Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This, In New Jersey?

Overheard at a Barnes & Noble recently:

"I am looking for a Bruce Springsteen album...."something-something-run?"

I was a little surprised. Maybe the (old) man was not a rock fan. But the store clerk? He was a younger person and had to have known his "Born to Run" from his "Born in the USA". Instead, he led the old man to the CD rack, which seemed well-stocked with the something-something-run? album, and helpfully asked, "did you mean Springsteen's new album?"


Speaking of B&N, they are now selling vinyl (with a "Vinyl is BACK!" sticker on top of the shelf). I rarely even stop at B&N's music section but on my last three visits to the store, I have found myself lingering in front of the vinyl rack. Oh, mama. CDs and MP3s can go screw themselves. 180 grams of vinyl is where it's at.


Rahul Siddharthan said...

They re-released "Born to run" last year and nobody noticed?

Seems they're selling vinyl with coupons for free downloads of high-bitrate MP3 these days. Best of both worlds. (Actually the only two reasons to favour vinyl, in my opinion, are nostalgia and larger artwork.)

??! said...

Actually the only two reasons to favour vinyl, in my opinion, are nostalgia and larger artwork

Really? You don't think the sound quality of a brand-new (vinyl) is richer than that of a high-quality MP3? Sure, it mightn't always be as sharp, but it's still richer. It's the whole 'compress-vs-quality' funda.

Besides, you can't play frisbee with mp3's.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

??!: If by "richer" you mean "muddier", yes. But I like your specifying "high quality". I was referring to CDs. I find 128kbps VBR MP3 barely tolerable if that, and anything less is unlistenable. Only above 256 kbps do I find it indistinguishable from CD quality. A well-mastered CD contains a more accurate record, in resolution, frequency range and dynamic range, than any possible LP. Moreover it requires no equalisation; an LP has a whole mess of frequency response adjustments (RIAA equalisation) to contend with, which perhaps contributes to the perception of "richness".

There are of course lots of badly mastered CDs out there, but that's a whole other topic.

Frisbee is a redeeming grace of bad LPs. But then you can't use an LP as a coaster (well, you can but it would be unwieldy).

??! said...

Agreed (I thought we were comparing mp3s). CDs are definitely quite better, for all the reasons you stated.

And you may be able to use a CD as a coaster, but its not big enough to use as an anti-gravity glider.

km said...

Uh-oh. Vinyl Vs MP3.

Think I will sit out this one.

/LOL@anti-gravity glider :)

Rahul: the artwork more than makes up for it, if you ask me.

Tabula Rasa said...

speaking of debates there's also the whole whine-ill vs. win-i'll one. (tomatoes anyone?)

km said...

TR: There was also Aryabhatta's ground-breaking PhD paper, titled "Why null trumps all other numbers".