When it comes to how I listen to music, I guess you could call me a traditionalist. Working around electronics all day, I get to hear about how everyone and their mother (literally) are throwing out their CDs and switching to MP3s. No one is even buying CDs anymore, and aside from the occasional Lil’ Wayne success story the traditional music industry is drying up as artists struggle to find a way to make money from touring. This is silly though, for several reasons. The main reason being quality.
Most people who are rushing to convert their CD collection to MP3s or who are buying all of their new music off of iTunes don’t realize that in doing so they are degrading the quality of their music to almost unacceptable levels. Sure, it sounds great on your iPod earbuds or on your laptop’s computer speakers, but try listening to that same song on a great set of speakers or headphones and you might start to realize what you are missing. What’s worse is that a lot of studios are recording their music louder to sound good on your laptop speakers, which again degrades the quality of the sound. MP3s have created a revolution in how we listen to music, but they’ve caused almost as much harm as good.
Like I said, you could call me a traditionalist. While everyone else buys all of their music on iTunes (or just plain steals it) I still buy roughly 8 CDs a week. Who buys CDs anymore? Me, that’s who. What’s interesting is that there has been a backlash against this poor quality problem. Some people do give a crap what their music sounds like. And for the first time since the 80’s vinyl and turntable sales have actually increased. People are buying records again for their superior quality of sound. And I’m one of those people.
Yesterday I finally got my new turntable working (Who knew you had to press down when screwing something in?!) and went to Easy Street to spend way too much money on new vinyl. I have to say, I quite enjoy listening to my favorite songs on vinyl. Once you get past the inconvenience of not being able to sit on the couch for more than twenty minutes before having to flip the record, it’s a lot of fun. You get such a clean, natural sound from a record. It’s hard to pinpoint what it is exactly, but vinyl sounds more real and lifelike in the room while CDs sound cleaner, but more sterile. Sounds like the strings on Coldplay’s new single, Viva la Vida sound a lot more lifelike and euphoric. I dunno, listening to vinyl makes you feel like you are more connected to the music, both in how you have to physically put the needle on the record and flip sides and also in how it sounds. Music fans, I recommend you invest in a turntable.
Counterpoint – MP3s do not melt on a hot day.
But yeah, I prefer the sound of music on vinyl.