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Vinyl – Yay, or Nay?

posted October 30, 2009, 5:12 am by Scrag | Filed Under Editorial | comment 5 Comments

Tags: vinyl versus cd

Dave Barry once said, “The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl. However, Joshua Homme also said, “Vinyl has gotten to the point where it’s exclusively for the collector, I guess.” Now, I know that loads of bands, including independant artists, release their stuff on vinyl. I know this because I am the one buying them all, sad audiophilic creature that I am, but I do think there’s just something more exciting about hearing music that way – vinyls are big and heavy and interesting-looking: they feel like music. They come with all the art and sometimes lyrics, posters, booklets, etc. It makes you feel a bit more involved with the band, the album and the mood.

There’s also the theory that vinyls sound better than CDs. This one is still up for debate, but a learned recordist friend tells me there may actually be grounds for this (other than snobby audiophiles like me telling you all so). Apparently the frequency range on vinyl goes lower than on CD, making the sound ‘warmer’. Of course, this depends entirely on your hearing, but it does at keast make scientific sense. Score one for the audiophiles.

DJs love vinyl for the interaction factor – direct manipulation of the medium is a great sensation, and there are still quite a few things released on vinyl exclusively. But what does the general MusicEmissions community think of vinyls? Do you all enjoy the feel of a heavyweight LP as much as I do, or are they peripheral, pointless pieces of plastic?



5 Responses to “Vinyl – Yay, or Nay?”

  1. Profile photo of dscanland dscanland on October 30th, 2009 12:56 pm

    Well, I’ve never been a big vinyl guy. I’m no Audiophile either. I’m happy with crappy MP3s and the space that they save (the space of a hard-drive). I do have boxes and boxes of CDs tucked away in storage now that I will most likely rip onto my hard drive and then give to the local library. I’ve got my whole home all set up to be powered off of one computer and have music in up to three rooms, separately or all at once.

    I would say pointless pieces of plastic at this point. As well as CDs. Here at Music Emissions we are moving towards receiving everything digitally.

  2. Profile photo of fortuneandspirits fortuneandspirits on October 30th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Actually, there’s no range the human ear can hear that a CD can’t reproduce, what vinyl does is put a heavy emphasis on the low-mids which gives it the “warmth” you referred to earlier. However, any producer worth their salt should be pretty adept at replicating that feel during mastering should they desire it see “Where It’s At” By Beck or “Airbag” by Radiohead for two particularly well done examples.

    I think the secondary things you refer to: the literal effect of changing the record, easing the needle onto the vinyl, the big art on the sleeve, the lyric sheet, looking through the thank yous to see who you recognize, is what makes vinyl so resurgent.

    I, however, don’t have the money, the space, or the patience for it and let’s be honest, unless you’re collecting old soul rarities and stuff that never got a second run on CD, then owning vinyl is really just a status symbol — a way of showing you’re more into music than those dilettante downloaders. And who has the time to be that snobby?

  3. Profile photo of Scrag Scrag on October 31st, 2009 3:28 am

    A very good point Dennis, digital is where it’s going. fortune, you’re very right also – it’s the snobbiness that puts me off…

  4. Profile photo of X_NaStY X_NaStY on October 31st, 2009 8:28 pm

    Believe it or not, I’ve never actually listened to ANYTHING on vinyl. I guess its a product of the time period I grew up in.. It just seems impractical for me. Most of my music listening is done on my computer, or mp3 player with headphones, or in my car. Not to mention I don’t have a record player and vinyl is just harder to come by than cd’s or digital music. Vinyl just seems to be a thing of the past in my mind anyway, however if the sound quality actually is better (and like I said I can’t speak on that) I guess there might always be a niche for it.

  5. Profile photo of Scrag Scrag on November 1st, 2009 6:01 am

    It’s probably mostly a perception thing X, but vinyl is probably a bit like what petrol/diesel cars will become in future – obsolete but still collected/only driven by some!

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