Vinyl has been loved by millions all over the world for decades.
Its unrivaled uniqueness, and indeed its nostalgia, has recently made way for a huge rise in vinyl sales. 4.1 million records were bought in 2017 alone, the highest annual number for 26 years.
However, the problems that led to vinyl being replaced by more modern forms of media still remain.
Below, I’ve put together a list of pros and cons of vinyl records, to help you decide whether its worth your investment!
- 1 The Top 4 Pros Of Vinyl Records
- 2 Top 4 Cons Of Vinyl
- 3 Pros And Cons Of Vinyl Records: Final Thoughts
The Top 4 Pros Of Vinyl Records
The Nostalgic Feel
This is something you just can’t get with CDs or digital downloads. Vinyl is way out front in this category, with absolutely no challengers in sight.
The nostalgic feel that comes with a vinyl record is rooted in the experience of owning, unwrapping, and playing them.
All the sleeves you have to unwrap, the old-time smell, the feel of the vinyl material. It’s a whole experience. An experience that isn’t matched in any other format. It has a tangible quality that can’t be replaced in the digital realm.
The Unique Vinyl Sound
Again, it’s all part of the experience of owning vinyls. The sounds that are unique to vinyl are those crackles, the warm tones and even the background noises.
Many music connoisseurs prefer these ‘comforting’ sounds over cleaner and more modern recordings. Vinyl holds a lot more character than other formats, which is what has made it such a popular format in the past, and again in recent times.
Nikki Sixx—co-founder, bassist, and primary songwriter of the band Mötley Crüe—talks below about his love for the unique vinyl sound.
“I remember opening up my first vinyl and seeing the incredible artwork it had. There’s nothing like it. You also get that true gritty sound on vinyl that really makes a rock record sound great, which CDs can never achieve.”
Vinyl Demands Attention
Walk into a room in which a vinyl record is playing and you will be drawn instantly to it. It will light up the room, no doubt about it. You’ll unconsciously listen to that vinyl track much more intently than if a Spotify track was playing.
Music is so readily available these days that we often listen to it passively in the background while we get on with our daily tasks. We don’t often sit down and listen.
Put on one of your vinyls and you’ll find yourself glued to your armchair for the next hour, simply listening and doing nothing else. This is a rare pleasure in today’s fast-paced world.
Your Taste In Music Will Improve
Are you reading this article to help you decide whether to buy a vinyl player or not? This point should convince you. Your taste in music is only going to improve when you invest in a turntable record player!
Go to any record store, and you won’t find any top 40 tracks from at least the last 10 years. You won’t find any albums that were at number 1 for 2 months and then disappeared off the radar.
What you will find is albums that were people’s favorites for years. Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Nirvana, etc. All legends of music. Artists who were on top of their game. They were artists that produced not just good music, but the best music, with the best production, the best lyrics, and the best riffs.
Top 4 Cons Of Vinyl
Maintenance And Storage
Looking after your vinyl is very time consuming. If you’re looking for an easy, straight-forward music experience, then vinyl probably isn’t for you.
You’ll need to think about inner sleeves, outer sleeves, vinyl bags, shelf storage, archive storage, storage temperatures, cleaning brushes…phew. There’s a lot to think about! Every step of storage is just as essential as the previous step. And if you’re thinking you can just store your vinyl collection in the garage, that’s rarely a good idea.
So if you’re still convinced you want to invest in vinyl, make sure you research exactly how to clean and store your type of vinyl! Stick to the process, and they will survive for years.
Here are some great tips on how to store your vinyl.
They Do 1 Job, And 1 Job Only
Unlike CDs and digital downloads, you can’t take vinyl with you everywhere you go. You can’t have the records in your pocket like an iPhone. You can’t plug headphones into your vinyl. You can’t send copies of your vinyl records to your friends.
All you can do is simply listen. To be totally fair, many of you will have purchased a vinyl record for this reason. You will have wanted something unique and different to what’s on offer today, and that’s exactly what vinyl gives you. For that reason, this point this isn’t a con at all, for most people reading this.
Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is free on Spotify, and $7.99 on iTunes.
What about the vinyl? $18.99.
When investing in vinyl, you have to be prepared to pay over twice the price of a CD or digital download. Vinyl records also hold less music.
In addition, prices have soared in the last 5 years as vinyl makes a sensational comeback. Read “Why Are Vinyl Records So Expensive?” for more
Following the decline in CDs and the rise in digital downloads, some still craved a physical form of music but weren’t interested in CDs anymore. And so they turned to vinyl.
4.1 million vinyl records were bought in 2017 alone, the highest numbers since 1991. It’s going to be very expensive to build up a vinyl collection that’s for sure, but if you have the money to do it then why not? And while the albums are pricey, good record players are actually quite affordable.
Sadly, however, the days of browsing for albums in your local record store are over for most of us. These days, I buy all of my new records online. Not sure where to buy vinyls online? That article covers the best websites.
Crackling And Surface Noises
Unique vinyl noises can either be a pro or a con, depending on how you look at it. While many of these noises can be swept away with proper maintenance and care, some still remain.
Pops, clicks, and minor hiss noises will always be present on an analogue medium like vinyl. It’s up to you to decide whether the excessive sounds annoy you or whether they add to your listening experience.
Pros And Cons Of Vinyl Records: Final Thoughts
4 pros and 4 cons. The debate roars on! Of course, there are other pros and cons we could add too. A big one on the con side are the materials used in vinyl production. Are vinyl record toxic? Yes, especially for the workers making them and for the environment when they are disposed of.
Let us know your thoughts on this fiery debate in the comments below. And if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, this article reviews the best vinyl record players.
David Norriss says
I think it’s great how you said that vinyl has a lot of character to it because it crackles and gives off a warm feeling as you listen to it. My friend loves music and antiques. I bet he would love to get some vinyl records and a player for his birthday so that he can get that old warm music feel.
I own 9 different turntables on three different analog systems.I will stream the INTERNET and use a dac to convert digital to analog .I can research music if i like it and bvvuy the vinyle when affordable.
David Richard says
That’s what I do too: I only get my absolute favorite records on vinyl. Otherwise, I could never afford it.
I have owned vinyl for over 50 years. Still search stores for gems and reproductions. The sound is the best other factory reel tapes.
Rekindling my vinyl affections,
Over the past few months I’ve bought about 100 albums from used record stores, discogs, Amazon, eBay
The cost is all over the board.
Some used stores charge 6-10 dollars per album, while of course new are 25 plus.
Prolly sunk a good grand so far.
And of course friends and family “donating” to me
Yes, some donations are…. Different
Lots of big band, old 50’s and 60’s easy listening.
However, I take them, clean them and actually ENJOY them
That’s the thing about vinyl,
It’s an experience, there’s no “skipping” a song, you listen all the way through.
With the memories of albums I grew up with, to stuff I never thought I’d listen to,
It’s worth every penny to me to hold that album in my hands, gazing at the sleeve while it’s playing
Just be careful when buying online.
Some people will charge outrageous amounts for an album just because of who it is, look around
That’s most of the fun anyhow
Hours in record shops, never know what you’ll find
Jack Kimmerling says
I have found viny record collecting to be an incredible way of expanding my music taste. Where my first album was Led Zeppelin I keep going back to my Dean Martin Dream with Dean album as my favorite vinyl listening experience. Its completely intimate and can not be reproduced digitally.
I also find the different sounds of differently pressed and mastered albums very interesting.
David Richard says
All true. I like the point about the intimacy of music on vinyl. That is something I didn’t even think about, but is so true. Maybe not for all albums, but definitely for some of them.
Jack Kimmerling says
If you have not listened to Dean Martin (Dream with Dean). Put some headphones on listen to Deans voice. Dean lover or not,,,,,,,, sounds like he is singing into a microphone two inches away. I grew up with rock and roll as my primary love for music but sure have matured since I began collecting.
I’m sold lol
A head banger from the 80’s, but dang, I do love Dean and Sammy.
On the lookout for that album
VINYL Rules …I grew,up with vinyl but I kept my albums in good condition. That’s the most important. Clean them with a brush like the dishwasher one.
David Richard says
Very true, you definitely want to take good care of your records.
While the cost of Michael Jackson album brand new on vinyl can be expensive, it is entirely possible to pick up used copies very cheaply. Case in point, I bought Bob Marley Exodus album from a charity shop for £2. That same album brand new in Sainsbury’s was selling for £25! As the best artists and bands from back in the day had their albums released and rereleased on vinyl for a long long time, buying secondhand copies not only makes financial sense, but also gives more of a nostalgic feel and will make you feel part of the history of the record.
I grew up with vinyl and listen to vinyl for many years. I had my vinyl collection destroyed by water by a flooded basement. Ever since then, I’ve been listening to digital music and spoiled with being able to have all the music stored in digital. I tend to be more of a hit singles person so I think digital is better for me in iTunes and my devices. Which records there is a lot of maintenance today I’m keeping them clean and not scratching them, which Cassie’s when you listen to your music you hear pops from scratching and hiss. Digital music cannot get damaged and you can play it over and over without wearing tear. On a record each time is played the sound gradually deteriorates.. I have stored in my iTunes over 5000 radio songs from 1955 to current day and I play my music on shuffle. It is for lunch a radio station that hops genres in a Jack radio like format. In this case, vinyl would not work for me.
David Richard says
I actually agree with all of this. I listen to digital music a lot, and usually on shuffle. But sometimes I just love taking the time to sit down and listen to an entire album from start to finish. And that’s when vinyl really shines for me.