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PaulWarning

Vinyl sales up again

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1 hour ago, PaulWarning said:

I had a feeling this would turn into a discussion about sound quality, I've said it before, most people aren't that bothered about the nuances of the sound, took me a while but I realised your mood and the atmosphere are more important when listening to music, I bet most of us have really enjoyed a track more, played on a crappy pub jukebox because we've had a couple of beers and out with mates.

If putting a record on a turntable and listening to the stylus hitting the vinyl increases your listening pleasure then so be it.

A mate who runs a recording studio often refers to the majority of his customers listening to the finished article on car stereo systems, as this is the best system they have to hand. I would say 99% of people who listen to music are not audiophiles and these notions of brickwalling and so on, are of little interest to them. A couple of beers and an mp3 file or the lossy files available from Spotify, is more than good enough for the vast majority of music lovers.

I even find that a nice bottle of Rioja has time and time again, proven to be the best upgrade to my own sytem

Edited by leroydiamond
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24 minutes ago, Leonard Smalls said:

The whole thing is more stable. Bearing noise, ac motors and resonances between arm,  cartridge and TT itself all exacerbate surface noise; after all just the act of scraping a diamond over moving plastic will make some noise but if all the stuff related to the TT itself is minimised then so is the noise. Not only that, but a cartridge properly matched with a decent tonearm seems to track better and almost ignore anything that isn't music - no idea why, but could be because there's effectively more dynamic range due to reducing the surface noise floor? Perhaps it's audiophile pixie dust I like to sprinkle before listening? 😁 Either way, I know I have records where I can hear master tape hiss (I know it well after all those years at BBC sound!) when played on my system, but not on cheaper kit...

As for poor pressings, I've found that to be relatively rare - I've got a couple of thousand LPs and while some have some damage from my DJing days not many have obvious lumps n bumps. And when properly cleaned even they are listenable without scratches intruding too annoyingly. 

 

Turntable set up can be a pain, but when it is done properly, the results are very satisfying. Like you, I find that the vast majority of my vinyl sounds very good. From the get go, I have always looked after them. A wet record cleaning machine can work wonders on getting the best out of vinyl.

Edited by leroydiamond
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9 hours ago, Quilly said:

I'm not convinced however that if I was blindfolded Id be able to tell the difference between Vinyl and a CD.

It's quite easy. CDs are a lot smaller, feel smooth and you can fit your pinkie into the hole in the middle.

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7 hours ago, BigRedX said:

 Finally, regarding quality, when The Terrortones had the vinyl version of our album produced, the cutting room informed us that for the optimum audio quality each side of a 12" disc should be cut at 45rpm with a maximum running time of 10 minutes. Both reducing the speed to 33rpm and increasing the running time of the side would reduce the audio quality achievable in terms of bandwidth and signal to noise ratio.

I knew that a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl was more than capable of a bandwidth way beyond 20kHz, but I wanted to find out just how far it goes.

It took a surprising amount of digging:

https://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue2/mastering.htm

122 kHz.

 

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15 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

I knew that a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl was more than capable of a bandwidth way beyond 20kHz, but I wanted to find out just how far it goes.

It took a surprising amount of digging:

https://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue2/mastering.htm

122 kHz.

Interesting.

Unfortunately it's not the whole story, if you read the article fully you will soon realise that it's not as marvellous as it sounds:

1. It's only a carrier signal - not actual musical content.

2. It could only be detected by visual observation of the grooves, not by listening.

3. Requires half speed cutting, not something that is done under normal circumstances.

4. It was only done on a acetate. No indication whether or not these frequencies would survive the mechanical duplication processes to an actual record.

5. The test was done at 10" diameter, where there is significantly more bandwidth available compared with closer to the end of the record (as per one of my previous posts).

6. Not reproducable under normal cutting room conditions, or capable of playback on hifi systems - although there are plenty of audio signals that this applies to when it comes to vinyl.

So while it is interesting, it has zero real-world applications when it comes to producing records with audio content.

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43 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

Interesting.

Unfortunately it's not the whole story, if you read the article fully you will soon realise that it's not as marvellous as it sounds:

1. It's only a carrier signal - not actual musical content.

2. It could only be detected by visual observation of the grooves, not by listening.

3. Requires half speed cutting, not something that is done under normal circumstances.

4. It was only done on a acetate. No indication whether or not these frequencies would survive the mechanical duplication processes to an actual record.

5. The test was done at 10" diameter, where there is significantly more bandwidth available compared with closer to the end of the record (as per one of my previous posts).

6. Not reproducable under normal cutting room conditions, or capable of playback on hifi systems - although there are plenty of audio signals that this applies to when it comes to vinyl.

So while it is interesting, it has zero real-world applications when it comes to producing records with audio content.

All that is true, but it is 'common knowledge' that standard 33rpm vinyl is easily capable of reproducing audio well beyond audio frequencies.

Back in the 1980s I was listening to Pink Floyd on a mate's quadrophonic system that used a carrier frequency of up to 45KHz.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatible_Discrete_4

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But you don't want to be hearing carrier frequencies. They should be filtered out at source, and if not done properly can modulate the audible audio to produce distinctly unmusical artefacts.

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17 hours ago, Leonard Smalls said:

As for poor pressings, I've found that to be relatively rare - I've got a couple of thousand LPs and while some have some damage from my DJing days not many have obvious lumps n bumps. And when properly cleaned even they are listenable without scratches intruding too annoyingly. 

IME (buying mostly indie/DIY records in the 70s and 80s) poor pressings were all to common. In would be a good month if I was only returning one record to the shop to exchange it (if possible) for a better copy. As I have said previously, I discovered that my local shop's entire stock of an eagerly-awaited album from "I'm So Hollow" was pressed off-centre to such an extent that it was unlistenable. Even the copy that John Peel played was noticeably off. All of the 12" single and albums I still own from that period are noticeably lightweight when compared to a modern 120g pressing. You could track the reduction in material used to press an album from the late 60s onwards to the near flexi-discs of the mid 80s.

I do have to say that the dance music 12" singles I bought in the 90 were significantly better pressings than what had gone before, but I don't miss the  lottery of wondering if the next single might have been cut with just too much bass for my tone-arm to cope with.

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2 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

IME (buying mostly indie/DIY records in the 70s and 80s) poor pressings were all to common.

To be fair, I wouldn't class many of my late 70s/early 80s singles or even indie albums as hifi in any way,as it was likely the mastertape was also just as lofi. A "Porky Prime Cut" usually meant it was a step up, soundwise,but still not a guarantee of hifidom. But absolute sound quality wasn't really the point!

However, my funk and jazz albums of the 70s, 80s, 90s were invariably of very good quality and playback just as well now...

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18 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

But you don't want to be hearing carrier frequencies. They should be filtered out at source, and if not done properly can modulate the audible audio to produce distinctly unmusical artefacts.

I never suggested you do! I'm just saying that there's no reason to go up to 45rpm to extend the bandwidth, as vinyl is happily capable of reproducing 45kHz + at 33 1/3 rpm.

 

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1 minute ago, Leonard Smalls said:

"Porky Prime Cut"

I have at least one of those somewhere 🙂

The Wall was notorious for having a bad pressing, after the second return my local shop wouldn't swap it again 😞 You can actually see the huge excursion that causes a skip if you use a hand lens.

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In the 70s almost every album I bought was either a "Porky Prime Cut" or a "Bilbo Bopper". IIRC the two were cutting/mastering engineers at the same studio which was the go-to place for getting your record cut.

My own very first foray into vinyl in 1980 was a Porky Prime Cut. I can't say there was anything pretty special about it. Probably because my distinctly lo-fi DIY band recorded and mixed our 2 tracks in a couple of hours at a very budget 4-track studio (it was all we could afford, and in retrospect not actually a sonic step-up from our home recordings made direct to stereo cassette), and also because it was produced as a double 7" EP with 9 minutes of music on each side running at 33rpm.

It did get us played on John Peel's radio show and the record itself is now worth quite a bit of money (although mostly because of the other bands who are on it).

Edited by BigRedX

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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

I do have to say that the dance music 12" singles I bought in the 90 were significantly better pressings than what had gone before, but I don't miss the  lottery of wondering if the next single might have been cut with just too much bass for my tone-arm to cope with.

Late 70s early 80s US import 12s were great. 33.3 and only pressed on one side. Stupidly expensive though. Great content too, if like me you like full on cheesy disco!

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