Vinyl records were the quintessential format for many years before digital became a thing. In recent years though, there has been a resurgence of the vinyl format. With vinyl’s popularity increasing, there are many reasons why vinyl records are considered a superior format than their digital counterpart. Below are just a few.
Story by Jessica Kane
There is No Data Loss
Many audiophiles have argued the pros and cons of vinyl since the birth of digitized audio. The main difference lies in formatting. When you listen to a mp3 file, you are not hearing the whole project. As people work on their music, the audio file is compressed as it reaches the distribution phase. Compression decreases the file size and thus the contents of the file.
Quick tip: Sample rates: Most audio is recorded at 48,000 or 96,000 samples per second. The general audio format for pop radio is 44,100 samples per second. Therefore, the audio file is not complete when you hear audio on the radio.
Welcome to the Loudness Wars
As digital music became more prevalent in the music industry, engineers utilized different methods to make their productions stand out. This created something known as the loudness wars. The loudness wars originally helped artists differentiate their songs from those who recorded on tape due to the processing power of virtual plug-ins.
This method of overproduction increases the chance of distortion. Although it may sound better at a louder amplitude, the amount of compression will ultimately affect the quality of the audio. Some components of the track may not sound loud in comparison to other instruments because the levels of each instrument have been normalized in order to create a flat rate of feedback throughout the duration of the track. This was never a problem with vinyl format.
The Warm Vinyl Sound
The tone of vinyl music sounds different in comparison to digitized music. The music will sound organic and live when it plays from vinyl. This is due to the no loss format. When you are listening to a vinyl record, it will sound as though the artist is playing in front of you because the essence of the artist’s performance is maintained when recording through analog.
It is an Experience
Is there an experience when buying an album from the iTunes library? When you invest in a vinyl record, you are investing in experiences and memories. Listening to vinyl with friends, hearing the warm crackle of the needle hitting the record, it is all part of the experience. Not to mention the better audio quality!
If you are an avid music collector, wouldn’t you want to have a collection instead of a mp3 library?
High Fidelity Listening
Vinyl has the capability of producing the same quality and sometimes better quality than CDs. Although it is an analog medium, if the vinyl is properly produced and manufactured it will yield better quality than CD formats.
Whether you choose vinyl, CDs, or mp3s, it really depends on your taste in audio. Understanding your preferences will knock out many decisions in your life. With the resurgence in vinyl sales, don’t be surprised to see more friends starting vinyl collections and others expanding theirs. In some cases, a digital copy comes with the vinyl making your decision less hard to make, but even if this trend doesn’t catch on, the argument for vinyl is strong.
Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables.
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