Will Hipsters Save Analog Audio?

AR-LPs3.jpgAccording to a recent article in the Washington Post the newest hippest way to listen to music is via turntables and vinyl. Since I'm probably the last person who should weigh in on what is and isn't au courant, I'll confine my comments to what I do know - music and sound quality.

Vinyl records make perfect sense, sometimes. Especially if you're a fan of 70's and 80's pop and rock music because much of the obscure stuff never migrated to silver discs. Vinyl also offers the advantages of 12-inch by 12-inch real estate for graphics, liner notes, photographs, and anything else an artist wants to include. And then there's sequencing - unlike CDs, LPs by their very physical nature coerce the listener into listening to a complete side of music in an order determined by the LP's creators. I consider that a good thing.

Many old-school audiophiles and reviewers currently hold up the stereo LP as the alpha reference musical source. Here is where I must demur. I'm not saying there aren't a thousand or even two thousand great sounding stereo LPs out there, but frankly I'm not interested in limiting myself to those few titles when I sit down to listen to music.

Holt's law aside (his simple truth went like this - "the better the sound, the worse the performance"), there are far more good-sounding, nay, even reference-level CDs and digital music files in the world than there are good-sounding stereo LPs. And the number of reference-quality high-resolution music files is growing every day from sources such as 2L, Reference Recordings, and MA Recordings and available via downloads from HD Tracks.

So excuse me if I don't get all misty-eyed at the prospect of thousands of hipster youths parading down main street, USA, waving their fave LPs while chanting, "Analog YES, Digital NO!" as the saviors of analog audio.

Wait till they discover Scrabble. 

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