I have always been unabashedly digital. I stream music. I prefer eBooks. I’d rather download a game from the XBox Marketplace than fuss with a physical disk. And speaking of gaming, I prefer video games to tabletop (sorry guys). After all, we are living in a digital world and I am a digital girl. My husband on the other hand, while not a big media person, has always hated streaming music. He’ll buy lossless MP3s or CDs when he wants the convenience, but mostly he just complains about the quality. Tired of listening to him, I told him to research turntables and add a few to his Amazon wishlist. I bought him one for Valentine’s Day. And surprisingly, I was the one who fell in love with analog music.
Over the years, I’ve heard argument after argument about the superior sound quality of records. The theoretical ability of analog to be perfect, which digital can never be. My response has generally been “meh.” I typically most often listen to music at work, or in the car. It’s background noise more than anything else. But the argument I hadn’t heard was how much listening to records changes the way you listen.
When I was in high school, before the MP3 craze, I would lay around and listen to CD after CD all the way through. I’d study the album art. I’d read the lyrics. Listening to records has brought back that experience of listening to music for the purpose of listening to music. It’s brought the excitement back. You don’t want to go too far because after a handful of tracks you’re going to have to flip the record. The album art is big and beautiful and easy to see. And yes, it sounds much better. But it isn’t the sound that got me, it was changing listening to music from a passive experience back to an active one.
Moving Back to Physical Media?
Will my experience with records cause me to ditch digital altogether? Nope. I still need music for work and the car. I still prefer to read eBooks, and I don’t feel I get a better experience with paper. (Although I do have a dedicated eReader which means no interruptions.) Games I still feel it doesn’t matter (although I would like a Sega Genesis and a big collection of cartridges). Plus, I don’t replay games or reread books like I relisten to albums. For me, music in physical format just makes more sense than other media options.
Now, to find out if there are any LP conventions nearby and start gearing up for Record Store Day.