Is it time to Ditch Vinyl?

Is it Time to Dump Vinyl?

  • Yes. High Res digital streaming is better and here to stay.

    Votes: 16 40.0%
  • No way man. Vinyl is still king.

    Votes: 4 10.0%
  • Embrace all formats, even 8-Track!

    Votes: 20 50.0%

  • Total voters
    40
A

Austrokiwi

Audiophyte
Intellectually I can't dispute the autors argument. However the author , as do many these days, fails to adress one factor that has long been forgotten in hifi; the Psychology and function of perception. For a long time I have been trying to work out why records sound better to me than CDs or tidal, I can't discount nostalgia but I think another factor is at play that has been poorly researched, simply put; all the faults of records actually make the music being played more interesting to the perceptual system. I won't go into all the examples but our perceptual system is designed for a fight or flight world. What grabs our perceptual systems interest is unpredictability/change. To ensure we can see our eyes vibrate at 50cycles a second, when experiemnts were done that stabilised images on the retina... the stabilised image disappears from view... its being seen just the lack of change sees our peceptual system edit it out. I would love to see modern research on it but I believe the very faults of records make our percetual systems attend more to the music produced from that media than more accurate media.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
Intellectually I can't dispute the autors argument. However the author , as do many these days, fails to adress one factor that has long been forgotten in hifi; the Psychology and function of perception. For a long time I have been trying to work out why records sound better to me than CDs or tidal, I can't discount nostalgia but I think another factor is at play that has been poorly researched, simply put; all the faults of records actually make the music being played more interesting to the perceptual system. I won't go into all the examples but our perceptual system is designed for a fight or flight world. What grabs our perceptual systems interest is unpredictability/change. To ensure we can see our eyes vibrate at 50cycles a second, when experiemnts were done that stabilised images on the retina... the stabilised image disappears from view... its being seen just the lack of change sees our peceptual system edit it out. I would love to see modern research on it but I believe the very faults of records make our percetual systems attend more to the music produced from that media than more accurate media.
I think the word you're looking for is "psychoacoustics". The branch of psychophysics involving the scientific study of sound perception and audiology —how humans perceive various sounds. More specifically, it is the branch of science studying the psychological responses associated with sound (including noise, speech, and music). It's a subject that you'll find several threads and articles on here if you search a bit. Dr Floyd Toole of Harman literally wrote the book on it.

Vinyl preference over other sources is pretty subjective and you'll find proponents of both here, but ultimately digital is by and large considered a superior format. There's something to be said about expectation bias and placebo too. Then again, some just like handling the physical media and watching the needle slide in the groove. The occasional pop or crackle can actually sound kinda cool and hits you in the nostalgia feelers.

*PS, a link to the book I referenced.
 
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A

Austrokiwi

Audiophyte
I am a psychologist but its a long time since I looked at perception. In my university days it was called the psychology of perception. I di think you may have missed the main point. Vinyl may well be percieved better that digital formats because it lacks the accuracy of those better formats. I suspect that with digital formats the music is more predictable( with regards the perceptual system) and as a result is not attended to ( by the perceptual system). Vinyl with its faults creates a less "predictable sound, and triggers the perceptual system to keep on attending to the music.
 
Billydfish

Billydfish

Audiophyte
In my world there's a place for both. There's no doubt that streaming platforms have let me find whole new veins of musical gold that I may not have found otherwise. It lets me access a vast amount of music quickly, cheaply and easily. It's convenient, transportable and I'd never want to lose that.
But ... When I really want to listen to music, if I've got it on vinyl, that's what I'll choose. Now it may be that my hi-fi setup is comparatively modest (and comparatively old) but a couple of years ago when I brought my turntable out from it's dust covers in the attic and hooked it up again to spin summer is favourites I had that same 'wow!' factor experience that I had when I plugged in and fired up my first CD player. But for different reasons.
Back then we were wowed by the absence of pops, cracks, static crackles, floor noise and rumble that CD brought us.
When I went back to try vinyl the wow was because of the breadth and definition of the soundstage, the lack of compression , the space around instruments that allowed them to remain defined and pinpointed no matter what else was going on around them, and not least brought back the 'pop' that I remembered from old favourite tracks that somehow seemed to have dulled when bought in CD format.
I soon bought a semi decent record cleaner too which killed off the crackles and pops on old and well-played cherished recordings to a surprising and pleasing degree too.

I've seen and heard arguments both ways about the comparative dynamic range of CD Vs Vinyl by far more intelligent people than myself, but my ears tell me that my vinyl , played on my turntable has more dynamic range - or maybe dynamic granularity than my digital sources - be that on CD or streamed.

I have recent recordings ('point' by yello) that to my ears have that same edge to them on vinyl- so it can't be per se a digital Vs analogue thing as that recording will have been in the digital domain throughout. But maybe it is the case that you have to get pretty exotic in the digital domain (48 bit 192khz) to get to a point that a more modest turntable/arm/cartridge setup can achieve.

As others have pointed out, the physicality and extra effort you have to go to also perhaps makes you commit more to - and thus get out of- the experience.

Finally , there's one immutable fact. Sound waves are analogue! So any digital storage and retrieval mechanism is going to be a facsimile.

If I had to choose and only have one - I think I'd probably end up going for the convenience of streamed, but it would be with a heavy heart.

Capitalism loves numbers and acronyms, it really helps make us keep replacing stuff. So you can be tempted to spend thousands on the latest 8K TV with 240Hz refresh rate and a bazillion NITS , HDR etc. And it will be a lovely thing, but I'll bet that if you get the opportunity to watch a decent CRT now, you'd find the fluidity and smoothness of motion a revelation. If you've got a good size, decent quality CRT in your loft you might be surprised at how much an avid gamer will pay you for it!
 
Billydfish

Billydfish

Audiophyte
Another really important point too. And this is not about quality, it's about ownership and perpetuity.

Music that you really love-you should own.
By all means you can then stream it for convenience.(either from an online steaming service or from your own streaming service).

  • If you own your own copies then only you can lose yourself access to it.
  • You can still listen to it if your streaming service goes under
  • You can pass your collection on when you die
  • You can still listen to it when your broadband goes down
  • You can still listen to it when the internet collapses.
  • You can still listen to it if streaming services choose to remove that content due to content rotation, deals expiring, or for editorial purposes (you can guarantee this is coming to music next).
  • You are making sure the artist gets some just reward for the music you enjoy.
 

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