In today’s technology-driven world, it’s easy to feel that streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and Apple Music dominate the music world. Yet, dedicated musicphiles are keeping the operations of local record stores going strong. What’s better–maintaining your physical vinyl, CDs, or streaming services subscription?
Does it surprise you that vinyl record sales are on the rise? Since the first vinyl LP was released in 1948, true music collectors have preferred vinyl over more modern formats because of its reported sound quality. Raw sound is an analog medium, so many feel vinyl is the best medium to convey the authentic sound of the original recording. Additionally, for vinyl record lovers, there’s something special about the cover and sleeve artwork that was never replicated as well in cassette tape or cd packaging.
The downfall of vinyl is the material itself. First, vinyl is relatively heavy, so storing a collection of your favorite thousand albums requires hefty shelves and significant space. Next, vinyl is fragile–it’s easily scratched, chipped, or broken. Anyone who grew up listening to vinyl can relate to the instant feelings of dismay when a record began to skip, and upon closer inspection, a scratch was detected as the culprit.
Another disadvantage of vinyl is the amount of music that can be contained on a record. Each disk has an “A” side and a “B” side holding half an album each, so the listener has to physically flip the record over to listen to the entire recording.
Notice we’re skipping straight from vinyl to CDs without even an afterthought about cassette tapes. 8-tracks and cassette tapes gave people the ability to take music on the go. With one of these lightweight plastic units, it was possible to ramble the highways listening to your favorite tunes. However, it didn’t take people long to learn the shelf-life and quality of tapes was limited.
Thus, the compact disc was born. These metal disks that are barely larger than a drink coaster could hold an entire album plus exclusive extras that could be played in a home stereo or portable disk player. Many compact disk players can hold a series of disks–often 20 or more, making it easy to listen from album to album or play a random selection throughout the entire collection. Plus, their lightweight design allowed for easy storage.
Cds have incredibly high sound quality because of the amount of information that can be contained on the disk. Recordings are digitized, and impurities are eliminated. They hold up well and are reasonably resistant to scratching and breaking. On the other hand, many people feel the digitalization of the music files creates a fake, clinical sound–particularly with acoustic recordings.
Streaming services provide a great alternative to people who enjoy listening to a wide variety of music but have no interest in maintaining a physical library. With consumers moving toward downsizing and simplifying their homes, streaming services fit perfectly into their lifestyles. While the sound quality is excellent, music critics will notice it is not as strong as the quality from CDs. A few select streaming providers offer lossless compression audio, which is supposed to match the sound quality of CDs. It can be more cost-effective to subscribe to a service and have access to an enormous library of selections versus investing in physical albums of music, especially when you might not listen to all the songs consistently.
Streaming services aren’t for everyone, though. Without a good internet connection, it can be challenging to rely on streaming music. Listeners may enjoy an extensive library of music with a paid subscription, but once the subscription is canceled, the user is left with no music of their own. Some subscriptions allow you to play any music you choose, while others provide radio-like music channels according to your preferences.
Whether you prefer vinyl, CDs, or streaming services, a home automation system with distributed speakers will make listening to your favorite music more enjoyable.
At Accurate Electronic Interiors, we’ll help you create the perfect environment to listen to music from every room of your home. We are Southern Oregon’s first choice in home theater and SMART home electronics design and installation. Our teams install quality electronic systems that seamlessly automate your home theater, window coverings, lighting, outlets, surveillance system, and more. Visit our showroom or give us a call to learn more about how we can make your life easier.