It’s the time of year for saving money!
A few weeks ago, I took a very quick trip to Denver (at the special invitation of the Illuminati based at the Denver Airport) to shake some hands and hear some good audio at the regional Rocky Mountain Audio Fest show. I did a quick show report called “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” right here for AudiophileReview.com, which had some of my thoughts on the show and perhaps more importantly the endangered future of this beloved audio-video hobby of ours. The editorial piece got pretty good feedback and comments from people who went, wished they went, or were glad they stayed home.
One comment of note is from Dave Clark, the editor at Positive Feedback, another audiophile online publication and someone that I don’t actually know. And while well intentioned, like many audiophiles his comments took us straight into the “post factual” world that we all sadly live in. He was defending some of the things I criticized the RMAF show for (it’s a bunch of 70-year-olds who worship old technologies over new just because they are old, etc,) and started in on the vinyl topic by saying “Vinyl still sells and is still the King.” I just can’t allow this type of comment to stand. Nobody who understands music playback formats and the music industry can possibly believe this level of incorrect hyperbole.
The facts show the truth so let’s dig into them. First of all, in 2018 playing back music on vinyl is a kitsch, retro hobby, but nothing close to state-of-the art performance. I have said it over and over, and I am backed up by the math–an LP at its best can reproduce about 65 dB of dynamic range at most. Granted, no widely released recording is going to max that out, but do you really want your noise floor that high. An outdated Compact Disc can easily outperform vinyl in terms of dynamic range, but today’s HD file or HD stream can give you literally master tape levels of dynamic range.
Why invest in a fast car to put 50 octane gas in the tank? For some reason, audiophiles do it over and over again and are willing to go on and on about how vinyl is “the best,” with nothing other than subjective non-facts to back up their argument. Vinyl is also very distorted. The physical nature of the stylus going into the groove of the record physically creates noise that enthusiasts pay tens of thousands of dollars to get out of their electronics but then feed right in via an antiquated source like vinyl. There’s also the fact that a new piece of vinyl sounds its best on its first play, and then gets worse as it physically wears out. How do any of those details make any sense in a world where you can buy a master-tape quality, digital file of a recording for $20? Or, better yet, stream HD-level tracks from a nearly infinite catalog for a mere $20 per month? What self-respecting audiophile seeking the best in performance takes a low dynamic range, high distortion, 100-year-old source over a state-of-the-art, high dynamic range, low distortion, often beautifully remastered facsimile of the actual master tape?
So, let’s address the top of “still sells” and “is the King.” Horse-drawn carriages still sell, but they don’t quite do the same numbers or offer the same technological advantages as, say, a Tesla. Here are the facts from the RIAA: In 2017, the music industry did about $8,900,000,000 in total sales–all formats combined. Of those total sales, paid streaming did 65 percent, with digital downloads pulling in another 15 percent of the 8.9-billion-dollar haul. Physical discs made up a mere 12 percent of the total 2017 sales according to the RIAA. Of that 12 percent slice of the pie, Compact Discs made up about $1,100,000,000. Vinyl made up roughly $384,000,000. So, yes, vinyl does “sell,” but it is fully crushed in term of sales volume by the dead format known as the Compact Disc. Moreover, even if you combine CDs and Vinyl sales together, their 12 percent market share is pathetically small compared to the 80 percent market share that is the combination of paid streaming and digital downloads. Those are the facts. Here is the proof. No subjective, effusive words and abstract concepts. Just facts.
The audiophile hobby is at a critical crossroads today. Too many of the elders refuse to embrace new technology that can push the performance barriers for musical playback. There is somehow a religious-like draw to older, lower-performance technology. Does Ferrari ignore the possibilities of what electric cars can do? Not a chance. Same with Porsche. State of the art, bleeding-edge technology that is designed to push the barriers of what a performance car can do is at the heart of the statement the best automakers are sending to the world.
How does feeding your audiophile system lesser source material when there are super-affordable ways to get master-tape-quality music right in your home via streaming and downloads get you better performance? There are too many audiophiles who simply ignore the facts, the math, and the science to go into the 100 percent subjective argument of “my ears can hear the difference.” Can they? Really? How many get their hearing tested to see if they have normal hearing loss that can be expected in men of a certain age? I get my hearing tested at Cedar Sinai each and every year so that I have the facts as to what realistic hearing loss that I have suffered over time. I’ve seen Metallica enough times (without ear plugs in the early days back at the Philadelphia Spectrum) to know my hearing isn’t perfect to 20 kHz, but it’s still very good for my age. Even with that empirical evidence about my own hearing, I still add additional facts, science. and measurements to my outlook on audio and state of the art music playback. A purely subjective outlook on audio playback is respectfully just bullshit. By all means, you need to trust your ears, but backing up your observations with facts makes for a much more considered opinion.
The audiophile hobby needs a sea change to survive the next ten years. New technology that can get you closer to the musical event or actual recording must be enthusiastically embraced. Esoterica and snobbery by audiophiles, retailers. and others in the hobby must be eradicated. There are about 75,000,000 Millennials in the United States alone, and they love music as much as (if not more than) any generation before them. They also love forward-thinking technology. They’ve grown up in a time of momentous technological innovation. We now can deliver music streaming to this tempting demographic in an affordable way and nudge them into our hobby with better speakers and DACs and amps and so forth. But not when the gatekeeping elders are still walking around the regional shows insisting that archaic playback mediums are as good as it gets. The time for change is now, and I’m going to keep beating this drum until the some of the stubborn elders finally hear it or just fade out of the scene.
I own (arguably) one of the best digital sources, Naim ND555. Digital has never sounded better. But well crafted vinyl from analog masters played on my Linn LP-12 have their own unique magic digital can’t touch. In order to get this performance a listener needs to make a heavy investment: Excellent table, arm, MC cartridge and exceptional phono stage. Anything less and vinyl can be dull and boring. I’d suggest the author seek out hi-end phono playback systems and spend time listening. I don’t think an objective listener can make generalizations that one format is superior to another. Wait till you hear 1/4 analog tape!
PS:Millennials are driving the recent surge in Vinyl.
My comment that “Vinyl still sells and is still the King” is/was in reference to to overall quality of sound – am thinking I was not clear in that. Sadly I find too often that the LP version of a release walks all over the digital version here at my home and at many others – I am not alone in this though opinions will vary. No doubt you will disagree but then we are all after “something” and that is not always the same “thing.” And for sure I have digital copies that walk all over the analog versions. It has nothing to do with being older or of a certain generation (yeah I am 63 and sadly I do not fit in musically with 90% of those in attendance being one who listens to alternative music rather than jazz and classical). Many people simply prefer the sound of analog over that of digital. Not always, but more often than not. For sure digital outsells vinyl, no issue with that though sales of LPs is on the increase and continues to grow (also the number of turntables and analog options is growing as well many of which are being bought my GenX and Millennials).
But yes I buy more digital copies than analog though when I can I buy both. Hardly a stubborn elder as I fully support streaming, headphones… I support what ever anyone wants to listen to, how they want to listen to it, and that it makes them happy. Exactly what the panel I moderated was all about… how to reach a wider more diverse audience. Am thinking that if we met and talked you would have a way different opinion of not only who I am, but where I am coming from.
Digital: PS Audio DirectStream DAC and DirectStream Memory Player.
Analog: Transrotor 25/25/60 Leonardo turntable with a Shelter 901 MC or Transfiguration Phoenix S cartridge w/Marigo dot. Audiomod MK2 arm.
Computer Based System (main system)
Primary: Integrita C4 NAS from Certon, AURALiC Aries G2 and Mini, Antipodes CORE/EDGE, SBooster power supplies (Netgear switch and Netgear WiFi extender), USB cables from JPlay, WyWires, Skogrand, Dynamic Designs, Kubala-Sosna, Audience, and Sablon Audio. Network cables from JPlay, Audioquest, Cardas, WireWorld and Sablon Audio.
I am glad you commented.
The “something” you are looking for is purely subjective. The fact is: analog is wonderful when its on say 2-inch master tape but said tape is a) impossible to get a hold of b) easily degraded over time as its analog and magnetic.
Vinyl can’t DREAM of reproducing said 2-inch analog master tape performance but a $20 digital download can. Granted in a different format but that’s in the math. Its the science. Its all there. Its a copy in the same way the three major labels back up the failing master tape (wow, that sounded like Trump but I hope you get my point).
We have the magic elixir for audiophiles: streaming HD. I invite you to support it (and downloads) as the future as we EMBRACE the kids and move past the elders.
All the best!
Dave, have you ever tried making a digital recording of your vinyl records? When I record a vinyl record digitally I find that the digital recording captures the same character of the vinyl record, what this says to me is that this characteristic sound is simply distortion added by the limitations of the vinyl medium.
I agree this is largely true , and the result still sounds more natural, regardless of measurement , i actually tend to buy vinyl amd transfer the rips to portables – if Distortion makes it sound more natural then yeah please add that layer of distortion, I have yet to hear any sort of fake analog filter on Pro Tools or something that does as well as copying digital to tape or vinyl to digital, it is again more natural sounding regardless of how it may or may not measure
As as person who has extensively listened to vinyl and done the recordings. I don’t share your view that the sound of vinyl is more natural, although I formerly held that opinion, however my opinion has changed over time and with experience. Im not saying that vinyl can’t sound nice and pleasant, of course it can, and does. My only point is that digital recordings capture the sound more accurately, and since it’s more accurate, to me, digital sounds more natural. The difficulty with digital recording is that it has such a high degree of accuracy that there is nowhere to hide. The entire chain from microphones to preamps, to the mix and mastering need to be top notch, or any errors or sloppy choices in the chain are easily heard. I agree that no plugin can replicate the sound of vinyl.
I am unclear what this post is attempting to say and whatever it’s attempting to say, why its bothering to say it.
Sea change? Poppycock and balderdash. We’ve been talking about “we need a HUGE CHANGE” in “the industry” for my entire life. Guess what? We get a massive change every 10 years or so, and have since the 1950’s. And “the industry” soldiers ever on even while writers spill an endless sea of ink about how the end is nigh. It’s not nigh. It’s just that the sharks have gotten a little bigger, and some of them sport logos “the industry” doesn’t care recognize. Who moved my cheese?!? Whatever. This industry will be going strong — and ever more weird — long after we all retire.
As for vinyl … LPs sell. Is vinyl the biggest seller of all the music formats? Zzzzzz. Who cares. Seriously. Does anyone that buys LPs give a crap?
I’m sorry. I fell asleep again because I truly don’t care what your answer to that question is.
Oh, and if you can find any current-release (or past-release, for that matter) music, regardless of format, with a 65dB dynamic range, feel free to buy all of it that you can. It will be unlistenable, but whatever. Just imagine the beautiful graphs and charts as you madly mash the volume button up and down and up and down and up and down.
Most modern music has a dynamic range of … what … 10dB or less? Pretty sure mastering wizard Bob Katz recommends something around 20dB (or less) — kind of a far cry from 65dB but who’s keeping track. Seriously, it’s kinda hard to base a format choice on DR. Noise floor, sure, that’s great if its low but if you’ve ever been to a live concert, you already know that a low noise floor doesn’t actually happen in real life. So, are we chasing “the absolute sound” or graphs?
The point — the entire point: if your format forces you to engage with it, to make it more of an experience and less something you ignore as routinely as the ads on a webpage, then I’m all for it. And you should be, too.
Long live vinyl.
I buy vinyl (not all the time) simply because of it’s physical size, any liner notes, and the album art. I know it’s going to have pops, clicks, and a certain amount of surface noise. I’ll even buy audiophile edition LP’s knowing the limitations within. I am getting to the point of seeking out it’s digital cousins more often for various reasons but mostly because they do sound superior and they are less expensive.
The advantage of vinyl as a format for millennials has nothing to do with sound. I go shopping for new LPs with my sons all the time and it is a great bonding experience. We talk about music, life etc. When was the last time you bonded with your kid over shopping for a track on iTunes?
Next advantage. We listen to the album and there is not skip function. He actually listens to the whole album side including all those lesser known songs that never makes the playlists on Tidal.
Finally vinyl, especially vintage vinyl, has that hard to characterize funky smell. Digital doesn’t have that same odor. Vinyl may stink but definitely it doesn’t “suck”. I think if the audiophile hobby has a future vinyl will be the gateway.
Sadly, you have shown that you are EXACTLY the problem with audiophilia in your above post.
“LPs sell” you say. Are you loving living in a post-factual world? Physical media makes up 12% of the music industry’s 8.9b in sales so says the RIAA in 2017. Vinyl is about 4% of that. Deal with facts Scott. Facts. Deal with them or look foolish. Streaming and downloads make up 80 percent of the 8.9b. What’s bigger? What’s better? What’s higher resolution?
What if I compromised 10% on your income as you do with the performance of audio? Would you be OK with that? I doubt it. The audiophile hobby is about seeking out the Nth degree of performance with whatever money we can justify investing in our system and sources YET YOU SELL IT ALL OUT for what? A 100 year old, low resolution, low dynamic range, high distortion format.
Let me repeat: Scott… you are the problem. Deal in facts or watch the 80 year olds die off some day soon and have nothing left.
Yeah, a $1B format — projections for vinyl LPs in 2018 — is totally worthless.
The fact that half of all 14M records sold in the US last year were sold to “dying 80 year olds” that were apparently wearing costumes that unhelpfully misidentified them as “under 25” … must be fake news, because we all know how sneaky those old farts are!
And let’s ignore the growth trajectory for the last decade (9% year over year in the last year alone) because numbers are just confusing.
But when we say “you know what the problem is”, how come no one ever answers “shit journalism”?
Look, if we’re going to go to the trouble and misquote stats, invert analyses, and call that “the future” … we should at least say something interesting, like how “having sex 10x a day is the secret to living to living for 180 years” or “Michael Fremer, subjected to 60,000 hours of electronica, goes on rampage, slaying local mariachi band members while wearing giant neon canteloupe on his head”, or ” 9 out of 10 journalists vying for jobs at FOX News also lack pre-frontal cortex”.
As for me, I’m going to go buy a dozen records just because that’s what problems do.
Jerry, the RIAA sales percentages you posted for vinyl are for new sales correct? I dont have any data to post but from my experience a vast quantity of vinyl records are acquired on the used market.
Also a great deal of new and old albums are not available to purchase on (new) vinyl. In many cases digital is the only option so obviously its going to have higher sales figures.
The RIAA numbers are for new discs sold. They can’t track used vinyl.
One point about how vinyl sucks that Steven makes is that USED Records don’t help the artists in any direct way. Streaming from Pandora or Tidal or wherever is better in terms of a business model.
Jerry you are just a problem…
Since since I bought a network audio streaming device I have become far more involved with the music than I ever was with Vinyl. Because it is ALL about the music for me. I couldn’t care less about the physical object. To me, the physical vinyl record is completely superfluous. All I want to do is to hear the music in the highest quality that I can get, and that means digital.
Old article, but… Hull, look: Your answer is very intelectually bullying and smug. This article is spot on and totally right.
Arguing over which format is better is like arguing over which food tastes best or which woman is more attractive. This article may as well be about how much better cheeseburgers are compared to pizza. Please stop.
No, your analogy is wrong. If this article was about food it would be saying that a pizza cooked with fresh ingredients is better then a pizza cooked with stale ingredients which have been dropped on the floor and then handled by somebody who has just used the toilet and not washed their hands.
You are clearly entitled to your opinion. And while it is clear that digital reproduction IS getting better every day (especially with formats like DSD256), it is just as clear that you have little or no experience with a state-of-the-art vinyl rig, and thereby, no idea what you are talking about. I’m not interested in numbers or specifications, all I care about is the musical experience…
Even other vastly experienced reviewers of digital playback systems like Robert Harley have gone on record saying, “When done right, LP playback has an openness, transparency, dynamic expression, and musicality that cannot be matched…” – The Complete Guide to High-End Audio, Fourth Edition, p.234. Once you stop comparing numbers and specifications on a page and start comparing musical performances, then you too may learn why analog offers a degree of spatial immersiveness, musicality, and sense of reality that the best digital currently cannot approach, let alone duplicate.
I’m not knocking digital playback. I use it daily. It is convenient and vastly improved from where it started in the early 1980’s. But, when it comes to recreating the event, convincing you that you have been transported back in time to an actual performance, it just doesn’t have the persuasive power of vinyl. I’m talking about making magic; when the utter and inexplicable suspension of disbelief occurs. When you are permitted to completely forget that what you are listening to is a recreation, a reconstructed sonic event. When you are so completely transfixed by an entirely fabricated deception that you are unaware that the time and space of the event unfolding before you is merely an auditory illusion generated by a complex reconstruction engine, a conglomeration of electro-mechanical devices, playing back a 12″ vinyl disc. It can be a transforming occurrence, transporting you through time and space to witness the sensations, feelings, and emotions that the artist/s in play worked so hard to convey and that the production crew and recording engineers toiled to so accurately capture. And LPs pull that off better than any digital format available today, every time, all else being equal… Digital formats simply don’t recreate music with same degree of dimensionality, vibrant tonal warmth, or emotional immersiveness. Period.
That is all I have to say on the matter of LP playback. But, I will add that we should all be more format agnostic, and just enjoy the music — whatever medium. Let’s face it, some music will never be on LP, and some with never be digitized, so — if you like that particular music, just enjoy it. Beyond that, I will not be drawn into a long flame war. I just find it somewhat surprising that anyone, especially someone with your background, could make such a strong, inflexible, and incorrect assertion. Enjoy your digital files… Rock on…
PS – This is the second time I’ve posted this… Let’s see if the moderator allows it to stay up this time.
Before you tell me what I know about audio – shouldn’t you know a little about me so that you get your facts right. With all due respect: you have no idea what high end vinyl that I have heard, seen or touched.
My background includes a degree in Music (music industry) from USC and while there I worked at one of the best high end audio salons of all time, Christopher Hansen Ltd. in Beverly Hills. I was the top Wilson salesman in the nation when I was 19 and in fact my first sale at CH was a Goldmund Turntable to the Church of Scientology. While in college, I was recruited away to work for Mark Levinson at Cello Music and Film Los Angeles. Circa 1994-95 we had 24 bit Nagra reel to reel players with Mark’s master tapes for demo as well as $15 per CDRs on a Marantz deck so we could send our clients and prospects home with something truly special. It was cutting edge digital. Back in school, we learned to make recordings on both a Nagra a800 analog tape deck as well as an older Mitsubishi digital deck all via a big SSL console. That wasn’t the core of my program but at the time I could align the analog machine (I liked the Nagra better than the Mitsu) and so forth. We even visited the last vinyl mastering house as a school road trip.
I agree that people should enjoy their music. If vinyl gets you there then COOL WITH ME but the idea that it is somehow “better” that 2018-level digital is simply denying the physics, distribution and other details of the process.
Moreover, I am one of the ONLY PEOPLE who have the fortitude to stand up to the audiophile elders to call bullshit on their total subjectivity outlook on audio. Ask a real scientist what the truth is – not just someone with a “golden ear” (different than a pair of GoldenEars which is COOL).
In the end, good enough is good enough for a lot of people. I personally like scotch from port wood casks. Is it accurate to pre-WWII standards? Nope. But I like it and that’s good enough to earn my $65 per bottle (it can be more but I need to stay on a budget…). It doesn’t bother me if audiophiles want to play vinyl but don’t tell me that the format the state of the art or truly high performance. It isn’t even close. It doesn’t matter what turntable, what tone arm and what bald eagle semen one cleans their records with. None of us can fix the physics of vinyl playback. 65 dB max dynamic range and high distortion. Its just how it is.
I’m only replying here to point out that you clearly only see what you want…as I do have a very clear picture of your history in our industry.
As someone who has been a part of this industry appreciably longer than you, who DOES do his research, understands and has, in fact, chronicled the history of this industry in books and other print media, I felt that I made it clear that I do know your story, hence my statement, “…especially someone with your background…” Even those who don’t have my decades-long familiarity with this industry can access background information on you at https://audiophilereview.com/authors/jerry-del-colliano.html. It’s at the top of this article, for goodness sake.
By the way, claiming that you are among only a handful of “the enlightened” who can ACTUALLY see (hear?) the truth, and that everyone else is deluding themselves, sounds more like the comments of someone who should be leading a cult rather than doling out any advice of merit. As I’ve said, music appreciation should be format agnostic, but your claims, charts, and spec sheets AREN’T music…and your dismissal of everyone else’s understanding of that fact does nothing to prove otherwise.
I’ve asked this question many times but never received an answer. Please tell me what a “state of the art vinyl rig is”?
Please list the turntable, tonearm and cartridge that qualifies as “state of the art”?
Assuming the same mastering, I’ve never heard a record beat a CD or digital file EVER. Even if they come close, in between tracks the record ALWAYS has more noise – even when new.
yeah and if all I listened to is the space in between tracks I’d agree with all of your opinion here. I wonder how a very small handful of relatively insignificant measurement points in particular noise floor, somehow defines what something sounds like or doesn’t? In my opinion frequency response, noise floor, and up to and including around 3% of distortion have pretty little to do with how good or natural something can sound depending upon the genre and instrument in question
Some of the most natural sounding speakers I’ve ever heard are full range drivers, many of which have limited frequency range response as well, none-the-less most of the music resides in the mid-range and where they play they sound best, my fostex produce the most natural sounding trumpet possible, despite the truncated frequency range… And as soon as someone who is implying that vinyl is worthless because of its drawbacks can tell me how these narrow criteria of measurement somehow actually Define what something *sounds like* then I’ll concede their victory. Based on reading between the lines just a little, it seems like the least expensive CD player in the world would beat the most expensive CD player in the world if it were raining outside and the microphone pick that up as a higher noise floor, as if somehow that rain got in the way of all the music, as if somehow the noise floor of vinyl isn’t far more gentle than a gentle rain…
Then you must have listened to some crappy set ups. I’ve been listing to vinyl records for about seven hours straight tonight. I’ve heard maybe three or four pops/clicks. My turntable is Pro-Ject Debut Carbon.
“When you are permitted to completely forget that what you are listening to is a recreation, a reconstructed sonic event”
I don’t recall pops and clicks at any concert I have attended. Can’t imagine any recording engineer inserting them on purpose. Did you mean the very first (and only) time you play a brand new LP? Even then, I doubt it would be without some noise to take you out of the experience.
“…Digital formats simply don’t recreate music with same degree of dimensionality, vibrant tonal warmth, or emotional immersiveness.” Period.”
You need better digital equipment. Period.
Hello Douglas… Umm, like what? What would do a better job than say, the full Esoteric Grandioso or dCS Vivaldi (both well over $100k) stacks? Or say, a single box unit from someone? What do you have in mind ? While I can’t claim to have heard everything (no one person has heard everything, clearly), I’ve heard VIRTUALLY everything out there over the decades, including the mega-buck stacks I’ve mentioned…and, I’ve had long-term listening exposure to the Esoteric stack twice in as many months. And, it is VERY GOOD!
No one is debating there is surface noise with vinyl, even with the very best maintained LPs. But again, you are missing the point and focusing on the wrong aspects of recreating the musical gestalt. What we are discussing is that musical illusion, the utter believability that the suspension of disbelief, the dimensionality, warmth, and immersiveness, that good LP playback offers. Even the best digital out there still cannot pull that off to the same degree of believability… Will we get there? I’ve no doubt. I also have no idea when it might happen, but until it does, LPs on a good rig, well-set up, will still do a better job of creating the musical experience than any digital I’ve yet heard.
“you are missing the point and focusing on the wrong aspects…”
Silly me. I should have recognized that no one has ever changed their
opinion because of a post made by someone with a different opinion.
I am missing the point?
Pops and clicks take you out of the illusion. Period.
(Hopefully, I have learned this lesson: Stay out of internet debates.)
My 40 year old records sound better than any digital version. And this pops and clicks nonsense is in your head. Most of my records play through with no pops or clicks. You have obviously never heard good vinyl playback. You must stop talking out of your butthole. But really this is an idiotic debate started by sad Jerry who is desperate for clicks.
No, the vinyl doesn’t sound. It’s the speakers or the headphone drivers what does.
Can we still say Nagra, or is that an offensive word?
I agreewhole-heartedly with the observation on the degradation of the
source material and posit this at every opportunity. Add in that the
stylus is never as good as the first time it hits the vinyl. I made this
observation in response to a farcebook post and added that whilst your music source is wearing out every time you listen to it, I have never
had a file corrupted or a HDD/SSD fail catstrophically and that all of
my music is backed up. Data storage is these days, less expensive than
ever and less expensive than some LPs. Still, the argument goes around
and around, just like that old format
..and as has become the norm, no thread can go to completion without the obligatory Trump bashing comment(s)…smh
At least, up to this point anyway, no one brought in Hitler (and I mean that as a JOKE!)
First of all i disagree with most of the points in the article..streaming can be the best selling but it doesnt make it the best sounding..
The one comment about vinyl sales.. vinyl sales are somewhat misleading.. once upon a time i was a vinyl dealer and i had 8000 titles all brand new..that 8000 titles are recorded as vinyl sales.. however if you were to take a snap shot picture.. those 8000 titles were sitting waiting to be sold.. however the labels already marked it as sales..therefore the inventory sitting on vinyl stores are recorded as sales yet they havent been bought by the consumer yet.. considering the boom in vinyl stores around the globe over the last 5 years,the vinyl sales are artificially increased
A vast majority of vinyl sales that are recorded, are still sitting on the shelves
Didn’t that practice die once SoundScan became the norm?
This statement is only true until they’re actually sold, any record store that kept more than one round of shipments on the Shelf unsold would definitely not stay in business long and the three main record stores in my City are doing quite well
Maybe if we all stopped fighting about formats and technologies and started introducing “listening to music” to our kids and their friends, then the whole world would be better off.
But isn’t that the point of digital audio? You get the music without the distortion and the noise.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all about Digital. The whole “tactile” hassle with analog and vinyl nearly made me swear off music for life. But that doesn’t mean I care a bit about how other people listen to it or spend their time. I have thousands of books stuffed in my Kindle but my wife insists on holding a good, old-fashioned book and turning the pages, and hauling 10 pounds of the damn things on vacations… It’s the same thing, really. It’s all about personal choice which I think most people who switched to high-quality digital understand and most people who haven’t switched from analog fight hard against and are unwilling to accept as a possibility. Personally, I’m frequently amazed at the details I can hear in a digital recording that just Are. Not. There. in a vinyl record. But, whatever… I believe we agree…
But I’ve heard digital files that had noise. Therefore all digital is bad. That’s what your anti-vinyl argument is.
Jerry, Scott…you both should be fired.
Your petty childish arguments are not only what’s wrong with audio, but what’s wrong with America.
Left vs right, Fender vs Gibson, Canon vs Nikon they are all age old and pointless arguments with each side trying desperately to make themselves feel superior.
The digital vs analog arguments are no less pity, no less childish. You are both correct on some points and making gross generalizations and assumptions on other points to suit your arguments…just like children at recess in a play ground.
If I were running Audiophile Review, I would be embarrassed at your behavior and would have thrown you both out.
And Jerry…the Trump bashing….really?
I listen to audio to GET AWAY FROM POLITICS, and I certainly don’t need some “alleged professional” bringing pointless Trump bashing into the already pointless discussion.
I realize you are from CA on it’s probably law to bash Trump every chance you get, but this IS AUDIO. GROW UP, WE DONT DO POLITICS HERE.
Want to behave like children?
Why don’t you both go to your rooms WITHOUT music, digital or analog and think about what you children have done.
Canon …and Fender 🙂
Holy crap…your right , what i like is wrong and my own opinion should not matter to me because maybe my ears MAYBE cant hit 20khz, so therefore if i like something i am then wrong. Thank you so much for setting me straight! I will sell all my records , and tell the many 20 somethings i see at record fairs and stores that they arent actually millenials , that because they aren’t streaming they are suckers fooled by old peopke and not true millenials. I also didnt realize low noise floor, and dynamic range somehow just magically equals good sound , every cd player ever made must just sound amazing , suprised anyone would pay as much as a whopping 1000, or EVEN MORE when a 35 dollar cd discman is so much damn better apparently , since measuremebts are after all everything hell even if personally you think it sounds like total garbage, guess what you’re wrong! It’s much better than any record player ever made. Because records are old and you’re not old are you? If you are old you’re wrong though, and if you think you have an opinion about what something sounds like to you well you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried… gtfo , ass.
When young Black youth are buying records to “enjoy” the latest Rap albums….then I will know its going to replace digital….picture it for a laugh.
There are TONS of rap albums available on vinyl. Ain’t just white people buying them.
Our ears can only listen to what the speakers throw out in sounds. All these technical measures of sounds is only scientific where our ears may not be able to pickup. I am a strong believer in vinyl and I LOVE the reproduction of the sound coming out of the stylus to the speakers. All other technical or scientific measurements are irrelevant to my ears. The sound from the vinyl is warm and full of body. This is my description of the sound. My personal opinion, vinyl is still my favorite when I listen to music.
So you admit that you ignore the science and just use your ears as the ultimate guide no matter what the math says?
Have you had your hearing tested ever? Seriously. How good is the only, fully subjective tool you use for evaluation? I have mine tested every year at Cedar Sinai as its only normal for men to lose hearing over the years.
Personally, I don’t fight the science and the math especially when its so overwhelmingly showing people who want to have the master tape experience that they can in fact have that in affordable and easy to access streaming and download formats. But then again, the leader of the free world tells us that “climate change is a hoax”. Its kinda the same level of non-scientific argument to me.
To each his own, my friend. I just disagreed with what you have written. But, that’s my opinion. You do not need to ask me if I have my ears tested. Has nothing to do with your argument.
So what confuses me about the above argument is that because a graph says digital is better it therefore sounds better to me personally? To me that is kind of like saying because blue has the most energy of visible light it is therefore a “better” color. Green is still my favorite though.
I’m 64 years old and “lucked” into a Luxman integrated when I was 20. When I finished college and started working and law school, one of my classmates worked at Altec-Lansing in Orange County and I picked up a pair of used Stonehenge IIs, although not the Studio Standards that I lusted after. I added a nice Dual turntable and “expensive” stylus about a tear later, setting me back about $200 for the stylus alone. That system lived with me for 20 years until time, kids, dogs, and cats took its toll. I thought sounded pretty good to my ears. Then, I went through a series of AV receivers and cheaper tape, phono, LD, and CD players for my sources for stereo music. This was my “dark ages” because neither the systems nor the sources were very good, even if occasionally they reminded me of that “warm” music I remembered. Fifteen years ago I pulled my Altecs out of our storage and an audio friend reconed them. Then, I bought a 60s era Fisher integrated that was newly restored. I added a mid priced CD player and the music sounded pretty darn good. But, CDs do not sound “warm” and some of those old CDs I had accumulated over the years that were highly compressed music of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s were awful. So, one could say that even with better dynamic range, CDs were not necessarily an improvement. 10 years and many thousands of dollars later, my system is completely changed. My source is a very expensive Cary CD player with a DAC through which every source material passes. I still don’t digital storage with ripped music but I try to buy red book CDs or higher definition music and I stream a little. The quality of the music is exceptional and I’ve listened to very expensive systems spinning vinyl but I will not go back there. Yes, that music reminds me more of what I temembered listening to all those years ago but my “old” ears now prefer music that is closer to the original and they have been honed by listening to a fair amount of live performances in the meantime. So, my point is I have to agree with you on vinyl but I can also see why it is a draw for my generation. That said, if one you “whippersnappers” wants to drop by and walk me through the migration to a fully digital storage and streaming solution, I’m all ears. . .
Why worry about what people use to listen to music. If people mind their own business we would be better off. So you dont like vinyl for various reasons, good for you, dont buy it. If other like it and swear by it then so be it, its their money, ears and lifestyle. I think in ear headphone are ridiculous but I’m not going to campaign against people who use them. It’s their choice. Clean your own house, its dusty!
What we all need to remember is that there are many other factors that come in to play in the “what is better” argument. Yes, there are definite measurable differences telling us that HD Digital files are the best, but there are a many subjective details that enter into the equation based on one’s life experiences. Sometimes hearing that song from a date you had on a summer night playing of a mix cassette can be enjoyed just as much in a lower quality medium as it brings back warm memories from a misspent youth. There was a charm listening to music, a sense of adventure reading the liner notes and learning about the artist or the method, that is mainly lost today.
Regarding millennials or any other group born after the demise of vinyl and CD’s, we as an industry have a monumental task to educate them as to what music should sound like. Years of earbuds, iPad and computer listening has created a generation that believes a $50.00 set of earphones sounds good. The thought they will ever step up in any measurable quantity to support this industry by buying high end equipment is mainly laughable. Carry this over to the statistics of how the Music industry pie is divided and the numbers make sense but are lying to us in how this music is being consumed. HD tracks through crappy speakers, earphones, mobile devices doesn’t equate to people hearing the fun dynamic range that the recording offers, rather it speaks to the availability and simplicity that is offered through the various streaming services. Upgrade to HD streaming for an extra $5/month, why not? It doesn’t mean they are benefitting from these better formats.
In the end let people listen to whatever they like, let them believe A is better than B and B is better than C, who cares it’s their money. What I fear is that the passion for the hobby is dying and these discussions work to polarize people instead of promote new generations to a fantastic segment of the Audio industry.
One thing that is completely missing from this article is – “what kind of music do you collect and enjoy?” I collect and enjoy jazz from the 50s-80s. Will a CD of music from the 60s sound better than an original Blue Note LP of the same music? No way, because the CD was produced from a deteriorated master – the grooves etched on vinyl from the 1960s will sound better because they inherently do not deteriorate (but can get dirty and scratchy).
You would be shocked at how well most master tapes have been preserved, and there are ways to restore the ones that weren’t. Have you ever heard any of your old jazz records in high-res digital? If restored properly, high-res digital will be a revelation after hearing it on vinyl all these years.
Apparently, arguing seems to be a huge part of being an audiophile? Having read (way too) many of the comments below that is my conclusion. Still not sure why it would be important for folks to give up on vinyl and embrace digital in order to save the industry. (huh?) I like digital music. I no longer own a turntable, MCC, and all the crap that entails.
I pick out some songs and sit and listen to them in the dark. I can listen to an entire album, or just my favorite tracks. I can get half in the bag and not worry about getting up to change the record, or to skip a track that I can’t stand. Or worse yet dropping the needle and having it damage my LP. I can’t imagine why anyone gives a damn what someone else prefers. The one thing I agreed with is that stating that vinyl playback is “superior” to digital is a crock of shit. Again, my point is, who cares what format someone prefers? I believe this ‘argument’ has raged on since the first digital music became available to the public. When will it stop?
It matters because it affects what is available to the listening public. If we could only convince everyone that high-res digital is the way to go then we might actually have a halfway decent high-res ecosystem by now. It’s almost 2019, yet there are still people who think vinyl is superior to 24/192 PCM. Vinyl freaks are very much analogous to rednecks who swear that they will never drive a truck that isn’t 100% naturally-aspirated gasoline-powered. They’re both dying breeds; they’re just not dying quickly enough.
I’ll tell you what, Jerry. I agree with Scot Hull…just what point ARE you trying to make? You state that”esoterica and snobbery must be erased”. It seems to me that you are exhibiting yor own brand of snobbery, Jerry. Why does it matter so much that vinyl still has devoted adherents? Who cares? It’s up to them how they spend their audio dollars, period. Besides, after attending all of those Mettalica concerts sans ear plugs you might me hard pressed to hear the difference anyway. You refer to Porsche and Ferrari embracing electric car technology. Of course it’s in their best interest to do so. But just because a LaFerrari hybrid is faster and has superior handling doesn’t render a 250 GTO(currently the most valuable and coveted vintage car in history) a lesser vehicle. Who are you to judge, Jerry?
Picture this analogy: you have a copy of your favorite movie on 4K Blu-ray. It is a reference-grade video transfer in every way. Then a friend comes along with a VHS copy, and he claims that despite its technical shortcomings, watching the VHS version is a more “organic”–and therefore automatically better–experience, or some other hipster jargon. Now imagine that this same friend does this with every 4K Blu-ray that you own. Even when you point out to him that his VHS version is 4:3 and therefore crops the image, he insists that the look and feel of VHS is worth it. He might also suggest that the sound is superior simply because it’s analog. That is the level of absurdity we are dealing with when hipster types try to compare vinyl to modern high-res digital.
What acrock, you are mkaing an apples to oranges comparison, the EARS nose…..
4k blu ray to VHS is in no way a valid comparison to hi res digital vs. vinyl. Try 4k blu ray to 35mm film. You can make a legitimate argument that watching a film on a good 35mm print is a better experience. I’m not necessarily saying that it is, but you can argue it is, and many film buffs do. Certainly, 35mm is capable of translating to 4k digital resolution, maybe beyond. Then there’s 70mm film, which has a theoretical resolution waaaay more than mere 4k. Perhaps that’s analogous to reel-to-reel tape in this comparison. But comparing vinyl to VHS is a totally bogus comparison, period.
Let me get this straight. People want an inferior technogy because they have to fondle an LP sleeve and ogle large-format cover art to stay focused on their music!?
Yup, you nailed it. Hipsters are a peculiar bunch. I see them as descendants of gypsies. That’s the only way I can make any sense of their behavior.
Jerry is hilarious! So much fun to read his bile-puke as vinyl sales continue to rise. One could make an anti-vinyl argument but Jerry hasn’t the knowledge or chops to make it. Instead he publishes silly click bait crap…. bigly sad… but so entertaining!
Millennials and vinyl scream HIPSTER, just as much as millennials buying up vintage Marantz receivers because it makes their new pad look cool. Maybe as a Gen X’er it’s more noticeable on this end of the age spectrum?
I’ve heard and read in other outlets that vinyl has recently made a come back of sorts. I don’t question those numbers, but I do question the sustainability and trajectory of those numbers especially when attributed to the younger generation. Whether we want to or not, MQA will likely be more accessible via smartphones and streaming to the millennial mass vs the small vinyl target audience of audiophiles and hipsters.
The younger generation is satisfied with access, convenience, and technology. Seriously can’t remember if I’ve ever had a conversation about sound quality with a Millennial – or am I the outlier?
Exactly. Vinyl freaks majorly overlap with Polaroid freaks. Hipster obsession with retro technology has nothing to do with technical superiority.
Funny. I don’t see hipsters at the two record stores in my area. It’s almost like you are using an unfounded stereotype to push your argument. Hmm. Maybe you are.
Wow what BS, I guess “Live and Let one Enjoy” don’t work around here??? SAD, VERY SAD……..
yet another article that shows why jerry d.c. sucks.
I have to agree with Author to 500% , No.1 .to get a ,, LOWEST background noise ” and guality sound from the vinyl, one have to spend many 1000$ for top guality cardrige ,tonarm , deck + external power supply , mat , add. clamp , record cleaning stuff . In the case of CD player ,its enough to start w descent machine from 800$ up , No.2 I am sure that biggest part in the ,,enchanting ” by record decks ,is its modern or vintage ,,looks ” reaching sometime absurd forms , sizes and weight . I liked too the ,,procedure “of taking out record from the envelope , brushing off the dust , putting needle on , but NOT to start this WHOLLE ,,business”again ,after 12 to 14 minutes . It is up to every one , but the quality of the sound depends mainly on guality of the source ( Vinyl Record ) , the ,,CDs ” lack (?) of softer ,warmer ,,vinyl sound ” (?) one can compensate ( perhaps ) with tube amp . Anyway reading about record decks for 10 or 20 grand plus tonarms for 3 to 28 grand (!!!yes) and not to mention cardriges for sometime the same amount of money ,and ALL that to play VINYL RECORD ! sorry , not for me !
And that is totally fine that vinyl is not for you. But some of us LIKE pulling the physical representation of music out of the sleeve, carefully cleaning it, and carefully putting the stylus onto the groove. Practically nobody spends the 13 to 48 grand you mention. That is such a silly anti-vinyl argument. You can get a very good turntable for a few hundred dollars. Plenty of DACs cost thousands and thousands of dollars but that does not mean digital is bad.
There is NO way an audio system will ever sound like the real thing.
If you go to live performances, whether they be orchestral, chamber, bluegrass, even my kids’ old band playing in the garage (which was awesome, BTW).
Insofar as audio reproduction in the home, LPs still sound excellent. In a good enough rig, with a good record cleaning machine and reasonable care, the sound is simply awesome. Specially when you listen to recordings from the 60s through the early 80s, when engineers worked at preserving dynamic range and used analog open reels to master.
Those Hi Rez downloads can be pretty good, sure. But you can likely do the same thing at home by building what I call a “digital tape deck” and encoding at a minimum of 24/96 bit rates. Indeed, given I got so many LPs already, I see little need of buying many of those downloads, since many of them are nothing but re-dos of what I got on the shelves. Heck, my AD-DA and my many DACs are pretty good, for sure much better than what 99.99% of those millenials have, what with their smart phones and those dinky Apple wireless “headphones”.
BTW- you ought to see my portable set up. The TSA thinks it’s some kind of bomb.
Building a hi-rez digital library is convenient, true. But, do you really need to carry your music with you? I listen to music at work and in the airplane, but only sometimes. Otherwise, I just don’t. I want to concentrate when I listen to music. Getting up from my chair, lifting the stylus, going through the LPs is fun thing to do.
BTWII- I built my own media servers at home. I have 1500 feet of Cat5E, multiple drops in every room, a data closet, three ethernet switches doing spanning tree and three NAS with a total of 80TB of storage. Plus two wireless access points to serve the phones and tables. My HT system is built around a PC, two of my audio system are built around a DAC and the main system has a PC and DA-AD setup as a “tape deck”. So, I know a bit about “technology”.
Besides, there’s always the enjoyment of upgrading your turntable, cartridge, phone preamp. In my case, whenever I do this, I automatically obsolete my digital library.
So, instead of complaining about analog sound, why don’t you just go with the flow?
Chacon son gout.
And don’t put down LPs, because they can sound extremely good. Better that most digital recordings with their 10db of dynamic range. (which is very sad, just as we have high resolution formats and the DACs are starting to sound really good, the public just wants crappy recorded music they can listen to via their crappy wireless “headphones”).
Oh, since Fremer posted here… let me tell you. Right now my choice is to upgrade to an RME board or a Lingo power supply. Guess which one I want to do first (actually I also want to upgrade the amps)?.
Jerry you really missing the point, it’s not about analog vs digital, old ears vs new ears, 7digit income vs 5digit income, it’s about MUSIC!. And we all have different preferences and perceptions of what we enjoy, what stirs emotion within us. What we listen to and how we listen to it are preferences.
You prefer digital, it sounds better to you. Low noise floor, high dynamic range and virtually no distortion. (
But jitter can cause digital distortion)
It makes music sound slightly brittle
especially at the leading edge of transients. But dac’s have improved and it’s for the most part no longer an issue.
But what’s surprising to me is your ranting and the level of negativity
towards the analog medium and especially the community that prefer
it over digital. You may say it’s a proper
response to the idiots who refuse to accept measurements as empirical evidence. Remember it was you who opened Pandora’s Box by writing that article that was in my opinion really distasteful not in content but in execution. You really sounded like a Samsung/Apple fanboy who will stop at nothing to ridicule the other’s choice of cellphone and purposely cause a stir.
With that said I prefer analog but I think digital has its merits. And digital has infinite possibilities because it’s basically a computer and through Coding infinite algorithms can be written with large data storage and powerful CPU’s powerful DSP’s can be developed with the ability to accurately replicate an LP with all its nuances such as 2nd harmonic distortions, high noise floor not to mention Set’s zero negative feedback,Transformer winding and silver wire characteristic!!🤓
BTW My humble rig
CJ Premier 11a
Audible Illusions 3a
VPI Super Scout
Audio Alchemy DST Transport
Audio Alchemy DDS PRO32
Target speaker stands
Target component rack
Transparent speaker and interconnect
As you can tell by the components
I assembled this system a long time ago and I’m still happy with how it sounds to where I’m pretty sure I’ve reached endgame
I am not a audiophile . I am a music lover . Any equipment capable of moving me has my aceptance . So what I am really looking for is musicality . Real music has this intangible dificult to describe effect that captures the soul . I am not bias . I have a 3000 dollar cd player and a 800 dollar turntable which I have been modifying over time . It has a 400 dollar MC cartridge impecably setupped .
I’ve noticed that the sound is much more consistant on the cdp , in other words obviously I hear differences between but there are a lot of similarities between recordings . The turntable is more inconsistant between recordings . One record could sound cool and another one extremely warm . That being said the turntable consistantly is more musically involving then the cdp .
I which because of its great convinience the cdp were more musical . I m not saying it isn t , its just not so much as my turntable . When a recording is excellent on vinyl it really is great . My cdp has trouble coping . Maybe I need a better cdp , I don t know , I can only tell you what I hear and how I react .My equipment consist of Opera Audio Turandot CDP , Project Turntable Expression II highly modified with Ortofon Salsa MC , Audible Illusion Modulus 3a with Curl Gold MC phono stage , Mccormack DNA 125 amp , speakers Modified Spica TC50 , LSA 1 reference or Magnepan 1.6 . Interconnects and speaker cable is all JPS Labs . All power cables are JPS Labs and everything connected to a Richard Grey power station . Took me some years and hard work to build the system but every piece was evaluated in the context before buying . Suffice to say , many pieces did not make the cut .
Personally, I prefer analogue sound. Especially on cassette. There’s a feeling you get when listening to something that was recorded on analogue. My theory why is this:
We all know that microphones and tape use magnetism to achieve the results. Now, when a person or band is jamming, singing, ECT., they are also emitting electromagnetic energy, most commonly known as “the vibe”. So those mics are not only picking up the electromagnetic vibrations of the sound itself, but also of the people involved and it all gets transferred onto the magnetic tape, which retains all that energy. Transfer that performance onto magnetic cassette tape and you also transfer some of that energy. Which is why you get a bigger rush out of hearing an old cassette than on a CD, vinyl, and definitely digital.
Of course, that could all be total bullshit but it is my theory, and it is mine, and I own it.
Sorry the ears knows & a good LP on a good turntable/cart BLOWS away CD & who has access to “master tapes” copies yeah but really….load of AppleCrap
Why is it when I read these types of articles it’s always either/or?? I love my digital collection. I love my vinyl collection. It’s two totally different activities! Why choose?? Especially when most albums come with downloads? It might, just might, be possible to enjoy both! Digital does sound fantastic, more “flawless”. But not necessarily better. There is that special alchemy from LPs that you don’t get from sterile digital. You don’t think subjective experience has worth? Are we looking at spectral analyses, or actually listening to the damn music, you know, with our ears?
Jerry, you come armed with plenty of cherry-picked facts and figures to give your argument a veneer of validity. But you miss the point entirely. And when you start making sweeping, unproveable, asinine generalizations about millenials (“they love forward thinking technologies.” Really? Every single one? I could just as readily argue that many millenials are fascinated by, or have nostalgia for, the media their parents and grandparents listened to.), you’re just talking out of your ass.
This guy just doesn’t get it. Why would I want to buy a digital file? Would you prefer a house, or digital picture of a house? I have loads of records that i have owned for 30 plus years, and none of them have pops or ticks. I love the sound of vinyl, and most digital music sounds over processed to my ears. There is a new generation of vinyl music lovers that will keep the format going. Stop bashing, and enjoy your silly digital files.
This is not quite a valid comparison – Digital has very hard limits – get 1 bit over the limit and you get extremely harsh distortions – to the point that it becomes unlistenable.
Vinyl has a noise level, but unlike the digital noise floor – another hard limit, with nothing below it! – the vinyl noise background noise level has plenty of signal space below it.
And then there are a range of techniques for increasing the signal bandwidth of vinyl – the obvious ones like thorough cleaning – especially with ultrasound cleaners – and the less obvious ones – such as using Vinyl lubricants and plasticisers, which can have quite dramatic effects on dynamic range both by lowering the noise floor, but also by reducing needle drag, improving dynamics in the process….
Making digital sound good is easy – that’s why the change happened so quickly. Making vinyl sound good is relatively hard….
Frequency range of vinyl is … surprising – with a good setup, properly adjusted….
Making digital sound really great is harder – but not extremely so….. Making vinyl really great is an order of magnitude more difficult! (needle suspension compliance match to tonearm mass, tracking adjustments to maximise/optimise tracking error, table suspension and isolation)
Average Vinyl by neophytes is a demonstration of why the world moved to digital.
Fully optimised vinyl by someone who knows what he/she is doing – it is an altogether different affair.
Is a 1960’s ferrari or maserati better than a current top of the line AMG Merc ? Well – ultimately that current Merc will leave the 60’s cars in its wake – but they can give it a damn fine run for its money.
Now take those 60’s sports cars, and compare them to a Modern Toyota Corolla…. the winner of that race is not so obvious, and in many circumstances will be the classic racer, rather than the modern sedan.
Similarly I would totally bet on a fully sorted upper end 80’s turntable vs 2019 mid-fi or mass market digital…. but the former will take many hours of fiddly setting up, and the latter is plug and play.
Is it worth the effort….
You need a life, Mate. Why not just understand all aspects of listening to music and leave it at that.? Very bitch rant. I’m 46, I sit on thousands of CDs I do pull out and mix in with my vinyl listening through my mixer at home, & I certainly don’t turn down listening to music on apps & mix that in as well or shoot that to a bluetooth speaker at a party or when I’m working. It’s all relative & personal depending the situation & how you feel about tackling it. I don’t understand how the hell you can even begin to think there’s a right or wrong way to listen to music. Absurd article.
I have listened closely to music for 47Years. I have listened to vinyl records, cassette, CD, quality FM radio, and streaming. I have had some Excellent results with all formats. I like vinyl records though, for the sound. The intimacy, involvement and connection with the music. Cassettes when done well are also exceptionally good as can live FM broadcast.
To each their own. I grew up listening to my parents vinyl collection and I found that I listened to far less albums, but the ones we had were treasured and listened to in their entirety countless times. I had a huge CD collection and enjoyed flipping through the store inventory and choosing one per week and just listening to that for a while.
I have friends who love collecting vinyl and I when I can I flip through stores looking for stuff for them. Not often.
I myself now have most of my CDs in storage and have a Tidal account run through a Sonos Connect to my main system. These days with kids and a hectic life like having instant access to lots of music at a price way less than I used to spend on physical music. I can sit down and cue something up quickly. Sound quality is a wash; I compared wired Tidal to vinyl (Radiohead’s Moon Shaped Pool heavy vinyl copy) on my buddy’s really high end system and the vinyl held its own against the perfectly clean high def audio source.
Both things are enjoyable, neither is less audiophile, it’s possible to listen to whole albums on Tidal, etc. I myself can’t afford all the vinyl that I enjoy and listen to on a regular basis; $40 per album that it costs around here is pretty steep. But, I agree that it’s very satisfying to buy a classic album and have the physical thing.
I have been interested in audio for over 40 years, an engineer and in the target age group and enjoy vinyl and apparently surprisingly also enjoy high res digital. To me its interesting that while high res digital has such technical superiority in domestic situation it seldom sounds any better than high quality vinyl. One thing I like about vinyl is the physical format, the artwork, the notes and the fact it always works.
As a born again enthusiast who grew up in the 70s with great gear, as i am getting back into the hobby, there is no question that the best sound available is digital. The incredible convienience and infinite library of music available to me blows my mind. The only thing i think us old farts miss is the physical acr of dropping the needle on a track and settling back with the liner notes and cover art. Guess what? Those are also right in the palm of my hand as well. Anyone who insists that vinyl is better is just being nostalgic.
Vinyl like everything else has haters. You don’t like vinyl, don’t buy it. Nobody likes whiners. There are plenty of choices of media to choose from so this crap is so unneeded and so overrated. Get over yourself, find some media you do like and stop your damn whining! No one cares about it!
Vinyl is a carbon sink.
I think you are the one missing the point… It’s like baking a cake. It’s taste comes from the combination of it’s ingredients by proportions. The human ear cannot separate the sounds individually but the things that are indistinguishable are still there. Vinyl captures the most human version of music…. There are sounds that may be missing but the ones that are there do not have a negative impact on the sound.That’s why it becomes an emotional experience for most people that hear vinyl from analog master tapes. I think you’re missing the point. Adding more doesn’t necessarily make the cake taste better. Digital adds more information and it’s more than most of us want to hear. It’s the difference between hearing the sound of one person and the voices of many. It’s why most so called audiophiles gravitate towards solo singers with small ensembles. I’ve found that digital on its own sounds clear and almost perfect but listening to the same music on vinyl is emotionally involving in the right way. I truly believe you are right but all the millennials I’ve let listen to music on my Technics linear drive turntable from the eighties suddenly close their eyes and relax as I play some of those flawed archaic formats. I don’t discount you information or do I totally disagree. I just think you are not much better than the over the top audiophiles you and I know. Right now I’m not sure I see the difference in the methods either side is using. It’s not the audiophiles that as killing of the industry it’s the promotion of over the top gear and the snobbery. I’ve spent most of my adult life dodging both.
This is yet another audio issue in which I have yet to see double-blind testing. Just what are people afraid of in this regard? If vinyl really sounds better as a format, a well-done, double-blind test will reveal this. I have been able to compare vinyl to CD on various systems, including one costing over $100,000 (sadly, not mine). Vinyl sounds great, but for me, well-mastered CD’s sound even better (yes, I said it). Only if I am comparing a well-mastered LP in pristine condition to a CD with horrendous dynamic range compression can I truthfully say the LP sounds better to my ears. In the audio world, it seems to me that confirmation bias runs in favor of of that which goes against the tastes of the “unsophisticated” hoi polloi, or which is needlessly more expensive and bothersome.