If you’ve heard about it from your parents and friends but haven’t actually owned a turntable, you’re really missing out! If you love music, here are 5 reasons why you should start experimenting with Vinyl records and turntables.
1. Vinyl records have a lifespan unlike any other physical medium.
For audiophiles, CDs are still a popular format for Hi-Res music. But, contrary to popular belief, CDs do not last forever! Save for Gold-plated reference discs, CDs will oxidise over time and eventually become unplayable. That is why I am a champion of ripping music from CDs as a backup, just in case.
With proper maintenance, Vinyl records can last a freakishly long time and still sound great. The oldest record that I own is a Frank Sinatra original print from 1966. 50 years later, it’s playing fine on my Rega P25 turntable! Whenever I pop it in, it’s like travelling back in time!
2. Vinyl records are music that you can touch and feel.
In a world where a digital image the size of a passport photo passes as ‘Album Art’, unpacking a vinyl record is a truly unique experience. Having so much space on the Album cover gave artistes a lot of real estate for individual expression. Album Art was something you can touch and admire from all angles, and even display on your wall! Unfolding the album, you may also find gorgeous artwork that sets the tone, and beautiful brochures that ignites anticipation for playing the record within. Even the vinyl itself can be expressed in a multitude of colourful, ingenious ways. Take this Star Wars album as an example.
3. Vinyl records make fantastic gifts.
Ran out of gift ideas? Don’t know what to buy for your mate’s birthday? If you know what music they listen to, you can probably find it printed in vinyl. Many recent artistes like Lady Gaga and One Republic had their albums cut in vinyl. Nowadays, you can even find video game music on vinyl! They are rather inexpensive too, so keep a lookout for them on Amazon, or at audiophile haunts like Adelphi! Presenting your friend with a vinyl record is a sure-fire way to stand out from the crowd!
The Voyager spacecrafts were sent out in the 70s hoping that space-faring aliens will encounter it in interstellar flight. And guess what gifts did the spacecrafts contain?
4. Vinyl records gain character over time.
Each records becomes unique in its own way. With constant use, some imperfections will show up (like pops) that do not make the music any less enjoyable, but adds to the album’s character. Unlike digital formats, listening to your old records once in a while is like meeting a pal you haven’t seen in years! In fact, it is not uncommon for audiophiles to become emotionally attached to their old, favourite vinyl records. They will even say that Hi-Res digital files sound too “sterile”.
5. They sound amazing!
With the right equipment, Vinyl records produce a clear, warm and detailed sound that jumps to life! Unlike digital players that have to convert a digital signal into actual sound (which may add another layer of coloration) vinyl records produce analogue signals which are directly transmitted through the turntable to the amplifier and speakers. With the whole signal chain being analogue (no digital-to analogue conversions in between), your music’s fidelity will be retained. Of course, the correct matching of every component between the record and the speakers will play a part!
(Correction – 18 Jan 2017: An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly in point number 1, that digital music files will suffer degradation when transferring between devices, and affect sound quality. When moving audio files between devices, there will be no data loss during file transfers as data will be copied 1:1 in normal cases. Data loss will occur if the file is converted from one format to another. Again, I stand corrected and I would like to thank you (the readers) for commenting and enriching this article!)
So what’s your experience with vinyl, or do you hold a different opinion? Improve this article by sharing your comments below!