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Music Hardware

Not All iPods — Vinyl and Turntables Gain Sales 405

Posted by timothy
from the thirty-three-and-a-third dept.
Says the New York Times: "With the curious resurgence of vinyl, a parallel revival has emerged: The turntable, once thought to have taken up obsolescence with eight-track tape players, has been reborn."
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Not All iPods — Vinyl and Turntables Gain Sales

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  • Betamax (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stratoukos (1446161) on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:41AM (#30350460)

    Time to get that Betamax player out of the attic!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Ah you young'uns. I'm going upstairs to get my imagination out of the attic!

      (Yes, that's the best I could do)

      • Re:Betamax (Score:5, Funny)

        by wisty (1335733) on Monday December 07, 2009 @08:00AM (#30351622)

        Ah you young'uns. I'm going upstairs to get my imagination out of the attic!

        (Yes, that's the best I could do)

        Ha. We crowd-source our imaginations. Why think for ourselves, when we can share our brilliance in real time, peer to peer, in under 140 cha

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:43AM (#30350466) Homepage Journal

    You only have to sell a couple albums more than usual to claim huge percentage increases.

  • Pfft... (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrNaz (730548) * on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:43AM (#30350468) Homepage

    Kids these days and their newfangled "vinyl" cheap rubbish. Give me my Bach on a wax cylinder, and then get off my long-dead lawn.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) *
      You can keep your new fangled wax cylinder, give me Bach on a harpsichord.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      What did you think of this sentence, Grandpa?

      The turntable, once thought to have taken up obsolescence with eight-track tape players

      These kids today, eight track tapes sucked and always did. And they don't listen, do they? I tolds these punks about eight tracks almost five years ago in Good Riddance to Bad Tech : [kuro5hin.org]

      The 8-track tape
      This sorry piece of crap is proof positive of American stupidity. The cassette - the (now obsolete) four track, two-spindle, 1/8th inch, 1 /78 IPS shirt pocket sized tape cassette

      • by bussdriver (620565) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:33AM (#30353478)

        Poor Sound Engineering is why CDs do not sound good enough; source recordings should be at least 48khz minimum and they downsample to CD - if done properly, the CD should sound just fine to everybody but the fanatics with good enough hardware, software, and/or imagination to find something wrong with it. My record player didn't have more dynamic range - and it wasn't the cheapest model either.... that is, excluding the pops and scratches which did give it a larger dynamic range.

        Besides, LP has many more flaws like how they lack BASS and need it reduced and then boosted on playback. It wouldn't matter if we had 96Khz 32bit sound on DVDs - sound engineers would continue try to wreak everything again. What is needed is an embedded volume code for the player's decoder / amplifier circuit to use to instantly raise or lower the volume so these sound engineers can continue to mess everything up to a ridiculous extreme without actually throwing away sound quality. This would also allow people to ignore the dynamic compression by telling the player to ignore the encoded volume/dynamic range track.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_range_compression [wikipedia.org]

  • HA! (Score:3, Funny)

    by munehiro (63206) on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:43AM (#30350470) Journal

    and now try put disk copy protection on that!

    oh wait...

    • and now try put disk copy protection on that!

      Actually, there are turntables for analog to digital conversion---I've wondered aloud what's going on here with no copy prevention. See http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1469166&cid=30350490 [slashdot.org]

    • by dintech (998802)

      Yeah, especially if you have one of these over-priced badboys [vestax.com]

  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker&gnu,org> on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:46AM (#30350490) Homepage

    FTFA:

    Interest from younger listeners is what convinced music industry executives that vinyl had staying power this time around.

    Taking this at face value, it seems like the music industry execs aren't that stupid: the market wants something, let's give it to them.

    Don't they worry about piracy, though?

    Some are traditional analog record players; others are designed to connect to computers for converting music to digital files.

    Hmm...

    In any case...

    At a glance, the far corner of the main floor of J&R Music looks familiar to anybody old enough to have scratched a record by accident.

    I will not buy thees myoosic store. Eet is skrratshed.

  • ... with the oil prices going up again as soon as this crisis is over...

  • Random fluctuation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:49AM (#30350508)
    Sales can't drop below zero, at some point sales bottom out and then increase slightly (which may represent a massive % increase even though sales are still modest).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:52AM (#30350530)

    Every few months the media spits out a story or five about vinyl being more popular than ever. And they conveniently forget about it so they can do it again in another few months!

    CDs are naturally dying, because broadband is ubiquitous and digital files are good enough to make the format an annoyance.

    If you want to listen to music and have the physical media experience to go along with it, vinyl's a lot better than CDs IMO (and apparently in the opinions of quite a few others, too). Bigger art, more to play with, sounds better, etc.

    That's not even taking dance music culture into account. I just didn't like CDJs' and Traktor's downsides, audio quality, and quirks enough to trade the convenience they gain over vinyl turntables. Also, Technics are cooler, and they haven't made a little wind-up truck that plays CDs yet.

  • No surprises. Vinyl sounds better.

    • Audiophiles (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nithendil (1637041)

      Before the anti-audiophile crowd comes in screaming about how digital is a more accurate reproduction vinyls are typically mastered for their audience so they often are not compressed to maximum loudness that you hear in modern CDs so you actually have some dynamic range.

      • The first record player I owned was a valve system from the early 50's with one giant 20inch speaker. Someone had thrown it out simply because one valve had blown (yes I was a geek even when I was 8yrs old). However I spent my teenage years listening to vinyl with a "top of the range system" using those giant headphones that were popular in the 70's. Perhaps it's the modern speakers or the electronics, but for whatever reason my old vinyl system would not hold a candle to the Bose stereo that came with the
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:30AM (#30351006)

        The compression on CDs is not manditory, and indeed you find some CDs without it. However if high quality sound is your goal, well then DVD-A and SACD are the places to look. Like records, they are not produced for everything, but they tend to be extremely well mastered for what they are done with. Nice wide dynamic range. They also have the advantage of being all digital, and extremely high resolution: 96-192kHz 24-bit for DVD-A, 2.8MHz 1-bit for SACD (equivalent to about 20-bit 100kHz). You are also usually going to spend less on hardware (a cheap SACD/DVD-A player can be had for less than $200) and your recordings don't degrade every time they are played.

        That's the problem I have with the audiophile record crowd: There ARE digital technologies better than CD, much better, and measurably so. Thus, if your goal is highest fidelity sound, then that is probalby what you should be getting. Goes double since most recordings these days are produced digitally, so you are getting "digital sound" like it or not.

        I'm fine with people who like records for nostalgic reasons, but I don't get the "Oh records sound so much better crowd." No, not so much really. Sure, compare a $5000 turntable to a $10 CD player where the CD is limited all to hell, the record player sounds better (unless the record is scratched). However compares that same record player to a $200 DVD-A player and the DVD-A will be better.

  • by FauxReal (653820) on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:54AM (#30350534) Homepage
    Me and my friends have been talking about the resurgence of vinyl DJs for years. A friend who visits Japan every year to sell vintage jazz, soul and funk music (they love it out there) was telling me that DJ shops seemed to be catching up to guitar stores back in 1998. I almost think it's just about peaked myself. Then again maybe DJ Hero will cause a nice spike in sales.

    Personally, I prefer to buy my music on vinyl, I like the huge cover art and the tactile interaction of playing a record. The nature of vinyl also doesn't lend itself to the Loudness War [wikipedia.org]. The only things I don't like about vinyl is it weighs a ton when you're trying to get to a gig and when listening at home you gotta get up and flip the record.

    I kinda think digital DJing has been gaining a lot of ground lately... there are so many Serato [scratchlive.net] copycats) out there now (some are purely digital while Serto allows the use of timecoded vinyl for control. I've been a hardcore vinyl head and I'm finally considering going the digital route because of the convenience of weight saving and you can make your own remixes. Though it still pisses me off that I spent so much time and money collecting rare tracks when these days laptop DJs can just download them off the net. It's made it a lot harder to have an exclusive track.
  • by NoPantsJim (1149003) on Monday December 07, 2009 @03:56AM (#30350546) Homepage
    Consider this sentence from TFS:

    "With the curious resurgence of vinyl, a parallel revival has emerged: The turntable"

    What did you expect would happen, people would start buying vinyl records, but just look at them instead of playing them? Is there some iPhone vinyl add-on I'm not aware of?

    Tomorrow on Slashdot: A sudden increase in the sale of left shoes curiously correlates to a parallel increase in the sale of right shoes.

    • by martas (1439879)

      Is there some iPhone vinyl add-on I'm not aware of?

      hmm, interesting... *rubs chin*

      • As impractical as that would be, the existence of that credit card scanner attachment makes me think it could be done.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What did you expect would happen, people would start buying vinyl records, but just look at them instead of playing them?

      Considering the pretentiousness of the people who buy vinyl, that is a possibility.

    • by mcrbids (148650)

      I don't think the news is that people are buying turntables to go along with their records. The news is that so many people are buying records that stores are beginning to stock record players again. And that IS surprising!

      People are rediscovering quality. They are rediscovering the "old way" where dynamic range matters, where music isn't all dynamically depressed so that everything "plays loud". Really, it's sad, because a CD has the dynamic range to go from a barely audible whisper to something rivaling a

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NoPantsJim (1149003)
        I find it has everything to do with the artistic integrity of the musician, and almost nothing to do with money. Pickup a cd from a band like Mastodon [youtube.com] and you'll find it's exquisitely mixed and a real experience to listen to. The 10 minute song "The Czar" from their most recent cd is nothing short of amazing. Conversely, buy something from most big name bands with huge label contracts and it sounds like it's being played through a tin wall on guitars made out of a sponge.
    • by Barny (103770) <bakadamage-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:29AM (#30350734) Homepage Journal

      Correlation does not imply causation....

    • by Fred_A (10934) <fredNO@SPAMfredshome.org> on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:16AM (#30350962) Homepage

      What did you expect would happen, people would start buying vinyl records, but just look at them instead of playing them?

      But if you play them you might scratch them, or get dust on them !

      Any serious audiophile knows you must never get a disc out of its sleeve. It must remain in timeless perfection to be admired by like minded individuals (wearing gloves), possibly drooling a bit, while extolling the virtues of gold plated power cables.

    • Real men don’t wear shoes, you insensitive clod!
      They were spores. But no shoes! [google.com] ^^

    • by billius (1188143)

      Tomorrow on Slashdot: A sudden increase in the sale of left shoes curiously correlates to a parallel increase in the sale of right shoes.

      And as we all know, since correlation != causation, these two events can't possibly have anything to do with one another.

    • What did you expect would happen, people would start buying vinyl records, but just look at them instead of playing them?

      No, I'd expect people would buy vinyl records and scan them [google.com]

  • Vinyl... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:00AM (#30350564) Homepage

    for people who think it's not high-quality unless you can hear the artifacts of how low-quality the recording is.

    • Re:Vinyl... (Score:4, Funny)

      by jimboindeutchland (1125659) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:05AM (#30350590) Homepage

      back when I was young (early 2k's) I used to listen to a lot of dance music and go to the occasional rave. When I first started going to these gigs, I asked one of my friends why the DJ's used vinyl instead of CD's. She told me that, because the records are analog, you get much better quality sound. I asked a few other people and they all seemed to agree.

      I was always a bit skeptical. How can you create electronic music, digitally, on computers etc and then claim that putting them on vinyl somehow magically improves the quality?

      I've always thought that people buy vinyl because it's just a bit more romantic. Or they're fucking idiots.

      • Re:Vinyl... (Score:5, Informative)

        by hazem (472289) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:18AM (#30350662) Journal

        back when I was young (early 2k's) I used to listen to a lot of dance music and go to the occasional rave. When I first started going to these gigs, I asked one of my friends why the DJ's used vinyl instead of CD's.

        Many years ago I worked at a radio station with mostly records and "carts" (like 8-track tapes); digital music was just becoming available. One thing I noticed was that it was much easier to mix songs and get the beats to mix using the record players. Being able to touch the media as it turned and subtly slow or speed up the records made it really easy to sync the beats. It was really fun to watch the DJs who were particularly good at it.

        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:22AM (#30350978)

          At least for a long while. There now is in the form of Final Scratch. What it does is encode a timecode signal on a record, which you then feed to a soundcard. Final Scratch then interprets that timecode to tell what you are doing with the player and can control the speed and seeking of the digital files associated with it. Works great, I've seen it in action a number of times.

          Another factor was the processing power for good resampling. These days that is trivial but it wasn't when digital first came about. If you are going to stretch the sound a lot by slowing it down, you need to properly resample the data to make it sound smooth. You'll get nasty artifacts otherwise.

          Net result is non-degraded digital sound, with turntable controls. You can reuse the same timecode record quite a few times before ti becomes damaged to the point of having to get a new one.

          These days, however, if you aren't scratching and such, software can beat match way better than you can. Songs can be tagged with BPM (or measured) and you can visually set cut points. Not as much fun though.

          • by uglyduckling (103926) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:48AM (#30351070) Homepage
            Final Scratch is still missing something. When DJing with Vinyl records, you can get an instant impression of where the breakdowns and build-ups are on the track, just by looking at the density of the grooves. It's possible to do that on a computer screen, but it's _much_ quicker generally to just look at the track, and quicker to pull the needle on and off the record and listen through the headphones to find the right spot. Scratch DJs even put stickers on the record surface to indicate where interesting sounds are.
            • I question your ability to look at a record and determine what's what in a club with lights flashing and all that. I would imagine that looking at a computer screen, where you can have the audio displayed in any way you like (waterfall, peaks, whatever) would be much easier for telling what part of a song is interesting.

              Perhaps DJs have extremely keen eyes and a sense for records I don't, but I can tell you a lot looking at a spectral display, not so much looking at a record.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Xacid (560407)
                There's actually a way you can see - it's almost like the lines look "denser" where the music really kicks in. Start it in the lesser "dense" areas and you're in the transition spot for that track. That's why there's that funky little light on a lot of the turntables built for djing aimed right at the record.
        • >was much easier to mix songs and get the beats to mix using the record players
          At the time, yes but now you can buy 'DJ CD Players' which allow scratching (shudder> and can have the speed adjusted just as you could with vinyl.
          TBH, most DJ's I know just carry a laptop with all their stuff on it and mixing software and use a combination of pre-programmed sets and the software to blend tracks/adjust bpm etc.
      • by jimicus (737525)

        They're both wrong and right simultaneously.

        From a pure "how close does this sound to the original" perspective, vinyl isn't that good because the fidelity isn't fantastic compared with CD.

        From a "how nice does this sound to my ears" perspective (which is what most people mean when they discuss sound quality) - sound quality on vinyl tends to degrade much more gracefully to the human ear.

        What would be particularly interesting would be to compare the soundwave that comes out of the speakers when playing a vi

        • by pelrun (25021)

          sound quality on vinyl tends to degrade much more gracefully to the human ear.

          Not really - it's very much a cultural preference. If you grow up listening to audio that's distorted the way vinyl/tubes make it, then you think that it sounds better than the undistorted audio (or audio that is distorted differently.) It's becoming apparent that younger people are preferring the lossy sound of lower-bitrate MP3's (which are *definitely* not 'better') over vinyl or uncompressed audio, simply because they're alway

      • Re:Vinyl... (Score:5, Informative)

        by dangitman (862676) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:25AM (#30350704)

        I've always thought that people buy vinyl because it's just a bit more romantic. Or they're fucking idiots.

        DJs buy vinyl because it's a better user interface for mixing. "Scratching" on a CD player is just not the same. Also, many rare tracks come out on vinyl that don't come out on CD (well, this used to be the case).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Lord Bitman (95493)

        rave + sound quality concerns.. several things seem wrong with that

      • by Barny (103770)

        Well, its all in the sample size/dynamic range.

        If you have a cd that has been edited so badly that it only uses at best a quater of its sample size, and compare that to a high quallity analog recording, well I know what will sound better.

      • "I've always thought that people buy vinyl because it's just a bit more romantic. Or they're fucking idiots."

        I'm an old fart, I thought dance DJ's used vinyl so they could put their finger on the record and make it go wuka-wuka-wuka.
        • >and make it go wuka-wuka-wuka.
          Because usually, wuka-wuka-wuka sounds a hell of a lot better than the track left to its own devices.
      • by slyn (1111419)

        I was always a bit skeptical. How can you create electronic music, digitally, on computers etc and then claim that putting them on vinyl somehow magically improves the quality?

        I've always thought that people buy vinyl because it's just a bit more romantic. Or they're fucking idiots.

        Vinyl tends to be mastered better, where 95% of "better" simply means that it is not digitally manipulated to be louder.

        You would need a good sound system, a good ear, and some specific songs/soundbytes to be able to get any statistical significance of perceived quality in a double blind vinyl vs 128 kbps AAC test, and 99% of what doesn't sound the same could probably be fixed by upping that number to 160-192 kbps (LAME and the like are overkill for listening, might be appropriate for a digital backup, but

      • Before the 2k's there was 90's dance music. PC's were barely capable of handling multiple audio streams and musicians had minimal computer skills. Dedicated hardware was quite common, samplers, effects, recorders. Even analog equipment was still around and highly sought after, such as the old Roland x0x series, TB-303, TR-909, TR-808. The late 90's generation of hardware was pretty much aimed at re-creating vintage analog sounds with companies such as Novation, Access, Waldorf, and Clavia. Vinyl w

  • by merauder (518514) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:03AM (#30350578)
    I recently ordered a copy of 'Them Crooked Vultures' on Vinyl, sounds fantastic! With the Loudness Wars [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_wars [wikipedia.org] ] going on for the last while, music is becoming harder to listen to with all the compression, you lose the dynamics of the recording. I've recently gotten back into vinyl because of this. My ears have been thanking me ever since!
    • by dargaud (518470)
      Well, I don't care much about the compression war, but what always drove me crazy about vinyl is the regular 'tick', 'tick' of the scrape that goes round and round every 2 or 3 seconds. I couldn't stand the sound of vinyl even when it was the only thing around (I would only buy tapes at the time). To each his own.
      • What's 'the scrape' that you're talking about? I think you had a broken turntable or damaged records.
  • Have seen it coming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RichLooker (556121) <richard AT disputable DOT org> on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:14AM (#30350630)
    Living in Oslo, Norway, I have been watching this trend for some years. The number of shops selling physical CD's is steadily decreasing - either they close or they are converted to DVD- and/or game-shops. At the same time, the number of shops selling vinyl is increasing. Every self-respecting hifi-shop has turntables on display in their windows. And who even buys CD players anymore ? Some years ago, only niche-titles got a vinyl release. Now even chart-topping big names release on vinyl. This ain't a fad. We will all live to see the death of the music CD. The vinyl will live on, as the sole medium for physical distribution. It will serve a distinct market - people with a keen interest in music, sound/hifi and/or collecting records. For these customers, portability and convenience is not high priority. Cover art and lyric booklets are. The music industry will embrace the trend, as piracy / copying will not be an issue. Vinyl rips are too inconvenient to ever threaten digitally distributed music. The vinyl record has outlived the CD in all respects. Some of my oldest CD's - 20-25 years old - are being refused by my CD player. While I have vinyl records from '65 that sound just as fresh today. I buy 30-40 records a year, around 4 out of 5 on vinyl; I select the titles purely based on musical merit, and buy vinyl if available. Luckily bands within the genres I prefer almost always release on vinyl.
    • by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:18AM (#30350966) Journal

      The number of shops selling physical CD's is steadily decreasing

      It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to buy bits pressed into a plastic disk, when you can get the same bits through your internet connection.

      In a few more years, people might realize that they have potable water available in their homes, and quit buying it in pretentious little bottles.

      -jcr

      • by shawb (16347)
        Don't worry, trendy people have started drinking tap water again. They are, however, filtering it through a Brita and then putting it in their own pretentious bottles [stuffwhitepeoplelike.com].

        Side note: these bottles bring health and safety full circle. I remember when there was a health concern about the aluminum in soda cans leading to Alzheimers, so the industry started lining cans with plastic and 20oz bottles became popular. Now with the concern about BP-A, people are paying top dollar for aluminum bottles to drink their
  • People are just starting to realize that digital DJ equipment tends to suck compared to a set of real turntables and a mixer board with crossfader.

  • Fad. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dreamer.redeemer (1600257) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:15AM (#30350636) Homepage
    A few years ago I worked in a record store where we actually sold more records more than cds. I own a relatively large number of records, contemporary and otherwise. Despite all this, It's my opinion that this is just a fad, one strangely ambling along at a lazy pace. I think the only reason it has been able to gain traction is because people don't realize all the pitfalls of records. To start, yes, records can theoretically sound better, but there are Many things that can get in the way of that: virgin vs. recycled vinyl, cold pressings, warping, dirty or worn stylus, imbalanced tonearm, etc. Even under optimum conditions the quality advantage of a record is gone after 5-8 plays, as friction heat from the stylus literally melts the signal irreparably; from then on, the sound quality will continue to deteriorate with each play. Most people start out saying that they like records because analog sounds better. Then, after I tell them this, their reasoning changes--they like records because the hiss and pops are warm and soothing. The question of quality aside, records are a pain to deal with! You have to handle them carefully, clean them often with specific supplies. After a couple of songs have played, you have to stop what you're doing and flip the record over (don't try putting on a Barry White record, it may set the mood, but only for a few minutes... and hopefully that's regarded as a problem). Some people say they enjoy the whole process involved with records, that by having to do all that work they are able to appreciate the music more. Fine, but personally, having to constantly fidget with the record player interrupts the pleasure I get from listening. Also, consider the weight and space records take up: I estimate about 50 records occupy a cubic foot and weigh at least 25 lbs. On the other hand, you can fit thousands of digital albums in your pocket. Records do have a certain sense of novelty to them, but it wears off fast; digital music is and will remain an incredible thing.
    • Re:Fad. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:00AM (#30350878)

      You touched on the actual reason why vinyl has a market, and that reason is here to stay: Vinyl is complicated. You can't just waltz into a store and buy the perfect turntable. A turntable is never perfect. You can always one-up "the competition". Then you have to add all sorts of fancy dampening widgets to your setup and let's not forget the rituals that surround playing a vinyl record: What you consider an annoying hassle is an audiophile's fetish and an opportunity to distinguish himself from his lesser peers.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by uglyduckling (103926)
        Yes! That's exactly what this is about. You can always upgrade your turntable, get a better cleaning cloth, better speakers. It's about having something that's deliberately mysterious.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScottBob (244972)
        My sentiments exactly... Vinyl records are to modern digital formats what a wood burning fireplace is to central gas/oil/electric heat. A wood fire has to be tended to; you have to chop, haul and stack wood, rake coals, empty ashes, etc., whereas central heat is easy, clean, convenient, and automatic. Yet wood fireplaces are still around. (There's nothing like sitting by a fire while listening to a record and reading a book, but when I want heat and want it NOW, I'm flipping the thermostat to my (noisy) two
    • Re:Fad. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drmpeg (1408305) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:32AM (#30351232)
      The only cogent post so far. Having grown up with vinyl, it's just about the worst format for daily use (except for 8-track tape). Each play causes deterioration, not matter how expensive the turntable/cartridge. At the time, it was thought that the acceleration force of the needle often exceeded the elasticity of the vinyl. When CD came out in 1983 or so, I welcomed it with open arms. Although many of the early CD's sounded pretty bad, at least they sounded the same after each play.
  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Monday December 07, 2009 @04:53AM (#30350842) Homepage Journal

    It's not really becoming popular because it is better to hear music off one. The vinyl turntable is a performance instrument all of its own.

    About a year back I ran into someone who had a vinyl turntable hooked into Ubuntu studio. He'd essentially use the turntable [flic.kr] hooked into the MIDI port(?) which lets him control any soundtrack with a touch of his finger.

    The guy was explaining how the user interface of a turntable supersedes anything else out there for what he's doing. That in some sense, it's the touch screen of the music man.

  • physicality of vinyl (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:52AM (#30351344)
    First of all, we need to keep this in perspective. TFA says that through November there had been 2.1 million vinyl records sold in the US. That's far less than individual albums once sold, so vinyl hasn't staged some glorious comeback, it's just establishing itself as a minor niche.

    That said, I'm a vinyl junkie and am happy for its continued survival, if only because it means that I'll be able to get new parts for my turntable for a long time yet. I think that the biggest advantage of vinyl is the physicality of the product. This includes of course the artwork and liner notes, which will be much larger and usually more attractive than with a CD. But there's more than this. Purchasing records often involves flipping through large bins of vinyl, something you sort of get with CDs, but instead of the clack or platic bins you have a nice soft thwap of cardboard album sleeves. Playing vinyl is also a much more physical act than playing a CD. With a CD you open the tray, put the disc on, then press a couple of buttons. With vinyl you have to open the lid, put the record on the turntable, line up the needle and plop it down, then come back and flip it over in twenty minutes or so. Choosing a specific track involves some pretty careful aligning of the needle. It forces you to become more engaged with what you're doing and promotes a more active listening; you can't so easily slap something on and ignore it, and the 6-disc changer (and, god help us, the random button) don't exist. You have to interact with your music because there will be a little bit of physical labor involved in keeping it going for more than 20 minutes at a time.

    Of course, playing 7" singles is even better for this, because you're hopping up every three minutes and constantly having to think, "What would sound good with this?" Vinyl is far better for an evening devoted to listening to music because it really encourages you to make the music the central part of the evening. Too much distraction and there's no more music. That contrasts with CDs, and is entirely different from mp3 listening. Banshee tells me that I can start playing my mp3 library and continue for 22.5 days. That sort of thing promotes an extremely passive kind of listening, music as just something that's there.

    A final thing to consider: I have a few CDs that have become scratched and are now unplayable. I have a bunch of LPs that have become scratched and now have a little scratch on them when you play them. My LPs are going to outlast my CDs.
  • Digital is superior (Score:3, Interesting)

    by magamiako1 (1026318) on Monday December 07, 2009 @09:18AM (#30352516)
    Is it just me, or do the people hyping up vinyl's superiority not really caring about the music?

    I am a "quality-phile" in that I have to have the highest quality of which I can afford.

    A) I can tell you the difference between Pandora radio and my ipod.
    B) I can tell you the difference between my 128kbps mp3s and my 224kbps AAC (itunes) files.
    C) I can do all of this on rather low end speaker systems (stock speakers in my Elantra).

    Digital audio is far superior to anything analog that can come before it. That said, of course, there's something to be said about live music in a concert hall.
  • Loudness factor? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wing03 (654457) on Monday December 07, 2009 @09:41AM (#30352806)
    Not long ago, some people realized that CDs were being mastered so that everything was loud and noted that instruments or tracks that should be subtle were being turned up.... all in the name of competing with other noises, I believe. Do they do the same thing with the new vinyl?
  • by trudyscousin (258684) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:00AM (#30353018)

    - 22-26 minutes maximum playing time per side.
    - Rumble. Especially when it came pressed into the record.
    - Scratches. A click or pop was forever. Often with the very first playing.
    - Warpage. This was especially a problem after 1969-1972, when records became thinner. (Thank you RCA, for that "Dynaflex" nonsense.)
    - Playing a phonograph record was a fiddly business. Extracting the record from its jacket and inner bag without getting fingerprints all over it (which could lead to more clicks and rumble). Cleaning the record surface with a brush before playing. You took all those precautions because you didn't want to make things worse, but it was rather like pissing in the wind, as the saying goes. No matter how great your cartridge was or how light your tracking force, your records would inevitably wear, especially your favorites.

    Obviously, I'm not in the demographic that wants vinyl today. I was never a DJ (not in the context of a dance club, anyway), and I have no nostalgia, false or otherwise, to bring me back to the medium.

    But I can't help but wonder if the problems that plague CDs today parallel the problems that vinyl in its heyday had. Everything I mentioned above were the reasons I was so quick to embrace CDs. (And if you've ever heard Ry Cooder's "Bop 'Til You Drop" or Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms," you know exactly how wonderful CDs could sound.) But, it was a reaction, and I'm wondering if things like DRM and the "loudness wars" are the reaction people who are migrating to vinyl are having.

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