• Make Your Own Vinyl Records

    If you'd like to level up your musical hipster character, what better way than to cut your own vinyl records? vinylrecorder.com has what you need.

    Slashdot TV has a video featuring one of the guys behind this vinyl recorder (sorry, we can't embed it). You can also find plenty of videos about vinyl recorders on YouTube.

    Before you get too carried away with the "aliveness" of vinyl recordings though, you might want to do some research into the alleged superiority of analog over digital. Unfortunately there are no definitive studies (that I'm aware of) and the whole issue is clouded by difficulties. For example, it's quite easy to tell a vinyl record from a CD due to the crackles and pops, making true double-blind tests all but impossible.

    When it comes to professional opinions and reviews, I've found that egos and preconceptions are the driving force behind which technologies are considered superior. I'm reminded of the James Randi vs Stereofile Magazine argument back in 2007, in which a prominent audiophile apparently realized he couldn't tell the difference between cheap and expensive components after all. I suspect that the same applies to many hipsters who claim to appreciate the benefits of vinyl.

    I'm not saying vinyl isn't superior to digital, or vice versa. I'm saying it's more complex and a matter of cognitive bias than many people care to admit.

    One last point: In the Slashdot video linked above, Wesley Wolfe repeats a very common claim made by vinyl (and other analog) enthusiasts. That is, that a digital waveform is made up of a "staircase" effect. Wesley likens it to the old 8-bit video game characters such as Mario's flat nose. He says that's what a digital audio waveform looks like. The video below examines and debunks this idea. The video is 23 minutes long but you only need to watch the first 7 1/2 minutes to get the idea. Conclusion: Stairstep representations of digital waveforms aren't an accurate to show what's going on with digital signals.

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