Do vinyl records really sound better than CDs? © Getty Images

Do vinyl records really sound better than CDs?

After spending megabucks on a stylus, you'd hope so.

Asked by: BBC Focus Magazine

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Whether records sound ‘better’ than CDs is subjective. On a technical level, CDs have much better fidelity.

If you compare them in terms of signal-to-noise ratio, frequency response or stability of the reproduced speed or pitch, CDs beat records every time. But digital audio works by chopping the sound up into thousands of samples per second. The rate is sufficiently high for the sampling to be imperceptible. But the size of the samples would have to be infinitesimally small to match the continuous signal produced by the needle running along the grooves of a record. The most die-hard vinyl fans say that the quantisation of the audio on a CD makes the reproduction clinical and thin in contrast to the warmth and depth of records.


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