Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why Records?

Why Records? Because they just sound richer, better!  I grew up listening to records and Eight Tracks.  My dad even had an Eight Track player in his  VW bug.  Some of my fondest memories of my Dad, are of listening to records with him in our basement.  We listened to bands like: The Beatles, Humble Pie, Lynard Skynard, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young,The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd,  and Alice Cooper.  Maybe that's why I'm so partial to records, but I just love the way they sound.  I love the static on them too.   So why do Records sound better?  The answer lies in the difference between analog and digital recordings. ( Thank you to "how Stuff Works")  A vinyl record is an analog recording, and CDs and DVDs are digital recordings.  Original sound is analog by definition. A digital recording takes snapshots of the analog signal at a certain rate and measures each snapshot with a certain accuracy.  This means that, by definition, a digital recording is not capturing the complete sound wave. It is approximating it with a series of steps. Some sounds that have very quick transitions, such as a drum beat or a trumpet's tone, will be distorted because they  change too quickly for the sample rate.
A vinyl record has a groove carved into it that mirrors the original sound's waveform. This means that no information is lost. The output of a record player is analog. It can be fed directly to your amplifier with no conversion.In your home stereo the CD or DVD player takes this digital recording and converts it to an analog signal, which is fed to your amplifier. The amplifier then raises the voltage of the signal to a level powerful enough to drive your speaker.
This means that the waveforms from a vinyl recording can be much more accurate, and that can be heard in the richness of the sound. 

One of the downsides to a record player is that you can't take it with you and listen to it on the go.  You have to record it from the record player to a tape.  I remember many a time, my dad doing that and I've done it quite often as well, which is why we purposely bought a car with a tape player and not a CD player. Some of our favorite stuff is on records and 7 and 10 inches.  (And when you record it from the record  onto the tape, it captures the static!)  Here are some of our favs.

You'll have to turn your head for this one. 

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