Which Sounds Better, Records Or CDs? [VIDEOS]
My parents gave me my first record player when I was 2-years-old. Before I could read, I could pick out specific records. If my folks gave me a certain title and artist, I would inevitably get it right.
Like millions of people, I grew up listening to vinyl recordings. Then came 8-tracks and cassettes. 8-track and cassette recordings were really hard to judge in terms of sound quality since the quality of the tape differed so much. So we won’t include them in this discussion.
I remember the first time I was introduced to a compact disc (CD), it was Radio Shack in Patterson, La. I demonstrate a brand new cd player to a customer by throwing the cd across the store, walked over, retrieved it, then stuck it in the player and it played flawlessly. The man and woman bought it on the spot!
To help us to decide the difference in sound quality between vinyl records and digital cds, let’s first learn how they are made…
How A Record Is Made
How A CD Is Made
So here is the skinny on sound quality. Some audiophiles refer to the sound quality of vinyl “warm” and the sound quality of the digital CD “cold”. And there is a reason for that. The vinyl recording is an identical copy of the original source. The digital copy (CD) is only “samples” of the original recording. So even though you will not hear scratches and pops while listening to a CD, you probably aren’t hearing all of the music either.
Also the frequency response is traditionally better from vinyl than from digital recordings. Even vinyl recording from the 1950’s have a better frequency response than today’s CDs. The average CD tends to cut off all high sounds past 22k hertz while vinyl albums have been known to produce sounds 60k hertz and higher. However, the human ear is not supposed to hear anything higher that 20k hertz.
Overall, minus the pops and rumble, an album will sound better than a CD.