Vinyl LP’s on yet another comeback, along with the 8-track tape

Oh man.  Here we go again with the ‘analog sounds better’ crap that quite a few ‘music enthusiasts’ claim make vinyl LP’s sound better than the more proper digital CD.  When recording anything digitally, you are going to get as close to the ‘real’ sound as you can get. It’s what is done to the recording AFTERWARD that can make it sound bad.  These so-called ‘experts’ would have you believe that because the vinyl disc is analog, you are getting the ‘true’ sound.  Guess what? Most studios record the source as DIGITAL and have done so for quite some time now.  So..the digital file gets put on vinyl once it has been re-mastered on an analog tape that is then used to master the LP.  The result is a mushy sounding version of the digitally recorded source.  Since the vinyl disc is not capable of reproducing quite the same quality as a CD, people tend to mistake the softness for ‘warmth’ and often prefer that to a truer reproduction.  Fair enough.  I even get some of what they say:  my first encounter with a CD was not good.  I thought it sounded tinny until I realized that the receiver had the treble way up and the bass way down.  Once I adjusted it, it sounded better.  It took me a while to warm up to the digital sound.  It was fairly new and the publishers were still trying to get their heads around the technology.  Problem is that now they tend to mess around with the sound way too much and they often pump up the mid and upper end of the spectrum.  That makes the CD sound way more harsh than it should, thus leading some credibility to the ‘experts’.  I use that term loosely, too.  I’ve met way too many ‘audio experts’ who were just full of crap.  I’m no expert myself (but have been told that I, too, am full of it) but I can tell when something sounds bad but isn’t and when when it really is.  Anyone who has listened to music for more than a minute can do that.

The article I link to above quotes a person who runs a pressing plant.  This guy admits that the current trend is a fad and that he thinks people who are suddenly wanting the vinyl versions of albums are doing so because they think it is cool or the thing to do.  I think he’s right.  There is going to be a market for vinyl as long as there are people who truly believe that the vinyl disc sounds better. These are people that will never be convinced otherwise.   That’s fine, good for them.  If they want to buy, there will be those who will want to sell.  Cool.

There is one aspect of the digital world that these analog purists got right: MP3 players have made this generation tone deaf.  I’m Zune fan, but I recognize that it does not come close to faithful reproduction.  Devices like the Zune and the iPod-especially the iPod-have done more harm to the quality of music and audio reproduction than the compact disc ever did.  Most of the content on these devices is heavily compressed and no where near as good as the original.  However, for most uses, that is OK.  We are not using our MP3 players to kick pack on our couch or bed and truly enjoy our music.  Most of us still use our CD’s and receivers for that.  Or, the turntable.  Heck, I even know someone who is convinced that 8-track tapes will make a comeback.  No, really.He also thinks this digital television thing is just fad. 

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