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Analogue Hearts, Digital Minds? An Investigation into Perceptions of the Audio Quality of Vinyl

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This study investigates the vinyl revival, with particular focus given to the listener’s perception of audio quality. A new album was produced using known source material. Subjects then participated in a series of double-blind listening tests, comparing vinyl to established digital formats. Subsequent usability tests required subjects not only to re-appraise the audio, but also to interact with the physical media and playback equipment. Digital vinyl systems were used in order to investigate the influence of non-auditory factors on their perception of sound quality. Both qualitative and quantitative data was also gathered from subjects of the usability tests, with the correlation (or contradiction) between the results being analyzed. The study concludes that sound quality is not the sole defining factor and that listener preferences are profoundly influenced by other, non-auditory attributes and that such factors are as much a part of the vinyl experience as the music etched into the grooves.

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