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Greetings, peasants! What, still listening to MP3s Should You Still Buy MP3 Players? Should You Still Buy MP3 Players? Remember how everyone used to have an MP3 player? In the days before the iPhone, MP3 players were a must-have item. Smartphones have eaten into MP3 player sales over the years -- why purchase a... Read More ? That’s adorable. Look, as someone who knows more about music than you, I think it’s my duty to tell you there’s a better way. It’s called vinyl.

No, no. Vinyl didn’t die when Janis Joplin did. It’s still very much alive, and is vastly more preferable to listening to music in a digital format. Come, climb on my fixie. We’ll take a trip to the record store, and I’ll tell you the four reasons why you should ditch digital for 12″ vinyl records.

1. Your Taste in Music Will Improve

Let’s play a game. Go to your local record store — every good town should have one — and try to find Justin Bieber’s Believe, which sold almost 1,500,000 copies in 2012. Nothing?

Okay, try again. See if you can find anything by Nickelback. Nada? Okay, now see if you can find anything by The Pixies. What, an entire shelf’s worth? Why do you think that might be?

vinyl-record

Simple economics, my friend. People who listen to vinyl tend to be quite discerning with what they listen to. They don’t listen to airy, saccharine, Top 40 guff with synthesized instruments. They listen to bands that have artistic integrity, and actually write their own songs and play their own instruments. They listen to great songwriting, and have an ear for production A Quick Look At The iPad As A Music Production Tool A Quick Look At The iPad As A Music Production Tool When deciding whether one can justify the purchase of a tablet, rarely does "music production" factor into the decision-making process – but it should. Read More . As a result, bands that meet those criteria are the ones you’ll find in your record shop.

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When you listen to vinyl exclusively, you unconsciously make the decision to never, ever have to be confronted with Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. And that’s lovely.

2. Record Buying Is an Experience

In a tucked-away corner of my hometown is a small, independent record store called Probe Records. This has been a Liverpool institution for the longest time. Generations of Scousers have grown up visiting this place, and spending hours upon hours wandering through their expansive collection. Myself included.

vinyl-probe

There’s something wonderful about buying records. It’s the type of experience that is sadly lost on the iTunes and Spotify generation.

It’s the type of experience where you show up and spend hours upon hours aimlessly looking for music. You take gambles, and you drop money on albums not knowing whether they’ll be good or not. You speak to people, and get to know their recommendations and opinions, and ultimately make friends.

It’s a vastly more social experience than any app or online marketplace could ever be.

Note to self: Build social music buying app; make millions.

3. Vinyl Sounds Better

Sorry, folks. This one isn’t up for debate. Vinyl sounds better than MP3s ever could. I’m not just talking about that warm, mahogany-rich sound that vinyl is famous for, but in general. It’s just better.

Most of the music you listen to is stored and broadcast in a lossy format, where details are lost and quality is reduced. This is because audio is compressed How Does File Compression Work? How Does File Compression Work? File compression is at the core of how the modern web works, one could argue, because it allows us to share files that would otherwise take too long to transfer. But how does it work? Read More in order to make it small enough to shove on a phone, or to broadcast over the airwaves.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to a streaming service like Spotify (but not Tidal Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Jay Z recently relaunched Tidal, the music streaming service he acquired for $56 million. Tidal has 99 problems, and the pitch is one. Read More , which streams in lossless), or an MP3, or even to the radio. You’re still not getting the full picture of that track.

Vinyl is what’s called a lossless format. Nothing has been lost when pressing a record. It sounds as good as the producer or band intended.

vinyl-1

There’s another, much more important, reason why vinyl is better than anything else.

Vinyl, for the most part, escaped the ‘loudness war’. You see, with the rise and rise of digital music (CDs included), it has became possible to artificially engineer 7 Free Resources To Learn About Sound Engineering 7 Free Resources To Learn About Sound Engineering If you're a geek who's also a bit of a musician, you've probably occasionally thought about using your own equipment to record and produce CDs. I mean, you've got the microphones, a decent computer, a... Read More a track louder than it naturally should be. The problem here is that it has a massively detrimental result on audio quality.

Indeed, it causes songs to sound distorted and become unpleasant to listen to, and strips them of their depth and texture. Because vinyl is an analog format, it’s doesn’t really suffer from the same problems. Don’t believe me? Check out this comparison between the CD version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Hump de Bump, and the vinyl version.

4. Vinyl Can Make You Money

When you buy an MP3 on iTunes, there is no way you can turn that purchase into an investment that makes you money at a later date. That’s because you don’t own that particular MP3. You merely license it.

But, vinyl? That’s an entirely different beast altogether.

There’s an entire industry of people purchasing, collecting, and reselling vinyl, because overwhelmingly it keeps its purchase value, or even appreciates in value.

vinyl-recordstore

When you collect vinyl, you’re not just buying music. You’re making an investment you can sell on a rainy day, or even pass down to your children.

There are even apps and websites — such as MyRecordList MyRecordList: List, Search & Share Your Collection of Vinyl, Cassettes & CDs MyRecordList: List, Search & Share Your Collection of Vinyl, Cassettes & CDs Read More — that make the process that much easier.

Face It, Vinyl Is Not Going Away

Vinyl is an old technology, and one that has remained relatively unchanged in the past decade. But that’s because it’s as close as we’ll get to a perfect device for listening to music. It is, to be as straightforward as possible, simply as good as it gets.

Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think I’m a pretentious hipster douchebag? Either way, drop me a comment below and we’ll chat.

Image Credit: Probe Records (Radarsmum67)

  1. lets get some facts
    December 7, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    These arguments are all correct - so go buy yourself some uncompressed digital music on a CD. It is physically impossible for a vinyl record to match the reproductive accuracy of these [I'll let you check the maths]. Unless, of course, your more interested in having a 'cool' looking turntable etc.

  2. Paul Cohen
    December 7, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Having gone through the records and cassettes era, then replaced my records with cd's and then added an ipod. I have now added a turnable to my system again and can state that all mediums are great for me depending on what I am doing. Except for cassette, was great for car etc before cd and until the cassette deck decided it was hungry and ate the tape.

    Mp3 great for on the train, listening to music in bed but quality not as good or detailed as cd
    Cd best audio detail, I do find older music tends to be better produced than newer cd music, Fleetwood Mac rumours on cd has great separation and detail. It's also generally louder but that extra detail can add a harshness to the sound. Cd is great for when you want to flick from song to song, have a party and blast it loud.
    Records (i refuse to call them vinyl and anyone who calls records vinyls should be shot, lp's singles,45s,yes but vinyls -no)
    They can never have the detail that cds potentially have, neither (unless you spend the equivalent of the cost of a small House) will they get the same separation for each channel a cd can. But to me they sound less harsh and have a nicer tone than cd, records are for when I have time to sit back close my eyes and listen.
    Everyone should stop arguing about the medium and just enjoy the music, one advantage vinyl and cd do have is that the artist is more likely to get paid, unless you have illegally downloaded and ripped a cd

  3. Constance Lyne
    December 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Vinyl may soumd better tham an MP3, but certainly NOT BETTER than a CD. CD recordings are superior because the difference between the loudest and the softest sounds: CDs can handle 90 decibels, while vinyl only 70 decibels- this means CDs have more than 10 TIMES the DYNAMIC RANGE of records.
    CDs are recorded digitally, but they are transformed back into a constant analog wave. About 20 kHz is filtered out (of a CD) which is the highest frequency people can hear anyway, so nothing is lost...NO amp or speakers are capable of reproducing those frequencies, therefore, nothing is taken out when it comes to the sound.
    On vinyl records, the needle produces a hiss, plus the dust/dirt the record's grooves (which creates a crackling sound) and factor in the noise from the turntable.
    Also, the separation between the right and left channels: in recording a CD it's over 90 dB-, while vinyl is only 30 dB- this means that the range is much less (on vinyl) when it comes to mixing the audio, therefore you won't be able to experience the full stereo sound as it's meant to be heard during recording.
    Also, no matter how much time you put into caring for vinyl, it's going to wear out, the more you play it, the worse the sound becomes. Vinyl will bend, warp and scratch.
    Nothing comes in contact when you play a CD, nothing touches it, making it sound rich and full every time, just as the artist recorded it.

  4. SXQ
    December 5, 2016 at 1:27 am

    vinyl is not better quality than mp3 necessarily. All recordings on vinyl are pressed onto them using a master that most likely was recorded to tape while being recorded. Only very few artists recorded masters directly to vinyl which in theory may sound superior to a digital file. However the quality of the file is what matters mp3 under 320kbps is garbage and FLAC is on the rise. People are stupid enough to think vinyl is better simply because of media hype and the lack of knowledge to differentiate between a poor quality and excellent quality sound file. This article hits some valid points but fails to explain anything other than loudness.

  5. josh
    December 1, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    http://www.npr.org/2012/02/10/146697658/why-vinyl-sounds-better-than-cd-or-not
    NPR Science Friday 2012
    Two audio experts join guest host John Dankosky to talk about the science of audio, and how perceptions can shape the sound experience.

  6. J Crosby
    November 19, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Fee digital downloads come for free with almost all new vinyl purchases.... win/win!

  7. Bob St. Cyr
    November 9, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Well yeah I'll agree vinyl will sound better than MP3, but better than CD - nope. Many blind listenings with my high end turntable, straight line tracking arm with moving coil cartridge etc. and a moderately priced CD player proved, no one could pick out the difference!!!!! With thousands of dollars in vinyl playback equipment I was totally pissed off, and somewhat embarrassed. Yes I enjoyed the buying process and the album covers but at the end of the day, CD's are more convenient, more durable, use less room and sound every bit as good as vinyl, but hey if you want to continue to drive 60's muscle car cause it's cool, that's ok but don't try to tell me that it's better technology than my new car.

    • Tony Gee
      November 25, 2016 at 2:53 am

      I agree. I grew up with vinyl and owned a high end stereo system in the mid 80s and played only records on it. When I added a CD player to it I bought the CDs of the records I owned. The CD version blew the vinyl out of the water. Although it all depends on the mastering of the CD too.Modern CDs are too loud for the specs of the CD.Hopefully things will turn around for CDs as vinyl becomes more popular and they go back to mastering them for sound and not loudness.
      All these "Vinyl is better" comments are only comparing to mp3s and the like.
      Vinyl isn't better. It's just different. So people should stop comparing and just enjoy the music.

    • Jordan
      December 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      I mostly agree with you except the part about durability.I have vinyl record which are 20 years old and almost sound as good as new.And if you want to make them sound like new you can use the easy wood glue method which cleans the record.You can't do the same with CDs I'm afraid.Yes you can remove scratches but it requires a machine which is not that cheap.Still, all other arguments you have are valid.

  8. Jamie Anderson
    November 7, 2016 at 5:36 am

    My digital recordings can sound like the musicians are in playing live in my listening room. My vinyl has never come close to being that good in terms of resolution - though often enjoyable it never sounds like the real thing.

  9. Nick
    November 4, 2016 at 4:26 am

    I'm assuming you only wrote this for page views and comments, which I detest. But anyways:

    1: Your taste in music will improve.
    What you're really doing is limiting yourself to older music, and until recently, music that for lack of a better term was super "hipster-esque". Which is a very narrow genre of music typically. Now that vinyl is becoming more mainstream again though, the selection of new vinyl is expanding.

    On a side note, are you saying that all classical music is bad? Because good luck finding new classical music on vinyl. Want to know why that is? It's because people listening to classical music generally care about the quality of the sound and CDs are far superior to records in that regard.

    2: Record buying is an experience.
    Not going to argue. Yard sales are fun.

    3: Vinyl sounds better.
    This one basically proves that you don't have any idea what you're talking about, there are so many reasons that this isn't true. It is not something that is up for debate either. What matters most when discussing how "good" a medium is for storing music is how true it is to the original recordings and mastering. That "warm, mahogany-rich sound" that you were talking about? Records sound that way because they are distorting the sound. If an artist wants their music to sound "warm and mahogany-rich", then they can have it produced to sound that way and that is exactly the way it will sound on a CD. But also if they want it to sound cold and clear they can do that. A record will fudge everything and make it all sound "warm and mahogany-rich" but to properly appreciate an artist's work you should experience it in the form most true to how they created it. There are a number of reasons for why records will not be true representations. One of these is that low frequency sounds are difficult to accurately record on the vinyl so they have to do some fancy math on them when making the records and when playing the music. Also, records wear over time so if a record has been listened to more than a couple times the high frequencies will begin to wear out. What you are then left with is a bunch of middle-range stuff that sounds nice and warm and rich but is not what the artist intended their music to sound like. Also there is the fact that records come with plenty of static and other undesirable sounds.

    The issue with CD's breaking the music into "steps" has been debunked a number of times in the comments so there isn't much else to say there. One note though, is that you mostly talked about MP3's when you were talking about digital recordings. I won't argue with you that some MP3's with painfully low bit rates sound like shit but there are plenty of other digital formats that are far superior. Even high quality MP3's are good enough to be far better than records for listening to music.

    I also take issue with what you say regarding that comparison of the RHCP songs. In what you called the vinyl versions is says right there that they were remastered. Which means that it is not the same recording that is on the CD. Therefor you are comparing apples and oranges and whether someone prefers apples or oranges is entirely a matter of preference.

    4: Vinyl can make you money
    Tell us all how much money you have made from your collection of vinyl.

    One thing I will say though with a record player you need external speakers and such whereas anyone can listen to any sort of digitally formatted music file from their laptop. And laptop speakers suck. In that comparison vinyl would win, but as soon as you plug the laptop into that same stereo system the record player is using, digital wins hands down.

  10. James Capasso
    October 29, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I agree. I'm listing to Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. (On vinyl). Vinyl does sound better, when you buy your record, take it home, put it on the turntable and push play. You listen to the whole album. You don't push the skip button and skip through the album. With a record you listen to both sides and enjoy the entire album. Also the art work, the cover sleeve, and of course the sound. I've listened to music on vinyl , cd , and MP3, all on my Pioneer receiver w/ the sound coming out of Infinity speakers, and the vinyl record sounds better.
    Also yes it's great to walk into your local record store and spend a lot of time looking for music, talking with the other people that are doing the same thing your are. Yes your talking face to face, not texting! Something that is missing nowadays is that live in person conversation .

  11. RussellH
    October 28, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    I disagree. I listen to mainly classical. I have for 45+ years. Compact disc audio sounds clearer to me and has since the very first generation of cd players to my ears. The sound of a well recorded CD sounds closer to what I hear in a concert hall than anything I've heard on vinyl.

    • Peter Hewitt
      November 7, 2016 at 12:43 am

      Classical music is not Rick/ Pop or other types of non classical music. Is it the focus on rhythm and percussive 'colour' that makes vinyl more attractive for non classical afficionados?

  12. Kalmon
    October 24, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    So in this little piece you gave 3 reasons as to why Vinyl is better which have nothing to do with the music itself. Fine. Then you claim that Vinyl sounds better. This article is called "Why vinyl is better then digital" but you only speak of MP3 files like nothing else exists, while anyone knows that even high end MP3's can sound much better then a Vinyl with it's added noise, distortion, and inaccurate bass. Not to mention when we get to CD quality and higher.

    Basically, stop lying to come up with fluff pieces that give people the wrong idea.

  13. Kyle
    October 17, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    I was told by a friend that in order to really hear the difference, you will need a really good receiver and set of speakers. Otherwise, you might as well be playing cds thru those shitty speakers of yours. What do you think?

  14. Apply Lovers
    October 4, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    I think comparing the vinyl to CD is like heaven and earth but there is a new technology now in music industry the DSD. Direct Stream Digital is totally different but the file size is way too high 1 GB to 4GB per music. This is a lossless music format much higher to flac music. Currently I invested to portable players like AK380 which is very costly but very best music output with MOJO portable amps and Sennheizer HD 850 which my world totally different. Try this and you will feel in heaven.....

  15. Ben
    October 2, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Synthesizers do not necessarily make a band "worse," unless you don't like the sounds they make. But then again, a synthesizer is one of the most versatile instruments in existence, capable of an infinite variety of tones, so surely that's just bias! There are plenty of bands out there who make beautiful music with computers and synths as well as acoustic instruments. And there are many, MANY different genres of electronic music. Don't like Skrillex? Don't give up looking there! Try Ulrich Schnauss on for something atmospheric, filled with 80s nostalgia, or Floating Points if you like experimental Jazz. And my personal favorite, Tycho, offers lush electronic melodies backed by a host of guitars, set to live drums and/or cut up drum samples. I am proud to have all three of these artists in my personal vinyl collection.
    There's really no need for elitism and ignorance. If a song lifts your spirits and makes your heart sing, does it matter if it was played on circuits or strings? Cheers :)

  16. Randy
    October 2, 2016 at 3:24 am

    I agree, vinyl sounds better and I like having album covers, artwork, liner notes, etc. With digital you just get the zeros and the ones (0 and 1), but you miss everything in-between. (Neil Young can explain this better than I can.) Thanks for the great article

  17. Shelly
    September 28, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I totally agree! And I'm as far from a " hipster" as you can get. I just love vinyl. I like having it. Looking at the cover art. Reading all that is printed on the front and back. It's tangible something I own and collect. I've never downloaded music. It seems impersonal. I feel like people who download ( mostly the young ones). Just pick one song. From the " artist " of the month and don't know anything other than the 1 or 2 popular songs. There's nothing like roaming through a record store.

  18. Bob Bell
    September 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I have been listing to music on vinyl for all my life. However, I am old enough to have bought my first records on shellac. In other words, on 78rpm.

    And these sound better than vinyl. In spite of their fragility, they do wear better than LPs and 45s. I have thousands of 78's and I have thousands of 45's. Plus thousands of LP's. By and large, 78s have LESS surface noise than 45's, and LPs that were pressed during the late 70's and later often tend to skip. One lesson I have learnt is that records play, and sound, best on equipment of similar vintage. LPs pressed in the 50's sound best on 50's or 60's record players. Later LPs play and track better on decks manufactured during the 80's and beyond.

    To be sure, 78s from some eras, such as the 40's when material shortages led to records being manufactured using reconstituted material, don't sound that great. But by and large, a 78 in good condition is going to sound very good indeed. For one thing, the grooves are wider, allowing 'more music to the groove'. A comparison could be made to compression - in other words, the more room for the stylus to operate in, the less 'compressed' the music. A rather crass comparison, admittedly, but I hope you get the point.

    Given the option between having a tune on CD, 45, LP, cassette or 78, I'll take the latter any day. The only drawback is that one needs a LOT of space! MP3s win out every time when space is the overriding factor.

  19. Harry Costley
    September 21, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    I totally agree.During my teens in the 70s I remember going out on a Saturday to scan the record shops new and second hand, speaking to strangers about various bands sharing musical passions and sometimes risking a purchase on a band you are not new. Reading the notes and reading the lyrics .When CDs came into vogue I soon stopped listening and music became a distant thing until recently I invested in a turntable and now I know how I lost interest.LPs sound totally different like night and day .They have more depth ,instruments can be clearly heard and the whole experience has a crisp natural sound ie as if the piano was in the room as if you were standing beside the singer in the studio.

    Music is to be enjoyed and I'm glad I have found my long lost friend again after such a long time.

  20. Aldo
    September 20, 2016 at 2:22 am

    You are as pretentious as they come.

  21. David
    September 14, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Great article! Nevermind is just a different experience on vinyl

  22. BlueDragon992
    September 13, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I have honestly yet to meet a single person under the age of 50 who honestly believes that an extremely outdated non portable format like Vinyl Records is the "perfect music format" that *isn't* a blatantly obvious pretentious hipster to whom even *Apple* products are "too mainstream"...

    (That includes the writer of this article BTW...)

    • Joel
      September 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

      i'm 16 and i honestly think that vinyl is far better than Mp3 or cd

    • Chuck UFarley
      September 25, 2016 at 9:35 am

      I am under 50. I recently found my Technics linear tracking turntable with direct drive from the mid 1980s and I had not listened to any of my records since the late eighties. I would get a record and dub it to cassette and never play the record again so the majority of my record collection is in good shape to almost new. I have a high end Philips CD recorder hooked into a decent 2 channel 100 watt receiver and good quality speakers.

      I was shocked to notice that when I hooked up my turntable and played my records, that they almost had a cd like sound quality to them. Yes, they are some clicks and pops, but mostly in the silent separation zone between songs on a record. CDs do have some advantages, especially when it comes to classical music in relation to very soft parts a musical piece, erupting to the very loud thunder of sonic brilliance and the massive gulf of stereo separation a CD digital recording can offer is very noticeable.

      However, for some reason, my ears are telling my brain that vinyl recordings sound smooth, warm, real and therefore human in scope and presentation. The stereo separation of a record, depending on how it was mixed during the recording process in the studio, can also generate a very good stereo separation image in my mind when I listen to the recording. I cannot and will not say it is psychosomatic, it is real, period. I will not totally discount CDs either, since I have a very good stereo system with a very good CD player. Since I have an innate understanding that ones and zeroes are just that, I also understand that my inner ear is mechanical, not digital. Records and record players are mechanical and I believe that is why I find that listening to records more enjoyable then music from a digital source 99% of the time.

      I have been so surprised on how records truly sound wonderful, after not listening to my records for almost 30 years in lieu of of CD s and as of late, MP3s.

      I do not have any reason to be pretentious and if anything, I have discovered a "new drug," in re-discovering listening to vinyl. It is a calming experience, even if Accept's "Balls to the Wall," or Slayer's, "Ghosts of War," happen to be playing on my turntable.

    • Dan
      October 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      I'm a 22 year old musician and music tech and vinyl is definitely better than any other format. The science is there. The is no loss in quality woth vinyl because the sound vibrations are record directly onto the record giving it the natural analog sound imstead of being sent through a processor which chops up the waves into rectangular pixels of data. Imagine a curved wave of pure music being turned into jagged stairs and that is basically the difference between analog and digital. Analog vs digital photography is very similar if that makes sence.

      • Bikeman
        October 17, 2016 at 4:59 am

        One might prefer the sound of vinyl (there is nothing wrong with that), but according to science it is inferior to modern digital. Vinyl adds distortion that some people find it pleasing. Digital recordings are much more transparent, have lower noise, higher dynamic range, etc.

        Digital definitely does not produce a "jagged stairs" output. Please look at this article by the well known recording engineer Ian Shepherd: http://productionadvice.co.uk/no-stair-steps-in-digital-audio/

      • Michael
        October 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        Total nonsense, vinyl is usually cut from tape transfers and there is a huge loss when that happens, if you don't believe me hunt down a clean copy of Thelma Houstons "I've got the music in me" vinyl lp. This is a very rare breed of recording where the the masters are cut "live" with no tape, obviously totally uneconomic because they have to be recorded in one take and there is a relatively low ceiling of pressings that can be made from the master. These records are amazing analog recordings, normal vinyl suffers from the problems of analog tape and of course today most studios would be cutting vinyl from digital tape masters or hard disks!

  23. Ian
    August 24, 2016 at 6:26 am

    It's unfortunate that Hipsters tend to be pretentious but that aside, I am 50 grew up listening to vinyl when it was all we had (bar Cassette tapes). I remember being excited by 'indestructible' CDs when they came out, I was also excited about the portability of a small CD compared to a big and fragile record.
    My stereos were never great until i was older and the digital music world had taken over completely. My records were in storage and all was ok in the world. Until MP3s.
    People were listening to tinny trebley sounds and finding it acceptable. It wasn't.
    Now we are in a full revival vinyl and the quality and ritual (if you drink red wine you'll understand) of listening, really listening to an album, not just a playlist on your iPhone.. is the real magic of music. And the reason musicians create, to be listened to (aside from the Metallicas of the world that create to make money)(but that is another debate).

  24. Michael
    August 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I'm 26, now that i own a turntable, i will never go back to mp3's. Listening to a song on vinyl is such a personal experience, like nothing else. It's so clear and crisp, when played on proper equipment, it's like the band is playing live just for you. You dont get pops and clicks on a good clean record, and the bass reproduction is fine with RIAA equalization. Now don't get me wrong, as a computer nut i realsie that digital is superior in sound reproduction, but it is so predictable and clinical in its nature, so sterile and limited. Its EXACTLY the same every time you listen to it. But on vinyl, each playback is slightly different. All i ask is that you dont rule out vinyl by just looking at the technology behind it, but instead just have a listen and make up your own mind.

  25. Ornello
    August 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    You're a moron. CDs (when mastered properly) are vastly superior to any 'vinyl' format.

  26. TrueAudiophile
    June 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    "Vinyl is what’s called a lossless format. Nothing has been lost when pressing a record. It sounds as good as the producer or band intended."

    They intended for it to sound full of white noise and with pops/clicks/crackling?

    They intended for it to have poor channel separation?

    They intended for it to have a limited dynamic range?

    They intended for it to improperly reproduce low/bass signals, giving it that 'warm' DISTORTED sound?

    Dragging a metal needle over bumpy grooves in a vinyl disc is barbaric. Nothing good can come from it.

    To the human ear, a 320kbps 48kHz 16bit MP3 is indistinguishable from a lossless format!

    • MadDawg
      October 3, 2016 at 11:15 am

      @TrueAudiophile - you are correct in questioning that "lossless" quote from this article.
      Many people confuse lossless data or audio with actual live lossless presentation. The actual music loses some audio range since we are not present in a live session - that is the first layer of loss, that exists in all recorded formats. The second layer of loss is post-recording (this affects both). How it is mastered, some amount of sound is lost between the copy and what gets left on the cutting floor - audio is no different than film making regardless if the end product is vinyl or a digital format since it is all processed in digital anyway (this affects both). There is no special care towards analog representation for any vinyl being pressed since its master is recorded in digital and not analog.
      Lets walk through some of the losses in a vinyl pressings which only exist for vinyl. A vinyl record is actually an analog pressing of a digital recording so data loss continues from master to pressing as digital is converted back into an analog representation of the digital master. The pressing requires that a plastic material be manufactured with a specific quality or grade of plastic with controlled temperatures and pressure to -minimize the warp- that happens no matter how hard you try. Minimal controlled warping does not affect a cd and there is no warp present in a streaming format only digital bit loss due to the limitation of the electronic media it is stored on. With vinyl there is loss between that Mr. Nick and Scratch needle which is usually a sapphire, ruby or diamond - glued onto a metal arm whereby a couple of wires record a - stereo only with -no- multi-tracked, warped and badly engineered piece of technology for this day and age. Vinyl was an awesome piece of technology in 1877 when Mary Had a Little Lamb was recorded on its tinny, scratchy and mono only -cylinder- not on a disc record. Today after nearly a century and a half the idea of a mono scratchy piece of crushed bug lacquer is not the ideal storage media much less vinyl.
      No one here has even addressed the question of loss due to companding. Anyone who claims that vinyl is lossless without understanding what companding is, means they are either a liar pimping vinyl or are ignorant beyond naive. Every piece of vinyl suffers from the limitation of a warped surface loss, a friction-vibration vinyl to needle energy transfer loss and most importantly the companding. That vinyl is -not- a series of thousands of dots making up multiple tracks recorded to represent a single millisecond of audio in digital format, it -is- an analog spiral stereo groove that a crystal gem or metal needle wiggles over the dots that are -translated- back into an analog wave and leaving scratches behind. Only the fist play of vinyl is as lossless as this medium can represent. After the first run the loss increases with each new micro-scratch which is inevitable when a gem scrapes across a plastic surface. Don't forget that friction loss is more serious than you might think. there is a single valley with two tracks on either side with vinyl and a single fixed surface gem vibrates over bumps on two sides back and forth over the sides in that valley. There is no possible way for that -single- gem to actually perform a faithful lossless reproduction of the two surfaces on the track so how do they get stereo out of the valley walls with a -single- surfaced needle? There are complex audio equations that are used to compress that data to get the best approximate recording into the vinyl surface, that is -part- of vinyl audio companding. The second part of companding is track spiral. Did you ever notice the spiral gets smaller from rim to center? Folks you do realize it is a spiral and -no longer- a cylinder where every spiral is the same size, don't you? This is really a very big problem in terms of spin time. At a fixed rate of 33rpm that Vinyl is limited in the amount of its companded data (analog compressed). The data compression actually changes from outside rim to inside because what you run at is rotational speed - 33 revolutions per minute for a Long Play record. The problem is not rotational or revolution speed but linear speed because the linear speed is constantly changing as the spiral gets smaller. To compensate the compression rate of analog data continuously changes from outside rim to inside last revolution. That inside center revolution is a specific size for a reason. If the compression is carried further then the loss becomes so great that the audio is perceptible. I really do not understand why people who -worship- vinyl do not understand basic physics. Do a little homework on linear speed vs. rotational speed in spiral reels and you will discover that what you thought was a simple true representation of an analog audio stereo track is actually a really awful compressed representation on a badly warped media short life media being scratched repeatedly with each play.

  27. TrueAudiophile
    June 20, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    I was sure I wrote a comment here...

  28. TrueAudiophile
    June 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    "It sounds as good as the producer or band intended."

    What part of dragging a metal needle over bumpy grooves in a vinyl disc sounds good?!

    They intended for it to be full of extra white noise and clicks/pops/crackles? A high signal-to-noise ratio?

    They intended for it to be incapable of fully reproducing low/bass frequencies, hence the 'warm' distorted sound?

    They intended for it to have poor channel separation?

    They intended for it to have a poor dynamic range?

    The human ear can't distinguish the difference between a 320kbps 48kHz 16bit MP3 and a lossless format, so the argument was moot before it started.

    To an audiophile, digital music is superior in every way.

    To an obedient consumerzombie hipster, who is all touchy-feely with the medium and has a trendy sense of nostalgia and is peer-pressurable... vinyl will surely make them smile with ignorant bliss!

    • jsamuel
      August 22, 2016 at 4:13 am

      'TrueAudiophile' - You're a moron, you're probably one of those hipster kids that tested vinyl on a Crosley player, and decided it sounded bad. Stick to those 1's and 0's.

  29. paulesquinea
    May 31, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    This doesn't have date? when this was written? 2006?

    • TrueAudiophile
      June 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      I guessed it was written in 1996, the early days of MP3. lol

  30. Simon Williams
    May 13, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    It's an interesting debate, and one, I would suggest, that can never truly be won by either side.

    I like good sound. There was a time when I used to own state-of-the-art analogue sound gear: turntable, arm, cartridge, pre-amps etc. And you know what? As good as the sound could be, I would inevitably be a little frustrated by the inherent surface noise, the odd bit of dust, the pre-echo heard on so many album and other analogue anomalies.

    These days I own a pretty good digital set-up. Where possible, I buy HD quality (48/96 or better) music, but I will also listen to MP3s at a pinch. Is there a difference? Of course, but it's not as great a difference as some would make out, and it's a difference that, in all honesty, most people would probably not notice too much.

    But even with the HD recordings, with their great dynamic range, their detail and space and precision, there is something that is missing for me in many of them when listened to on truly revealing speakers. There is a strident quality in that upper-mid area that detracts from my listening pleasure, and which was never there on the vinyl versions.

    Also, I find that the higher the quality of the recoding and playback system, the more frustrated I tend to get with the poor quality of so many mixes - sound engineers, with their particular philosophies and preferences (not to mention studio monitors and acoustics) have a huge impact of the final result results, and there are many who I would love to sit down and have a serious chat with).

    So I guess what I'm saying, really, is that nothing is "perfect". Vinyl has its shortcomings. So do even the best digital systems, formats and recordings. All in life is compromise. For my money I tend to compromise, on balance, on the side of digital. But that doesn't make it "better" - just personal preference.

  31. John
    April 22, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Vinyl is just a medium nothing more. Now listen, it has the POSSIBILITY of being "better" than digital sound IF the RECORDING i.e the sound waves of the recording band were transcribed DIRECTLY to an Analog recording medium such as VINYL OR TAPE BUT it's very likely a lot of bands record at some stage Digitally through a mixing studio before it then being transcribed back to Vinyl from Digital-To-Analog. So the waves on the vinyl you buy are only as good as the Digital quality used to record back onto vinyl! - Which of course all comes down to the sample rates and bitrates used digitally! And even then, it's never going to be the same as there's always a bit of loss during a conversion from Analog-To-Digital. It's as simple as that!

    This is plain truth. Analog-To-Digital and Digital-To-Analog. This is a very crucial factor. Some bands to this day exclusively make a point of Analog only recording at source and those are the bands you want to listen to on Vinyl as you well then feel the atmosphere and the warmth of every little sound in the bands recording studio at the time they recorded it. That's all.

  32. Fred
    April 16, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    No sound limitations on vinyl? Ever listen to a K-tel record back in the day? To get a lot of songs on one record, the audio levels would be highly compressed, leaving very little dynamic range.

  33. James
    March 30, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    When we understand how vinyl works we do not waste time thinking it is better than digital. Regarding to mp3, depended on player, loudspeaker and recording quality it will be better than higher quality recording on bad system but , of course, when we compare the same music on the same system mp3 is like a woman without legs, etc.

    On a very good system is very easy to perceive that the sound is poor of details. Today, we I decide to buy music firs I start searching on HDTracks, highresolution music etc., if not find the highest sampling rate (WAV 192 Khz or higher or DSD), I go to CD and only if I like the music and do find it that I go to apple store, etc.

    I sold all vinyl I had before 1998. Tapes, I do not want to remember its constant noise and the Dolby noise reduction that never worked well.

    I´m happy with the current WAV 192K music digital albums we can buy and download. It is not the way to get in love with and very old woman called vinyl!

  34. george
    March 29, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    By the way: MP3 is garbage, I don’t even consider that for classical music.
    Only wave or AIFF are considered for comparison.

  35. george
    March 29, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Vinyl is definitely not better than digital.
    That is a fact!
    Digitizing vinyl and removing the background hiss, which greatly degrades the quality of vinyl, without any other digital “remastering”, makes the digital sound as good as it gets, and as the performing musician would like to hear.
    I would like to hear one classical performing musician, who would say, that he/she likes the background hiss of vinyl playback. I don’t think there is one.
    Obviously there is no 100% substitute to live music in a concert hall, but digitized and hiss removed recording comes the closest to that.
    I digitize vinyl recordings and remove the inherent clicks and hisses, leaving everything else as it had been recorded on vinyl.
    Then I play the analog vinyl and the digitized version, and the difference in quality of sound is always in favour of digital. Period.

  36. James
    March 27, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I have a friend working for Diasound and he said a lot of think that explained me all about “vinyl” and “tube” lovers but one of the most important is that in the past loudspeakers was large because the sound systems were large (a vinyl is much higher than a 128GB pen driver!). Today people think that technology allow a very good sound coming from a miniature loudspeaker system and it will never happen!

    The “Anna” loudspeaker system I listened in their laboratory is 190 cm tall and 70 cm wider, so I questioned why they do not make a smaller one and the response was shorts “we do not waste time against the physic, it is better to listen to a good headphone than a miniature loudspeaker lost on the space”.

  37. James
    March 27, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    The most important is the recording quality and then the quality of the sound system. I listened to a fantastic DIASOUND active loudspeaker system called “Anna” and got in love with it. They know all about sound and even 128K mp3 sounds much better than vinyl and DSD on regular sound systems! They are saying that it will be the best Loudspeaker system in the world and I believe! They said sales will begin by the end of 2016.

    • Brad
      May 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      128K mp3 sounding better then Vinyl or DSD? Have you lost your mind? Besides I can't find this company you keep talking about. Please post a website address.

  38. Revonda Ball
    March 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I grew up with vinyl, so I get what you're saying. There are a few problems with going exclusively vinyl, though. 1) It scratches too easily, so it ruins whatever song that's scratched through (CDs are almost as bad ). 2) It doesn't travel. 3) The records and the equipment take up far too much space. 4) With digital, you can back up your music, pictures, etc. onto an sd card without losing quality, in case anything happens to your device. But the only way that I've ever known to back up vinyl was onto cassettes, which are about as rare as vinyl these days, if not more so. And having had to do that myself, I can tell you that the sound quality is definitely affected. I'm sure that you could probably back it up digitally, but that kind of defeats your purpose, doesn't it?

  39. bar
    March 19, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    So author is basically idiot who never heard of CD-Audio, loseless, multichanell and hi res audio, cause he uses mp3 in AD 2015.

    • Ywing77
      September 8, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I think he makes the comparison to MP3's on the reasoning that it is the most commonly purchased and downloaded digital file.

  40. Hendevos
    March 19, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Vinyl doesn't have the greatest sound quality. This article is 100% bull crap. MPEG-layer 3 is based on perception of average human hearing, and can definitely give good quality. However, why not just go with the best audio quality: CD (or super audio CD).

    • Brad
      May 12, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      What you just said is horse****. MP3 and CDs are horrible. Apparently you've never heard Vinyl on a great system.

  41. Sujit
    March 10, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Wonderful article !!! You are so right. Vinyl is best !!!!!!!

  42. Sam Cooke
    February 18, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I'd love to have a face-to-face conversation with this idiot. If he wants to talk about music with me, he'd better educate himself first, both about vinyl and digital music - because he clearly doesn't know anything about either. Comparing vinyl to MP3 is an incredibly outdated and pointless argument; compare vinyl to FLAC or another lossless file type if you want a fair contest.

    Plus my taste in music is just that - my taste. His vinyl fetish has nothing to do with the music I listen to, but limiting yourself to vinyl means you're limiting the music you have access to as well. Justin Bieber isn't the only artist not available on vinyl, and if you'd really shut yourself off from non-vinyl artists then you're a monumental fool.

    Come on Matthew, reply. I dare you. Call me a peasant again too if you think you're hard enough.

    • Pixie
      March 8, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      You are still a peasant for two simple reasons: Reason 1: You dare to combine the words ''justin bieber+vinyl''. Never do that again,not even in a million years. Reason 2: Vinyl was, and it will be the BEST sound experience ever,now,and even till the end of the world. Everything coming thru computer,flac or wav or whatever else digital,it just BAD and never gonna hit the vinyl quality.Simple fact. Go back to your computerized sounds now,peasant. :-)

      • BLDSR
        March 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

        0 Facts, your whole comment is only opinion and insults.

        "You dare to combine the words ”justin bieber+vinyl”. Never do that again,not even in a million years."

        Uhm, what? How's that even relevant? It was not his idea to put JB and Vinyl in the same place, learn to read. And even if Sam would like to listen to JB, it changes nothing. It would be his personal taste in music. If you think that your "different" taste means "superior", then you are a failure, who does not understand that music is about enjoyment.

    • Dan
      October 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      The science is there man. You can look it up. There is actually a loss of music quality when it is digitized just like image quality is lost when a piece of film is digitized. It's impossible tp get the same quality. This is the one of the first things you learn when going to school for music technology. If a band records straight onto a record then you are hearing almost exactly what the music sounded like in the studio because you literally have the sound waves imprinted on the record. Sure you have the minor pops and fuzz but even on a decent system, not to mention a great system, you hardly notice them and the music quality is im fact clearer. Imagine a chefs knife and a saw. That chef knife is a sharp, curved, and continuous edge that is going to cut through this piece of meat like butter. The saw on the other hand is jagged and you won't get a clean cut from it. That's what happens when you digitize music. So in summary, as long as the music was originally recorded om the vinyl, records in fact better quality.

      • Michael
        October 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

        ummm vinyl records are usually pressed from tape masters that were in the past analog tape with hiss and compromised dynamic range and nowadays digital tape/HD which have superior dynamic range and imperceptible hiss still which is then compromised by the inferior quality of commercial vinyl pressing, check out a Sheffield Labs direct to vinyl pressing and hear the difference!

  43. Dan
    February 17, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Great article, Matthew. You forgot another one : most insurance companies will insure your vinyl records but not cds or downloads.

    Btw, how would you portray a download or streaming audio on a Grammy award?

    To all the naysayers and vinyl haters I can only say, "For those that know, no explanation is necessary. For those that don't, no explanation is possible".

    Keep spinning them, brother.

    • Sam Cooke
      February 18, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      The naysayers are usually more educated than the people who jump on the vinyl bandwagon and proclaim their superiority. Vinyl is only superior to lossy formats like MP3 or badly mastered CDs. Anyone who knows anything about digital audio will listen via 24/96 masters, or at the very least a FLAC straight from the artist.

  44. Jaques Pistard
    February 12, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    What a big steaming pile of snobbish wankery.

  45. Hannes Minkema
    February 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    The present 'vinyl comeback' is based on three strong human emotions:
    - nostalgia;
    - elitism;
    - (auto)suggestion.

    NOSTALGIA. In music and fashion, there will always be moves back and forth. There will always be 'revivals' of former periods, often motivated by a longing to times-gone-by. People who are dissatisfied with today's 'modern world' with its digital hypes, may take to 'good-old' habits and machines. As long as people will love to drive old-fashioned cars and buy 'classic' furniture, they will take to vinyl records.

    ELITISM. In the early 1980's, people's homes were stuffed with vinyl records. It wasn't hard to make yourself a collection, because vinyl records of every sort were offered on every corner for $3 to $10 bucks.They were a mass product. When the audio cd entered the market (early 1983), they were preyed upon by audiophiles, and became very much the asset of the music (and financial) elite. A first generation cd player would cost about $1000. It would typically be a Sony or Philips top-loading system. For two years at the most, the cd would be the choice of elitists. Next, the cd would turn into the mass product for all kinds of people, who would replace their vinyl collection by shiny discs. In the 2000's, when homes were stuffed with cd's, vinyl once has become the asset of the elitists. L'histoire se répète.

    (AUTO)SUGGESTION AKA self-delusion. The partisan battle between pro- and anti-digital music religionists will continue forever and a day. Theirs is a belief, and neither is willing to submit to blind tests. Or even listen to each other's arguments. Audiophily is based on beliefs anyway, rather than facts. Often-made claims like 'X is better than Y' are usually supported by n=1 evidence, 1 being the claimant. Yet all n=1 claimants are susceptible to self-delusion.

    If I would fall for the present vinyl hype, I would *of course* prefer my vinyl recording of Haydn's cello concerto to the cd recording by the same soloist and orchestra. I would probably call the vinyl 'warmer' and 'more natural' because people told me to connect such qualities to vinyl. I would probably be forgiving on the scratches, the hiss, the wow & flutter because I would interpret these distortions as 'authentic'. In comparison, I would call the cd 'cold' and 'clinical' and 'lifeless'. As long as no one subjected me to a blind test, I could maintain these (dis)qualifications forever and a day.

    Yet if I disavowed the vinyl hype, and was not afraid of bits & bytes, then I could enjoy the cd, or super-cd, or dvd-audio, or hires-audio for what it really is: a superb way of storing and replaying music, without many of the shortcomings of the vinyl era. The premiss is, of course, that I will play my digital music files on the same audio system as my vinyl record player, and not just through my laptop speakers.

    Fortunately, I am not forced to make a choice. I can play both vinyl records and digital music, and as I care for my collection, keep my records clean and my needle fresh, I can enjoy both systems without religiously having to choose for either. My acceptance of the obvious shortcomings of vinyl helps me to enjoy the music rather than be distracted by clicks, pops, and hiss.

    And because I make sure I have high-quality digital music files in my collection (even mp3 at 256k is fine with me), and play them on a good audio system, the music will take me to heaven anyway without any technical deficience or wear & tear of the time - an obvious problem of the much more fragile vinyl.

    To get to musical heaven, I really don't need a black plastic disc with the music scratched into a groove. That is sóóóóó 20th century.

    Fashions and hypes come; and they go. That's a sure thing.

    • IOnlyGotMyOpinion
      June 28, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      Only comment that makes some sense here..
      U should start a blog man would def read it!
      U got a good view on things.

  46. el bumi
    February 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    "People who listen to vinyl tend to be quite discerning with what they listen to" - ah, the good old days of being able to buy the birdy song and agadoo on vinyl..

    • Sam Cooke
      February 18, 2016 at 7:31 am

      They have no choice but to be discerning, a lot of music isn't available on vinyl. But not all of that music is "bad" either. Quite a lot of it is genuinely great music that just hasn't been released on vinyl for one reason or another, usually the record label.

  47. Etai Steigman
    February 3, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I completely agree with everything you said apart from "it’s as close as we’ll get to a perfect device for listening to music". I wonder if a Digital plugin or software may one day mimic the qualities (rather then the faults - like existing plugins do) of vinyl. Wouldn't that be nice?

    • Daniel
      February 4, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      I believe, that the only problem here is connection speed (wawes or internet) and storage space. In some time, when stock phones will have 10 and more terabytes, there will be no problem with lossless music on the go

  48. Adrian
    January 25, 2016 at 6:46 am

    We had 2 vinyl albums in our house that were at 90 Db dynamic range. One was a test record designed to show off such things and the other was Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture with the cannons. On both, these sections of vinyl looked as though someone had attacked the record with a sharp knife. I never had any problems playing them on various turntables though. The cannons just about turned the speakers inside out.

  49. lapn-rouge
    January 12, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Dear Matthew Hughes (aged 14 1/4)

    Next week you will write an equally nausiating opposite article extolling the virtues of digital over analogue. The article will also be meaningless.

    This is becasue Its all about the advertising that scrolls down the RH side of the screen - this is how young Matty gets his income. Ker-ching.

  50. lapn-rouge
    January 12, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Twat.

    Try listening to an LP in your car, at work, out running. The choice of digital instantly available online massively outweighs any possible vinyl shop's collection.

    FLAC is lossless, perfect digital format.

    The only advantage Vinyl has as far as I can see, is the 'experiential' thing, twiddling with dials, physically interacting with the media, BIG record sleeves, commiiting an hour or so in an armchair next to your hi-fi.

    • Mickey
      February 7, 2016 at 5:40 am

      The fact that you are so offended by something so benign as somebody liking vinyl shows that you are too stupid to live

  51. Michelle
    January 10, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Neither is "better" than the other, but I find your whole pretense of knowing something the rest of us don't to be soooo overdone, laughable, and too pathetic to be douchy.

    Personally if I wanted to really geek out over it I'd listen to something like jazz on vinyl. That medium is evocative of the time periods jazz brings to mind AND the music and characteristics of vinyl complement one another.

    I'd listen to Dnb (and most things) digitally, because I like bass, it sounds fantastic, and it's 2016. Also because I base my choices on convenience and taste; NOT on cult following. DJs suck just as bad (worse even) when they spin vinyl; I promise you.

    I'd really just like to see everybody do what they want and like what they want and stop trying so hard to look like they know ish. Nobody cares except the other nerds trying to look like they know. The actual musicians just shake our heads at you.

    • Brad
      May 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Stop it. You're not a musician. Most musicians I know play real instruments and listen to REAL music. DnB? You're an idiot.

  52. Quad
    January 2, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Vinyl sucks. Don't tell me it's superior to my digital recordings (all of which are in lossless formats). Here's what sucks about vinyl:

    - The pops suck. They're not part of the original recording.
    - Flipping a record sucks
    - Lack of low end bass sucks (for fear of skipping the needle - oh noes!)
    - Lack of high end (for fear of skipping the needle - oh noes pt2)
    - Degradation after the first listen
    - Loss of dynamic range as the needle approaches the label (information compression)

    The 'warmth' of vinyl is just the high-end being cut off. It really sucks in all ways. Vinyl people just need to admit that they enjoy a lower quality medium because they enjoy the ritual experience of listening. It nostalgia to some. It's the desire for nostalgia to others (born too late).

    I enjoy classic arcade games because they remind me of simpler days. I enjoy them so much that I recreated a system that has an authentic monitor so that the pixelation is the same as the originals. I could have gotten an LCD screen that has millions of pixels and is extremely sharp, but I wanted a warm, retro look. I fully admit it doesn't look as good as modern games. This, to me, is exactly like the vinyl situation.

  53. David
    December 24, 2015 at 4:55 am

    As a Jazz musician, I love vinyl for several reasons. I don't profess to know all about the disadvantages or advantages of vinyl. I just know what my ears tell me.
    I listen to vinyl for the same reason I enjoy smoking pipe tobacco or drinking Islay whiskey. For the experience. Putting on a vinyl record and seeing it spin on a turntable, adds a nostalgic quality and sends me back to when the record was made. I agree that a good system is required to fully appreciate vinyl and it does have its ideosyncrasies, but so do CDs and MP3, which I listen to in my car. Ultimately it's all about the music being made. Is it good or is it crap?

  54. Surgeon of Demise
    December 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Yeah you sound like all the other Portland Oregon poser faggots that sa. "Lovely and Fixie"...and i dont mean gay people when i say faggot..i mean people who are posers and not individual

  55. geryon
    December 11, 2015 at 1:15 am

    While I agree that vinyl sounds better than mp3, the only way it will sound better is if it is played on a properly set up high fidelity music system, good turntable, cables and speakers and amp. Cheap Crosleys and Jensens, Ions and their ilk are being swallowed up by all the new age hipsters like the author of this article, are not good players, they are tinny,have a bad frequency response and will damage your records.

    LP's are also not a perfect format, they suffer from low end rumble and all the bass has do be channelled into mono to stop the needle from jumping out of the groove on playback. There is inner groove distortion, which can only be reduced by a good correctly set up stylus.You need to also understand how to set up a turntable and adjust the anti-skate weight and the tracking force. You also need a basic understanding of these things too.There are many technical limitations of the format and a record collector must understand these characteristics while collecting.

    ''Vinyl is an old technology, and one that has remained relatively unchanged in the past decade. But that’s because it’s as close as we’ll get to a perfect device for listening to music. It is, to be as straightforward as possible, simply as good as it gets.''

    This simply isn't true. Many online stores are offering 96kHz 24-bit remasters of albums for download and SACD and DVD audio also have equivalent high bitrate recordings. Also blu-ray audio discs, while still rare are becoming more common.

    I love my turntable and my records are a joy to listen to and I much prefer them to CDs and mp3s. But they do have limitations and need to be looked after.

  56. John R.
    November 30, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Experiments have shown that many audiophiles can tell the difference between music played on turntables, and the same music played from a digitized format. The strange thing is, they usually can't tell the difference between music played on turntables, and digitized recordings of turntable output.

    Gee, why would this, if in both cases they're listening to digital audio? Because in the second case, they're also hearing the low-frequency rumble from the turntable. They've come to associate this low-frequency rumble with the supposed superior quality of vinyl ... it's "fullness", etc..

  57. mark.bigdog
    October 25, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    First off, I have no idea who Matthew Hughes is, and just because he states he knows more about music than his readers doesn't make it so. Second, I have a huge CD collection and I can state unequivically that his taste is no better than mine, without even knowing what his is. Third, does vinyl sound better than MP3's? Goes without saying. But to really hear a difference between a CD and vinyl, you'd need a very expensive and high end stereo system to hear any major differences, your ears are just slow to adjust, so says acclaimed record producer Tom Dowd, whose opinion is definitely much more authoritive. After even one play on vinyl, the sound starts to deteriorate exponentially after every play thereafter, with pops and hisses being an unavoidable result. Most of the general public do not have said stereo systems in their possession, hence most of the general public will hear very little, if any, difference. But if the sound of the CD is the same great quality from the first time I play it to the last, give me that over the Rice Krispies sound of vinyl any day!

  58. Jens Ahlberg
    October 24, 2015 at 9:15 am

    This article annoys me on several levels. Firstly, only one of your "reasons" actually concerns LISTENING to vinyl, secondly some of the arguments you put forth are just bizarre. Like the one about the music sounding exactly as the producer/band intended it to. The music obviously wasn't recorded onto vinyl in the first place, and even the mastertape does can be said to compromise the original recording with many tracks. Now, a vinyl doesn't let you do everything you want to. There are limitations when engraving, you can't make the bass louder than a certain point, or it will be physically difficult to play the record (the needle will jump).

    Vinyl is a compromise. If the listener would want to listen to the music as it sounded in the final stage of recording, he or she would listen to it on a studio tape recorder. That seems obvious to me and if I would write an article I would contemplate the plausability of what I want to put in it before writing, not just follow my heart and hope that there are at least some facts in it.

    I might' have expressed myself somewhat confusingly. Sorry for that. English is not my native tounge. Thomas Friedrich and Adam said it better than me, and the techical facts are there too.

  59. Grace Cowell
    October 21, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Entertaining and convincing article! Can't wait to start my own collection!

  60. Pete Clarke
    October 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I concur with your opinion about vinyl being superior to digital in terms of sound quality, warmth, depth etc. As you have alluded to, digital music is compressed with a resultant loss of detail in the playback experience. There is no compression associated with vinyl. Whilst CD format has limitations in terms of the frequency range, vinyl has no such limits. Hence, vinyl offers a more detailed sound. I was brought up with vinyl, having been born in 1970. I turned to the digital 'darkside,' like most others in the late 80's. My father, who was electronics engineer, can wax lyrical about the advantages that analogue has over digital formats. He was never satisfied, or convinced by the performance of CD. I returned to vinyl three years ago, and I haven't looked back since. As you rightly point out, making the effort to actually visit a record store and taking one's time to make a purchase, is hugely enjoyable. I recall as a teen in the 1980's the thrill associated with purchasing an album. The album sleeve art advertised your taste in music, in much the same way as pictures hanging on the wall of your living room speak volumes about your taste. I recall that a visit to HMV in Liverpool could easily occupy two hours of my time, and that of my friends. Purchasing a record is an *event.* Then there is the excitement and anticipation associated with the process of playing the record, carefully sliding the record out of the sleeve, placing it on the turntable, lowering the tonearm, waiting those few seconds for the musical experience to begin......It's an infinitely more enjoyable experience than the soulless experience associated with downloads. It's interesting to note that increasing numbers of teenagers today are switching on to the joys and pleasure of vinyl. I frequent a small independent record shop in Southport, the owner has confirmed to me that he is seeing a steady and continual rise in the number of teenagers visiting his store. Many of them are attracted by the sleeve art work. Sales of turntables are steadily increasing, some British companies, such as, 'Inspire Hi-Fi,' are rebuilding, and modifying classic decks such as the Lenco GL75. I was brought up with a GL75, and I now own one of these superbly engineered idler drive decks. I have modified and improved the deck, a process which is still in progress and hugely rewarding. There a plethora of UK specialists, such as, 'North West Analogue,' which specialise in serving and improving turntables. I pity the generation who have never heard, or enjoyed the vinyl experience, they have never heard high quality play back, especially those who listen to music via computer, or smart phone- the 'quality' of playback is abysmal, tinny and very compressed. My late 60's, early 70's Lenco deck can run rings around an expensive Linn CD I own. Long Live Vinyl!

  61. P Fortune
    October 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    One Vinyl advantage was playing the record backward to find the "hidden" messages. Never tried it but the controversy was interesting.

  62. P Fortune
    October 1, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    The pops on vinyl are annoying. The main good thing about vinyl is that a lot of great music is on vinyl. Under 30 year olds can get introduced to great music without the competition with junk music like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, bad hip hop (Rap used to be amazing). I listened to the Blu Ray of Dark Side of the Moon and it is so much more amazing than the limitations of vinyl. Flipping over a record in the middle of a song (Wish you Were Here) sucks. Vinyl is such a hipster thing now. Very few people can tell the difference. One things I miss is the large album artwork. Another is listening to the whole album; which I do. Today, for most, it is find the hits, or just download the hits. The discovery of finding great songs that didn't get airplay was cool when I was a kid. I feel like I'm talking myself into vinyl. Lastly, vinyl often costs more now. The new Iron Maiden vinyl is 59.99 on Amazon.

  63. Joseph DiSalvo
    August 25, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Eh. Vinyl does not sound better.
    320 kpbs+, or even straight lossless audio formats reproduce the vibrations of the recording apparatus exactly at the speaker. You are basically hearing exactly the sound waves that touched the recording apparatus.
    Meanwhile, vinyl has loss in the original production of the record, losses in any copies of the record from the master, and then finally you're relying on the quality you keep the record in as well as the accuracy of the pin on your phonograph.
    Not to mention in the case of digital music (trance and progressive take more skill to compose than rock or R&B) you are listening to the literal output of the producer's synthesizing software. You can buy lossless *.wav-format files for live mixing right from Beatport for $5 a track.

    • Luis Mendoza
      September 30, 2015 at 2:26 am

      You are correct.

  64. Thomas Friedrich
    August 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    This article misses the point. Here is why vinyl is better:
    Digital recording records a sample of the music. This is why that in digital recording we speak of 'sample rate'. This type of recording (which I do myself with Garageband and an Apogee Duet II), takes a 'cut' of the sound so many times per minute. If the sample rate is high enough, in theory the human ear and brain cannot perceive the breaks in recording. Yes, in theory. But, I think we are not giving our brains and ears enough credit for what goes on subconsciously (which is a hell of a lot, like breathing for instance). Take for example modern energy efficient light bulbs. They give pulses of energy within a bulb, illuminating a gas which dissipates slowly, thereby appearing to be lit continuously. Yet some people claim to get headaches from these bulbs. My personal opinion is that yes, your eyes and brain can perceive these pulses of light and power, even if you are not conscious of it. This is because your eyes and brain are more sophisticated than science can comprehend at this time, and do many things on an unconscious level. (And no, I'm not writing this while smoking weed). OK, so fact remains, people claim these modern bulbs are fatiguing. Especially if you're trying to read by them. (What I do: I get the old soothing bulbs and I turn the lights out when I leave a room. It saves energy, and my electric bill. But I digress. Back to digital recording here...) The same applies to digital recording. Digital captures the highs and the lows better than analog (tape). But like the pulsing light bulb, its a sample of the energy. Not so with tape. Tape is the continuous sound being recorded, not a sampling of the sound. Tape will not capture some of those highs and lows as well as digital. But do we really like these harsh realities anyway? No, not me. I want a nice smooth sound, and I want the continuous, real sound of the music that you only get with music recorded onto tape, transferred to that continuous revolving record. This is why vinyl has a soothing effect. It's smooth, no harsh sampling going on here… Subconsciously I think it is perceived. It is not fatiguing. So, making a vinyl record of a digital recording does not achieve this. It has to be a tape recording to a vinyl record. The Foo Fighters are on to this, and many new artists. If it's not an analog recording, you might as well save yourself a lot of trouble and expense, and listen to MP3's on your phone. (Try to get high quality ones, with a high sample rate).

    • Russell
      December 16, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      It's the energy supply itself which is flickering (50 Hz in the UK) so even old incandescent bulbs do the same thing.

  65. Thomas G.
    July 15, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    As an avid photographer who spends a lot of time on forums....these comments read as if they were ripped DIRECTLY from a digital verses film debate. They are one in the same.

    What I've found is that they both have their place. User experience should never be underestimated in the final equation and yet it seldom is factored in. I love film- put a slide on a light table and grab a 10x loop- nothing like it. Yet, digital has it's charm as well. Same thing here. Analogue has it's place and there is no single index you could use to tally up who wins. There are just to many factors.

    The most important factor is the emotional quot-ante relating to the user. People who are looking for a visceral experience will pay attention to every subtle nuance of their chosen medium. The impression they walk away from is more than the sound or the image. It's how all those elements work together- call it a signature if you will. It's distinct and it's like crack. You just have to learn to love it in all it's creations.

  66. Adam Pix
    June 3, 2015 at 7:20 am

    The Pixies are good. Are you a muppet? Makes you wanna feel, makes you wanna try. Makes you wanna blow the stars from the sky. You know when you grope for luna. Well do ya' Dan.

  67. Eric
    April 28, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Vinyl sounds better but you have to spend at least 10 grand on a turntable phono preamp and a good cartridge at least one over 3 grand. Also the dynamic range is better on vinyl it has a soulful quality. Cd sounds flat and lifeless to me.

  68. Adam
    April 22, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Comparing vinyl to mp3 is like bragging that you can beat up an 8 year old. This article may have been edgy in 2004, but not today.

    Calling vinyl lossless is misleading. Vinyl does not have the dynamic range of CD or OGG or AAC, so modern artists may need to limit the dynamic range when mastering. Even if this is done analogously, you are still limiting the range (to prevent the record from "clipping"), and therefore you are losing audio. Another reason vinyl should not be called lossless is that most modern albums are mastered digitally. And even if analog equipment is used at every stage of mastering and production, analog equipment can be "lossy". If you disagree, ask a true audiophile why they upgrade existing analog equipment.

    "A lot of people that buy vinyl today don’t realize that they’re listening to CD masters on vinyl and that’s because the record companies have figured out that people want vinyl. And they’re only making CD masters in digital, so all the new products that come out on vinyl are actually CDs on vinyl, which is really nothing but a fashion statement." - Neil Young, January 2015

    The reason the "loudness war" never made it to vinyl? They couldn't. Trying to etch that information into vinyl would likely destroy the cutters (most likely because of overheating). So, vinyl was saved from the loudness war because it was unable to write the same audio information into the record. Technically, it could be done, but not at costs the market would allow. Even though the outcome was better music for vinyl, this is a limitation, and lessens the potential of vinyl.

    Vinyl is NOT "as good as it gets". Only a live performance is. Vinyl has many flaws: channel crosstalk, track bleed-over, limited dynamic range, environmental noise, CAV limits resolution near the end/center of the record, physical wear, etc.

    Source: http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)

  69. Andy Roberts
    April 21, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    What an Idiot! Do you prefer riding penny farthings for the pleasure of vibrations though the saddle?

  70. Wandique
    April 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Mr. Hughes,

    It is refreshing to learn that there are some young ones like you that think !!!
    It is not a privilege of your generation for when I was young (I'm 59 but I am NOT deaf) I thought that everything new was better. Anyway, our LPs are still here so are we. Any debate that includes numbers are irrelevant for we listen to sounds not numbers. Greeting from Brazil, Wandique

  71. Grant
    April 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    The author is correct in his overall opinion.

    The explanations given are a bit off, hence all the negative feedback above. But to all the haters: physical media has been proven both scientifically and in sound tests to sound better than compressed delivery formats (most digital purchases and streaming) - do your own research before commenting. Also... please don't confuse how the music was recorded or produced with the delivery format. Delivering music in different formats can change the music, regardless of it's recording via analog or digital equipment by the artist. The argument here is about the music AS YOU LISTEN TO IT. If you listen to a 192 kpbs bitrate MP3 file, then go and listen to a CD version of that same song, and I will put $ down that even child could tell a difference. That's because music delivered via original CD is at a bitrate of over 1,400 kpbs. This isn't ambiguous. Bits are the music information. More bits = more information. Information that our speakers translate, and put out. In general, both CD and vinyl formats are considered lossless - as close as possible to containing all of the available audio information used in the original recording.

    For many reasons, MP3s are awesome. But please don't try to argue against vinyl (or CD) as if they aren't superior in sound quality. Science and reality itself are stacked against you.

  72. Rick Gollhofer
    April 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Everyone who thinks vinyl is better than all digital, as opposed to a particularly lousy MP3 file needs to find a filter for digital music that is equivalent to the best possible sounding vinyl recording playback. Because that is what the process of recording and reproducing music using vinyl records does, it filters the music reducing the high frequency sounds that cannot be accurately captured by a mechanical recording and play back process. And that's just the best possible reproduction which costs thousands of dollars. I've never owned a turntable and phono cartridge expensive enough to come close to what a sub-$50 CD player can do. All of my well-loved vinyl LPs sound terrible, because they could not withstand the wear and tear of being played back. Much less than 1% of CDs I have played had a problem with playback and virtually none with tracks that I have ripped. I am not stupid, I don't create MP3 files from my CDs, I use a lossless digital format, FLAC.

  73. snadge
    April 21, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Blind tests have been done on many sites and most people can't tell the difference, audiophiles (who know what to look for) can 'on some tests', BUT, this isnt a fair comparison because its lossy vs lossless - you can buy lossless digital which as mentioned afore has less SNR and no rumble, pops and ticks and doesn't degrade over-time

    you also get the purchase reward you talk about..its called a CD.

  74. William Peckham
    April 21, 2015 at 10:55 am

    You are trying to create a choice where there is none. No one has to choose. I would not give up my selection of 100 LP and about 300 45RPM records, but I would never again choose to discard my CD or MP3 collections either. You cannot play that vinal record while tooling down the highway on your BMW bike. (OK, the Harley makes playing music on the go a bit pointless, but that is part of the point in riding a Harley!)
    I vote for that pretentious bit, that seems the answer that fits your last question.

  75. Brian Aiello
    April 21, 2015 at 6:16 am

    I can certainly attest to the fact that vinyl is a great investment. At one time, I had about 2500 vinyl albums. I sold almost all of them in 2 days at a record show. The cash I made financed the purchase of over 1000 CDs, many of which were no longer available on vinyl.
    add to that the explosion of "Best of" and Box Sets, and I was one satisfied listener. While I do prefer CDs over vinyl, I do still appreciate and agree with you on Shopping and quality when it comes to those artists who still go the way of vinyl.

  76. dued
    April 21, 2015 at 4:06 am

    if you want vinyl (ie, mechanical and electrical noise, warp, scratch and dust),
    download flac (or any mp3 really) and then run it through Izotope Vinyl (a free excellent filter) in which you can adjust for each of those "characteristics" and get all the vinyl warmth & specialness that you might want!

  77. Perry Bruns
    April 21, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Excellent points!

    However, there are also the facts that:

    5) While carrying around a record player on your back, plus several pounds of records that you'll just have to switch out manually as you go (and hope they don't get scratched), your playlists are pre-configured and curated by the studios themselves! Why, it's like zero effort!

    6) Carrying all that extra weight around will really boost your calorie burn.

    7) The snotty attitude you develop as you listen to vinyl records will drive away any false friends and almost all of your real friends, except those with the patience of saints--leaving you more free time to buy more vinyl records.

    8) The fact that any stray dust, hair, or other airborne matter that can get between the stylus and your records will mar the sound means that your listening experience will be different literally every time--or it will give you that much more incentive to keep your home obsessively clean--which will drive away any remaining human beings and give you more time for your preciousssss...I mean for your audiophilia.

    • P Fortune
      October 1, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Perry Bruns

      Good stuff. Made me laugh. I got to disagree partially with number 5. Check out the video for Wild Thing by Tone Loc. His scratcher/dj has a strap around his neck to make the record player portable. When I was a kid in the 70/80's the Walkman started killing record with cassettes. I remember mix tapes and recording songs I couldn't find off the radio. Portability is what killed the vinyl record. I love the cd and for dynamic music I record the mp3 at the maximum bit rate to my ipod. One thing I hate about cd's is the constant remastering to get more money.

  78. dued
    April 21, 2015 at 1:47 am

    who buys music? seriously!

  79. John Williams
    April 21, 2015 at 1:12 am

    I spent half my life mixing for vinyl on 16 track and FM radio in analogue and the other half crushing my beautiful 40 bit digital mix onto 24 bit Protools then dithering it down to 16 bit for CD and finally stamping all the life out of it to stuff it down a phone line as an mp3. There is no excuse for mp3 any more, we have the bandwidth to ditch this abomination forever along with the dial up modem it was created for. Sadly many people have spent thousands on iTunes for 128kbs transcripts of 16 bit CDs.

    In comparison, the Audio Engineering Society (of America) has compared non Dolby 30 ips session tape, Dolby A 15 ips mastertape and new vinyl pressings as being equivalent to 32 bit digital. For "bits" read resolution. As required to capture nuance and detail.

    It took a long time for analogue HiFi to get to reproduce up to 20 KHz. FM stereo never got there, being chopped off with a 15KHz cliff edge filter so the 19KHz pilot tone could operate the stereo decoder. But vinyl was always capable of 25KHz and beyond. It had to wait until the domestic amplifiers and tweeters caught up.

    The biggest drawback of vinyl was the dynamic range. You had to be a skilled mastering dude to get loud stuff through the lathe. You can't overcut vinyl with too much power. The diamond cutter head has 500 Watt amplifiers on both coils - it will dig a hole if you let it. The other issue is phase. Tape and digital have two discrete channels and can be unhappily out of phase and sound crap. But vinyl can only be cut into the plastic. Out of phase signals that ask the cutter to cut thin air will be lost .... Similarly, out of phase on an FM transmitter can cause havoc.

    But all of that is just engineering. To work in an analogue studio you had to be a good musician too. The young band in the studio were totally reliant on your expertise to get takes on tape that were perfect enough to press thousands of copies. What they got away with on a live gig wasn't good enough. Mistakes could turn very expensive.

    Basically, vinyl was just better made. Far more care had to be exercised to release an LP. It was (and still is) very expensive to use. The record companies would audition muscians and only the very best got through. Everthing was done to the highest possible engineering and artistic standards.

    I think we listen to far too much music today and don't appreciate it the way we should. Great granddad had to go to live concerts - no option. Granddad had the wireless, Dad had the vinyl LP and the tape recorder. All of these required one to sit down and listen for a while. Then came the transistor radio and later the cassette Walkman and everything went downhill ......

    Ten thousand tunes on your iPod? In-ear buds? Spotify? You can keep 'em.

    • Keith
      April 21, 2015 at 2:48 am

      To John WIlliams and others;
      Mr. WIlliams is knowledgeable in the recording field and I applaud him for his comments. And, I tend to agree with them all too. My addition to his would be to remember; we buy a television to WATCH it and a sound system to LISTEN to it. So you can technicalize (A word I made up) the shit outa the sound of the music but in the end, it is the ear of the listener that matters. I was an audiophile a LONG time ago when my hearing was more accurate and I marveled at those that would demo a system by turning up the bass and decreasing the treble. Until someone made the comment to me that the best system is the one YOU like. Then I realized that all the techno mumbe jumbo was just that. That being said, there are those recordings that truly permit you to hear ALL the music and those that distort the shit out of ALL the music, no matter what format. Universally. And you know who you are.....

  80. Nancy
    April 20, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Absolutely spot-on. Thank you. Now, could you talk to people about the benefits of Laserdisc and Beta formatted movies, please?

    • British Bob
      April 20, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Actually Nancy, Beta was the better system, VHS made the rental shops faster which is the reason Betamax died out. Still used in tv studios.

  81. Sledge Tiberius Sparrow
    April 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    "vastly more preferable"

    Try again when you've learned English.

  82. Ross
    April 20, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Stupid stupid article... wrong on just about every level.

  83. Andy
    April 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I love my LPs. BUT turning them over every quarter hour...I mostly play CDs. A decent old-school amp and a good subwoofer also help make CDs sound better.

  84. British Bob
    April 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Matthew,

    You are an idiot! As most of the comments prove.

    Interesting that you use "boobtube" which is a digital format to try to prove your case! If what you said was true, you wouldn't hear a difference!

    Of all the things you wrote only category number 4 is remotely true and then not entirely. Try looking on Amazon.com for certain compact discs and you will rapidly find out that some will cost $1,000 due to their rarity.

    And this line..... "I said that I said that saccharine, Stock Aiken Waterman-type guff very seldom makes its way to vinyl." I seem to remember (being in England at the time) that "saccharine, Stock Aiken Waterman-type guff" was born in the vinyl era! Which further proves that you have no idea of what you are writing about.

    If you are looking at starting some form of career from this article Matthew I would rethink and this comment comes from someone who owns a Linn LP12 Sondk/Ekos/and $3,000 Linn power supply paired with a Linn LK 85 and Linn keilidh speakers (total $13,500) with 400+ vinyl albums and over 600 compact discs! And I'm pretty sure that you have heard of none of that equipment but don't worry....Makeuseof.com probably has an article on it somewhere to explain it to you.

    You have no clue what you are talking about Matthew and the only thing you are expert in is "verbal diarrhea" as they say in Liverpool record shops!

  85. David
    April 20, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I always hated the hiss and scratches of vinyl.

  86. danite
    April 20, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I hope your understanding of music is better than your English usage and grammar. But because you are a professional writer and not a professional musician, I doubt that. People who assure me that they can hear the difference between digital and analog without providing any evidence seem less than trustworthy. I can tell the difference too, but not by the quality of the music, but by the hissing, pops, and skips that interrupt the music.

  87. Anonymous
    April 20, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    pay for concerts, not for LPs nor CDs in stores - give money directly to musicians by downloading their mp3s

  88. Mark
    April 20, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I definitely love my vinyl, but I do have to disagree with this
    "Vinyl is what’s called a lossless format. Nothing has been lost when pressing a record. It sounds as good as the producer or band intended."

    Not hard to find musicians, producers, and techs willing to discuss the sacrifices they had to make with the music to get it to play well on vinyl. Specifically, NOT always what they had made/heard in the studio.

    That being said: I ADORE my Abbey Road album!

  89. Michael Alexander
    April 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    You really don't have any idea what you're talking about, do you? A monkey with an iPad could have done a better job writing about this topic.

  90. GodSponge
    April 20, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I believe that even though Metallica released a vinyl copy of Death Magnetic, they mastered it digitally and included vinyl in the loudness war.

    As far as I can tell, the only way to get a "good" copy of Death Magnetic is to get it out of Guitar Hero 3 where they apparently forgot to blow up the volume.

    Anyway, my point is, vinyl isn't exempt from the loudness war any more than anything else if that's how they master the audio.

  91. Dan
    April 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

    LOL, funny article. I hope the author is kidding. Vinyl superiority is just a placebo and no one can credibly pass a double blind sound test consistently. The author can claim anecdotes 'til the cows come home, but without passing double blind tests, he's just blowing smoke.

    And who says The Pixies are good? Are you a hipster?

  92. Tommy
    April 20, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Robin, Uhhhh.... what?

    http://www.amazon.com/b?node=3003611

  93. Federico
    April 19, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Digital and analog are both great. Long life to my Pentax 67II and Fuji X100!

  94. robin
    April 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    the only problem is with vinyl that you cant get the players anymore

    • Dustin
      April 24, 2015 at 4:51 am

      What? Of course you can.

  95. Rich
    April 19, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Audio CDs also use a lossless format. You can also download the FLAC or WAV version of many songs, which are lossless formats as well. But the biggest advantage of using digital formats for me is the convenience. I can instantly switch between tracks, rewind, and fast-forward without guessing where the needle should go. I also don't have to drive to a store get a song and I can organize all my songs on my computer and access them very quickly. So, that's why I will never use vinyl.

    • Anonymous
      April 20, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      Also vinyl has a high and low end cut off. If the freq gets too high the grove gets to small and it will skip. If the freq gets too low you will get a rumble feed back through the turn table. Wave files are better for low and high end reproduction. Comparing vinyl and MP3 will never give you a fair comparison but recording at a 256 bit rate helps.

  96. DonGateley
    April 19, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    I think that much of the improvement some people experience is due to the way they listen to vinyl. For some reason I find that my attention to the music is held tighter by the spinning icon of a turntable than by any invisible means of listening and for me, the tighter my attention to it the better the experience. Even the act of placing the disk on the turntable and the needle on the record acts as glue for my subsequent attention and, just as importantly, my intention.

  97. chatterblast
    April 19, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    BTW-I went to a record store like you said and asked for a Justin Bieber record. When they threw me out I hit my head on the sidewalk and am still in the hospital. When my girlfriend found out she left me and so did all of my friends and my grandmother stopped baking me pies. Thanks a lot.

  98. norealnews
    April 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I love the sound of vinyl. When you play an LP the sound moves the air differently than when you play a digital version of that same sound. Some of the differences are ephemeral and some are obvious but collectively it's really a different listening experience. But, alas, it's only subjectively better. I happen to love having vinyl in my collection because it feels more real to me but again, it's a subjective feeling. Digital vs. Vinyl is kind of like Microwave vs. Oven. Both have their pluses and minuses but I just happen to love the smell of fresh baked bread.

  99. Mel
    April 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I recently switched back to vinyl, for a few simple reasons. Mainly it's the whole process of putting the record on, turning it over etc. witch makes you experience the music on a whole different level than when you're just running a playlist of a 1000+ songs. The music that I love most is mainly from the period 1965 - 1985, let's call it "classic rock"; I learned from experience that if you play this on CD or MP3, it simply dies: this music was not created for the digital era. Besides all this I just love looking at the covers and collecting them, and last but not least I love the sound, even on a relatively simple stereo set.

  100. Michael Alexander
    April 19, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    MP3s suck. If that is your benchmark for music, you don't really know anything, you know? Vinyl can sound awesome on a top-flight system. The problem is that most people -- and I bet that includes you -- have mediocre hi-fi systems.

  101. nrf
    April 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    my issue with vinyl is it is impossible to avoid pops/clicks. I would get a new album, immediately spray with a static inibitor, clean it, and already on the first play click click click. then there are odd noises not related to dust too.

  102. Bpd
    April 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    1. As evidenced by the previous comments, the whole sound quality issue is debatable.
    2. Having lived through the heyday of vinyl (which the author obviously didn't) I see the trade off of sound quality vs. the advantages of a digital format as an acceptable one. Ever tried to take your phonograph player on a brisk jog? How about installing one in your car?
    3. Digital copies of songs I ripped almost 20 years ago still sound perfect. I don't care how anal you are about caring for your vinyl, you can't make this kind of claim.
    4. Lighten up, Francis. No one likes to be told they're stupid, backwards, or unsophisticated. You need to work on your people skills.

  103. Jon
    April 19, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    "Your Taste in Music Will Improve"

    My taste in music is just fine without you... Pretentious much?

  104. George Klein
    April 19, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    From a classical music point of view most of the advantages are or non existing or irrelevant.
    1. My taste of music has nothing to do with vinyl vs. digital. I had developed my taste of music several decades ago, and, if at that time digital would have been available my taste of music would have been much more developed.
    2. Buying digital CD's is exactly the same type of experience. I would be interested to get an argument against the above statement.
    3. You must be kidding! First you do not compare vinyl with garbage digital sound (MP3).
    The quality of sound in WAVE or AIFF uncompressed format is so much superior to vinyl, that the two types (vinyl vs WAVE/AIFF) are miles away in quality.
    In my opinion MP3 is garbage quality, and in spite of that it is still comparable to vinyl.
    The extra hiss, clicks etc you hear when listening to vinyl reduces its quality considerably, and it can make it inferior even to MP3. And please don't tell me, that those extra sounds are the "charm" of listening to vinyl.
    4. Yes, this is the only statement, where I could agree with you. Some of the old 78RPM disks sell for thousands of dollars just because they are so rare. Good luck finding them to put them on sale on eBay tor any other buy-and-sell website.

  105. Harry
    April 19, 2015 at 10:47 am

    You are a pretentious hipster douchebag but we've forgiven you. Also you're totally wrong about the sound quality!

  106. Joost Janssens
    April 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

    This article is good, but as a film composer and mixing engineer (and vinyl buff) I would like to add the following, especially to the comments about the sound being better:

    -Theoretically speaking, vinyl doesn't come close to the sound of digital. Higher resolutions, more clarity, much more headroom and detail. Mind you that I'm not speaking about MP3, which is horrible and outdated (please get FLAC or WAV), but true lossless uncompressed audio.
    -Practically speaking though, vinyl sounds better for many people (though this is a matter of TASTE) because of imperfections. A little noise here and there, a little shimmer, some distortion all add up to an imperfect, but very naturally and beautifully sounding record. Now, in my opinion this is true for records that were actually recorded back in the day. If you ask me, modern albums mixed in the digital world should never be transferred to vinyl because, y'know, they weren't mixed with the restrictions of vinyl in mind. But again, taste is what matters.
    -To add to the imperfections; it's the clinical precision and overall cleanliness of Digital Audio that generally makes it sound sterile or lifeless. Add to that the loudness war (which for god's sakes is almost over) and you get sterile, overdriven mud that is very loud, but not very nice to listen to.
    -Modern producing, mixing and mastering (and this has nothing to do with either format) is a big part of the problem, not so much the format itself. People these days tend to fill in every single bit of blank stereo space in a mix with something. A lot of modern pop records are prone to this. PLEASE. DO. LEAVE. SOME. ROOM.
    -As an example of the latter, I would invite everyone to listen to Sting's magnificent album 'Nothing Like The Sun', and listen to songs like 'Fragile' and 'They Dance Alone'. What do you hear? Space between instruments, and in return every element in these mixes gets room to breathe, come forward and reveal itself. It's not a muddy mess of hundreds of instruments piled upon each other to fill in every gap between 20hz and 20khz. Again, the producers, mixers and engineers (and Sting himself is a wonderful arranger as well) work together to create a beautiful, cohesive whole without losing sight of one single element. It's refreshing.

    To give an example of modern muddiness, listen to the chorus:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW6SkvErFEE&list=PLC800B9699743BD19&index=38

    Please don't shoot me...

    • David Korabell
      April 20, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      Absolutely True! It's not the technology, but how they use it. And the imperfections do often matter. I know a number of musicians and engineers
      that swear digital amplifiers cannot compare to the quality of a valve/tube amplifier.

    • David Korabell
      April 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

      I think the real significant difference between vinyl & digital audio
      is not in the audio, but the ancillary experience. Having & holding the
      recording, making a physical investment of maintaining it. People
      live in the physical world & physical things will have more significance
      simply because of more sensory attachment. You can feel & smell vinyl,
      you cannot experience any of that with digital.

      • Michael Bryner
        December 5, 2016 at 10:28 pm

        Who the hell cares about feel and smell? Music is for listening, not feeling. LOL!

  107. MiC
    April 19, 2015 at 7:51 am

    1:50 vs 2:39 in the video (Stadium Arcadium - CD vs LP - STOP THE LOUDNESS WAR!) says something
    vinyl sounds better to me

    • Thomas
      April 24, 2015 at 7:07 am

      Aside from the visual component (which creates a bias, this test should be performed as a double blind, and then reveal the visual difference at the end), the audible difference between the two, at least in this video is moot, since both are being compressed using youtube's compression algorithm. And it sounds like the vinyl version has a little bit of high end removed from it, or when the user added both files to the track, the export of the video, when both tracks are on the same timeline, may have altered the characteristics. What those changes may be, I do not know, since there is no way to verify the many variables in this video (gain structure when digitizing the vinyl, mastering compression/eq/limiting on the video export,etc.) .

    • MiC
      April 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Yes, you are right.
      Despite youtube’s compression I can clearly hear the kick and the bass in the vinyl version is more concrete, punchy and full. And the whole mix sounds more organic. There is less of the high end compared to the CD version for sure, but despite this, or thank to it, I am finding the vinyl version to be more pleasant sounding.
      cheers :)

  108. Jamieg
    April 19, 2015 at 1:52 am

    The only thing I hate about modern music is the compression. Pretty much only jazz, blues and classical escaped the loudness war. Compression is easily detected with very little knowledge of it and some decent equipment

  109. Litho
    April 19, 2015 at 1:11 am

    Your opinion on "synthesized instruments" not appearing on vinyl is hilarious. If anything, underground electronica/club music created on Roland, Akai, Korg, etc synths and drum machines are what kept vinyl pressing plants open during the 90's and 2000's, not your vintage rock drivel or Jazz at the Pawnshop.

    • Matthew Hughes
      April 19, 2015 at 12:41 pm

      That's not what I said.

      I said that saccharine, Stock Aiken Waterman-type guff very seldom makes its way to vinyl.

  110. R J Sheppard
    April 19, 2015 at 12:13 am

    .....and you just have to love the ticks and pops and surface noise...yes vinyl sounds better!!!!!! Come on use an EQ, we had to use them for vinyl and we have to use them for CD's. I can make a CD sound like the band is in the room!!!! I can with vinyl too, including all the ticks, pops and surface noise!!!!!!

    • Larry G
      April 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      I agree with you, R J Sheppard! The only real bummer about vinyl that I can think of is how the bass would actually tend to skip the track but with a sophisticated turntable, that occurrence would lessen.

    • Larry G
      April 21, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Long live tube amplifiers as well!

  111. Anonymous
    April 19, 2015 at 12:11 am

    "It sounds as good as the producer or band intended." No, it sounds as good as your worst component will allow.

  112. Awakeng
    April 18, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Putting aside the *minor* audio differences, vinyl is simply too inconvenient. Being a child of the early 70's and living through vinyl, 8 tracks, cassette tapes and CDs, I can confidently say, I'll never go back.

    I can remember as a teenager in the 80's dreaming of having a room full of vinyl so I could listen to whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Little did I know that would come true (minus the vinyl) and would cost less than 10 vinyl records per year. No spare room required -- in fact, I can take that music everywhere I go and easily arrange it any way I like.

    I do notice the lower audio quality at times (I primarily use Google Music), but being able to play nearly any song at any time makes the small sacrifice worth it.

    Regarding the specific points in the post --

    1 - Most, if not all, songs available on vinyl are available digitally and there is a lot of great music available digitally that will never be released on vinyl
    2 - There are better experiences than hanging out your local record store (speaking from experience)
    3 - The difference in audio quality between vinyl and lossless digital is debatable
    4 - Vinyl is not a good investment (again, speaking from experience).

  113. Kioor
    April 18, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    tldr; Technology is scary, Fire is bad and Thomas Edison was a witch. In all seriousness though I think you're being a might bit pretentious. You're pushing your preference in sound as the best on some objective level. That somehow magically if all them youngin's would just listen to vinyl they would develop your musical tastes.

  114. DonGateley
    April 18, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    You completely fail to mention signal to noise ratio which is terrible for vinyl (and largely eliminates any advantage over well processed MP3) or the unavoidable non-linear distortion that comes with any analog only path. It can easily rise to 1% or worse on a path from vinyl where digital is typically .001% before it hits the speaker/'phone. There are no "stair steps" in digital any more than there are in vinyl. That widely held idea comes from people ignorant of the DSP reconstruction theorem.

    That's not to say that when all is said and done one cannot legitimately prefer the sound of vinyl, only that the preference can't be based on any technical superiority.

    • Sandy Coulter
      April 21, 2015 at 2:32 am

      You are correct, Don. To put it in simpler terms, I can tell you that even with meticulous care (lightweight stylus, vertical storage in cool dry environment, never touching the grooves, etc), over time the background noise gets louder, but even brand new records have an undercurrent of noise that is not present in the digital versions, unless recorded digitally from an analog (vinyl) source. I'll take the digital over analog anytime.

  115. coconuts
    April 18, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    The idea that compression of an audio signal reduces the information in it is certainly valid. However, when it is used as a criticism against MP3 formats the key question of whether humans can actually detect this loss in information is ignored or glazed over. Can you provide any links to any studies that prove humans can detect the difference between MP3s and lossless digital audio?

    • Matthew Hughes
      April 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Not sure about studies. Anecdotally, I know a lot of people who say they can. Personally speaking, I can tell the difference.

    • michel
      April 18, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      Mathew, have you done blind tests? Isn't most music recorded and mastered digitally? How can anything be lost or the sound changed (aside from compression loss, which science tells us we can't hear) when a digital file is copied? The only argument I can see that makes sense is, the difference you think is so superior is ADDED in the conversion to analog. Which would make it less faithful, not more.

    • Emky
      April 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Man!!! If you can't tell the difference between vinyl and digital, moreover in the bass range, you're deaf...

    • Rick Knowles
      April 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      I am 65 years old and I worked in the analogue audio equipment age. I have owned turntables such as the Canadian made Oracle, The British Linn Sondek and others. All turntables have a characteristic sound of their own but make no mistake they are the creators of the best you will get out of a sound system.
      Someone once said to me mockingly that I could hear grass grow but that's only because I have a trained ear for the subtleties in the recording.
      There is a term " garbage in, garbage out" the turntable creates the sound presentation or representation of what's in the record groove. A very good amplifier and a great set of speakers at the state of the art will give you that representation as perfect as possible. So if you give them a bad signal, you get perfectly amplified garbage.
      If you ask the question is vinyl better than a CD of that I have no doubt at all.
      My hearing is diminished by my age but I could very easily tell the difference in a blind listening test.

      • Kevin Gibson
        October 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

        vinyl will never be better than digital, you don't hear anybody complaining about the audio quality of bluray. and it is digital audio.
        music does not need to go back to vinyl, we just need to change the way digital audio tracks are mastered, make them more like blu-ray.

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