The Truth About Vinyl – Vinyl vs. Digital

The Truth About Vinyl – Vinyl vs. Digital

The humble disc record is not often properly
recognized for the impact its development had on the modern world. On the face of it, these records are just
consumer products that allow music to be sold to the masses, a concept that itself only
reached the mass market about 100 years ago. The truth is the impact of this technology
goes way beyond consumption of pop music. In some way, the record’s closest comparison
is the printing press. The printing press is often considered one
of the most important inventions in history due to its ability to quickly and accurately
reproduce ideas in written word; which in turn, greatly accelerated the transfer and
exchange of knowledge. The ability to press audio to record so that
it can be reproduced in scale did the exact same thing for audio. It functioned as a vector for cultural exchange
and the revolution in recording technology ushered in by electronic and audio engineers
that developed the technology is the foundation upon which modern communication systems stand
upon. Of course, these days most of the music we
consume is digital. The internet has changed not only the way
we consume music, but also the amount of music [1] and the music itself [2]. Curiously while this is happening vinyl is
seeing a year on year increase in sales [3,4]. Even more curious is the fact that half of
the people who buy an album on vinyl stream it first [4] It remains a point of contention
whether analog formats, such as vinyl, are actually superior to their modern day digital
counterparts. Is vinyl’s resurgence just consumers seeing
yesteryear’s technology through rose tinted glasses, a yearning for a physical connection
to their music or does the music really sound better on vinyl? To understand the differences between these
two we need to first understand the commonalities. No matter which format is used, analog or
digital, both require audio data to be created by a recording device. The simplest of these would be the microphone
which turns air pressure (sound) into a either a digital or analog signal, which can then
be replayed as an electrical analog signal. This process was first put into use in 1877
by Thomas Edison. While working on the telephone, Edison decided
that it may also be worth investigating if sound could be recorded for later reproduction. Edison designed a rotatable cylinder disc
wrapped in thin foil which was turned by a hand crank. Attached to the disc was a needle, which in
turn was attached to a mouthpiece which adjusted the pressure of needle on the disc. Edison talked into mouthpiece while turning
the hand crank at a constant rate and as predicted, the pressure of the soundwaves imprinted a
proportional indentation which was analogous to the sound his voice created. When he finished recording, he returned the
needle to the start. The indentations which were caused by his
voice could now be played back by rotating the cylinder. Playback of audio while showing phonograph
working…. This invention, the phonograph, was the first
example of playable recorded sound and for all intents and purposes the vinyl record
is essentially an iteration of this technology. The first vinyl recorded was pressed in 1948
by Columbia – specifically, it was this recording on 12 inch: – Record plays –
Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Minor by Nathan Milstein on the violin with the New York Philharmonic Vinyl records work on the same basic principle
as Edison’s phonograph. A 3d representation of a soundwave is physically
pressed on to a vinyl record. An impression is first created by a cutting
head. The cutting head creates an impression that
is a direct analog of the soundwave. This process creates a master that will go
to create a stamper that moulds each record. When a record is played the frequency of the
wave that you will hear will depend on how stretched out the wave is on the media and
the volume will depend on the size or amplitude of the wave. This audio information will be pressed on
to vinyl in one of 3 fashions: via horizontal modulation
Vertical modulation OR via a compromise modulation of 45 degrees
Horizontal modulation is always preferable over vertical modulation. This is because vertical modulation leads
to more distortion and allows for less amplitude due to an inability for the stylus to track
the groove and also a propensity for the needle to bound off the wave if the amplitude is
too high. But if we run with only horizontal modulation
we can only play audio in mono and we don’t have stereo separation of sound. Accordingly, we use a compromise modulation
of 45 degree in order to allow for separation of audio from mono to stereo. As the stylus follows the groove, it moves
a magnet wrapped in a small coil of copper wire, this causes an electric current that
corresponds to the groove on the vinyl, which in turn corresponds to the physical sound
waves that were originally recorded. The electric current can now cause a physical
movement of the speakers which will reproduce that sound pretty faithfully. Some vinyl enthusiasts argue that this smooth
continuous reproduction of sound from analog to analog is more faithful than digital music
Part of this argument stems from the difference in how digital music is reproduced – high
quality digital audio data is typically sampled 44,100 times per second and this data is recorded
in binary format. Close inspection of the wave function produced
from binary code shows that rather than the audio data being smooth and constant like
real life, the audio data is jagged and technically non-continuous. Because there is an infinite amount of data
between each second of audio, we have to sample the audio in regular intervals to minimise
the size of our digital file. Comparing this to the smooth continuous waveform
that is imprinted in vinyl you would think this might cause some loss in information. Whether there is loss of information or not
depends on whether the 44,000 sample rate is high enough to be functionally the same. An answer to this was proposed in 1928 in
a pivotal paper published by Swedish American
electronic engineer Harry Nyquist [5], and was subsequently proven by Claude Shannon
in 1949 [6]. They simply found that to recreate a frequency
we only need to sample each individual wave at least twice. If not, the frequency will be digitized with
a lower frequency. The maximum perceivable frequency a human
ear can detect is 20,000 Hz, and so digital recordings with a sampling rate of 44,000
Hz can capture even the highest frequency possible, thus the sound produced by a speaker
using digital audio is effectively the same sound as analog recordings. In this case, the argument that analog recordings
are more “faithful” does not meet the scrutiny of science and in theory digital
and analog music recordings should sound functionally the same if played on the same equipment. The argument does not end here though, there
are some constraints to how sound can be recorded on vinyl. Interestingly, these constraints largely explain
both vinyl enthusiasts preference for the media and also why some might argue that digital
recordings are a superior format for storing audio. The major constraint that impacts vinyl is
simply its limit in data storage. This is simple to understand – A 12 inch record
can only hold so much information in the format we’ve described. Each rotation of the record takes 1.8 seconds. The next question is how many times each 12
inch can record rotate. Two things affect this, the frequencies found
in bass notes require the groove of the record to swing out wider, just as the speaker also
thumbs out wider when it plays base. Waves of higher amplitude that produce louder
sound also require wider grooves. This means that both low frequency sounds
and loud sounds both eat up valuable vinyl real estate. This in turn means that if you’re record
has bass or is loud, like most contemporary music, there’s not going to be a whole lot
of space on the record for your songs. The net impact of this is that there is a
volume and time constraint on vinyl record that does not apply to digital music, which
has huge ramifications for how we listen to music, and how music is created and mastered. Vinyl’s limitations do not end here. If the frequency is low and the amplitude
too high (loud), the stylus can become prone to bounding off of the wave due to path the
stylus has to take up the wave at speed. This can cause the record to bounce around
and skip if not accounted for. Accordingly, bass needs to be center panned
in the mix and a specific mix has to applied to music recorded to vinyl to stop this from
happening. High frequency sounds also need to be taking
into consideration while cutting a vinyl record. The issue is commonly referred to as the “Sibilance
Issue”. Sibilance is that unpleasant hissing sound
associated with s sounds and other high frequencies, that anyone who has watched my older videos
will be painfully aware of. High frequency waves cause two fundamental
problems in vinyl. High frequency sounds mean the waves are very
tight together, the stylus has to surf these waves and turn extremely tight corners. When the curvature of the groove becomes tighter
than the tip radius of the stylus, the stylus will begin to plow through the groove and
you will end up with distortion. On top of this, extremely high frequency waves
can lead to the cutting head that cuts the record to overheat. This is simply a matter of the cutting head
having to take a longer path and having to do more work to cut these waves. The overheating can lead to inaccuracy in
the cutting process and in turn to noise and distortion on the final record. To counteract the negative effects that extreme
low end and high end frequencies have on vinyl, a group of American engineers developed what
became to be known as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) curve in the
40s and 50s [7]. The RIAA is a equalization scheme that is
applied to the sound before the master lacquer is cut. In essence, this curve reduces bass content
and boosts treble in the record. Without this curve, low frequencies take up
so much space that each 12 inch LP would only allow for 5 minutes of music. In addition, boosting the treble hugely lowers
the surface noise that vinyl can produce due to the path the stylus takes. This is also why a turntable requires a special
phono preamp – in addition to amplifying the tiny voltage created by the turntable’s
cartridge, the preamp applies the inverse of the RIAA curve, perfectly restoring the
music’s natural balance and minimizing the size constraints that are intrinsically linked
to the nature of the media. So we’ve painted a complicated and grim
picture for vinyl as a storage media. The actual truth here is that there is no
functional difference in audio quality between digital and analog formats…and studies show
that the human ear and brain is not sufficiently equipped to distinguish the difference between
sound produced from analog signals when compared to a digital counterpart [8]. At the very least, this is enough to debunk
the notion that digital music formats are a lesser quality format than analog formats. An important question to ask here is why are
people, that understand these concepts, still drawn to vinyl? There’s a number of simple answers to this
question: Part of it is the nostalgia factor – people
have positive personal associations with the vinyl format from their youth and these associations
invoke an emotional state that induces a sense of comfort [9]; and although there are no
discernible differences in theoretical audio quality, vinyl does have a specific sound
that is imparted due to the mastering process. Mastering is the process by which the final
song is mixed for the final device it will be stored on. Over the past 36 years, due to the removal
of the physical limitations of vinyl media and the spread of digitized music, songs have
become increasingly louder and increasingly more compressed [10]. In essence, this means that the sound wave
becomes compressed, forcing the quieter parts of a song to become relatively louder and
the louder parts relatively quieter, the net effect being a louder, noisier song. As a result of this trend a vast majority
of commercial music releases have been subject to a somewhat arbitrary loudness war that
has forced them to increase loudness to keep pace. It has also resulted in increased use of compression
of the music which some would argue has result in a loss of detail and nuance in the final
sound. This development has been criticized by a
number of prominent audio engineers [11] and is part of the attraction towards vinyl. Some people prefer vinyl for this reason,
music properly mastered for the medium is to a certain degree immune to the effects
of the music loudness wars and in some cases, this can mean that the more nuanced parts
of the song are easier to pick out for a trained ear. Really though, given that this same information
can be recorded on a digital format and replayed exactly the same, the answer to this question
is that digital and analog formats are functionally the same in the quality of sound produced
and any preference for one media or the other, is really just that, a preference. The longevity and iconic status of the vinyl
record as a music format cannot be ignored though. Despite the shortcomings we’ve described,
it is an incredibly durable and elegantly simple medium. This is probably best exemplified in the golden
plated record sent on the Voyager 1 In September of 1977. It’s hard to believe but 12 billion miles
away from here this record is floating through space. It’s cover contains simple instructions
for playback based on certain universal constants and the record itself contains a high resolution
snapshot of 200,000 years of human culture. Unless the Voyager 1 suffers a direct impact
or encounter heat that may melt the record, this record in theory, should out survive
even our species. Just as the technology for storing music has
advanced the technology mixing and mastering music has, it has never been easier to get
into music production, thanks to programs like FL Studio and Ableton which give you
a virtual production room with all the tools you need to create a song of your own. There has never been more information available
to learn how to use them either. With introductory classes like this on Skillshare
for FL Studio and Ableton, and many more classes to teach you the nitty gritty of music production
like this one from Grammy nominated DJ Young Guru. These days you can teach yourself pretty much
any skill online and Skillshare is a fantastic place to do it. With professional and understandable classes,
that follow a clear learning curve, you can dive in and start learning how to do the work
you love. A Premium Membership begins around $10 a month
for unlimited access to all courses, but the first 1000 people to sign up with this link
will get their first 2 months for free. As usual thanks for watching and thank you
to all my Patreon supporters. If you would like to see more from me, the
links to my twitter, facebook, discord server, subreddit and instagram pages are below.


  • Charles Carr says:

    I think focussing on which better reproduces sound is kind of missing the point, though. I think people like vinyl because of the particular character it imparts, the charm, the "vibe", and if they say it "sounds better" then they don't necessarily mean "is more accurate to life". Hell, the entire art of music production is making instruments and voices sound better by altering them from how they actually sound.

    Look at vinyl like old-timey sepia or black-and-white photography, or even paintings – sure, your iPhone produces a far more accurate image, but our aesthetic appreciation for things is much more about the character of something than how well it replicates life. You can fit a gajillion books on your Kindle, but it lacks the character of a musty old leather-bound book. I think vinyl should be looked at in the same way.

  • Scott Karrasch says:

    "better" is such a subjective thing. It's really about the idea behind it. It's a concious effort to look through your rack of collected racords, pick one out, put it on the table, press start or put the needle to the desired position, and sitting down to listen. You have to Want to listen to the song, not just, put it on and let it play like you would shuffle your library on Spotify.

  • geeknproud321 says:

    Really the major point of the argument is that vinyl tends to have better mastering and more attention to detail in its production. I have several vinyls that sound outright superior from a true sound quality perspective than any digital or CD version of the same album. 2112 by Rush is a great example. The HDTracks 24-192 remaster has fantastic sound quality and amazing technical chops. However, it's tuned flat as heck and sounds very lifeless in comparison to the Vinyl. The Vinyl on the other hand was tuned very bombastically with a more aggressive EQ curve and better defined sound element separation, and as a result it imparts more emotion and feel to the music. Both sound good in their own right, but a direct comparison will have me choosing the vinyl every single time.

    The mastering is what is being focused on by audiophiles who understand the differences and similarities between the mediums. Check out any video about the "loudness wars". Vinyls tend to avoid highly compressed mastering like that.

  • MIQVERSE says:

    I have to be honest. I think the debate is pointless. I think it is all about the person listening. If you enjoy analog over digital then use analog gear but if you prefer digital over analog, by all means, use digital. The argument is really irrelevant.

  • john90430 says:

    The graphic starting at 4:28 is highly misleading. For the unknowing, it appears that the entire tone-arm carries motion from the record groove to a magnet and coil arrangement located inside the tone-arm counterweight!
    While it is true that 16-bit, 44.1kHz digital audio is of sufficient quality to faithfully reproduce the original analog signal, assuming high quality Digital to Analog converters, proper dithering and low-pass filtering,etc., there are also many other digital audio formats that are not so high-fidelity, and which therefore do not sound as good. Vinyl analog recordings, with proper RIAA equalization during recording and played back on a quality turntable with a good cartridge and a good phono pre-amp with correct RIAA equalization, is a singular format; there isn't the chance of lesser file format sound degradation like with digital audio. Digital file format types are often invisible to the typical audio consumer who may not be a technophile.
    Vinyl has other issues such as wear from stylus friction, dust, and scratches, but those can be mitigated.
    Swapping tone-arms, cartridges, and styli can often change the playback quality to suit the listener's taste, and can be rather fun for the hobbyist.

  • Tony Mischa says:


  • Loki Fenrir says:

    Vinyl will survive EMP's, doesn't require the internet (majority people stream media these days) and would be what i'd be playing in a nuclear war situation. just haven't decided between Carl Orff's – Carmina Burana, Wagner's – Ride of the Valkyries or Klaus Schulze – Conquest of Paradise… on repeat XD

  • George Doughly says:

    Vinyl is my Favorite Music 🎵 format!

  • R Michael Boyer says:

    I think it is a bit presumptuous to say that the 44.1 KHz CD format is equivalent to or as good as analog and that science supports the statement. I would say that in terms of frequency response the two formats are equivalent, but you should ask yourself just like Aristotle should have asked himself, just because I don't envision more to audio than frequency response, or in Aristotle's case just beause I don't envision more than rational numbers is that all there is to the structure?
    Once you ask this question, you might also ask, what would I be able to detect if my brain could process what is refered to as vision at a faster rate. If vision was altered one might actually detect what only high speed cameras otherwise provide us with. So, perhaps using a 44.1 K samples per second rate of sampling very well might be downgrading our experience by omitting nuances that if detected provide depth to music that otherwise is lost by the comparatively small collection of samples that the 44.1 K scheme provides.
    I suspect this is true for it supports the remarkable difference in fidelity that I hear when I listen to a master audio tape played at 15 inches per second on a quality reel to reel tape player compared to the Red-Book CD format.
    What is lost that becomes interpolated substitution due to any sampling system is a good question and perhaps a better question is does it matter and if it does then to whom. Each one of us is in a sense an idiosyncratic receiver, hence, what sounds great for you may merely sound OK too me because I actually detect near instantaneous nuances that fail to be accounted for in a 44.1 k sampling scheme much like the sand that falls through a quarter inch square mesh screen.
    Frankly, I suspect if you made an analog and a 44.1 K recording of an audio signal having constant frequency one would detect no difference. However, music is not in general a continuous tone. Rather, music is a complex structure full of nuances that while brief likely add a richness to my audio experience that digital formats such as SACD and the newer MQA-CD are better at providing than the 44.1 K scheme that is deemed sufficient by many. In closing, perhaps a finer understanding of music is needed in order to find and isolate the variables involved so that an accurate comparison can be made, but until then I will let my ears be the judge and in the meantime if science claims that 44.1 K is equivalent to…. then I will be glad I chose to become a mathematician over being a scientist because I prefer rigour over assumptions.

  • particulate syndicalist says:

    What we need to do is put really good cameras on the needles to be able to see the grooves coming up before they actually play

  • Patricio Escalona says:

    People buy records because they want to own them. If you stream music you don't really own it. Apart from that when you listen to a record, you can find real peace and forget about current technology.

  • Sabur Onib says:

    Great video, great analysis. However at 6:20 when you concluded the human ear can only hear 20.000 Hz, you forgot that we can feel even lower vibrations. This is relevant as some vinyl users really use speakers capable of reproducing frequencies lower than 20.000. Thanks for a great video 👍🏾

  • Sound Check says:

    To stop forever the fight between vinyl VS digital, I'll give you an example : you have 1 bottle and 2 glasses. The bottle is the master tape, 1 glass is vinyl and 1 glass is CD. You pour in both glasses, but there is some left in the bottle, to compare the taste. Content of which "glass" will TASTE exactly the same, or as close as the content left in the "bottle" ? You guys decide. Good luck.

  • Poor Username says:

    I love digital, I remember buying a new album only to scratch it within a couple of day`s or leave a record in the sun or near a heater and have it melt, I do admit music does not sound nearly as good as it use too, Even tape sounded better, But i put that down to my hearing aging and loosing the high frequency's and not down to it being digital.

  • Anders Ljungberg says:

    CD player in the early 90's. did not sound good many CD players had cold treble And there must be some reason why they record sound in a studio in 24 bit

  • Robert Lascelle says:

    with digital good for recording good luck sell SD card or hard drive and why lp sell no one made a new invention in this world we can to a stop like dead stop went back to LPS no one create a new product to marketing technology really fail to make something happen

  • v1m30 says:

    Some people like distorted audio from vinyl instead of the fairly pristine "lifeless/too perfect" recording from digital source. Something that they could easily adjust in post in their player if they weren't lazy. Adding vinyl errors is easy.

  • Jim Clark says:

    There is a difference. It's in the sampling rates. Vinyl is reproduced at 48 khz. Digital is usually recorded at this rate but reproduced at 44.1 khz, therefore losing information and sound quality in the process. Also, studies have shown that in order to produce Alpha waves in our brains we need to hear a frequency higher than 44.1 khz. It's the Big Mac syndrome – looks like a burger, smells lika burger, tastes like shit. That also explains why music went down the plughole since digital was introduced in the 80's.

  • Bryan Leech says:

    An interesting and thorough coverage of the technicalities and related plusses and minuses of digital recordings vs vinyl. But there's a slight mismatch of objectives in that summary of content. There are two issues that must be separated. The initial recording format, analog or digital (and related specifications that must follow), and then the design of equipment to reproduce the recorded sound. Remember, natural sound is analog, as is the hearing process of the ear., which leads to an initial assumption that it might be an ideal aim to overcome any technical equipment design issues that impede realisation of that ideal ─ total analog to analog.
    This article also avoids the entire issue of psycho-acoustics. There's ample evidence that the human hearing system can respond to (sense) frequencies above the directly-measured hearing response of the "perfect": human ear of 20-20,000 Hz. Certainly, digital recording techniques that use much higher sample rates (96,000Hz etc) and bit sizes can yield results that are more satisfying to the "trained ear",with both higher frequencies and less artifacts of the process. And just what is that mystical "trained ear"? No clear answer, but it's more likely to be found among musicians who are attuned to acoustic music (classical or jazz) rather than the monitor speakers in a recording studio (I said "more likely". nothing definitive).
    All of this begs the resource of many research papers, not just this brief observation. But the subject does not reduce to physics, mechanics and numbers, no matter how detailed is this post.

  • Sirius Spica says:


  • Rocker01ndomablE says:

    Digital is lossy. Analog is not. End of story.

    PS: Makes a video for cd vs vinyl – has no actual idea of how a turntable works.

  • Marjan H. says:

    As our electronic teacher in school always commented on audiophiles, "at the end we all have hairy ears". On good audio system and with properly balanced and adjusted tonearm and stylus, you can note the differences between CD and LP. But as said in video, this is mostly due to the different mastering for the target media. I like vinyl because the classic music really sounds better (or it is better mastered 😉 ) as on CD, but for the actual pop music the MP3 is more than good enough and it is very practical.

  • Sy Cn says:

    I never read Nyquist's theorem and may be missing something. Perhaps someone could clarify one thing to me. The theorem says the sampling frequency has to be at least twice of the highest frequency to record it properly. However in special case where the sampling frequency is exactly twice the sampled frequency, it can happen that the sampler measures the value where it equals zero. So on the output there wll be no (digital) signal. What am I missing?

  • Praxedis Lindsey says:

    Vinyl… superior saturation. Ask Keith Richards.

  • babajamiaco says:

    It's not the point, analog or digital. The point is that digital formats often have screwed up music by compression and volume. There is no difference between analog and hi res digital. But also manu analog recordings have been soiled by poor sound engineering…

  • DynaCentral says:

    cds are the best. any questions?

    sorry..i dont want to listen to my music with pops and zips and stupid drags. cds are the best

  • Jeff G says:

    If given a choice I'd take digital over analog every time (and this from a record buyer who amassed over 2,500 LPs back in the day).😉

  • Luca 1974 says:

    Io preferisco il formato SACD

  • Kenneth Schultz says:

    Please !!! A great exampel .. on why Digital is inferiur to analog .. just listen to the shello on
    Brothers in arms .. on vinyl .. sounds cloase to fade back .. but IT ain't
    Then do the same in a CD .. whooops .. if CD are best .. why is the Shello Missing ???
    And i got Meny Meny Meny examples on why vinyl is way Better Then Digital..
    And you Sir are a huge idiot .. nothing nostalgic about that .. bla bla bla..

  • Kenneth Schultz says:

    The 41.000 liking this .. don't hawe huge speakers
    Just listen to low bit stream … Then there are No difrence
    But when you love the stainway piano sounding like a Stainway .. and not a Churtch Bell ringing
    Then you go vinyl .. o

  • Kenneth Schultz says:

    The next Lie from you .. Will be that
    aaand No IT is not .. !!!!

  • 035 0365 says:

    Get High and even 192 kbps mp3 sounds great.

  • Eaglecreeker 49 says:

    You cant even get your facts right about about the pickup,,calling a counter weight part of the pickup,,,,,,let alone the rest of this nonesense,,,,fact is the digital world is crap because thats all most sheep own to listen to it on,,ignorance is bliss and your channel is far from real anything.

  • Nateorius Me says:

    For me I like vinyl because it’s a tangible thing I can hold in my hands and the act of listening to vinyl becomes a more active thing that I pay attention too instead of just hitting play and it essentially being background noise

  • Gez Parks says:

    Analogue simply sounds more natural and better. Thats why people are returning to vinyl. Your ears are the best instrument to test this argument not laboratory equipment. When did you last hear any digital format produce music with infectious foot tapping rhythm from drum work and funky deep rich sounding bass guitar? Or a truly open dynamic sound?

  • 451Duke says:

    What about extra harmonics due to analog curves (equivalent to a A2D process with infinitely high sampling)? Could those contribute to extra effects when a vinyl is played through an amplifier and speaker?

  • Shane Eyanson says:

    I am no expert but I have found that Vinyl can sound Fantastic but in order to get there you will need to spend some money. A good MC cartridge and a good preamp as well as the rest of your system will not be cheap in any respect. Do not expect a cheap $200 turntable with some crappy internal preamp to sound good because it will not..

  • ThinkLearnSolve says:

    digital is superior, in many ways, but an simply important one is degradation over time, vinyl and analog is lossy, the more time passes or the more you listen to it, the worse it gets

  • Joe Maldonado says:

    Do you believe a vinyl record is the equivalent to a modern 24/96 studio recording not to say 24/192 or higher and that is only a matter of "preference"? That is ridiculous, comparing a nail scratching a piece of plastic with a Lynx or RME ADC, what a complete noob!

  • evodjoke says:

    Only complete ignorant holds vinyl record in hands as shown here. Same goes to putting a needle on a record.

  • Loren Fulghum says:

    Incorrect. You don't even know how a tone arm works.

  • feedyourspeakers says:

    This is the single greatest summary of 1 of the longest running debates in music history. Great video.

  • Dick Tracey says:

    And that is why some of the top recording engineers still prefer to listen to vinyl. Analogue and digital should sound functionally the same. Should but it doesn't.

  • ky yin says:

    yes they can be the same quality
    the only problem was, most singers only release cd/mp3 as digital format in which the quality is worse than vinyl

  • 6 of 10 says:

    i miss record shopping so much the smell of a record shop

  • YZFR1mart says:

    I downloaded a bunch of vinyl records 👍🤔

  • dread true says:

    The problem is not vinyl versus digital.
    First, what digital? Mp3s etc are bad. But vinyl degrade with time. I have a few.

    So a CD player (and CDs) with a preamp and GOOD speakers, is the perfect system.
    Nor cheap, but affordable

  • says:

    Interesting overview that misses a whole bunch of points. Vinyl degrades with each play. It is subject to artifacts (clicks and pops.) It can warp. Quality can vary based on the pressing cycle. Innermost tracks can't have as much bass. Dynamic range is laughable compared to digital. Functionally the same? No.

  • Winter Charm says:

    Digital sound also has way less distortion. 🙂

  • Steve's Mixed Bag says:

    4:30 ????? uhmm …NO !

  • 2010stoof says:

    I still prefer the sound and warmth of records.

  • oberon79 says:

    the best? DTS or dolby 5.1

  • Deathrape2001 says:

    'Real' Engineering is obviously a TROLLING channel 2 purposely spread the worst possible advice & endless lies, like pretending that 911 was not an inside job. N E 1 who pretends 2 think that the counterweight on a turntable is the transducer is an evil jakazz who's goal is 2 wreck civilization, not help advance it. Nobody is dumb enough 2 believe that bull$hit. It's like pretending men R women if they cut their dix off & get chest implants.

  • Daniel Burger says:

    You forgot the EQ. Usually they master the recording befor the press the master and for that they use a tilt EQ which reduces the bass frequencies and amplifies the high frequencies. The strereo has to reverse the process before amplifying.

  • TinyBabyJesus S says:

    Edison choked kittens while talking into the mouthpiece.

  • TheJolop3 says:

    I feel the "advantage" of analog has nothing to do with vinyl. In my mind it has something to do with the ability to record a smidge hot to tape. Digital Clips are awful, and must be avoided. In analog, after the little particles are scrambled, the record head assigns them the appropriate polarity. The affect of " too much signal" can actually be pleasing to the ear. … but I cant afford analog anyway… soo digital wins.

  • ottschi63 says:

    A shit recording will be shit! Vinyl or digital😘

  • HAWXLEADER says:

    I've heard some beautifully mastered sound on YouTube that sounds basically identical to the same song in a flac file.
    (Long after you're gone)

  • Koda Riverstone says:

    One point of contention that I don't see in the comments:

    During the entirety of the acoustic age of recording, vertical modulation was actually the higher fidelity method of encoding.

  • Dave Wilde says:

    Wrong get your info correct – The arrival of the first 'modern' record players coincides with the invention of the microgroove in the USA in 1946 by Columbia. The first microgroove records were marketed in 1948. They contained Mendelssohn's and Tchaïkovski's music. Their acoustic and technical superiority over 78 rpm records immediately became a selling point. As vinyl records have a much finer grain (about 50 angströms = 5*10-3 µm), they allow for narrower and closer grooves to be cut. The use of this synthetic thermoplastic material instead of wax significantly increased sound quality: reduced background noise, increased frequency response, dynamic range and the running time, which jumped from less than 5 minutes to 30 minutes on 33 rpm records.

  • Jeff Brown-Hill says:

    Anyone who's actually listened to vinyl knows there's a difference. Use your ears, people. They (most likely) actually work!

  • David Moak says:

    Actually, many analog formats have higher SNR and frequency range than their 44.1k handicapped digital competitors. So, while I can't hear the difference on the high end, equipment and women can….

  • luramen says:

    Once you are used to hearing analog sound you will notice the quality difference vs that of digital. It is not a matter of preference or elegance, it is just a fact that records sound better! Those who can’t notice the difference are simply impaired or as the video points out, are physically and brainly unequipped to distinguish it.

  • Donald Scheer says:

    I have thousands of CDs That I purchased since the 1980s, BUT! For some reason I prefer the sound of Vinyl! Think about it! You have to flip the record over to play the entire album! But, it's so worth that effort to listen to the sound of music on well engineered Vinyl! I have not played a CD for along long time! The human ear is analog! Not a digital device! It's very mechanical! The Human Ear & Vinyl is a marriage made in Heaven!

  • Sinem Güzeldemirci says:

    10:05 here's the short answer

  • Aaron Harris says:

    PLEASE NOTE: When this guys says "digital" he means CDs or other uncompressed digital formats (like WAV, etc). MP3s and Streaming audio are compressed and quality degradation is compounded when MP3s are Streamed then broadcast via Bluetooth. It's also worth mentioning that (aside from recording mistakes) an analog signal is the truest representation of the "shape" of the sound. A digital recreation assumes a sine wave (smooth, curved transition between peaks and troughs) which becomes less accurate as you approach 44khz. Real sound isn't guaranteed to be a sine wave and when it's not, digital is wrong. This can manifest itself as a subtle loss of clarity in the high end of the spectrum (treble). It's true that we can only perceive so much of this detail, but I believe the shape of the sound is very perceptible and it's not discussed in this video. — I am not an audiophile, but I am an engineer.

  • Crackerbrain667 says:

    so yeah. stupid sony or whatever. didnt protect a bunch of really good master tapes from even people like Buddy Holly and they got destroyed it just came out it was a big cover up. now. you're lucky to have anything on original vinyl in good shape or cd. cause the masters are toast. it was like 500000 songs

  • Crackerbrain667 says:

    records are better . period i dont need someone else on the internet to explain it to me

  • TankMcHavoc Productions says:


    Cd has a higher dynamic range, 96 dB, vinyl has 60-75.
    It also has better stereo separation.
    And also, it actually has higher frequencies because a proper vinyl master tops out at about 15 kHz, reducing distortion.

    With all that said, vinyl STILL sounds warmer. CD has the specs, but it’s that sound, man. I’m no hipster.
    It’s all a matter of preference.
    I am of the opinion that your SPEAKERS and the ACOUSTICS of your room have much more of a factor in the sound quality.
    And, come on, guys. Those album covers are HUGE!

  • Deathrape2001 says:

    WTF With this clown posting more krap then deletes it? Not like there's N E point reading some nonsense about 'of course digital sounds better'… like 'Of course men are women if they just cut off their weenie' LOL =)) They wrote:
    LCD_drownd replied: "Deathrape2001 oh, and by the way, I do like vinyl. Some of my favorite albums I own on vinyl. Everything else I own on cd. I don't use digital unless I don't own the album. That's the only exceptio…"
    16 minutes ago
    LCD_drownd replied: "Deathrape2001 people like you worry me for the state of the planet. Honestly. Go storm Area 51 because it seems like the only notable thing you could possibly contribute to society is ending up on …"
    19 minutes ago
    LCD_drownd replied: "Deathrape2001 honestly. I refuse to believe that you're actually serious about any of this. I am 100% positive you're trolling, but maybe I just have too much faith in humanity. Whether you're trol…"

    Where did the stuff go?

  • Dig Digger says:

    Did you not just debunk your own statement? That vinyl isn't impacted by digital loading (loudness highs and lows, "nuances")? Therefore, vinyl would be a more natural compromised medium? Correct or incorrect by what's been stated here…?

  • ExperiencedGhost says:

    Nice video. you did a good work, great images. My opinion concerning vinyl is that it sounds softer in the higher frequencies. That makes it more enjoyable. I do record my vinyl into digital form to add them to my digital collection and it's easier to bring a mix range of music in the background.

  • Ed Parachini says:

    Some people can pick out the difference between digital and analog. my roommate in college was one of those people. Also you were assuming top end equipment which is seldom the case.

  • skil3z says:

    If someone has only listened to music on modern consumer grade speakers and headphones, and they decide to listen to vinyl with age appropriate (late 70s-early 90s) high end hi-fi equipment, that alone can lead to vinyl being perceived as so much better because that equipment was made so well and sounds so good. Of course modern high end stuff will also sound as good if not better, but the price will be an order of magnitude higher.

  • Zaphod Breeblebrox says:

    Missed something… At 1/2 of the way to the Nyquist limit (11025Hz) , any tone above that will have a heterodyne sweeping down from 22050Hz . Thus, 88200 SPS is actually the better sampling rate for clean reproduction of audio. You can experience this for yourself, but in this case I suggest a low sample rate of 8000 samples. Do an 8K sample project in Audacity, and generate a tone sweep from 1 to 4KHz. At 2KHz, you should hear a mirror hetrodyne sweep down from 4 KHz until they cross at 3 KHz. Sampling error sucks.

  • ADAM YOUNG says:

    1948 ? In vinyl yes, disc records have been around from the end of the 19th century, made from shellac.

  • celloting01 says:

    Interesting but misleading. Basically, vinyl (more than 20Hz-20kHz) contains more 'info' than digital (20-20). What you can't hear, you can feel! which explains why vinyl will always be more superior than digital.

  • Aleksandar Milak says:

    edison lol…

  • Miguel Ma says:

    There is a difference in sound between a sine 20 kHz wave and a square 20 kHz wave. For that reason, vinyl is still better for audio quality.

  • Lino Moinelo says:

    The problem is not the sample frequency but the number of levels of amplitud. For example a CD of 16 bits has 65536 levels of amplitude. If we define noise as the minimun signal you can play, the CD has mcuh noise than a vinyl record. Moreover, the dinamic range is far better in a analog record (Sorry for my english).

  • steven G says:

    i cant put my mp3 collection on display at home to show how cool i am so i bought a record player

  • Ano Nymous says:

    That's just a hipster trend that will die soon. Didn't you notice even the beard-trend started dying lately?

  • Ano Nymous says:

    Vinyl had HORRIBLE sound unless the entire 12'' inch (side) was at most ~15 minutes. Try any record that has 30min sides, and the songs at the end of it sound like absolute crap.
    PS. I theorize that's the true reason of so many singles back then. Singles were usually 12 inch and at most 10-12 minutes each side so they sounded great.

  • geonerd says:

    4:30 – How to utterly destroy your channel's credibility in 10 seconds. I've watched a few of your offerings, and all of the have included absolute howlers such as this. You guys are a freaking JOKE.

  • David Jackson says:

    Vinyl just outsold cds for the first time since 1980! Yeet



  • M. Janssen says:

    Reel Tape is still king over digital stored sound

  • akr01364 says:

    Tidal,,,,played through a tube amp and Klipsch Heritage speakers.

  • Don Miller says:

    Unless you are slapping your tone arm sideways on the record, the needle does not travel over the peaks on a recording, but travels instead in the valley .. one very long valley … up to 500 yds in length.

  • Paul Borneo says:

    I thought you would say that people prefer vinyl because it has more compressed dynamics, but you said they prefer it because it isn't as compressed. That's interesting.

  • T Missing Link Videos says:

    Cool video thanks for uploading

  • Paul skirton says:

    Vinyl always had a richer warmer rounder sound. I remember when CDs first came out, I was buying a Lynn K9 cartridge for my turntable and the sound room in the shop was being used by a guy listening to what was then a very expensive CD player at around £500 the salesman interrupted the session to plug my turntable in to test the K9. The sound difference was phenomenal. The record was detailed warm round and musical whereas the CD player was hard angular and sharp.
    That's why I went for a Marantz CD player.

  • Vincent H says:

    Vinyl sales overtook CD sales this year for the first time since the 80s.

  • Jordan Wells says:

    Me over here listening to my cassette tapes…

  • Jeannie Billiejean says:

    Love the sound of vinyl.. reminds me of my childhood: )

  • Say Hoe Lee says:

    They are rich, thats the reason…

  • Tom OOO says:

    you missed the problems of digital : limitations of the band pass filter to remove the 2x22kHz base frequency of the digital and the artefacts that reflect off the band pass filter. The second problem is the jitta due to timing of the digital due to the variable mechanical speed of the CD and the coherence of the jitta between the channels which your brain is incredibly sensitive to since it is used for positioning of source. Records do not suffer from these. You went into great detail the vinyl problem without the various issues with the choice of digital signal used to encode CD. Then there is the antiquated error correct used on CD's

  • Michael Dickman says:

    What I appreciate vinyl over digital formats for is not mentioned here at all: soundstaging. When I listen to an LP through some decent speakers I get a sense of depth and breadth of the sound stage. I can hear the drums are behind the front men in a rock LP while the violins are in front of the oboes in a symphony. Also, the soundstage is wider than the speakers. When I listen to a CD it sounds like the whole soundstage has the depth of a plane of glass and the sound is pinched in to the width of the speakers.

  • Batu says:

    Most of its true. Sample Rate topic is incorrect. Sample Rate has nothing to do with 'quality' of sound. Its a timing process. Bit Rate on the other hand, is what putting those detail dots on your graphic.

  • rogue warr says:

    Music listening come's in two forms one listening to car radio ,radio at work .music in a mall ,so on..Two when it comes in as a hobby no laptop, computer will do over a good turn table simple amp and good speakers and quit room so you can enjoy the moment of clean sound . THIS is something that's missing in today's fast pace digital (trend ) world ..your video was well done and points well taken .thanks

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