Top Five Reasons to Buy Vinyl

AvatarMarc Henshall
Culture & Industry, Enjoy Vinyl9 Comments

In a world where we can access almost any piece of music at the click of a mouse, or the tap of a screen, who would think that a physical format like vinyl would continue to endure? Far from being a nostalgia trip, vinyl records are now enjoyed by a wide range of ages by music fans searching for something more tangible. Below are just some of the reasons why buying vinyl still appeals in the digital age.

Stunning Artwork

The artwork is bigger, this much is obvious, but since many album covers are true works of art in their own right, the inherently bigger canvas certainly makes for a bold statement. Many collectors like to display their favorite albums on the wall in their home, and it’s hard to think of any other format better suited to this kind of homage. You can frame CDs, of course, but it’s just not the same.

The larger format also makes reading the album notes easier, and more enjoyable. Many listeners enjoy reading the credits about who produced, engineered and played on the record as part of the experience.

Also worth considering is the world of picture discs. And while these releases have a reputation for poor sound quality, they are none-the-less part of the art that makes owning music on vinyl both enjoyable and highly collectible.

Owning the music you love

As humans, we are far more likely to value an item when we own it. Psychologists summarise this as the “Endowment effect”, which is the belief that people ascribe more value to things as soon as they own them. We’ve gained many advantages with the introduction of streaming services, but at the same time, we’ve also lost much of the perceived value of music. At Sound Matters, we believe strongly in the importance of music ownership. After all, nobody ever asked to see your MP3 collection.

Escaping the Screens

We live in a connected world with all the advantages that come with technology our ancestors could only dream of owning. But having the world at our fingertips can take its toll on our health. Studies show that too much screen time can lead to a multitude of health problems, from sleep deprivation to eye strain, bad posture, and even addiction problems. I cannot overstate the importance of unplugging, and the vinyl format can inherently help us achieve this. Instead of browsing through Spotify or iTunes surfing from track-to-track, vinyl demands our attention in so many ways and encourages us to focus on the music with less distraction. Regular downtime with your favorite records could be good for your health!

Great Sound

There is no such thing a perfect format, and I’ll be the first to recognize that vinyl has its faults (end-of-side distortion, for example), but there’s no mistaking just how great vinyl sounds when it’s made right. Vinyl is a very musical format that can sound amazing when the mixing, mastering and manufacturing all come together to make one of the most enjoyable listening experiences out there.

The Therapeutic Process

I think this last point is one that many vinyl enthusiasts can relate to: the process (or as my wife calls it, “the faff”).

(For the benefit of our international readers, “faff” is British slang for an overcomplicated task, especially one that takes up a lot of time).

There’s no doubt vinyl requires extra effort and attention. From the process of carefully removing the vinyl record from its sleeve, to gently cleaning with a carbon brush, and steadily lining up the stylus ready for playback, it’s all part of the experience. Personally, I find this ritual therapeutic. I also enjoy the satisfaction of taking home a used, dirty record from the store and slowly bringing it back to life using a good record cleaner. Perhaps you need to be of a certain mental persuasion to enjoy having to work for your music, so to speak, but then again – nothing in life worth having comes easy.

What’s your reason for buying vinyl? Perhaps you’ve been collecting for years, or maybe you’ve just got started. Either way, we all have our reasons why we love music on wax. Let us know why you love vinyl in the comments below.

  • Avatar Endre says:

    Dear All. I have been listening vinyl (and tape recorders) since 1975, I like the sound of this source very much. But, unfortunately a lot of newly printed reasonably proced records seem to be a simple digital to analogue conversion. For me it is a great disappointment. Have a nice day.

  • Avatar Ed Berridy says:

    My first purchase, at age 8 was in 1965. I’ve been collecting since. There is something to be said for the tangibility of holding a disc in your hand and looking it over while reading the label.

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  • Avatar Michael Rose says:

    As a lover of “older” music – classical, jazz, sixties rock – I often find the sound quality on a good original vinyl pressing often exceeds that on most digital reissues/remasterings. As a caveat (and as someone who spent too many years in the ’70s and ’80s working – on the admin side – for a couple of “major” record companies) I can confirm that the manufacturing quality of a lot of pressings from that period was absolutely horrendous and completely negated anything produced in the studio or in the mastering and editing suites. So… please don’t expect too much from vinyl bought second-hand from those decades!

  • Avatar Tom Trulis says:

    I enjoy vinyl because of the richer, fuller more natural sound.
    There is no other format that provides the emotional attachment that vinyl does.
    The down side is the price of LP’s is flat out ridiculous.
    The greedy record companies will kill the format. Again.

  • Avatar Andy says:

    I believe human beings need the tactile experiences involved in playing records which your article covers when you talk about a therapeutic experience. There is just something ‘real’ about selecting a record, looking at the artwork- no matter how many times you’ve seen it over the years, taking the record out of the sleeve, putting it on the turntable, lowering the arm – waiting for the crackle – it’s a true ritual that can’t be replaced by the convenience of digital. Similar to pressing the buttons on a tape deck – it just feels good compared to today’s ‘virtual’ experiences. And every time I play a record I’m still fascinated by the fact that the most amazing sounds are recorded and captured in this continuous groove in a bit of plastic – I personally regard that as one of the Wonder’s of the World.

  • Avatar Lenny says:

    Whenever I try to describe my preference for vinyl I find myself wanting for a proper description. I find it almost impossible to put into words. The reason is vague, like a mist or fog. It’s there, but it can’t held onto. Yet, its as real as the air you breath.

    I know all the reasons for preferring vinyl: I can tell that analog has a different, warmer sound than digital. I am aware of the feeling with vinyl as one actually owns the music. I appreciate the artwork on the covers, some of which are considered classics such as the cover of “Who’s Next”. I understand that one finds it difficult to describe the intricate feelings that vinyl brings to the music. I could go on, but to no avail. Because to me, though all of the previously stated reasons are real, the love and attachment to vinyl is hard to explain.

    When I decide to play vinyl, I usually choose a specific artist. At that point, the process itself has meaning.

    There is a nice feeling I have as I go through my vinyl collection, deciding what I album I want to enjoy. Its good to pull out the vinyl, examining the surface for any issues. There is a bit of anticipation as I open the dust cover of my turntable. (If yours has a cover). When I clean the vinyl and examine the stylus, I realize how well I do all of those jobs has an effect on the sound. I am directly involved!

    I love the feel of the vinyl as I place it on the turntable mat, how the mat is sturdy yet soft.

    Next, I turn on the amp, then the turntable. Often at this point I step back and simply admire my system. I know it’s limitations, the result of what knowledge I have acquired, what I can afford to purchase, and what compromises I made per finances.

    I then remove the tonearm guard, gently push back the small lever that rises the arm. With care, I slowly move the tonearm toward the record. I aim the stylus till it’s above the grove indicating my chosen starting point. This is usually to the first song. I slowly let the arm drop to the record.

    Once I verify the stylus has made contact with the vinyl I turn and take my seat.

    As the music plays I look at the record as it spins at the correct speed due to the work of the turntable. I watch as the stylus accurately tracts in the groves. I may glance at the speakers, at the amp/receiver as the music plays. Finally, in most cases, I lean back and enjoy the music produced by my very modest system.

    I don’t know why, but this process, the playing of a vinyl album, seems to satisfy me in a way that a CD or music from my iPhone cannot. I don’t have a label for that feeling, but vinyl does what no other source can duplicate. In fact, vinyl is the reason I returned to this hobby.

    So, that’s why I prefer vinyl. And if anyone needs or wants to more fully understand why I prefer this source they should some way acquire a nice turntable with a good cartridge, and then go through my before described process. Go slow, appreciate the equipment, then settle in and listen.

    If all goes well, you will understand.

  • Avatar Edison Spina says:

    By far what I love is “The Therapeutic Process”. The sound is good as it is from CDs and files well recorded.