You had made that question, I had, and anybody interested in listening music in the best way had. What is the best format when for you to listen to an album of your favorite band?
I’m sorry to say that unfortunately, that question will not be answered in this article, or in any article really. The answer is in your head, the answer will depend on in so many things… That is why so many people struggle to set a verdict, that is the beauty of it
I have so many CDs and Vinyl in my collection, and both sound great with a decent stereo system, and better with a good pair of headphones
I want to share with you the things you have to consider when you’ll discuss this with your palls after a jamming session ️
Before you go through my reasons why CD format isn’t better than Vinyl format and vice versa. Remember that I’m not (unfortunately) a music engineer. These are the things I consider with my experience of listening to my albums several times. If you have something to say or object of my opinions be sure to let me know in the comment section or send me an email
1) One thing to consider is how the album was recorded. A band can go through the analog (Vinyl) and produce only the digital version (CD). I have heard that this process is cheaper, so bands go for it when they have a limited budget. Then when they want to release a Vinyl version they record it from the digital mastering. I own a couple of albums that are in this category (both in CD and Vinyl), I have to say that the CD version sounds significantly better, in the Vinyl version the audio is more compressed, sounds flat.
2) The flat audio of the analog version also appears when an old record is digitally remastered and released as Vinyl. If you are buying a Vinyl that is remastered, be sure that the record is remastered in analog. Trust me on this one
3) The audio in the CDs is the same from the first second until the last one. It is not the same story with the Vinyl. The best sound of the analog format you’ll find it at the beginning of the run. Somewhere close to the half of the Vinyl, the audio tends to compress more and more as the Vinyl gets into the end. This happens in the song “Fade To Black’ from Metallica’s album Ride The Lightning, at the final part of the song (where the double bass kicks in ) the audio sound compressed and ugly.. and it’s such a shame. This is one of the reasons why metal bands of the 70’s and 80’s started their albums with heavy songs and ended the side of the disc with softer tracks.
4) One disadvantage Vinyl has is that they get scratched easily if you don’t take care of them. You might get a copy from a reseller in an event that looks very good, but when you get home and listen to it, you hear a loop. Unfortunately for you, that event was a one day only thing and you have to keep your scratched copy (yes, this happened to me ). But luckily for Vinyls lovers, there is a way to make the scratches disappear, stay tuned for that
5) If you compare a CD with a Vinyl (promptly mastered), I have to say that the analog version sounds better, the audio is open, less compressed, and you can hear the instruments like the band were right in front of you.
Personal opinion: I prefer Vinyl. This is why:
1⃣ The artwork is bigger and you can hang it like it was a painting
2⃣ In most cases, the sound is better in my opinion
3⃣ You can get a code for downloading the digital version with a lot of Vinyl nowadays. This way you get the best of the two worlds
4⃣ You have to take care of your Vinyl. You should have to clean them, release the static on them, put them into plastic so they stay out of scratches… You think this is a bad thing? I found it to be the opposite because you’ll get a personal connection with your records. Or I am just crazy?
5⃣ CDs lack personality, is the same frequency of sound from the first second to the last one, you can’t expect a lot of surprises