do it for the sound
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LOL. Your reason is far more rational than many that I have read here. You are to be congratulated for you candor - many would not admit to this.
But, as you suggest, the reasons are many. Some never had a choice, it was vinyl or nothing (except tape)but they didn't get out of it when CD's came. Others are now exploring it because its an "in thing" to do. Some because they are exploring music that is not otherwise available to them, some because they just like the "sound" of vinyl and some because vinyl can be cheaply obtained.
After all, this hobby is about what you find enjoyable, not what others do............
I think one of the tragedies of (other than Classical) CD playing, is the ease, and so the inclination, to skip around the album; not giving the artist a chance to have you hear the way he/she intended for you to hear the entire compilation. I knew we were in trouble when the first CDP's began showing up with the "preview" function.
Honestly, who gets a new LP and puts on side Two first!?
(Don't tell me, I don't want to know!)
Nsgarch, you bring up a very good point. In fact, I think most new "artists" these days dont make "albums" anymore, just a CD with a collection of songs on it. A properly produced album is much like a great live performance: each song is positioned to tell a story, or at least to keep you fully involved in the performance.
It's a great way to explore Classical music for those of us (me) that know little to nothing about it on the cheap. I can buy used near mint albums very near my home in great supply for only a couple bucks...how can you beat that!
I also buy older rock (harder to find in good shape) because most sound better on vinyl IMO...my last finds were Supertramp, Alan Parsons and Ted Nugent.
It's a great feeling walking out with 10 or so albums for $20...makes you feel like you struck a little gold.
I do enjoy cd just as much as vinyl and don't really have to much of an opinion on which sounds better...both sound good...and bad.
As someone in his 60's, I grew up collecting LP's, and have a lot of good memories associated with the old vinyl donuts. The ritual of playing LP's still appeals to me: cleaning the LP's, cleaning the stylus, lowering the tonearm in anticipation of the music and hustling to my easy chair before the music starts, the occasional tics and pops, etc. I also enjoy reading the jacket covers while listening to the album -- hell, I even enjoy the smell of old LP jackets! Pulling down an old LP that I've heard many times is like seeing an old friend after a long absence -- and I never get that feeling from the same recording on CD.
Ultimately, however, it's about the sound quality. A really good LP recording still sounds better than all but the very finest CD/SACD. Perhaps it's the additional work of preparing an LP for play -- it's said that we have more appreciation for something that requires personal effort. Admittedly, when I'm feeling lazy, I enjoy the convenience of CD's, but I also find that I tend not to concentrate so carefully to the music -- my mind wanders more...
But, like TWL and the "Smokester" say much more succinctly, "it's the sound" of LP's that keep drawing me back. I am planning to upgrade my VPI HW-19 Mk4 sometime in the next year (probably a Scoutmaster, or maybe a Super Scoutmaster if I'm feeling flush), and then grow old with my turntable...
There is much on CD that is difficult to find on LP, or was never released on analog. For that reason, I own both formats (as well as open reel tape).
However, the reverse is also true for LP. Old pressings that were never released as CD, or CD remastering is poor (as mentioned above).
By now, everyone at Audiogon knows I prefer the sound of LP and buy that format whenever possible. Unfortunately some new (important) music is CD only ("Book of Secrets" Loreena McKinnitt and "Missouri Skies" Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny) making CD a "must have" format.
That being said, it is not a problem for a Jazz lover to build a huge library of LP's, some of which never made it to CD or the sound of the LP is vastly superior. Checking at EBAY, (just now) I find there are 14661 Jazz offerings as vinyl.
Anyone who loves music could build a library from that, even if only a small percentage suited their musical taste.
Consistently the most enjoyable listening experiences Ive had (other than live music, of course) have been thanks to good analog recordings produced on good quality vinyl played on a good turntable. All things being of more or less equal quality (sound engineering, recording equipment, venue, performance, etc.) Id choose this format over any other. A possible exception could be master tapes played on the original recorders, but thats a topic for another time.
So I will limit my comments mainly (but not entirely) to vinyl defined as: good analog/good vinyl/good playback. Id like to emphasize that the following comments are my opinions and are drawn from the way I hear sounds and experience musical events.
Vinyl conveys more emotiona sentiment Ive heard reiterated by some recording artists. No doubt this is partly due to analog's excellent ability to capture low level detail and nuance.
Vinyl generally sounds more natural than digital (and I have a pretty fair CD player an Audio Note 3.1x.).
Live recordings sounds more life-like on vinyl. Compare the sound of clapping or ambient audience noise, for example, between analog and digital.
The notes are easier to read, and often more comprehensive. One of my album sets comes with a 157p booklet! Others (e.g. classical LP sets) have complete scores. Illustrations and photographs are large; covers can be like pieces of art. I like the feeling of the weight and size of albums. I hate CD jewel boxes, and messing around with the little booklets.
I like being able to 'fine-tune' the sound with different cartridges, tracking weight, etc.
Vinyl demands my attention. Getting up and down changing tracks is an incredible nuisance compared to the ease of using a remote. So I tend to listen for longer uninterrupted periods when I play records. A good thing, I think. (When listening to CDs I deliberately place the remote far away to discourage myself from changing tracks should my mind wander.)
An interesting and perhaps relevant observation: the same vinyl record sounds a bit different every time it is played (at least to me). This is probably due to very miniscule mechanical fluctuations. No, don't think it's my gear (LP12/Lingo and Oracle Delphi). I like that the sound is not so predicableothers may disagree. But, as I said earlier, all these comments are just personal opinions.
Having said all that, I still enjoy my CD collection (about a thousand in number). I just prefer listening to vinyl.
I suppose I'll chime in here as someone who also prefers vinyl for the quality of the sound: good vinyl just continues to sound more "real" and more natural to me than the best digital I've heard. Unlike some others, my musical preferences lead me to very few "must haves" on CD, so I continue to focus on vinyl here and enjoy CD playback when visiting with members of our local audio group who are into CD.
You just inspired my evening listening session! Lorenna McKinnit's "Book of Secrets" and "Beyond the Missouri Sky" short stories by Charlie Haden & Pat Metheny ( love this) I do wish it were avail on Vinyl too. Just transfer this post to the "Whats on your TT tonight" thread for me.! :)
I agree 100% that both formats are a must have even though, like you, I prefer the LP sonically. IMHO this is the real Hi rez format, but again, its nice to have the digital for music unattainable on LP.
CD'S are good for working out or cleaning house. LP's just hold my attention for a much longer period of time. I can play records for hours. I was never able to do that with CD's. When I got out of the Navy everyone had gone digital and I went along with the crowd. A couple years ago I was fooling around with the HI-REZ formats and not finding what I was looking for. The suggestion was made that I try out a good TT and pre. Since then my 500 or so CD's sit idle most of the time.
Most of my favourite rock and jazz recordings made in mid-70's beginning 80's sounded very poor on CDs or even more truely saying not as I used to hear them on vinyl. Hence this is my main reason to have an analoge.
Another reason is that I seek and collect rare records that had never been released on CD.
Because of all the (mostly old) records I own. Sound, as allegedly defined by format, has nothing to do with it for me. Mastering quality far outweighs format choice in my view, and availability trumps sonics. But even if CD's (or whatever) always sounded better than vinyl, I would still be a record hog, 'cause I just plain dig 'em as cultural objects, like hunting them down, and like having them around me. I by and large don't dislike, but don't necessarily always relish, the greater inconveniences of cleaning and playing them.
However, the reason I think most present day audiophiles get into vinyl (or back into vinyl) is because it has been hyped by a high end industry that craves and needs the additional sales, creating a self-serving myth of general sonic superiority when the truth isn't that simple today. (The same sort of paradigm applies to tube gear as well.) Audiophiles do it because they've been taught to think it's cool, because it's tweaky and audiophiles like to tweak (sometimes more than they like music), because it's another avenue to explore when they get bored or itchy, and because they hope it might further distinguish them from the non-audiophile masses.
P.S. - For some of those who might be contemplating a rebuttal directed my way, before you click, better make sure you have more invested in your vinyl record collection than in your vinyl playback system...
I suspect I qualify for that distinction. About 6000 LP's, assuming an average of $10.00 each ( I have one worth over a thousand dollars) makes $60K software collection (not counting CD or tape).
That is certainly more than my LP playback rig, but I fail to see how that makes either of us correct in deciding which format is superior, at least based on the "mine is more expensive than yours" concept.
Still, I prefer LP.
Albert: Yes, you are one whose collection exempts you from my critique. But I wasn't refering to which format is 'superior' (IMO a hierarchy which can't be bluntly stated for all instances - even at their respective best, both formats have their strengths and weaknesses), but rather to my list of reasons for why I suspect many audiophiles have been drawn to the 'analog revival' (meaning vinyl strictly speaking, not analog per se - a distinction which you as a reel-to-reel owner are also eminently qualified to comment on :-)
I just don't feel that sound is the primary reason why we're seeing so much activity in this market segment these days, though some will no doubt disagree with me. My postscript was just in case anyone might get the impression that I personally prefer digital for sonics, when it's been my experience that many neuvo-vinylistas drop more on their rig than they have actual records to play. I don't prefer digital - or analog; I prefer music, and prefer to see audiophiles get into vinyl so that can expand their musical horizons and opportunities, not so that they can listen to the same 200 audiophile-approved recordings in another format at $30 a pop.
For sound quality, and the $1-per-record used classical records. It's a great way to augment my CD collection. The record player more than pay for itself in that regard. It takes a cetain connoisseur to be able to certain and play records in this day and age. That is a fun aspect as well.
Oh, and Zaikesman I believe I qualify for your statement as have spent more on vinyl in the past 8 weeks than my whole front end is worth. But then again, I have a $200 record player! I sorely need something better! So do I spend my 'Forced Savings Program(R)' (read: tax refund) on a Teres turntable or do I just buy more records, CDs, and a build a computer instead?
I have about 1500 LPs which by any calculation makes them worth more than my TT/arm/cartridge. Some of the LPs date back to the mid 70's when I first started buying music, but I probably spent $500 at CES on Audiophile approved recordings too.
I listen to my TT because I like the music selection, but even more because it sounds better than my Sony SCD 777es. Digital is fine, but it's shortcomings are more and greater than that of analog.
Zaikesman, do you really think audiophiles are soo dumb that they jump on any bandwagon to come along regardless of whether or not it has anything to offer?
Aroc, therein lies the conundrum. Balance is the issue. A better playback system will preserve the quality of your collection, but you can buy a pig of a lot of LPs for the cost of a decent TT.
"Zaikesman, do you really think audiophiles are soo dumb that they jump on any bandwagon to come along regardless of whether or not it has anything to offer?"
Well, I'm not going to generalize about all audiophiles, and I wouldn't necessarily describe it as being "dumb" (it's any audiophile's money to entertain themselves with as they please), but essentially, yes - depending on what you mean by "anything to offer".
Vinyl offers tweaky retro fun, a cool and exclusively 'clubby' image, another chance to buy aesthetically interesting gear, and maybe a trip back to your youth. I think all those factors, plus incentive from cheerleading audio columnists, the financial imperatives of the high end industry, and the plain old bandwagon effect of what one's peers are doing, have contributed more to the vinyl renaissance than supposed sonic superiority.
But even if I did perceive it as being mostly about sound, I'd still view the trend just as skeptically, because A) digital sound is not the universally inferior monstrosity it's made out to be, and B) because I'm a bad audiophile - I have a disparaging view of a hobby that I see as being more valuing of gear and sound than of appreciating music as art. And the vinyl renaissance exemplifies this to me: Whereas my own interest in records has little to do with sound or gear and everything to do with access to music, that's not what I commonly see with audiophiles who (re)discover vinyl. I think it's a gear-driven phenomenon, couched within a near-mythological pretext of better sound.
I'm just answering the question posed at the top. I've said why I've always been into vinyl, and conversely why I think a lot of audiophiles are into vinyl now. Those with large and interesting record collections know who they are - and have no reason to take offense from my rant - and those who've merely duplicated their audiophile-approved CD holdings on vinyl know who they are. Among the former, most aren't audiophiles, but some of us are. Among the latter, all are audiophiles, and although some of them will also be true music lovers, their dabbling in vinyl won't primarily be about that.
Audiophiles love to tweek their equipment.
Vinyl playback systems can be endlessly "tweeked", but unlike most digital tweeks (like the plastic thing you place on top of your CDP) the analog tweeks actually make sense and can significantly affect the sound.
The argument that there are excellent, and historic, recordings which are not available in digital format is valid.
The ritual of LP play is loved by some. Like the Japanese tea ceremony, where the taste of the tea is not the most important thing.
(How am I doing, Albert?)
Fine except your post seems to indicate that you believe that the LP is popular because of the "ceremony" rather than sound and that tweaks are necessary for LP playback to be satisfying.
Thus far, I have spent considerably more time tweaking CD playback than my Walker turntable. I set the Walker up in 1999, adjusted the cartridge, arm and tracking and have not touched it since, except to verify it had not moved.
I think you like the convenience of CD, and that is a valid reason to love the format. I don't think you believe in the power of LP (and analog in general), so your posts reflect that position.
In all fairness, I'm guilty of "not" believing in the power of digital to deliver music in my system, so I have stopped investing tens of thousands of dollars on that format, like I used to do.
The Walker has been a much smarter and safer investment, performance aside. Even my $1000.00 Sony CD player has dropped a few hundred dollars since I bought it (luckily I did not buy a $10K audiophile unit), while the Walker has increased in value.
I could sell my analog rig for thousands of dollars more than I paid, so convenience aside, it has proven to be the right choice for making great music, providing freedom from maintenance and has fared much better than most digital product, at least as far as holding value.
Obviously we are looking for different things from our system and will likely never come to any agreement.
I enjoy sharing music, that's what this is all about. Since this is a hobby I can strive for the best and what suites my taste.
As for Photography, I make my living doing that and conform to whatever the buyer wants. If they specify 8X10 film, that's what they get. If they specify digital, that's what they get.
I own every format from 35MM through 8X10 and work for a variety of customers. Southwest Airlines will ONLY accept film, Raytheon ONLY accepts digital.
Much like the audio community the choices are divided and like a software store, I simply take the customers money and give them what they want.
So, the choice is not mine, unlike my music hobby.
It would all be on film and shot with my Hasselblad or better if I had my way. Digital may surpass film in the near future. Unlike digital audio where Sony and Phillips (and the like) control the quality of the format (and limit it). Photography is a recording of the original even, much like the recording engineer's job in music.
EXCEPT, in photography the buyer is the end user and it behooves Canon, Hasselblad and Nikon to do a BETTER job than the competition, otherwise they loose business. As this competition evolves, better digital pick up devices will be offered to the photographer at lower and lower prices, just as has happened with the computer business.
I wish this could be true of the music business. Unfortunately the big boys have no incentive, competition or reason to make things better for the small segment of audiophiles that want quality as well as great offerings from their artists.
This thread needs a dissenting voice, so I'll supply one. I've owned several 'tables over the course of my time in audio--a much-modified Linn LP12 and an SME Model 30 among them--and I enjoyed the hell out them, though I hated the inconveniences that come with vinyl (cleaning, flipping every 20 minutes, the ever-present snap, crackle, and pop, and the endless tweaking that I had to do to dial in the performance and keep it dialed in. But I stayed with vinyl up until a year ago, because, simply, it sounded better than any digital source I had heard up that point. That changed with the introduction of EMM Labs' DCC2, paired with Meitner's modified Phillips SACD-1000. The sound that that combination produced simply staggered me. It was so much better than any digital I'd heard before, it was almost unfair. After getting the CDSD dedicated transport last year, things got MUCH better. I found myself listening to the EMM stuff more and more, simply because vinyl played through the SME was no longer consistently more enjoyable than digital. On certain recordings, I'd SLIGHTLY prefer the vinyl, but it was now so close in terms of performance (with the EMM usually winning out) that I couldn't justify keeping the vinyl any longer. And the convenience issue cemented the deal. I haven't looked back since.