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LP vs. CD

I have about 70 of each, but I need help deciding which collection I should truly expand on in the years to come, so....which is better? LPs or CDs?

Re: LP vs. CD

Young hipsters will tell you LPs. They are cooler. But if you grew up with them like this old man, then you remember the hassle, the skips, the pops, etc. I think CDs were a big improvement.

Prediction: In 10-15 years when almost all music is stored on digital files, the "audiophiles" will have the same kind of reverence for CDs that they now have for analog LPs.

Re: LP vs. CD

LP's are coming back in a big way. It's not that hard anymore to track down new releases and old used records and not as expensive either since you don't have to pay for shipping most of the time. I guess the question is- will the fad last? The nice thing about buying new LP's is that usually you get a code to download MP3's as well so you don't have to convert them if you don't want to. I've been going strictly LP lately. I guess it really depends if you have a good record store near you otherwise it can be spendy. But, vinyl will have more collectible value since they go out of print quickly.

Re: LP vs. CD

I've bought only vinyl probably since last summer (I'm 14), and the only real reason is it sounds better (in my opinion, for example I could swear Robert Plant sound's 20x better on vinyl). There's two record stores in less then a 20 minute drive away which is convenient and even though most are quite expensive, it's nice having them on vinyl especially jazz records.

On the other hand, considering I don't know a single other person my age (or in my entire school for that fact) who also buys vinyl, it's kind of strange when people ask what a record is

Re: LP vs. CD

Practical point - CDs are much easier to transfer to MP3 files. If you ever want to put your collection on an mp3 player, it would be easier to convert CDs than vinyl.

Re: LP vs. CD

CDs - they can easily be loaded onto computers and mp3 players

Re: LP vs. CD

I wonder if there's ever been a trial case where the person who downloaded music had all of the albums on vinyl. I suppose it wouldn't matter since the trial cases have been all about sharing, but I would not hold it against anyone to download what they already own.

Re: LP vs. CD

I'd actually say neither.
Damn - LPs just take up so much space - no wonder everyone wants to get rid of them. All my CDs are redundant now - I just play them all on my ipod.

Re: LP vs. CD

I have an LP player that can convert the tracks into mp3.

I buy both CDs and LPs. They are both great.

Re: LP vs. CD

LPs are better. The whole ritual of putting on a record, of turning it over halfway through, is part of the pleasure. The artwork is almost six times larger than on a CD. Scratches and crackle are a personalisation of your individual copy of an LP, making it more *yours* than just any old copy.

CDs win in terms of storage size, but if that criterion is important then just have the music on an ipod.

In general, if the album was first released before the 80s get it on vinyl, if after the 80s get the CD. Don't get anything from the 80s

Re: LP vs. CD

I think CDs win on practicality, and LPs win on romance/ritual. That said, I don't see why there has to be a choice of one over the other. I've been building both my CD and LP collections at the same time - for me, the CD usually comes first and if I fall in love with a particular album, I hunt for the LP copy.

Paul - I have a friend who jokingly claims that by the time we're our old man's age, there will be vinyl-pressing kits on the market, so we can convert our digital files back to LP. heh.

John - that would be an interesting case for sure. But how would a person prove ownership? (Is there a lawyer in the house? tee hee)

Re: LP vs. CD

Anthony - That's a good one. CDs sound better than mp3 files because they aren't compressed. A lot of young kids these days don't buy CDs. They just download (legally and otherwise). It's just like what happened with the LP 20 years ago. In a world of compressed files, real CDs will start to sound pretty good.

Rune - You can convert an LP to mp3 but doesn't it take a lot longer? My turntable only does so at the normal playing speed.

On the "test case." Expert witnesses from the recording industry have testified that it is illegal for a person to copy their own CDs for their own personal use. So it's pretty clear THEY would consider it to be illegal to download digital files you already own on vinyl. Also, part of their market strategy is getting you to re-buy the same thing whenever it comes out in a new format. That being said, the legality of such a practice in the United States would depend on whether it would constitute a "fair use," which is a term of art defined by statute. One test for "fair use" is the effect on the market. If you already own the LP and are just downloading for convenience, you could make a pretty good fair use argument, but it hasn't been tested yet. (I am a lawyer, unfortunately). Disclaimer: I'm just speaking in generalities here. Every case is different. Don't rely on this. (Lawyerly enough for you?)

Re: LP vs. CD

Thanks, Paul, err... counselor.

Re: LP vs. CD

"I think CDs win on practicality, and LPs win on romance/ritual."

Well put, Anthony.

My brother lived in a 100-square-foot apartment in Greenwich Village for many years, and he has more than 2500 CDs (LPs, of course, would have been out of the question). Eventually, in self-defense, he broke down the jewel cases, stored the discs and booklets in card files, and comprehensively cross-indexed his collection.

I think that was a great idea ten years ago, but probably not today. Also, most of his stuff is classical music, and I'm guessing that's not quite as practical to download.

Of course, my storage problems are now essentially over--one of the only good things a house fire will do for you--and I'm almost exclusively a downloader now. I'm just too old to re-start a collection from square one, although I will buy a physical copy of something I really like a lot. I did recently have some LPs (vintage country music) fall into my lap, but they're in storage, and are really more of sentimental value than anything.

Re: LP vs. CD

Paul - Yes, I do have to play through the whole LP, but it doesn't really matter. I'm not converting so many LPs at the same time. It's usually just one, and I have got time to wait for that one.

Re: LP vs. CD

Rune, does that LP-USB turntable sound good playing an LP? I've heard that they don't but I've never heard from somebody I've actually talked to. They run under 200 bucks so I wonder how good of quality the turntable can be when you already have an added feature on it, and how good of a job it does converting to mp3. It just seems like a really cheap price when middle of the road turntables without that feature run well over 200 dollars.

Re: LP vs. CD

No, it's so and so. Probably nothing for those who demand a great sound. Personally, I don't care for crystal clear sounds, so for me it's very good. It sends the LP round and round and some sound falls out of the speakers.

Everyone who is not me should probably buy some fancier stuff.

Re: LP vs. CD

"Everyone who is not me should probably buy some fancier stuff."

Great line. It applies to me too.

Re: LP vs. CD

It all depends on your own personal preferences.

If you want to listen to music in a quiet room through upper-moderate to high-end equipment, the speakers positioned just right, and you're really paying attention to the music, records are the way to go. They sound warmer, you'll hear higher high frequencies and lower low frequencies and you'll also hear greater range in volumes from quiet to loud. All this will result in a richer music experience. The negatives include eventual crackles and pops in the sound, availability of records, and if you're buying used records (especially produced in the 80s)warpage, which will increase wow and flutter (noise)in the sound. The good news is that new records are being produced on virgin vinyl and are thicker/heavier than those previously made and will give you a quality product. Also, many records now include a digital download of the album at no extra cost.

The reason CDs and now digital downloads are far more popular is their resilience and transportability. If you're playing music as background music, especially in noisy environments, or you want to take your music with you wherever you go, CDs and MP3s are the way to go. But do not forget you are sacrificing sound quality at the expense of ease of use.

My recommendation is to go both routes if sound quality matters to you, but you still want to bring your music with you. I'm an "old guy" and once had 3000 records, which I sold on consignment in the early 90s through a music store I worked at back then. I took that money and invested it in CDs and now years later have a 2000 CD library. But with all the compression issues found in CDs these past years, I've found myself longing for albums again. And they're just cool to handle - I may be getting a little nostagic here, but there's just something special about a record cover that seems more like a piece of art work. I'm planning on getting a record player again and buying my all time favourite albums again for those times when I can just sit back and immerse myself in the sounds of my heroes.

Keep on rockin,

Re: LP vs. CD

I have memories as a young child with LPs of constantly dealing with records always skipping when they get to the same place. That kind of turns me off to them even if they sound better.

Plus CDs let you skip through.

The only way I'll ever accept mp3s is if they're treated like a product rather than a service. I pay for it, I can download that particular track for free forever. So no having to pay twice if your download happens to get corrupted, no DRM so I can't copy it onto a CD.

I just hope the mp3 age doesn't make good artists focus on singles instead of albums. I like the album format. Bad artists have already abandoned albums, it might be only a matter of time until good artists do too.

Re: LP vs. CD

"The only way I'll ever accept mp3s is if they're treated like a product rather than a service. I pay for it, I can download that particular track for free forever. So no having to pay twice if your download happens to get corrupted, no DRM so I can't copy it onto a CD."

I can totally understand the no DRM on music you buy. But, you can't expect companies to keep a log of every purchase you've made throughout your life. Maybe Apple and Amazon can do it, but I hope that the mp3 age still gives us the ability to buy directly from the label and I don't think that is feasible for them. If there isn't DRM it's up to you to back up those mp3's just like it's always been up to you make cd backups if you wanted them. You couldn't go to a store years later and say "My cd player wrecked this disc, can I get a new one?"