Friday, January 6, 2012

vinyl sales just keep on risin' and risin'

so is this the continuation of a ground-swell of anti-digital sentiment, a sort of defiant ghost-dance attempt to go back inside the Analogue System with its all its affects?

possibly - but here's a couple of things i learned recently from friends in the industry that lend themselves to a more cynical interpretation

a friend who releases music in the zones of alteration told me that, in all honesty, you would be better off hearing that kind of music -- including his own album of last year -- on CD. with stuff that is recording in home-studio circumstances, the sound in all its detail will come across better on a CD. evidently there is a real craft to mastering etc etc to vinyl, but this expertise is beyond the price range of labels who operate in a limited-run economy. so why not just put the records out on CD then? because of the fashionable fetish appeal of vinyl to this niche market, the old-timey authenticity of the tangible artifact. "The kids want vinyl and cassette, what can you do?" says the musician.

this chimes with my anecdotal sense that a lot of new vinyl releases coming out of these zones do sounds a bit shit... like they're been transferred from whatever medium they were recorded on in an uninformed rush, and quite possibly onto inferior quality vinyl...

same goes actually for much of the funky and dubstep vinyl that's come my way in recent years... i wonder if the pressing plants are cutting corners because there's so few of them (did i hear somewhere that a lot of dubstep records get made out of plants in Poland?) they are swamped with orders... it may also because it takes expertise to transfer something that was recorded digitally onto vinyl

related to that, the other thing i learned from a different friend
who does a lot of work in the reissue sector, etc.... it is pointless 99 times out of 100 to buy a reissue on vinyl, because it will have been mastered from digital sources. especially with smaller run, obscure reissues, nobody can be bothered to dig up up the original analogue master tapes and often nobody knows where they are located, they might be totally lost. So your expensive vinyl reissue is most likely taken from an earlier CD reissue with its all its deficiencies

1 comment:

  1. I don't consider myself an audiophile, but I do want the best listening experience I can get. Many of the 80s early 90s stuff I own was never mastered properly for CD (especially the treble heavy indie stuff and US hardcore) and means I regretted letting a lot of my vinyl go. I am now replacing a lot of those CDs with vintage vinyl. I am wary of buying re-issued vinyl for the exact reasons you state above. Remastered from a crappy digital copy? Not good.

    I'm also interested in the best digital remasters of classic records - free of compression and not victims of the loudness war.

    Of course, the best way is to trust your ears, but it's difficult to do this before you buy. I'm sure there's a gap in the market for a good, informative, not too geeky site that specializes in mastering info on re-issues - both digital and analogue.