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What's behind the resurgence of vinyl?

AlexK

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Oct 23, 2019
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Like many people of my generation, I have a collection of vinyl that I just couldn't part with. Nostalgia, I suppose, but it's also been in the packing boxes for a few moves now.

Suddenly I see a major resurgence of vinyl and record players. What is old and new again, but I remember when we gave up records in favor of higher definition and clarity. We also gave up the fragility of records, the scratches, the skips...

What drove this movement? I am intensely interested in this reverse revolution from an intellectual perspective.
 

nigelgladstone58

Active member
Oct 28, 2019
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Hi,

I own a collection of 3000+ records. Many will say it's all about "the warm sound" but I personally feel it's almost like collecting art. Many album covers are a true masterpiece and I always appreciate all the artwork that comes with a record. It also kind of forces you to listen to a full song and or album rather than skipping the tracks on your phone all the time...
 

sward

Administrator
Staff member
Oct 22, 2019
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I'm so tempted to start collecting vinyl but I hear when you start you can't stop and it's expensive!
 
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jpishgar

Active member
Oct 22, 2019
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I feel it's a combination of things - vinyl is a tactile experience, combined with the auditory. There's something to holding the "music" in your hands, similar to the appeal of a book as opposed to e-reader. Random discovery at the record store, the nostalgia factor, and the exposure to dust literally changes the sound of the piece over time, making each listen technically unique.

And there's just something satisfying about seeing that arm lift up, move over, and settle down on the groove.
 

inias

Active member
Oct 28, 2019
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I am a recent convert to hifi and jumped straight into vinyl. I agree with the above, vinyl brings a sense of nostalgia, ownership, and the physical connection with your music that other formats lack to a certain degree. I am also fascinated by the cool artwork on vinyl albums and the added info/pictures that come with some.
 
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chris_bates1974

Moderator
Feb 28, 2013
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It never went away for me. The only difference is that it is now much easier to buy records, although of course, they are much more expensive.

The only downside is the sheer number being presented on 2 discs. My most recent purchase (Eat the Elephant by A Perfect Circle) is one such example.... Luckily I can also use a digital version, but I do prefer to listen to the record.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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I never gave up on LPs. I don’t find it easy to call records ‘vinyls’ any more than I can call CDs ‘polycarbonates’!

The younger generation seem to be behind the resurgence, but I read that about half of new purchases are never played. That didn’t happen in my day!
I see it as a move against the non-ownership of streaming and the transient nature of downloads. A physical product has a permanence, and the handling is part of the whole experience.

The formality of playing records reminds me of dressing up for a concert, versus listening of the kitchen radio.
 

chris_bates1974

Moderator
Feb 28, 2013
96
34
10,570
I never gave up on LPs. I don’t find it easy to call records ‘vinyls’ any more than I can call CDs ‘polycarbonates’!

The younger generation seem to be behind the resurgence, but I read that about half of new purchases are never played. That didn’t happen in my day!
I see it as a move against the non-ownership of streaming and the transient nature of downloads. A physical product has a permanence, and the handling is part of the whole experience.

The formality of playing records reminds me of dressing up for a concert, versus listening of the kitchen radio.
Agree entirely - it's always been records for me! Funny though, I enjoy the "ownership" aspect much more than I ever did with CDs - perhaps the size lends a certain something?

(Good to see you about these parts again!)
 
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Alex

The vinyl resurgence has been around for about 15 years now, so it’s far from ‘sudden’. I suppose when other companies jump on the bandwagon and cheap decks appear everywhere, it may seem sudden though.

I think part of it came about after the boom in MP3 (mainly due to Napster) and the illegal file share sites of the time. ‘Computer people’ who used these sites didn’t seem too bothered about sound quality, preferring smaller file sizes for quick downloading. Compressed music didn’t seem too much of an issue at the time as products people use every day had been lowering sound quality - TVs were getting thinner, so speakers used in them were getting small and flatter, producing thin, weedy sound systems. This was the norm for about 10 years, and from this, music streaming services started to appear. I’m not sure exactly what kick started it, but hearing records after this period made them sound pretty damn amazing! A lot of people realised what they had been missing all this time, and dug their old records out the loft and got back into it.

I know records aren’t the most neutral sounding medium, but they sound “natural” - their frequency extremes are gradually rolled off, dynamics smoothed a little, making them sound a little easier on the ear. Midrange sounds tend to be a little more prominent, which I feel is possibly the reason some people class vinyl as “organic”. Certainly, if you compare the likes of Boards Of Canada on CD and vinyl, it’s almost a different experience (to those who know the music well). Back in the 90s, I was used to hearing Tears For Fears’ Seeds Of Love album on CD - I picked up a used copy on vinyl some years later and it was like listening to a different album! Funnily, one of my first thoughts when hearing it was, “so that’s what it’s supposed to sound like!”.

As mentioned, it’s also quite possible that people are looking to vinyl as a protest against music streaming services (“music rental”, as I call it). But I think if this was the case, CD sales wouldn’t be dropping.

For me, when listening to the likes of Foo Fighters and heavier rock type music, drums seem to sound better. More specifically, crash cymbals. Much of the time when listening to CD or streaming services, drums just sound like they come from the front face of the speaker, giving a flat performance, but on vinyl, drums seem to have a certain depth in the overall image, and crash cymbals certainly don’t seem come from the drive units, it’s like they’re set back slightly. It’s hard to explain, it I’ve had people agree with me on that before, so I know it’s not me being crazy :)
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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Agree entirely - it's always been records for me! Funny though, I enjoy the "ownership" aspect much more than I ever did with CDs - perhaps the size lends a certain something?

(Good to see you about these parts again!)
I love LPs and love listening to them, the feel, the tone, personality they acquire. They become yours after you buy them, every scratch a memento of a too riotous party. After a while your record has a sound that you recognize over another copy, it's familiar, it's part of you, your memories, your history. CDs aren't like that, they're always exactly as the they were recorded, unchanging.

Now don't get me wrong, I still love CDs - I rip them, put them on the NAS so I can play them whenever, however, wherever I like... And that's great, and it means I listen to far more music than I ever did. And thanks to Spotify, I sample more types of music than I ever would have.

But.

When I want to listen, really listen to an album, I put the LP on the turntable...
 

eagle123

Well-known member
May 4, 2012
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I bought a technics sl1200g still waiting for it to come but in the meantime have bought records and accessories such as cleaning and caring for records.
I have listened to a demo of the technics 1200gr at the dealers and my impression is u cant hardly hear any surface noise the sound has depth and was enjoying to the music.
My take of vinyl is that it really a 1st gen master and cds tend to plot a sound wave digitally but not have sounds that are natural. A cd will play let say a violin and will sound like a violin but a record will add a little bit of extra as cds are limited to 20khz.
 

sebrouen

Well-known member
Sep 25, 2007
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I have been buying records since 1980 and apart from the rise in prices (cds cost roughly now what lps used to cost) I have never had a problem purchasing vinyl.

For me, like a previous post said, if l really want to listen to music I put an lp on the deck. For convience sake, commuting and so forth most people use a smart phone to play their music.
To be honest we are awash with music everywhere we go and everything we watch. And it this ubiquitous nature of contemporary music that for me taking time out to fully appreciate music can only be garnered by listening to vinyl.
On a side note, recorded on my old yamaha tape deck using a sony metal tape, roy haynes, dave Holland and pat Metheney album. I was astounded by the sheer clarity and immediacy of the music I was listening to and this was on a used sony walkman I bought on ebay!
 

Tonestar1

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Nov 4, 2008
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After many years of deliberating I purchased a Roksan Radius 5.1 via gumtree last year. My thinking was I wouldn't lose much if I didn't take to it and could easily sell it on. Probably doesn't get used as much as it should as I don't get much free time outside of work but there's nothing better than sitting down with a handful of records, nice glass of malt and just relaxing whilst listening to a full album. It wont be getting sold on anytime soon that's for sure. It is costing me a fair bit in new music purchases though but charity shop digging and record fairs are all part of the fun.
 

scene

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Sep 25, 2008
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According to a YouGov survey in 2016 it’s mostly middle-[aged] men who buy records and half of those purchasing records never play them ...

*sigh*
Man - tick
Middle-aged - tick
BUT: I have turntable and play/have played all of my records.
 

Jimboo

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2019
510
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770
Like many people of my generation, I have a collection of vinyl that I just couldn't part with. Nostalgia, I suppose, but it's also been in the packing boxes for a few moves now.

Suddenly I see a major resurgence of vinyl and record players. What is old and new again, but I remember when we gave up records in favor of higher definition and clarity. We also gave up the fragility of records, the scratches, the skips...

What drove this movement? I am intensely interested in this reverse revolution from an intellectual perspective.
That is a good question. The answer often given is artwork , tactile , owning records are more enjoyable as a product.
The sound is warmer or organic and natural.
What is forgotten is that as soon as cd came onto the market the joy of records became redundant. I felt that a two thousand pound record player meant you heard the crackles better . In truth pops and clicks or the odd rumble are nothing more than an annoyance. Louder moments are fine , quieter passages leave you waiting for the static or pop to deliver an icepick to the head causing a level of rage that makes you punch the chair arm.
The obsession with hi Res and khz quality in high end components and the audiophile rush to subscribe to them suggests that wax is spoken by many lyrically but the listening is in the bit not the grooves for many.
Of course there is always a gazillion bottles of snake oil that will eliminate any worries you may have concerning keeping the record as good as the digital rival.
 
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priam

Well-known member
Oct 26, 2016
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20 years ago people predicted the death of vinyl, 10 years ago, people predicted the death of CDs. These mediums just don't die, it's a weird combination of nostalgia and new age interest.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
374
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20 years ago people predicted the death of vinyl, 10 years ago, people predicted the death of CDs. These mediums just don't die, it's a weird combination of nostalgia and new age interest.
For some its nostalgia but that in itself is not the only reason, and neither is it really new age age interest (if you mean 20 somethings). I think many miss one of the most important age groups out, that quite possibly is driving this so called revival forward.

They are the people there in the 30-40's starting to have some disposable income that are to young and don't remember there parents listening to records. And/or really only grew up on a diet of digital and analogue cassettes, People like me! My parents owned records but i don't remember them playing them at all and when i was old enough to remember, they'd moved over to CD with a cassette player built into the unit (some JVC all in one, they still have it). Digital was all i knew CD, minidisc ( actually got me in to the hifi game) mp3, flac, wav, DSD whatever you name it, its all i knew and probably many many others

I actually have more nostalgia over those formats then any record (lp, vinyl what ever the buzz word is). I actually only listened to a record for the first time properly a few years ago (as strange as it sounds) since then I've been hooked. Digital to me is boring now, its everywhere its almost like static noise now (actually finding it hard to just listen), sure i have dac and a good one (chord qutest) but i use spotify mostly to find things i like and then buy the records if i really like it the sound. And most of the time its a 2 for, you tend to get download codes which mostly turn out to be CD quality WAV/FLAC downloads (even when they say mp3 on the ticket adding confusion) eg Lana del rays NFR coming with a CD quality download along with the new Foals album and many other recent releases. so actually make more sense to buy the record in some ways.

Any serious listening these days is done on the turntable. And i built a whole system round it with a sugden class A a21 sig, Klipsch heresy3, technics 1200gr with m2 black and a soon to be chord huie on the shelf
and its the best my music has ever sounded and above all the family really enjoys it. the release notes easy to read lyrics and other collectables that come with it. Funky colour discs.

Im not saying its really any better but its not "boring" in regards to keeping my/families attention and we actually listening to a whole album. Digital i don't know we're just not as engaged it difficult to explain but that another discussion for another time.

Records will be around for a long time and so will CD's and im sure there will be a CD "revival", maybe my children will be part of that. But in a day and age where its actually easier to buy a turn table than a CD player why do people wonder why records are always being discussed. Maybe its a conspiracy
 
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Jimboo

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Oct 29, 2019
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Interesting reading millennia , a few of the re-issues I tried are of a poorer 'vinyl' sound than the original , Buzzcocks first album being the worst culprit , it's just dead sounding. Of course inmho new vinyl and a lot of the issue presses are just cd production and sound presented as a record. It is as always down to the production.
I don't understand how you use Spotify ( lossy format) own a chord qutest and find digital noise? While happy you have a digital download for free. I, through trial and error buy second hand vinyl if it was originally a vinyl release and cd for anything not originally on vinyl. The modern records as I said are digital files put onto wax , which isn't how it was back in the day.
 

Rapscallion

Active member
Nov 14, 2019
8
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It is a fashion statement.
Not many people have a quality system or care about audio fidelity.
There is also quite a lot of music hard to find on digital platforms that is available in charity shops and junk sales.
A lot of people who collected vinyl are now dying off and the record collections probably go to the grand children.
Also I am lead to believe that some DJ's like to "Scratch".
The record player is still being made and there is some very expensive stuff.
 

GeoffreyW

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2005
143
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18,595
I like the way that improvements to my TT (usually) give improvements in sound from my LPs.
I've been surprised at just how much detail is in those grooves, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Even my old 45s sound so much better now than on my Garrard SP25, which was one of the reasons why I haven't played them for years.
Pops and clicks are unavoidable, I think, just do the best to minimise them.
The recent surge of reissues is costing me a considerable amount, but generally sound quality is improved on them, but careful research is needed to determine the best sources, and even then quality is not guaranteed. But, even my 75 y.o. ears can still detect improvements.
I can't tell whether I will be able to significantly improve on my present system, but even so I think that whatever happens to it after I'm done with it, will have a good place to start in music reproduction.
 

Rapscallion

Active member
Nov 14, 2019
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25
For some its nostalgia but that in itself is not the only reason, and neither is it really new age age interest (if you mean 20 somethings). I think many miss one of the most important age groups out, that quite possibly is driving this so called revival forward.

They are the people there in the 30-40's starting to have some disposable income that are to young and don't remember there parents listening to records. And/or really only grew up on a diet of digital and analogue cassettes, People like me! My parents owned records but i don't remember them playing them at all and when i was old enough to remember, they'd moved over to CD with a cassette player built into the unit (some JVC all in one, they still have it). Digital was all i knew CD, minidisc ( actually got me in to the hifi game) mp3, flac, wav, DSD whatever you name it, its all i knew and probably many many others

I actually have more nostalgia over those formats then any record (lp, vinyl what ever the buzz word is). I actually only listened to a record for the first time properly a few years ago (as strange as it sounds) since then I've been hooked. Digital to me is boring now, its everywhere its almost like static noise now (actually finding it hard to just listen), sure i have dac and a good one (chord qutest) but i use spotify mostly to find things i like and then buy the records if i really like it the sound. And most of the time its a 2 for, you tend to get download codes which mostly turn out to be CD quality WAV/FLAC downloads (even when they say mp3 on the ticket adding confusion) eg Lana del rays NFR coming with a CD quality download along with the new Foals album and many other recent releases. so actually make more sense to buy the record in some ways.

Any serious listening these days is done on the turntable. And i built a whole system round it with a sugden class A a21 sig, Klipsch heresy3, technics 1200gr with m2 black and a soon to be chord huie on the shelf
and its the best my music has ever sounded and above all the family really enjoys it. the release notes easy to read lyrics and other collectables that come with it. Funky colour discs.

Im not saying its really any better but its not "boring" in regards to keeping my/families attention and we actually listening to a whole album. Digital i don't know we're just not as engaged it difficult to explain but that another discussion for another time.

Records will be around for a long time and so will CD's and im sure there will be a CD "revival", maybe my children will be part of that. But in a day and age where its actually easier to buy a turn table than a CD player why do people wonder why records are always being discussed. Maybe its a conspiracy
Exact.
One of my favourite bands only made a few albums and they managed to sell them on vinyl , CD and streaming......They have lots of money....good trick.
 

Rapscallion

Active member
Nov 14, 2019
8
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25
I'm so tempted to start collecting vinyl but I hear when you start you can't stop and it's expensive!
All vinyl will be just a CD pressed into plastic. ie digitally mastered.
A record player is a very old and poor recovery method for music.
The bass (and treble) from the speakers affects the record player but on digital SSD there is no possibility to affect the bass.
Digital is the best method for recovery and quality.
If you like a bandwith limited sound then vinyl is for you but it is not modern Hi-Fi at all.
You can get 100's of 44.1KHz recordings on a 1TB SSD and 100's of vinyl albums are taking up a lot of space.
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
374
148
11,070
Interesting reading millennia , a few of the re-issues I tried are of a poorer 'vinyl' sound than the original , Buzzcocks first album being the worst culprit , it's just dead sounding. Of course inmho new vinyl and a lot of the issue presses are just cd production and sound presented as a record. It is as always down to the production.
I don't understand how you use Spotify ( lossy format) own a chord qutest and find digital noise? While happy you have a digital download for free. I, through trial and error buy second hand vinyl if it was originally a vinyl release and cd for anything not originally on vinyl. The modern records as I said are digital files put onto wax , which isn't how it was back in the day.
re Spotify and the qutest, remember i said i come from a digital diet listening to MP3, Cd's, wav flac and so on. So it stands to reason i have a massed a sizeable digital library and having no CD player the discs are ripped to the computer hence the dac. Spofity sounds ok and i use as a cheap way to discover my music as its the streaming platform with the largest library. hopefully that clarifies a little

Edit forgot to mention that i realise that records are effectively digital rips. BUT if you read or talk to mastering engineers, those records are more often that not mastered differently and they have to be because of the limitations of the format, so more often than not but not always, you get better quality reproduction of that said album (again maybe probably). And you mention about back in the day, my understanding was that digital recording crept in very early on, as early as the mid 70's i believe so don't really get your point. I have one or 2 albums (not sure about one) that are mastered in the analogue domain and to be honest i coudn't reliable tell you if i was listen to a digital flac or the record if i was blind folded. Its just a very good recording

but thats not really what this OP was really asking he was asking what are driving forces behind vinyl. Not the pitfalls of the format of which there are many.
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
374
148
11,070
It is a fashion statement.
Not many people have a quality system or care about audio fidelity.
There is also quite a lot of music hard to find on digital platforms that is available in charity shops and junk sales.
A lot of people who collected vinyl are now dying off and the record collections probably go to the grand children.
Also I am lead to believe that some DJ's like to "Scratch".
The record player is still being made and there is some very expensive stuff.
I resent that statement, me owning what i have is not fashion statement (or for others) i worked hard to save for what i have and i care greatly about the sound that is reproduced, I wouldn't be here otherwise. No i don't have a golden ear and dont go out of my way to really analyse a track (never really understood why people do that its not fun to pick out all the flaws), the speakers i own aren't really for that, if wanted that i would have purchased a monitoring set up from PMC or some such. I bought the chord generally because it actually sounded nice and i got it for a steal when trading in some other gear.

Im well aware that records are mostly recorded digitally BUT i counter that by saying that they've been doing that since the golden age of vinyl as well and its also very hard to tell in al honesty. But the turntable still reproduces the information in a very different way, maybe because of the limitation of the format making for nicer perceived sound over all. Just maybe they had it right back in the day?

But for me (maybe not you) vinyl is where i currently get most of my enjoyment out of my music i like reading the info and band notes and looking at the incredible artworks.
 

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