A bold, silly statement

UK Guardian writer John Harris says ‘The sound quality is way better than anything digital’. And he is referring to vinyl.

He is a lefty and seems to be suggesting that listening to music on vinyl is, in the words of the title to the piece, some kind of ‘antidote to rampant capitalism’ (forgetting, apparently, that vinyl was an invention of the capitalist system, as was its use as a medium for transporting music, as were the players).

To add insult to ignorance he remarks that ‘[n]o one was ever going to miss the charmless compact disc’.

I was there when the compact disc released us music lovers from the tyranny of the turntable, from the surface noise and clicks and pops that afflicted half or more brand new LPs, from the knowledge that even the very best turntable/cartridge/stylus in the world* did physical damage to an LP every single time it was played, from the colouration and distortion of the sound that was created when the master was cut, when the LP was pressed, and when it was played back**.

‘Charmless’? Yes indeed. Just like a modern motorcar lacks the charm of a horse and buggy. So if charm is your desire, go vinyl! Or take up Japanese flower arranging. Or calligraphy.

But if the high quality reproduction of music is your desire, go digital: CD, or better yet DVD Audio/SACD/Blu-ray remasters.

* Except those ultimately fruitless attempts at non-contact record players which used lasers or some such.

** One obvious source of distortion: at only two points on an LP’s surface is the playback stylus at exactly the same angle, with respect to the groove, as the cutting stylus.

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2 Responses to A bold, silly statement

  1. Mark says:

    Wonder if his next blog post will be extolling the virtues of VHS over DVD and Blu-ray

  2. Years ago — this was very early in the days of DVD — I stumbled across a website that was claiming that VHS was indeed better than DVD because, if memory serves, it was analogue.

    Last time I went looking for it, though, I couldn’t find it.

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