Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vinyl

I grew up listening to records - you know, the discs made of vinyl with grooves on them that were the main source of recorded music prior to CD's becoming popular.

When I got my first CD player I thought CD's were great - no more ticks, pops and hiss from the records, no more distortion from the turntable needle not being able to handle the groove cuttings in the records, no more warps, plus a more compact way of storing them.

But there's a significant group of people who remain fans of vinyl, insisting that records sound better than CD's. The latter sound cold and sterile they say, characteristics of the digital domain as opposed to the warm, inviting nature of analog pressed in plastic.

When I think back on the many records I listened to over and over and over, not only have I memorized the songs themselves but also the ticks and pops and distortion points caused by the records, too. I don't need the first few notes to tell you what a particular song is, just play the lead-in groove on the 45 RPM record and I can tell you the song just by hearing the noise in the grooves.

Do you know why some people say CD's sound sterile? Because there is no background noise on a CD. It's silent. Not like the constant groove noise that I think some people consider "warmth" existing on a vinyl record. It's just like people who have to have the television on all the time even if they are in another room.

I can't tell you how many records I have bought that were warped or had static and other surface noise on them, or had distorted sound because the needle didn't track the grooves properly. Why would I want to hassle with that all over again?

You can probably tell my vote is for the CD when it comes to audio quality.

Still, the argument of vinyl LP recording versus CD is never going to be settled conclusively. It is a matter of opinion. Plus there are those who think the good old days were always better, whether or not they really were. They feel that having a record on a turntable means being an audio purist.

Get people of opposing opinions together on one of the audio forums and it leads to stuff like this:







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