Vinyl – A new hope

Vinyl – A new hope

Seemingly moribund with the onset of CD, vinyl, especially audiophile vinyl, is now enjoying, says Paul Rigby, both a cultural and marketing renaissance.

Vinyl was supposed to be finished. As a mass medium, that much was true. However, like any mature industry which has experienced an initial, gold rush grabbing, pile ‘em high-sell ‘em cheap frenzy, what remains are specialists that serve the niche. Take the UK as an example and look at everything from clothing to bicycles, from handbags to pottery. Once a mass market is bled dry, the money men either change the product (from vinyl to CD to downloads) or they change the territory to lower production costs (UK to China) or they go up market (Bags to Burberry). Often, the shock of an industry collapse: the media headlines, the job losses and the industrial change in direction dominates public awareness, leading to a perception that that industry is no more. Such was vinyl. The dramatic format change in the early ‘80s from vinyl to CD caused a shock that many music fans have yet to recover from. Just about all populist media references to vinyl are made in the past tense. However, that is far from the truth.

Tim Livingston, Sales Director for US-based Sundazed (www.sundazed.com) referred to his company figures, “Sales are going up at a steady pace every year for the past five years or so and a lot of younger people are getting in to vinyl now. The audiophiles are part of the market but younger kids, 18-25, are really into collecting vinyl now.”

German vinyl specialists, Speakers Corner (www.speakerscorner.de), also declared that, from its inception, it has never reported a growth in turnover of less than 10% compared to the previous year.

 

“…2008 was the best year ever for us,” reported company boss, Kai Seemann, “more than 20% above 2007 which was the best year up till then.”

Despite the current financial crisis, which has slowed sales somewhat, “2010 will be close to 2008 and then we will have the increases in turnover we are used to again. This is not because of new customers or new markets (although we note a new, considerable interest in South America) but the existing customer base is willing to spend. I believe in a constant growth of customers who are disappointed by the digital offerings and want to buy a high resolution, physical product,” Seemann added.

It seems, however, that, as a vinyl label, you don’t need to be already established with a loyal client base to survive in today’s market. Even in these harsh financial times, there are still plenty of people starting vinyl-based companies. Take the newly launched Music On Vinyl (www.musiconvinyl.com), based in Holland. According to the head of its UK office, Mike Gething, “[Vinyl] is a viable business. It’s a niche market but it’s a deep niche. There are people who grew up with vinyl and people who are becoming converted to vinyl which means that it’s a niche market that will continue for a long time.”

Vinyl reissues cover many categories. Major labels, such as EMI and Universal, and mid-sized independents, such as Ninja Tune and Warp, still produce new and contemporary vinyl of new releases as well as reissues of older works plus 12” and 7” singles.

Independent specialist companies tend to focus and specialise on reissues of classic or long forgotten albums and they do so while promoting an ‘audiophile’ standard.

The term ‘audiophile vinyl’ has, historically, encapsulated a somewhat negative and elitist image. Some music fans are even afraid to be associated with the term for fear that they will instantly turn into a serious, chin stroking academic.

In fact, a piece of audiophile vinyl is more a badge of quality, a Rolls-Royce of records, a class of product that gives you both value for money and, most importantly, a gateway to some of the most enjoyable music you have ever heard. So, what is audiophile vinyl?

The term is, actually, rather nebulous as audiophile or high quality vinyl encompasses many factors. Current reissues will cater for one, some or all of these supposed audiophilic prerequisites.

To begin, audiophile vinyl pressings tend to appear on thicker than normal vinyl, referred to by their weight: 180gm, 200gm, etc. The benefits of thicker vinyl are somewhat contentious. The theory is that you have the ability to cut a deeper groove into the vinyl that affords the possibilities of a greater dynamic range. However, many enthusiasts declare that there’s no audible difference. More, some users who own turntables with a built-in clamp (that sits on top of the record spindle and secures the record to the deck) prefer thinner vinyl. They say that the clamp couples the thinner, more pliable vinyl to their deck more successfully, improving sound quality that way. Whatever the truth, heavier vinyl does lessen the chances of warping and offers a psychological effect of better value for money.

Often, heavy weight vinyl is advertised in conjunction with the term ‘Virgin Vinyl’. This refers to vinyl that has not been used before and recycled. The audible benefits result in a much quieter playing surface.

Another major aspect of audiophile vinyl – arguably the most critical element – is the source. The better the source (that is, the original medium that the artist recorded upon), the better the chance of a great sounding LP. The preferred source is the analogue master tape: it offers no sonic limits and can produce stunning aural results. Other ‘lesser’ sources can still produce startling results, however, including acetate (for those pre-tape era recordings), vinyl-to-vinyl dubbing (often utilised for ultra-rare albums and private pressing reissues), even cassette tape (listen to some of the Vinyl-On-Demand box sets for proof, www.vinyl-on-demand.com) and even – dare to say it – digital (most modern recordings).

The mastering itself is another critical variable. Of course, any mastering engineer can make any form of recording shine and, on the flip side, he can absolutely ruin it. However, for an audiophile recording, one that arrives with a gamut of top-of-the-line specifications, the fine line between success and failure is that much more critical. It’s no surprise, therefore, to find that many audiophile record labels take a lot longer to produce their records than a standard LP as more care and attention is required. The audiophile genre is also the only recording sector where the top mastering engineers themselves become minor celebrities, featuring their own, largely online-based, fan clubs.

Finally, the process of cutting the record grooves to maximise sound quality is just as essential,  “Back in the heyday of vinyl, the ‘50s and ‘60s, vinyl cutting was very much an art,” explained Bob Irwin, founder and owner of the US-based audiophile outfit, Sundazed – whose audiophile releases include Bob Dylan and The Byrds. “There were people who cut records magnificently and there were people who didn’t. This is why there are collectors who will chase after original pressings such as Columbia 1As or Blue Note Deep Grooves. They are chased because of the superior sonics. Not because different master tapes where used, they probably used the same tapes, but a more experienced engineer tended to take more care and utilise more skill for that first pressing. Someone who regarded the cutting of the laqueur as an art form.”

Some companies have even attempted to push the technology further with varying degrees of success. Mobile Fidelity (mofi.com), for example, produces ‘Half Speed’ vinyl. This is a sub-genre of the audiophile standard. It refers to the album’s master tape which is physically played back and then recorded to vinyl at half the normal speed,  “This solves many inherent ‘tape playback’ problems,” commented Abbey Road, half speed expert, Miles Showell, “At half speed, the signal is cleaner as it passes through the system, especially for brass instruments. Also, it is not apt to cause any kind of power supply or slew rate distortion.”

Which gives you a glimpse into the complexity of creating a top quality audiophile record.

The ‘Half Speed’ followers are not the only splinter group in the audiophile market. Other successful technological improvements have been implemented by Classic Records (www.classicrecords.com) in the USA via its Clarity vinyl editions. Changes that make up this standard include alterations in the recipe of the vinyl itself, how it is pressed and modifications in the groove guard shape (the thick lip on the outside of the record). It also includes the implementation of a completely clear vinyl that the music arrives within. The milky-blue tone represents the total absence of Carbon Black, the substance that makes all vinyl black in colour. Carbon Black features metallic, magnetic impurities. It’s this magnetism – small though the reading may be – that can produce harmful effects on a sensitive turntable cartridge. It is noticeable, for example, how much more focused a ‘Clarity’ disc is during play when compared to a standard black version which sounds almost diffuse on the edges of the soundstage, in comparison.

One of the problems of the audiophile vinyl sector has been the comparative lack of variety and scope in the catalogue. This is not the problem of the independent but the outright miserly behaviour of the major labels who often refuse to grant a license for use on swathes of their precious archive. The independents are nothing if not persistent and ingenious, however, chipping away at this stubborn, culturally stultifying, behaviour.

Music On Vinyl, for example, has just managed to secure a deal with Sony/BMG, “Sony will reissue certain titles but, where they don’t, we now have the option to bring those titles into our catalogue. This means that, before the end of this year, we will have released around 20 titles from the Sony back catalogue. During 2010, in addition, we would hope to add a few independent labels to our roster to enable us to release a total of 50-100 records.”

Another advantage with this particular company is that it also owns its own vinyl pressing plant (the ex-Sony plant, based in Holland, in fact). Hence, the increasing catalogue, says Gething, will always remain ‘active’, far in the future because, “we can print little and often”. Unlike other companies who only press single, limited quantities and then delist them which only frustrates collectors.

Another new UK vinyl outfit, Three Black Feathers (www.threeblackfeathers.co.uk), which will start its existence by releasing a range of classic British folk albums from the likes of Martin Carthy and The Watersons, features heavyweight vinyl, remastered at Abbey Road by two of the engineers who recently worked on the recent Beatles box set remasters, featuring newly written liner notes. Each have been mastered with quality in mind so that some single albums, packed with music, have now been expanded and released as a double album to reduce the amount of tracks per side to just three. The reason being that, the fewer grooves on a vinyl side, the better the quality of the music therein: another audiophile trait.

The new Nic Jones’ English folk reissue, Penguin Eggs, illustrates the extra effort. Label owner, Chris Heard, had to approach the British Library to access the masters. The album is currently viewed as an artefact and is stored ‘for the nation’.

“We had to get permission to get the masters from the library. In fact,” added Heard, “we were not allowed to take them ourselves. They were sent, by taxi, by the head of the label, directly to Abbey Road. When the album was remastered, we even used the same console that Pink Floyd used to record Dark Side Of The Moon.”

The future of vinyl is especially healthy and, bizarrely, threatens to see out the CD and become the last physical format available for sale. As Heard himself states, because of the digital culture and downloads, “…people want something tangible, something that they can touch and feel. Never underestimate the hunter/gatherer urge in any male. A bloke needs something to collect. It’s something innate in us all and I don’t think that it will ever go away. It’s also a lifestyle choice: you either go the minimal route and store your MP3s in a digital space or, in this multimedia age, you can buy a heavy record that’s been pressed with care and love and you have all the sleeve notes, done to a high standard and with passion.”

Similarly, Sundazed’s Bob Irwin is extremely upbeat about the future, “I’m very optimistic about it – and I’ll take on anyone who isn’t!” whilst UK label, Pure Pleasure’s MD, Tony Hickmott, continues to believe that vinyl is the receptacle of the very soul of music, “As Ray Charles once said ‘The CD, it don’t got no balls’”

ALL OVER THE WORLD

One of the most remarkable features of the current vinyl market is the formation of a loose world confederation, almost a global cottage industry. Small, dedicated companies working on a small scale, each tending to find its own sub-niche of quality product. Here’s just a small selection of the companies involved.

The UK, of course, features a range of specialists including blues and jazz from Pure Pleasure (www.purepleasurerecords.com), heavy rock from Devil’s Jukebox (www.lamf.biz) and 80s classics from Vinyl180 (www.vinyl180.com)

Germany provides hard rock from SPV (www.spv.de). Spain can offer a selection of very rare Krautrock releases via Wah Wah (www.wah-wahsupersonic.com) or rare world folk – including British folk – via Guerssen (www.guerssen.com). The USA is chock-a-block with labels including Audio Fidelity (www.audiofidelity.net)  offering classics from a range of genres including rock, psychedelia and singer-songwriters. Italy provides classic 60s releases and exotica via Vinyl Lovers (www.abraxasrecords.com) while Russia’s Lillith can offer everything from 80s new wave, 70s prog rock and 60s classic rock. There are even respected, audiophile, labels in the likes of Greece (Missing Vinyl; www.veamusic.com) and Japan (Venus). There are many more that I’ve missed.

A tip for the future? The Chinese market is currently packed to the gills with dozens of specialist HiFi companies, 99% of which you and I have never heard of, offering niche products such as valve pre-amps and turntables of professional design and construction. Watch and wait for the Chinese and other Asian territories to break out in a rash of reissue record labels.

SPECIAL EDITIONS – FOR ALL

One of the joys of vinyl is the special, limited edition. That category often presented within a box set format containing multiple slabs of vinyl plus plenty of extra goodies. Newly released examples including Paul McCartney’s 4LP Good Evening New York, REM’s 4LP Live At The Olympia and Tom Waits’ 7LP collection, Orphans.

One of the experts in this field is the UK’s own Vinyl Factory (www.vinylfactory.co.uk) which focuses on new, chart-friendly, records. The company releases them as luxurious vinyl box sets, emphasising both design and artwork for an average £50 price point. They’ve already released Primal Scream’s latest album, Beautiful Future and the Damon Albarn, Monkey project.

Bidder dismissed the notion that luxurious vinyl is aimed at the 40+ market and that teenagers are ignorant of vinyl, “The common perception is that young people don’t buy music but only download free tracks,” said Vinyl Factory’s Sean Bidder. “That’s not true. Young people don’t bother buying anything on CD. If they’re going to buy anything it’ll be on vinyl where they want a certain amount of care and detail to the record.

“For us as a company, we are engaging with music that is viewed as ‘popular’ in its broadest context. We also plan to publish box sets which may be viewed as more cult or marginal in their appeal.”

Look out for a special edition 12” single from Massive Attack, Air’s Love 2 and a special edition box set featuring Massive Attack, to come next February.

ON RETAIL

It’s all very well banging on about vinyl and how good it sounds but, with the collapse of the record trade on the High St, where on earth do you buy it from? Top of the list is Diverse Vinyl (www.diversevinyl.com), an online retailer that still runs its own High St. record shop. Despite the recession, business is relatively good, “When that limited edition comes out that the collector needs for their collection, they’re finding the money for it. Our sales are index linked to the amount of releases that come out. As soon as product arrives, then people are right onto the phones,” said MD Paul Hawkins.

Despite a dip in sales, this year, due to a quiet Summer of releases, the company has reported excellent sales previous to that, up 20% over the previous two years, up dramatically from the 5% for the earlier two years. “I would put that down to some impressive reissue campaigns. For example AC/DC put their entire back catalogue out and the Travelling Wilburys box set did really well for us.”

Online business has been, on the whole, a good thing, “Yes, it has robbed us of a lot of shop trade but then it’s given us lots of international mail order trade, in return. We’ve gained more than we’ve lost. In fact, 90% of our revenue comes through mail order channels.”

One startling fact revealed by Hawkins is the current stock of world-wide, new releases and the choice and variety now on offer, “There’s more choice in the vinyl market now then there was in the mid-80s, when everyone was beginning to say that vinyl was on the way out.”

He does reserve his ire for the major labels, however, who, he feels, haven’t helped to create this now bountiful market, “It’s taken an age for the big guys – Universal, EMI and the like – to see the potential of vinyl. And how stupid because they’ve been in it from the start. They react so quickly to trends in the market but they take their eye off what they’ve already got.”

Thanks goodness for the independents, then. Yet, even Diverse Vinyl is getting in on the act with its own vinyl imprint. Two of its most recent releases include Idelwild’s Post Electric Blues and The Duke And The King’s Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Also look out for other retailers such as Stamford Audio (www.stamfordaudio.co.uk) and Classic LPs (www.classiclps.co.uk)

161 Comments

  • Dan says:

    I didn’t think this will ever happen. I remember those days when everybody was struggling to get one of these because they were very rare.

  • ismarketing says:

    Ii never understood the debate on this topic. If you love vinyl – enjoy it. If you think it’s a relic, that’s OK too. What’s great right now is format is becoming less important as music is available in so many different ways. I love the sound of my records, but don’t have as much time as I would like to enjoy them.

  • alan gwynne says:

    i read an interview by bob dylan which said thad cd could not cope with the amount of acoustic that vinyl can to display the best of his music

  • Kosh (age 47) says:

    Are you kidding me? Vinyl is dead. It damages too easy, takes too much care, too much storage space. I’ve never had a problem with how CDs sound. Those who say they can tell the difference need to get a girlfriend.

    I don’t even buy CDs anymore. I’m tired of having to store them. All my music is digital, and well backed up for protection. I have all my music on my iPod, iPhone, etc.

    Get nostalgic all you want on vinyl, but there were reasons it was replaced, and those aren’t going away.

  • Doug Berry says:

    I recently bought a new turntable, spending far more than several of the entire stereo systems I have owned. Best purchase I’ve made! To my ears, vinyl is the most pleasing and accurate medium. I’ll take the clicks and pops on my old LPs as long as you give me the music.

  • Graham Keevill says:

    I still have the vast majority of my old vinyl collection – LPs and singles. They still come out to play quite regularly, even the ones I’ve since ‘replaced’ with CDs. The reasons? All the ones people most usually cite – they sound great, look and feel like true artefacts, and give a kind of pleasure that is rarely there with CDs.

    There is of course one apparent drawback with vinyl as compared to CDs – length. Many a vinyl double album fits quite comfortably on a single CD, and of course a single LP that came in much above 40 minutes was seen as a real bonus. Now we feel badly short-changed if a CD is anything less than 50 minutes, and ones lasting well over an hour are commonplace. A good thing? Well, I wonder. I have some absolutely cracking full-length CDs where there isn’t a wasted minute. I have far more, though, where some good tracks fight against a morass of sheer dreck. Mind you that was true of vinyl too.

    The LP sleeve and its capacity for artwork was always one of the real joys – especially with gatefolds or the real oddities like Space Ritual and the original Glastonbury live set (both of which I have – lucky me, eh? What’s the point of a CD replacement of those!). Artwork by the likes of Roger Dean and Hipgnosis was something in its own right. And there was a reasonable chance that you might actually be able to read the lyrics if they were printed on the LP sleeve, or a full size insert. What chance do you have with most CD booklets unless you have nuclear-powerec binoculars?

    Happy listening, viewing and reading!!

    Cheers,

    Graham

  • Andy says:

    CD’s are suffering the same fate as the LP.

    Near the end of the LP, the recordings and pressings were lousy, the actual vinyl was barely thick enough to support it’s own weight, and the record was playable once, maybe twice before it was full of pops and clicks.

    CD’s started off OK, but a lot of re-releases were rushed in their re-mixing. Over saturated, but the sound was pop and click free. Something we were not used too. But that joy was replaced by a quality of music that was just ‘not right’.

    Todays audiophile releases, SACD and lossless music (such as the wonderful SoS recordings here) have done a fine job of fixing the early problems with the digital experience. But they all lack one thing, the ‘Full’ experience.

    With todays releases, on 180 and 200 gram vinyl, and stellar recording and mixing, the turntable brings out so much more of an experience. Add to that the sheer joy of liner notes, a nice big cover, and the 22 minutes you have to find out what to play next, vinyl is the only way to go for a serious night of listening.

    So, thank you to all the companies putting out the vinyl, I appreciate it. and so do my friends.

  • Andy McGhee says:

    I think that it’s great that there is renewed interest in vinyl. I think like many people, my first hi-fi system was built around vinyl with the best seperates I could afford at the time (saving up from paper rounds and part time jobs). As time went on I found the convenience of CD very attractive but I have recently turned back to vinyl and was shocked at just how difficult it is to get hold of now.

    We have a great independant record shop in Ipswich, Suffolk but I still wish more new material was released on vinyl and that it was easier to get hold of.

  • DANIEL KODGER says:

    ironic is’nt it-your old school if you are a cd/sacd listener.

    i aim sticking to those formats-what ever i might be missing there is a reason vinyl basically disappeared until a few years ago for probably 90% of listeners. the younger generation does’nt even care about full rig set-ups, it’s all i-pod!!

    the reason i won’t jump back on the vinyl bandwagan is:

    1. money-have to purchase the set-up
    2. the level of maitance involved with maintaining a record.
    3. i don’t think vinyl surpass sacd or dac players.

  • Matej says:

    I absolutely love vinyl!

    I think in last 5 years I invested three times as much in vinyl records than I did in CDs. To me it sounds better. It also demands respect as you really need to treat your records with care if you want to keep them in best playing state. Vinyl also takes more time to start playing, you cant just pop it in like a cd, to me is more like a ritual that defies the convenience of cds and mp3 players, but rewards with unmatched quality, a true listening experience!

    Long live vinyl!
    Matej

  • Luis Alves says:

    Vinyl was never gone for me. Magnetic cassette tapes, on the other hand, are gone for many years and not at all missed.
    I kept buying vinyl for the last 20 years, along with CDs. Vinyl has a charm of its own as an object while the sound quality is in a league of its own. Recently I changed my music usage paradigm: I buy vinyl when I really love the album and/or performer and buy the CD to rip to Apple Lossless and WMA Lossless. Parallely, I also subscribe to the excellent SoS here, buy the occasional 96khz/24bit download from Linn as well as some very convenient but also very lossy (sometimes even distorted!) downloads from iTunes.
    All this music is consumed around the house and cars in various manners: an SME 10/SME V for vinyl, feeding a full TAGMcLaren setup (also for CD/DVD obviously). This is also fed by an HTPC streaming WMA Lossless from a ReadyNAS Pro; one Zeppelin Mini, one “fullsize” Zeppelin, one Sony mini system, two hifi capable PCs (one includes Dynaudio studio monitors and an extraordinary Asus Xonar Essence STX) and finally the cars, one with an iPod dedicated aftermarket Alpine system and another with an OEM Bang&Olufsen system, iPod and CD capable.
    Music is a big thing for me and the family, and all formats find a place and a time with us.

  • Richard Cote says:

    Vinyl is an easy road for those seeking superior quality. However, the amount of effort it takes to prevent excessive wear, not to mention the short side length will likely limit its revival to the audiophile, budding or otherwise.

    Quality aside, it’s hard to beat the convenience of an iPod or desktop PC setup.

    That said, I do hope that the push for vinyl make a breakthrough high resolution digital downloads. Specialized hardware (in affordability and availabilty) has always been a limiting factor for both top-quality vinyl playback, as well as “doomed” digital formats such as SACD.

    High-res digital downloads address that, while keeping all of the conveniences that made the CD and MP3 market so popular.

  • Frank Zajaczkowski says:

    People can complain all they want about the difficulties of maintaining vinyl, about the s/n ratios, about the equipment costs, etc., but nothing can compare to the early memories I have of falling in love to music on my old Thorens turntable with the girl next door! I wouldn’t trade those images for a store-full of CDs or folder full of digi files.

    Frank Zajaczkowski

  • Dru Masters says:

    I’ve recently started buying my favourite Jazz and soundtrack recordings on old vinyl – original pressings of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald – all pre-digital masters. There’s something about the sound that’s bound together – like a good soup! You don’t always want to taste the individual ingredients… There’s other stuff I wouldn’t bother with, though – the latest Rihanna or Jay-Z sounds great to me on CD. Mind you, I’d quite like to hear them side by side…

  • phil says:

    Vinyl will last for ever

    and sound great !!

  • David Price says:

    I NEVER did give up on vinyl. The very first CD I heard was Floyd’s DSOM on a very early CD player and the guy who owned the record store (remember them?) and I just laughed because it sounded so “mechanical” for lack of a better term. Like S**t an even better term. Granted, since then CDs have come a long way and I enjoy SACD and audio Blu-Ray very much, but I still always look for the black slabs o’ wax whenever I can. Often, I will buy the CD to copy to my music server and also buy the vinyl for those late night sessions that last into the wee hours. Just bought a 200G Guess Who American Woman gatefold and it sounds unbelievable-I highly recommend it. Also recommend Peter Gabriel’s 45 RPM remasters on heavy vinyl-they blow the original vinyl away and the duplicate CDs are now relegated to the big box o’ silver discs in the basement. Truly we are blessed to live in the GVC (Great Vinyl Comeback) days and I would like to thank all of those who are cranking up those 70’s analogue presses as I still tremble with excitement when I rip open the shrink wrap. Peace all.

  • Jean-François says:

    Vinyl sounds great. now the poeple go in the way of compressing music format and dont car about it.. vinyl can not disapere.. please.

  • Harry says:

    I have a Modern Jazz Quartet 10″ vinyl entitled ‘Concorde’ recorded 2-7-1955. This was a year when MJQ made a big hit at the Newport Jazz Festival. It was released by Esquire Records Ltd (London) No: 20-069. It cost me the princely sum of 29 shillings and sixpence halfpenny.

    Although played numerous times over the past 40+ years, including time my vinyl collection spent in the humid tropics of Africa, the quality of the playback beats any CD of MJQ that I have been able to find.

    My collection of classical records on vinyl still have that magical quality, so hurray for efforts to bring vinyl back.

  • Vils says:

    As much as I do love vinyl, I have issues with just how expensive the special edition packages are that are coming out these days. I stuck to CD for the new Massive Attack and AIR releases, even though the vinyl editions for both were gorgeous to behold, and each contained additional material not included on the CDs.

    I think a line needs to be drawn between “vinyl for collectors” and “vinyl for everyday”. I’m happy with the CD format, but I find my vinyl purchases are considered on a case by case basis these days.

    v!

  • Ed says:

    I never gave up vinyl and I continued buying records the past 20 years. Now it is a great time to buy vinyl records as there are many reissues coming out in a stunning quality. I recently invested in a new record player and a good cartridge. Believe me when I say that there is nothing that beats the authentic laid-back sound of vinyl. Even records that sound awfully digital on CD can sound beautiful on vinyl.

    I love it!

  • Lloyd McNeill says:

    Six of my recordings with my band were released originally on vinyl. I loved the sound of vinyl during that era. The main reason why I left vinyl for my private collection of CD’s during that was because my living space could no longer contain spaces for storing the LP’s I had collected. I can remember that fellow musicians and I often debated the vinyl sound over against the CD sound. Sometimes, in those early years of CD’s we would challenge each other to blind listening to see if we could identify differences between the two formats. Most of the musicians, and friends who were sound-savvy, said that the vinyl sound was/is warmer. And, the debate has continued to the present time even though CD recording quality has advanced tremendously. I find that I don’t question the differences in quality anymore, in part, because I have stored the vinyl recordings, and only listen to CD’s from my collection. I’ve been told that the newer processes for manufacturing vinyl has improved tremendously, but I have yet to experience that.
    A company in the UK, “Soul Jazz,” is about to reissue my first album, “Asha,” and in addition to CD’s and individual tunes, they will also issue the music in L:P format. I’ve been assured that those vinyl issues will be of the highest quality, and I am eager to hear that even if it means that I might have to invest in high-quality equipment in order to hear the high quality LP recordings. The bottom line, always, is how closely the manufacturing of the LP’s, the quality of the playback equipment give the impression of the qualities of the live music and real instruments. I am a flutist, and am often disappointed with the recorded sound of that instrument. I hope the new vinyl recordings and the new sound equipment, speakers and turntables, can present excellent examples of the music recorded on that vinyl format. (I am loving my B&W Zeppelin speakers.) http://www.lloydmcneill.com/

  • Manuel says:

    For my the vinyl is superior, by graph and sound. I long ago that I do not buy CD. I love the vinyl.

  • Ron Capocelli says:

    I have been a semi professional drummer (set) for over 40 years. I have also owned and operated my own recording studio and now have a fairly sophisticated home project studio.
    The debate over analog vs. digital recording and concerning which is the more natural sounding listening medium has raged ever since the first cds hit the market. A well mastered recording pressed to high quality vinyl, played back on a well thought out and properly set up system can be a remarkable experience. It will have life, warmth, and presence that are unmistakeable. Playing the same recording through the same system utilizing an advanced digital source, will also produce a very realistic and pleasant experience. However, it will most likely not have the presence and warmth of the vinyl. That is not to say that it is less musically accurate. For me the choice boils down to preference and convenience.
    I would like to add, that as an engineer, I prefer to use mic preamps that are tube based (Manley Labs, Mellenia Media, Tube Tech, Avalon, ect.) to add warmth, presence, depth, speed, and transparency regardless of which medium (vinyl or CD) will be used in the end. Capturing the sound, ambience, and life of the artist(s) are always my goals.

  • Bjorn Elvenes says:

    I’m one of those who once discarded vinyl for CDs. However, after buying a completely new stereo system with valve amplifiers, electrostatic speakers and even a CD-player with valves, I found the sound to be a little harsh in the upper frequencies. Changing valves, experimenting with different cables and so on did solve the problem, but only to a degree. Adding my old record player (Harksound 910 with TI2002 pick-up), brought up a different dimension to the sound. I invested in a new record player (Pro-ject RPM 5.1 with a Clearaudio Virtuoso pick-up), and to me, this sounds better than the same music played through a CD-player costing around 1000 pounds).

    On the other hand, I’m not prepared to throw away the CD-player yet. There is a limit to how much I’m prepared to pay extra for vinyl. There is also the issue of how the studios mixes the final result. I have an impression, subjectively based on my own experience, that some record companies (or at least some releases from those companies), sounded better in the eighties and nineties than today. Maybe it is something I want to hear, but to me it seems that some releases are primarily mixed to sound good on iPods or after the music has been ripped to MP3 or other compressed formats. Do any of you have similar experiences?

  • mark says:

    I don’t think vinyl is that expensive to get into, ebay is chock full of great audio equipment from a couple of decades ago that still perform admirably.

    restoring an old thorens turntable was a great project for me. almost breaks my heart now that it is back in Australia and i’m in the UK for a few years. time to look at shipping costs :)

    i guess ultimately i just _hope_ vinyl doesnt dissapear as it has a lot to offer, in this pixelated world. i love that it is having a resurgence.

    this all from a “young fella” (early 30’s) who only really got into vinyl in the last 6 or so years.

  • Garth says:

    Well what can I say, I love my vinyl, however like with all recordings it all starts in the studio and lets face it the sound quality is only as good as the weakest link starting in the studio to the equipment and environment you are subject to when listening. Good quality recordings sound great in all formats and then it comes down to preference and convenience. Bad recordings sound bad regardless of the playback format and that’s ashame because everyone from the artist to the listener gets burned in those cases.

  • Mark Burton says:

    Vinyl has always been my favourite, as it lasts so much better if looked after properly and always sounds better. It also looks cooler to when DJing.

  • trondareo says:

    I´m leaving the CD player in exchange for a media server based on mac mini, songbird, and FLAC for the families music and media consumption and on the other side, vinyl. My main music system is moving backwards, with Single Ended Triode tube amplifiers of 6-20 watts and full range speakers on open baffles. What LP´s on these systems provide is flowing, engaging sound not the analytical extremes, but dynamic punchy and engaging mids and bass where 90% of real music resides. LP´s are for my favorite recordings, for evenings in quiet company. They are for rituals, anticipation, history, care and focus.

  • Mike says:

    I think people get too hung up on formats. I use all of them for different circumstances; LPs, CDs, mp3s at 320 for my iPod (car & travel), FLAC for my music server. If I had a universal player I would probably listen to DVD-A & SACD as well. The sound producers mix is every bit as important as the format and I get equal pleasure listening to all of them. Bluray adds yet another with the potential for excellent audio quality. I can remember when the only choices were vinyl & cassettes and often you would have to take the LP back because of pops & crackles. So young or old just keep on buying all the formats & media so that the music industry keeps producing them.

  • Alex Wells says:

    Vinyl is the audio equivalent of steel in cycling frames, steel is real etc, a question of authenticity maybe?

  • Robert says:

    I still have all the albums I purchased when I was young. I don’t still have the turntable I played them on. With all of the hoopla over the vinyl resurgence, I have been looking to purchase another turntable. I enjoyed it then, and I am sure I would enjoy it now.

  • Rory says:

    I am all for the re-introduction of Vinyl, but still think that downloading Audiophile master copies of the recorded material gives me a more original sound. If you feel that the pops and scratches of vinyl makes the sound more authentic great, but if you want the sound as produced by the musician, then I think that the original tape converted with no compression to digital is the way to go. (Sorry, a very English thing to say when you feel right)

  • Simon says:

    Its all about the art nothing is more beautiful then a large image that represent the art or artist and it is about the cover. Unlike Mp3 and even small art on a CD or tape. Vinyl has always been good at paying attention to the details.

  • Atane says:

    Vinyl isn’t going anywhere. I’ve been hearing about the demise of vinyl for years, yet formats like reel to reel, cassette, 8-tracks, mini-disc, DAT, laserdisc etc. have come and gone, the one constant has been vinyl, yet people are still talking about vinyl not being around. It’s the ONLY format that has remained.

    To me, vinyl has a quality unsurpassed by any other medium. It’s organic and real. It simply sounds better. I like all formats and I’m big on SACD, FLAC & ALAC, but when I want to sit down and listen. It’s vinyl for me.

    Cheers,
    Atane

  • M Turner says:

    There is certainly some faddish nature amongst the younger generation, however, i’m sure some of them are discovering a totally different sound with their young ears compared to whats available to download, either legally or otherwise.

    Whilst I personally still purchase CDs, I think I am in a declining minority and I tend to purchase second hand from amazon for the value factor.

    I also agree with the idea that the physical media is still important. Humans are predisposed to collect and to value owning. There is definitely something very cool about pulling out a record with beautiful cover art and sharing that experience with someone compared to playing a file on a computer.

  • Bjarne Bülow says:

    I have always loved record stores and have always been looking for good old vinyl. And old record stores.When the CD arrived I embraced that as well. After all, you still own something for your bookshelf when you buy a record.

    I belong to the dying-out generation that see a record as an entity. A composition. Not just a collection of songs.

    Or at least that is what I thought. I love the fact that the future never is predictable. At the same time as music is increasingly getting cheap, easy to produce, easy to find – but also increasingly easy to forget.

    So I think cheap availability and collectors vinyls doesn’t compete.

    But back to vinyl and a revealing moment.

    I have some thousand records collected from my 50 years in this world. One day some three years ago I decided to give them a chance. So I bought a fairly expensive Kuzma player, a Primare R20 RIAA, a Benz pickup. Stupid perhaps but I had some money to spend and I love mechanical things.

    And I was almost shocked! It was so much better than my entire CD collection. So there I am today…

    Bjarne Bülow, Sweden

  • Hajo says:

    Well, a neverending discussion since i’m involved in hearing music on a high end level. I think every side has his advantages. I own a lot of Lp’s which are not reach the sound quality of their cd versions, they where from the late 70′ s and ohterwise i have some cd’s which never reach the lp versions i own too. Quality of sound recording and reproduction depends on many parameters, start by master tape quality and end on the quality of the setup of the home music systems including the perfect turntable setup.

  • VinylFiend says:

    While an iPod is extremely convenient it doesn’t come close to the gratification from playing the same cut on vinyl. Often times I find myself purchasing the same music on vinyl after initially purchasing it in digital form. Play On!

  • Bjarne Bülow says:

    But I have to say I am equally excited about the new lossless 24-bit files (mostly FLAC). They still need some coputer expertise. And I am experimenting playing them from a Mac (originally beeing a PC-man) with Amarra and Pure Vinyl playback programs.

    Very interresting stuff. It really makes a difference and it rivals vinyl for shure. Just using Max for playcack can’t really compete.

  • Bryan says:

    I’m still collecting old vinyl. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to determine a reasonable piece and it doesn’t cost the earth.
    It’s the format where you get something big enough to be able to read and in some cases pull out posters and artwork. The lyrics are often provided on the inner sleeve on a peice of paper big enough to handle.
    Yes you have to take care of the vinyl and have a half respectable system to listen to it , however, the best bit is in the listening. Usually alone with no other distractions and a glass of wine.

  • nella says:

    I find vynil much better than cd as sound and endure. Cd is easy to take away, but during the time the sound is not so good,, better in the beginning, but not if we listen the music for much time.The right thing, for my opinion, is have cd’s and vynil records… It’s a a wonderfull collection for the eyes too! Bye bye everybody!

  • Pete Maher says:

    Oh I’ve been a fool for so long – trying to buy high quality vinyl pressings on occasion and and *always* coming away disappointed. LIfe = dust, dust = crackle and my Linn LP 12 sounds nothing near as good as my Chord DAC/Blu combo. If I got just a smidgen of satisfaction maybe I’d persist and listen out to alternate LP spinners, but really I don’t so give me CD any day. Better still give me a way of streaming 24bit recordings direct to my DAC and I’d be happy never to even look in the direction of my vinyl or CD collection again.

    2 things I do miss about vinyl though are:
    1. The covers can actually be appreciated as much as the music (thanks Storm)
    2. Peter Green’s In The Skies with its see thru green vinyl which looks like it is spinning both backwards and forwards

  • Roland says:

    Vinyl sounds better than everthing else.

  • Huw says:

    I still buy vinyl but have to confess that the convenience of digital means I have become a very lazy listener. There are certain albums, however, that I can almost only listen to on vinyl. I am not sure whether it is a faux-nostalgia or some perverse streak but those albums are also pretty near the top of the list of things to save first if the house was on fire. That says something, eh?

  • Robert Siuda says:

    I’m one of these “young people”. I don’t like most of the download offerings out there (an exception is the BW Society of Sound) because the quality isn’t good at all. I want to “feel” the music (and the money I spent) in my hands. Digital stuff is just digital (and the CDs burned don’t look professional).

    CD’s are ok, I spend a lot of money on them. Though I’d never consider to buy my favourite albums on CD. If available the vinyl record is my first choice. Because of the warmer, more natural sound and the good feeling to have something special in my hands.
    On my HiFi System the vinyl tops the CD. iTunes downloads can’t compete against them.

    I’d like to have more vinyl available. In my opinion vinyl will see out the CD.

  • Atane says:

    Are you folks spinning your records in the desert? I don’t get the dust comments. Buy some protective sleeves/jackets for your albums, they literally cost a couple of cents in bulk, jeez.

    Also, if you have a sizable record collection, an entry level record cleaner is a no brainer. I use a VPI 16.5.

  • Juan says:

    I fully agree with all the previous nostalgic comments, but it´s unlikely I´ll go back to the vinyl.

    I love my old vinyls, but I´m almost sure it has nothing to do with the format.

    It was (apart from the girl next door -great comment, Frank Zajaczkowski) that music, that great recordings, that good taste in the production, mixing and mastering process, what made those vinyls -the whole of them- be worth it.

    But all that is over. Nowadays it´s hard for me to find a song I really like and when I find one I´m very pleased to be able to buy it at 0,99. Of course, digital format, but at least you don´t have to pay for the rest of the album.

  • Mot says:

    I’m a taoist, so I try to find a balance. I use lossless files in my ipod, and have quality components to get the best sound quality from a mobile platform. Then when a recording is really high quality, I also use LP so I can get the amazing warmth and depth that the recording has to offer.

    I found this balance in components as well. I get the warmth of tubes with a tube preamp, and solid state amps for the bass control and driving force. Lovely.

    Enjoy music in all forms.
    Mot

  • Micke says:

    For me listening to Vinyl is a more relaxing kind of listening experience. The procedure, the touch & feel of the material, the cover size etc. all this gives me a more joyful listening session.

    This doesn’t necessary make me prefer Vinyl over CD or other digital media. I have ripped all my CD’s to Apple Lossless and listen to them on my Squeezebox or iPods. When I work, travel etc. the digital media and playback techniques are superior. Browsing my music collection on my Mac, compiling playlists for special occasions etc. have brought new dimensions on music to me.

    I will continue to buy both LP and CD’s.

  • Martin Groth says:

    Everybody wants to have music portable, small, fast and free of charge. Lot of these people have no idea about music in high quality. Allways midrange quality. So I am proud about my small collection of vinyl LPs.
    I enjoy music in every form, on every media. But when I want to hear the special sound, I hear vinyl! It’s like good whisky, not every day but… ;-)

    Enjoy!
    Martin

  • Jeff says:

    Well I guess I am not the only 25 year old buying vinyl. I think the reason for the push from my gen is the fact that most of the main media sources we have had are mp3 based, or badly transferred ie beatles until recent. It is very comforting knowing you are getting what the artist wants you to with vinyl.

  • Steve says:

    I’ve recently sat down with my 17 year old who is download happy and played him Foxtrot and Dark Side of the Moon on new vinyl. Apart from the awesome sonic difference which even he noticed, I introduced him to the joy of sitting down with album covers where you read the lyrics, search through the musicians and the engineers etc. and, after 20 minutes, take a break and turn the disc over to side two and do it all again. We used to do this as a ritual years ago and it opened him up to the idea of LISTENING to music rather than having it on as background.

    Its also been a joy to me to find second hand album stores which have acres of albums I’ve never appreciated before. £3 for Kevin Coyne’s Marjory Razorblade. It must have passed me by in the ’70’s. What a joy. Plus jazz I am now mature enough to understand (Mingus, Basie, Coltrane) at ridiculously low prices. My Saturday ritual is now a trawl of the Guildford stores and a bundle of vinyl in the back of the car for £25. Bargain and so uplifting!

  • chad says:

    I recently got into vinyl, and am amazed on how great it sounds. Yes there is those crackles from dust or bad pressing, but i just use it as a reminder that nothing is perfect in life. I still listen to CD’s and MP3″s, but for some reason sitting down to a good vinyl has a calming and soothing effect. I believe vinyl will be here for a long time, but if it will take back the throne of the listening format is yet to be seen.

  • Pat says:

    I enjoy vinyl more from the overall experience. Selecting the album cleaning it, playing reviewing the album cover and liner notes ect. I have all my music ripped in Apple loassless so the convenience is there but it doesn’t put me in the same frame of ming to sit and truly listen as vinyl does.

    So I’ll be continuing to buy both vinyl and cd’s.

  • Simon says:

    I’ve been buying vinyl since the ’80s, some of the music I buy (electronic//ambient/dance) is only pressed in small runs, and doesn’t always get released in a digital format.

    Whilst I have a very high quality DAC sitting taking care of the digital side of things, it still isn’t a patch on the sound of my modified SL1200, which cost nowhere near as much to buy.

    I think there will always be room fro vinyl, and that it will outlive CD, especially as CDs days are numbered as a digital distribution source.

  • WilB says:

    Vinyl adds so much more visual information than CD. CD always was a low cost medium, with cheap plastic cases and unreadable liner notes. From the beginning of the CD era it was clear that CD couldn’t surpass vinyl. My brother had a rather cheap Dual record player, nothing audiophile but that thing managed to sound as good as the CD player! I owned many record players, from Thorens to Dual, from Garrard to Technics and Micro, then Mitchel and finally an Oracle Delphi V. But now I am a converted downloader. I like the releases of Linn and B&W and i really think digital is now the leading medium when it comes down to sound quality. The high-res formats of the Beatles (24/48) and master tape quality files of linn are gorgeous and to my humble opinion far better than any kind of physical medium, vinyl included. But if you like big, beautiful designed sleeves and text books then just go for vinyl. But you have to be a little of a wizard. To get the most out of a turntable, you need to set-up the device very carefully. Enloy the music, it’s the only really important thing!

  • Rick says:

    Will vinyl outlast CDs? Almost certainly as CDs are a vehicle for music and vinyl has achieved the notoriety as a vehicle for an experience. The short play times (requiring constant attendance), large format artwork and warm analog sound all combine to give vinyl a sense of nostalgia and of active listening. The advantages of CDs, including long play times (load and forget), relatively distortion free music (free of pops, hiss, speed changes etc… common to vinyl systems and absent even at entry level CD systems), and clarity of sound are massive advantages but not ‘nostalgia-inducing’. As online digital music replaces the need for CDs, the advantages remain and are even extended. Music is now searchable, playlistable, randomizable (through many many albums and even genres) and downloadable (I can shop for my favorite ‘rare’ piece of music from my home, and be playing it in 24 bit fidelity in minutes).

    If you are a vinyl collector, there will long be suppliers ready to cater to your desires. Enjoy the experience.

    For my own part, as I write this, my music resides on digital server (an Olive 4). As the stereo sifts through thousands of recordings, and hundreds of albums I could play music every waking hour for months and not repeat a song…And yet I find myself more enchanted than ever with music, with the sound of it, the sheer musicality of it, new music and old. David Gray and Cage the Elephant play back to back with Arne Domnerus and Alkan, the Black Eyed Peas might be juxtaposed against the Platters, Sade’s smooth soulful voice against the more strident notes of Axl Rose…

    The nostalgia becomes the activities I’m doing while this music permeates my life, from simply listening to hosting parties. I too will enjoy the experience.

    There’s room for both.

  • Andreas Grundig says:

    I guess, during the transition of vinyl to CD we were misled by the assumption of better sound. It’s now clear that the quality of the equipment used is the difference. Anyway, popular CD players do provide a much better sound quality that the old fashioned Hi Fi w/ vinyl pick ups. I still have all my vinyls stored and am planning to add to my hometheater a pick up to play them again.

    One must admit although, that there is a lot of stuff out there that does not benefit from, or deserve any improvement in sound quality as the music from the begining is lousy.

  • Eric says:

    Bravo pour avoir initier ce débat. C’est vraiment intéressant d’avoir maintenant autant de supports disponibles et de se rendre compte qu’une technologie ancienne comme le vinyle est toujours dans la course. La technique est une chose mais l’essentiel est dans la qualité des enregistrements, le travail des ingénieurs du son et le soin mis dans le pressage pour ce qui concerne le vinyle.

    Eric

  • Johan Anglemark says:

    Of course the CD s dying: It’s digital music. It has few things to offer that web distributed music hasn’t. Vinyl on the other hand. I and my wife made our choice in 2004 when we bought 4,500 used LP records from the friend of a friend and purchased a new stereo system, including a turntable. That’s something we’ll never regret.

  • John says:

    Vinyl will outlive cd. There is no doubt about it.
    However, the death of cd will not be due to more people preferring vinyl, but rather people would rather download all their music.
    There is just so much more engagement when listening to vinyl.
    From taking the record out of the sleeve, cleaning it on the RCM, and then sitting back and listening whilst looking at the cover.
    Its a ritual thats rewards you everytime.
    Vinyl makes you sit back and enjoy a full album, rather then skipping between songs all the time.
    Then there is the sound quality. There is just something special about vinyl.
    Weather it be remasters from the original tapes, or even new pressings. Vinyl, unlike cd, is not fussed with the loudness war. Therefore there is no distortion issues, or lack of dynamics.
    Personally, i got back into vinyl around a year ago, and since then very rarely purchase any cd’s.
    My first choice is always vinyl, followed by SACD.
    If i cannot find what i am after on those formats, i will then purchase it on cd, but only when it reaches the sales bins.
    People constantly complain about surface noise, or pops, but i put that down to poor setup and not looking after your records or cart.

  • Poiram says:

    I still have my turntable and I still have my record collection, over 5000 vinyl. I enjoy it every day. But my CD collection is less than a thousand. My big point is more about bad recordings today, too much compression, the sound is thin. It’s not about the media since I do have many audiophile quality CDs that sound as good as vinyl and even better. Buy the way, a crappy recording on vinyl still sound crappy

  • Dave Scouller says:

    I am a fan of vinyl but have made the switch to CDs and MP3. I was originally a DJ so the tactile nature of vinyl was always a plus and the fact that my setup was based around turntables, it took me a long time to move to CDs. The main driver to switch to CDs was the fact I gave up DJing and was running out of storage space for an ever expanding vinyl collection. I still have my 12″ & LPs to play on my one remaining SL1200Mk2 both of which sound fabulous. There is a richness and warm about vinyl plus have the odd pop or click adds to the atmosphere.

    I only buy the odd MP3 track and much prefer to buy the CD and burn it myself so I can select the quality, software and other settings. This does give me the flexibility to take my music library with me or at least a large chunk of it. I occasionally buy CDs to replace vinyl, but I always worry about CDs deteriorating over time due to environmental factors such as heat. So far the only vinyl failure I have had was me accidentally snapping a 12″ whilst trying to reduce the warping. I have experienced a couple of CDs that have got damaged which has normally happened in the car..

    As streaming of music is now the current fad we are seeing, I expect in the near future with internet connected cars, house and work we will no longer buy physical songs but will have music on demand as this would satisfy about 70-80% of the user population… But not me :-)

  • Richard says:

    LP: An ever decreasing pleasure…This is my memory of it. Fragile medium, that kept degrading each time. I suppose, when I bought my very first LP, Wish You Were Here, I was 13 and could not afford a proper turntable that would have prevented quick degradation of my LP.

    So, now that I have over 500 CD that I have ripped on my music server, that I can also bring along with my iPod, I struggle to imagine going back to LP.

    I guess, it is just like vintage cars, you have to like carburator engines…

    Having said that, for those of you who enjoy them, I say go for it if, in the end, it means you are listening to music!

    Richard

  • John McClendon says:

    I am enjoying vinyl LP’s again at last. After a couple of decades of listening to CD’s I acquired a rebuilt AR XA turntable and replaced the stylus on my Shure V15 type III cartridge
    and I am simply loving what I am hearing. Oh I listen to digital music while on the road or at my computer but prefer LP’s on my home stereo. I do have a huge digital file in iTunes most ripped from my purchased CD’s but some downloaded from the iTunes store or the lossless files from this site. There is an experience to listening to vinyl, whether it be the warm full sound of the music or being able to hold the LP jacket in you hands. I have about 500 old albums from my younger days that I am attempting to clean, and most records are still in excellent shape, I also have purchased some newer vinyl records – my most recent is the boxed 3 lp set of the Rolling Stone Get Yur Ya-Yas out.

  • Ardvark says:

    All formats have their pluses and minuses. I have vinyl, CDs, SACDs, DVD-A, ipods and an Apple TV. I enjoy all of them for different reasons. the newer formats mostly for convenience and easy access to all my music. But going to a record store (yep, there are a few in the Seattle area), flipping through the albums and the smell of vinyl you can’t beat. Much better than surfing around iTunes looking for music. Listening to vinyl is also an experience. You are forced to slow down, relax and enjoy listening and checking out the liner notes and artwork. I’ll go out and buy CD’s when an album has more than 3 songs I like. If less than that, I’ll just buy the digital format. If not released on CD or digital, I’ll look for vinyl.

  • Pete says:

    After struggling with vinyl for years, and never achieving a satisfactory sound (and believe me I tried!) CD was a revelation in terms of clarity, reliability and lack of distortion. For me it works. I’m not saying that all CD issues are perfect (just compare the 40th anniversary ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ with pre-2004 versions. The high-resolution digital formats are the way ahead for me, but if you prefer vinyl, then that’s OK , I’m not religious on the matter.

  • Lee Krombholz says:

    Vinyl, for us old folk, will always be what music is. To the young adults, it is really new and cool. It sounds alive and real. The art is real. This is what downloads will never replace! CD always sound good, but it never sounds real to me without a pop or a click. Long live vinyl!!!!!!

  • Ronan says:

    9 years ago, the public library in my small town was slowly getting rid of tones of LPs, for nobody borrowed them anymore. I was one of the few happys allowed to “not return” my weekly load of LPs.
    Still today, not all of them are top notch soundwise speaking, but there are some true gems (Robert Johnson King Of The Delta Blues Singers…).
    Now, I am really thrilled by the loving care today artists produce their vinyls editions.
    I still carry on my library in my iPocket, but nothing can stand vs that gorgeous grand size Charlotte Gainsbourg’s IRM still…

  • Shaun says:

    I believe that vinyl will outlive the CD. With downloads becoming more and more popular and with CD sales diminishing, I believe that many will come to a place where they miss having a physical and tangible product to accompany the musical experience. Nothing beats having the quality packaging that comes with vinyl. I remember opening my first CD in 1986 and being dissapointed with the lack of any inner material other than a thin, one-sided album cover. As well, the analog sound will always provide a musical and organic experience that digital simply cannot reproduce. I for one am enjoying the return to vinyl in my own life, and I will not miss the end of CD.

  • Chris Cowan says:

    While I never gave up my vinyl or my turntable, the sad reality is that I need a cartridge (and some sort of preamp because my current Receiver doesn’t have a phono input).

    I do like vinyl for one reason. They can’t over compress and limit it. I think it’s a sorry state of affairs when even though the CD has superior dynamic range, common practice is to obliterate it during mixing/mastering.

    To me, louder is NOT better.

  • Vidar says:

    When you buy a vinyl recording, you’re not just buying one or more music tracks, but a listening expierence. You get a high quality piece of cover artwork and a vinyl disc that is fully manual operated. Perfect for the dedicated listener.

    While a digital “download only” recording are unlikely to provide you with the same atmosphere, it can however provide a near perfect copy of the original recording. For me this is perfect for every day listening.

    I mostly use digital downloads for everyday listening and saves my vinyl copies for those special occasions where I’m fully dedicated to the music.

  • Matt says:

    For me, vinyl’s always been more of a nostalgic experience than a way to listen to great recordings. I can remember going into my parents’ record cabinet and picking an album to listen to. The smell, the delicate placing of the needle into the groove, the cracks and pops before the track started. There has always been something mysterious about the sound vinyl offers. It’s hard to describe, but there is something real and gutteral about it. It has more force, life, and charm than a digital recording.
    However, from a technical standpoint, CDs, and more importantly, high definition audio, are far more accurate at reproducing the original sound without altering it. They too distort the original sound, but orders of magnitude less than vinyl. Some folks choose to listen to music through tube amplifiers because they feel it gives the sound “warmth”. Of course, what they’re referring to is a certain way the tube amp distorts the sound. The same is true for vinyl – we just find the way it distorts the sound to be pleasing.
    Someone earlier hit the nail on the head with a classic car analogy. If you like classic cars, you come to accept their quirkiness and performance. If you want the best performance and reliability, you’d buy something newer.
    So if you like listening to a recording on vinyl, more power to you – it’s a great experience. I’ll stick to my high def files for now, but every now and then indulge in some vinyl to bring back good memories. Cheers!

  • Bill Forster says:

    Gotta love the vinyl fans. If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be another grandfather clock sold. Sure digital clocks are more accurate but there is more to Time than precision. There’s the feeling I get knowing that all of those gears are turning making those hands go round. It just makes the passage of Time more pleasurable. Plus I can spend $20,000 on a more precise clock movement that still is not as accurate as a $10 digital movement but it makes that cute tick-tock noise.
    Are you vinyl guys serious?

  • Bernie says:

    I’ve been buying vinyl for over 40 years. Lots of it !
    And It’s an investment – for the enjoyment of my retirement.
    There’s little point in the CD v LP debate – they will be replaced by downloaded music. It would be naive to assume otherwise.
    And will it be the ‘perfect sound’ that CD was hailed as?
    Of course not – compressed, low bit rate will be the norm.
    And, still surprising to many, CDs will disappear before vinyl ( at least Linn seem to believe so! )
    Whatever is happening, I’ll continue to buy vinyl while I can.
    And I’ll spend many happy years listening to good music on the best format…
    Bliss

  • ted says:

    Music streaming (digitally) would appear to be the logical progression for CD and the mass market. For me, I like to collect to hold in my hand read about the player the producer the venue so Vinyl is king but CD is not too bad. In terms of the musical experience analog wins hands down. I recall reviewers in the 90s talking about how close turntables were getting to master tape sound… Unfortunately I’ve never had that experience.
    I will continue to collect vinyl and CD while I can.

  • Michael says:

    Vinyl feeds the collector mentality as well as the audiophile and those mindsets are simply not as well fed through CDs nor tons of MP3 downloads.

    As internet bandwidth gets better and better, I suspect very high resolution digital downloads may satisfy audiophiles to a large degree the way SACD and DVD-A never had a chance. But somehow, filling large hard drives with music is never going to be as sastifying as having several shelves full of vinyl nor as rewarding as selecting a favorite, pulling out the album and dropping the needle in the groove. Ahhh….

  • toodles says:

    As CD’s are an older digital format, higher res formats will replace the CD. However, Analog Vinyl will always be there for the interaction that the experience allows for the music lover. I do not need to get into the analog vs digital audio purest rap. I just know that sometimes one would like to have a special piece of music that comes i a full size jacked with larger readable liner notes and engineering and band information not to mention the pictures and lyrics. So the future source will be a very small stylish digital sever with no moving parts sitting next to a turntable for the special moments. In the meantime there will be a CD player for those who have so many CD’s that it would be silly to put them all on a PC or server. Wait and see what the Solid-State drives bring, no noise and small clean power supplies.
    To say the vinyl will be gone is to say that tubes will be gone forever.
    On another point it is hard to pay $15.00 just to down load some bits, I think that the digital file world will have to come up with a nicer marketing scheme.
    Albums a lot of times works better then just picking your favorite song. the Artist will put and album together as a story line. not just a best of song list.
    we are only a the infancy of digital music and delivery systems. the future loose very exciting but the top shelf will always be reserved for the turntables :-)
    Now if O do not win any of the LP give a ways I sure hope that there will be one day a not to over digitized digital version that i may down load LOL

  • Bjorn Gran says:

    I started to collect vinyl more than 40 years ago and have a large collection today. I have also bought a lot of CDs because that was the only alternative. BUT, for me the CDs could never replace the vinyl. I will continue to look for old used records and I will buy the new editions (if I like the music). In addition I try to learn more about HD downloads. May be vinyl and HD can live together?

  • Mk II says:

    I really wish every new vinyl record I buy comes with the link to download the music in MP3 format. Then I get the best of both worlds. Every night I listen to something on vinyl but during the day at work or in the car I am listening to MP3’s for convenience.

    The popularity of vinyl may force musicians to make an hours worth of music instead of the one hit that everybody downloads. Not only the music, but the art that went on the cover and notes.

  • jkat says:

    It’s just goes to show you – never throw anything away! I recently acquired a large collection of classical recordings, virtually untouched. Some of the best recorded music I’ve ever heard bought for pennies at a garage sale.

  • p childs says:

    I’ve been buying music for close to 40 years, the only regret I have is getting rid of so much of my vinyl over the years. But,moving a lot made it harder and harder to justify the cost of moving that much weight. I’m down to about 1/2 of the vinyl I used to half.

    There’s a fine tactile quality to an album on vinyl CD’s will never be able to replace. I’m wiling to put up with the pop, hiss and hum in some cases.

  • Chiren says:

    I also have vast collection of vinyl, the sound that vinyl gives as compared to the cd or mp3 downloads always makes one play the vinyl over the others. The vinyl will always come out on top.

  • Jyrki Niukkanen says:

    Vinyl souds great, that’s true. One important thing is also that you’re not only listening music, you take the record from the cover, put it on plate of the player, brush up dust and finally you lay arm and pic up cartridge gently on the first track. That is the point, and also enjoying the music!

  • Sam says:

    . Found my record collection while cleaning out the garage last month and decided to play Pink Floyd’s The Wall album on my 20 year old TEAC HiFi system, as this still had the turntable connected. What a revelation, sounded magnificent it’s amazing how different, fuller and smoother the sound coming from vinyl is. Can’t wait to audition some of my collection on more appropriate equipment

  • J-P Mousel says:

    I grew up with vinyl, and still appreciate it to listen to my collection. But since the new hype about buying new releases on vinyl, i have had some arguments with people that say that vinyl sounds better than CD. I always just say that it has (unarguably) a different sound and that’s all there is about. I will keep my collection in good shape, enjoy listening to it, but will never buy any new release on vinyl, as i prefer the constant quality of a digital support (remember: vinyl is exposed to wear as the needle runs through the grooves)

  • tomaspa says:

    In my humble opinion the problem with CDs is that they were not as good as they told us 30 years ago, when they started and vinyl was still the more common support.

    It is SACD that can offer the quality that we expect from discs. But it has arrived at the wrong moment, when music, or noise really can be compressed and distributed via internet and played with computers. Most people are not ready to pay the difference in price between the quality support format and the nearly-for-free compressed music.

    Anyone agrees/disagrees?

  • ironbut says:

    I never gave up on vinyl and since the advent of better turntables/cartridges/tonearms, I’ve been a strong supporter of it. In fact, it was only since the advent of hi rez downloads that I bothered to listen to digital.
    I don’t think that I’ve spent more than $1k on cd/sacd in my life but I probably spend that much every 6 months on vinyl,.. that is until recently.
    The last few years I’ve listened more and more to reel to reel tape. During that time I’ve become a big supporter of The Tape Project and a subscriber to their master dubs. It is the ultimate if you wish to hear what it sounds like to be in the control room during the actual performance. I realize it’s not for everyone. The tapes are very expensive! But, if you wish to say that you’ve heard the best and haven’t heard these tapes, you’re wrong!

  • Jerry says:

    I was fortunate to be on a number of recordings with the Chicago Symphony Chorus under Solti and others. I got to hear the playbacks between takes so I know the live sound and the taped sound. I have a few of the recording on both vinyl and cd. When I listen to the vinyl I am taken back to the recording sessions. The cds are shinny like a new car. But with vinyl I’m bathed in the warmth and glow of sound.

  • Pete Maher says:

    Interesting from Atane in response to my comment about dust. I have a stack of protective sleeves and sure enough when the vinyl is in the sleeve it doesn’t accumulate dust. The problems start as soon as I take the vinyl out of the sleeve. But anyway my main point is that I personally have never heard vinyl sound anything like as good as CD – I don’t doubt that there are those who have but for me vinyl has never given me as good an aural payback as digital. Living on a smallish island with no hifi retailers doesn’t really give me an opportunity to explore or experiment with either format very much but I am more than happy to have opted for digital.

  • John Hart says:

    When Sony and Phillips released the CD, Pandora’s Box was opened. High quality music reproduction was within the reach of anyone who could afford a few hundred for a player. Music became portable, it escaped the lounge room,. Along came the personal computer that enabled digital copies of CD’s that were mirror images of the original with no sonic degradation. The internet brought about new ways of distributing, listening and sharing music that took everyone by surprise. I can access music from my iPhone, CD player, Music Server, Radio; on the move; music has become a commodity; something to be consumed and traded.

    The Vinyl recording forces me to stop, shut the world out, sit in my lounge chair and listen to the music. Another world opens up, a clarity, dynamics, good old fashioned liquid analogue sound that takes you to another place and time. Its something physical, and experiential that we have lost with our new music delivery systems.

  • Mark Ho says:

    I, for one, would like to add an analogue front end to my system in the near future.

  • Charlie says:

    I like to listen to my old records, I have half master pressings and virgin vinyl pressings. The problem is: quality is hit or miss. Unless you pick those up, most regular records aren’t always well made. Some albums sound great and others are awful.
    I think the record industry suicided. They could have made quality pressings but decided people weren’t that finicky and who cares about a skip here and there – that maximized their profit, providing the music lover with a good recording was way down on the priority list.
    Once they started making CD’s from the original master tapes and not those equalized for phono play back, CD quality took a leap forward. CD’s are portable, take up less space and are more easily moved to PC’s or iPods or whatever. And that format is used by everyone from kids to ‘mature folks’. I have a lot of great records, but at the cost of special pressings, I can have 2 CD’s for every 200 gram vinyl pressing I buy. In the end it’s all about enjoying the music, not the medium. Wishing you good listening!

  • Chris Cubbon says:

    A while back and with regret I started to buy CDs instead of vinyl because it’s cheaper for me to do so. In my opinion there is a significant difference in sound from these two sources. I prefer the sound of vinyl personally but couldn’t say it was ‘better’ After a while I got used to the sound of CDs. After a while I spotted some 45 represses and LPs I needed, they were on vinyl only, so I enthusiastically ordered them. And what a joy it was to play records again. I’ll always prefer vinyl, hands up they didn’t compete with the digitally re-mastered CDs where sound quality is concerned but the clicks and pops of the vinyl were a joy to here on a Big Maybelle 45, just as they would’ve been when the original was released. I enjoy both formats now. CDs because they’re inexpensive, vinyl because, I’ll change my mind, it’s better. Digital, I wouldn’t have it in the house. Or out.

  • Makhdoom says:

    Most people do not bother with formats as long as their music sounds reasonably well, so if there is no distortion, no noise, and no funny business, most people are happy.

    So will certain formats make a come-back, yes definitely, for some. People spend just a little bit more if they think it will make them feel special. So in my opinion it’s more about how certain formats make people feel as opposed to how they sound, and of course music to me is more about how it makes me feel and the rest takes care of it by itself.

    That said some music tends to sound better on vinyl and some on CDs, so it will actually boil down to how a person prefers ones sound. Kind of like picking speakers from various manufacturers they sound different and you pick out those that sound best to you for the money you dish out.

  • Razvan Bestea says:

    I love SACD’s and DVD-A. I also find the 24 bit FLAC appealing, even if I do not have find yet the best way to liten to it. I feel it brings a lot over CD on the same system. But for me the teleportation machine exist! For me, on the play button of the turntable is written BEAM ME UP! Is something phisical, I don’t hear more but I feel more!

  • Jazzfan says:

    Vinyl will out last CDs but not digital music. By digital music I’m referring to music available as a digital audio file, whether low, CD or high resolution. Digital music will continue to rule the roost but vinyl, as the only viable customer fully analog format, will also continue to have an important place in the playback of high quality audio.

  • Dog of the Bay says:

    I like vinyl but think it will remain a niche format – price, bulk, relative fragility and squandering precious hydrocarbons all count against it. On the other hand I can see the record companies enjoying the fact that you can’t make bit-perfect copies of it! The exciting thing about high-resolution downloads is that they’re the first medium since the LP to offer a potential quality increase over its predecessor – and bypass the drawbacks of vinyl. Me, I buy music in all three formats but avoid anything brain-damaged by lossy compression or obtrusive DRM.

  • Paal says:

    I think vinyl will continue to excist and probably grow. The record players, arms and pick-ups have never so good for the money as they are now, and that process will continue as well. New makes and models are seen, which will secure playback in future. That goes for phono stages as well. Quality of the records it self are also improving, as pristine pressings of former and present releases are seen even often. And just imagine the pleasure of lowering the pick-up onto the record and just sit back enjoying the clear sound of a well kept record. And as a bonus – you are able to read the cover without specs as you must on the microprint on a CD cover.

  • Chris Johnsen says:

    I listen to music from CD, LP and music server. They all have their pros and cons. I love the warmth of vinyl playback on a great system, especially when listening to classic albums and reissues of albums from the 60’s and 70’s. When you get into the 80s, 90s and beyond, the recording processes changed and most everything is captured digitally now. Not that an LP of a current artist can’t sound magnificent but I think a certain quality has been lost in the transition from analog to digital at all points in the sonic chain.

  • Jessie says:

    I’m 26, and for the last 4 or 5 years, I’ve been buying primarily vinyl for my music collection.

    However, this has put me in a bit of an interesting position as I still like to have a lossless digital copy in my itunes library / on my ipod. Most new vinyls that are released come with MP3 download links, but I’m hoping to one day see a lossless option as I’m currently buying the vinyl, and downloading a flac or alc via torrents. In some cases I’ve had no choice but to buy both the CD and the Vinyl, only to rip the cd into itunes, and then add it to the stack of discs that never get touched again.

    ” Do you still love vinyl? Or do you feel it’s an antiquated format with no place in a digital
    world? ”

    If anything, there is no longer a place for the CD format in a digital world. It’s my opinion that vinyl is well on its way to becoming the most widely preferred tangible format. Since jumping on the iPod bandwagon, it’s very rare that I’ll actually listen to a standard CD, and with all those files stored in lossless formats on my computer (which can be easily hooked up to any sound system via a good sound card or external usb / firewire DAC) there’s just no need to open up those jewel cases any longer.

  • Vickie says:

    I agree that the demand for vinyl is increasing with certain people. Some people will always be satisfied with 128 bit (or lower) mp3’s. Others prefer higher quality sound – the higher the quality the better in some cases. Some can’t hear the difference between low quality mp3’s and FLAC. Others can. It has always been that way. Some people were happy with radio quality music while others always bought the vinyl.

    Now that more people are retiring with more disposable income and (supposedly) having more time for leisure activities – ie music, I can see the demand for vinyl increasing.

    As for us, we have a large music collection (over 6000 albums in cassettes, CD’s and vinyl) that we are slowly moving to digital (FLAC format). We play the digital collection the most due to the ease of finding what we want to listen to but when we want to have an evening of music listening, we get out the vinyl.

  • Mark says:

    The younger people of today live in an increasingly sterile, digital environment. The boom in social media is proof that we need to have interactions with others in our daily lives. Vinyl takes us back to a time when this was more the norm. Vinyl has, for lack of a better term, soul. Soul is something a CD can’t impart. We feel completely removed from the recording process, and with that, away from the artist.

  • Frank says:

    Best of two worlds.

    as with all technical developments you just have to be patient enough. When the first CD’s came on the market, many people couldn’t wait to get a hand on it. Visiting friends and listening to their new CD players i really could not share their enthusiasm. Okay, there were no clicks and pops any longer but the sound was poor and cold.
    I waited 10 years before I bought my first CD player and that made a big difference.
    Today digital sound can be as good as analogue. It’s just a matter of good mastering and high resolution recording.

    As long as there are people who care about good sound, Vinyl will not die. It captures sound on its most natural way, combined with a good digital recording it will do the trick.
    As for me; I still listen to Vinyl. The most beloved ones go on the computer, recorded in 24 bits 96000 hz and the burned as DvA.

  • Hasse says:

    Vinyl can sound great, unfortunately at a much higher cost than a good digital playback system. Just think of what a decent record player, tone arm, pickup and phono stage costs and compare that to what you need to pay for a high quality DA-converter or CD player.
    Of course it has it’s charm fiddling with a record player, but I have come to a point where I allow myself to be lazy and just click on the computer screen to find and play the music I like, this aware of the fact that I nowdays don’t loose anything in sound quality.

  • Felix says:

    Too me it is very much horses for causes here. I love my old Vinyl and never gave away one which I did not really regretted buying. It reminds me of the discussion over wine glasses. Does one really need 60 or more Euros worth of hand made crystal from Austria to enjoy a decent red one from France? No, but it adds to the overall experience for some of us, and to me the same goes for vinyl. If I however just want some background music controllable from a little device streaming (lossless) music from a hard drive is hard to beat, and while traveling, an ipod nowadays provides a service unheard of before. Therefore I greatly appreciate the variety of devices available to listen to music to with both vinyl and digital having clear advantages depending on what one wants to achieve. But I will certainly not miss the CD once its gone, too much storage space for so little look and feel.

  • Olav says:

    I do support the 24/48 FLAC approach better than re-inventing the vinyl. I agree that sometimes a booklet would be nice. I propose to offer printed booklets by SoS for those who want it.

  • Nass says:

    What sounds better Vinyl or Cd? The truth is (with my 30 year experience of buying vinyl & 25 years of buying cd) You can have a really good vinyl pressing that blows the cd away or a cd mastering that puts the vinyl in the shade. Sometimes the Cd & Lp of a recording sound similar.

    Its a myth that EVERY vinyl version sounds better & there is a lot of people who just plonk a cd player on a shelf (have a cynical view regarding cable) hence them getting a rubbish cd sound. Yes vinyl has that 3d soundstage that cd lacks but unless you got a 12 inch arm & a very expensive Turntable/Cartridge/Phone sited on a VERY STABLE table , you usually find Cd is more consistent across the board ,its pitch & clean background has mass appeal (My Turnatable is a Gyrodec & Cd is a Meridian 507).

    People should not be so quick to write off Cd cos “Download” is a souless experience

  • Boris says:

    I bought a new turntable a half year ago, a very high quality and state of the art product. It cost close to 20K $ and now you can say “are you craisy”, but i think not.

    Because it make me really happy !

    I listen 3 or 4 times a Week music, and since them i hear with 90% vinyls.
    At the first days after buying the turntable, i´m not really sure, if vinyl sounds better than cd´s, but after listening a longer time only vinyls ißm really sure !
    After i switched back to a cd, i image somthing is wrong, but everythink was Ok, it was an other art of sound. And for me, vinyl sounds “Better”.

    I have 98% high quality vinyls e.g MFSL or other Products from Classic Record or SpeakersCorner, and with those Producs you listen with a lot of fun.

    I even hear CD´s but for the future a prefer viny sound.

    Boris

  • Hans-Jürgen says:

    Vinyl creates a very special kind of sound, organic and smooth.

    A relict of the god old times.

  • Neil Arnold says:

    Depending on the occasion, both formats have their merits: There is no doubt about the convenience and simplicity of digital music, and I use it a lot as background music at dinner, at my desk, etc. but when I really want to listen to the music, there is no substitute for vinyl.

    We usually play my iPod through dinner parties and often find ourselves in the lounge in front of the stereo playing vinyl on my Sondek (Akiva / Ekos / Lingo / Linto) after dinner.

    Digital music has convenient simplicity, but for me, it comes with a certain detachment from the artist. Whereas listening to Diana Krall doing “A Case of You” or Eva Cassidy “Fields of Gold” on vinyl never fails to bring on the goosebumps. This has been all the more apparent since I bought new B&W 683s. Last night I played Melody Gardot’s new LP “My One And Only Thrill” and friends commented that they felt as if they could reach out and touch her.

    As for clicks and pops; get a decent record cleaning machine, use it regularly, (I have a Nitty Gritty) and buy some good inner sleeves; MFSL, or Nagaoka.

    So, I guess it’s the old ‘horses for courses ‘ debate but I think both formats have their place. I for one hope manufacturers never stop producing vinyl. For me, it’s the only format that connects me with the music the way the artist intended.

  • Larry G says:

    I grew up with vinyl and my first record player was in 1972 when I was 10 years old. For years I copied my LP onto cassette tapes with DBX noise reduction and listened to that to save my albums wear and tear – I used a Nakamichi tape player that would flip the tape for me. In 1984 I graduated from College and rewarded myself with the newfangled CD player (Technics for $800). By 1991 when my Harmon Kardon linear tracking TT died, I didn’t replace it because it was such a pain to have to keep and maintain the records static free and dust free.

    I only recently picked up a used NAD C555 (Rega P2) and Ortofon Blue M2 cart (Nov 09), and I have not been impressed with my old vinyl vs my CDs played through a nice transport and DAC. I’ve been more interested in hi-res 24/96 downloads, with it’s black background, no pops and crackles, and no LP flipping at the end of a side. I suspect if I invested in a vinyl disk cleaner and nicer phono preamp maybe I would like the newer audiophile pressings, but my LP’s from the 70’s and 80’s just don’t sound good to me. I’d like to enjoy them more, so I haven’t totally given up yet.

  • Rob hyde says:

    All I can say is I tend to be pragmatic. Vinyl is nice and we get nostalgic which is good and lets face it fun. If you have the money and time. BUT Vinyl does not sound the best. If a cd is mastered right and you have good equipment there is no comparison.

    The next thing is lossless computer files which will replace cd s in the next 20 or so years. We all know it. They can sound fantastic better than any cd. The other medium is DVSs or SACD. Perhaps they may make a come back but I feel in my bones it is going to be a computer file of some sort and Ipod. They really are sensational if used right. I have one running through a very nice system and a B and W Zeppelin for the kitchen. Always use lossless files on a large external HD. Easy. Sometime U have to buy the CD to rip it but so be it. My only reservation is nostalgia. I cant change that. But reality tells me….

  • Rob hyde says:

    All I can say is I tend to be pragmatic. Vinyl is nice and we get nostalgic which is good and lets face it fun. If you have the money and time. BUT Vinyl does not sound the best. If a cd is mastered right and you have good equipment there is no comparison. A diamond needle will always wear out a plastic record. Physics determine that. I read somewhere that after about 20 plays a record was finished.

    The next thing is lossless computer files which will replace cd s in the next 20 or so years. We all know it. They can sound fantastic better than any cd. The other medium is DVSs or SACD. Perhaps they may make a come back but I feel in my bones it is going to be a computer file of some sort and Ipod. They really are sensational if used right. I have one running through a very nice system and a B and W Zeppelin for the kitchen. Always use lossless files on a large external HD. Easy. Sometime U have to buy the CD to rip it but so be it. My only reservation is nostalgia. I cant change that. But reality tells me….

  • Sparrow says:

    There does indeed seem to be a general ignorance of the very existence of vinyl today. One does have to look-out for it as it has long disappeared from the High Street and is therefore invisible to the general public.. There are two aspects of purchasing today: new issues and audiophile reissues. Of the former, something like Graham Coxon’s ‘The Spinning Top’ is exemplary and is just so much more satisfying to listen to than the CD or download. Of the latter, the Genesis reissues of original LPs, remixed and on audiophile pressings, are hugely different to both the original vinyl and the CD. Having said all that, listening to vinyl is a static activity but we are all so mobile these days. I also love my iPod. Horses for courses!
    I think the very best solution is the ‘Back to Black’ series of audiophile reissues that come accompanied by a download code. Best of both worlds!

  • Chris says:

    Though all of my collection currently resides in one digital form or another, I have borrowed friends turntables a couple of times. I think I have to agree with what a couple of other posters have said. Vinyl has the ability to have more dynamic range, and a fuller sound than a CD. However, that depends on the quality of the original recording, and the quality of the pressing. I think the interesting comparison may come in a few years when music is released on blu-ray and is more easily available. It should narrow the gap for good recordings as we will be able to use 24 bit storage instead of the 16 bit storage we are tied to with CD.

  • Dan Haskin says:

    Vinyl has the ability to make one feel the piece, not just hear it. Yes, I love vinyl’s sound over digital… of course. Yet, environmentally I prefer digital… no paper, no plastic. I’ll make the sacrifice and take digital for that reason.

  • petert says:

    Vinyl, generally speaking, does sound better than CD. However, it merely sounds different (not better, not worse) than a good high resolution (24 bit) digital file (to my ears).

    What is indisputable is the pleasure that can be gained from not only reading LP liner notes, but also looking for messages scrawled in the lead out groove :-)

  • Peter O says:

    Over the last year or two I started buying vinyl again, sometimes because the music was only available on the format and often because of the “vinyl experience”. The whole debate about CD vs LP is a bit like posters vs paintings. Paintings may require more care and remain more vulnerable, but a poster can never fully replace the real thing. As for sound quality, and double blind testing etc – and changing metaphors – there is a reason why double blind restaurants never really caught on.

  • Apex says:

    Can Vinyl kill compact disc??… it’ s not possible to compare this two format for the completly different approch.
    It is an incredible deep threedimensional smoothy sound with a sourrounding percepsion that is just a little bit disturbed by the scratch of the time.
    It is an intimate confidance with tactil and visual emotion for this cool black “pizza” that run in a slowly-quik sensual way, it’s something that not necessably concern the music only.
    that’s vinyl.
    To the other side the CD no soul!!… but the stranght of support, the possibility to hear music withaut changing LP side and the information on lcd screen are the best confortable tool to listen music in relax with some friend, less binding, more playfull and more powerfull..
    Today I just see vinyl as the best hi-fedelity support but with mp3 and loosless format as the most confortable and muvable, both together media format and vinyl can definetly kill the CD as the very best combination.
    The same music is never the same, we fallow our emotion, we are the music that we listen so we are the format as well, so many time I am an easy CD, or an impressive emotional LP.

  • Peter Schultheiss says:

    I enjoy vinyl very much and I think that there will always remain a niche market for it. There’s something about the overall experience and the richness of the sound that cannot be replaced.

    Digital music sounds great, it’s covenient, and thanks to my music server I’ve rediscovered hundreds of artists that were previously collecting dust on my shelf.

    So, I agree with Apex (above) that we’ll see CDs disappear before vinyl because the same music can be delivered digitally. Currently, I buy used “Like New” CDs on Amazon because they cost about $7 or $8 (cheaper than an album on iTunes) and I get to rip them to Apple Lossless for playback. It’s also the environmentally friendly way to do things.

    When lossless and 24-bit files become easier to purchase online I will never buy a CD again….but I will continue to buy my favorite recordings on Vinyl for the full experience.

  • Baxter says:

    I loved vinyl, collected it for many years and possibly still would except that I cannot cope with pitch variation due to off-centre pressings. (The vast majority, I’m afraid – even the so-called audiophile editions.)

    Now my daughter’s boyfriend has begun collecting vinyl and I feel a little of that urge…..

  • Sven says:

    I like vinyl very much and enjoy my old records now and then.

    But I do not buy any new records. In majority I use my Logitech Squeezebox network player when I listen to my music and getting the songs an HD for this device ist far more easier with the CD.

  • Joe 90 says:

    I am desperate to go back to vinyl- memories of skipping school to listen to Trick of the Tail and admiring the album artwork- I don’t think that it is an age thing though!

  • Stefan says:

    I’ve got some 500 vinyl records on storage, so some day I might listen to them again, and the little kids won’t scratch them. I love to hold a really big cover in my hand – but then: how great is it to take your music with you wherever you go, listen to it in the car, on the sofa, in the plane, on the walk, while running, skiing, cycling… No – I do not want to go back to the days of vinyl, I’ll prefer digital music.

  • Alan says:

    I guess in the 80’s record companies thought vinyl was dead.. here in New Zealand they dumped the vinyl pressing machines in the Wellington harbour… CD was only meant to replace cassettes… lack of vision (hearing?) on behalf of the people who should know and still looks like that mindset continues today.. little more than marketing companies that might as well be selling biscuits. I own a few thousand LPs and rarely play cds these days.. visitors can’t believe the sound of an LP

  • Yoss says:

    I love it but still wont get a new LP player and replace my digital collection.
    I love to play vinyl at my firends house as they have all the DJ equip but dont see myself going back to it.
    I still buy CD’s but mainly purchase online at emusic or itunes so i can easily work with my iphone, in house/in car and anywhere ;)

  • Simon says:

    I love Vinyl and personally don’t believe the medium has been bettered as yet!
    Higher quality downloads are getting better and better, especially now better quality DACs are available to play them through.
    I still love an evening in spinning record after record on my Linn LP12, sheer bliss to my ears.
    Yes, digital music is easier as a format, and you can store hundreds of albums in no space at all and easier to search and play at the touch of a button.
    But for me Vinyl just has that edge, better base and transients and I am always hearing that extra music I miss on digital.

  • Jim Tavegia (USA) says:

    For those of us who never left vinyl, we are not surprised at the resurgence. If, when the software (LPS) are pressed right, the sound is magical. It was also never about convenience, which is what most young people are about with their downloaded music.

    This is not a slight of those who download, but why would you want to listen to half of the performance, or often, less. The missing information that mp3 codecs kick to the curb is what make a performance truly magical. Those of us who spent money on great CD players while continuing to play our records have always wanted more, not less.

    Vinyl does have its issues. First it takes more money spent on a good turntable, cartridge, and phono preamp to equal even half as expensive an cd player. Yes, you can buy a $99 Stanton and throw a $89 Shure M97 on it, but you will not hear anywhere near what was stamped into the vinyl LP. In fact I would dare say that you must spend at least $1K to begin to realize what magic lies in the micro-groove lp. Looking at a combined package nearing $2K and you can really begin to extract the magic. A Rega P3-24 with a ClearAudio Wood with a Gram Slee phono stage is the beginning to know what all the fuss is about. How about at Music Hall MMF 7.1 with a Gram Slee…now the fun is about to begin.

    Once you really get into it, a wet-vacuum record cleaning system from the likes of VPI or Nitty Gritty will remove the ramaining debris from the gooves to give your stylus a clear path to pure excitement.

    The mechanical medium of the “record player” has its issues, but there are so many quality turntables on the market these days at under $400 it is not surprising the the LP is coming back. I honestly believe that the math that went into the creation of the CD, SACD, DVD, and Blu-Ray is remarkable, but not any more so than the combined sciences and math that make the LP a true mechanical marvel. There is no way that the sound has any right to be as good as it is.

    In no other field is taking a step back in time considered a “step-forward” as the resurgence of the LP has become. When the music really matters, then one has to consider that the LP is not old school, it is like the graduate school of audio playback. Now that there are talented people doing all they can to press vinyl in the best possible way, the record is here to stay. The discovery is there for the taking.

    Jim Tavegia

  • John says:

    Although I have a lot of nostalgic romance associated with vinyl LP’s, I finally made the transition to all digital a few years back. The ease of sampling and purchasing music in a digital format is great for a music lover. With the higher bit rates now available from many sources, the quality is not as much of an issue as in the past. I have become spoiled at the ease of grabbing my ipod and Shure ear buds and taking thousands of songs with me wherever I go. And I don’t have a panic attack when a visitor or family member handles my collection. Glad I was able to experience LP’s (along with 35mm film), but I’ll stick with digital format going forward.

  • Joe Lubow says:

    When I was a kid buying Peter Gabriel albums in the ’70’s, every kid I knew was a music lover and an audiophile. We all saved our money from delivering newspapers or scooping ice cream to by the highest fidelity system we could afford. Most of us spent about $1,000 in 1970’s dollars. That is equivalent to many thousands of dollars today. And we weren’t fabulously well to do. I drove a beat up Chevrolet Chevette that was worth less than my “stereo” as we called it. My first apartment (flat for you Brits) had no furniture. Not even a bed. I slept on the floor on a palette made from a few blankets. But I had a great stereo. And a stereo meant a pair of speakers, a receiver, and a turntable.

    In the spring of 1983 I was in a hi-fi shop where a friend of mine worked. We were both disc jockeys at our college radio station, so he knew what I liked. He played “Lay Your Hands On Me” from the Peter Gabriel album that had been released the previous fall. It was the first time I heard a CD. I was blown away. But I was deceived. A few years later, when I discovered how much better vinyl records sounded than CD’s I realized what had happened.

    I still remember what my friend said before he cranked up “Lay Your Hands On Me.” He said “notice how quiet it is.” And it was. There was no surface noise, no scratchiness. Just quiet, and then music. But the main thing was the quiet. Later I realized that if we had actually compared the CD to a vinyl record and listened to the MUSIC, the record would have won (especially if we’d had access to those great Classic Records remasterings of the PG albums done in this past decade, but that’s another story).

    Now that I buy mostly audiophile pressings (many from the great labels listed above!) and have a better rig (a Linn LP-12), it turns out that my vinyl records are pretty quiet too. At enormous volumes there is a small amount of surface noise during very quiet passages, but most of the time the background on my records is black as night.

    The CD was the first step in the destruction of the universal audiophile. By being more convenient, more portable, less obviously fragile (and precious), they sold themselves on the premise that convenience was more important than quality. The mp3 was the final tragic culmination of this insidious idea. I am a big fan of Apple products, and I own not only their computers, but also an iPhone full of 24-bit Apple Lossless music (converted from 24-bit FLAC). But I have to acknowledge that the iPod destroyed the ubiquity of hi fidelity as a goal. “How many songs can you fit on it?” This is all that matters to the vast majority of people. No matter that “how many” is in direct opposition to quality. Lower the bit rate, lower the sample rate, and you can fit more.

    I’m not sure it’s fair to say that records will bury CD’s, but they may outlive them. What will bury CD’s are digital downloads.

    But the technology that brings us mp3’s also brings us 24-bit audio files (and may one bring us 32-bit files or raw files).

    I see no purpose to little aluminum discs with the advent of fast broadband. Lossless music can be downloaded to a hard drive in bit rates and sample rates that bury CD’s – and anything that can be put on an SACD or DVD-A can be put on a hard drive as well. But records… ah records. The sound cannot be replicated, and the only thing that’s better is live music. And it’s not just the sound. The artwork, gatefolds, and even the ritual of removing them from their sleeves without touching their faces… The 20 minute side is a perfect segment for dividing a larger work. There is something disorganized to me about a 70 minute CD having no divisions. I actually prefer dividing it up into four album sides.

    Hopefully the resurgence of vinyl records will be accompanied by an increase in hi fidelity downloads and mp3’s will come to be recognized by more and more people for the poor approximation of music that they are. But I fear the days of the universal audiophile are history.

  • Matteo says:

    have a lot of vynil, jazz, rock and blues, but also some 180 gr of classical music. Vynil is better, i play them with a thorens with a goldring legend, connected witha marantz 1060 classic and a couple of audio research 5. More bass, more vibrations, more musicality, more life. It’s only difficult to find them new .

  • Dave Atkinson says:

    I have thousands of both LPs and CDs and enjoy the vast majority during daily listening sessions. I have a dedicated listening room and that helps too.

    My experience in the CD v LP sound quality (and/or ‘listening experience’) tells me that you have to spend big to enjoy the sonic benefits of vinyl. Do it on the cheap and it’ll disappoint you.

    I’m very lucky – a Clearudio Champion II with and SME V, played through an EAR V20 tube amp and super-sensitive Zu Druid Mk IV 08 speakers. The expericne is frequently awesome and CDs just doesn’t get anywhere close.

    However, I’ll be keeping (and adding to) both collections well into the future.

    Back to my ‘listening room’ – playing vinyl is an ‘active’ experience. CD or playing music from my several iPods does a job, but doesn’t thrill.

    Vinyl for me.

  • Dave Atkinson says:

    I should also add (for the B&W fans out there) that my second system runs 805 Sigs and my third system, CDM 7NTs – both sets are just great, although the 805S is a tad bright.

  • davide miele says:

    well, i have thousands of vinyl records and cds, and now i’ve decided to stop buying cds to buy liquid music and vinyls. vinyl is dead? i don’t think so. it sounds better? i don’t think so too. it depends on a series of factors: the recording, the mastering, the printing and the quality of the vinyl itself. it will be the most selling support again?uhm…i don’t think so. vinyl is a great way to listen to music, but it is a real pain in the bottom sometimes: it requires a lot of storage space, it requires great care in usage, for a lot of listeners standing from the sofa to change side is boring, it sounds bad with a bad turntable or a good turntable with bad settings (a cd sound decently good even with a poor player). so what can i say? i took my decisions, and i hope i decided good!!!

  • Gi Reyter says:

    Sure vinyl needs more care than a cd . But i was very afraid that i could never hear the music again that i had once on vinyl, but i found a lot of them on cd. So i bought all cd’s that i have found. Others are there but i am afraid they sound not so good as the were at the beginning, when i bought them. Changing now all for vinyl again is a good question. But beneef the wonderfull handvoll covers Music is like digital phography. So a vinyl is much more deeper so as a photgraph witout a digital instrument, and warmer an there are more differences in the sound. I learned say never never but for the moment i deedn’t stared up my thorens diskplayer. Perhaps one day but i heard talking about vinyl here and really it is motivating. Thanks.

  • Dave says:

    When will record companies GET it? Vinyl is popular beacuse it sounds better. But what is the main reason it sounds better? ironically, in a round-about-way, it is because of its limitations. You see, vinyl cannot take constantly loud recording levels – this would cause the stylus to keep jumping off the record. And so, when preparing a vinyl master, the engineer cannot emply the kind of compression overkill that is typically applied on recordings prepared for digital formats. The result? Beautiful, dyNAmic recordings! CD CAN sound this good too. Just listen to a Steve Hoffman-mastered CD (check out his masters of The Doors, Miles Davis, Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, etc, etc) or MFSL-mastered CDs, or Sony Mastersound – there are plenty of truly audiophile CD manufacturers out there.

    Then listen to the digital formatted stuff from Peter Gabriel or REM or any of the stuff released on this site. Even the 24-bit FLACs sound horrible by comparison to those audiophile 16-bit CDs. The music doesn’t breathe, it doesn’t MOVE. It’s just a wall of in-your-face noise. It doesn’t matter how hi-res the end format is if the master is compressed to hell. It could be 64bit/128kHz. It will still sound constrained and fatiguing. Just listen to those dreadful Genesis SACDs. Completely unlistenable, from an audiophile perspective.

    So, record companies: WAKE UP! Stop making LOUDNESS your goal. Stop worrying if your latest release is not as loud as the latest Rhianna single. It’s senseless. Give us DYnaMICs, give us music that is full of LIFE! Something that is truly music to our ears!
    Employ tried and tested audiophile tools like valves – and even reel-to-reel tape if it helps! Discard those nasty VST “plug-ins” and “analogue emulators” and “exciters” that never really work and always sound like a facsimile of the real thing. Then CDs – and 24-bit FLACS – can sound as good as (and even better than) vinyl. Steve Hoffman has proved as much.

  • Dom says:

    A lot of debate over this. Personally I’m finding myself moving back to vinyl after the past ten years of quick disposable digital releases. My preference right now is to buy the vinyl and on first play record it all to digital at a high bitrate. I find the sound more pleasing than digital purchases.

    This also forces me to listen to the music and catalogue my iTunes – which in recent times has started to resemble a musical free for all!

    D

  • Dave Atkinson says:

    Can I just say that ‘Dave’s comment of Wednesday 10th March beautifully sums-up the listener frustration. Right on the money. Well said Dave.

  • Bill says:

    I’ll turn 50 this year, unless something bad happens, so I grew up with various forms of analog recording. I have fond memories of watching the tape move through the transport of a Hosho tape recorder, with, yes, tube electronics and a tube which was the level indicator viewed from the top of the tube.

    Let’s see, analog formats:
    1. reel-to-reel: physical deterioration of the media, tape hiss
    2. 8-track: physical deterioration of the media, tape hiss, ridiculously small area of 1/4-inch tape being used at any one time
    3. cassette: physical deterioration of the media, small format, relatively low tape speed past the head limiting frequency response
    4. 33 1/3 RPM vinyl recordings: limited bandwidth with reasonably low distortion levels, physical deterioration of the media with every playing, outside influences like dust, scratches. off-center pressings as astutely pointed out by an earlier poster, mechanical limitations of turntable, belt-drive vs. direct drive, moving coil vs moving magnet cartridge, tonearm length, stylus pressure, turntable speed variations, and, did I mention physical deterioration resulting in reduced sound quality upon every single playback of the media?

    I got a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1982, so I studied things like Nyquist’s Theorem which deals with the minimum sampling rate necessary to reconstruct a “perfect” copy of an analog signal. This was employed in coming up with the original 44.1 kHz sampling rate used in digital recordings. Around 1984 when I bought my first CD player, I recall telling my wife while listening to Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” on CD…”this is what I’ve been waiting for.”

    She probably thought, “if this is what you’ve been waiting for, then I’ve married the wrong dude.” What I meant was no hiss, no pops, no aberrations, no anomolies, no audible distortion, no sonic or subsonic power use due to low frequency rumble, huge dynamic range, no change in quality based on whether the track was on the outside of the LP versus toward the inside…all that stuff was resolved by humans who took on the task of reproducing audio in the most accurate way.

    The talk about the “warmth” of tube amplifiers and the unsurpassable quality of vinyl recordings is a combination of nostalgia for an earlier, simpler, and more tactile time, and the preference for a sound that has a certain type of distortion that some find pleasing to the ear. However, the most accurate reproduction of the live performance is sacrificed.

    I visited an audio show this past weekend which had some systems being demonstrated that cost $130,000 US. Usually, the media being played in these demos was lossless digital audio. Interestingly, in most of the demo rooms, I noticed a turntable spinning in a nostalgic manner in the equipment area while the actual source being sent through the amplifiers was lossless digital.

    So the solution for ultimate enjoyment…an esoteric incredibly heavy-looking turntable with a high end cartridge and tonearm spinning on a vinyl record for visual enjoyment while actually listening to a lossless digital recording of your favorite artist via the highest resolution digital medium you have available. A whisky over ice is a pleasant option.

  • AJ says:

    I finally moved to a space where i could keep my turntable isolated and truly enjoy the sound again. I had a bunch of vinyl in storage but kept my telos discs in the house as to protect them. After finding a good vinly cleaning system I was I business. My friends can’t believe what they missed over 20 years of straying from superior sound. I suppose if not for DJ’s we’d really be aout of luck!

  • Bry says:

    “The theory is that you have the ability to cut a deeper groove into the vinyl that affords the possibilities of a greater dynamic range.”

    This statement is incorrect. Even normal weight records are capable of being cut at levels which no cartridge could track without distortion. The theoretical advantage to thicker vinyl is that as the stylus vibrates in the groove, some of the energy travels out into the record. The added mass dampens this energy. Since it is also the job of the record mat and platter to dissipate this energy, there is dispute over the advantages of heavy pressings.

  • John says:

    For me it is not so much a question of the end medium, but what happens to the music along the way. Most modern recordings involve a LOT of post-processing of the original source: compression, pitch correction, noise gating, equalisation, digital effects of all kinds. Most of these ‘adjustments’ are done digitally, and leave their mark in terms of artefacts in the signal. The final mix is also a compromise which takes into account that the product will often be listened to in bad acoustic environments: in cars, lifts, restaurants, on radio.

    A clean, carefully recorded source, delivered onto digital media with a minimum of ‘fiddling’, produces a superb result with an accuracy, noise ratio and dynamic range that is unachievable on vinyl. In the old days, the fiddling process was much more limited, so the chain from studio or concert hall to disc was much shorter. Lacking much of the technology to ‘fiddle’, engineers had to get it right at the source. This is why some vinyl recordings sound better than CDs.

    In summary, question the process first, then worry about the medium.

  • vandenbussche says:

    Since the 60’s I listen to vinyl records .I get a huge collection of rock,blues ,pop ,classic records .i love the sound which is a kind of voluptuous vibration ,better than cd which is more like a punch in the stomac . I don’t buy them any more because of their prices in france .Maybe some times one that I don’t get until now form the old catalogue .

  • Gothmeister says:

    A bit off topic probably, but I’m a little confused. Sound is analogue. We create sound by analogue means and we can only listen to it in an analogue form. How can recording an analogue wave-form, converting/breaking it down into lots of chunks, fannying around with these bits, re-converting them back to an analogue form so we can hear it again, be better/more realistic than the original analogue signal? Surely, by definition one has changed the original sound?

  • Eesau55 says:

    In my opinion mechanical recordings belong to the history and museums.

    All explanations about “analog technlogy” should be changed to mechanical technology. In a perfect mechanical system you naturaly should not use any electronics at all since all conversions seem to be bad.

    Mechanical vinyl recordings were state of the art at the latter part of previous century, not any more.

    I am personally fed up with this “vinyl revival” and my interest in high fidelity seems to be in decline due to this very reason. I don’t buy magazines with stories about how to improve playback since I read those stories already in the 70es.

    Esa

  • Lawrence de Martin says:

    The vinyl paradox shows the error in the “scientific” model of hearing. Vinyl sounds better than CD, which superiority can be measured by polygraph or number of hours listening before fatigue sets in rather than machine based numbers in the specification sheets.

    My experience indicates the problem is decimation of time. 96Ksps is obviously better than 44.1 and I hear a major transition in perception of recorded acoustic between 192 and 384Ksps (DXD).

    I collect SACDs and have begun downloading DSD files, which have a clarity like vinyl. I simply feel better listening to them. DSD files can be played through a Sony PS3 or a Korg MR-1000.

  • George says:

    Over the years (I’m pushing 70) I have listened to a lot of recorded and live music. Early on it was vinyl only and the playback equipment I had was not state of the art or even near the top. I had a love/hate relationship with vinyl. It was frustrating to hear how much the sound quality could change from cartridge to cartridge and turntable to turntable no to mention the combinations. Equally frustrating was how to judge the differences or try and remember them from place to place. Then along came CD the great equalizer. CD’s had good balanced frequency response and dynamics. And they sounded pretty much the same from player to player when compared to the differences in turntables. Finally, no big decisions to be made. it was all there. But it was not to be! Soon the lifeless, two dimensional, sterile truth came to emerge. Vinyl, for all its warts, had something CD’s did not. Call it whatever you want but it was there. Something was lacking with the CD. As time went on, vinyl playback kept getting better , CD’s got way better, and surround which was almost around since the beginning of vinyl got better. There was surround with rear speakers being wired in various ways long before the quad stuff, video and SACD stuff. I have to say that my old ears find the differences less striking today then in the past for these formats. I am excluding FM and MP3’s since the lack of or creation of artificial dynamic range is apparent to even those with compromised high frequency hearing.

  • Allan says:

    This Analog versus Digital is rather silly, bordering on religious cult like rhetoric. A record has a definet limit to what it can reproduce, a needle has limits to the groove it can track, it isn’t limitless resolution, it’s that the resolution isn’t easily defined in hz. and bits. The cd is from 1983, the only digital standard for media we still have. Sony as usual managed to screw the market with competing formats. The DVD*a SACD war should never have happened, I have a PS3 that will play SACD, the playstatioin refuses to output more than 2 of the tracks, thanks Sony for your excellent support of YOUR FORMAT! There is no reason for a universal player to cost what it does, the audio and music industry should have worked together, but each is obsessed like jealous lovers over having dominant control. Digital has become a dissapointment because it has not progressed like it could, or should have. The genius of digital is that no degradation happens in it’s storage, duplication, or transmission. The signal degradation is negated at each stage. Any damage to an analog signal is accumulative, forever part of it. The technology is available to take data densities to levels that overwhelm any argument of analog versus digital. 512k/32bit anyone? While admiring Sharon Stone’s facial hair in Basic Instinct on bluray, I realized that maybe seeing lifelike is overrated. Audiophiles go on about ‘lifelike’, and ‘real’. Maybe tubes and records have staying power because they provide just enough ‘softness’. In the end the true test isn’t if it is more accurate, life like, or better. The real test is if it makes you smile! Beyond a certain point it’s all opinion and bullshit. I’d prefer if audiophiles were going with the high bit rate downlodas, but having been shopping for a good way to play flac files, I see why it isn’t going to catch on. Basicly, there is no convenient way to play these files in a fashion like cd’s. Apple has decided cd quality is all anyone will ever get out of their apple tv, despite having a hdmi 1.3 connector. Apple, of all companies is in a unique position to take this whole sound quality thing to the masses. A firmware update and agreements with the record labels they already deal with could transform things overnight. Digital has the potential to allow unprecidented access to music. Digital play back has the advantage of becoming better and less expensive over time. To buy directly from the artists the very same digital files they created as a master in the studio, the files used to make the records and lossy downloads. I think some standardization in the recording industry like what the movie industry has done would be a big step forward. Two of my best recordings are bluray concert disks, clearly better than the cds. High bit rate multitrack should be the future, but it would take a visionary industry leader to get us there. The embracing of ‘good enough’ of the record isn’t really any different than the ‘good enough’ mp3’s of the younger generation.

    The three things that need to happen are,

    1- FLAC is the format, period. Monopolists deal with it! That’s you Sony, Warner Bro’s, Apple, etc.

    2- Download services are the future, FLAC is the medium to enable this. NO DRM!

    3- Disk players need to play FLAC files that are simply burnt as data disks, no proprietary disk formats! Meta data supported, all album art embedded in the files and displayed,

    Imagine hearing about a great recording from a friend or else where and, with a few clicks of a remote from your listening chair, to listen to the actual master recording the artist and engineer created in the studio. The technology is waiting right now for people to catch up.

  • Hugo says:

    I love vinyl… whether it sounds better or not compared to digital formats.. up to the one that listens to that piece. I have viny, old tapes, cds, sacd, dvd-a and of course mp3, aac and flac . I enjoy every format as I really see it as an experience to my ears.

    However, the sound quality is not only determined by the audio source but also the equipement you have, the speakers, your room setup and room materials. Many tracks may sound terrible in some setups and beautiful in some others.

    So, up to my taste, I enjoy every format I own since it’s part of my musical experience. Although, I have to say that a good, bad or outstanding recording starts from the mastertape… and the engineer that made the equalization.

    My two cents…

  • harry horsman says:

    long live vinyl, can anyone comment on those lazer beam record decks i once saw in a magazine. although very expensive, i’m just wondering if they could be any thing to do with vinyi revival?

  • Stefan L says:

    Vinyl is more than listen. It is ‘feel’ and ‘look’ too.
    Pushing a silver disc into a black box to make it invisible is stupid in a hard disk age. The silver disc only takes storage space.
    You can’t skip tracks on a vinyl, unless you stand next to the record. A vinyl is used to listen to all tracks. Cd’s just ‘random’ or play a program. RIP cd’s. Never liked them anyway.

  • Jens (not DK) says:

    A few weeks ago I chanced upon a hifi shop in whose back room a huge vinyl collection was stacked up against the walls. I’d long since mothballed my own vinyl, but in a nostalgic moment I popped my ehad round the corner and what I saw quite frankly astonished me. In the centre of the back wall was a Clear Audio turntable that was very nearly as tall as the bloke stood next to it. I’d seen in on pictures before but because I’d rather buy a Porsche 911 for the same money, never mind the dact that I no longer play vinyl, I figured I’d always wonder if magnetic levitation of the platter counterweighted by an enormous brushed steel pendulum really makes a difference. So when the aforementioned bloke said “would you like a listen” I decided to skip lunch. They put on one of my favourite “evaluation” albums and without a shadow of a doubt this was one of the most sublime listening experiences of my life. Playing the same tracks again on a top end Stela upsampling CD player made me wish I could get my vinyl collection out of storage in the UK and shipped out to Hong Kong immediately.

    Then — again by chance — I came across an SACD rip of the same album and put a slightly downsampled* version onto my iPod and listened to it with a pair Shure SE520s and I stopped worrying about vinyl. (*my iPod will play 24 bit/48KHz files, and the original rip is 24 bit/96KHz)

    OK, it definitely isn’t as good as the vinyl version played on that Clear Audio monster, but I can’t stick it in my pocket and drown out Honkyconcretetown with it on my daily commute. And the 24 bit rip is very nearly as good as vinyl in terms of detail, texture and space, and it doesn’t snap. crackle and pop. Since then I’ve acquired 24bit/96KHz recordings from vinyl, and if it’s a good, clean original ripped via a good turntable/ADC combination with sympathetic click/pop reduction it’s better than a CD. But if it’s a rip made with a cheap USB deck and a scratchy original by a spotty youth in Rickmansworth it’s just as awful as vinyl always had the potential to be, or possibly worse.

    In my view the answer, ultimately, is to do a Beatles and make a high resolution digital version of the old analog masters (or whatever the best medium still available happens to be). That way you have the best of both worlds.

    On a final note, we need to bust the recording industry’s irrational fear of letting go of low resolution CDs. I’ll pay a decent premium for a high res digital version of the music. The industry is kidding itself if it will lead to increased piracy. It won’t. For the same reason iTunes works. Piracy is largely engaged in by people rich in time and poor in money. People who actually care about high quality recordings will pay up if they are conveniently available, because they are time poor and cash rich. They are not spotty youths in Rickmansworth.

  • JACK says:

    An i-pod is just so much more convenient than vinyl, with all my favourite albums compressed digitally and being played through a Zeppelin, both the storage and sound quality don’t even come into question. All i need is my i-mac, i-pod and Zeppelin and no need for a seperates hi-fi with a thousand wires and vinyl records all over the place. Vinyl has had its day, and was great at the time but time moves on.

  • loius says:

    Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  • HiFiAficionado says:

    Vinyl records are an excellent source of high-fidelity recordings for consumers, and so are CDs. In some ways vinyl is a more forgiving medium than CD.

    Just think of that impaired low-frequency response: which tone-arm/cartridge combination reproduces much below 20 Hz that isn’t affected by the tone-arm/cartridge resonance? What’s the stereo separation that a recording on vinyl is capable of? It might be only as much as 30 dB or so, versus 90 dB or more for typical high-quality amplification. The lack of 100% stereo separation changes the reproduction quite a bit. Then there’s the inherently low signal-to-noise ratio of vinyl, its inability to handle high-level bass response (requiring talented mastering on the disc cutting lathe), mistracking of the stylus as a result of not using a linear-tracking tone-arm.

    It’s amazing to think how good a medium vinyl records actually are considering all their inherent engineering difficulties and limitations. The signal on vinyl needs to be decoded by the RIAA equalisation curve, and how accurate is the frequency response of that phono cartridge that you’re using?

    All in all, vinyl sound reproduction offers plenty of opportunity for the addtion of euphonic colourations to the original master recording. is that why vinyl is so popular? The album cover art is also larger, which is nice, too. Of course, digital isn’t perfect, as it can have recording/reproduction problems as well. I just think that these are lower than what happens with the vinyl reproduction chain. Just play a vinyl record multiple times and hear the ticks and pops increase in both number and severity, and the rumble of surface noise increase as well. That’s something that doesn’t happen with digital reproduction.

    I’m glad that there are still artists putting out their recordings on vinyl. I just hope that they don’t forget about those who prefer CDs. Creating 24-bit 96 kHz files of music for purchase and download would probably increase people’s enjoyment of their music. However, music today is a commodity, and small-scale high-quality production is only of interest to a small section of the market targeted by the major music labels. Thank goodness for the independents who cater for the more discerning music listeners.

  • Audiophile says:

    Jack… Sorry mate but …. How little you know…. The B&W zeppelin is a great iPod dock system but it’s nothing like my b&w 804s combined with McIntosh c220 valve pre and monoblock mc 275 power amps. Sources include clear audio emotion tt, arcam cd36 as well as apple tv and iPod. quality is often only perceived once heard. So a word of advice….get out of the apple store and visit a true hifi store. Dont get me wrong…. My entire house is a shrine to apple as i have imac, apple tv, macbook pro two iphones and ipad. When it comes to music you can’t beat the feeling of owning a tangible medium. Besides putting a record on the tt has a real zen feel about it. Personally I love the process of getting the record out of the sleeve, putting it on the tt, clamping it, doing the antistatic brush then dropping the needle on. This beats the hell out of simply picking a song out o a playlist etc.. Even though I do that times.

  • Jake Purches says:

    I like them all – Record LPs as we used to call them, CDs are no doubt better in bass response but not so good in the upper reaches, SACD is as good as it gets and the nearest to the perfect vinyl. The sad thing is the lack of take up of SACD. Its still out there folks, and its still being pressed. Go and get some and the debate of vinyl / digital rather disappears. But CDs of today are so much better recorded than they were. Back in 1983 there wasn’t any means to record 96khz 24 bit so the recording engineer had to carefully squeeze a dynamic record into 16 bits without peaking. Now it doesn’t matter as the 24 bit master can be tuned down to 16 bits perfectly. And it shows. I just hate MP3 – this is a real disaster for listening, and has threatened the availability of the physical format. Anybody tried Laser discs? They are cool!

  • Jack says:

    I can’t believe the amount of money people spend to get a decent sound from vinyl, when similar levels of sound quality ARE available from digital products now! I truly believe a LOT of it is down to audiophile snobbery, magazine hype, the need by some to get ‘retro’ and the placebo effect of how much one has spent on one’s rig, what it looks like spinning the black stuff etc etc.

    I’ve owned a Garrard 301, several 401s, a Rega, A Linn LP12, and – lattery – a Technics SP-10 Mk.2. I do NOT dislike vinyl, but I do not worship it either and recognise all to well it’s failings. On a GOOD vinyl pressing (well mastered) there is a pleasant sense of presence/body/ambience which is hard – but NOT impossible – to get on much digital gear. Some of this ‘body’ is also due to vinyls idiosyncrasies – it’s technical deficiences actually sound nice in most cases! One CAN get awsome sound from digital which is just as good/better than vinyl. Secondly, good though it sounds, vinyl sounds different EVERY time you play it. It does not offer a repeatable performance. So it can NOT be described as an accurate medium despite what the die-hards might have you believe. Even the ambiant temperature in the room can have an effect on the tracking. What you hear might be ‘nice’ – and lets face it look VERY cool in action – but it’s NOT accurate. CD (when done well – key point this, as MANY aren’t) is far more representative of what’s on the original master, and the sound the original musicians spent much time/effort to achieve…

    It would be interesting to see how many people preferred the sound of an LP, to the original master… Masters often sound extremely ‘immediate’ and hard hitting. VERY much like…. good digital….!!!

    Lets also look at cost – a brand new vinyl LP costs anything from £18 to £50+ (for an audiophile release). For one album. If one wants to avoid snap, crackle & pop, people then need to hunt for MINT condition original pressings (and lets not forget the quality worsens with EACH LP pressed…!). This costs a lot – just check out the prices many Beatles or Led Zeppelin LPs command. Of course some like the fun of the ‘hunt’ – more power to them. I’ve got to the point (at 38) where I just want to get on and enjoy the MUSIC. Not play hunt the mint pressing! There’s not just the price of the record deck, a decent arm, a cartridge that can track well etc, you also need to factor in a phono stage too (critical to good sound) and a record cleaning machine too. All this is fine if you’re more into the gear than the music (at least it seems that way to me, somtimes), but a well mastered digital release (particularly some of the original 80s CD releases – before DNR and brickwalling ruined things in the 90s/00s) allows me to get lost in the music without having to worry about tracking force, acoustic feedback, how many hours use the stylus has gotten, how many are left, is the tracking spot on or need adjusting slightly again, whether the LP needs cleaning again etc. I’m sorry, but occasional ticks and pops, inner groove distortion (it IS audible if you know what to listen for with all but the very BEST gear – and that ain’t cheap), pressign quality, varying performance levels etc to NOT constitute high fidelity to me, pleasent though it may ‘sound’.

    Something else to ponder in 2012, this vinyl resurgance is potentially killingthe chance for formats like SACD which NEED staunch backing/demand from consumers if we’re to finally see a mass-adoption of a high-res digital format. If enough people clamoured for SACD, the companies would see $$$ signs and go with it.

    Vinyl has it’s place (particularly with recordings not available digitally) and cn sound extremely nice, but really, lets move forwards folks & support the new formats, not backwards…

  • animation 19 says:

    Depuis la découverte de Vinyl – A new hope | Bowers & Wilkins | B&W speakers, mes temps de recherches ont été réduites.

  • Coralie says:

    This review is about the Vinyl only, not the album Dark Side of the Moon The music is a mptesraiece and every one should own a copy no matter what type of music you listen too.I have recently started to collect vinyl because I have friends that go on and on about how much better is sounds that CD’s. So I purchased this record and played it back to back with my CD. I delayed the record about 10 seconds so I could listen to the CD and then click it to the record. My CD play has an adjustable volume so I leveled them as close as possible. So I listened to the first half clicking it back and forth. I hate to say this to all you vinyl lovers. For about 95 percent of the music is sounded EXACTLY the same, and I mean no different, the drums sound the same, the vocals sound the same, the cymbals, the only difference I could hear was when the clocks chimed at the beginning of Time and they sound BETTER on the CD. Here is the problem, I have heard this album on SACD and I heard things in the music I have never heard from vinyl or compact disc. To me they are both flawed and do not represent master tapes that well. All you vinyl lovers really need to check out SACD or other new formats and give these records up.The cover, posters and stickers are cool. I collect music and I do like vinyl, but if you just want to listen to the Album buy the CD and same come cash.

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