What's Up With The CD / Vinyl Appeal?

Hi everyone,
So, I personally am a huge fan of CDs and vinyls. I recently got myself Kanye West’s Graduation and Late Registration and Tyler, The Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost in the span of less than a month. All of which I believe to be phenomenal records. My parents or some of my friends usually are aware of me purchasing CDs regularly and they don’t tend to care, however, there are times where people will question why I’m so invested in a supposedly ‘obsolete’ passion. Though, oddly enough, I can’t seem to put in to words why that is the case. Does anyone have a comprehensive reason as to why people generally find an appeal in CDs and vinyls to this day?

There’s multiple ways of looking at it:

Firstly is just the idea of ownership and more tangible aspect of things. You are getting a physical thing that holds the music you enjoy, you actually own it and aren’t “borrowing” it from some streaming service so it’s not going to be taken from you or changed without you knowing. Also there’s more than just the disc or record, there’s the cover art, the sleeve or casing, extras that the artist may have thrown in there that make it a bit more special and interesting, more than you’d see from a streaming service or ripped playback. If you start getting limited editions or special/rare releases this is further increased. I think all this also feeds into the experience of usage, with a more physical medium, you are somewhat dedicating yourself to listening to that album more through and through, less skipping around, no random shuffle, it’s more like an event, interacting with the devices that play the discs, those extra steps can improve the experience for people. So I think just the experience aspect can do it for people, having something tangible to own and use might just be more rewarding to them. Also a music collection of physical media is immediately more impressive than a digital one of the same size lol, so just being able to see the size of your lib in a physical way is cool, don’t get that with digital. Also there’s the chance that some people just hate modern technology and don’t want to interact with a computer or phone so I guess that’s potentially another reason lol

Sound wise there’s a fair amount of reasons you might be more drawn to them. For vinyl specifically there may be special pressings and masters that are “better” than what’s available to you digitally (sometimes the masters for some things on vinyl are really just better than what was mastered to cd at the time, typically more common with older albums than new), so that’s a potential positive.

I don’t want to get into the digital vs vinyl debate since that’s just a stalemate imo, they can both sound equally good in the high end (but personally I feel things get somewhat sketchy when you are in the more budget space and digital makes a more compelling argument but don’t want to get too deep into that). Regardless of which might be “better,” vinyl does sound distinctly different from a digital playback system (from both different mastering and the technology itself), which on it’s own might be enough to draw people more toward vinyl. But let me just say a good vinyl setup is really expensive lol.

You can also sometimes get better sound quality from a cd transport + dac vs a dac going into a pc or phone, a higher quality digital transport will provide a higher quality digital signal (cleaner signal overall, better clocked as well) to feed to your dac which can provide better sound quality than perhaps what else you are feeding it with. There are now music streamers/servers that take the role of the cd transport and can accomplish the same goal but pull from digital files instead of a spinning disc. They still do make all in one cd players with a built in dac as well, and perhaps that dac may be superior to the dac you use normally, so that’s possibly another reason. All depends though, just some reasons off the top of my head, I’m sure there are more

Edit: I guess another reason for vinyl, sound wise it has more components that can be better tweaked to your preferences, you can adjust the cartridge, tonearm, phono pre, actual table itself, vibration/isolation control, the music medium itself, etc. which gives you more options to adjust how things sound in the end than you can typically adjust with a simple dac setup. So that might be more preferable to someone that really likes to fine tune every possible thing to meet their preferences

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CDs and even more so Vinyl make listening to music into something you take time and care to do. Instead of just “clicky button”, you take that fragile disk from its sleeve, spin up the table and set the needle down, enjoy the whole thing and then go to the next.

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I suppose so. All your points are pretty much valid all the way. I do like that feeling of ‘exclusivity’. Just having all those little extra things that are in a CD. As a music producer, I appreciate who mixed, who mastered, the official lyrics, whether any samples were included - the booklet is generally the selling point for me. And just the fact that I have full ownership of a copy of an artist’s work. It really just sets this feeling of taking the extra step of supporting them. (This applies to vinyl, too.)

But yeah, with all that being said, I’ve got a great excuse to boast with!

Thanks y’all!

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Ownership matters.

With the hard copy your getting known repeatable source. Although ive learned CDs get you 96db from 16bit.

I do still buy some CDs, but the last 7-8 years or so i have bought more music digitally online than physical media. That said, i generally buy less music and stream more (spotify subscription) now. If i really like the artist/band, i try to buy it digital from a source that sees a good part of the revenue go to the artist (some bands sell directly themself, others use bandcamp etc).

I do still enjoy physical media and ideally i would like to buy more CDs, but you have the extra hassle of ripping them to flac yourself, and it usually is more expensive. Also, when you buy a lossless file, you have them in a matter of minutes, and not days (if you order, and not going to a local retail store - can be hard to find, at least around where i live).

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I really don’t understand the love of vinyl. I am old and grew up with vinyl. It was shitty! Constantly, warping, constantly getting scratched and not at all portable. And the SSSSSsound drives me nuts. I gave up on those back in the 90’s when CD’s came out and albums pretty much went away.
I kept buying CD’s until about 2010 and then I went to online purchasing. I have still rarely buy some jazz CD’s.

I have NEVER owned or been exposed to more music in my life. My collection is at just under 7,000 pieces of music (ALAC, AAC and MP3) and I have it on my desktop computer, my laptop computer, my phone and two DAP’s. Awesome and portable.

I would have to ask the sort of system it was being played on, that’s a massive factor. For example if you grew up listening to mediocre quality tape decks, you might be shocked what you can get out of a nice deck + higher quality cassettes, same goes for vinyl. That’s another reason why you have people bashing digital stuff as well, because those people have pretty high end vinyl setups but then only hear mediocre digital setups. So all depends on what you actually listened to, most mediums/formats can get a bad rap if it’s showcased on a mediocre or poor system compared to a nice one imo. Kinda brings up one of the things I mentioned earlier about digital setups sounding better in the lower price ranges than vinyl as well, it’s much cheaper to get a good sounding digital setup than a good sounding vinyl setup imo

This is from a sound perspective though, for usability/features/stuff like that it’s a different story lol

That is one undeniable benefit to digital, it allows you to just easily acquire more music and make it more convenient to store and play. It’s never been easier to both get and manage a larger library than now, also much easier to hear new artists and further explore things you may not otherwise

I’ve fully committed to digital myself with a pretty massive lib, but with how much I’ve put into dacs and whatnot I could have had a pretty damn impressive vinyl setup too (but way less music lol)

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Me and all my friends back in the 70’s bought the best we could afford in our teens and early 20’s. They ranged from the family all-in-one consoles right up to very nice component systems. Some people treated their albums perfectly, others less so.
I hung out at some stero shops back in the day and while I wasn’t going top of the line, I was piling a lot of money into nice gear, at least in my circles.

I would NEVER go back to that. And now people are paying crazy prices for LP’s, although they do seem thicker and more stable.

I think it is just more of a hobby now, a little club to belong to.
But whatever makes people happy!

I spend at least two hours and more every single week hunting for new music. I never did that back in the 70’s. :grin:

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The good high quality pressings are drying up from the market, so prices are shooting up (just like nos tubes lol), most of the new modern pressings just aren’t cutting it for most people from a sound quality perspective outside of niche specific audiophile pressings (makes sense I guess)

If you want to get to stupid prices for music start getting into reel to reel lol, hard to find albums period and when you do they are in the hundreds at minimum

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I love my vinyl setup and tend to listen to more records than my digital collection. I really enjoy the physical media, the album cover, liner notes, extras that may come in the package. It’s much more immersive IMO and it really makes you sit and listen to whole songs or albums you would normally skip over half of. I enjoy the process as well. Sitting on the floor and browsing the cabinet for what sets my mood at the time and then having to work to get it on there and set the needle. It can be very cathartic and calming for me, settles my anxiety surprisingly.

Other than imperfections that may come direct from the factory (most shops have good return policies anyways), warping and scratches shouldn’t be an issue if you actually care for your records and take the time to properly store them, drop the needle and clean them now and again.

Bandcamp I think is the best place to acquire most music if you are going with vinyl, as they also provide you with the digital download as well in pretty much any format you desire. Best of both worlds for one price!

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