What Is This Vinyl Thing?

Okay, so vinyl never went away, right? For over a hundred years, vinyl records have been a mainstay of music recording and transmission. The rise of the Compact Disc and various digital media formats sent vinyl off to the wayside, but not as far as you’d think! Here are five amazing facts about vinyl to give your head a serious spin!

#5 • Don't Leave Em’ In The Sun

Vinyl records don’t handle heat very well, but they’re even more vulnerable to direct sunlight. If you have any old, damaged records kicking around, try leaving one of them in the sun for a few hours and watch as your perfectly flat vinyl record turns into a warped disaster! Let this be a warning for outdoor DJs!

#4 • Two sides, Or Bust!

Apart from a few rare instances, nearly all vinyl records include music and content recorded on both sides, instead of just one. This has been the case since the 1920s. An effort was made by Capitol Records to issue a series of one sided releases in the 1980s, but the trend didn’t hold for long. After all, why waste all that space?

#3 • They're Better For DJing

The physical nature of vinyl records gives DJs the ability to manipulate the recording directly using techniques like slip-cueing and scratching. Digital DJ software and hardware controllers can simulate certain effects using digital media files, but it all started on vinyl, and remains the top choice for the DJ scene to this day.

#2 • They Don't (Actually) Sound Better

Debates have raged for years over the supposed superiority of vinyl records over digital music formats like MP3s. In fact, audio quality is dependent on lossless vs. lossy recording techniques, and not on the vinyl itself. Vinyl records are recorded in a lossless format, meaning there is no audio compression used during the recording process, and therefore no loss of audio signal or quality. While it is true that digital formats like MP3 include audio compression, which causes signal degradation, there are several popular digital music formats such as FLAC, WAV and ALAC which offer the same lossless quality as vinyl. Perhaps the single-largest culprit behind the vinyl vs. digital debate are the "Loudness Wars," a trend where music producers have consistently raised the peak volume of recordings, year after year, which causes signal tear and other negative audio effects, forcing them to rely on compression techniques during the Mastering process. The debate will no doubt continue to rage, but the reality is a technical one, at best.

#1 • They're Not Going Any Anytime Soon

While CD sales continue to drop off in favor of digital music purchases, vinyl has actually enjoyed a boost in popularity and resurgence. In fact, vinyl sales have in fact climbed exponentially since 2007, year over year. In an age of digital music consumption, it’s both ironic and impressive to see vinyl maintaining such a powerful presence, regardless of how long in the tooth it might be. Don’t throw away your vinyl collection just yet! In fact, it might be wise to hold onto it for quite a few more years to come. For those new to the vinyl scene, there’s never been a better time to jump in!