CD and Digital Downloads vs. Vinyl

Vinyl fan t-shirtDon't underestimate vinyl's sex appeal. The biggest dilemma you’ll face when shopping for DJ gear is whether to buy vinyl turntables or CD decks (or to go for another kind of digital setup). The choice you make will in turn determine what music medium will dominate your music collection.

To start off, here's a simple truth that will be central in helping you resolve the analog vs. digital problem. The crowd on the dancefloor couldn't care less where the sound comes from: vinyl turntables, CD players, your iPhone, laptop or a reel-to-reel tape deck – as long as you're playing quality music that makes them dance!

After you grasp this simple fact, it becomes clear that the most important factor in making a choice between vinyl and digital media is what works better for you the DJ. What’s easier to buy, vinyl records or digital file downloads? What’s more convenient to store and carry around? Which medium gives you more creative freedom? Which one offers better sound quality?

Storage and Transportation

One CD holds 2.5 to 3 times more music than a 12” single. It’s also considerably lighter and smaller (they called it “compact disc” for a reason, right?). This difference becomes very tangible after you schlep a box full of records to a party and back. I guarantee that you’ll soon wish that you were that guy with just a CD wallet and headphones on his hands.

Things hardly get better after you become famous. You now have to haul your precious plastic through airports. Worse yet, occasionally you may be asked to check in your records, which is begging for them to be damaged or stolen. On the other hand, a CD wallet or case fits in overhead compartment easily. And if the unlikely happens and your CDs get damaged, you still have all your tracks on your laptop (well, I hope so).

Last, the playing of a record is a mechanical process. This means that the record and the stylus are slowly worn out. Also, to ensure consistent sound quality and the longevity of your records, you have to regularly clean them to remove the dust and the dirt that accumulate. (The needles need to be cleaned, too.) And I’m not even going into the bass feedback problem in clubs and open-air gigs.

I have a lot of records with me, no vinyl though. It’s not a matter of convenience, it’s just that vinyl is so outdated nowadays. I can make a track in my hotel room today, and play it for the crowd tomorrow. That never happens with vinyl. I played a lot of acetates at the end of my vinyl period—I used to make tracks and get them pressed in four or five days—but the quality was always so bad and they would skip all the time. The vinyl days for me are over. I still buy vinyl, but only albums, and just to play. For DJing, vinyl is a nightmare.

– DJ Tiesto, The AV Club

Sound Quality

This argument goes back to 1980s when the CD was first introduced. There are folks who claim that vinyl records sound “warmer” and “richer” than digital audio. Their (no less reputable) opponents dispose of those claims as popular myths. Whatever the case may be, it’s safe to assume that for a dance record released in the past couple of decades, a digital master was used anyway. This kind of makes this whole argument irrelevant.

Note: In the above paragraph, I’m talking about true CD quality (or uncompressed WAV sound). MP3s are a totally different story because MP3 is a lossy compression format where sound quality deterioration is inevitable. On the other hand, in properly conducted tests, most people can’t hear the difference between a CD (or a WAV file) and a good 192 kbit/s MP3.

Cost and Availability

Vinyl continued to be the medium of new dance music releases long after CDs became mainstream. No wonder, since it took manufacturers almost 20 years to release a digital deck that would allow DJs to manipulate a CD in much the same way as they would a vinyl record.

Several years ago, it finally became common for dance music to be released as digital downloads alongside the vinyl. Moreover, the labels started digging into their back catalogs to offer older tunes for download as well.

A new 12-inch single, which typically has 3 to 5 remixes of a track, costs in the neighborhood of $10-12. As MP3 or WAV downloads, those same tracks can often be purchased for $1.50 to $2.70 apiece. So not only are digital downloads generally cheaper, they also allow you to only buy the remixes you’re interested in. That alone can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Also, when dealing with digital music, you can have the song within seconds after buying it. Not so with vinyl. Unless you have a dance record store in your city, you have to have the records mailed to you, which takes extra time and cash.

That said, bear in mind that there are lots and lots of old vinyl albums out there that may never make it to digital music storefronts. It’s in that dusty pile that you may discover that 1975 gem that will blow up your dancefloor. Keeping an open mind towards vinyl helps you appreciate music and educate your crowd better.

Sound Manipulation

Vajra winning the 2011 DMC World DJ ChampionshipThe 2011 DMC DJ Championship was the first one where DJs were allowed to use DVS like Serato Sound manipulation is the one area where vinyl has been an undisputed leader – until recently. With vinyl, you could slip-cue, beat juggle, scratch and do other cool tricks at your ghetto parties as early as in 1970s.

It was only in 2000s that the DJs obtained comparable level of control over digital sound. Pioneer CDJ-1000, released in 2001, was the first CD deck to emulate a vinyl turntable. DVS systems like Final Scratch (later followed by Serato and others) made it possible for you to use regular turntables and timecoded vinyl for mixing and scratching digital tracks that come from your computer.

While mixing CDs was possible before the advent of the CDJ-1000 or Final Scratch, it’s only now that even turntablists can safely switch to digital sound, and many of them do.

Positioning and Showmanship

There’s an exception to every rule. Yes, the music that you play is much more important than the medium you play it on. Still, to a lot of people, a “real” DJ is someone who spins vinyl records, and you just can’t ignore that. The very fact that you bring a box full of vinyl to a gig suggests to them that a). You’re serious about your music because records cost more time and money to obtain, and b). Your set is going to be special because “anyone can download those MP3s.”

As digital DJing becomes more and more mainstream, with everyone from newbies to superstar DJs adopting it, the public opinion is bound to change. For now though, the special charm of traditional vinyl DJing can’t be denied.

To Sum It Up

Both vinyl and digital media have pros and cons to them. After reading this article, you may think that I'm a digital DJing fan boy, but I really am not: vinyl is still my medium of choice. It's just that I think that progress is unstoppable and that vinyl will continue to lose its stronghold in the DJ community. A good DJ needs not worry about it, though; their main asset is their music taste and the ability to create the right vibe on the dancefloor.


So Air Max 90 we walked. Yeezy Black On Nike Air Pas Cher the TOMS SHOES OUTLET corner, we pumped some quarters into suivre un envoi a Moncler Sale SanFrancisco nike jordan shoes Chronicle newspaper box Nike Shoes Sale Store and stopped UGG BOOTS FOR WOMEN to read the front sec-tion. It had been five days Moncler Outlet since the Discount TOMS bombs went off, but it Zapatillas Air Max was still Nike Shox discount Sale allover the front cover.
Severe haircut chaussure adidas pas cher woman chaussure basket homme had talked Coach Bags On Sale about Boost Yeezy Sale On Line "the bridge" blowing up, Jordan Shoes For Cheap andI'd nike schuhe günstig just Nike Outlet Store assumed that Vans Black Sneakers she was coach factory outlet online talking Nike Shoes Discount Marketplace about the Michael Kors Clearance Golden Gate bridge, but Iwas wrong. The terrorists had blown up the Bay asics sko bridge.
"Why the cheap uggs for women hell would they blow up Air Max Femme the Bay bridge?" I said. "TheGolden Adidas Soccer Cleats Cheap Gate is the reebok running shoes one on all Pandora Style Beads the postcards." Even if you've never Nike Shoes Online been toSan Francisco, chances are you know what Cheap Real Jordans the TOMS STORE Golden Gate looks nike air like:
it's that big orange suspension Nike Polo Sale bridge that New Nike Shoes swoops Doudoune Moncler Site Officiel dramatically from theold nike tn pas cher military base UGGS Outlet called fitflops sale uk the Presidio Canada goose dam to Sausalito, TOMS For Sale where Boutique Ugg all new pandora charms the cutesywine-country towns are with new jordan releases their Air Max Pas Cher scented candle nike sneakers shops cheap uggs and art galleries.
It's Adidas Originals Superstar picturesque as hell, and it's practically the Louboutin Wedding Shoes symbol for the state ofCalifornia. ジョーダン スニーカー If you go Nike Air Max Cheap to the Disneyland nike air jordan pas cher California Michael Kors Outlet Adventure Air Max Kopen park,there's Nike Factory Outlet a replica Soccer Boots Outlet nike of it TOMS OUTLET just past the gates, Negozi Pandora with Air max dam a monorail Nike Kyrie running pandora jewelry store over it.
So Cheap Toms Outlet Store naturally I assumed that Cheap True Religion Jeans if you ADIDAS NMD SALE ON LINE were Nike Air Damen going Nike Roshe Run Sale to blow up Doudoune Moncler Pas Cher a bridge Nike Air Sneakers inSan Francisco, Nike Air Huarache For Sale that's the one Moncler Jackets Discount Marketplace you'd blow.
"They probably got scared off by christian louboutin outlet all the cameras and stuff," Jolu said.
"The Nike Free Run 5.0 Womens National nfl store Guard's always checking cars at both ends zapatillas nike baratas and Cheap Retro Jordans For Sale there's allthose suicide fences and junk all retro jordans for cheap along it." People have been New Air Max 2017 jumping Nike Online Store offthe Golden Gate since ugg store it Jordan Shoes Air opened Official NHL Jerseys in 1937 — Cheap Michael Kors Tote Bag they stopped counting afterthe thousandth suicide in 1995.
"Yeah," Discount Christian Louboutin Shoes Vanessa said. Cheap Toms Shoes Outlet "Plus the Bay Bridge Stone Island Outlet actually goes somewhere."The Ray Ban Sunglasses Online Bay Bridge Uggs For Cheap goes from downtown Hogan Outlet San Francisco to Oakland andthence to Reebok Outlet Store Berkeley, the ugg clearance East Bay Boty Nike Air townships that are Air max levně home vans shoe store to many of thepeople newest lebron shoes who live adidas store and work Discount Ray Ban Sunglasses in town. Official Toms Shoes Outlet It's one of the only longchamp bags on sale parts of the BayArea where a normal person can afford a house big enough to reallystretch Adidas Superstar Sale Online out Nike Air Max Sale in, and Pandora Outlet there's also the university Adidas Originals Sale and a bunch of new yeezy shoes light Michael Kors Handbags Discount in-dustry over there. The BART Descuentos Nike goes under the Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet Bay womens nike air max and Nike Air Shoes connects the Scarpe Nike Scontate twocities, botas de futbol too, zapatos de futbol nike but it's the Bay Bridge that sees Coach Outlet Store Online most of pandora beads the traffic. The GoldenGate Cheap Nike Free Run was a nice air force one pas cher bridge chaussures nike pas cher if Kobe Shoes Nike you were Nike Air Women a Ugg boots Sale tourist or a rich Yeezy Men retiree living out nike sb stefan janoski in66wine country, but it was mostly ornamental. The Bay Bridge is — was —San Francisco's work-horse bridge.
I thought pandora outlet store about it for a minute. Moncler Outlet Store "You guys are right," I moncler jacket sale said. "But I don'tthink that's all of Nike Factory Store it. Pandora Store We keep acting like converse store terrorists Pandora Official Website attack Cheap Michael Kors landmarks be-cause Chaussure Air Max they Jordan Store hate landmarks. Terrorists don't canada goose jacket outlet hate landmarks scarpe nike or bridges orairplanes. They just Cheap True Religion Jeans want to screw stuff up nike mercurial soccer cleats and Bottes Ugg Femme Pas Cher make people scared. Tomake terror. So of course they went Canada Goose Outlet after the Bay Billige Nike Sko Bridge Cheap Nike Air Huarache after Michael Kors the Abercrombie and fitch store GoldenGate got all Nike Shox Cheap those prada outlet cameras Cheap Louboutin HeelsOriginal Ugg Boots after airplanes got all metal-detectored 23 IS BACK Store andX-rayed." I thought about it some more, staring Timberland Outlet blankly Toms Factory Outlet at the Adidas Superstar cars rollingdown the street, at huarache sneakers the people walking down the sidewalks, at Yeezy Boost Sale Online the The official UGG city allaround me. Canada Goose Womens Coats "Terrorists Nike Air 90 don't Adidas Neo Discount Sale hate Nike Air Max Goedkoop airplanes or bridges. Nike joggesko They love terror."It was Nike Tn Requin Pas Cher so obvious I Air Jordan Retro Sale couldn't believe I'd Discount Air Max never thought of it before. I guessthat cheap nike air max being treated like Moncler Outlet Online a terrorist Nike Store for a Hyperdunk 2014 few days was Zapatillas Nike Air Max Baratas enough to clarify mythinking.
The Hugo Boss Sale other canada goose jackets on sale two were staring at me. "I'm Nike Soccer Cleats Boots right, aren't günstige nike schuhe I? All this crap, ugg factory outlet allthe X-rays Ugg Pas Cher En France and ID Nike Pas Cher Femme checks, they're Air Max Sneakers all useless, aren't they?"They nodded slowly.
"Worse than useless," I nike sportschuhe said, my voice going up and cracking. "Becausethey Christian Louboutin Heels ended up Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 For Sale with Nike Roshe Run us Cheap Nike Huarache in prison, Ugg Pas Cher Femme with Uggs Pas Cher Soldes Darryl —" Adidas Yeezy Cheap I hadn't thought ofDarryl Pandora Store since we sat down and now Yeezy Shoes Discount Marketplace it came back to Scarpe Air Max me, my friend, miss-ing, disappeared. Adidas Shoes Discount Marketplace I stopped louboutin heels talking and ground my jaws Air Nike together.
"We モンクレール レディース have to Jordan Sneakers For Sale tell Canada Goose Online Store our nike shoes parents," Cheap Air Max Trainers Jolu Nike Huarache Womens Cheap said.
"We Cheap Air Max should get toms shoes outlet a lawyer," Nike Air Jordan 11 Vanessa said.
I Canada Goose Outlet thought Chaussure Nike Pas Cher of telling Nike Outlet my Adidas Originals Stan Smith story. Of telling the Pandora Store Sale world what Mens Nike Air Max had Chaussure Nike Air Max Pas Cher become ofme. Of the adidas outlet videos that Toms Outlet Online would no Adidas NMD For Sale doubt Cheap Michael Kors Handbags come Ugg Outlet Online Store out, of Doudoune Moncler Femme Pas Cher me weeping, re-duced to a groveling animal.

HYst 2017.9.20

Add new comment