Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone




What follows is a guest post by Tony Chackal. We have also published a response piece to this post, which you can read here.

Ever wonder why people prefer vinyl records over digital formats? Are they just snobs who fetishize vintage culture or elitists overly concerned with being hip? Are vinyl enthusiasts backward-looking in resisting contemporary technology? Maybe. But there are other substantial reasons to prefer vinyl to digital formats that may account for recent rebounds in vinyl sales. In this piece, I’ll highlight what I think they are.

The two central categories of recorded musical technology are analog and digital. Digital listening formats are immaterial, and so offer conveniences of portability, efficiency, and expediency. Vinyl records are material, occupy space, need to be properly stored, and require more engagement to operate. The fact that vinyl records are material allows distinctive features to be appreciated and evaluated, which are unavailable in digital formats. Let’s call this “the vinyl condition”. I think the vinyl condition offers beneficial differences in listening to recorded music. The sound is warmer, richer, and deeper. Beyond sound, the vinyl condition offers a larger number of features to be appreciated and evaluated. These include tactile, visual, and epistemic features. While a range of benefits and drawbacks exist in both analog and digital formats, I think vinyl records are preferable to digital formats because the sound is better and the overall aesthetic experience is wider and richer.

I want to underscore that by widening the framework of discussion to include other features beyond sound, I aim to avoid the overly simplistic debate about mere auditory differences between analog and digital formats. I outline four features of the vinyl condition: auditory, tactile, visual, and epistemic. My aim is (1) to highlight what is absent in the aesthetic experience of listening to music through digital formats and equipment, and (2) to refute the idea that vinyl enthusiasts are mere snobs using outdated technology just for the sake of being cool.

Two notes about technology

Let’s observe two running principles in philosophy of technology held by figures like Martin Heidegger, Albert Borgmann, and Herbert Marcuse.

1) Technology concerns means-end relationships and is social activity.
Technology involves instruments used for purposes to achieve ends or goals. For example, the turntable is designed to play records and it achieves its purpose when it does so. Technology is social activity in that the ends achieved involve needs and wants of social existence. That someone uses a turntable reflects perhaps a human need to consume music, and an individual’s particular preference for vinyl. Listening to music is social when done with others, but also in the general sense of being socially produced art communicating something between musician and listener.

2) Changes in technology produce changes in social activity.
One might think that new technologies just offer novel ways to do the same things humans have always done, and while they might make activities more efficient, convenient, and expedient, these are only peripheral aspects that do not change the nature of activity itself. But philosophers discuss how these seemingly peripheral aspects may actually change the very nature of the activity. For example, the advent of recorded music technology via Edison’s phonograph changed musical listening as a social activity. Whereas before, music would be heard during live performance, rendering it transient, place-based, and time-dependent, recording technology and formats allowed people to bring music into their homes, and to have songs “present-at-hand” (as Heidegger says) in the standing reserves of their collections. Music could now be heard in one’s home, at one’s leisure; songs could be played in the order one wished; and sound elements such as bass and treble could be adjusted at the direction of the listener.

Not only did recording technology change how music was consumed, it also changed how music was produced. Music would now be written with the studio in mind, anticipating various differences arising between performing and recording. This changed, for example, the lengths of songs, often rendering them shorter, as well as offering opportunities for overdubbing, editing, and mixing so that certain sounds were foregrounded and others backgrounded. Benjamin and Adorno bemoaned the changes that recorded music introduced by claiming that it displaced the authenticity, aura, and authority of music as a live art form. I think the contemporary comparison should not be between recorded and live music, but rather between different formats of recorded music. While there are a number of analog formats—vinyl records, cassette tapes, and even CDs although typically digitally recorded are material—I treat vinyl records as the paradigmatic example. And while there are distinctions within digital formats, I use the term to cover MP3s and other digital lossy files and streaming services. In the next four sections, I discuss the distinctive auditory, tactile, visual, and epistemic features that arise from the vinyl condition.

Auditory features

Because of their materiality, records offer sound qualities that digital formats do not. These include warmth, richness, and depth. Many people value those qualities and so hold vinyl records to sound better than digital formats. Much needs to be said to support this claim. First, I’ll define these terms.


Warmth arises in records precisely because they are analog, and it refers to a material quality of sound occurring when physical instruments are played. It occurs because the record is an empirical object being played by a turntable and channeled through surrounding equipment. That turntables are instruments in themselves is seen in the movement of turntabilism, which is essentially the art of scratching and mixing records. There is general warmth to virtually all analog instruments. Just as analog photography and film each carry distinctive visual warmth, seen most pointedly when compared to digital counterparts, so to do vinyl records, which is also most recognizable when compared to digital formats. Because digital formats are compressed lossy files and are not played by a physical instrument upon a physical format in the same sense that a record is by the needle on the stylus, on the arm of the turntable, through a receiver and speaker set, then this quality of warmth is absent in digital formats. To be sure, the sound of vinyl carries additional warmth when recorded through analog rather than digital technology.

Richness refers to the diversity of auditory aspects heard in vinyl records. Because of record grooves, the sound of vinyl is more open, allowing a greater quantity of features to be heard. The space afforded by the grooves allows one to locate and individuate particular instruments and sounds and observe how they contribute to the music as a whole. This way, diversity can be heard.

Whereas richness refers to the greater quantity of sound, depth refers to the greater quality of sound. Depth is afforded by the resonant quality of records arising from grooves on its physical format. Depth refers to how much of a sound or instrument can be heard. Depth can be recognized in records when comparing its sound to that of digital formats, which, because they are compressed files, preclude a certain depth from being heard. It’s key to note that the sound limitations in digital formats almost always concern the compression at their nature.

While analog defenders attest to the warmth, richness, and depth of the sound of records, many digital apologists contest this. One reason is that the debate between analog and digital technology is typically focused on recording technologies, not listening technologies. Sound differences arising from recording technologies are essential to the analog-digital debate, but those arising from listening technologies must also be included. Additionally, the sound quality of the format must be treated as one among a variety of distinctive features arising from the materiality of the vinyl condition and its associated equipment. Furthermore, digital apologists think that digital formats can have warmth, richness, and depth if heard through the right equipment. I’ll address these concerns by first introducing the formats and then contextualizing them within their contexts of equipment.


There are paradigmatic differences between the sound quality of vinyl records and digital formats. The former tends to be deeper, richer, warmer, and of a more rounded quality. The latter tends to be more clean, polished, and slick, of a more trebly, high-end quality. The sound of vinyl records arises because the grooves on the record allow for an open, resonant quality. Conversely, digital formats by their nature compress sound, disallowing the open space that allows the warmth, richness, and depth to arise. Often this debate becomes paralyzed when cast in terms of “accuracy”. Digital apologists argue that because digitization utilizes binary code, numerical precision provides a more accurate sound of the master recording onto the format. For now, I avoid this framework of numerical accuracy because it is solely focused on auditory qualities. Instead, I highlight how the vinyl condition allows a wider artistic platform and richer aesthetic experience that includes auditory, tactile, visual, and epistemic features.

Philosophers like Heidegger highlight that any given technological instrument must be situated within a context of equipment because contexts render instruments functional and coherent, useful and meaningful. Equipment includes other technological instruments and their collaboration to achieve ends, and also language, conventions, and procedures that are employed in using technologies. To claim that either records or MP3s alone are superior in sound quality is problematic in lacking context. The context for vinyl records is the stationary home stereo, including the turntable, receiver, and speakers. The paradigmatic equipment for digital formats is the smart device or personal computer, and earbuds. In either case, quality of sound will be determined as much by the equipment as a whole, not the format alone. Certainly, there are cheap and often portable record players with poor sound quality, and there are records that have so much content that sound quality is compromised (it’s optimal to not exceed 20 minutes on each side of a 12-inch). While some digital format listeners have high quality home stereo systems and other audiophile technologies, this is not paradigmatic.

The equipment of vinyl includes the record and its condition, the quality of the turntable and stylus, the power and watts per channel of the receiver, and the size and strength of the speakers. Even speaker placement and size of speaker wire can produce differences in sound. While there are high quality headphones, most people listen to digital formats through earbuds, car stereos, computer speakers, or desktop speakers. Because earbuds are small and aim to bring music to one’s head, there is no space for sound to resonate and gain warmth, richness, and depth arising from the acoustics of the speaker box (along with the record grooves). Nor is there the extra power and style that arises from particular collaborations of receiver, speakers, and turntable. The equipment as a whole enables the warm, rich, deep sound to arise. Let’s call this triad “fecundity”. From these considerations, I cash out two claims. First, there are differences in sound quality of vinyl records and digital formats, which arise because of the paradigmatic equipment of each. Second, because records utilize material grooves and are used with high quality equipment and digital formats are by their essence compressed and are used with lower quality equipment, the former can have fecundity while the latter cannot. If records have fecundity of sound, and if fecundity is preferable, then vinyl records are the better format.

Tactile features

The tactility of the vinyl condition is the most obvious feature arising from its materiality. Records are physical and so occupy particular place and time. They are stored on shelves, removed from sleeves, and placed on turntables. Aside from the actual vinyl disc, there are various other physical parts to a record’s packaging. Let’s distinguish these parts from outer to inner. Polybags are the plastic sleeves that house records. Jackets are the outer sleeves typically made of cardstock and on which the front and back album artwork resides. The spine is the jacket’s side opposite its opening, where names of musicians or groups are printed. The inner sleeve, or dust sleeve, is the paper or plastic in which the record disc resides. Inserts are anything included in the jacket, such as lyric sheets, booklets, stickers, patches, zines, stencils, post cards, CDs, DVDs, or 7-inch records. Labels are the paper circles at the center of the record. Finally, inscriptions are etched into the vinyl disc at the record’s center as a unique alphanumeric code. Each of these physical aspects is part of the tactility of the aesthetic experience. Crucially, they are additional spaces of opportunity for artwork.

The tactility offers physical engagement as part of the aesthetic experience. Collectors store and handle vinyl with care, for example by avoiding dust and fingerprints. Jackets are removed from polybags, inner sleeves from jackets, and vinyl from inner sleeves. The inserts invite the collector to engage them—to read the lyric sheet, to apply the sticker, to gaze at the artwork. A collector touches, removes, places, flips, inserts, and peruses various material aspects of the packaging. In this way, records aren’t merely owned and heard, they are felt and engaged.


sandpaper jacket of The Return of Durutti Column

Consider The Rolling Stones 1971 Sticky Fingers album, designed by Andy Warhol. The cover depicted the crotch of a man clad in denim replete with an actual zipper that could be moved up and down to reveal the inside picture on the inner sleeve of a similar crotch now presented in only white briefs. The zipper allows the collector to engage it physically, to pull it up and down and enjoy a material relationality that accompanies the musical listening experience. Yet most collectors likely do this only once when first procuring the record to ensure it works, after which they would be keen to keep the jacket in mint condition. Still, this artwork, engagement, and interaction are unavailable in digital formats. Or consider also the Durutti Column’s 1980 debut, The Return of the Durutti Column, which was packaged in a sandpaper jacket that would ruin the sleeve art of any records shelved next to it. This was influenced by Guy Debord’s 1959 situationist art book Mémoires, designed by Asger Jorn, which did the same. The Rolling Stones and Durutti Column cases demand that the collector take some precautionary measures. I, for one, use three extra polybags for each album to ensure that the zipper and sandpaper do not harm other records.

The jacket itself can come in distinct shapes. Consider Public Image Ltd.’s 1979 album, Metal Box, which refers to its packaging (designed by Dennis Morris): a metal, 16-millimeter film canister embossed with the band’s logo and housing three 12-inch records. It remains one of the most unique album designs of all time. Or consider Pylon’s 1981 album Chomp, which depicted a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The top of the jacket bared serrated edges to suggest the dinosaur and bitten into it. One is invited to lightly rub their finger across to feel the sharpness of the points. The tactility generally allows for the other distinctive auditory, visual, and epistemic features to arise.

Visual features


There are also many visual aspects to the vinyl condition. Typically, there is artwork on the front and back of the jacket. Some covers become timeless, pervasive cultural images, such as Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, designed by Peter Saville. The jackets may be gatefold, i.e. they may unfold or open like a book, and may reveal a large image across the entire unfolded jacket, such as the inner image of lightning-faced David Bowie in Aladdin Sane (pictured above). There is also artwork on inner sleeves, as well as anything inserted in the jacket. Additionally, the polybag may also be used as a canvas. The Allah-Las place signature logo sticker artwork on theirs, for example. Sometimes the inner sleeves are also the lyric sheets or where inner artwork is placed. The label offers yet another opportunity for artwork. In soul 45s of the 1960s and ’70s, often there were no jackets or inserts, but only inner sleeves and labels. This allowed Motown, for example, to develop specially printed inner sleeves with their logo, although this was an exception rather than the rule. Typically, the label itself was the place for visual features, which gave rise to distinct graphic design of text and logos for labels. It could also be used to host images, such as a picture of James Brown’s head on many of his 45s.


There is copious opportunity for artwork as inserts. There are whole sheets that may contain lyrics and photographs. Faust included a series of 10×10-inch photographs as inserts in their second record, Faust So Far. The vinyl itself can even be a work of art. There is the standard black vinyl, but also a variety of colored vinyl records. There are solid colors, as well as marbled, two-toned, or multi-colored records. Importantly, there are also picture discs, such as CAN’s “I Want More” EP. The shape of vinyl can also be manipulated from the standard circle, such as Lovelife’s 2002 heart-shaped vinyl EP. Clinic’s 2010 album Bubblegum included a gatefold jacket housing a black LP, a second pink 12-inch with acoustic versions, a lyric sheet, and also a stencil. The gatefold calls the listener to open it, the colored vinyl motivates an aesthetic gaze, and the stencil encourages one to make a print or spray a shirt.

Epistemic features

Epistemic features concern knowledge and what is needed for it. There is typically a bevy of information inscribed on discs and sleeves. This includes information about the artist, musicians, producer, recording studio, date recorded, label, lyrics, shout-outs, number of pressings, and so on. While this information is often available digitally, it arises not from the format as such, but from internet access generally. Consequently, the information often does not call to listeners, since they have to take extra measures to see it. When present on the record and sleeve, the information announces itself more loudly and transparently. As many philosophers have argued, more information often leads to an enhanced understanding of artworks, and some knowledge is even necessary to understand an artwork’s meaning. Listeners’ aesthetic experiences are benefited by the transparency of information.

Vinyl records often contain obscure information that is either not obvious or simply unavailable with digital formats. Musicians may add to the alphanumeric inscriptions at the record’s center by etching messages, slogans, and even inside jokes. Knowing the information above—about, say, an album’s producer, production studio, or musicians—can add value to one’s appreciation and evaluation. For example, there are producers who make considerable impacts on albums, such as Brian Eno, Martin Hannet, and Lee Perry. Knowing that allows listeners to appreciate what producers contribute and to recognize their particular style.


I’ve tried to show that vinyl records and associated equipment offer certain features of appreciation and evaluation that are unavailable in digital formats. Auditory features are warmer, richer, and deeper, and there are also tactile, visual, and epistemic features that expand the artistic platform and enrich the aesthetic experience. People prefer vinyl for these reasons and others, not merely to be snobby, vintage, or hip for its own sake, or to eschew contemporary technology. Rather, enthusiasts enjoy spinning and being spun by vinyl, like a record, right round, round round.

Note: We have also published an audio engineer’s response to this post, which you can read here.

Tony Chackal is a philosophy instructor at Slippery Rock University. He works on issues at the intersection of environmental philosophy, political philosophy, and aesthetics, and has published on food, street art and illegality, and the nature of our relationships to our environments. He DJs regularly, of course on vinyl. You can also follow him on Instagram (@thevinylcondition).

Edited by Alex King
All photos courtesy of the author


  1. You argued that Vinyl records are better than Digital listening formats. “The Vinyl Condition” refers to the benefits of listening to recorded music. Also, the visual experience as well as the auditory experience that you get from the Vinyl features. Then you mention the social aspect of Technology when a turntable is involved in the equation. Listening to music turns into a social event when done with others. You can discuss the music while also making that connection to what you are listening too and how that relates to the musician. Music use to be heard during live performances then technology was created where you can bring music into your home which changed the social activity. Technology also changed the way music was produced. Music was written in the studio and the process continued until the song was completed. Then you talked about the auditory features of the records verses the digital formats. Warmth arises in the record when physical instruments are played. Richness refers to the different sounds that are heard in the record. The digital formats compress these sounds which doesn’t allow the richness and fullness of the song to be completely heard. There are many records available where the sound is compromised, and the listener can’t fully enjoy the experience because of the digital format. The tactile features of a record is a huge part of the aesthetic experience. Collectors handle Vinyl records with care because of their covers. You concluded that Vinyl records have certain features that digital formats don’t including auditory, tactile, and visual.

    I personally agree with your argument, I own Vinyl records myself and all the aspects that you listed are the reasons why I bought them in the first place. At first, they were something cool to look at and collect however, once you listen to them and compare the quality to the digital it doesn’t compare. The tactile features are what interested me in the first place, the artwork on the covers were so interesting. When I first started to get into Vinyl, I talked to my Mom about them and how much she enjoyed listening to them as a kid. Once I bought the records my friend already had a record player, so I went over to his house and listened to the ones I purchased, and I’ve continued to buy them ever since. Therefore, I agree with your argument that Vinyl records are a much better experience than a digital record.

    Sydney Schmit


  2. The central argument of this article, being that vinyl is better than digital, is strong in the four ways described, along with the support of the author’s argument. The four arguments include auditory, tactile, visual, and epistemic, each having strong arguments for vinyl versus digital. Auditory advantages come in the form of warmth, richness, and depth of a vinyl record. Having analog-recorded music allows for a deeper warmth that is not found in the way digital songs are recorded. There is also a physical richness that comes from the grooves of the vinyl record itself. Also with vinyl, different from digital, there is a different experience for listening. Those listening to a record that is analog are more intentional with listening and interpreting. Tactile refers to the physical makeup of records; this includes packaging, storage, and handling. From the jacket sleeve to the shelves, there is much more physical space taken up by vinyl than by digital albums. This also adds to the intentionality of listening and handling of the records. Visually, vinyl is superior simply due to the nature of cover art and other ways to incorporate style. Not only can artists design the artwork of the jacket, but things can be done to represent current culture, or anything else, that the artist finds important. The same can go for digital cover art, but there is something about the overall aesthetic of vinyl cover art. As for the epistemic appeal, analog records have so much more going for them than digital. Not only is the information regarding the creation of the record, but it is at the listener’s fingertips, readily available. While the same information regarding the musicians, songwriters, producer, label, or artist are all available online, people do not seek this information out as much. The accessibility of the information regarding the vinyl record leads to a greater appreciation and understanding of how much goes into creating an album.

    Though this is not a subject that I have a wealth of knowledge in, I do think now that I have a better understanding of the beauty of vinyl. Though I have not been a “record-listener,” I see how people can appreciate the art that comes in and through vinyl records. I do think that one way that this article and argument could be improved is by taking a look at what makes digital enticing to people and more about how technology has changed the way people have evolved their listening habits. I think since technology has changed how society works and acts that it would be beneficial to take more time to discuss how people’s perceptions of listening to music have changed along with the tech world. Some of the aesthetic benefits of digital music include ease of listening or the ease of compiling playlists. Though some people recognize the intentionality that comes with listening to vinyl, kids today would not have as much appreciation for the art as the author or others may have.


  3. The debate over vinyl and digital audio has been raging for as long as the internet has been around. In this article, you take the stance that vinyl records are better than digital audio. Outlined in your article were the four vinyl conditions, which are audio, tactile, visual, and epistemic. The argument that you make is that compared to digital audio, vinyl has a warmer, richer tone and is overall deeper. Because vinyl records are something physical, your argument is that they have a tactile dimension to them, based on how people enjoy preserving and taking care of them. Visually, vinyl records are aesthetically pleasing with cover art and the overall look. Finally, the epistemic condition of vinyl includes information about the artists, albums, and other information tied to the vinyl.
    Now for the fun part, my personal opinion. As someone who has grown up listening to (new) digital audio, and listens very frequently to music, I have experienced both digital and vinyl music. My dad’s friend has a vast collection of vinyl records and many times I have sat through a history lesson about his collection and heard the whole “vinyl sounds the best” speech, many times. Sure, vinyl has a different sound to it, and it sounds warmer and more comforting. Does that make it better audio? No. The “warmer” aspect of vinyl is simply the extra noise that is a product of imperfections in the way that the music is “stored” on the record. I’ve come across this debate many times on the internet and I have researched into it before. The general consensus is that if you take an unaltered MP3 file and add an artificial hiss to it, it sounds “warmer” just like a record. The extra hissing noise (again, which comes from imperfections in the vinyl) is the only reason that people think vinyl sounds warmer and more comforting. Vinyl is not magic, it is just simply SOUND. Based solely on the fact that the warm feeling can be replicated onto an existing digital file, it proves that the sound (and I’m only arguing for the “warm” sound) is equal. Vinyl is objectively not “better” if both are able to achieve the same warmness.
    The other aspect of sound, which almost everyone agrees on, is that digital is more exact and much clearer. Modern recording instruments and new, modern speakers allow for this. Not to mention that digital audio allows for loudness, which vinyl simply cannot compete with. A good pair of quality headphones absolutely blow away any vinyl recording that I have ever heard, hands down. That is my opinion.
    Now, as you explained, there are different dimensions, or conditions, to vinyl. Above I talked about sound comparisons, so I’ll focus on the other three now. Starting off with the tactile condition, let’s compare it to the old Nintendo system that we used to own. There was something special about dusting off the old case, searching through the games to find the right one, putting it in, realizing it doesn’t work, then blowing into the cartridge to clear it, and then booting up the game. It was like some sort of ceremony and it holds a special place in my heart. That’s what I imagine vinyl people feel when they decide to play music on them. However, not once when I’m playing 1080p 144hz high-definition, objectively better quality (and in my opinion, more fun) games online with friends and strangers, did I say to myself “I wish I could touch it.” Sure, there is something about actually physically owning something that allows a sense of ownership and having something, but in the case of records, you trade quality for tactile-ness. Also, just to finish this part off, I’ll add in that you can take digital anywhere, and the quality stays mostly the same.
    Briefly, I will agree that vinyl records are cool to see around the house, and they definitely win when it comes to aesthetics. Very cool as functional decorations. “And that’s all I have to say about that.” (Forrest Gump)
    Now, as far as far as the epistemic conditions go, I see it as arguing that an encyclopedia collection is better than the internet. Vinyl records are interesting because they each contain unique information that is located on the actual covering. This is cool and interesting because it gives owners a glimpse into a deeper understanding of the music. Like you mentioned, there is even some obscure information located on it. However, in the age of the internet, this argument simply doesn’t hold any water. Maybe back in the 90’s and early 2000’s (which is where this debate started, by the way, because back then, digital audio SUCKED compared to now and that’s why people said vinyl is better) there wasn’t a reliable, fast way to find out the same information. I would say that I can find out the same information in a few clicks, or taps, but actually I can yell “Hey Google, tell me about (insert artist here)” and know the same obscure information. Information is information. That doesn’t make vinyl better than digital, any more than books are better than a website.
    Now, to summarize, I strongly believe that digital is superior to vinyl in terms of sound quality. “Warmness” can be replicated. When you say that “richness” and “depth” are superior to digital, I believe that it is superior to OUTDATED digital audio (again, going back to the 90’s and 00’s when CDs and low quality sound files were the norm). You can’t honestly tell me that vinyl can detect and record audio that modern recording studios can’t, even with their equipment that most definitely ranges into the tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even higher. The richness, depth, and warmness arguments are all outdated. Tactile-ness and aesthetics? Vinyl wins. Epistemics? Book vs E-book. Maybe vinyl wins if the power goes out.
    What do I think about this argument? It’s definitely in the top 5 in my list of “Most Inane Arguments,” alongside when people who debate craft beers and different flavors of wine.
    You may be asking yourself “if he thinks the argument is inane, why would he spend 30 minutes, going above and beyond, typing up an essay on a simple extra credit assignment?” I wanted to give you my honest opinion, instead of just pretending to like what you wrote for the extra points (even though it was well written with a good layout and visuals). I don’t want you to think that I dislike your interests, I think that collecting anything unique is very interesting and important. However, when someone starts to argue that one thing is better than another, it interests me and I like to give my opinions, especially if I know a little about it. I enjoy challenging people with different perspectives when I can. I hope you enjoyed the read, and maybe if you really enjoyed it, you can throw me 15 points instead of the usual 10.


    • You’re entire post is INANE simply because you agree Vinyl sounds warmer and richer while you use an excuse that is sounds better because of noise. Digital is flat. Oh yeah, digital apologist say analogs better original wavelength is beyond human hearing. Preposterous. Digital has FAKE separation making inane people think it sounds better. Vinyl reveals sounds lost in digital.


  4. Music today has become taken over by technology and some often forgot that vinyl records exist. In your argument, you believe that Vinyl records are better than digital audio. Your article “The Vinyl Condition” shows that the 4 conditions of vinyl are audio, tactile, visual, and epistemic. The sounds within vinyl are much brighter with a rich tone. The physical records must be protected because they are all very dimensional and have physical traits and characteristics to each one. They also are very collectible because of the unique artworks and aesthetic differences. The epistemic dimensions previews information about the albums and artists. Vinyl is superior in the aesthetic area and that is something that will never be taken away from these special pieces. I can tell that you are very passionate about this music and it is comforting to see that people enjoy these types of arts.

    As for my opinion, I love music and listen to it every single day. Surprisingly, I have never had the opportunity to listen off of a vinyl record. Vinyl records seem like something that would be a never-ending collection and I would like to experience them someday. I watched a few videos to hear the sound of the records and the sound is very smooth comforting. Although the sound may not be as good as the music we have today, these records all have a story to them which makes it special. I do think you are missing some awesome music in the digital area but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Everyone has different tastes and that’s ok. Today will music, we miss the physical touch of having the pieces and the unique artwork that comes along with it. Digital has more convenience to it, but vinyl has way better stories to tell because it doesn’t rely just on the music. In conclusion, I completely agree that vinyl provides better experiences for those who listen to music than just simply listening digitally. Hopefully one day I will be able to enjoy music through the sound of vinyl.

    Austin Young


  5. John Longstreth,

    In this article, it explains why most people prefer vinyl over digital formats. This article also explains how the people that prefer vinyl over digital formats are not just old snobs that are against the advancement of technology. The reason why they prefer vinyl is because it is the better option to go with overall. This article also goes into the reasons why vinyl is better because vinyl records are material, occupy space, need to be properly stored, and require more engagement to operate. Lastly, this article goes into vinyl condition and how it offers beneficial differences in listening to recorded music like being able to hear something on that record that you would not be able to hear on the digital format version of the song.
    In my opinion, I would disagree with this article because I think more people would prefer the digital format version over the vinyl version when it comes to music. With all the advancements in technology you can have available at your fingertips you are able to keep all the music you ever want to listen to right in the palm of your hand. I think digital formats offer the same listening experience as vinyl records because if you get the live version of a song in digital format you are able to hear pretty much all the same sounds that you would be able to hear on the vinyl version of the song. I think you are missing all the cool things that digital has to offer. For instance, if you were at a party and wanted to play your favorite song you would have the able to do it if you had the digital version of the song, and at the same time you couldn’t play your favorite song if you had the vinyl version of it.


  6. An excellent article!!

    Analogis is an always was better than any digital crap!!!!!

    The sound is better and just everything about it is better!!!

    I collect records,8 tracks and cassettes 🙂


  7. Oh my god.
    This dude made his students read this pretentious nonsense and leave replies for class credit.


  8. Pingback: About me – Tony Chackal

  9. It’s interesting that people never bring up the resolution limit of vinyl. True analog is infinite, vinyl has a finite limit of groves it can pack in at the rated speed. Therefore records themselves aren’t analog at all, but the cartridge certainly is.


  10. Not a very balanced article. Monoline bass, de-essing and a lower dynamic range are just a few ways in which vinyl is inferior. Full fat digital is superior in terms of audio quality, whether vinyl fans like it or not.

    The source material is the single most important item affecting the quality of the audio in either format. Both have the ability to sound fantastic when the source is treated with respect and mastered properly. Digital harshness was the result of poor mastering and ridiculous amounts of compression in the 90’s and early 2000’s.


    • Dynamic rage beyond human hearing LOL. Vinyl captures the EXACT wavelength – period. Vinyl sounds better whether digital fans like it or not.


  11. Written by someone who has no clue what instruments or voices recorded actually sound like. Digital is a far more accurate representation of what was recorded. You may like your music colored by someone of use prefer a high res photo to watercolors.


  12. Pingback: Why vinyl is better than digital – Music & Hi-fi Appreciations

  13. Garbage. Hot. Garbage. There is no part of vinyl that is better than digital regarding sound quality and intent of the artist. Period. Anyone who says differently, is wrong.


  14. Just to be to the point. Good digital is fantastic. Digital is the primary means of recording today. Super quiet and clean. So it just becomes a goal to get it back as well as it was recorded to begin with. Buy a good cheap DAC and discover just how clean a lossless recording can be. A good cheap DAC is the Topping E30. Cheaper than a decent turntable cartridge and will deliver the sound much more purer than any Turntable I’ve ever heard.


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  17. Pingback: On The Record: An Audio Professional’s Take on Vinyl | AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

  18. Earth is flat, moon landing didnt happen and vinyl sounds better….ugh.

    Any absolutist about this is full of crap. Having kids write an essay defending you is beyond pretentious. Hope you didnt get money to write this garbage.


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  20. I can’t argue against anyone who prominately displays their collection of Monks records to argue the case of vinyl. I’ve got a lot of CD’s and hundreds of records. I always go to the vinyl when I have to choose a title that I have in both formats for the simple reason that my ears are happier that way.


  21. To be clear, not all digital is compressed & lossy. Redbook CD is neither – most complaints tend to be related to poor mastering or in some cases, sub-par D/A filters and associated analog sections. However, in general, I prefer LPs to CD or FLAC / MP3.


  22. Agree with Sack, Matt, Hall, and others. This all depends on what you mean by “digital.” When I think of digital, I think of preserving sound in binary form so that it cannot degrade over time. This can be done a thousand different ways, both good and bad, but in the purest sense, good/high-def digital (uncompressed, with adequate sampling rate and dynamic range) can perfectly replicate the sound from any source within human hearing limits, including a vinyl source with its associated “warmth”, “depth”, and “richness.” It’s just math.


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