Are records on their way out, finally?
So, apparently we don’t know yet. I’ve always been a CD person, myself. Some of my friends are record junkies, but I’ve never fully understood why. I did recently finally start to believe that records can sound better than CDs.
It really boils down to a digital vs. analog format question, and the digital side typically restricts it’s range of frequencies to those that can be heard by the human ear. It does make sense to me now that analog can have a richer sound, mainly because the supposedly “inaudible” frequencies can still have an effect on what we hear. For example: when mixing and post-processing a recorded track those inaudible frequencies can still impact the audible range. An example might be when equalizing the track – some audio may now come into the audible range that wasn’t previously. I guess that’s partially an argument for analog recording but perhaps not an analog final product.
Will I start buying records now? Of course not. I’m definitely willing to accept very slightly lower sound quality for the convenience of CDs. I’m not going to install a record playing in my car or lug all that stuff around.
Contrary to most people these days I haven’t fully jumped on the mp3 bandwagon. Sure, I copy all my CDs to mp3s for convenient playing while on the computer and on my player, but I’ve never gotten into mass downloading or purchasing online. I like owning the CD, or I guess some physical manifestiation of the music. This is partly because I know how fleeting something digital is, but mostly because I think music should be purchased. I don’t care about the legalities of it but artists do need to be paid or else we’ll lose full-time musicians. Yes, perhaps there are better schemes we could invent to get more of the money to where it belongs – the artists – but in absense of that we can’t just stop paying the artists. One solution is to buy from smaller labels, which naturally pay the artists a higher percentage per CD.