Learning About Worldwide Entertainment Options

Why It Doesn't Matter If Vinyl Sounds Better

by Jean Mason

There's been a debate raging for decades among audiophiles: does vinyl actually sound better than a CD or .wav or AAC or FLAC file? It depends on whom you ask, of course. If you're asking someone with a vintage McIntosh stereo receiver and a state of the art turntable, the answer will be obvious. An audio engineer, on the other hand, may cite the 80 or 90 additional dBs of dynamic range you get with CDs. But perhaps it's not the audio science that matters but the user experience. Here's why it doesn't really matter if vinyl sounds better or not.

The Ritual

One of the qualities of listening to vinyl that makes the experience better than popping in a CD or pulling up a YouTube video is the ritual of the listening experience. There is a specific set of steps that are required in order to complete the listening experience. You start by taking the vinyl record out of its package, carefully dusting it off, setting it on the turntable, and then the most nerve-wracking part, placing the needle just so without causing a scratch or screech. Finally, you make sure your 12" record is turning at the right 33 1/3 revolutions per minute. With vinyl, listening to music is deliberate. You're not as likely to get distracted with the vinyl listening experience as you would be listening to music on a computer.

A More Personal Experience

The ritual of putting on a record is just part of what makes the vinyl listening experience better. It's also a more personal experience. For example, because the artwork of a vinyl record is so much larger than a CD or the tiny thumbnails you might see on a streaming service, you get to peruse the visual experience of a record as well as the audio experience. It's a more personal insight into the creator's complete vision for the record. It's the whole experience.


As the popularity of vinyl continues to grow, so does the variety of music available on vinyl. In September of 2019, Rolling Stone magazine reported that vinyl sales grew by 12.9% in just the first six months of 2019. Vinyl is massively outselling CDs. In fact, CD sales are declining three times as fast as vinyl sales are growing. Of course, the use of streaming still tops both CD and vinyl sales. However, this massive growth in the sale of vinyl means that more and more manufacturers are creating vinyl versions of your favorite music. You can listen to a classic rock record, the latest pop release, a folk album, or even a video game soundtrack on vinyl. Whatever you want to listen to is available at your fingertips.