Records and CDs


I’ve just spent a couple of weeks exclusively going through my extensive record collection playing hardly any digital media and have come to some conclusions.
Records are fun and enjoyable to work with, but ultimately for a music lover they’re a dead end. Since very few new titles are being released on records these days I find myself going through mainly old familiar performances. Then there’s the age old problem of comparing the SQ of both media which is maddening. I just today went back to streaming (and CDs.). I clearly see, for me this is the way to continue my listening habits. Records can be used as a diversion but not the main event.

128x128rvpiano

The other day I visited a store named Newbury Comics in the Danbury Mall in Connecticut.  I was astounding by the number of jazz artists, old and new, that were available on vinyl.  The problem?  The prices...$25, $30, $45, and higher - for records that will undoubtedly be warped due to the mishandling by twenty-somthings that have no idea how to properly store and display them. 

I only recently upped by vinyl playback game with a nice phono preamp and new cart, that took me to a new level in sound that surpasses what before was best, streaming. I’ve a modest digital system ( NAD C658 streaming preamp), but it sounds very good….but the vinyl has more life and depth of soundstage plus an “airiness” that the digital can’t quite match.
Consequently, until I up my digital end, vinyl will rule!

@rvpiano  - "Very few new titles are being released on records these days"? 

On what do you base that statement? Sales data would indicate otherwise, plus the fact that vinyl sales have been steadily increasing and new pressing plants are being opened. Will it ever be like the 'old days' again? No. But from what I've seen, just about every new release, large artist or small, is being released on vinyl....

What I don't care about are all the colored vinyl variants....

I feel very blessed I was very late to the vinyl game. The reason is I realized I do not need to buy tons of vinyl or everything that comes out. A lot of my friends are heavy into vinyl. That being said they mostly listen to what I call their top 100 albums and new acquisitions. So it might break out to 200. The rest sit on the shelf unplayed. I have my 200 close to my turntable. I sort of acquired for free about 400 classical albums that I slowly sort through. If it sounds dynamic I keep it. If it sounds like a lifeless MP3 then off to goodwill with it. My vinyl rig is very nice and beats the digital as long as the pressing is good. That’s what I’m saying. If your physical media does not beat Tidal or Qobuz then let it go unless it has value. Then sell it to a store or online. Life is way too short to accumulate a bunch of stuff you don’t touch. I recently just got back from a trip. I realized right away all the junk we buy: cups, trinkets, logo cloths we never wear, and don’t get me started on the shot glasses. If that’s your thing then you be you. I challenge you all to try to get rid of some stuff one room at a time. One of the reasons why vacations can be relaxing is you stop thinking about your stuff. Your brain is a hard drive. We are all running out of space. Start with albums and bar glasses you will never use. Believe me, you will sleep better. Start by putting it somewhere you can temporarily put it out of sight like a box in the basement marked charity. At the end of a month or two let it go. This helps you to let go and FOMO. 

Speaking for myself, the only records I have that sound worthy of my time to listen to considering all of the preparation and time required are the full size 12-inch 45 RPM singles and those were never very popular and difficult to find. They hold less information per linear inch and the vastly improved sound quality is immediately noticeable. They sound very good, but still not quite as good as a CD or streaming to me even on very good turntables.

Yes, records are making a comeback but that doesn’t mean they sound better. Same goes for antique cars. They are nostalgic, perhaps cool but will never drive better than their modern counterpart.

So, when I consider the inconvenience of having to physically find a record, clean it, clean the stylus, having to put it away, not being able to make playlists, having to get up every 20 minutes, if not more often, not having artificial intelligence introduce me to new music and the list goes on, streaming is the clear winer for me. Oh, and all with a simple click of a mouse from my favorite recliner!

As I mentioned on my previous post: I only wish that I could get back what I invested in all that media over the past few decades and just keep a handful of the irreplaceable ones. I’d be paying a visit to the local exotic car dealership!