The antique tech shortage that hurts the vinyl boom

It’s the whole process-half-speed mastering, proper making of the stampers and not pressing them for hundreds of thousands of pressings like in the old days, proper pressing time, correct weight and quality of the vinyl all add up.

“LPs now represent about 9 percent of sales in physical formats”

So, that’s like… 0.00001% of all music sales these days.



I have a similar feeling about my vintage mechanical cameras–if I want a good picture, Mr. Brain has to do all the work. And users of vintage gear are in a similar spot as the record pressing plant–if say, a spring goes an old Synchro-Compur shutter, you may be SoL for getting a part. For some models, the number of qualified repair guys is very small. You learn were they all live. (I know what you’re thinking, so save it, I’ve heard it all before a million times, and I do not care).

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Interesting you’d post this a few days after Canada Boy Records official launch in Calgary, Alberta.

Ha! I was actually thinking, “my mom has a large format camera that needs some work, I wonder if you’d tell me where all these repaircritters live” :smile:

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It’s not as much sound quality, although as has been mentioned here, records can’t be crushed under a compressor like cd and digital and still be cut. It’s the ritual. It was said here before but those who dismiss it
Are missing the circular nature of technology.
The LP came first, but you can’t put One in a a car so enter the 8 track. Sound wasn’t as good but it was portable. Still more portable the cassette and the cd. Cd is the obvious exception as it can offer a far better quality but yet it doesn’t. It doesn’t because the labels wanted Loud. Of course digital is the most portable yes but it s lossy and suffers from lukewarm quality at best. But always in the background was the LP. And as technology is circular, it comes back Around again. Just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean it’s better.

Records are fun. I own several hundred. I see the current interest in vinyl down to a few factors and they ain’t pretty:

  1. $$$: people will pay nearly $30.00 American for fresh pressed vinyl. Inflation, eat your heart out.

  2. The process of ripping an LP to digital and then uploading it for further skullduggery is somewhat more time-consuming to do than with a CD or digital source. Somehow, the idea that “you can’t pirate a vinyl LP” is held by people who have bought cheaply made USB turntables. Yet vinyl FLAC files have been flying the skull and crossbones for well over a decade.

  3. Somebody heard somewhere that analog is better. That’s arguably true in a recording facility or some high-end mastering firm. It’s hilarious at the consumer level where cassette tapes are still a thing.

  4. Overmastering, “Loudness Wars,” etc. This is a problem depending upon what kind of music you prefer to listen to. Vinyl is physically incapable of reproducing the overmastered dross that digital handles easily. Just don’t ask yourself what else vinyl is physically incapable of reproducing.

The “return” of vinyl (it never went away) is, imho, a fad driven by the majors in the music industry recoiling in horror from a present where they don’t control all modes of promotion, reproduction and distribution (like they do with vinyl). It feeds and is sustained by a public interested in every aspect of the business besides the music itself: The packaging, the shopping, and the strangers who may now look upon what you have bought while you are buying it.

The fact that the majors can, again, put the squeeze on the minor players despite the level playing field of digital distribution is greatly discouraging. At least some of the little records stores are probably raking it in during this bubble. That may help a few more survive and I can only be grateful for that.


: ) I wouldn’t go that far. There are really amazing listening experiences possible. It’s more a question of does the consumer really want that much extra precision, or just wants the cachet of affording it. Similar to how many people actually put their Ferrari or Lamborghini through its paces.

As you mention, it’s vastly the latter.

The results diminish pretty quickly for your average consumer audio solution.

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Oooooh, they want .wav files then!


You should download higher-bitrate mp3s, then.

(Or did you mean that you insist on 256kbps mp3s, and CDs don’t measure up?)

CDs are 16 bit. 256 bit MP3s are 8 times better.


That’s my recollection – the dynamic range of music had to be compressed for vinyl. The first CD recordings (especially of symphonic classical pieces) surprised people, who listened to the quiet moments with the volume turned up, only to be blasted by the decibels at the loud moments. Took a while to learn that CDs had a higher dynamic range than vinyl.

And no annoying pops and crackles, either. Why vinyl is popular today continues to puzzle me (along with the mere existence of $5000 “audiophile” ethernet cables).

Thin ones warped easier. Some even came that way! I recall starting to open the package at the record store to check, before accepting it.

No, you’re thinking of bits per sample. CDs are 2 channels * 16 bits per sample * 44100Hz (samples per second) = 176.4 kbps (kilobits per second). A 256kbps mp3 is better than that, but not loads better.


It’s weirdly satisfying to put on an LP. I know the sound quality isn’t as good, but it makes the music more valuable in a way. You haven’t clicked on a file icon. You’ve set up this mechanical device. It has a ritual to it.


Math is fun!


But even still, they take the CD master and use perceptual and lossy encoding no matter the bitrate. Not that I can usually tell the difference, but it might be ever so slightly noticeable on certain content.

Okay. Do you claim that it takes more time to make them that way, and that this is the reason that vinyl plants are back-ordered?