There is a big ongoing debate concerning the benefits of the attributes of vinyl compared to digital.
Is it merely nostalgia or is there a noticeable difference?
Well I started collecting vinyl singles in 1960 when I was eleven. My older friend Clive sold on his Buddy Holly and Adam Faith singles to me and I played them endlessly on my old Dansette. Then I started on the albums. I’ve still got all my old Beatles, Stones and Roy Harper albums in my collection. I’ve got four thousand albums so you could say I’m a vinyl junkie.
I used to have eleven thousand vinyl albums. But I sold a lot back in the eighties. I still regret that.
However I also have ten thousand CDs and a huge wadge of MP3s.
I like music!
I am happy to sing along at the top of my voice to an old Rock classic on the radio, played with limited range through tinny speakers in the car. I like listening to old bootlegs and Blues recordings from the 1930s that were created on very dubious equipment. Quality of sound is not the foremost attribute of the music to me; it is the quality of the music that comes first.
There is the factor of ears to take into account. My ears are so worn, due to the pounding they’ve taken from a thousand loud gigs, a million loud albums and the odd other loud extraneous noise, which I doubt I can still discern too much either way.
So, being a scientist, I decided to do an experiment. I took a number of my favourite albums and compared CD, vinyl and MP3. This is what I found:
I like all three formats.
The CD has great clarity on acoustic numbers and separation.
The MP3s have far less separation of instruments.
The vinyl has more ‘warmth’ and genuine vibe – though a number of crackles. I don’t mind the crackles; they add to the ambience.
Of the three I did prefer the sound of the vinyl.
You can check out my journey through Rock Music in my classic book – ‘In Search of Captain Beefheart’. It is a memoir of my journey and search for the holy chords.