The merits of vinyl records compared with digital and streaming music have often been hotly debated. Some swear on vinyl, while others prefer the quality of digital files. But which is actually better? There are a number of reasons why one may be better suited to you than the other, depending on the type of music you listen to and your personal preferences. So here is a rundown of the pros and cons of both.
Why Digital Might Be The Right Choice
Loudness can be a major factor in the vinyl vs digital music debate. If you’re looking for a big dynamic range, digital music is going to offer more than a vinyl will. Digital music also has a “clean” sound that many people prefer to the sound of vinyl. Vinyl records have a “rumble” sound underlying the music, which is the mechanical noise of the record player’s mechanism against the record. This tends to get more pronounced with wear and tear. So if this is a sound you don’t like, it might be best to stick with digital. In addition, vinyls require care and upkeep to prevent them from getting scratched or worn, so if you want to skip this fuss, digital music is an option that requires none of the same effort to preserve quality.
Why Vinyl Might Be The Right Choice
Another factor in the vinyl vs digital music debate are certain qualities of sound. Many people choose vinyl because it offers a “warmth” that digital recordings don’t. If you don’t like the “flatness” of digital music files, you may find more luck with trying vinyl instead. The sound you get from vinyl is imperfect, but for some, therein lies the appeal. Vinyl pressing is a very different process from creating a digital file, and the fully analog nature of it means you lose less of the original recording. Also, if you’re interested in speed variations, this is something that vinyl can offer.
Plus, listening to vinyl creates a certain experience of listening to music. It can be fun to browse different record shops and build up a collection of your favourite records. With digital music, you don’t get to collect and curate in the same way. Owning your music can be an advantage, and you can make a little extra cash by reselling any vinyls you no longer want.
There’s no right or wrong answer in this debate — it’s simply a matter of personal preference. However, trying out a range of audio experiences can clue you into things you might otherwise have missed out on.