I don’t know if vinyl records sound better than CDs. I don’t have the ear nor the equipment to know the difference. What I do know is that I enjoy listening to vinyl. It has less to do with the sound quality as it does with the experience.
There’s something about flipping through a stack of records, choosing one, pulling out the dust jacket, placing the disk on the turntable and positioning the needle that makes me feel somehow more involved with the process of listening to music. Compare that to hitting “shuffle” in itunes and having stuff automatically pour out of your crappy PC speakers. Neither is inherently better, but they sure are different.
My dad asked me recently if you could still buy records. I said that I’d just bought a dozen or so at the used records store. He said that he meant new records and I honestly didn’t know the answer. At least until my trip to Schuler Books today. Sure enough, there was a smallish rack of brand new vinyl records. Right there on top was Tom Wait’s Mule Variations which I love, so I bought it and took it home. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go turn the record over again.