Now I loved vinyl. Adored it. Worked in Our Price and bought up almost the shop. Hated CD when it came out, couldn’t abide the harsh bright sound that it had. Even my crappy Ferguson all-in-one music tower with its crappy turntable made a better sound to my ears than the early similar-priced CD players from Aiwa etc. When I invested in a Rega and then an Ariston and some Kenwood electronics, I thought no CD player compared, not even the likes of Arcam and Meridian who were making decent progress on the number-crunching and sheer processing of it.
I hated the labels like Sony and Philips for moving things away from what I knew and loved, wearing my tin-foil hat at the conspiracy of it seeing as they owned the labels and the hardware!
Fewer and fewer records were being released, with most new releases being cassette and CD only, then just CD. Rare was the new vinyl release back in the early 90’s. We were dinosaurs, Luddites. Our cries of better sound quality were drowned out by the masses and the “perfect sound, forever” mantra.
But vinyl WAS better sound quality, unless you had a very expensive CDP. Having bought my first CDP, a Technics SL-PG570, in the mid 90’s, just to hear new releases, I heard a sound that wasn’t too bad. I still preferred records but it wasn’t the God-awful din that I’d heard before.
Slowly, I committed more to CD replay than vinyl and heard more and more of the benefits of CD-the frequency extremes, the lower noise floor, the greater detail and lack of “hash”, and the harsh dryness seemed to be reducing too. Then there was the added ease of playing and having “programmes” and “random” options-I found I missed the theatre of playing a record less and could justify the CD as it still took effort on my part and I could live without having to turn the record over even though I had thought this was all part of the listening experience.
What I now realise is that the Analogue to Digital Conversion process had got better and better, more music was being recorded or mixed digitally and of course, the DAC’s and CDP’s had not much better. The CD’s themselves had improved in manufacture also. Slowly but surely, over the last 30 years, CD replay has now got to a really high point when talking about high end replay and hearing a middle tier vinyl replay today leaves me cold-I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever say that!
There’s enough involvement for me with CD-putting the disc in, pressing play. I like remote control even if fandom and programme have largely disappeared. I like the cases (super Jewel cases anyway) and the booklets when present.
I still like vinyl, still see the investment and effort required as pluses but CD ticks more boxes for me now. Especially in terms of the fidelity of the music.
Now files and steaming on the other hand….