Here are 10 things vinyl we felt have been much misunderstood by vinylphiles, especially new comers. This list is not exhaustive and much vinyl myths have been documented (hint: Google). Correcting these basic understandings would put you on the right track and should you hear these distortions repeated by someone you know, please help him to re-align.
|10||Vinyl Beats the Crap Out of CD
False, if we are comparing the current crop of LP to CD. Regrettably, the newer release of music in vinyl is nothing but mostly average to below average stuff in pressing quality. Wrong again, if you assume this could be achieved just because you have an analogue system. Unlike digital, which is basically a computer system i.e. plug-and-play, a turntable system is a mechanical device and if it is not setup accurately, it could easily sound inferior to any digital system, even cheaper ones.
|9||Vinyl Should Be Warm Sounding
We often hear this coming from digital diehards and/or audiophiles having their first tastes of a high-end analogue system. By claiming vinyl being ‘warm’ sounding gives us the impression that one expects vinyl to be coloured, untruth to the real sound and of lower resolution. How far this is from the truth! First of all, vinyl’s has far more resolution than the standard redbook CD. As a result, a good analogue system is capable of producing all the extended frequencies, tall and wide imagery with clear focus, much more than digital is capable of. Would this become un-analogue as a result?
|8||Vinyl Degrades After XX Play
We put this question across to a very famous cartridge maker recently. He didn’t reply with a magic number i.e. the number of plays but he cited his very own case to answer our question. We found that he has been using the same copy of Hi-Fi Test Record for the past 37 years, since he started building cartridges. To emphasize his point, he told us that every cart that he has built ran through it. Makes me think if I would ever use my spare copy.
|7||Japanese Vinyl Is Often Bright And Flat Sounding
First of all, any country that presses vinyl would have their fair share of bad sounding pressing but to say the Japanese has been consistent in this, is criminal. Have these doubters heard some Japan-only Jazz labels like TBM, Audiolab, LOB (just to name a few) or the Japanese treatment of LP by the Beatles, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin etc to make them so desirable in the used market? Going by so many vinylphiles who swear by Japan-only print, could they all be wrong?
|6||Thicker the Vinyl, Better the Sound
One of my favourite trick to surprise unsuspecting vinylphiles is to play them an excellent sounding LP and later show them how thin the record is. One fine example is Paul McCartney’s Unofficial Bootleg Unplugged. It is just 1mm thick. Also, LPs from UK’s Virgin label are often crispy thin but they sound good too. Really, there is no correlation between vinyl thickness and sound quality. In fact, the thicker the vinyl (e.g 200g), the more difficult it is to flatten it, should that be needed.
|5||Vinyl Is High Maintenance, About Ticks And Pops
This is half-truth. The answer is Yes, if you compare it with the silver disc. But after you’ve run your LP through a good wet cleaning vacuum machine, store it in a relatively dry and airy place, it wouldn’t need another wash in another 12-18 months. So unless your LP is really badly beaten up, which no amount of cleaning could save, any old and dirty record (assuming no internal injury), can be restored to its original glory with very minimum ticks and pops.
|4||Vinyl Playback Is Forever Plagued By Inner Track Distortion
We find this so laughable when we heard comments that such and such LP were pressed defectively and would play with distortion from this track onwards. Perhaps, those 2 tracks per side 45rpm lavish LP was developed for these consumers to compensate their less than accurate alignment and thereby making LP more friendly for their casual setup. To set the record straight, although the amount of distortion is computable throughout play (assuming radial tracking), IGD is largely unnoticeable when your analogue system is setup accurately, period. [Click here] for our earlier IGD article for more information.
|3||Vinyl Done Digitally Is No Better Than CD
To dispel this myth, there is no better way than to listen (or even lookup) to some of digitally done audiophile A-list LPs that appear time and again on “LP Bible” publications or LP 2Die4 lists. Labels like Telarc, RealTime Records, Philips (digital), Denon PCM, Archiv Produkion, GRP are some of the famous labels dedicated to digital recordings. Have a listen and write them off at your loss.
|2||Greatest Hits Vinyl Ain’t Great
Strange but true, the more LPs we shifted, the more we realise that there are so many really decent greatest hits titles that we’ve missed or dismissed. Greatest hits are a great fast path to catch up and as long as the LP comes from the artiste’s original label and not having one too many tracks squeezed onto each side, you’ve a good bet. If you want a few pop/rock titles to get you going, try Bob Dylan, Bread, Peter, Paul & Mary, America, Fleetwood Mac, The Doors, The Rolling Stones. Enough?
|1||Vinyl Is Back In the Mainstream
Let’s not kid ourselves, vinyl would remain in the niche market from now till evermore For the first time, digital music revenue in the UK have outstripped physical sales. During the 1st quarter of 2012, a total of £156m was spent on music, 55.5% of which was for digital product (source: Classic Rock magazine, issue 173). In this age of connectivity and convenience, this global trend would only grow.