This is the digital age, one might wonder why do we need to go back in time. Why do we need to listen to vinyl records again ? The truth is vinyl records never died but it was just that were a bit distracted. There's a huge difference in terms of audio quality and accurate sounds on vinyl compared to "modern day CDs", not just a nostalgia as many tone deaf thinks.
Is this is just a trend ? is there's a real benefit on records ?
Music lovers, the audiophiles moved away from CDs towards vinyl records over the recent years due to this thing called "loudness war" (also known as loudness madness/loudness mania). The CD manufactures over the years "increased the amplitude in CDs to make the CDs sound a bit louder to compete with other CD manufactures. We call this ugly competition as "loudness war", which killed the dynamic range that the music has. The record companies achieved this by compressing the music "further more" on a CD.
What does the loudness war mean ?
|Ortofon 2M Bronze Cart in action|
For an example, if you listen to Sade's original recording of the "Promise" album and the recently remastered CD, the latter sounds a bit flatter and dull. The difference is like day and night. Metallica's "Death magnetic" album known to be the loudest album ever produced, which sparked a protest against the "loudness madness" and many fans requested a re-release of the album with the dynamic range ie without the loudness mania but that never happened.
Why can't make vinyl's sound louder ?
The limitations on the media itself prevent record manufactures applying same principles of the loudness war on vinyl records. That said, I have seen badly pressed vinyl records that aren't distant from CDs. But overall, the vinyl records win hands down in terms of sound quality and there would be no fatigue for long hours of listening to the analogue music since waveforms aren't computed as in digital media. The new vinyl records aren't cut from CDs or digital master copies often but from the analogue sources. The new 180gram pressings sound awesome and promised to last a few generations making record warp a thing in the past. The records do have a higher sampling rate compared to digital media.
Can records last longer like CDs ?
I think I stopped buying CDs about 6-7 years back and I blogged my experience here. That said, I bought a few CDs where there's no vinyl counterpart and some were original releases. In general, you need to take a good care of vinyl records to make them last generations. A clean before dropping the needle, a periodic stylus clean are just a few basics steps to ensure a longer life span among many other. One might think this as an annoyance compared to playing a CD. Well, absolutely not. Playing a record involves a bit of human effort, which makes the individual a part of the listening experience. In return, vinyl records have more presence to the music, warmer, natural yet detailed sounds. The dynamic sounds are there to enjoy all day along.
Why should I go through this hassle to play a record ?
It's like using a DSLR camera vs a point and shoot crap; both take photos. The DSLR in manual mode needs a bit of effort at each photo shoot; you need to set the correct aperture, shutter speed, film speed, white balance, configure the focus point etc,. However, the end result justifies the efforts you've put at each click. Just like listening to music over vinyl record. To conclude, if you're given a manual 1987 Ferrari 288 GTO and an a 2015 plated Toyota Hybrid Camry with all the bells and whistles, what would you pick to drive ?