Vinyl records were once considered a dead format. CDs came along, and they were far superior in many ways. They aren’t only smaller and more portable, but also maintain every note of each piece of music in perfect zeros and ones. Then mp3s came along, allowing digitally stored music to be crammed into even smaller spaces. then finally, streaming services like Spotify allow music to be made available immediately.
It seems that, when such magic becomes available, formats like vinyl will become out of date. However, paradoxically, it’s enjoying a resurgence, particularly amongst the younger generation. More and more people are buying turntables and used or even new vinyl. But why, precisely, do turntables still exist?
Perhaps the most famous defense of format is that which gives music a distinctive character. What does ‘warmer’ mean? Is this referring to the blunt, incessant, high-end snaps, crackles, and pops during the quieter bits? Does this mean a decrease in dynamic range? Whatever the appeal, there is no doubt that vinyl records sound different from digital records.
Among the negative consequences of the digital streaming revolution is that music has become a disposable item. If we find that we’re not being stimulated by a particular song, we may skip straight to the next. We may not even must press a button to do this; we can give commands to voice assistants and ask them to do it for us.
Vinyl removes this temptation, and thus helps us to give our full attention to a particular record. Once you have invested the effort of loading a vinyl record onto the turntable and moving the needle, likelihood is you will not be converting every other track. Full albums as an art form, and a complete listening experience, can be appreciated!
A collection of gramophone records has value that a straightforward collection of CDs doesn’t. The arms can be home to large, highly detailed artwork, and the materials can be lush and splendid. Vinyl aficionados may spend their time scouring jumbled sales and eBay for elusive classics – and the excitement of the hunt is sufficient to keep many collectors interested.
The truth is that gramophone records, in some circles, never really went away. While many modern DJs will mix them through sophisticated digital software, matching beats and applying effects, there has at all times been a subculture of vinyl-obsessed disc-jockeys that have kept the vinyl format afloat through the nineties and nineties, and thus ensured that it doesn’t must be brought back from the dead.