Five Reasons Why CDs Are Better Than Vinyl

Used CDs in a store
Jeffrey Smith
I'm feeling a little spunky this morning, so I figured I'd rile up some Mumfords.

Mumfords? That's my latest name for hipsters. Outspoken, cooler-than-thou cats who are all over the latest music craze, regardless of whether it's truly in their heart or not.

Most writers don't harass Mumfords, in fact, they tend to watch those hip little rascals very closely. They write stories about their latest whim and tell the rest of us we should mumfordize ourselves accordingly. What? You're not hip to this? Better get your shit together.

This cycle has happened repeatedly over my quarter-century in music biz, but never has there been more hipster hype than with the resurgence of vinyl records. You might have heard. Vinyl is back to save the world.

Anyway, nothing riles up a Mumford, young or old, than bagging on their beloved vinyl. So here we go.

See also:
- Record Store Geek: Nine Rock Classics You Love - That I Never Want to Hear Again.
- Record Store Geek: A Beatles Refresher for Pups and Middle-Aged Rookies.

Why Are You a Vinyl Hater, Geek?

Before I write my list (blog editors love lists), as usual, I need to qualify a few things.

First and foremost, some of my very best friends are Mumfords. The music world is the haven for progressive listeners, and truth be told, I'm pretty mumford-y in comparison to most of my high school buddies. You have to stay ahead. I just like fucking with them (I touched on the subject in Five Statements Guaranteed to Piss Off Music Elitists, but it wasn't enough).

Second, I'm not a vinyl hater. I do own some vinyl. Hell, I started on vinyl. It's a small percentage of my collection, but it's a very solid part.

Finally, I don't want to hear any smart-ass comments about both formats being antiquated.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I don't care how you obtain or listen to your music, but if you're going to pay money for it, then in my opinion, buying downloads is like paying for air. If I'm going to spend money on something, it's going in my collection, not my hard drive (at least not solely).

Now that I've qualified (notice how that was a little list itself), let's cut through some of this vinyl hype.

Are you getting worked up yet, my little Mumford?

A Little Dose of Vinyl Reality

I've seen the whole circle of vinyl resurgence firsthand. My first chore in a record store (Wherehouse at 35th Ave/T-Bird in 1987) was pulling price tags off of new records so we could return them. Vinyl didn't make it back into Hoodlums until roughly 2005. By the time we closed the brick-and-mortar side of things last year, vinyl was back up to over 20 percent of our sales (and even more of the profit).

So the resurgence has benefited me a businessperson, and it continues to benefit stores across the Valley. But I'm still not sold personally.

Here's why:

5. CDs are more durable.
If you don't take care of records, then you might as well not even own them. Records can be protected, but compared to CDs, they're a pain in the ass. You have to use a dust jacket along with the sleeve and the cover. That means extra steps from shelf to listening and (most importantly) back, which means more opportunity for wear and tear (plus extra time and effort).

Even if you are relatively tight about your handling, in normal household settings (meaning more than one person -- God forbid kids -- might listen to said vinyl), LPs just seem to inevitably take on a bit of wear. Once that happens, it affects the entire vinyl experience.

By contrast, the only thing you have to do with a CD is take it out of and put it back in the case. Two moves equals less chance for trouble.

If you are a slacker with both configs, this is even more of a no-brainer. Don't believe me? Try leaving an LP and CD laying around unprotected for a while.

Of course, if that's your style, maybe you should stick to files.

(Note: I still encourage my wife and kids not to handle either config out of my collection. For them, the digital version is perfect.)

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If you're going to listen to it via MP3 format with buds stuck in your doesn't matter.


Wow, you spend a lot of time glad-handing yourself. Consider brevity, get a journal. 

Scott Harmon
Scott Harmon

I can go forever without hearing the snap, crackle, pop of vinyl ever again!


It shouldnt be CD vs Vinyl, it should be compressed vs everything else. They could sell you 48K or higher 24 bit audio, some movies (dvd & bluray) use it, why not music ? Mp3, AAC and mastering & mixing methods (too much compression(the other kind)  killing the dynamic range). Let us turn it up if we want to. 

Then the final product is listened to on 4.99$ earbuds grabbed at the checkout counter or low cost full range computer speakers.

Gary Freeman
Gary Freeman

What's a cd? Is that what people listened to music on befits phones were invented?

Garyn Klasek
Garyn Klasek

CD's, really??? Both get scratched. I tend to take better care of my vinyl, though.

Danny Virgil
Danny Virgil

nothing like hearing those pops and crackles :)

Caroline Maul
Caroline Maul

Vinyl. Nothing like the original sound off a vinyl record.

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy

Vinyl. CD's take away some of the guitar tone.

Joe Birosak
Joe Birosak

CDs... I still buy them over digital downloads.

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