The audio world is full of passionate debates, but none are more heated than analog and digital sound. The argument over the pros and cons of Vinyl Records and CDs/digital has been going on for decades with no clear resolution in sight. The debate on whether digital audio or vinyl is superior has a wide range of variables. It’s often hard to decide which one may be better because they are subjective and personal choices. Since everything about digital audio is already out there, here’s our take on the 4 benefits and advantages of vinyl records.
The Benefits of Vinyl Records
Owning a physical copy of your favorite records is like having the best of both worlds. You can have all that tangible quality vinyl offers. However, you can enjoy it in digital form on Spotify or iTunes if you don’t want sound coming from speakers and flipping discs.
The Sound Quality
Music purists believe that the sound of vinyl is warmer and more dynamic than CD or digital files. However, there are many factors at play when it comes to specifying what causes this warmth- some people refer specifically to distortions in the analog recording process, which create unique sonic qualities.
Vinyl records can sound better than CDs and digital releases for several reasons. Records, unlike CDs or mp3s, have much higher dynamic ranges (96dB vs. 55-65dB), so they can play loud passages without clipping the signal to prevent distortion. Vinyl’s analog nature also means less likely to lose high-frequency content when played back through inferior equipment like a computer speaker headphone jack.
Vinyl has had its resurgence in popularity, with recent albums released on digital formats and physical copies sold at stores. What many people don’t know, though, is whether they will be buying the album digitally or physically may depend mostly on what format comes free when purchasing their desired copy from online retailers such as Amazon. These companies offer lossless MP3 download codes or files encoded in FLAC format for customers who want higher quality recordings without converting themselves. However, not all new releases come out this way since some still opt just for CDs over vinyl.
The Disadvantages of Vinyl Records
Maintenance & Care
The care and attention required to maintain vinyl records is no joke. If you want your music collection maintenance-free, then get ready for some work! To take good care of a record album, first thing’s first: storage. Be mindful about the album storage so that they won’t come in contact with anything like dampness or heat, which could result in deterioration or damage. Yet, it goes beyond just finding an area out-of-the-way. Storing them vertically will also help prevent warping over time. It would keep moisture from reaching the surface, while horizontal ones can encourage mold growth on wet items such as books because there isn’t enough air circulation resulting in foul smells being created.
Vinyl music purists argue that the pops and clicks produced by a worn-out record only enhance its character. While surface noise can be mostly eradicated through long-term care, some measurable noise in the form of clinks, pings, hiss will always remain on an analog medium like vinyl records.
The problem of vinyl distortion is as simple as math. The more linear analog space, the less it can be compressed into a given time frame and maintain its resolution. This causes an audible difference referred to by many names, including tracking errors or end-of-side artifacts. Yet, what this means is enough slack was left on the tonearm between each side change. Hence, there isn’t any tension put on groove alignment, making functioning relatively smoothly with no sound degradation at either end of sides A&B or C&D.
Like most hobbies, collecting vinyl records can be costly. A new record could cost you a hefty $40 on average. Moreover, acquiring an all-in-one player may not suffice for those wanting to enjoy their music the way it was meant to sound, so if you’re set on getting back into this retro hobby but worried about spending too much – fear not! You have options available that won’t break your wallet (Literally).
These are the pros and cons of having vinyl records. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.