Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

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Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 5th, 2018, 5:38 pm

I'd like to know what kind of media you guys favor for your music.

As you can imagine from an old-school guy like me, I have a big CD collection and I continue to buy them.
I've never purchased digital music but I have perused that monstrosity of a program called iTunes, if only to get ideas.
Also, I can rip my CDs in iTunes if I want to hear them on the computer, or burn a mix.

I was recently given my parent's old record collection and I'm listening to a lot of old (and great) Christmas albums from back in the day. Do records sound better than CDs? Call me crazy, but I think they do! I have a turntable connected to my Bose wave radio (which I usually use for CDs). Pretty sweet.

I find it interesting that records have been making a comeback of sorts in recent years. Can anyone explain this? I'd like to hear your thoughts on the topic in general.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby OzGamer » December 5th, 2018, 8:08 pm

One advantage of vinyl records is the larger sleeve art, not to mention some of the incredible album art from decades past. I like listening to my parents' records but don't own many new vinyl records. I tend to favour CDs over vinyl records as they are cheaper, but I do think they are cooler. Whether they sound better, I'll let the audiophiles decide.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby Voor » December 5th, 2018, 9:38 pm

CDs still here. I pretty much listen to music exclusively in the car. If I happen to listen to music at home, I’ll pull up a YouTube video.

We all know that vinyl has been “back” for a while, but did you know that cassettes are trendy now, too? And I have NO idea why....

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby Robotrek » December 5th, 2018, 10:53 pm

I'm from the era of Vinyl (born in '73) and I honestly think anyone who says vinyl sounds better is just a hipster, or maybe hatched to the sound of their childhood.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby jon » December 6th, 2018, 11:55 am

I didn't like Cds at first. I actually liked tapes but when everything went to cd's mainly and tapes disappeared in the 90's, I starting liking cd's. Now I have Apple Music only because my brother added me to his plan. I'd never pay for that. I like it and you can get pretty much any artist and album, although a lot of albums got omitted of course. But I'd give all of that away to be able to get music like in the 90's when you'd go to music stores, places that encouraged artistic expression and individuality. Imagine that. The liner notes were always exciting to read.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby GTS » December 6th, 2018, 3:25 pm

The way I understand it is that records are analog recordings, and CDs are digital. Something is lost when you convert something to a digital source (parts of the sound wave), so CD's don't contain 100% of the original sound. Records are a direct recording of the sound. On the other hand, dust can hinder their performance. DVD audio is supposed to be better than CD, but it's rare.

I think most people use streaming services now, but honestly I prefer the local radio station over everything. I do have a bunch of Metallica CDs in the car.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 6th, 2018, 7:28 pm

Seems just like game manuals, liner notes seem to have become a thing of the past.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby newmodelarmy » December 6th, 2018, 8:12 pm

Great topic. I am a HUGE music fan and think I have fairly eclectic tastes. I grew up in the 80's so my focus is on music during those years plus or minus a few. Anyway, about five years ago I went digital. At one point I had 700 to 800 cd's and even though I kept them organized I just did not want them in the house anymore. My main reasoning was all I did was buy a cd, rip it to i-tunes and then listen via my phone. All the ways I listen to music are wireless now and all 7,000+ plus songs are stored on my MacBook and my iPhone, so easy! That being said, like video game instructions, I do miss liner notes and album cover art. I wasn't a big vinyl guy when I was a kid but I do have fond memories pouring over the artwork and dissecting the lyrics. The other thing I like about digital music is that I don't have to buy the entire album if I am just interested in a few songs.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby bluenote » December 7th, 2018, 9:33 am

I'm a big music fan and self confessed "audiophile". I have a good sized cd collection and modest record collection. A few things I've noted:

-I don't think most people can hear the benefits of vinyl unless they have a proper stereo (stereo receiver turntable and good speakers).

- albums that were recorded in analogue (generally 1985 and earlier) typically sound better on vinyl. I am hard pressed to hear any difference between vinyl and CDs for albums recorded digitally (1985 to present). 99% of albums today are recorded digitally

- the question of what sounds better, cd or vinyl, is a question that is always will be debated among audiophiles. My main takeaway is it comes down to how it's mastered. A well mastered cd can sound wonderful. However some CDs use a lot of compression nowadays with mastering which means that the quietist part of the recording is levelled up to match the loudest which means there are no dynamics. This makes it sound harsh. Vinyl does not do this, because the medium makes it impossible.

Having said all that I still actually prefer CDs in most cases. The cost of new records (usually $30) is too cost prohibitive for me.

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Re: Records vs. CDs vs. digital music

Postby Retro STrife » December 7th, 2018, 10:19 am

To echo bluenote's point, most people make the mistake of assuming that all vinyl sounds better than CDs, but it actually depends on how it is recorded. If you buy a new vinyl album, chances are it won't sound any better than a CD, because they're both recorded digitally. To illustrate that, I once saw a demonstration about that at a radio museum that I visited. The museum had this super high-end stereo and speakers from like the 70s or 80s, and they put Herb Albert's "Taste of Honey" on the record player, which is an instrumental pop standard song from 1965 with lots of brass instruments. It was the most amazing sound I had ever heard come through a speaker. I couldn't believe it. Then, he pulled out an Adele vinyl album that just came out in the past few years and he put it on the exact same record player and stereo system. Despite Adele's excellent vocals, it wasn't even close to "Taste of Honey". It sounded much flatter and less dynamic. Why? Because the album was record digitally. His point was, they don't make vinyl records like they used to, and a great stereo system is only as good as the source of the music... So buying new albums on vinyl is completely pointless, at least from a sound quality perspective.

My father is quite the record collector, with hundreds and hundreds of them; it's one of his main hobbies. Records are before my time, but from him I have a little knowledge about them, and have put together a very modest collection of them on my end (50-100 albums). But I definitely prefer CDs. I don't pick up any difference in audio quality on my cheap stereo system -- and CDs are cheaper, more convenient, and less likely to damage. I don't buy any albums digitally - like with games, I want to own it on physical media. However, I do rip the songs off the CDs and put them on my phone, which is ultimately how I listen to them.

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