The antique tech shortage that hurts the vinyl boom

I have more records than you do. My house is full of them. I have about 40 feet of shelving full of records, and piles on the floor.

That being said, I don’t buy vinyl except on rare occasions, like buying a record from a touring band.

Vinyl is bad for the environment. it’s made from non-renewable, toxic raw materials. It’s heavy and a lot of fuel is burned to ship it. And it’s a physical object for purely gratuitous reasons. It’s fashionable, which is the worst reason to buy anything.

I’m all for people having turntables and buying records. But do the world a favor and buy used records locally. You’ll be doing the world a favor.


2 channels × 16 bits per channel × 44.1 kHz = 1411.2 kbps

I remember playing a CD with Winamp would display 14H, i.e. “fourteen hundred,” as there were only three digits in its bitrate display box.

Beyond the ritual, another reason to prefer vinyl is that it degrades gracefully, and only if you actually play it. CD rot is real. CD’s can develop serious defects just sitting on your bookshelf.


Is this from back in the day when Skeuomorphic interfaces were all the rage?

Ah, quite so. I had the value for CD bytes per second in memory, and got my units confused.

I miss those days.

What was it, like, three years ago, when Apple released a version of iCal with a dopey-looking stitched leather aesthetic, and suddenly everybody on the goddamn internet (a) knew what “skeuomorphism” was and (b) hated it? And then every major OS immediately had a makeover with low-detail, semi-abstract icons in bright, flat colors like a toddler’s plastic blocks?

It was a bizarre time.

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Where it says 128 in this image, 1411 would not fit.

kind of a major oversight, considering that MP3s all have to be ripped from somewhere.

See the big thing is that you can’t (or shouldn’t) push the sound spectrum levels on vinyl where as on a cd there is no real limit. See later Metallica, Oasis, or all of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Compare Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power on vinyl, the ‘remastered’ cd, and the re-remastered cd.

Sure there is. Digital doesn’t distort nearly as gracefully as analog.

Oh, but you can download a transfer of a vinyl recording which given today’s digital technology, should be an accurate representation of the playback medium. If you wan’t more authenticity, crank it through an amplifying horn. :mega: :musical_note: :stuck_out_tongue:

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And anyone listening to vinyl on a 5k plus system is fooling themselves and anybody else within earshot of their conversation about audiophile quality cable risers. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Actually, this isn’t true at all, the music can be compressed a lot and be cut, it can be over compressed for effect and be cut, the reason you’d compress so much on a CD is to keep the apparent level as high as possible to compete with other tracks from CD’s, but there’s always been compression and lots of it in music of the 60’s and 70’s.

There’s limits to the dynamic and frequency range for sure which means you wouldn’t try to make grooves with huge bass for fear of having the needle skip but in the end I have a fondness for vinyl for sure and don’t begrudge anybody liking it, but there is absolutely nothing about vinyl that makes it an inherently better medium for music in any capacity.

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There is a limit on a CD, thats why it sounds so bad when you push it too hard.
The problem with pushing it to much on vinyl is the physical grooves themselves have to acomodate a needle without it skipping. You could potentially record a brickwalled cd track on vinyl at a lower volume and with some band limiting and you’d get the crappiest part of the CD without the added benefit of making it as loud as possible.

That’s and old trope which gets debunked time and time again, cheap old digital distortion can be bad, but good digital distortion is so cheap right now its not a real consideration anymore.

Having said that, there are real differences when tracking to tape vs digital but its really an aestehtic difference, not a quantitative one.


Unfortunately the current digital file formats do not have the ability to permanently add defects and wear to the file, bonus points(prior art read it here) for adding an accelerometer to the player so we can add in skips!


Records are way more durable than CD’s - partly because of the practical portability limitations, which turn out to be an asset in this sense. There is also an abundance of cheap used vinyl in the world adding value to maintaining a playback system according to Metcalfe’s Law.

Point of order - in discussions like this, there often seems to be a bit of a muddle around the term “compression”, which means several totally different things in the digital and analog domains.

  • digital compression can be “lossy” (low-bit rate mp3’s), “lossless”(.flac) and/or “perceptual” (frequencies algorithmically deemed non-noticeable are removed) but is generally there for saving on storage or transmission bandwidth.

  • analog compression usually refers to the studio recording/mastering practice of using a device that automatically adjusts the volume of a piece to reduce the range between soft and loud sounds. This can be for many reasons; sounding louder, transmitting over compromised channels like radio or as an effect.

vinyl records use a (distantly) related method in the frequency domain to compensate for their non-ideal frequency carrying nature - (see RIAA curve). The concepts share features, like non-linearly adjusting signal components - but they are quite different in nature and intent.

Apologies for the pedantry, the conflation is concerning for an audio engineer.


MP3’s at their highest quality still don’t measure up to CD’s, that’s what I mean. Which is why I still buy CD’s.


You’re talking about emulation of harmonically pleasing analog distortion. We are talking about hard clipping from lost data. It is not a “old trope”, it is the very behavior of digital audio pushed past limits.

That or you are confused about the nature of the “trope” you’re discussing. I’ve owned plenty of hardware digital emulations of analog distortion boxes. The result you get with digital clipping, beyond its use in glitchcore, is absolutely unwanted for accurate playback of source material. This is not a controversial perspective nor is it a “trope”, it is the basic operation of the technology.

That’s why the oovecompressed and brick wall limited sound is so popular, they wish to increase the perceptional “loudness” just to the point before harsh and nasty clipping will occur on a digital medium.

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Yes, there’s plenty of great reasons to listen to records still, and I have hundreds of them in my home. But so like here’s my question:

New albums are digitally recorded and mastered. Even if they’re done at 96k, 24 bits, they’re still in the digital space. Transferred then to a piece of vinyl and sold at $30… that, to me, is a pointless rip-off. I hear the difference between an old record and its cd counterpart; I hear nothing special about a new album on cd. It’s like taking a jpeg photo and printing it on film- you’ll still see all the stupid little pixels and artifacting, obviously.

So can anyone give me a good reason why one should be buying NEW albums on vinyl? Other than the hipster bragging rights, I mean?

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Yup. I have a Garrard with big toggle/lever things that go ca-chunk! and make stuff happen. Lovely.