The top 10 reasons people stopped -- or should never start -- playing LPs
Sales of LPs remains strong, but most people listen to digital music.
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
I've written tons of pro LP articles over the years, but the LP will remain a niche format. Year after year, we lose some of the LP faithful when they sell or give away their vinyl collections, but there are many more "LP clingers" sticking around for the long haul. The most hardcore among them only grudgingly play digital, and never play digital music at home. I understand that -- after I've played a bunch of LPs, digital music sounds sterile. So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 reasons people stopped -- or should never start -- playing LPs.
10. Digital formats' bass is deeper, stereo separation is wider, speed is more accurate, and there's less distortion than LPs.
9. The best turntables are really expensive (perfectly decent ones are still very affordable).
8. LPs are difficult to organize; digital music is much easier to keep track of.
7. Playing LPs is "work," you have to pull the LP out of the record jacket, place it on the platter, cue the tonearm, lower the stylus into the groove, and when the LP side is over, you have to do more "work" and put the tonearm back on its rest. Whew, that's exhausting -- and that makes LPs definitely unsuitable for background music!
6. Turntables aren't portable, vinyl is a stay-at-home format.
5. Phono cartridges wear out, or if mishandled, they break. Ouch!
4. LPs wear out. That's one of the prime complaints I've heard over the years, but I've played some of my LPs hundreds of times and they still sound fine. True, there's a sprinkling of snaps, crackles and pops, but I've never played my LPs using phono cartridges with worn out or damaged "needles."
3. New LPs are expensive, but used ones can be a lot cheaper. The ones I find on the street are free, and I've found lots of great music in good condition on the sidewalk.
2. Storing lots of LPs takes up too much living space. So do books, but LPs are skinnier.
1. Digital music is more convenient. No argument there!
So if you agree with three or more of these reasons, stick with digital music. But if you wonder why vinyl lovers put up with all the hassles of playing and owning records, the answer is dead simple: they enjoy vinyl! To them (and me) music sounds better on LP. So much better in fact that many readers have told me over the years they're far more likely to listen to music when they're playing LPs or singles. With digital, music is more of a background thing.
If you're hanging in with digital and stopped playing LPs, share your experiences in the Comments section below.