Mar 1, 2011

5 Reasons Why Vinyl Records Rule

-FUPPETS- is of the opinion that vinyl records rule all. While many audiophiles praise the inherent sound quality of vinyl records -FUPPETS- can think of several more equally valuable reasons why vinyl discs reign supreme.

1. The Large Format: Vinyl records are, on average, around 12" square. This creates many surfaces for art and text. The front cover, back cover, as well as the inner sleeve or sleeves offer so much space. Add fold-out covers and inserts of all types and the possibilities are endless. Such a surface lends itself to color, embossing, die-cuts, gold foils, etc.

2. The "Pocket": Most records come packaged in cardboard sleeves which open on one side. Sometimes this is on the top of the sleeve but mostly it is on the right side. Since the inner sleeves holding the actual records sit inside this pocket, and since the records are then shrink-wrapped in plastic, this makes a perfect little place to insert almost anything that fits. Coins, posters, dried flowers, stickers, photographs, etc. have all been placed inside the sleeve for the listener to discover upon opening. CD's have always been too small and fragile to allow for such bad-assery. They used the CD long-box for a while but that was just an initial reaction to being forced to sell a new media in an old media's shelving system. Digital media files come with other media files, if anything at all. Vinyl hunters know the thrill of discovering sleeve loot, even in used bins.

3. The Analog Nature of the Recording: A vinyl record is essentially a piece of plastic pressed like a coin. Instead of a relief sculpture, as you would see on any denomination of coin, what is impressed upon the hot plastic is a continuous spiral of analogically encoded information. This info is the sonic wave form itself. If you imagine a record as a spiral ramp with a crack running all the way up the middle, then the extent which that crack widens and narrows and wiggles left and right is the record groove, a literal representation of the sound being recorded and reproduced. It creates a sculpture that recreates sound. That is as fucking awesome as if we could make a drawing of the way a skunk smelled and then by having someone look at the drawing they would experience the stink. It is almost fucking magic it is so awesome.

4. The Analog Nature of the Playback: No electricity is required to either create or decode records. What is required is a stylus of some sort attached to a megaphone. The most basic is a tightly rolled up paper cone. Attaching a sewing needle or pin to the end of the cone would result in higher fidelity, although it would damage the recording as it played it back. Of course the finer the point the better the sound recreation, which is why turntables use tiny sapphires and diamonds in the tip of their stylus needles. No electricity is required to turn the platter either. A hand crank was used to turn the early machines and still can be.

5. Durability: Records get scratched, causing skips. They sure do. They also can develop cracks and warp from excessive heat, causing sonic irregularities like pops and crackles. The old shellac ones were actually brittle, shattering if dropped on a hard surface. Even so, we can dig up old, dusty, scratched, cracked platters and clean them up, place them on a turntable, and play back the information within. It may not be complete, perfectly intelligible, or listenable for pleasure, but the sounds are STILL THERE. As an archival material it appears to be very durable, and the only known way of preserving sound that, all things being equal, is fairly permanent (as far as human civilization goes). Place a stack of classic LP's in a vacuum sealed time capsule and bury it for millenia along with instructions for playback, and they will be playable! Frankly, we could make records out of discs of diamond, with laser etched grooves, and create a mechanism to record our voice as humans for the foreseeable eternity! A diamond LP would never warp, break, scratch, etc. MAGIC! That is durability. Your voice's literal sonic waveform captured on a nearly permanent media. So durable it was used on the Voyager craft, both of which have left our Solar System.

While diamond LP's are a dream, collectors still savor the sounds coming from 78 rpm discs recorded over a century ago. Shellac and plastic do not biodegrade very readily. A record collection can be stored and handed down like a library from one generation to the next. All it takes is one lengthy worldwide energy shortage to drive our electricity-sucking digital media to extinction. A Trillion motherfucking bits of data forever eradicated, Hell, to play back CD's you have to have a fucking laser. To play digital media you need a microprocessor. To play a fucking record -FUPPETS- can use a goddamned paper cone!

You're gonna want some vinyl records after the zombie apocalypse of 2012. -Don't come running to -FUPPETS-.

1 comment:

EAinthegame said...

I can not tell u how much i agree with everyhtig u said....i mean u get to see the record work! got an crates i can dig in???