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Is Vinyl Making a Comeback?

Updated on May 13, 2013

Analog vs. digital sound quality

A lot of people wonder what the true difference between analog and digital sound is. Well, both have to do with how a sound was recorded. Analog is a sounds true copy, where the grooves carved into the vinyl mirror the original sound or waveform. This also means that the analog signal is continuous with no breaks or disruptions, so no part of the sound will be lost. A digital recording is an approximation of the sound waves in a series of specific values. The signals in a digital recording are not continuous; which means that each of the specific values are meant to represent pitch and volume, etc. and all those pieces are then put together. This means that a digital recording has the potential to lose, or miss, things such as the squeak of the fingers across the strings, or the deep breath before a large note is sung. Granted, with the advances in technology today, digital music has made some major advancements in its sound quality and many can't tell the difference between the two.

Listening to vinyl is often described as an experience of music you can almost feel; as though you were sitting at the concert absorbing each identifiable note and key. Vinyl also seems to contain a resonance or soothing warmth that digital just isn’t able to capture. There is something wonderfully relaxing about enjoying a glass of wine to your favorite record; listening to all the great intricacies; the soft cracks and pops to that original piece of vinyl.

The Latest Statistics

According to the latest numbers by Nielsen SoundScan, which is the leading data information systems that measures U.S. point of sale recorded music products, vinyl is indeed making a comeback. For the fifth year in a row, vinyl albums have sold more units than any other year in the history of Nielsen SoundScan, with over 4.6 million records sold in 2012. Additionally, vinyl album sales were up 19% from 2011; and in 2011, vinyl sales were up 37% from the previous year. Talk about a comeback!

While it is also true that digital sales have seen an increase over the previous year (up 14%), there is something to be said for the increases in vinyl sales while physical album sales overall are at a decline (down 12.8%).

Great Classic Vinyl Must-Haves:

If you are an album collector or are interested in beginning a collection of vinyl, no matter what age you are, or what genre of music you like, there are a few classic albums that almost anyone can love. I've included a few of the greats from my own collection of vinyl. I hope you enjoy the suggestions!

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Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

Kind of Blue was originally released in 1959. It seems not a whole lot of people care for Jazz these days, but this album is fantastic; many referring to it as one of the most influential albums of all time. It is also regarded as the best selling Jazz album of all time. With classic tracks such as "So What," "Freddie Freeloader," "Blue in Green," and "All Blues," this album is a must have.

If you haven't really been one to enjoy Jazz, give this record a try and it might surprise you!


Creedence Clearwater Revival: Chronicle

Chronicle is an album featuring the 20 greatest hits by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was originally released in 1976 and is generally regarded as the best compilation by CCR. This album features classic rock hits such as "Susie Q," "I Put a Spell On You," "Proud Mary," and "Down on the Corner."

No matter what mood I'm in, I always seem to enjoy listening to this record!


The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced

The Are You Experienced record was first released in 1967 and was the first album released by Jimi Hendrix. It is credited with launching his career as an internationally known star and introduced a new genre of psychedelic rock and roll. This album featured hits such as "Purple Haze," "The Wind Cries Mary," "Hey Joe," and "Are You Experienced?" The album is largely regarded as one of the most influential rock albums of all time. As a note, this album can also be found in original 200 gram Mono Vinyl, which sounds amazing.


Daryl Hall/ John Oates: War Babies

War Babies by Hall & Oats was originally released in 1974 as their third studio album. The album features hits such as "Beanie G. and the Rose Tatoo," "Is It a Star," and "Can't Stop the Music." This album is often criticized for being so different from their previous two albums and many credit that to the records producer (and guitarist), Todd Rundgren. Because of this, the album isn't a huge hit among those Hall & Oats fans that truly enjoyed the sounds of Abandoned Luncheonette, but for those who are also fans of Todd Rundgren's work (as in Utopia), this album is fantastic.

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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello Briana,

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing in every aspect of writing.

      I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb.

      Love vinyl. Got a pure stack of Hendrix, Beatles, Stones in my storage room which was my daughter's room. Why she married and moved out and now has three amazing kids is beyond me.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

      I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

      That would make my day.

      I am so honored to meet you.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama