Verses vs Versus

Did you dudes catch that little segment on PBS last night about analog recording versus digital? I did. It was alright. I don't think of these things in terms of a battle, mind you, where there's a bruised but happy winner and a bloody and beaten loser, but mainstream media seems to like taking that approach. I guess it's more palatable that way. To me, there's room in this world for both methods. Have you seen Ultimate Fighting Championship? Now, that's a battle. Analog versus digital? Not so much.

Still, it's nice to see this stuff getting some primetime, mainstream coverage, however superficial or inconclusive that coverage might be. Baby steps, folks. If you missed it, the whole bit is online. You'll get to see Steve Albini make his case for analog recording, while Ken Andrews takes the stand for digital. I know where I stand. Have you heard how good those Albini (Nirvina, Pixies, Joanna Newsom) recordings sound?

You'll also get to play along as recording engineers and musicians try to detect differences in song verses recorded, alternately, digitally and analog-ally. Yeah, inconclusive: I couldn't hear a shit's worth of difference through my television.

And then there was that bit in Wired about, you know, vinyl being the last nail in CD's coffin. The Wired column noted a "vinyl-MP3 tag team" working to hasten CD's death. (Again, with the violence. I'd like to see how Vinyl-MP3 would do against the Road Warriors.)

Wes Phillips said it best when he said:

It is also obvious that vinyl has an appeal that has reached beyond the "lunatic fringe" we audiophiles were once depicted as. People still like it, and many prefer it. We predict that analog audio will always be a specialty market, but probably not the marginal one we suspected might be the case as recently as 10 years ago. The LP may not ever come back—not in a mainstream way—but we're now confident that it isn't going away either.

Right on. I sometimes like to think that vinyl will outlive the CD—and, when the CD does become silly and useless, hi-fi will see its renaissance!—but vinyl won't be that last nail. Until high resolution downloads become the norm, I'll continue to buy lovely, neat CDs. I like them. MP3s can suck it, always and forever amen. I give MP3 a flying forearm to the head, dropping it to the mat before coming off the top turnbuckle with a knee to the solar plexus. MP3 is down for the count: One! Two! Three!!!

Ding ding ding, and the crowd roars.

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