linns are masters of Prat and flow. Regas are musical and have great Prat as well. Many of these 'tables can be had for $300 with decent arm: say an AR EB101, or others, which often come with Sumiko MMTs and so on. Add $200 Shure V15VxMR cartridge. Buy Antique Sound Labs tubed Mini Phono for $250. Total $750. Buy a NAD PP2 and the price drops by $150. Buy a plastic Grado and the price drops by another $100. Now we're at $500. Not only does such a system have great Prat and flow, it is also surprisingly detailed. Forget the overpriced re-issues, buy in used stores at $5 to a buck or less a piece. At this price this is fun, and very soon you will have hundreds of records: try buying good used CDs for a buck or less. And it would take a mega-buck CD-player to match or beat the AR/MMT/Shure combo even for information - as air, imaging and timing are also forms of information, which only the very rare and very expensive CD players can convey. The combo also retrieves a hell of a lot of simple detail as well. Those who say a mega-buck combo is NECESSARY have bought, or are planning to buy, mega-buck combos and are competing with the Joneses. Magic - where vinyl absolutely crushes digital media - can be had for much less. Remember, it's about music, not money, not information. Here I hasten to add that such a well-chosen combo retrieves an astonishing amount of information nevertheless. So, no great dedication to the cause is necessary: at these prices one can experiment, have a different experience, and have fun. With such a well-chosen system and at these prices and with fun in mind, there will soon be a convert.
I haven't slogged through the whole thread here, so maybe it's already been mentioned, but a major consideration should be children -- your own or those who may come to visit. Aside from the potential economic choices vinyl may force you to make (do we have another baby or do I spring for that separate synchronous motor power supply this year...?), you will also have to develop a robust set of defensive countermeasures to safeguard your turntable shrine area. If YOU find drawn to turntables, imagine how alluring they must look to a toddler. (Hey, what's that little pointy thing hanging underneath the long black tube? I should probably scrape it really hard several times with my thumbnail to check it out...hey, it broke off...) I normally try to keep the turntable semi-hidden by keeping the dustcover closed, with a big pile of cd's and a plant on top. And with #4 Son, the craftiest of the clan, I NEVER LET HIM SEE ME PLAY A RECORD. If he saw me open the dustcover and he realized what interesting things were in there, that rig would be in pieces next time I came home from work. Then there's the vibration isolation. Once in a while I try to cheat and play a record while my kids are awake, and at least one of them will come BOUNDING into the room and start some wild dance, which is good, except that my crusty Linn LP12 tries to start dancing too, and after a few hops by the tonearm across the record, the music stops. You see, I haven't gotten around to investing a thousand bux into adequate vibration isolation. I'm going to move to the concrete floor of the basement and use a lower, better platform, but even then I'll have to erect some sort of barriers around it. I could use the specialist wall shelf I had mounted to brick in England, but the drywall back home here in the U.S. carries so much vibration that I doubt there's much point. There's more, but you get the idea. So having said all that, I have to admit that I'm going to be like my father when he said, "I smoke, but you shouldn't, because it's bad for you." Despite the endless hassle, I like vinyl and will continue to monkey with it, but if you have the choice, this is a well from which you should probably not sip. Just walk away. There are plenty of other things that you can spend your time and money on that will give you more pleasure and benefit.
>>You see, I haven't gotten around to investing a thousand bux into adequate vibration isolation.<<

Another hassle [and hidden cost] with vinyl.
ARs have the best isolation on the business. Sorry, Linn owners, Linn having one of the worst. Otherwise, wall mounts do work - even in drywall - for a lot less than a thousand bucks. Then there's your friendly neighborhood stud-finder. Let's face it, all this talk of the great inconvenience of LP playing is nothing more than a witch-hunt, and rationalisation for making the mistake of selling all those LPs years ago. Ooo, you have to get off your ass twice instead of once when playing an album. As for ticks and pops, there are quiet stylus and noisy ones, better tonearms and worse ones, phono stages which highlight noise and ones which don't. As always, some thinking and listening is required. And the payoff is blessed music, not some computer-chip approximation. What's more, the level of involvement is fun and rewarding, the LP jackets so much cooler and more fun to discover and collect. Each new cartridge has the quality of a fine new wine, something to look forward to and savour...CD players?
With my CD/SACD player, I savor Coltrane, Monk, Miles, Diz.....no needle scraping dust out of the grooves, no clicks and pops, no obsessive compulsive rituals in the constant fight against dust and scratches...just music.
Sorry Rsbeck,

Digital is just information, not music. :) I do still use my ceedee player from time to time. It helps remind me just how good my $1700 analog front end sounds.
One thing for sure, music still raises the passions, which is precisely as it should be. In the interest of rhymes, go LP!
>>Digital is just information, not music. :)<<

Wow. Okay. Thanks. Vinyl is just a subculture, which has more to do with social/pycholological needs than music. :-)

But, seriously -- to each his own.
Dan, I do wear my shades when spinnin 'n grinnin. The Kool-aid I place on the CDP to free-up my hands. ;>)

I use both A & D and have stepped in crap and sniffed roses from each. It depends on the software.

A well-recorded, produced and manufactured LP or CD (played over some decent gear) can give a lot of joy. The objective is...finding the f@#kers!
I'm 32, never owned a record up until 12 months ago (save for some 12" remixes), and started to build a serious analog setup a little less than a year ago. I guess I have about 300 records now, many of them new releases, and about 4 months ago, sold my Wadia 860x to invest in a better cartridge and tonearm.

I've never had so much fun or enjoyed music as much as I now do.

My most recent addition, a Basis Vector, has completely transformed my system. Adding the Vector has probably been biggest improvement I've made since getting bitten by the upgrade bug. Before the Vector, it was often a toss up between CD and LP; whichever had the better recording won. And although I can't compare to my Wadia, I do know that my LPs have never sounded so great. The Vector improved everything! Explosive dynamics! Big body! Lush, liquid tone! Great detail without the hot sibilance! Coherency, musicality, imaging... everything! I'm pretty blown away... how the hell can a tonearm make that much of a difference??

anyway... now more than ever, I am SO glad I decided to just go for it. It's been so worth it (admittedly, I've spent a small fortune on my analog rig).
Yes - I too was put off by the hassles. But since I could not decide on a decent CDP, decided to give Vinly a try. Was/is a little more work, but very enjoyable. A different sound. Adventures finding music, plus more variety. I am still looking for a CDP. Will be even harder now that will have to compete with vinly. But in a way good, not looking to replicate vinly but compliment. I may just take the funds for CDO and get one of those sexy Teres, but even my current setup provides enjoyable sound so actually content for a while.
I'm 26 and didn't own a single record 1 year ago. Like most of the young posters in this thread, I bought the records because I was curious. I played them on a friend's rig until I could get my own analog setup. I did the same with video games, movies, and even CDs. I always buy the media before the player.

You're going to have to go out and buy some records before you get the analog front end. The setup itself is easy. Just plunk down the green and upgrade from there. The hard part is getting records. You're going to need to see how easy and enjoyable it is for you to acquire records both locally and via mailorder. Either you are going to like it or you won't. And you won't know until you try.

My tastes largely focus on classical and heavy metal. And I have local supplies of both. But just as there are some titles in both genres that I can only get on vinyl. The same holds true for the 5 inch polycarbonate disc. So I have both front ends. Contrast this with my SACD venture which was largely a waste of time. At least is was for me. YMMV.
You're the second poster today raving about the Vector (unless your name on VA is Steve_DC). STOP IT ALREADY! You guys are driving me nuts. I want one so bad it hurts, but we have to buy a RCM first.

Buy the Teres. Our $2K CDP hasn't played more than 1 or 2 hours in the six months since we got our Teres. The Teres hasn't STOPPED for more than 1 or 2 hours! :)