The Truth About Vinyl – Vinyl vs. Digital

The humble disc record is not often properly
recognized for the impact its development had on the modern world. On the face of it, these records are just
consumer products that allow music to be sold to the masses, a concept that itself only
reached the mass market about 100 years ago. The truth is the impact of this technology
goes way beyond consumption of pop music. In some way, the record’s closest comparison
is the printing press. The printing press is often considered one
of the most important inventions in history due to its ability to quickly and accurately
reproduce ideas in written word; which in turn, greatly accelerated the transfer and
exchange of knowledge. The ability to press audio to record so that
it can be reproduced in scale did the exact same thing for audio. It functioned as a vector for cultural exchange
and the revolution in recording technology ushered in by electronic and audio engineers
that developed the technology is the foundation upon which modern communication systems stand
upon. Of course, these days most of the music we
consume is digital. The internet has changed not only the way
we consume music, but also the amount of music [1] and the music itself [2]. Curiously while this is happening vinyl is
seeing a year on year increase in sales [3,4]. Even more curious is the fact that half of
the people who buy an album on vinyl stream it first [4] It remains a point of contention
whether analog formats, such as vinyl, are actually superior to their modern day digital
counterparts. Is vinyl’s resurgence just consumers seeing
yesteryear’s technology through rose tinted glasses, a yearning for a physical connection
to their music or does the music really sound better on vinyl? To understand the differences between these
two we need to first understand the commonalities. No matter which format is used, analog or
digital, both require audio data to be created by a recording device. The simplest of these would be the microphone
which turns air pressure (sound) into a either a digital or analog signal, which can then
be replayed as an electrical analog signal. This process was first put into use in 1877
by Thomas Edison. While working on the telephone, Edison decided
that it may also be worth investigating if sound could be recorded for later reproduction. Edison designed a rotatable cylinder disc
wrapped in thin foil which was turned by a hand crank. Attached to the disc was a needle, which in
turn was attached to a mouthpiece which adjusted the pressure of needle on the disc. Edison talked into mouthpiece while turning
the hand crank at a constant rate and as predicted, the pressure of the soundwaves imprinted a
proportional indentation which was analogous to the sound his voice created. When he finished recording, he returned the
needle to the start. The indentations which were caused by his
voice could now be played back by rotating the cylinder. Playback of audio while showing phonograph
working…. This invention, the phonograph, was the first
example of playable recorded sound and for all intents and purposes the vinyl record
is essentially an iteration of this technology. The first vinyl recorded was pressed in 1948
by Columbia – specifically, it was this recording on 12 inch: – Record plays –
Mendelssohn’s Concerto in E Minor by Nathan Milstein on the violin with the New York Philharmonic Vinyl records work on the same basic principle
as Edison’s phonograph. A 3d representation of a soundwave is physically
pressed on to a vinyl record. An impression is first created by a cutting
head. The cutting head creates an impression that
is a direct analog of the soundwave. This process creates a master that will go
to create a stamper that moulds each record. When a record is played the frequency of the
wave that you will hear will depend on how stretched out the wave is on the media and
the volume will depend on the size or amplitude of the wave. This audio information will be pressed on
to vinyl in one of 3 fashions: via horizontal modulation
Vertical modulation OR via a compromise modulation of 45 degrees
Horizontal modulation is always preferable over vertical modulation. This is because vertical modulation leads
to more distortion and allows for less amplitude due to an inability for the stylus to track
the groove and also a propensity for the needle to bound off the wave if the amplitude is
too high. But if we run with only horizontal modulation
we can only play audio in mono and we don’t have stereo separation of sound. Accordingly, we use a compromise modulation
of 45 degree in order to allow for separation of audio from mono to stereo. As the stylus follows the groove, it moves
a magnet wrapped in a small coil of copper wire, this causes an electric current that
corresponds to the groove on the vinyl, which in turn corresponds to the physical sound
waves that were originally recorded. The electric current can now cause a physical
movement of the speakers which will reproduce that sound pretty faithfully. Some vinyl enthusiasts argue that this smooth
continuous reproduction of sound from analog to analog is more faithful than digital music
Part of this argument stems from the difference in how digital music is reproduced – high
quality digital audio data is typically sampled 44,100 times per second and this data is recorded
in binary format. Close inspection of the wave function produced
from binary code shows that rather than the audio data being smooth and constant like
real life, the audio data is jagged and technically non-continuous. Because there is an infinite amount of data
between each second of audio, we have to sample the audio in regular intervals to minimise
the size of our digital file. Comparing this to the smooth continuous waveform
that is imprinted in vinyl you would think this might cause some loss in information. Whether there is loss of information or not
depends on whether the 44,000 sample rate is high enough to be functionally the same. An answer to this was proposed in 1928 in
a pivotal paper published by Swedish American
electronic engineer Harry Nyquist [5], and was subsequently proven by Claude Shannon
in 1949 [6]. They simply found that to recreate a frequency
we only need to sample each individual wave at least twice. If not, the frequency will be digitized with
a lower frequency. The maximum perceivable frequency a human
ear can detect is 20,000 Hz, and so digital recordings with a sampling rate of 44,000
Hz can capture even the highest frequency possible, thus the sound produced by a speaker
using digital audio is effectively the same sound as analog recordings. In this case, the argument that analog recordings
are more “faithful” does not meet the scrutiny of science and in theory digital
and analog music recordings should sound functionally the same if played on the same equipment. The argument does not end here though, there
are some constraints to how sound can be recorded on vinyl. Interestingly, these constraints largely explain
both vinyl enthusiasts preference for the media and also why some might argue that digital
recordings are a superior format for storing audio. The major constraint that impacts vinyl is
simply its limit in data storage. This is simple to understand – A 12 inch record
can only hold so much information in the format we’ve described. Each rotation of the record takes 1.8 seconds. The next question is how many times each 12
inch can record rotate. Two things affect this, the frequencies found
in bass notes require the groove of the record to swing out wider, just as the speaker also
thumbs out wider when it plays base. Waves of higher amplitude that produce louder
sound also require wider grooves. This means that both low frequency sounds
and loud sounds both eat up valuable vinyl real estate. This in turn means that if you’re record
has bass or is loud, like most contemporary music, there’s not going to be a whole lot
of space on the record for your songs. The net impact of this is that there is a
volume and time constraint on vinyl record that does not apply to digital music, which
has huge ramifications for how we listen to music, and how music is created and mastered. Vinyl’s limitations do not end here. If the frequency is low and the amplitude
too high (loud), the stylus can become prone to bounding off of the wave due to path the
stylus has to take up the wave at speed. This can cause the record to bounce around
and skip if not accounted for. Accordingly, bass needs to be center panned
in the mix and a specific mix has to applied to music recorded to vinyl to stop this from
happening. High frequency sounds also need to be taking
into consideration while cutting a vinyl record. The issue is commonly referred to as the “Sibilance
Issue”. Sibilance is that unpleasant hissing sound
associated with s sounds and other high frequencies, that anyone who has watched my older videos
will be painfully aware of. High frequency waves cause two fundamental
problems in vinyl. High frequency sounds mean the waves are very
tight together, the stylus has to surf these waves and turn extremely tight corners. When the curvature of the groove becomes tighter
than the tip radius of the stylus, the stylus will begin to plow through the groove and
you will end up with distortion. On top of this, extremely high frequency waves
can lead to the cutting head that cuts the record to overheat. This is simply a matter of the cutting head
having to take a longer path and having to do more work to cut these waves. The overheating can lead to inaccuracy in
the cutting process and in turn to noise and distortion on the final record. To counteract the negative effects that extreme
low end and high end frequencies have on vinyl, a group of American engineers developed what
became to be known as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) curve in the
40s and 50s [7]. The RIAA is a equalization scheme that is
applied to the sound before the master lacquer is cut. In essence, this curve reduces bass content
and boosts treble in the record. Without this curve, low frequencies take up
so much space that each 12 inch LP would only allow for 5 minutes of music. In addition, boosting the treble hugely lowers
the surface noise that vinyl can produce due to the path the stylus takes. This is also why a turntable requires a special
phono preamp – in addition to amplifying the tiny voltage created by the turntable’s
cartridge, the preamp applies the inverse of the RIAA curve, perfectly restoring the
music’s natural balance and minimizing the size constraints that are intrinsically linked
to the nature of the media. So we’ve painted a complicated and grim
picture for vinyl as a storage media. The actual truth here is that there is no
functional difference in audio quality between digital and analog formats…and studies show
that the human ear and brain is not sufficiently equipped to distinguish the difference between
sound produced from analog signals when compared to a digital counterpart [8]. At the very least, this is enough to debunk
the notion that digital music formats are a lesser quality format than analog formats. An important question to ask here is why are
people, that understand these concepts, still drawn to vinyl? There’s a number of simple answers to this
question: Part of it is the nostalgia factor – people
have positive personal associations with the vinyl format from their youth and these associations
invoke an emotional state that induces a sense of comfort [9]; and although there are no
discernible differences in theoretical audio quality, vinyl does have a specific sound
that is imparted due to the mastering process. Mastering is the process by which the final
song is mixed for the final device it will be stored on. Over the past 36 years, due to the removal
of the physical limitations of vinyl media and the spread of digitized music, songs have
become increasingly louder and increasingly more compressed [10]. In essence, this means that the sound wave
becomes compressed, forcing the quieter parts of a song to become relatively louder and
the louder parts relatively quieter, the net effect being a louder, noisier song. As a result of this trend a vast majority
of commercial music releases have been subject to a somewhat arbitrary loudness war that
has forced them to increase loudness to keep pace. It has also resulted in increased use of compression
of the music which some would argue has result in a loss of detail and nuance in the final
sound. This development has been criticized by a
number of prominent audio engineers [11] and is part of the attraction towards vinyl. Some people prefer vinyl for this reason,
music properly mastered for the medium is to a certain degree immune to the effects
of the music loudness wars and in some cases, this can mean that the more nuanced parts
of the song are easier to pick out for a trained ear. Really though, given that this same information
can be recorded on a digital format and replayed exactly the same, the answer to this question
is that digital and analog formats are functionally the same in the quality of sound produced
and any preference for one media or the other, is really just that, a preference. The longevity and iconic status of the vinyl
record as a music format cannot be ignored though. Despite the shortcomings we’ve described,
it is an incredibly durable and elegantly simple medium. This is probably best exemplified in the golden
plated record sent on the Voyager 1 In September of 1977. It’s hard to believe but 12 billion miles
away from here this record is floating through space. It’s cover contains simple instructions
for playback based on certain universal constants and the record itself contains a high resolution
snapshot of 200,000 years of human culture. Unless the Voyager 1 suffers a direct impact
or encounter heat that may melt the record, this record in theory, should out survive
even our species. Just as the technology for storing music has
advanced the technology mixing and mastering music has, it has never been easier to get
into music production, thanks to programs like FL Studio and Ableton which give you
a virtual production room with all the tools you need to create a song of your own. There has never been more information available
to learn how to use them either. With introductory classes like this on Skillshare
for FL Studio and Ableton, and many more classes to teach you the nitty gritty of music production
like this one from Grammy nominated DJ Young Guru. These days you can teach yourself pretty much
any skill online and Skillshare is a fantastic place to do it. With professional and understandable classes,
that follow a clear learning curve, you can dive in and start learning how to do the work
you love. A Premium Membership begins around $10 a month
for unlimited access to all courses, but the first 1000 people to sign up with this link
will get their first 2 months for free. As usual thanks for watching and thank you
to all my Patreon supporters. If you would like to see more from me, the
links to my twitter, facebook, discord server, subreddit and instagram pages are below.

Comments 100

  • So you basically sum up why I like vinyl over digital, the loudness war. Vinyl recordings force the music to be remastered in a particular way that lends itself to dynamic range instead of just loud.

    If only the music industry could make proper use of the digital format, the potential isn't being used by most artists/studios.

  • I just think vinyls are neat.

  • The problem I see with these record these days are they are not pure analog. From the start of recording to end, they are not pure analog. In fact some people did not know that they just only transfer this hi res music to vnyil and that is about it.

  • The truth about vinyl: it's an absolute garbage format yet people still waste a ton of money on it

  • When you hold a vinyl record, you can literally SEE the music. You can identify certain songs on the record by just looking at it. Then there's the interaction. You pick up the needle and place it on the music.. Anywhere you like.. The interaction with vinyl records is just a much more satisfying experience.

  • For the love of God stop calling it vinyl!

  • Who put the point where the movement of the needle is converted to electrical current in the counter weight?! It happens very close to the needle, in the element. Smh.

  • That diagram at 4:28 is wildly wrong. The magnetic transducer is in the cartridge, not what would be the counter-balance weight on the tone arm…

  • there are 3.2k Brilliant people who dislike this video

  • I only listen to my music on water. Everything else is too digital.

  • I'm surprised it is not mentioned that vinyl introduces noises and deteriorates wuth the use, which alters the original recording in ways digital doesn't.

    Do vinyl record lovers still watch movies in VHS or Laserdisc?

  • on records16k aint cut off, and mid range is not compressed as much as on CD…bass freqs are not as good though, because of bass feedback vibration from speakers to turntable, but we just put our turntable and speakers in a different rooms to stop that problem

  • As 16-bit 44.1kHz is beaten by blueray listening tests, with greater bit depth and higher sampling frequency, how can it be "perfect"? Music is not a pure sine wave.

  • so if there is no discernible difference then please define error correction!

  • I really hope that you young whipper snappers know that the FL in FL studios, stands for Fruity Loops.

    If that's lost…. I don't know if I can handle the fact that your generation is going to be running the country in a couple decades.

  • You forgot about the much bigger (therefor more detailed) cover that comes with vinyl. This advantage alone is psychologically attached to the record as a whole and therefor to its sound.
    The almost religious “ceremony” around playing a record, including flipping sides etc. plays a role as well as the detachment of the medium from other purposes of it: A record player is only associated with music = fun, relaxation, emotions and so forth. A computer is also associated with stuff you don’t like, like work among others.
    This is another important psychological factor, I think.

    But let’s not get crazy. Despite the slightly raise in vinyl consumption, the majority of people still prefer digital media for its convenience. Just take a look at the chart again.

    I’m a musician and a graphic designer so I like both formats for stated reasons.

  • I like to think of vinyl as a whole experience.
    Sure, I can stream HiFi music or pop in a cd anytime I feel like it but it's harder to appreciate the music for what it is IMHO. When I listen to my favorite albums on vinyl, on the other hand, I have to stop whatever I'm doing, set up my system, and set the record to play. It makes it a lot easier to focus on the music and appreciate the more minute details I might otherwise miss if I was casually listening to the same music in the background.
    Of course, it goes without saying you don't need vinyl or an elaborate audio setup to relax and genuinely enjoy music, but it is a nice experience and hobby.

  • @ 4:30 I have never seen a record player "tone arm", pick-up and counter-weight misrepresented as bad as this.
    The "stylus" or pick-up and it's magnetic coil are never two separate units as depicted in your video. You are showing the counter-balance weight as the "magnetic coil" which it is not.
    All electrical signal generated by the cartridge (coil) leaves thru the terminals at the cartridge, not at the end of the tone arm.

  • "Revolution in recording technology" ..HA

  • Atcually, it was Emile Berliner who invented the microphone. Along wiht the gramophone record.

  • I Record Records to Blu-Ray disc's (pretty cheap now) In 24bit/ 96khz at 32 bit floating point. They sound lovely on playback. There Is no compression or taking out the bits It feels You cannot hear like CD's do to cram the Information on to a 5" disc. When used on DJ nights they fill a floor as If I was playing the actual Vinyl. DJ's have noticed that Vinyl will get People up Dancing. CD's will achieve this but slower. And MP3's even at 320 will sometimes struggle. It's all about the feel of the Music You are listening to rather than the Format. After 50 odd years of DJing this Is what I have experienced. I am 61 In 2019 and a Video DJ for the last 5 years. The Video's I make myself swapping the Original Dull Track with a high quality sound. And It shows on the finished item. I have put a few on My channel for You to compare with the Original Video's on YouTube. And I have a Deep Video Vault of really rare videos now deleted off YouTube long ago. No matter what format You choose to listen to just Enjoy the Music that's what It's all about.

  • 44.1 kHz don't means it's carry all needed information. It that was truth will will not use 96 and 192 khz to sample.
    And streaming often use trash format.

  • Harmonic range is greater on vinyl format over digital.

  • Like most "technical" arguments about vinyl versus digital, this video doesn't address the very obvious quality reduction from outside radius to inside radius due to the linear velocity reduction. Just like magnetic tape, the faster the linear velocity, the better the quality of a vinyl recording. CDs use constant linear velocity or CLV (not constant angular velocity or CAV that vinyl records use) to maintain the same quality from start to finish while maximizing the data density and program length. In other words, the quality of vinyl recordings reduces from the start of the record to the end of the record.

  • Real Audiophile is listening music with separate Tracks of each Individual Mono Tracks (Instruments, Vocals, etc) in Uncompressed WAV and also with separate Mono Speakers for Sync Playback of each Individual Tracks. So if the song recorded in 12 Tracks, you need separate 12 Speakers too to listen to.


  • A study was done where a 256 kb/second mp3 was played alternating randomly with a CD recording (which has 10x the information of the former available) before being converted to an analogue waveform and put through an amp and speakers.
    Audiophiles and musicians were invited to listen and score the quality of the recordings without knowing which was which. A very high end hi fi system was used.
    Yes you guessed … statistical analysis of the scores showed that the recording source could not be discerned by even these trained listeners.
    I hooked up my decent turntable after 12 years of non usage and was shocked at how grainy m/unfocused the vinyl source sounded when compared to CD and the aforementioned mp3.

    I now have an amp where I can play iTunes wirelessly, through my hi fi from my phone. It sounds fantastic. I’ve all but stopped playing my CD’s mainly due to how easy it is to find what I want to play.

    110 kB/second mp3 recordings sound terrible IMO. Like looking at a photo through thin white gauze.

  • "…pairt of this airgument…" "…entooziast…"

  • Fancy explanation, especially at 4m28s where the inside of the cartridge is explained as being located into the rear counterweight of the tonearm! Such a fail, especially when you name your channel Real Egineering – it is not because you do nice illustrations with cute backgrounds that look high-tech and speak in this never ending sentences that you understand anything of what you are saying! In this case, your failed illustrations tells a whole lot about your understanding if you ask me! Oh and, zero on ten for the electric current representing like a red blob, must be hot inside a counterweight #HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • There's another difference he didn't quite touch on:
    Because vinyl is analog, basically a physical medium, the data is stored… well… in the physical medium. This means that physical processes affect the integrity of the data.

    The thing is, whenever the pin touches the vinyl record, it actually scratches an ever so small bit of it away. It's just a limitation of analog storage. This means that, while not immediate, with continuous use, you're literally degrading the data, which means that eventually, the quality will plummet. And this is unavoidable.

    With digital, however, the sound data is literally just 1s and 0s. What this means is that the whole audio file is a REALLY long string of 1s and 0s. Now you could argue that digital hardware storage also degrades, but while that's not wrong, it's a bit misleading.
    First of all, digital data is INCREDIBLY EASY to replicate. I think this statement needs no more added info 😀
    Secondly, most digital data has algorithms designed to recover it from metadata, if the actual hardware is damaged. Sure it won't work flawlessly all the time, but it's more than analog has to offer.

    Also, in order to avoid the downsides of compression, listening to music in WAV format is best, since it's a lossless format. Of course, just converting an mp3 file to a wav file won't do shit lol.

  • I just finished my ultimate rig. I am listening to Focal Utopia Headphones using a Exasound E.32 DAC. Source material is almost all SACD/DSD and his resolution FLAC. I have owned a lot of audio equipment over my lifetime but this setup was the one where I noticed the greatest change in quality. Its really hard to listen to Vinyl or even redbook digital for that matter after having hear these Utopias with a great source.

  • Just watched this now. One major error in this discussion. When you talk about what we can hear you refer to physics however there is another factor perception. Our perceptual system can perceive sounds we can not physically hear. Our brains perceptual system can( and does) help us perceive( as if we actually heard them) sounds outside the physically limited hearing range, analogue recordings make this perceptual process easier for our brain. ( go do some readings on the Psychology of Perception)

  • Analogue adds wonderful stuff that was bever there in the first place. Digital is honest….brutally so.

  • Vinyl is much more volatile.

  • Great info except for one glaring point not answered: Digital compression formats such as MP3… You are saying that a MP3 Digital recording is both objectively and subjectively the exact same quality of end product? I say no way! I can switch back and forth between a Analog LP and a MP3 file of the same song and ask a listener to pick the best sounding version… without fail they pick the LP even asking "whats wrong" with the MP3 version as it seems "shallow and flat". Want to know why Millennials are flocking towards LP's? It's not just the tactile relationship between us and the music that we love that most of us grew up with, it's the quality, or lack there-of that they have been fed by the quantity driven MP3 streaming market. They've discovered there is something better!

  • 320mbps digital sounds nearly the same as cheaper turnable

    But trunable is much more warmer and realistic no mather what, you can tell my its not true, well my frend not everyone has developed hearing sense, i enjoy listening music all the time, specialy jazz…you can listen to your despacito as much as you want…

  • Vinyl does have better quality than mp3 files, but not wav or flac. There's too many different formats for you to just say "digital formats" as though it's all the same.

  • When all things are equal vinyl is the closest you'll get to reproducing a live sound stage. Digital is the closest you can get to reproducing the studio.

    The two priorities are very different. Some people want to watch the magician perform from behind the curtain while others would rather watch suspension of disbelief and be dazzled.

    It's impossible to capture the studio sound unless you're using near field monitors at low volumes. If you're playing through loud speakers you're clearly not getting the studio sound and in that case you're much better off going for the most life like reproduction possible.

  • Garbage video for NPC's who have not ability to truly hear. It's not about the Vinyl vs Digital nor is it just a preference. It is true that a hi quality digital copy can match a high quality vinyl copy. But today, most digital copies of music being passed around are low quality garbage quality. Where as most older vinyl copies are recorded off of copies much closer to the master copy.

    Further more the reason people claim they can't tell the difference between the two is usually because of two reasons.

    1) Most people wont be spending $$$ on audiophile equipment so they have never truly heard a HQ recording the way it can truly sound.

    2) Because of #1 most people dont have ears or listening skills tuned enough to be able to discern the difference. Being able to tell the difference between mp3 quality and true CD quality or beyond is a acquired skill. Preference has nothing to do with it. The excuse that oh it's all just preferences is just a lame excuse mad up by people with under developed listening skills.

  • Cds uses way to much Loudness.
    But more Volume dosnt means that the sound is better.
    It is more a oversteering.

    Example: QUEEN Greatest hits 1 sound better on vinyl from 83 then the CD from the 90th.
    The Queen Red Vinyl Remastered Sounds more like the CD then like the Vinyl.

    The base is always 1983 LP or the Master tape.
    Result: a Digital remake with more Volumelevel. An No Original sound

  • So why does using a DAC improve the sound quality so much ?
    Is it the actual digital-to-analog conversion or the other sound processing functions of the DAC ?

  • 10:45 The Mastering Process for final media

  • Vinyl, just taking it out of the sleeve = scratches … vinyl, dragging a diamond (10 on Moh's scale of hardness) over really really soft plastic = hahahaha

  • i just like having the physical media and album art

  • The human brain is able to interpret any sounds above 0 hertz, however our ears filter out these sounds or rupture from the sound due to the composition of their medium.

    This is why people experiancing audio hallucinations can hear far higher and lower sounds then they are actually able to hear. This was discovered by using MRIs on individuals while they where experiencing the hallucination, and then comparing these readings with sounds they could actually hear.

    Goes to show the only thing limiting our minds are our bodies short comings.

  • Im not an expert on the subject but when i use vynyl over cd on (same Artist same album),Vynyl sounds fuller and crisp.try itout with same setup you will see the difference.

  • Don't give this video much credence. Much of the content is BS. I think who ever wrote this stuff didn't do his homework very well.
    As an example it was said the tone arm had a magnet and windings on the far end away from the stylus. The stylus does it all. The tone arm is just used to keep the stylus tracking and balance the weight.
    There is no true understanding of how a record works here and I don't have the time to explain it all.
    Just know this, this video is BS.

  • Let's take a leap backwards for some neckbeards.

  • they both sound good, vinyl is only as good as the plastic thickness used, too much maintenance and takes up two much room, if that is ok with you…….also albums are not as loud as cds, kind of like using optic cable, fidelity is great, volume is not as loud though…..

  • Here come the vinyl lovers and their "It actually sounds more accurate than MP3" bullshit. And also those people who think that the generation of the 1930s somehow ruined music because they started recording it. Because if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that young people don't go to concerts anymore…

  • Someday, we will figure out that true analog does not actually exist, and is merely a theoretical measurement. Everything is digital when you get to the quantum level. There are many implications to this, few which are related to sound, but the point is, when you get down to the smallest of the small, it's either "yes or no", which is the defining factor of digitalization. "Analog" is simply a very high digital resolution that is beyond our need to use.

  • fucken hipsters being anal retentive smfh

  • Come on, Vinyl is just the parent of digital music. It's like comparing the Ford Model T agains a VW Golf. The answer is history …

  • This so called discussion is ill informed and naive. A chat with any competent audio engineer with experience in both digital and analogue fields will elicit the following information: Both systems are flawed and it is amazing that either works at all. However the digital systems are incredibly complex and difficult to engineer,resulting in many compromises just to get anything working. For example the quoted Nyquist theorem needs artificial added noise (dither) just to allow the system to work. The data streams are also buffered, re-clocked and reconfigured to allow the data to be read or streamed and these processes can all add timing errors. Analogue is also all compromise but starts off working and can be continuously improved using sensible engineering techniques. A good vinyl system contains much more musical information than the current best digital system. This is audible to anyone and measurable with the correct equipment. It is not a matter of opinion . Of course there is some contention but this comes either from a lack of knowledge or a commercial vested interest. At Rega we manufacture some of the best sounding CD players and turntables. None of our experienced designers or engineers would ever state that the current level of digital sound is better that analogue. In addition all the music loving recording engineers we know will experience the fact that digitally processed music actually contains a lower dynamic range than an analogue equivalent and normally needs some compression and EQ to sound acceptable.
    Of course it may be possible, some day, for a digital record/replay system to be better. However this is unlikely as the complexity of the digital protocols necessitates development by large multi-national companies for whom average mass market acceptance is required and excellence is never on the agenda.-Roy Gandy.

  • Nice attempt, but WOEFULLY misinformed. To take only the most important point – the summary states "analogue and digital reporoduction give functionally equivalent sound". NO, THEY DO NOT … NOT AT ALL! The key is in the mentioned "RIAA curve".

    Yes, the result when the recording and playback RIAA curves are combined is a flat frequency response, … in an ideal world. But in the real world it isn't, because somewhere something has to take account of the +20dB high frequency RIAA recording boost under certain audio signal conditions (high frequencies that are also high level), otherwise it means the cutting head of the lathe in the master cutter could overmodulate 1000% at 20kHz, which would cause huge problems (gross distortion, skipping etc). You can't just solve this problem by turning the whole signal down by 20dB, because of signal-to-noise considerations with noisy vinyl, even without any loudness wars to worry about. This requires the introduction of a device called a high-frequency limiter in the cutting equipment, it momentarily reduces the level of loud high-frequency sounds to keep the cutter modulation within limits. This results in vinyl's legendary 'warm sound'.

    In technical terms, there is a falling amplitude ceiling for higher frequencies after the RIAA emphasis and de-emphasis curves combined, this peak amplitude ceiling vs frequency more or less follows the RIAA playback curve, i.e. at 20kHz, a vinyl record player can only produce -20dB output compared to what it can produce in the midrange, whereas CDs can reproduce 20kHz at full amplitude.

    There are numerous other factors but this is the big one. It also explains why early digital recordings, which did not require any high frequency limiter, were often considered to sound overly bright and / or harsh. Many of the mastering engineers at first failed to understand the differences when going from vinyl to digital, just like 'Real Engineering' here.

    The reality is that digital is audibly a hugely better way to record music, if and when done right. Early (not remastered) CDs are probably the best way to buy music of guranteed high quality. Currently a bargain at average prices of 20p down the car boot sale.

    It is also however true that there is a certain sensual pleasure to playing LPs that is not obtainable via other formats. That's a very deep question to explore and can't be tackled in limited time on youtube comments.

  • It all depends on the source. Downloading sounds and MP3s from crappy sources made "kids" upon hearing a record say "vinyl is better". Nope. With either it depends on the source and what it is being played on. With all the crappy record players out there no vinyl is not better. So many new albums are being released using CD sources so no benefit. I'm no longer young and neither old looking records or older looking women do a damn thing for me.

  • On the frequencies that our ears pick up. Upon making the soundtrack of the first Resident evil film artist Marilyn Manson found it within interest to use sounds that only animals could percieve. Still digital but still.

  • If you mention Edison you could also have mentioned Emil(e) Berliner.

  • At last, somebody has covered this issue.😁

  • I’m just a music freak honestly I love all music and wanna listen to as many ways as possible except modern music like music past 2009 sucks ass for rap rock after 2003 sucks blues well idk if anyone even plays that anymore pop died after Jackson died so 2007 country sucks after Florida Georgia line came around but yeah I like vinyl my favorite record is either Led Zeppelin 2 or sticky fingers actually I can’t pick

  • No, I am not going into what you or I prefer but as a true engineer, but I have not seen an explanation of vinyl v. digital that was so well done, and the graphics make it easy to understand the issues. It's nice to hear from someone — and from someone kind of young (relative to me) so I have hope for the future — who does not think Nyquist is something you take when you have a flu and can't sleep. BUT . . . I would like to hear about tape. Yes, I know that every time it's played there is a wee bit of desegregation, but I must say I miss my uncle's Wollensak tapes.

  • Bullshit, pure and simple.

  • Universal allowed their master tapes to burn up, so we can NEVER recover the original quality, no matter the technology…

  • Good video…got a little fast to keep up with in some ares…techinically speaking…but that can be addressed on your next video hopefully…for us who are learning from the bat.

  • What's your opinion on new Hi-res standard, which often have audio files that have sample rate up to 192KHz and bit depth up to 24bit?
    If theoretically 44.1KHz is accurate enough considering that human cannot perceive waves that have frequency higher than 20Khz, than how would increasing sample rate and bit depth, which allows for recording of frequencies higher than 20KHz, help improving sound quality? Are wave that have frequency higher than 20KHz contributing to the general feeling of the music even though human generally cannot perceive them?

    I did test on my Sony-Z7 + NW-WM1A + balanced cable with some hires files(192KHz/24bit) and some normal CD-quality file(44.1KHz/16bit, sampled down from the hires files), and found out that I do actually distinguish between Hires files and normal lossless files, so I think it's not due to mental factors, at least on my case.
    And what about DSD files, which use 1bit sample depth (1 and 0) and much higher sample rate (up to 22.5792 MHz). Although the high sample rate do introduces a lot of background noises, many people reports that they prefer the warmer sound of DSD files. So one of my hypothesis is that the distortion to the sound made during the production of the sound media(like in the case of Vinyl and DSD files) warmer the general feeling of the sound and thus attract people?

  • The only detail missing from this video? Who did Edison rip off to get this particular invention?

  • The diagramm at 7:55 is also wrong, because usual Vinyl records have a horizontal groove, not a vertical one.

  • Vinyl wins for collecting. No question there.
    Digital is objectively superior in terms of reproducing sound. Vinyl-tards need to stop spreading BS. No shit an MP3 you ripped from YouTube isn't as good as vinyl. From an objective standpoint, digital is superior. No surface noise… More dynamic range… No physical limitations… Some vinyl-tard is probably gonna refute this with pseudo-science BS and talk about how they can hear ultrasonic frequencies above 20kHZ that's probably just noise, but that's not objective. If you're hearing above 20kHZ, you're either under 5 years old or lying like one. Or super-human.

  • Amazing that description of this video is comparing just one aspect of analog while using digital,,so real engineering is comparing a plastic disc to a completely modern form of handling soundwaves LOL,,,Vinyl VS Digital,, right away I question if they even know what they are comparing. Had they used a more correct title it would have read Analog VS Digital but that would open up a big flaw in this video concerning a major fact in that most recordings still use analog master tapes due to their high quality reproduction. one thing is absolute,ask anyone who owns a quality turntable if they can hear the difference,,,,,lol so simple,,they are not even close in terms of the many differences , a totally new to vinyl listener can hear the difference. Its about so much more than what this video claims, the convenience is really the only upside to digital,,,but today's music gets so much negative additives that its hardly even the real recording by the time it gets reworked with bass boost or loudness,, its just ridiculous to even compare raw tape or vinyl to most digital due to terrible quality control standards used in the music industry today and to enhance that add in bad quality devices the majority use compounds this further,,,crap gear produces crap music period,,of course the majority have nothing to help them understand just how much better the overall experience can be,,, CDs can be very good when the gear is high quality,,again the majority choose lower quality devices playing lower fidelity MP3s. Sacrificing quality for convenience is the norm in all things nowadays.

  • People who think vinyl somehow has better quality are silly sheep. Take away the crackling and other quirky sounds produced by vinyl players and a lot of times you actually have a lower quality recording. It seems people get all nostalgic for the quirky noises though and then go around claiming "superior quality". There, I saved you 14 minutes of your life.

  • 4:30 – strange animation, showing the stylus at one end of the arm, and the magnet in the back end of the arm. At least that's what the animation looks like to me, but this is not how any record player commercially made ever worked, or ever COULD work, actually. Imagine all the mass and inertia of a mechanical system like that – all the harmonics and resonances that would occur. In reality, the stylus is actually mounted to a small CARTRIDGE at the end of the tone arm. Everything is kept as tiny and light as possible, of course- the less the mass, the less the inertia, and the less the distortion.

  • One thing that's missed here is that the dynamic range heard from a record playback is also attenuated, for the same reasons mentioned for the need for RIAA equalization. The 1st thing I noticed when CDs first came out was that the difference between the softest brush sounds on a snare drum and the loudest rim shots is much more like it is in real life as opposed to the compressed sounds on vinyl.

  • Why does vinyl sound better to some people its because analogue is a continuous source of noise as for digital it is a chain of on and offs which omits gains or drop offs it is like analogue being a old braking system where you brake the pads stay binding to the discs but digital is abs brakes that pulse the pads 20 times per second to the disc leaving gaps of doing nothing

  • CD’s early on sounded brittle. The converters and tech has advanced so much that vinyl sounds terrible compared to high end formats of digital recordings.

  • Aaah but if 44.1 already overrules my ears, why so many play 88.2, 176, etc frequencies? Why so much fuss if its mathematically and physiologically proven?

  • Ok, here's what is different for me. When listening to digital music compared to analog, I personally hear an extra pitch that is very low and hurts my head on a majority of digital music. Only recently the higher sampled stuff actually isn't as bad, but it's almost like someone put paper over my ears and the noise is muffled but extremely piercing. That's why I preferred analog. Found the same issue with YouTube videos. I always felt it was the compression of the digital sound, but never experimented to find out. Wondered if that is the same reason other audiophiles were running into.

  • Nyquist Shannon proves that digital audio is identical to the pure analog audio, provided your microphone doesn't have infinite bandwidth.


  • The Truth About Vinyl vs. Digital: just try to organize, sort and search a few hundreds of vinyls, either for playing at home or to play at gigs and tell me how it usually goes compared to doing the same thing with digital music… it wasn't superior digital quality that almost killed vinyl, it was practicality!

  • “Edison designed” Lmao 😂

  • The love of booming base today may be a bit hard to translate to vinyl…

  • At 4.33, absolute bullshit. That's the counter weight at the back of the tone arm you idiots. What is described takes place inside the cartridge at the opposite end where the needle/stylus is. You obviously don't know anything about disc reproduction.

  • I sometimes think vinyl enthusiasts are like flat earthers.

  • I'm sure this is one huge butt hurt for all those audiophiles out there.

  • I still have music CD as my collection. I've ripped them tho. I still like physical form of music production.

  • In your Analog vs Digital explanation you only mentioned Sampling (that does not introduce information loss if done following the Nyquist Criteria) but you didn't mention Quantization, that DOES introduce information loss, no matter how well you do it.
    So yes, digital is never as accurate as Analog, but is durable and easier to store.
    Anyway, good job with the video.

  • Good video, although I think one of the main concerns people have with vinyl has been overlooked – that being the health implications of owning vinyl (due to ingredients such as PVC etc) Would love to see a video on this topic

  • 1. Analog signal will always be one step forward in compare to Digital because Digital signal we made from Analog. I.e. we may make digital signal as close to analog as we can but never exactly the same.
    2. Both formats of recordings digital and analog was made not for our pleasure but for making money by copyright owners. So both Vinyl and CD have much less quality then modern technology allows. That is why we have a lot of shitty music today. Shitty music sounds great on shitty recording formats and on shitty devices. Back then when people can only listen music live music was much more complicated!

  • wow i never knew that about amplitude taking up more vinyl space….pretty cool

  • Vinyl sounds better than an mp3 or CD any day. This is the truth. The sales numbers do not lie.

  • My guy, I gotta dock some points for your description of microphones. Microphones are inherently analogous, they're transducers, they don't sometimes produce digital signals, it's always analog. Even the USB ones just have a DAC built in.

  • Unitra MF-105 at 3:14 🙂

  • Why the use of hard words? Propensity etc..?

  • Also I like the hsss dist. behind.

  • Long story short: Perfection doesn't exist. ;^)

  • in my country when I was a teenager, vinyl records for domestic bands used to cost 5-6 bucks. these days???? OMG! they're all ridiculously expensive.

  • Microphone produces analog or digital? Digital???

  • I just like it when you can hear that some guy like his jazz a little too much.

  • But vinyl, as you've just explained, does not like very high or low frequency. So this loudness war is not possible on vinyl. Which means this is the very reason, why vinyl sounds better in fact. Because its mastering has to be more moderate, instead of full power 🙂 This makes vinyl sound more smooth and warm.

  • Indeed vynil is digital that's wy i prefer tangential turntable they are the best way to enjoy albums and stable safe for the vynil groof

  • I am a musician, smitten, inspired, by vinyl… yeah, I'm a Boomer…

    I recently acquired a CD of a favorite recording… my only reaction to it was… meh… it was missing something… but since my studio/listening room is under construction, I'll have to wait for the A vs B comparison…

    I wonder if I've become bored with this recording, or is it the format… the stereo I'm listening on.

    So many questions…

  • I sometimes use some old vinyl of my father. And the difference between a FLAC file and the vinyl is palpable. Not for sound quality, because actually the vinyl is not in perfect condition any more. But the sound signature is way different, is warmer and more enjoyable.

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