March 20, 2008
| by Brandon Bennette
Yes, those old discs still have life in them. These days, you’ll often hear vinyl or LP music associated with audiophiles, those ultra-exuberant, ultracritical types whose ears have been trained to hear every little nook and cranny a piece of music has to offer. But ardent love of vinyl recordings can be divisive, with some camps feeling it’s time to make the dinosaurs extinct and others unrelenting in their affection for the old-school format.
Of course, enjoyment of vinyl isn’t limited to audiophiles. Here are a few reasons why people still listen to and even spend thousands of dollars on turntables and needles (remember those?).
- The analog sound of records is preferred to the sound of digital CDs. Enthusiasts point to the richness, fullness and warmth of an LP’s music compared with the literal bits of information organized on a CD.
- Beauty in basic technology. Analog playback is motion converted to electricity back to motion, with disc skips and scratches seeming less mechanical than errors on CDs, which may seem like a colder and more clinical medium.
- The physical disc and accessories themselves. Flipping a record to side two, gently lowering the turntable’s arm onto a groove, and the lost effort of beautiful album art to accompany the music.
Of course, CDs have their own reasons to be appreciated—for their sonic fidelity, for example—and the widespread acceptance of compressed MP3 music seems to be further decreasing the audience that pays particular attention to sound quality.