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music, back in the day

ever wonder why, in your memory, music on vinyl records seemed to sound better than digital cds do today?

assuming, of course, that you are old enough to remember what vinyl sounded like.

as it turns out, you haven’t lost your mind.

it’s not old-fogeyism creeping in, although i find myself saying things like “back when i was young” far too often anymore. there’s a technical reason for it, in addition to the ones you may already know about the wonders of analog and rattle-and-hum.

in an effort to make digital music louder, which is what uninformed consumers who can’t control a volume knob and an equalizer apparently want, labels are mastering music in a way that boosts volume but clips out the highs and lows of the music.

where the detail is. there are physical limitations to all this, and sound detail is lost in the process. there’s an amazing graphic at the linked story which compares the waveforms of a red hot chili peppers song on cd and on vinyl, and that image tells it all.

and, (who knew), some of those crazy younguns like vinyl better anyway.

i may have to go home and listen to my original master recording of pink floyd’s “dark side of the moon”, if i still have it.

pretty cool that vinyl records are on the cutting edge, technologically and socially.