I caved… I admit it. But cut me some slack I’m old eh? and Canadian. I just picked up a British built circa 2016 Rega Planar II… and I love this thing – BUT…. it’s a pure luxury.
In point of fact, CD sound for me and many others is “technically” superior. However, CD’s simply lack the “snap’ crackle and pop” that defined a stylus on vinyl. In fact, that was a big “Whoa!” moment for those of us old enough to remember the big switch-over circa 1983. CD’s offer cleaner sound – no doubt.
BUT…. We missed that sonic needle “snap” and never realized it until the return…. AND… LP’s are indeed much warmer sounding… due in large part to the lower fidelity! Say wha????
Lower fidelity my friend and that’s all very cool and absolutely okay. But the science has been done and beyond question:
Dynamic range. The difference between the loudest and softest sounds an LP can play is about 70 decibels (dB). CDs can handle over 90 dB. In practical terms, this means that CDs have more than 10 times the dynamic range of LPs.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-07-music-vinyl-cds.html#jCp
10 x the dynamic range???? In other words … Hi-Fidelity, kids.
That’s why the industry and the population of the day switched over en masse shortly after the new format was introduced.
I owned a beautiful Dutch made Philips Turntable back then… powered by a Yamaha amplifier and expressed through a gorgeous pair of Boston Acoustic A150s. Man! I was proud of that system. No. It certainly wasn’t the best money could buy but it challenged my pocket book and I was genuinely proud of it. Queen: The Works, The Police: Synchronicity were just two of the final LP’s I owned… Oh, yes…. You can throw in, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, too.
But then compact Discs arrived… Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms! A revelation… the fidelity! Wow! And no – not vinyl…. CD, man! compact disc!
I remember George Harrison coming out saying that he hated CDs. He also hated OASIS. But I love Noel Gallagher and CD’s ain’t bad either… in fact, Sgt. Pepper’s on vinyl just ended and now I am thoroughly enjoying “The Essential Lou Reed on CD” It sounds amazing!
So what’s the vinyl buzz all about?
Well, first and foremost – it’s an absolute blast! Paradoxically, that old and flawed hiss of the needle and those big ass album covers never could be matched by the CD let alone Mp3 etc… formats. I was born in 1958; I can’t remember the last time I could read the liner notes off a CD. On LP… no worries. The medium immediately transports me back to our family room of the 1970s. Heck, there’s no way we had anything close to the fidelity offered by a 21st century turntable…. and this Rega Planar II is a sweet machine. It retails at $800.00 Cdn., which again is scratching the top tier of my disposable income. Want the next step up in a Planar III?? – be prepared to fork over roughly $1,500 Cdn!!!
So what a 21st century turntable and remastered-remixed classic albums equal is a near perfect balance of old and new. The nostalgia kick is in but the records sound better than anything we had back in the day… at least better than anything I had.
CD’s will remain my main go-to audio choice. Their ease of use and load and forget appeal make for an irresistible draw. My advice is read the reviews, watch the debates and don’t be swayed by anything other than your own ear and desire.
And vinyl? Swing that tone-arm over baby and let er’ spin. It’s nostalgic, warm, and fun. CD’s were never designed to match LP’s in that regard.
Bonus material: The Youtube video that lead me to the Planar II over the Pro-Ject Carbon Debut (I still dig that yellow though) 🙂
Other Vinyl and Music loving faves:
Larry Graves: The Canadian Studmuffin! (This guy has a huge heart)
Mean Mr. Mayo (Hello New York!)
Fit to be Tie-Dyed (Canadian low key delivery- but straight up)
Vinyl Eyezz (love this young guy’s moxy)
Ron Beaudry (He’s been inactive for a while but his catalogue and reviews are top notch)
Hey VC! leave a comment (but be sorta kinda nice) 🙂