The Sound of Vinyl Records

Creative Commons

Vinyl records have made a comeback with millennials as we flock to the local record stores to purchase these sleek, black disks. What is it about playing music in this fashion that draws us to keep purchasing and making LPs and EPs? Is it merely the vintage aspect of owning records, or is it something more?

I argue that it is the owning of and playing records that creates a new experience of music for the listener. Last week, I purchased my favorite album, Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie, and listened to it 7 times in a row. Hearing this album, which I have already listened to at least 157 times (per my iTunes library), on a record player was like hearing a completely new version of the album. This version is crisp and clear with every instrument singled out for full appreciation.

Though it may be a little more tedious to flip and switch records, record players look significantly cooler than your iPhone. Side note: I freaked out when my record player stopped spinning because the belt came off the tracks (or whatever). It’s a super easy fix, and you’re a short YouTube video away from listening to your collection again. Anyways, that just reinforces record players requiring a little bit more work to maintain than your average piece of music-listening technology of the modern age. However, the quality of music and the experience that a record player create is worth the effort.

Here are some of my favorite local record stores to visit and add to your record collection:

Vinyl records were the most popular recording medium in the 20th century and are, luckily, still being produced today. You can probably find your favorite band’s album in record form at some of the stores listed above. The most common types of records in the United States are 10” 33 ½ rpm LPs, or Long Play records, and 7” 45 rpm EPs, or Extended Play records.

Getting an obscure record that you’ve never heard before is just as exciting as getting one you love. Some Fleetwood Mac and Steve Miller Band records have become my favorite, just as a spur-of-the-moment purchase or gifted to me from family and friends.

Record players offer a cleaner, higher quality of sound than your phone can give you. Take a step back in a time and see for yourself why so many still prefer music on vinyl.