Just Saying No To Vinyl – Going Back To CDs

by James Wallace Harris, 3/28/23

The big news in the music world is vinyl is outselling compact discs in sales. That’s because it’s for total sales and not total units. That’s not hard to believe when LPs go for $20-50 for regular releases, and much more for special editions. Yet, CDs seem cheaper than they’ve ever been. I’m going back to buying CDs. Fooey on the $50 LP.

I just bought Fleetwood Mac- 1969 to 1974 on 8 CDs for $36.99. And Eagles, The Studio Albums 1972 – 1979 on 6 CDs for $27.88, and What’s That Sound? Complete Albums from Buffalo Springfield on 5 CDs for $26.39. The sound quality is impressive but the packaging is very cheap. Just cardboard sleeves for the CDs in a cheap cardboard box, no booklets or documentation.

I actually like these CDs in slim cardboard sleeves. I’m going to try and find a set of file drawers that will just fit them. Or maybe some miniature crates like how we use to store LPs. CDs in plastic cases take up a lot of room.

The Fleetwood Mac set seems to be all recent re-masters but I can’t be sure. Then Play On, one of the Fleetwood Mac albums has the same 18-cuts with bonus tracks as the remastered CD that Amazon sells as a single CD for $14.27. The Fleetwood Mac set has a sticker that says “Six studio albums re-mastered on CD for the first time. Plus a previously unreleased live performance from 1974, 20 bonus tracks, and 8 previously unreleased tracks.” That’s interesting because the box contains 7 studio albums and a live album CD. I ain’t complaining.

The Buffalo Springfield set has a sticker saying it was “Re-Mastered from the original analog tapes under the auspices of Neil Young.” Buffalo Springfield never sounded so good to me. Their original LPs and CDs always seemed thin sounding. The new set has Buffalo Springfield’s three original albums, with the first and second in both mono and stereo.

The Eagles set has six studio albums on CD, with no extra information, no extra cuts, and no claim to be re-mastered. But the CDs sound good.

For years I’ve been trying to get back into vinyl. I sometimes buy old LPs at the library bookstore for 50 cents each, and I bought a handful of new LPs when they were on sale. But I won’t buy them new anymore – they’re just too damn expensive, and still going up in price. And every time I hear a skip on an LP I want to give up vinyl completely – give away my records and turntable. No vinyl revival for me.

I like to play one or two whole albums each day. Sometimes in the afternoon when I’m tired, and sometimes after dinner when I’m tired and not ready for television. I’ve gotten so I enjoy hearing a whole album – and played loud. Susan is nice enough to indulge me for a couple of hours.

And I feel bad about always streaming music because I’ve read artists don’t get paid much through that system. I’m willing to buy new albums, especially if they are priced around $5-10. And I love these new bargain sets. Amazon has a bunch of them and I’m going to buy more. They are usually marketed under “Original Album Series” or “The Studio Albums” keywords.

I think the only Fleetwood Mac album I bought when it came out before they went big with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham was Bare Trees. Over the years I’ve picked up a few albums with Peter Green and Bob Welch. I bought the 1975-1987 albums as they came out. It’s great to jump back and hear all the earlier albums. There is even a cheap box set of the earliest Fleetwood Mac albums that I’m going to buy.

These cheap box sets are a great way to really get into a group, and time travel to the past. There are quite a few artists and groups I didn’t listen to when they came out that I’m willing to try now because they now have an enduring reputation. I especially want to try a lot of jazz groups. I’ve already ordered a set of Weather Report albums on CD.

I have hundreds of CDs I’ve bought over the last forty years, but some weren’t mastered that well originally. I’m willing to buy CDs if they are priced low and especially if they’ve been re-mastered. I’d love to buy a cheap box set of Joe Walsh solo albums and James Gang albums. The old CDs I have sound thin and poorly mixed. I don’t see anything remastered for them currently.

So, it’s back to CDs for me. Just saying no to the vinyl revival. I know LPs are cool, and wonderful to look at and hold, but CDs sound better and are more convenient to use.

My plan is to explore a lot of music, especially albums that came out from 1960 to 1980. I’d like to buy all my favorite albums on CD and keep them in order by when they were originally released. I only want to buy albums I’ll listen to whole – from the first to the last track. I’m not interested in buying the greatest hits albums or compilations. I have Spotify for those songs.

Year Album Artist
12/05/1966 Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield
10/30/1967 Buffalo Springfield Again Buffalo Springfield
06/30/1968 Last Time Around Buffalo Springfield
09/19/1969 Then Play On Fleetwood Mac
09/18/1970 Kiln House Fleetwood Mac
09/03/1971 Future Games Fleetwood Mac
03/00/1972 Bare Trees Fleetwood Mac
06/01/1972 Eagles Eagles
03/01/1973 Penguin Fleetwood Mac
04/17/1973 Desperado Eagles
10/15/1973 Mystery to Me Fleetwood Mac
03/22/1974 On the Border Eagles
09/13/1974 Heroes Are Hard To Find Fleetwood Mac
06/10/1974 One of These Nights Eagles
12/08/1976 Hotel California Eagles
09/24/1979 The Long Run Eagles

JWH

5 thoughts on “Just Saying No To Vinyl – Going Back To CDs”

  1. I have a minimum of 100 vinyl albums and as many CD’s. I like them both. No need to choose one over the other. The vinyl sounds warmer due to the analog technology of the times, and the CD’s are a bit tinny and to bright, but I like them both. Take it from one that grew up with vinyl and transitioned into CD’s ( maybe not the pc corrected phrase) these days. Gotta love them all.

    1. That’s true. And, I haven’t thrown out my LPs yet. But in terms of buying new albums, I’m sticking with CDs because LPs are just too damn expensive. I’ll probably continue to buy LPs used. There are albums that aren’t on CD or streaming, so LP is the only way to hear them.

      1. Half Price Books carries vinyl albums and most are under ten bucks. I bought my granddaughter a vinyl reissue of Queens Night At The Opera and paid 30 dollars. Wow, some of them are expensive so like you, I will buy the CDs if the vinyl is too expensive.

  2. You have some great music on those CDs! I was never a fan of vinyl. I have audiophile friends who insist vinyl sounds better, but I’ll go with CDs every time. My Nissan Rogue is the last model with a CD player (Nissan will discontinue CD players in their vehicles going forward) which I use every time I run errands or take a driving trip. I also find plenty of great CD music at thrift stores and Library Book Sales as people dump their CD collections in favor of music streaming services.

    1. You must be younger than me, George. I had a couple of decades where I could only buy vinyl, and I loved LPs. I still love to hold them and look at them. But I’m not going to pay $30-50 for one.

      I’ve been trying to find that “warm” sound for years now. I just can’t. I don’t know if I’m just not hearing it, or my equipment isn’t good enough, and I’ve even thought the warm sound was inferior equipment or older equipment. Modern amps and speakers aim to have a neutral sound, for clarity and accuracy. In the older days, equipment was colored to sound lush and full, which often meant more bass and less treble. Also, LPs don’t have the highs and lows of CDs, so I guess that could cause the warmer sound.

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