Thread: CD vs Vinyl
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Old 08-04-2010   #80
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5
Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

The age old question. Well I think it's right to say CD versus vinyl because vinyl was here first. CD certainly broke a paradigm about the latest thing always being better than what came before. When CDs came out it was inconceivable that they could be anything other than superior to what had come before, after all, they used a laser beam and a small shiny metallic disk that shone all colours of the rainbow when held to the light.

The breaking of that paradigm set off an avalanche as we realised we were being deluged with inferior products with high price tags. CDs and their ilk continue to sound worse as they get older, whereas analogue media remains untouched by time. Even cassettes prove resilient. I have cassettes from the 80's that were played into the ground on different machines, in fact the machines wore out while the tapes they played didn't, and they pull up detail more than CDs. CD's totally collapse when faced with a complex wave form, whereas vinyl and tape excel. Musical detail on CDs is often just plain missing. The distortion of CD is staggering, but we closed our ears to the technical reality and enjoyed the honeymoon illusion of thinking humanity had discovered the philosophers stone, and we could get this fantasy just by looking at a silver disk and pretending that because it was silver it mus be good. Star trek, Dr Who, and Superman. What a lot of snake oil that turned out to be eh?

Of course a big advantage of vinyl is that they are hard to pirate. Groups that sell their music only on vinyl sell more original copies than groups that provide a multimedia alternative. It is also possible to use organic compounds such as shellac to make LPs. Contrary to what those who pedalled the oil derived PVC material about having superior sonic values such as being quieter than shellac, vinyl was found to be as noisy when no equalisation curve was used.

So where as it is possible for musicians to show their green credentials by releasing an LP either using 100% recycled vinyl or encouraging reforestation by using shellac based material instead, it is impossible to do likewise with current electronic microchip hardware because of the immense amount of coltan and other exotic materials from Congo and parts of the world required to make digital systems work. With analogue being simpler and less resource intensive it is greener, as is the case with film cameras when compared to their over complex digital counterparts.
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