A couple of weeks ago, there was a news article about an HD Vinyl patent, which is supposed to be a better Vinyl for music collectors. Honestly, this is not the direction physical audio media should be going!
I am not a fan of vinyl, old or new, in any matter. They are big and clunky, hard to maintain, and very limited on how much music they can hold. I particularly do not like the record popping sound (unless it was intentional from the music itself), and are more of a burden to keep. I prefer CD (and successors DVD-A and Blu-Ray Audio) out of size and easier to maintain.
Growing up with the CD, my Preferred Physical Media
I grew up during the last phases of the cassette generation and in the middle of the CD era. I knew about Mini-Discs from my Taiwanese friend, and quickly learned about playing and ripping to mp3 when Winamp was still popular and Napster just started. My father owned vinyl and saw the struggle of cleaning, flipping to the Side B of an album, and even the needle jumps that thus screws up hearing the album in correct order.
For me, this was not an appealing way to listen to music, and preferred the ease just popping a CD in a player (especially when it was far easier to skip tracks or randomize).
Even if I like CDs over vinyl to music listening, I still think that music fans should get a new physical media to build their collection with the best quality sound available. As I have mentioned previously, sometimes you want to feel like you own a piece of the music you love.
I liken owning an album to owning a piece of art: some people like to collect oil paintings or vases or the first-press edition of a Barbie doll. As for me owning an album made from artists I love (and improved upon from the mixing and mastering engineers) is a proof of my love and support for the quality work that they make.
A Better Media in Your Hands?
If only there was a media that holds any digital file (no matter if the source is 16-bit/44.1kHz or all the way to 1-bit/11.2MHz DSD), can be easily read and copied onto your computer, won’t easy scratch or warp or get ruined, and looks fantastic, then I am SOLD.
I mean the CD (and it’s larger-capacity offspring DVD and Blu-Ray) look cool, but the problem will always be how simple it is to scratch or snap them with your own hands.
Would this new media still be in a circular shape, or maybe something more angular or cubic? Something that is flat or more three-dimensional in shape? Smaller than a CD (like a USB drive), or even as tiny as an Micro-SD card?
If there is to be a real successor, there is one major problem: it would need to be universally accepted by nearly all the record companies.
In an ideal world, I would want the features as I mentioned earlier, especially the durability. But for the larger record companies they expect you to keep buying more than one copy so they can rake in more profit.
In Japan certain idol record companies force fans to buy numerous copies of a single or album just so you could win a raffle of sorts to meet your one of 48 members in an idol group. J-Rock musician Gackt even complained about this disgusting practice of forcing fans to overbuy records.
Just give me an album I would not have to buy again for a while, and then I will become more of a repeat customer!
Vinyl Could Be For You, Could Not Be
If you are an audiophile that loves vinyl, or a DJ that still likes to literally spin records, good for you, stick to what you love! If this HD-Vinyl news gets you excited more than skeptical then let us see if this format is actually better that current vinyl, especially if you perceive an audio quality upgrade.
As for me, I am a digital type fan who wants a better physical media than CD, Vinyl, SACD, Blu-Ray Audio and all the various formats currently available. I would want that media where I can copy the files easily and move the songs to my smartphone or music player, and store the album on a bookshelf for friends and myself to admire.
But for me having the best source quality is my preference, and it looks like I will stick to purchasing digital releases for the best quality available.
What physical format for audio is your favorite?