Digital vs. Vinyl: What’s Better?


Photo by: Caleb Nerdahl

A record player spinning a vinyl.

How do you prefer to listen to music? Is it through spinning records or a streaming service? 

In today’s world of instant gratification and on-demand streaming, it’s easy to forget the pleasures of enjoying music on vinyl. While digital music has its conveniences, there’s something special about the warmth, depth, and character of vinyl that can’t be replicated by a digital file. Collecting vinyl records has become a new hobby of mine and while it can be a little pricey at times it’s all worth it. I love having vinyls of my favorite artists or albums. I enjoy showing off my vinyls to friends and showing them different pressings I have.

The sound quality: Vinyl records offer a warmer, more natural sound that is often described as more “alive” than digital music. This is because vinyl records capture sound in an analog format, which means that the sound waves are recorded directly onto the record itself and digital music is compressed and processed, which can result in a loss of detail and nuance. There is something special about spinning a record that makes the listening experience even better. I get a more intimate experience when I spin records.

The artwork and packaging: Vinyl records often come with beautiful, intricate artwork and packaging that is designed to be appreciated as a physical object. This can include anything from gatefold sleeves and lyric sheets to elaborate box sets and special edition releases. Digital music often comes with little to no artwork or packaging at all. The artwork and occasional booklets or pictures that come with vinyl records are a big reason I started collecting them. I love having artwork that I can hang in my room and they are also good collectibles.

The listening experience: Listening to vinyl records is often considered a more intentional and immersive experience than listening to digital music. Vinyl records require more effort and attention to play, which can help to create a more focused and engaged listening experience. The physical act of flipping the record over and changing sides can help to create a sense of anticipation and excitement that can’t be replicated with digital music.

The collector’s market: Vinyl records have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there is now a thriving collector’s market for rare and vintage records. Collecting vinyl can be a fun and rewarding hobby that allows you to discover new music and build a unique collection that reflects your personal tastes and interests.

The social aspect: Vinyl records have a social aspect that is simply not possible with digital music. Sharing records with friends, attending record fairs and swap meets, and browsing through record stores are all activities that can help to build a sense of community and connection among vinyl fans. Many record stores now offer in-store performances and other events that can help to create a vibrant and engaging music scene.

Listening to music is more of an experience for me which is why I enjoy vinyls more than streaming music. There is just something different about that sound you get from the records that you can’t quite replicate on digital.