When I think of music today, I immediately think of iTunes, Spotify, Pandora where I can download or stream endless songs at my finger tips. To be honest, most of the time I don’t know what I’m listening, because one, I let music software picks music for me, and two, I listen to music as a background noise when I’m at the gym, or traveling or needs some distraction.
I recently came across a great article on the history of audio by oswaldsmillaudio.com where I realized that somewhere in the progression of music reproduction technology in the 20th Century, the quality of sound did not improve and even declined.
According to acoustic engineers, most of the music we listening to today in a digital format, has eliminated dynamic range and seems louder, done by destroying a vital aspect of what makes music music.
On the other hand, with analog, a vinyl record can only be cut so loud, because if cut too loud, the needle will literally jump out of the groove and the record will not be playable. That’s is the main reason when vinyl sounds so warm, deep and full.
That is not to say, that analog is better than digital—they are not serving the same function. A record player can’t be carried around, and no body sit in front of your iPod and touch the cover artwork (under the screen). It is safe to say however, vinyl records sound better than downloads, and when you have a record player playing a song, it’s hard not to give you full attention to the listening experience. Apparently a lot of young people have discovered that.
According to record store owners, vinyl has had its share of ups and downs, but people just keep buying them. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reports that global sales of LPs (long play) were $171 million in 2012, a 52 percent increase from the year before, and it’s younger listeners, from 18-25, are leading the change. The revival of vinyl not only helps independent records stores come back to lives, but also encourages national-wide retail chains to carry an enlarging collection of vinyl titles. Best Buy offers 14,000 vinyl titles online; Vinyl records sales are up 745 percent since 2008 on Amazon.com; and the past Sunday Urban Outfitters proudly posted on instagram that they are not carrying 800 LPs and got more than 14,000 “likes” from their followers within an hour.Young listeners not only can listen to their parents’ music collections, but also the new pop starts today. This year, top-selling artists like Justin Timberlake, Arcade Fire, and Daft Punk released vinyl versions of their latest albums. All this despite the fact that records are more expensive than downloads or CDs, averaging about $25 compared to $10 for an album download.With all the exciting news for vinyl revival, I saw an opportunity to design a record players for its new generation of music appreciators. Something says modern and chic, with respect of the audio heritage, and also at a reasonable price range so they don’t have to choose between record player and college.