What are vinyl records?
Vinyl records or phonographs were also understandably known as gramophone records. They are analog subsystems to store various kinds of sounds. They come in a flattened disc shape and are inscribed.
They consist of grooves arranged spirally. The groove always begins in order from the end regions to the center of the subjected disc.
Around more than a decade ago, they were first produced from polyvinyl chloride and quickly became a sort of a companion.
The market was large enough to surpass the cassettes. They are of different characteristics depending on the dimensions such as diameter, rotation, speed, and revolutions per minute.
It is more of a beautification or a visual form of expression.
A lot of the users from that hype era have reported loving the way they sounded—however, there are a few who miss the scratches, skips, or pops.
Album art indeed gained the most amount of traction during the LP days. Vinyl records were a temporary part of the music industry and still have not changed.
The charm is non-perishable. With the right conditions and apparatus, they still can be considered as the best way to record sound.
Although they are less portable, which is a blotch in terms of convenience, vinyl records are nostalgic, and the retro feel, although much overrated, is hard to ignore.
What is digital mixing?
For audio summing in a digital mixer or any other device, if similar build or function, it is necessary to combine different electrical signals in a way that the sum or addition is equivocally straightforward.
To explain further, the internal mixing of the audio software should be superior as compared to the hardware mixer.
The audio signals are combined very precisely, which is the complete essence of digital mixing.
The mixing can be easily associated with being perfect in the case of digital mixing. The algorithms being especially sophisticated.
Mixing with Vinyl
To understand what the old school DJ was putting up with at that time, we need to discuss mixing with vinyl.
Picture two vinyl records on the equipment for the whole idea. There are two tracks available, working in perfect sync with each other.
But the track on record one is at the center point, meaning the 0 positions and that of record two is at -5. It is in this alignment that the keys are working correctly.
Or it sounds that way. However, the track at -5 five is beyond slow. The only way out to match the BPM of track 2 to track 1 is to move it up to +1.
To ensure they are matching correctly, the needles should be tested at a different point until the perfect sync is achieved.
If the BPMs are matching perfectly, but since the points on track two are moved up so much, the track will be out of key.
This is where the vinyl turntables should be considered. The key of the two records should be within a 3 percent margin on the turntable.
If this is not kept in mind while djing, the entire audio goes out of key. Then the bars are counted on both the records simultaneously for the audio until the vocals start to come in.
How hard is it DJ with vinyl?
The vinyl records have become a dwindling consumer product that paved a path for the music to be sold to the masses.
This is true as an old concept. In fact, as ancient as a hundred years. But the impact that vinyl record technology had gone way beyond the consumption of pop music.
If we were to compare, the closest comparison to vinyl records is the printing press as the printing was considered to be one of the greatest inventions or breakthroughs in history.
The reason for this was because the press was a great tool to quickly and accurately formulate ideas into written words.
This accelerated the transfer and exchange of knowledge. Hence, the idea of pressing the audio to record to reproduce it on a larger scale did the same thing for the realm of audio and music.
It was a vector enriching cultural exchange. Vinyl records were a revolution in the technology of recording.
This also later became the foundation of which the modern communication system stands on. Today, most of the music that is produced and made available come in a digitalized form.
The internet changed the way music was consumed, but it also redefined the amount of music. However, despite digitalization, the vinyl shows an astonishing increase in its sales year after year.
It remains something to contend with, whether vinyl records are superior to the modern-day digital methods.
The difference between vinyl and digital mixing
To understand the difference between both the concept, first, it is crucial to understand the common grounds.
Irrespective of the format, both analog and digital require the presence of audio to be created with the help of a recording device. The simplest of which is the microphone
What is better mixing with vinyl – analog or digital mixing?
To get to the straight understanding without beating around the bush, it is safe to say that analog mixing with the help of vinyl records is a way to get superior quality in terms of separation and better sounding stereo.
It can be ascertained from the real experience of many DJs that tracks generally lose a considerable amount of definition during digital mixing.
The difference between the sound produced by analog and digital mixing is quite subtle. But the entire story changes when the software being used is of the top quality.
Then digital mixing can offer better flexibility when it comes to distortion and soft limits. With the help of competitive software, the internal or external sound mixing is better than one created by vinyl and a turntable.
Earlier, when the digital mixing consoles were being introduced to the DJ world.
It was easier to transition from vinyl to digital if one had prior knowledge of mixing with the analog type of equipment.
With a more precise reference of analog signal flow, transitioning was much viable.
However, later as technology progressed, digital mixing became much more straightforward than vinyl mixing.
Advanced consoles help dispose of the requirement for utilizing several feet of copper wire for that framework.
Taking favorably for vinyl allows the DJ to do scratching, which is if put in simple terms, an incredibly cool aspect for the DJ.
Moreover, there are other options, such as crossfader, which make vinyl an exciting choice to consider.
Why DJs have stopped using vinyl
- Vinyl might be one of the most appealing ways of playing tracks. However, the biggest downside is the cost. Vinyl records are more expensive than the digital counterparts.
- It takes around a hundred vinyl records to play one night, not to forget that a DJ needs to have a couple of extras in their collection as every club has different requirements or themes. Vinyl djing is harder than the digital process, hence one should have a substantial amount of knowledge and a whole lot of funds even to begin playing as a vinyl DJ.
- This is one of the more overlooked facts about vinyl, which can hold down its user in more than one way – the weight of the vinyl. Each vinyl weighs around 180gms, and this approximation adds up quite fast. A DJ who is playing at different locations only with vinyl will suffer because they are not portable enough.
- Djing vinyl is not so viable anymore because of the reason that most of the songs aren’t even pressed on the vinyl. They can be five or six years old as there is minimal real-time production. This might not suit the requirements of some of the clubs or locations the DJ is playing it. A few years ago, a lot of the vinyl was printed before the release of the track as they were meant only for collectors or DJs, but as the art is dwindling, the industry doesn’t keep up with the latest songs.
- The needles needed to play the vinyl is beyond expensive. A needle of medium quality can cost around 20 euros, and as quality improves, the price can rise to 80 euros. This gets more expensive as the system that holds the subject needed also costs a considerable amount of money.
- The entire vinyl DJ system is quite delicate. Even the slightest of extra force or wrong movements can destroy the subject. For example: underneath the record is a mat; when the record is not placed on it and the needle touches, it gets damaged almost instantly, especially when the turntable is spinning.
- This a problem that often occurs; the DJs accidentally scratch the vinyl records they are not careful. This is more common when the DJ is practicing the scratching technique. As soon as the single scratch appears on the record, its functionality is lost, it cannot be used for djing anymore.
- The record player is naturally susceptible to vibrations. Hence when the needle is placed on the record, and there is an external force making unwanted sound with it, it gets picked up by the speaker. The needle emphasizes the sound to a great extent, which means that the audience will hear the alien sound, and that puts off the entire atmosphere. The DJ then is at the risk of losing further bookings with that particular club.
- The practice of djing with vinyl records is not merely practical.
- Beatmatching is one of the most critical technicalities of djing. That’s where the problem starts with vinyl records. Most types of vinyl are not extremely flat; some are lighter than others’ heavies. This means that each type spins differently from the other. Moreover, the turntables differ in RPMs, after a minute passes, the tracks begin sifting away. The DJ then has to push the record a bit to speed or slow the track. This is the primary technique for vinyl pioneers. This is a high risk.
- There is no pitch lock with vinyl. The pitch always changes.
- Transitioning with vinyl records is very impractical. The DJ has to manually figure how much faster or slower is one track to the other. They have to adjust it with the pitch fader. This is a lot of work in addition to the other things the DJ needs to work for the perfect djing.
- Looping for vinyl DJs is very rare, and if they choose to do it, the costs are way above the reasonable margin.
- With the help of digitalization, the mixing got a lot faster.
Analog consoles vs. digital consoles for mixing
Analog consoles are the tradition of the djing biome. They are comparatively less expensive than digital consoles. They lack features like touch screens, menus, iPad control, etc. for the modern djing techniques; they are relatively boring and devoid of having the ability to perform tricks like flash, sizzle, bling, and many more interactions.
Digital consoles are more action integrated. With analog preamp, the audio is converted to a digital signal and then is sent to the mixer.
The mixer can be understood as a computer that can process the audio signals or differentiate them into pieces.
Aside from furnishing the DJ with different steering capacities, advanced consoles are fabricated to satisfy different functionalities, for example, adjustment, pressure, gating, restricting, level control, and some more.
The sign way in computerized comforts is extremely tangled and doesn’t generally wind up on a similar channel.
As we pitch vinyl and digital mixing together to compare which is the best choice, it is essential to understand that both are equally necessary.
When on the one hand there is the ease and portability and many control options with digital mixing, there are also the concepts that simply are too difficult to grasp without analog mixing.
Combining the best of both worlds is the choice rather than decompressing apart both of the techniques.