Will technology make records obsolete one day?


To my ears, a high quality system and vinyl is the best way to go for sound.  But I am wondering if  DACs will improve to the point that they will soon equal and therefore kill vinyl. Should I go ahead and stop buying vinyl now? Any thoughts?
mysteriousmrm
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ROTFLMAO!

Obsolete is digitals middle name! Not just by performance either- when digital goes obsolete it goes the Full Monty, as in you can't even find anything to play it on even if you wanted to!

Records meanwhile are so universally obsolete proof they put one on the side of the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977! Best scientists in the world, asked to make a record of all humanity to communicate with advanced civilizations, and they put it on a record. Nuff said.


Agreed. But the same could be said of CDs to a certain extent. I don’t think we’re any less likely to be able to get a CD player as a turntable.

An analogy: I’m into photography. I shoot film and digital. Usually make a physical print of any digital image that is important to me. But when I moved into my grandparent’s house I found my grandfather’s slides in boxes on the side porch (my current listening room), which did not have HVAC. They had been there for 50 years. A few of them were decayed but still the images were visible. Most of them were pristine. The sum total of technology required to view them? The sun and your eyes.

Not much digital media will have that sort of longevity and color slides are considered the most fragile of film media.

Analog has legs. Digital is ephemeral.
Yeah and not only that, out of the whole music industry- components, music content, concerts, everything- what has been the fastest growth segment, year to year, and over the last decade? Records! Turntables! Analog! 

Two things never gonna go obsolete: records. And trolling.
The movement towards one tech to another isn't all one dimensional.

I'm afraid records are obsolete for me already. Convenience, storage and sound quality overall mean I rarely buy even a CD, and certainly never play them directly.
Get a MoFi pressing of Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly - an album that was recorded digitally but sounds far superior in LP form - quite an ear-opener.

Even the $27 reissue LP is superior to the CD.
Digital will continue to improve steadily and at some point will surpass the sound quality of vinyl for all but the most dedicated vinyl fans.  I don't know when vinyl records will stop being produced, but they will someday.  Digital recording has pretty much already replaced tape and tape degrades over time, so even music recorded on tape is being digitized.

I'm not saying anyone on this forum's digital system sounds better than anyone's vinyl system, I'm talking about trends well into the future.  
Digital Revolution sounded like Communist Mantra back in the day. Well, hear in the border of the East we Finns never took it too seriously. We won´t never be fooled, by any mantra : )
Honestly, I thought this thread was the OP’s idea of being funny.
I don't have the link, but I did read an article a few years back about an amazing archeological find. Someone had the presence of mind to play the side of an ancient pot as if it were an LP. They knew that the potter had made designs in the vessel by holding a stick against it as it spun on the wheel. Archeologists mimicked the motion of that stick and listened to see if it had recorded any sounds while the potter was working. In fact, they heard the muffled but distinctive sound of a conversation taking place. Sorry I can't find the URL but the article did include a sound file. I suppose it could be a hoax but I don't think so.  

The point? There is something durable about the actual, physical trace. 
"In fact, they heard the muffled but distinctive sound of a conversation taking place. "

If they had played it backward they would hear "Paul is dead" quite distinctly.
For me, 1st pressing mono vinyl jazz are history, collectible, and just can’t be reproduced. Just taking original analog master and running it through a modern board to make modern records against a totally black vinyl background just doesn’t capture the essence of the original pressing even though they technically sound nice. Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to a Mofi master pressing sometimes but nothing replaces a mono 1st pressing Blue Note recorded at Van Gelder to my ears.
If you enjoy searching for records at the local music shops and enjoy the process of cleaning and caring for them and the manual process of playing, then I don’t think you would ever want to give that up....no? I don't think the worlds best DAC would replace that.
Here is the data for the US from the RIAA. Although the trends are clear, it won’t change anyone’s mind and I’m not trying to do that.

From 2016 to 2017 Lp units shipped increased 5.3%

http://www.riaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/RIAA-Year-End-2017-News-and-Notes.pdf

From 2017 to 2018 Lp units shipped increased by 7.2%

http://www.riaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/RIAA-2018-Year-End-Music-Industry-Revenue-Report.pdf

So new vinyl is growing, but the rates of growth are just OK. Streaming is where the growth is, accounting for 75% of music revenues for 2018, while all physical media accounted for 12% (vinyl 3.6%, cd 6%, other 2.4%), about the same as digital downloads’ 11%.

Here is the history of all formats since the RIAA has been keeping records:

https://www.riaa.com/u-s-sales-database/

So, IMHO, money will be put to work in developing digital streaming and sound quality will eventually improve to where it is considered the best available.




@three_easy_payments Totally agree. Nothing comes close to the magic of my old 60s jazz recordings. They are so far ahead of any new pressings even the best analog efforts. Not sure why but they all sound grey by comparison. 
For as long as there are records they will not be obsolete to the audiophiles, some music lovers and collectors. They are already obsolete to others. But master tapes and records will deteriorate in time and become unlistenable. For how long can records survive ? No one knows so far, maybe a few centuries. They should figure out how to preserve analog recordings in analog not digital. I didn't hear anything about it and I don't think there are many who are interested, just read Audiogon forum with people talking about listening to analog recordings on cds and streaming. Maybe not all of them have s..t for brains but they certainly have no real hearing.
as long as the Artists, Music Producers, Engineers, Business Managers, strive for  

"this bar"

then technology will not make records go obsolete.

So, IMHO, money will be put to work in developing digital streaming and sound quality will eventually improve to where it is considered the best available.



Exactly. Exactly what was said when the "perfect sound forever" CD came out. And HDCD. And SACD. And probably at least half a dozen in between and since. Which, anybody even remember HDCD? Exactly my point. Obsolete is digitals middle name.
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millercarbon, digital (streaming, cd, dvd, sacd, downloads) were 96.4% of music revenues in 2018.  That's a long way from being obsolete. 

My CDs, HDCDs and SACDs still play just fine and not a single digit has been lost to wear, no matter how many times they've been played.  Now I have access to millions of albums through streaming.  How many of the albums released yesterday do you have access to on vinyl?  I can hear just about any of them any time I want.

Don't feel threatened by digital.  If someone enjoys digital it doesn't make your Lps sound any worse.  Enjoy your music any way you want.  That's what it's all about, or at least it should be.