I think the reason people don't sit down and listen to albums anymore is because people don't buy full albums anymore.
Fine. No one dims the lights and sits to listen to an hour of music non-stop anymore. Music is the background noise that we play when we're doing other things. It simply doesn't hold our focus the way it used to. I'm arguing that the reason why is because the way we listen to music now doesn't engage us the same way it did 40 years ago.
1) I'm young enough to have never owned a tape player growing up, let alone a record player. I almost exclusively listen to music released in the last 5 years. I have no nostalgia for the past or any desire to be anachronistic. I just love listening to music.
2) I'm a scientist, and not a fluffy one-- I'm an analytical chemist working in a terminal scientific position. I like unbiased data. Unfortunately we don't have any. What I can tell you is my personal subjective testing strategy.
I'll often buy duplicate copies of music I like, both on CD and on vinyl. There are many reasons why, and convenience is certainly at the top. I have a system where I can A/B my sources, keeping the same amps and speakers.
Using audiophile headphones, I usually can't tell any difference in quality. Usually the vinyl has enough negative and distracting features to make me dislike that listening experience.
Using speakers is a completely different experience. The vinyl feels more engaging and makes me want to focus on just the music-- ignoring the reproduction. When I try to work to vinyl I find myself listening to the music and forgetting what I was supposed to do. I don't have this problem when I try to work to CDs.
Understand that I spent years trying to "hear" the difference between vinyl and CDs. From a technical perspective, I cried BS in every which way. I'm a firm believer that the difference is real but not something you can hear.
Let me guess, you're using some of those "danceable" speaker cables?
What I don't get is why audiophiles are so into claiming vinyl sounds better than CD because it has greater frequency range, but at the same time ignore other digital recording formats support up to 96kHz (such as SACD/DVD-Audio)?
I'm 100% behind you. If the music industry honestly adopted SACD or DVD-Audio, I would absolutely use that. Honestly, those formats have died a stillborn death. There is much more new vinyl released today than SACDs.
I'm not a believer in fancy speaker cables-- I can't hear the difference. The audio rocks and clocks guys are complete BS. However, if you can't hear the difference between a 200 dollar integrated stereo and an intentionally designed high-fi system, you haven't tried.
Audiophiles have known for decades that most listeners cannot discern excellent from mediocre music.
I'll start by saying that I'm an audiophile. I have an all vacuum tube, several thousand dollar stereo that I hand built from source to speakers. I still prefer to buy music on vinyl. If I had the disposable cash, I'd buy it on reel-to-reel tape.
That said, the parent has accidentally stumbled upon the correct answer. FLAC, MP3, OGG, whatever-- if you want higher quality, then listen to BETTER MUSIC.
The most important part of high quality music is the musician. The second is the engineer. Beyond that, everything is just incremental gains. Audiophiles know this and spend their energy getting the right recording of the music they love. And I'm not just talking about old stodgy stuff. There's tons of great new music released new on vinyl geared towards audiophiles-- it's just all labeled "indie".
Let me spend half a minute on vinyl vs CD vs MP3. CD and MP3 contain data that your ears can hear and they both contain that data very accurately. I certainly can't tell the difference between a CD and an MP3 recorded at 192 KBPS. Vinyl is the only format of the three that contains very high and very low frequency data that you cannot hear. You can't hear this data, but you can feel it, physically with your body. This sensation enhances the realness of the recording and makes it feel more engaging and more alive. Anyone can hear and feel this, but usually they can't describe it or perhaps even notice it. They show the difference by not wanting to get up and do dishes, or homework, or play a game, but by wanting to sit and close their eyes and just listen to the music.
Forty years ago people used to sit down and listen to albums. Albums! The reason why we don't do it anymore is NOT because of a lack of time or high quality new music-- we have both those things. It's because the music doesn't engage us anymore. It simply doesn't contain the data to make us forget that we're listening to a recording.
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