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Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better

Updated on July 9, 2017
Rachel Dawidowicz profile image

Rachel is a social rights activist and feminist. She is an engineering student, writer, musician, and record collector.

My first two albums I purchased for $1 each in 2014.
My first two albums I purchased for $1 each in 2014.

The History of the Needle & Groove

Thomas Edison's invention of the gramophone in 1887 is probably the first thing that comes to mind when records are mentioned. While the idea was his, he later abandoned the idea, German inventor Emile Berliner changed up the original idea. The disk made of plastic which had a recording etched into it would be mechanically played when a crank was turned. He did however keep Edison's idea of a bell which projected the sound.

Berliner paired up with inventor Eldridge Johnson that advanced the original look. He tilted the bell to make it more convenient for homes to house them. The pair would later on create Victor Talking Machine Co. Along with the advancement of record players came the advancement of records themselves. It wasn't until 1950 that the record we know today took its shape. Today's players have built in speakers, and are USB connected so you can take your albums on your commute to work.

Sound Quality

Some audiophiles who collect these disks will tell you there's a difference between a song pressed onto a groove versus a song played of your spotify playlist. In my three years of collecting, I myself hear a richer and warmer sound. There is however a catch when it comes to playbacks from vinyl. If you have a quality turntable, paired with a quality sound system, you'll hear the rich sound collectors claim to hear.

I have a small record corner in my room decked with 60's decor (Coincidentally the albums in my collection are 60's artists, and other psychedelic music from later years.) I open a can of $0.99 Arizona ice tea, plug in my lava lamp, and peace sign lights, turn off the main lights in my room, and listen to a record. This ritual has became a meditation method for me.

My Corner of Bliss

This is an older picture. Currently I have a carpet and pillows there for a comfortable sitting space
This is an older picture. Currently I have a carpet and pillows there for a comfortable sitting space

Sentimental Value

Let's be honest here. Whether you want to admit it or not, having a physical printout of you and your best friend at your senior prom means more than an uploaded picture on Instagram. With records it isn't much different. For me Billy Joel's The Stranger was not only my first record I purchased, but, a few songs of the album is a favorite shared by my dad and I. While we do jam out to Scenes From an Italian Restaurant through the car stereo, it isn't the same as listening to it from the speakers of a record player.

Another Sentimental album

This is the album my dad gave to me (CD format) that introduced me to the world of Eric Clapton when I was about 12
This is the album my dad gave to me (CD format) that introduced me to the world of Eric Clapton when I was about 12
My dad and I at a Billy Joel concert before we danced and laughed to our favorite songs. The man that introduced rock to me through CDs when I was 11. 9 years later I own most of them on vinyl.
My dad and I at a Billy Joel concert before we danced and laughed to our favorite songs. The man that introduced rock to me through CDs when I was 11. 9 years later I own most of them on vinyl.

Expands your musical Horizons

My room is filled with music posters, and jacket covers of old records. I have one poster I got during Record Store Day in 2016 with a quote by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. He stated, “Above magazines, above the internet, above your snotty friend, record stores are the best place to learn about music.” He isn’t wrong at all. I mean, I discovered many rising artists at my local record store. One of those artists is a former member of the folk band Fleet Foxes, J. Tillman better known as his stage name, Father John Misty. Now, how did I discover him? Well, many local record stores celebrate Black Friday. Like the lines Best Buy has, instead of lines record stores are packed with record enthusiasts. Well, I was one of those and I decided to see what deals they had. While searching I come across a very interesting looking cover, and album called Fear Fun. It had a LSD like design, and it was on sale. I couldn’t help myself, and bought it. That is how I discovered Father John Misty. I discovered many other Indie artists similarly.


Father John Misty (Former Fleet Foxes Member)

I discovered this band on the display rack of my local shop

The Community

There is no denying that in every interest there is a community of people who love what you love. But the record collecting community is way different. You have people whose love for music goes beyond constantly having earbuds in your ear, and saving money for a ticket to your favorite band. As collector Greg Caz said in an interview with Eilon Paz “Listen man, you have to understand that in dealing with people like me, who have long ago crossed the limit that “normal” people stop at in relation to the absorption and understanding of music, questions like “favorite album/artist/genre/label/cover/etc” are utter BULLSHIT. People less consumed with music can easily give you those answers, but me (and those of my tribe) simply cannot, and that’s just the way it is.” My friends always ask me for music recommendations and are bewildered by my knowledge where many just ask ‘IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DON’T LISTEN TO?’ and I just shake my head, and say I love music too much to answer that question. The best part, those in this community have the same response.

Record Store Day Finds

The Doors live at Matrix, Grateful Dead's live album, and the Beatles single (Penny Lane/ Strawberry fields) has had me wait in line at 4:30 on April 22, 2017
The Doors live at Matrix, Grateful Dead's live album, and the Beatles single (Penny Lane/ Strawberry fields) has had me wait in line at 4:30 on April 22, 2017

You a supporting a small businesses

If you are new to this hobby, you may not realize this, but by shopping at your local record store, you are supporting a small business. Indie record stores are different that big name music stores. They depend on people like you who enjoy music (Some even sell movies). In fact, it was the reason why Record Store Day was created in 2007. Typically every year in April, many record stores participate in this day to celebrate not only vinyl, but record stores themselves. Yes, most of the exclusives are overpriced, but it supports your local store. In fact the more involved you get in records, you will realize that you may do what I did this year, and wake up at 3:30 to be in line by 4. It was worth the 4 hour wait. Coming out with a Grateful Dead, Doors, and Beatles exclusives was worth every second and penny.

You develop your Own Organization System

When you start collecting you may find yourself sorting your albums in various ways to make your collection more accessible. Cataloging will become your best friend and you will learn how to use Microsoft Excel or Database even improve your skills of keeping things in order. It will also help when you take another trip to the record store so you don't buy doubles (unless you find one in better condition)

Organization, Sorting, Cataloging oh joy

I organize mine by Artist or Band then by the Album name and include the genre and condition. The sorting on excel is how it is on the shelves.
I organize mine by Artist or Band then by the Album name and include the genre and condition. The sorting on excel is how it is on the shelves.

Some final thoughts....

Whether you are considering to join the club of collectors, find the hobby completely worthless, or think that only young people who collect it, spinning records are enjoyable. For me, it helped me cope with anything life threw at me, helped me find a community I felt comfortable in, and let me collect physical copies of the music I love. I know my collection will grow for year to come. I realized I don’t just collect records, but I collect the sound that can live on passed from one generation to the next, untouched, and preserved in every groove of the record.

What Do you think Of Vinyl?

What are your thoughts about records?

See results

© 2017 Rachel Dawidowicz

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    • twosheds1 profile image

      twosheds1 

      3 months ago

      I've been collecting vinyl since the late '70s. Between my wife and I, we have about 456 vinyl albums, and 378 CD's (Yea Discogs!). I'm in a vinyl collectors' club, and I go to record shows and RSD. Like you, I like having a physical copy of an album. I don't feel like I "have" it unless I have a physical copy. But I also listen to iTunes (on my computer) and Spotify (mainly in the car). It's hard to beat that convenience. I also probably listen to CD's more than vinyl, again because the of the convenience, and the fact that CD's don't wear out and have no surface noise. Whether or not they sound better is certainly subjective. There are some measurements that can be done to show how CD's more accurately reproduce music, but it's still a subjective experience.

      Dwarfing my physical music collection, though, is my digital collection. Between BT downloads, I also have a pretty big chunk of music I recorded live myself. Mostly taper-friendly bands, but some stealth recordings, too.

      I dunno where I was going with this...

    • Rachel Dawidowicz profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Dawidowicz 

      11 months ago

      Christopher, I completely agree with your statement. It is having a physical copy of THAT album that makes records better than other formats.

    • chris7800 profile image

      Christopher 

      11 months ago from Northridge, CA

      Vinyl is absolutely superior to CDs, cassette, mp3 and other digital formats. I find that playing a physical copy of a record, especially one with great artwork, on a record player is just a different experience from listening to an iPod. I've don't usually hear anyone else say this, but watching the record spin on the turntable, for me, really enhances the process of listening to music; there is something soothing about it.

    • Rachel Dawidowicz profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachel Dawidowicz 

      12 months ago

      It is really interesting to see bookstores selling them with bad record players next to them. (Hate Crosley) I still prefer a quaint record store or garage sales over buying new pressings at Barnes & Noble

    • TCaro profile image

      Tony Caro 

      12 months ago

      Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I would buy a lot of vinyl records at used record shops and lamented vinyl would soon be gone. While it went, it is great to see vinyl back...great way to listen to music and the spoken word.

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