Published on March 31st, 2021
We live in a world of easy access to music—it’s a Sign of the Times. You can listen to any artist you want, any time you want by pulling up any number of streaming services on your phone.
While it is convenient to pop in your earbuds and have access to every song ever recorded, convenience isn’t the same thing as quality.
When you are on the train or jogging in the park, the convenience of streaming music makes perfect sense.
When you are ready to close your eyes and enjoy every delicious note of your favorite artist, there is really only One Direction to turn. Vinyl is the oldest and still the best way to listen to the music you care about. Let’s look at why.
We Hear in Analog
Analog recording formats like vinyl are a direct impression of the sound being produced. That means every stray breath or guitar string scrape will be reproduced if the mic picks it up unless it has been edited out.
Once the music has been mastered and edited to make the master recordings, a quality vinyl record will replicate that sound near perfectly.
Digital playback methods will always be missing a little bit of the magic that makes music so special. When we say something is missing, we mean that literally.
Digital compression requires a loss of fidelity from the original recording. The larger the file format, the more music remains, but even the best digital format loses something to analog.
imagine the sound wave you hear as a continuous wavy line. Digital conversion has to convert that into a sequence of straight lines. The more compressed it is, the less it looks like a curve, and the more it looks like stairs.
To think of a visual comparison, imagine looking at someone you know. That is the master recording. A film photo of them would be like an analog record.
A high-quality digital photo would be like a cd- there is some fidelity loss, but you won’t see the pixels unless you really zoom in.
listening to music on your phone is like taking pictures with a first-generation iPhone. It serves its purpose, but the reproduction leaves a lot to be desired.
When you are ready to unwind at home and listen to someone you really love, the music deserves to actually be heard the way it was intended. Instead of pulling out your earbuds, drop a vinyl on the record player and let the sound fill the room. Whether it’s “Watermelon Sugar” or “Carolina” you can hear every inflection when you are listening on vinyl.
Aside from the sound quality difference to listening to music the way it was intended, there is something meditative about playing music on vinyl.
From the time spent selecting the disc to play, to the anticipation of the needle dropping, to the fact that you have to listen to the album in the order the artist intended (quick track skipping isn’t really a thing on vinyl), playing a record makes the music the star.
Not to mention it is so much cooler to tell your friend to decide on a record than it is to hand them your phone and tell them to decide on a playlist.
If you really love an artist, vinyl is the way to go. Every time you listen to your Harry Styles vinyl, you will know it is the album as he heard it, without any loss of quality. That might seem like a Fine Line, but it is one you will be able to recognize.