Are vinyl records any good to listen to?

Which ones are good? I don’t know any old music but I’m interested but I don’t know what I would like. I like Alternative music the most, is there anything like that?

Answer #1

Vinyl records were known to be rather scratchy and the sound very dull in comparison to today’s compact discs. Seeing as the quality is so poor, it’s difficult to find a vinyl record today that has any modern music on it - “alternative” didn’t even exist back when vinyls were in use.

Answer #2

There are audiophiles who prefer the sound of vinyl. Vinyl sounds different from digital CDs but not necessarily better. The first CDs were bad; they sounded brittle and tinny. Much of the reputation for poor sound quality from CDs comes from early CD albums. As sound engineers got used to the new media they got better at mixing music for them. As Colleen pointed out dirt, scratches, and wear degraded sound though with high quality turntables, tonearms and styli and proper care vinyl albums and singles can sound very good and last for many playings.

Answer #3

Despite the scratchiness, vinyl (analog) recordings have more warmth (harmonics) than digital recordings (CDs). However, a digital recording of an analog recording will carry those same harmonics and be just as enjoyable to the listener. It’s mostly that analog equipment has some imperfections that lead to distortions that happen to sound very pleasant to the human ear.

Compare it to film quality versus digital quality in video. A soap opera is not done in film. It looks very real to us, stark, what you see is what you get. Film adds a graininess that we like, or a warmth.

Some of today’s audio recordings are actually processed through a tube or tape reel-to-reel to put some of the warmth back into the mix.

I think also, if I’m not mistaken, analog recordings can accomodate a much higher dynamic range. Hopefully someone will correct me if I’m wrong about that.

Anyway I got carried away because of Colleen’s comment about quality, and I know you were really asking about artists. Some old stuff that might appeal, if you like alternative music - Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Genesis, Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer, The Clash… lol, your parents might even be able to help.

Answer #4

Vinyl has its own set of limitations. CD’s can record frequencies from 2Hz to its Nyquist frequency of 22.5 kHz but most playback gear is only flat from about 20Hz to about 20kHz. Low frequency bearing rumble requires phonographs to filter out low frequencies limiting bass response (you will never hear phonographs send throbbing bass to subwoofers). High frequency response is limited by the quality of playback equipment and typically went up to 20kHz though the best equipment extended response as high as 30kHz. Stereo separation is rather poor on LPs meaning some of the left channel bleeds over to the right and vice versa. CD stereo separation is such that even at painfully high volumes cross-talk is inaudible. Dynamic range is greater on CDs. CDs have a theoretical dynamic range of 96 db while vinyl albums are much lower at 40-70 db with the outer tracks having wider dynamic range due to higher linear velocity. Since Vinyl and CDs have different limitations they have different characteristic sounds. In most objective measurements CDs are superior to vinyl but that does not mean that listeners will enjoy CDs more than vinyl.

Answer #5

Correction: CD sample rate is actually 44,100 Hz to the Nyquist frequency is 22.05 kHz rather than 22.5 kHz. CD trivia. Why 44.1 kHz? This allowed data files to be easily recorded on video tape which was the least expensive media available for this purpose in the early 1980’s. Why the 120mm diameter? This allowed a 74 minute recording of Beethoven’s 9th symphony to fit on a single disk (LPs only held 20min/side so it required 2 albums with distracting pauses to flip or change albums. The first audio CD ever made was Strauss’ Alpine Symphony.

Answer #6

Wow, where do you live, Colleen? Around here, the few brick-and-mortar music stores left have plenty of new vinyl by the hottest new “alternative” bands for sale (though the more mainstream, commercially successful music is only on CDs), not to mention a handful of small shops that appear to do a thriving business in used vinyl.

Answer #7

Some newer bands do make vinyls. Several of my favorite, recent bands have vinyls, they might just be harder to find.

Answer #8

P.S. It’s true that in the heyday of vinyl there was not a genre of popular music called “alternative” (nor many of the other contemporary genres), but there certainly was a distinction between highly promoted, major-label artists and those who were known mainly by word of mouth through informal networks of fans. I remember, for example, a Pete Seeger concert where he introduced a song saying something like, “Everyone under 30 in the audience is going to sing along with the next song, and everyone over 40 is going to wonder how the younger people can all know it, since it’s never been played on any commercial radio station.” He then sang “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” by Country Joe and The Fish, one of my favorite psychedelic San Francisco bands.

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