22 Feb

Collecting Vinyl Records

I’m reading this e-book about collecting vinyl records. It has a lot of history and reasons why people collect records. you can find “The Fascinating Hobby of Vinyl Record Collecting’ at Robert Benson’s blog, Collecting Vinyl Records.

The one part that really stands out to me is the difference between CD’s and vinyl. It’s not saying CD’s are inferior, but just different. Which I can understand, CD’s have the sound that some people are looking for, those people don’t like vinyl. It’s all preference. The book says “…CD’s are convenient, portable and have great clarity, but an album just has a warmth and a depth to it that CD’s just can’t produce.” Then the best statement that really sums up the difference, “…a CD was like walking into a room with a high-watt, bare bulb illuminating every nook and cranny in the room. An LP was like walking into the same room, but with soft indirect lighting that bathed you in the warmth of its glow.”

Wow. Yeah, that’s it.

An LP might not have the clarity of a CD, but it has warmth and depth of sound that can sound more, I hesitate to say realistic, but more real I guess.

CD’s have a very clean, sterile sound. There are people who like the cleanness of a CD, they don’t like the warmth of records. Hey people are different. No one is stupid for liking a certain format over another, unless they like MP3’s.

CD’s have also been compressed and mastered to the loudest degree they can get it. This translates into more volume, less dynamics (and more hearing loss).Vinyl has a lower dynamic range, so it has stayed away from the “loudness wars” and has kept the dynamics that make music musical.

Benson also starts talking about MP3’s and the shortcomings of them. I have a lot of MP3’s. I had an extensive library of music before MP3’s came, and now I’m trying to replace it. But since I started listening more to my vinyl again, the MP3’s just sound like crap. And before you say that it is because of the people who encoded the music did a bad job, songs from iTunes sound the worst. They are (as I stated in the previous paragraph) compressed to get the loudest volume they can, and therefor are distorted. Almost everything I have off of iTunes is distorted and is fixable by lowering the overall volume. That’s wrong, You shouldn’t have to fix music that you’ve bought.

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2 Responses to “Collecting Vinyl Records”

  1. Robert Benson Says:

    Hi Ben,

    I hope you have found my ebook a worthwhile read. Yes, I did discuss the ‘vinyl vs. CD’ debate, one that will be going on long after we are gone. I also used the term ‘binary sound’, which is what I give to digitized music. Vinyl records are a fingerprint of the sound as it was recorded, while digital sound is just a picture of that fingerprint-something is lost, and it is a shame that others can’t hear it.

    Enjoy the ebook and feel free to email me with your comments.

    Best Regards,
    Robert Benson
    http://www.collectingvinylrecords.com

  2. Ben Says:

    Robert,

    I like to think of digital music as snapshots of sound. Just like video is just many still pictures in a row, so is the information on a CD just a “picture” of the sound at that millisecond.

    MP3’s are just an extreme of that. We only need to see 24 pictures a second to see it as video, but it’s not good video. In the same way, MP3’s have just enough information to be recognized as music, but not good music.

    Thanks for your comment,
    Ben

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