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whitecarnations's avatar

Which do you prefer?: Vinyl Record Albums or CDs?

Asked by whitecarnations (1635 points ) March 25th, 2012

I’m at a standstill in my music collecting. I love vinyls because of large art work. But I love CD’s because they are most likely cheaper and more in abundance compared to vinyl availability. What’s your take? Do you collect both? Can you come up with some pros and cons?

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22 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

This is my understanding and truthfully, I don’t have a turntable anymore (do have a large collection of vinyl which I haven’t listened to for years but could never part with). I have on my plan to buy a good turntable because I do love them.

The pros for vinyl relate to the difference between analogue and digital recording methods.

Vinyl’s analogue recordings are superior because the whole soundwave is captured and it doesn’t need to be converted from digital back to analogue. Hence, the recording has more purer, deeper and richer sound.

In contrast, less of the soundwave is sampled in a digital recording and it then has to be converted back into analogue signal to be played through your amplifier.

In reality, I think most people would not notice the difference. I suspect purists (who probably have excellent sound systems) certainly would.

Downside, vinyl records scratch. :( and warp :( and even specs of dust will affect the sound you hear (think that static or hiss (noise)). So they need greater care than CDs. CDs are certainly not indestructible but they are a bit less fragile than a vinyl record.

Not sure of the cost differences. I haven’t bought a vinyl album for a long time but they are also beautiful. The album covers can be works of art. Doesn’t feel quite the same on a CD.

Vinyl is less convenient. I can throw CDs in a case, my car and listen anywhere. Vinyl well they are all in a box and I can’t listen at all at the moment. Shops that sell vinyl are also not on every corner and in every shopping centre.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
prioritymail's avatar

Yes, mp3 was oddly missing from this question.

Agree vinyl has a sound quality that mp3s and CDs do not replicate. Love it.

They are also bulky and fragile. CDs are much more durable and portable.

mp3s are the most portable, but it can be a challenge to keep track of them all when you have different devices, hard drive crashes, viruses, file incompatibilities, etc.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I grew up with vinyl records and have a large collection of them. However, I much prefer CD’s for their compactness, quality and ease of use any day!

I have seen that turntables are being sold again .. so I have a feeling records will be popular again ..

blueiiznh's avatar

I have a large collection of both. CD mostly because the release is not available on vinyl.
Analog wins out over digital in this space anyday for sound quality, but CD and digital wins for portability.
I do have multiple versions because I have yet to find a good device to play vinyl in the car or at the gym~
I stay far away from .mp3 format for digital due to the tinier sound. Use EAC or FLAC to at least try to match the CD if you are making a portable copy.

Trillian's avatar

I would have said digital until those rat-bastards at apple did something nefarious to the software upgrade and made a good portion of my purchased itunes list disappear. Ohhhhh, for a flesh melting death ray!
I’m kind of at a loss now. I’d say CD’s, but I like the kind that I can burn myself, and much of my playlist is currently in another dimension.
Can I just have two sticks and an empty pot?

marinelife's avatar

CDs for convenience.

cookieman's avatar

Question in a question:
So, is it agreed that in terms of sound quality alone it is vinyl>cd>mp3 ?

Also, is there a way to convert mp3s you purchased from iTunes to a better (sound) quality file-type?

blueiiznh's avatar

@cprevite you can’t convert something with a certain quality and increase it’s quality. It is what it is. It is like taking a photocopy of a photocopy and trying to get it back to original quality, you just can’t get there because there is loss that you can’t fill back to the original. You can convert from one format to another, but you can’t increase it’s quality. iTunes is an AAC format, which in general is better than mp3.

xnightflowerx's avatar

I only buy vinyl these days. The only time I buy cds is if the local band I’m seeing doesn’t have their record on vinyl. I feel like they’re a much better investment of my money and they sound so much better. I mostly just stream music for everyday listening at my computer. And a lot of new vinyl records come with a download code for the mp3s. So for me cds are pretty useless. Other then needing a few on road trips.

TexasDude's avatar

I prefer vinyl. I have a rather large collection of lps and a very nice vintage stereo set up that I worked hard to put together. I still use mp3 when I’m listening to music on my computer or making cds to listen to in the car. Also, for the record (no pun intended), the plural of vinyl is vinyl, not vinyls.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I like CDs, although I prefer vinyl for the sound quality. imo, vinyls are too bulky and expensive. CDs, however have that annoying sticker on top which can be frustrating to remove. And plus FLAC>a potato>MP3s.

Joker94's avatar

I prefer vinyl records to CD’s, though I think I own more CD’s. I’ve inherited a lot of records from my dad and other family members, but I only got into listening to music on vinyl in the last year or so. The sound quality is better, and I prefer the way records are packaged compared to the hollowness of a jewel case.

cookieman's avatar

@blueiiznh: Thank you for the clarification.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’m with @loli on this one. I much prefer mp3s for a variety of reasons, including the ability to transport the tunes everywhere I go.

I love vinyl, but no longer have a turntable. CD’s scratch, take up space and for us, were difficult to keep organized.

tom_g's avatar

I thought CDs had gone the way of the 8-track, but apparently I am wrong. MP3 is the only way I can consume music at this point, although I am also aware that MP3 appears a bit old-fashioned (and probably rightfully so) to people who adopted the music-as-a-service model (Spotify, rdio, etc).

rojo's avatar

I have two mp3 players loaded with music and yesterday was playing one through my computer using Windows Media Player. We had a bunch of college kids over and one of them said, and I quote, “Cool, I haven’t seen anyone not using Itunes in forever!”
But to answer your question, I have both and play both but seem to buy more cd’s @ halfprice books than vinyl. It really has to strike the nostalgia button for me to buy a record. I do agree with you on the cover art though.

whitecarnations's avatar

Can we please keep it CD vs Vinyl? :D I’m not interested in mp3’s because there is no physical thing in it comes in to hold album art.

ddude1116's avatar

Vinyl, without a doubt. They’re just more personal; they take you on a journey back to the time they came from. CD’s can’t do that with their digital remastering and editing.

woodcutter's avatar

Love vinyl and a have a crackin player but in practical means they are a pain in the ass. When I started acquiring CD’s I never looked back. The sound differences can barely be detected by me anymore.

deni's avatar

I only listen to music digitally really, but I browse and buy records too just for the fun of it. I used to have a record player (well it was my ex’s) then it broke and I haven’t gotten another. But I want to. Record hunting is a fun sport.

whitecarnations's avatar

Well looks like CD is the loser as of March 25, 2012. I just hate the hunt! :D

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