Why your old vinyl records are making a comeback
Nov 17, 2011, 8:36 a.m.
According to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks U.S. audio sales, LPs were the fastest growing music format in 2010. In June of 2011, LP sales were up 40% over the same period in 2010. Vinyl pressing machines are no longer being built, but new albums are still being released by current bands and record stores still ship vinyl albums worldwide.
With every new music gadget invention and improvement, the advantage is supposed to be better sound. You're supposed to feel like the music is live with the clearer, crisper, fuller, high-def, higher quality stereo sound.
Then why is it that putting on a an old vinyl record and hearing the scratching, hissing and popping feels so good?
It's partly nostalgia, partly "old is cool," partly the experience of selecting, setting up and laying down the needle, and to some people, vinyl does actually sound better than digital recordings like CDs and mp3s.
The word analog literally means "similar to," whereas digital means a representation. In a recording, analog signals are long and continuous, while digital signals are multiple samples pieced together. In this sense, vinyl records do present a more natural sound than digital, which is a compressed recreation.
For many it's not just about the sound, however, it's about the experience. In a time of micro music players and micro attention spans, shuffling between artists and fast forwarding in an instant, albums offer a deeper, more intimate connection with the product, artist, music and artwork. After all, you can't hug a Shaun Cassidy mp3, and digital music doesn't come with tangible artwork large enough to be thoroughly studied, admired and framed.
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