Vinyl is back, big time, but the fact is most folks, probably close to 99 percent of the under 40-set, haven't heard records.
For them, music is about portability and vinyl is a stay-at-home deal. Vinyl has more of a hands-on work ethic: you've got to cue the tonearm, lower the "needle," and when the side's over, turn it over or play another LP. Digital requires almost nothing from you; no wonder it's dominated the music scene for the last couple of decades.
Me, I'm having something of a vinyl fling right now. I've always owned a turntable, but there were times I played only CDs for months on end. I guess I didn't want to deal with the extra work of playing vinyl. Sad, but true.
As for LP vs. CD comparisons, I didn't do any. Trust me, you don't have to be a golden-eared audiophile to notice the two formats sound very different. Records are "warmer" and sound more like the sound of real instruments and voices; CDs almost always make them more detailed and brighter-sounding than they are in real life.
But if that's all there was to the story, LPs wouldn't have made it this far, more than a quarter of a century after the debut of the perfect-sound-forever CD. No, music seems to draw you in more when it's coming off an LP. It's more engaging. So it's not exclusively an audiophile thing, I know lots of non-audiophiles who play records. They "get it" without any prodding from me. It's not that CDs sound bad, just less interesting. MP3s? Even less going on there.
I recently changed turntables, from a Linn LP12 to a VPI Classic, and the VPI reignited my vinyl fixations. I'm still using the same phono cartridge, a Van Den Hul, but the VPI is more fun to listen to than the Linn. Watch for my full VPI Classic review soon.
When the CD came out I knew it would eventually kill the music business. And so it is: Music now serves as background to other activities, music by itself can no longer hold most folk's attention. With vinyl people actually listen!
Have I made you vinyl-curious? It's your move. If you've recently converted from analog to digital, tell us all about it.