Are Turntables Becoming Popular Again?

The Sweet Sound of Vinyl

The wistful strum of an acoustic guitar in Led Zeppelin's "Going to California," the mournful voice of Joni Mitchell in every song of her album "Blue" — there's just something about that music that sounds like it was born for vinyl. Vinyl's defenders prefer the format for listening to music for a variety of reasons. Some prefer the "warmer" sound of vinyl, though that's a vague description that can mean different things to different people. For some, it might just refer to the snaps, crackles and pops that can be heard in vinyl playback.

More serious audiophile listeners might not want to hear those pops at all. A high quality turntable and sound system can remove many of the imperfections picked up by cheaper gear. Still, those vinyl defenders could define a "warm" sound as the greater dynamic range of analog audio. The grooves in a vinyl album more accurately reflect the sound waves of an audio signal than a digital file, but audiophiles will forever argue about the merits of analog versus digital audio and which one is truly superior.

There are even some vinyl listeners who aren't in it for the sound: In the digital age, big 12 inch records offer a really cool way to collect music.