Tuesday, June 10, 2008

vinyl coming back?

From CNN:

This spring, an employee intending to order a special CD-DVD edition of R.E.M.'s latest release "Accelerate" inadvertently entered the "LP" code instead. Soon boxes of the big, vinyl discs showed up at several stores.

Some sent them back. But a handful put them on the shelves, and 20 LPs sold the first day.


Sometimes, nostalgia is BS. In the DJ world, LPs are still going strong, if you are a real DJ you use vinyl. I was having this very conversation with a DJ at the REX club on the night of Jeff Mills. Jeff of course uses CD, I don't even bother with physical I am completely digital with Ableton and what not. But it is funny how many people cling to the old ways. The old ways are even making a come-back.

They claim it is not nostalgia, it is because "vinyl sounds better". Whatever.

9 comments:

jjackson@redhat.com said...

Vinyl does sound better in clubs. At home...no. But you can tweak the dynamics in a club setting very easily. But who wants to carry crates of that shit to clubs and on planes. All things equal though, I think vinyl does sound better. But the logistics of digital and vinyl arent equal.

Marcf said...

I even call bullshit on the "sounds better in clubs". The dynamic range is a function of the physical media. The older records Jeff Mills played (older post) did sound good but a bit "muted" For a simple reason over the ages the groove gets smoothed out. So the range you talk about is good for maybe one or two plays and then you are not as crystal clear. So I do prefer the digital in any form (well 320kpbs that is :) I have played 320bps MP3 in a club and it sounded good. I would have to compare to vinyl to really see a difference I guess. Most DJ today are using the CD mainly for the logistical reasons you mention but I don't hear anyone complaining about the sound. In any case the CDs are full of WAV not the CD format I don't think.

Joel Jackson said...

I think if you look into it more personally you might be surprised. Im pretty sure no matter how high a sampling rate is, digital can never contain all of the data present in an analog groove. Does it wear? Sure. I started on vinyl and switched quickly for ease of use...but would go back if I were still in the game:)

Tom said...

still have about 6,000 Electronic Dance Music Records in my closet.
About every kind of genre you can think of from 1990 till around 2002. I kinda got burned out on buying vinyl after that because most of it was crap.

Marcf said...

Tom and Joel,

LOL, about the "most of it was crap", yah that is a problem with EDM in general and the reason I like the digital format. I buy a lot I listen and rank and so when it suck I just don't care and not listen to it but it has cost me $2 and it doesn't take space.

On a related note I was talking with the guys from above and beyond and their plan was "CD on demand", so you would listen and print a CD that got shipped to you. I was wondering if the cost of vinyl was worth it, probably not as you would have to create a plate and press the stuff. The benefit though is that you don't deal with the storage of the vinyl, just print from a central location, this way you can have vinyl on demand. I haven't looked at the economics of it and I wonder if there is a viable business model there. In the meantime my money is on ALL digital.

Marcf said...

Joel,

strictly speaking WAV forms are step function approximation of the curves. So while you can never "theoretically"represent the curve the approximation is pretty darn good. Also when rendering the step functions the speakers are by definition "analog" in other words I would be surprised if you can really tell anything about the step nature. Finally I gotta admit that I DO HAVE SOMETHING FOR VINYL, it is the random "scrchhh scrchhh scrchhh" that SCREAM VINYL when you listen to an old record, it feels right. In fact there is function in Ableton LIVE that enables you to add random VINYL NOISE to a record so it sounds "organic". But let's not kid each other, it has nothing to do with resolution but rather is linked to the fact that "wear and tear" on a record sounds good :)

Anonymous said...

It's a matter of taste, just like music itself. You don't have to go through complex technical explaining to tell that they do sound really different, and it's not a matter of the resolution or the mapping or whatever. Maybe it's the needle going up and down applying different pressure, maybe it's other little imperfections, but the fact is that I like that sound and I keep spending my money on that format. Call me romantic, there is something of that, I really like to hear music as it was meant to be heard by the artist, and old music was meant to be heard on vinyl.

But even if I think just in terms of sound quality, my ears prefer vinyl.

Marcf said...

anon,
as Elvira is listening to one of my mixes of Shame (disco) on return of the Dragons (techno) she says yelling because she has the headphones on: "IT IS KIND OF SCRATCHY! IS IT SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT?" Yes, it is a vinyl source :)

Anonymous said...

I think vinyl records are awesome! I'm glad they're making a comeback.