Should Vinyl come back?

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James Ward, Staff Reporter

Vinyl records are a music format that was popular throughout the 1950s and into the 1980s, but became less and less popular with the success of CDs. Now vinyl is coming back with new people wanting to experience the format, but is it worth the analog sound?

 

Buying a new pressing of a record can cost around $20-50, that’s a lot of money when you could just buy the album for $10 digitally.

 

When playing vinyl, it can get scratched extremely easily and will skip every time it hits that scratch, and if the vinyl isn’t clean, you can get lots of fuzz and crackling. These can be inconveniences, as the part of the record is ruined when you scratch it, and when it isn’t clean there will be lots of pops that interfere with the music playing. On the other hand, CDs can still get scratched but not as easily, and MP3 files can’t get scratched or dirty.

 

Many enthusiasts of vinyl will say that the format sounds better than digital; in some cases that’s true, but when it comes to high frequencies and low frequencies it’s better on digital. When playing newer music that have big bass drops on vinyl, it can cause the needle to bounce up and down which isn’t good for the record; it also causes the music to stop since the needle bounces off the record. In some cases higher frequencies such as high hats on drums can just sound like a high crackle of distortion. On digital music these problems don’t exist as long as the recording was on digital.

 

To play vinyl, you have to put it on a turntable and put a needle on it to get it to play, but if you put the needle down too hard you can scratch the record or even ruin the needle resulting in having to buy a new needle, or even a new turntable.

 

When playing the records, you need to have equipment to even be able to listen to them, such as a turntable, a receiver (it will need a amplifier in it or it won’t play), a pre-amplifier if the receiver doesn’t have an amp, headphones and speakers. Being able to play the records can be very expensive.

 

Records also take up lots of space when you have many of them and can be a fire hazard since the cases and sleeves are often made of paper.

 

Overall, records are a big hassle, higher and lower frequencies aren’t very good, and can cost a lot of money just to be able to listen to them.  Vinyl is a seductive media for hipsters and the like, but why buy them when you can get an album digitally that costs less to buy and only needs a phone to play it on?