The pleasure we get from music is closely interconnected with different places, memories, and impressions. Therefore, all controversies about the best audio format are of a subjective nature. This is a very personal topic, no matter what we are talking about: old records or a list of favorite songs on iTunes. Most music lovers have important memories associated with their collections and, accordingly, preferred audio formats.
But there is one format that has gained a lot of loyal fans and held the leading position for more than a century – vinyl. Music lovers enjoy its warmth and the excitement experienced when searching for rare records.
But let’s forget about lyrics and discuss rough mechanics. Why is vinyl so popular in the age of digitalization?
The main difference between vinyl and CD or MP3 is that this format provides analog sound. A natural record is based on a continuous electrical signal reflecting changes in a source audio wave.
A digitized sound is produced by dividing the original sound into certain segments with the numerical value of the current amplitude. In fact, we get the reflection of natural sound. CD makes a snapshot of the analog signal with a certain tempo.
What is the legendary “warmth” attributed to vinyl?
If we compare digitized audio and vinyl, the resolution would be lower in the first case. The same can be said about the frequency range. Vinyl provides saturation and additional harmonics that are not characteristic of digitized music. Sound has a higher density and seems to be more tangible.
However, it is worth keeping in mind one important nuance: CD and MP3 can also sound well if you do not speed up or slow down tracks on your player. As soon as you change the speed (for pop music, this happens in 90% of cases), the digitized sound becomes rough because some segments are either added or skipped.
Why does vinyl sound poorly sometimes?
Music lovers get disappointed when they expect to enjoy music on vinyl quality but get something even worse than MP3 or CD. Why does this happen?
Many people have bad audio systems today. No matter what they listen to, MP3 or vinyl, it is impossible to get high-quality sound. An adverse trend is being observed throughout the industry. Even those companies that have previously produced good equipment shift to cheaper options with disgusting sound in order to stand out the competition. So you should either look for old equipment or buy the best portable record player with high price.
The production process is also very important for ensuring vinyl sound quality. It would be wrong to believe that music sounds perfectly just because it is recorded on vinyl.
In addition, it is crucial to use audio products as intended. Different records are played at home and in clubs. Experienced engineers always take the environment into account when preparing the matrix for vinyl.
What about the future?
Vinyl has specific magic, and digitized sound cannot compete with it. After a DJ takes a vinyl record out of a package, puts it on a turntable, and then mixes the sound, people on a dance floor become so happy and energetic! Even those who are indifferent to vinyl, who don’t look at a DJ experience this pleasure. Is there any other equipment or technology that stimulates such impressions?
Experts say that in the future, vinyl will be the only natural format because the cost of research and development of new physical sound is way too high.