Many people wonder why Vinyl lovers are so passionate about their vinyl. The truth is, because the sound is better. Apart from the nostalgic appeal and satisfying ritual of removing the album from it’s sleeve, placing on a turntable and gently lowering the needle to play, there is a reason why vinyl is so special and it is simple. The quality of the music better. Aficionados of analogue recordings—LPs and 45s—say that there is just no way to chop the original music up into a few thousand digital pieces and then reassemble it again without it sounding, well, kind of artificial. Somehow, it’s not the same. You can tell the difference, even though it may be very subtle.
As formats have shifted over the years, so too has technology and with technology comes compromise. In the early days of the MP3, storage space came at a premium and that premium wasn’t commercial. Files generated when recording music are far larger than you could feasibly store on your computer, phone, or portable music player. So, in order to make these more accessible and easier to store, the audio has to be compressed. During this compression process, some of the detail is lost. This loss in detail is seen by many as a reasonable trade-off between quality and practicality. Not so the vinyl lover! The original live recordings or masters of an album are of a very high quality. These high-quality recordings are what are used for the mixing process so that as much detail can be captured as needed. it is comparable to photography, where it is better to shoot in higher resolution than you really need, as then you have the most freedom when it comes to editing.
Vinyl is a lossless format. The pressings are made straight from the masters and contain all of the detail that the artist intended. It is for this reason that vinyl sounds better than digital. For comparison, listening to vinyl as opposed to digital is like viewing the Mona Lisa with your own eyes rather than looking at a picture of it on a smartphone.
You will also hear vinyl enthusiasts discussing the warm sound they get from their record players. It is certainly true that many people prefer the sound from a physical record, but your experience may differ.
There are multiple theories as to why this is the case. For some people, record players are a source of nostalgia, reminding them of an earlier time in their life. For others, it may be that the overall experience just feels better, especially when coupled with the lossless format.