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Return of the Vinyl Album

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the vinylly dept.

Music 490

bulled writes "NPR ran a story this morning about the comeback of vinyl. It seems that sales of new vinyl records are up about 10%; sales will approach a million this year (as against half a billion for CDs). NPR mentioned the popularity of a turntable with a USB interface — they didn't specify the brand; could be this one, or this — and speculated on other possible reasons for the resurgence. They mentioned sound quality and lack of DRM as possible causes. Sound quality can and will be debated, but DRM rates a resounding 'Duh.'"

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490 comments

Not surprising. (5, Insightful)

Chouonsoku (1009817) | about 7 years ago | (#18760323)

From a collector's stand point, vinyls never really faded from popularity. I still have all of my old vinyls and purchase new ones today by more current bands.

Re:Not surprising. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760365)

Exactly. Vinyl went underground with the advent of the CD, but otherwise, it hasn't gone anywhere. It still has its niche, and it always will.

Re:Not surprising. (4, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 years ago | (#18760543)

From a collector's stand point, vinyls never really faded from popularity. I still have all of my old vinyls and purchase new ones today by more current bands.
That's so last year. I'm going to digital Vinyl, I take my Vinyl records, convert them to MP3 then send this out over a modem which I then record as analog audio on the vinyl record. This way I don't encounter the dynamic range limitations of the vinyl.

Digital Vinyl (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 years ago | (#18760715)

I'm going to digital Vinyl, I take my Vinyl records, convert them to MP3 then send this out over a modem which I then record as analog audio on the vinyl record. This way I don't encounter the dynamic range limitations of the vinyl.

While you may think I'm joking I note that a 30-40Kb/sec stream is more than suficient to store audio at near CD quality in real time. You can send 30-40Kb/sec over a telephone which has a small fraction of the bandwidth of a record. Thus I can actually encode about 8 simultaneous stereo streams

since audio records last about 40 minutes, 8 streams gives me 320 minutes of near CD quality music which is longer than an audio encoded CD can provide. Next up VCD on Vinyl

Digital Vinyl DRM (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760911)

switch from MP3 to WMA so you can add DRM and I might be interested. But I'll have to wait for the Zune version so I can squirt my Vinyl. Chicks dig me.

It's Time To Repeal The Second Amendment (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760617)

It's Time To Repeal The Second Amendment
by Max Castro

Like a bad dream, like the monster in a horror movie with a never-ending set of sequels, the National Rifle Association just keeps coming back. Unrepentant despite Columbine and countless other cases of carnage in America, the NRA met in convention last weekend to trumpet its alleged comeback, to bluster and to issue political threats. NRA President and former actor Charlton Heston held a musket aloft and challenged anyone to take it away. But he made it clear that his real target is Al Gore and that the NRA will do anything in its power to hand the election to George W. Bush and defeat the vice president.

Bush likes to portray himself as a moderate and a reformer on every issue, including guns, but he isn't fooling the NRA on this one. Politically savvy to a fault, the NRA knows very well who will do its bidding -- Bush -- and who will stand in its way -- Gore. The gun lobby can see through Bush's gesture of handing out free trigger locks to a few thousand Texans as the kind of empty political ploy that interferes with the status quo and the NRA agenda not at all. The Doonesbury comic strip that depicts the NRA answering calls from the White House after Bush has been elected is an exercise in artistic license. But it's not far from the truth judging from the savage way the NRA has been attacking Gore while raising big bucks for Bush.

Like no other issue, the gun issue and the NRA's enthusiasm for Bush expose the contradictions in the GOP candidate's carefully constructed image as a moderate and a reformer. The NRA is an extremist, fundamentalist organization when it comes to guns laws, and it frequently issues inflammatory statements that rival the pronouncements of this country's worst racial demagogues.

The gun lobby's successful use of political money and muscle to block modest gun-control measures in the face of common sense and American's overwhelming support, is Exhibit A in the case for campaign reform. The NRA's warm, fuzzy feelings for Bush betray what it really thinks of the candidate's reformist, moderate posturing and who it thinks is the best candidate for gun fundamentalists. Will voters see that as well?

Meanwhile, the man on the moon or any European or Japanese who is watching the current U.S. debate on gun control must be amused. The fierceness of the NRA attack on Gore and the Million Mom March must seem entirely disproportionate given the mildness of the measures that gun-control advocates favor, especially compared with the toll that guns take in terms of human lives. If cars are registered and drivers are licensed, what can be wrong about doing the same with guns and gun owners?

18th CENTURY NEEDS

Certainly, the availability of guns is not the only factor accounting for America's wide lead in homicide rates compared with other industrialized countries. But the belief that a substantial minority of Americans seem to want to hold on to that guns are not an important factor in the carnage strikes outsiders to the American lore of the frontier and self-reliance as anachronistic and deluded as the long-discarded belief that blacks really were happy on those plantations.

Why is there is no debate at all on the source of the problem: the Second Amendment? The Constitution is a magnificent and venerable document, but it's not perfect or static. The Founders themselves recognized and used the amendment process.

The right to bear arms made sense in the 18th Century to provide for the common defense and afford citizens a guarantee against the encroachment of absolute monarchs. But today we don't rely on a militia to defend the country, and tyranny would involve a monopoly of media, not muskets. Born as a bulwark of democracy, the Second Amendment is the last refuge of gun fundamentalists and their well-financed lobbyists indifferent to the tragedies their liberal gun laws produce. Who will be the first politician to stand up and shout: ``Repeal!''

Not surprising-Art for spaces sake. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760795)

There's another reason that no one has mentioned yet. More space for cover art.

Flashback (4, Insightful)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 7 years ago | (#18760325)

Didn't vinyl make a comeback about 12 or 15 years ago during the grunge era? What makes anyone think this is anything other than another small bump in popularity?

Re:Flashback (4, Insightful)

battery111 (620778) | about 7 years ago | (#18760437)

vinyl is also the de-facto standard for DJ's at parties and clubs. CD equivalents that allow you to mix and scratch are somewhat frowned upon in these areas, and while the rave scene has lost most of it's popularity, there are still quite a few fans out there of this type of entertainment. I don't think that anyone's arguing that vinyl is going to overtake CDs or other digital formats in popularity, merely acknowledging that the format is still thriving, and shows no signs of disappearing any time soon.

Re:Flashback (3, Insightful)

garry danger (1087361) | about 7 years ago | (#18761101)

its not just the "rave" scene that like vinyl. any type of dance music (techno, house, breaks) will generally be released on 12" due to the fact that dj's just love playing on proper turntables.

although that said, you will see all the big name dj's using the pioneer cdj-1000 which work on cd's and not vinyl. it is the industry standard as you can play a burnt cd just like a record (even scratching). There are websites out there that will convert the vinyl record to digital and let you buy the mp3 as drm free, such as beatport [beatport.com]

I love my collection of vinyl music, and although the cdj-1000's are very cool I still much prefer to mix on my old school vinyl decks.

Re:Flashback (5, Insightful)

adelord (816991) | about 7 years ago | (#18761163)

vinyl is also the de-facto standard for DJ's at parties and clubs. CD equivalents that allow you to mix and scratch are somewhat frowned upon in these areas, and while the rave scene has lost most of it's popularity, there are still quite a few fans out there of this type of entertainment. I don't think that anyone's arguing that vinyl is going to overtake CDs or other digital formats in popularity, merely acknowledging that the format is still thriving, and shows no signs of disappearing any time soon.
Vinyl was the standard, but isn't anymore. Today artists like Richie Hawtin and Sasha use Ableton Live http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ableton_Live [wikipedia.org] to produce a dynamic set that is impossible to trainspot. Wikipedia has a list of users: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Ableton_Live _users [wikipedia.org]

Others like Mark Farina use cds. Final Scratch http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Scratch [wikipedia.org] is still in use as well.

Judging by what was seen at the winter music conference this year, th stand set-up is four decks- two for cds and two for vinyl. Five years ago vinyl was the standard, but times are still changing.

Vinyl is still in common use, esp. for local or regional artists, but of the people I know who actually make their living off of playing music none use vinyl exclusively anymore.

Re:Flashback (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#18760509)

It also "made a comeback" in 2000 or so when lots of indie bands started copying the older indie bands who had released both on vinyl and CD (e.g. Death Cab). Vinyl became an indie scene "gold card." It had as much to do with nostalgia as it did with any particular technical reason (vinyl also has the benefit of wearing out and making you have to re-purchase albums periodically).

Re:Flashback (1)

servoled (174239) | about 7 years ago | (#18760609)

Underground bands have pretty much always released stuff on vinyl... mostly 7" singles. It just so happens that some of those bands actually wound up with a large fan base so lots of their fans ended up buying their old vinyl releases to complete the collection.

I'm not sure why vinyl is popular with underground bands, but I'd have to guess its an economic decision more than a "hipness" decision.

Re:Flashback (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#18760713)

Well certainly part of it is that smaller labels (which charge less) are still able to put out vinyl records inexpensively. However, CD pressing is also quite affordable, so the difference is largely based on pragmatics more so than economics directly. It may well be, however, that releasing EPs is easier and more guilt-free than releasing a 35-minute album on CD. I really can't imagine anyone balking at the price of a low-run CD release from the CD-equivalent of a print shop and running to a vinyl repro, which can't possibly be much cheaper.

Re:Flashback (1)

servoled (174239) | about 7 years ago | (#18761199)

Its entirely possible that they are pretty close in price. From the quick Google search I did, the CD pressing folks seemed to require larger minimum orders than the vinyl pressing folks though. Granted that was based on just a couple sites.

I will say that I have very rarely run into bands which release full length albums only on vinyl. It does seem very common with singles though. It could have something to do with the CD-single being pretty much a dead format, who knows.

There's no debate (0, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | about 7 years ago | (#18760343)

Vinyl sounds freakin awful.

Commence proving me wrong

Re:There's no debate (1)

quanticle (843097) | about 7 years ago | (#18760457)

Vinyl sounds freakin' awful...


That depends. What kind of record player are you using? How good is your amplifier? What is the quality of the record. While vinyl isn't universally high quality, you can get good sound out of vinyl if you take care of your records and play them on quality turntables.

Re:There's no debate (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18760585)

So, are you saying that you require skill and knowledge to use get good sound out of vinyl?

Do you require a similar amount of skill and knowledge to get similar sound out of a CD player?

Or is all that taken care of for you?

Re:There's no debate (1)

servoled (174239) | about 7 years ago | (#18760657)

The prevailing thought seems to be a high quality vinyl setup will beat a CD setup due to the inherent differences between the recordings. However I don't think anyone will try to argue that CDs aren't more convenient than vinyl.

Re:There's no debate (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#18760785)

And this has been verified with a double blind test using uninterested parties in an ABX format?

Re:There's no debate (1)

servoled (174239) | about 7 years ago | (#18761089)

Its hard to double blind ABX test convenience :) Realistically it comes down to personal preference. You can analyze the audio playback for noise characteristics and all that good crap all you want, but ultimately it comes down to the listeners preference.

Personally I have a old Sansui turntable that I picked up from Goodwill about 6 years back that feeds a mediocre Proton receiver. As to whether CD or vinyl sounds better? I have no clue myself since I don't feel like buying the same album twice to find out. All my vinyl purchases are stuff that is only released on vinyl (e.g. 7" singles) or albums that are cheaper in vinyl form than CD form. It is nice to be able to easily rip the CDs and skip tracks at will, but honestly I don't use the ripped MP3s much anyways and prefer listening to complete albums to individual tracks, so the added convenience of CD isn't that important of a factor to me.

Re:There's no debate (1)

king-manic (409855) | about 7 years ago | (#18760867)

Conversley if you use high quality amps/speakers and a algorithm that fills in the missing frequencies in the digital recordings or simply use HD audio you can get a similiar quality for a similiar price without seeming like a luddite.

Re:There's no debate (1, Interesting)

doti (966971) | about 7 years ago | (#18761149)

By far, the most important item (apart from a non-scratched disc) is a good needle.

With good equipment, the sound quality is way better then the chopped digital audio from the bits of the CD.

Re:There's no debate (1)

Knx (743893) | about 7 years ago | (#18760801)

It partly depends on whether you're using something like this [pong-story.com] or something like this [pong-story.com].

Now, more seriously, the fact is that the dynamic range of vinyl records is about 60dB in the best case, as opposed to about 100dB for a CD. What makes a vinyl actually sound good (or at least 'different') is all the sound enhancement process which is performed to overcome the 'poor' dynamic range.

There's also some maths behind that if you're curious: RIAA curve [tanker.se]. (And yeah, that was way before these guys were most known for their efforts against file sharing.)

Re:There's no debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760831)

No it doesn't. Pwned.

Hey, look, I supported my argument just as well as you.

its hip to own vinyl (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760351)

It just happens to be hip to own vinyl again, mainly due to "audiophile" acts like the White Stripes and Modest Mouse, and other hipster indie rockers wannabes.

This too shall pass.

Re:its hip to own vinyl (4, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 7 years ago | (#18760557)

You're joking, right? The White Stripes and Modest Mouse are shining examples of lo-fi. There's nothing "audiophile" about them.

Re:its hip to own vinyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18761027)

Hey man, Lou B was lo-fi before there was a lo-fi.

Re:its hip to own vinyl (1)

maxume (22995) | about 7 years ago | (#18761035)

Well, they are more about the mysterious and nebulous impression of the listener than they are about anything quantifiable. (and I realize you probably aren't talking about the 'that's an extra clean digital cable' audiophile, but who can resist making fun?)

USB? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760353)

record player with USB? doesn't that defeat the purpose of analog sound quality?

Re:USB? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | about 7 years ago | (#18760575)

I think it's used by musicians who want to import mixing, beat-matching, or scratching into their digital recording set-up.

It's a fashion trend (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 7 years ago | (#18760359)

like most things related to music. How popular the wax is depends on who is saying it is great.

Re:It's a fashion trend (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 years ago | (#18760425)

The social equivalent of tongue piercing. Once everyone goes digital it's fun to shock people by going analog. Plus scarcity creates value among collectors. One thing is true: vinyl will outlast CD in durability, and the error correction is much more robust on Analog.

Re:It's a fashion trend (2, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | about 7 years ago | (#18760767)

One thing is true: vinyl will outlast CD in durability

When the apocolypse comes, give me a pin, a piece of cardboard, something to use as a spindle, and a steady finger. I'll still be rockin'.

Re:It's a fashion trend (4, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | about 7 years ago | (#18760775)

One thing is true: vinyl will outlast CD in durability, and the error correction is much more robust on Analog.

I don't think so. the abuse a standard CD is subjected to would utterly destroy a record. how many people put a dozen naked Records on top of each other in a care that goe over bumps. 2 bumps and you have yourself a pile of useless plastic. I do the same to CD's and they last about a year with this abuse. Records last a long time now, because those who buy them treat them properly. CD's have finite lifespans because they are small, and versatile and thus often abused.

CD's and Records fail in different ways. A light scratch across the record will render every track with a regular periodic snap/pop or even render it unplayable. A light scratch on a CD may result in a bit of a skip or no data loss. A deep scratch on both results in an unplayable disc. Multiple light scratches on a CD will still often be playable and often without quality loss while the same for a Record renders it unplayable. Repeated play degrades a record, while it doesn't really degrade a CD. And Vinyl is not as mobile.

Also, You can back up a CD. You cannot back up a Record into the same format. Error correction on analog data is not more "robust" it's different. Critical failure on an anologue system is different then on digital. If I introduce random noise to a CD, I can digitally filter it out if I know how. The same type of error on a anologue signal might result in static. cleaning up such a systemic loss is hard on analogue. When the damage is mroe severe the digital may be unrecoverable while the analogue may still cary some of th edata. Digital has a recoverable area/damaged area rate that looks like a inverse log. 0-50% damage = 100% recover 50%+ = 0%. While Anaglogue has a linear decline.

Re:It's a fashion trend (1)

profplump (309017) | about 7 years ago | (#18760889)

As long as your durability requirements don't include the ability to withstand or recover from: crushing, bending, moderately high temperatures, airborne particulate matter, skin oils, or frequent playback, then sure, vinyl is waaaaaaay more durable.

Re:It's a fashion trend (2, Funny)

shinma (106792) | about 7 years ago | (#18760971)

Never had a girlfriend (or boyfriend) with a tongue piercing, huh?

There's more to them than shock value. Really.

Analogue vs Digital (2, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 7 years ago | (#18760363)

There's no debate. Analogue recordings are better. And they keep better too. If you make an analogue recording of something using top of the line equipment, 50 years from now, you'll be able to use superior tools to pull a more accurate representation of the sonic environment than anything we can do now. If you record digital, a bit is a bit is a bit.

Best method, use the highest quality analogue gear you can find to record, then sample it in the highest quality digital you can for editing and distribution, then throw the original analogue in the vault so you can re-sample it again in 5 years.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 7 years ago | (#18760593)

I dispute that they "keep better". If you have an analog tape master, it will have a finite life no matter how much you pamper it. Thus the existence of techniques such as tape baking [sonicraft.com]. The only way to preserve this tape over the long-haul is to transfer it to a fresh tape or other medium sometime before it is completely degraded. Every time you transfer the analog tape, you degrade it by a generation... doing the same with a digital master would give you an exact, or near-exact copy. You could do this as many times as you wish with no generational loss.

At the very least, you should immediately digitize the analog master so that you have the digital first-generation copy "forever".

Re:Analogue vs Digital (1)

servoled (174239) | about 7 years ago | (#18760697)

If you have an analog tape master, it will have a finite life no matter how much you pamper it.

The same can be said about CDs.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (1)

FLEB (312391) | about 7 years ago | (#18760841)

Yes, but a CD is digital, and is not dependent upon the strength of a given bit as long as the bit is even minimally discernable.

Really, if you want to get the best archival, you'll want digital encoding and output onto simple punchcards.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (3, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#18760595)

Persistent analog storage may be best, but consumer analog formats aren't. "Archival vinyl" is an oxymoron unless you never play the album.

If records really want to make a comeback, they'll come up with a nondestructive way to read the disc, like a laser beam. Oops, they did that. It's called a CD.

I agree that high quality analog recordings are a good thing to keep around for posterity, but analog recordings certainly aren't better for home reproduction (they'll get a little worse every time you play them), unless you don't mind having to repurchase albums every so often. You don't need DRM when your recording format expires and can't be reproduced easily at home. There is, after all, no "vinyl burner" on the shelf at Best Buy for $40.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (3, Funny)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#18760821)

I agree that high quality analog recordings are a good thing to keep around for posterity, but analog recordings certainly aren't better for home reproduction (they'll get a little worse every time you play them), unless you don't mind having to repurchase albums every so often.

Oh I get it! The RIAA wants these to come back so that they can get you to download and pay for a digital copy for your portable media player and have to keep repurchasing your physical medium as well!

This is the "new" "old" DRM. Vinyl, the gift that keeps on giving...to the RIAA.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (1, Informative)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 7 years ago | (#18760977)

"If records really want to make a comeback, they'll come up with a nondestructive way to read the disc, like a laser beam. Oops, they did that. It's called a CD."

No, I think it's called a laser disk, since laser disks are a nondestructive analog medium.

Re:Analogue vs Digital (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#18761249)

Not for audio. Laserdisc audio is digital like CDs (or was, rather, on my Laserdisc collection). Yes, I will admit to having owned a VDP :).

Re:Analogue vs Digital (2, Insightful)

mudshark (19714) | about 7 years ago | (#18760965)

[cue rumble at -45dB]
[cue surface noise at -38dB]
[needle drop BANG]
skritch...skritch...Yeah, man...POP...Iskritchgree with CLICK you totaskritchly. NothinPOPg like the skritchdelity of vinyl...skritch.

Oh, you meant tape?

[cue tape hiss at -60db]
That's better. But how many machines are going to be around and serviced 50 years from now to play back that carefully stored tape? Lots of rubber idler wheels to dry out and crack, capacitors to leak, parts to become unobtainable, etc. Let's hope that someone is storing a whole bunch of MCI JH-24s in a secure undisclosed underground bunker, along with a stockpile of parts and manuals....

Re:Analogue vs Digital (5, Insightful)

Cordath (581672) | about 7 years ago | (#18760993)

A lot of vinyl-philes have this strange notion that an analogue recording is somehow capable of storing a perfectly accurate continuous waveform that is superior to digital media precisely becasue it is continuous rather than discrete. In a perfect world that might be true. In reality, it is not.

Four basic things contribute to the fidelity of all recording formats:

1. The tolerances of recording equipment. (e.g. How closely the signal produced by a microphone resembles the soundwave that generated that signal.)
2. Generational loss in mastering
3. Manufacturing tolerances that affect playback
4. Tolerances of reproduction equipment.

All formats are limited by #1, and #4 is in the hands of each individual end-user. (i.e. If your stereo sucks, what format you prefer won't matter much.) However, number 2 and 3 are biggies.

Generational loss means that if you want to do anything more than slap a live recording onto a LP with no post-production whatsover, the quality will suck. Nobody masters albums in analogue these days. 99.9% of the vinyl being released was mastered digitally and then dumped back to analogue, so kiss that analogue "magic" goodbye.

The manufacturing tolerances of LP's are also a huge issue. When was the last time you picked up a micrometer made out of vinyl? It's not exactly the most ideal material for making something that has to have hyper accurate spatial dimensions. It's easy to scratch, and has a large coefficient of thermal expansion. Just play it back at a different temperature than it was cut at and you're already pretty badly off. The tolerances of a pressed vinyl disk are also larger than you might think, and have the effect of greatly reducing the practical information capacity. (i.e. In theory, analogue recordings contain infinite infomation. If you could record a waveform with even just very very large precision in vinyl, digital media would be useless because you could pack much more data into an analogue pressing. Digital media dominates today. Guess why? The precision of vinyl sucks dingo balls.) Everything that can go wrong with vinyl will have a direct impact on the sound. The lowly CD, by comparison, has built in parity information that allow any decent CD-reader to extract bit-perfect copies that would be identical to the master.

That being said, many CD recordings do suck, but that's the fault of mixing engineers who want to push it to 11 instead of mastering at an appropriate volume that won't clip the waveform. If a recording is mangled in this manner it's going to sound like crap no matter what you record it on.

Help (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760375)

I can't relate to the opposite sex very well. I haven't had any real romantic relationship with a female and I'm 25 now. I don't feel comfortable approaching them, and I can't "strike up a conversation" as seems to be so easy for everyone else. What should I do?

Re:Help (1, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 7 years ago | (#18760443)

I can't relate to the opposite sex very well. I haven't had any real romantic relationship with a female and I'm 25 now. I don't feel comfortable approaching them, and I can't "strike up a conversation" as seems to be so easy for everyone else. What should I do?

You're not a double amputee are you? Do I have to draw you a picture?

Ubgrade to USB2.0 (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#18760815)

Dear Communications Challenged

While you say that you wish to communicate, we really know that deep down you want to plug&play, preferably doing some hotplugging too.

USB2.0 makes this easy and if you're in a hurry, or are unsure as to who should play host and who should play slave then you can try USB on the Go.

Why bother? Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760389)

All S/N issues aside, even if you have a mint LP, the stereo separation for vinyl is for shit. 50dB vs. 105+ for CDs.

Throw in the inevitable noise, IHD, and wow/flutter, and tell me again why I'd want this, other than for nostalgia? Quaint, I'm sure.

Re:Why bother? Really (1, Informative)

maeka (518272) | about 7 years ago | (#18760845)

All S/N issues aside, even if you have a mint LP, the stereo separation for vinyl is for shit. 50dB vs. 105+ for CDs.

105dB of stereo separation on a 16bit (~96dB SNR) medium?
Amazing!

I love vinyl! (1)

speedfreak_5 (546044) | about 7 years ago | (#18760403)

Lots of good music on vinyl. I also love the hand control over the music (yes I do a little DJing here and there). But there is one thing I would love to find for fun.

A Sony Flamingo portable record player.

It would be pretty cool to have a standing record player (nevermind scratching with it, although that would be cool) with a translucent disc inside it playing.

Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760405)

The other beautiful thing about vinyl is that, one you one a record (which might cost $5), you have the moral if not legal right to download the album via mp3 - after all, you've paid for a copy of the music, the mp3 is just another format.

Not to mention the fact that vinyl lasts forever as long as you treat it well...

Re:Copyright (-1, Troll)

Stormx2 (1003260) | about 7 years ago | (#18760463)

The other beautiful thing about vinyl is that, one you one a record (which might cost $5), you have the moral if not legal right to download the album via mp3 - after all, you've paid for a copy of the music, the mp3 is just another format.
Uh, sure thing amigo. You bought a car, so that means you can just steal as many more as you like.

Re:Copyright (4, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 7 years ago | (#18760603)

Uh, sure thing amigo. You bought a car, so that means you can just steal as many more as you like.
Bzzzt! You just failed Common Sense 101. Stealing a car deprives the original owner of that car. Downloading an album doesn't deprive anyone of anything, especially if you've already paid for it. Come back when you understand the difference between information and physical property, OK?

Re:Copyright (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760863)

" Bzzzt! You just failed Common Sense 101. Stealing a car deprives the original owner of that car. Downloading an album doesn't deprive anyone of anything, especially if you've already paid for it. Come back when you understand the difference between information and physical property, OK?"

Sleeping with your wife while you're at work doesn't deprive you of your wife, as long as she's there for you when you want her.

Therefore, sleeping with your wife is OK!

Thanks!!!

Re:Copyright (5, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 7 years ago | (#18760937)

Sleeping with your wife while you're at work doesn't deprive you of your wife, as long as she's there for you when you want her. Therefore, sleeping with your wife is OK!
No, sleeping with your wife is "OK". Sleeping with my wife is fantastic. Sorry you're missing out, but for some reason, she only likes to sleep with guys who have enough common sense not to compare copyright infringement to theft, adultery, or other acts involving force or deceit.

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760913)

But you're depriving the company of revenue because you're not paying for the digital interpretation of the analog storage medium you just bought.

Re:Copyright (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | about 7 years ago | (#18761043)

But you're depriving the company of revenue because you're not paying for the digital interpretation of the analog storage medium you just bought.
No more than I'm depriving H&R Block of revenue by choosing to do my taxes myself, or depriving the oil companies of revenue by driving a 33 MPG Corolla instead of a 10 MPG Hummer. That word implies that I somehow owe them money just because they want to sell me something--that the revenue is rightfully theirs, and I'm interfering by not playing along--but in fact I'm under no obligation to buy their products, especially when I've already paid for the same thing in a different, convertible format.

Re:Copyright (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | about 7 years ago | (#18761099)

Maybe you two can be friends in remedial English, then. Stealing != theft. Copyright infringement most certainly is stealing (taking something to which you have zero entitlement) but that does not mean it is theft.

If you want to play the definition game, at least do it right.

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760689)

Hold up there Susan, if the ??AA keep telling me that I don't actually own the thing and that I've just got a temporary license to listen to it, then I'll fricken well exercise the opportunity to listen to it however I want.

Doesn't give you the right to download _other_ albums, but if they do actually want me to spend my money on their product then they can play fucking fair with how I listen to it.

Re:Copyright (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 7 years ago | (#18760733)

Copyright infringement isn't stealing.

It shouldn't even be a crime.

It's an obsolete social mechanism that causes more than enough harm to offset any socially redeeming qualities it has.

This imbalance between harm and benefit becomes greater as our technological capacities increase.

If you make any long term plans around copyright continuing to exist, you're a fool, because it's not going to.

Re:Copyright (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 7 years ago | (#18761203)

"Copyright infringement isn't stealing."

Right, but it is a crime as you acknowledge. Many people believe that breaking the law in a democracy without a very good reason is unethical. Wanting to avoid payment doesn't usually qualify as a good reason because it's self-serving.

"It shouldn't even be a crime."

Work to change the law, then.

"It's an obsolete social mechanism that causes more than enough harm to offset any socially redeeming qualities it has."

What is the great harm to society that you allude to?

"If you make any long term plans around copyright continuing to exist, you're a fool, because it's not going to."

Then you should be happy.

Re:Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760873)

Ever heard of format shifting, compadre? Like, if you own something on 8-track they can't (shouldn't?) lock you up for transferring it to mp3 or, at least, audio cassette?

You bought a car, so that means you can just steal as many more as you like.
Computer/real world analogies are like online translators: sometimes they're close to the truth, but most of the time they just confuse the matter.

Treat it well? Doubtful. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#18760855)

By treating it well, I presume you mean that you never play it, except with some uber-expensive laser setup. Otherwise you're taking your delicate amalog recording and scratching a bitty hunk of diamond against it, wearing down those precious highs you covet.

So let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760451)

People are buying vinyl because it sounds better than digital recordings, and then using a USB turntable to make digital recordings of their vinyl records.

What am I missing?

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

FLEB (312391) | about 7 years ago | (#18760879)

The idea of having your cake, and being able to eat it in your car, too.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

siriuskase (679431) | about 7 years ago | (#18761067)

I heard the thing on NPR and it sounded like the reporter was a bit confused. I don't see why there should be a link between the increasing popularity of vinyl and USB turntables. A USB turntable is great, unless you are lazy and cheap like me and just run a cable from the audio system I already own to the Macintosh I already own. I bought the cable from Radio Shack a few years ago. The USB turntables I've seen aren't as nice as my old setup. Too bad I don't own a McIntosh [mcintoshlabs.com], that would make for a cool setup.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18761095)

P2P piracy has hurt the music industry so much we now are forced to record the bands on our mobile phones.

-RIAA

Hurry! (1)

sodas (513553) | about 7 years ago | (#18760471)

Quickly! Someone invent and patent DRM for vinyl before MPAA does!

Re:Hurry! (1)

DanTheManMS (1039636) | about 7 years ago | (#18760839)

Quickly! Someone invent and patent DRM for vinyl before MPAA does!
They already have that. Each time you play the vinyl, it will slowly degrade in quality until you must buy a new copy. It's a diabolical scheme the RIAA has been behind for decades now!

That said though, I'd be quite surprised to find a form of digital rights management on an analog recording. Actually wait, scratch that, I'm sure they'd find a way. Perhaps it could be modeled after the recent DVD fiasco that prevented movies from playing at all [slashdot.org].

bah (2, Interesting)

Danzigism (881294) | about 7 years ago | (#18760503)

I've always liked collecting vinyl for novelty reasons.. yea of course other types of media might *sound* better, but who cares.. I can buy a jazz record that I'd have a hard time finding on iTunes or some shit if it even exists on there, for $1 at a thrift shop instead.. that is priceless.. plus you own a piece of physical history.. the sound has never mattered to me.. caring about the sound is like only saying you'll listen to bands that record with ProTools and who are Auto-Tune trigger happy.. sometimes it's the music that matters.. the vinyl surpasses the value of a CD as a physical object.. hell, it lasts longer and the inserts and album art are 3 times the size.. 3 times the fun for me baby..

Vinyl's Are Still Good (2, Insightful)

Forcepath (851955) | about 7 years ago | (#18760559)

I'm not sure I understand all the hostility towards vinyl. As an aspiring DJ myself, it has been my experience that vinyl is a much more popular (and accepted) medium for turntablism and club dj'ing. The electronic music and hip-hop vinyl industries have skyrocketed since the late 1980's due to the commercialization of the turntable and the fall of the club DJ. With anyone being able to go out and buy two turntables and a battle mixer, I can see why lately vinyl has been steadily growing more popular. There are numerous websites that sell vinyl now (most having popped up in the last 5 years), which have probably also helped bring vinyl to the 'masses'. And really, quality also really depends upon the needle, arm weight and quality of speakers/mixer too. Heck, if you take good care of your vinyl and clean them properly, they can last for a good while. Vinyl quality is technically infinitely better (and sound engineers can prove me wrong) than any compressed music format, and I think that's generally why you see many DJ still turn to vinyls over MP3 and CD-J mediums.

DRM can be implemented in vinyl (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 7 years ago | (#18760561)

Surely you don't think they're going to put the raw analog signal right in the vinyl so you can copy it! They're not about to make that mistake again. A generation of USB-enabled record players will come out that will be able to play your vinyl records from the attic, and also some goofy "new and improved" vinyl hi-def format where you drop the needle on an encryption key instead of the first track.

Collectability, nothing more (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18760581)

Nothing less.

If someone could set up shop pressing 8-tracks, they'd sell too.. People collect 'em

12" records have nice art and look good on the wall, etc.

Wow.... (1)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | about 7 years ago | (#18760677)

The M-Audio looks like a great product. I don't know about the Numark, though. I'd trust my Bang & Olafsen for the mechanical/material quality over a turntable with uncertain quality. I suppose it could be deceptive, but $165 price tag puts it in the lower range of turntables, AFAIC. Then there's always the possibility of only being able to find low or mid-grade styluses.

Re:Wow.... (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#18760853)

Before you even concern yourself about the quality of any modern consumer electronics product with a well-known name, find out if that name is still worthy of its history. Many of the former greats in audio reproduction have sold out to Chinese manufacturers, sold their names, their brands, and the respect they earned in the marketplace. Now they're nothing more than marketing fronts, shadows of their former selves.

Re:Wow.... (1)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | about 7 years ago | (#18761239)

I think I bought my turntable in 91, or maybe 92. I think (but you make a good point, I should really know if I bought to brand, not quality) B & O quality was still considered as excellent by people in the know.

Re:Wow.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760927)

Then there's always the possibility of only being able to find low or mid-grade styluses

A 1/2" mount is a 1/2" mount.

It's just that one extra step. (2, Insightful)

metalhed77 (250273) | about 7 years ago | (#18760745)

What I thought was most remarkable was that this was not a technological breakthrough, we've been able to record turntables since PCs had sound cards, but that it was the packaging that caused this change. Most people simply aren't going to discover that they only need a program like Soundforge and a decent soundcard to do everything these packages do.

All it takes is removing a couple steps to make something extremely attractive to the consumer

Vinyl is an "experience" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18760893)

Maybe it's something about how listening to vinyl is something of an experience; you have to "work" more to listen to it; you have to get the record out, open up the player, and then be ready to flip the record over when the side finishes... sure it's not a lot of work, but, still, that added bit of effort adds to how bought-in to the experience you are.

And, I don't think anyone will ever prove whether cd's sound better than vinyl; they both can sound great, there's awful examples of both, and amazing examples of both, and there's plenty of people on both sides. But, decent vinyl on a decent record player with a decent preamp, well, it sounds pretty darn good, so, in the end, why not?

Vinyl is still quite popular with underground bands too; a lot of local bands put out 7-inchers still.. they're quite fun indeed.

Laser Pickups (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#18760961)

If vinyl turntables (with USB, natch) used a laser pickup instead of a mechanical stylus, vinyl would be a lot more popular. Then records wouldn't wear out nearly as much. They could be sold used for more money with less damage. And a laser turntable could scan a record at high speed (maybe 333 1/3 RPM, 100x) for portable (lower-fi) playing on iPod, mobile phone, etc.

Laser pickups themselves wouldn't wear out like a stylus used to, which used to put the turntable out of commission until a new one was bought. Which was sometimes expensive, especially when the electromagnetic transducer cartridge needed repair/replacement. Those were expensive, especially the really hifi ones. Today, laser pickups would be cheaper than that old precision EM stuff. And they could still be analog, like an original videodisc, with audiophiles fighting over imperceptible differences in the analog/digital converter.

I'd get one. Vinyl sounded so much better at its best than any equivalent priced digital system I've ever heard. But then, I prefer to listen to music that was produced for vinyl's acoustic response. Kids today could get into it, too, though, if it really is a hybrid of phat old analog and cheap new digital.

Records with laser pickups are "Compact Discs" (2, Funny)

rhinoX (7448) | about 7 years ago | (#18761269)

Some crazy Japanese company (Sony I believe) released a product called a "Compact Disc" Player (CD Player for short) in the early 80's that implements a scheme vaguely like what you describe. A laser pickup ("needle" if you will) runs over tracks ("grooves"), looking for divots on the surface.

I wonder whatever happened to it..

DJs love it (1)

kd5ujz (640580) | about 7 years ago | (#18761021)

I buy strictly vinyl, unless its a digital file I can not wait for, and then rip from vinyl to mp3 ( my Numark TTXs has SPDIF out,beat that technic).

PRM.. (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 7 years ago | (#18761111)

Isn't Vinyl just Physical Rights Management? My car can play a burned CD, even one with MP3s or WMAs on it. I haven't seen a turn-table since I was like 4 (I'm only 21).

Records never went out ... (1)

nilbog (732352) | about 7 years ago | (#18761209)

Records never went out of style in two circles that I'm aware of: the DJ scene (obviously), and the underground punk scene. I don't think I've ever been to an underground punk show where the bands weren't selling records.

The obvious solution (5, Interesting)

whitewhale (935135) | about 7 years ago | (#18761263)

The last two records I bought on vinyl (the new records by Of Montreal [polyvinylrecords.com] and M. Ward [mergerecords.com]) came with a coupon for one-time download of DRM-free MP3 versions of the album tracks from the label's Web sites. So I get the big cover art and the intangible experience (they're both double albums on vinyl) but I can still play 'em on the computer without sweating over the process of digitizing vinyl.

Fact is, the vinyl version of the Of Montreal record (which is awesome) has a scratch that makes track 3 repeat the same crazy groove over and over, and it sounds intentional and much, much better than the digital version, which now seems weirdly short. And it comes with four bonus tracks, which are included in the download too but not on the CD version. Obviously some small record labels are betting big on vinyl as a way to keep people buying records, and I'm all for it.

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