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Vinyl vs. CD


Vinyl vs. CD
Photo by Steve Cole/Getty Images

by Robert G. Benson

As a lover of vinyl, no one will convince me that there is anything that sounds better. Vinyl was custom made for the human ear. I live for the sound, I love the ambience a record album exudes: the jacket, the art, and yes, even the hisses, crackles and pops -- to me, all are a part of the music.

Even the hum or drone of an old amplifier, this is how the music was created, so yes, it will sound this way. But CDs do offer the option of portability (you can’t play vinyl in your car) so they do offer something.

Jay Self, of Hudson, Illinois, has loved vinyl records as long as he can remember. He shared with me something that stood out in his mind about an article he saw about a gentleman who owned a record store in Wisconsin. "He said that a CD was like walking into a room with a high-watt, bare light bulb illuminating every nook and cranny in the room. An LP was like walking into the same room, but with soft indirect lighting that bathed you in the warmth of its glow."

As more and more independent record stores are closing their doors across the country, it is because the sales of CDs have plummeted, not because vinyl sales have gone down. On the contrary, it is the sale of vinyl and the resurgence of the record album that is keeping some of these independent stores open.

It is a strange music world we live in. There has been and is a major upheaval in the way consumers discover, purchase and listen to music. People listening to music on their cell phones and fitting their music collections in their pockets with portable iPods and MP3 players. Digitization, it seems, is the new distribution process for most with file sharing, ring tones, YouTube, iTunes, MySpace, Satellite radio and downloading is the only option for some.

The subject of vinyl vs. CD will be debated long after you and I are gone. But you’ll never take the vinyl lover out of me.

Next page - where to find vinyl records

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