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sykilz

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The format is lower fidelity. The character which comes about on vinyl can be flattering to certain types of material, but even then it is less accurate to the source.

 

It can be subjectively better in certain cases, but objectively speaking, it has lower headroom and frequency range, and is higher noise. Those may be likeable qualities in context, but technically they make the format worse sounding.

 

You can't make a blanket statement, let alone an inaccurate one, and demand that no-one disagree. 😉

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For the argument that CDs sound better than vinyl, I can do no better than to refer you to the writings of Bear (Oswald Stanley) the original sound man and recordist for the Grateful Dead, the man who designed the famous wall of sound PA http://www.thebear.org/essays2.html#anchor506008 (scroll down to 'analogue vs digital')

Edited by FinnDave
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Lots of opinions on Vinyl V Digital. For me there is room for both. Mastering is critical . I find that the classic rock analogue recordings of the 70's have rarely transferred all that well to digital and remastering for the most part has been disappointing. Digital can sound superb, but the loudness war has really let it down. All IMO.

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13 hours ago, FinnDave said:

Anyone dumb enough to believe that vinyl records sound better than any digital medium

 

It's a ridiculous argument... Both have merits, and both have problems. If you're looking for ultimate faithful-ness to the original recording, a 192KHz 24 bit digital medium is probably better than decent vinyl. But most folks are looking for what sounds nicest; that's why companies like Bosendorfer make speakers with sounding boards like their pianos in order to give a sound with pleasing resonances. And a good vinyl pressing played on a well-executed and set-up deck sounds at least as subjectively good and musical as any digital set-up. Some people may prefer one over the other, but to say vinyl doesn't sound good usually means that the person has never actually heard good vinyl, or is just reliving old memories of dirty crackly records humming with feedback and a filthy worn out cartridge.

When I worked in BBC sound transfer one of our managers declared that "vinyl was not a broadcast medium". The entire department rounded on him, especially the two staff members who are now Trilogy Audio and Leema, made him listen to proper vinyl and as a result we actually got our knackered old Garard decks serviced ( or replaced with Technics), put into more isolating plinths, arms were set-up and Stanton DJ carts replaced. He didn't whinge about vinyl quality again, just made sure that decks were on the maintenance schedule...

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I'm not sure anyone is saying that vinyl can't sound nice.

 

The problem, I believe, is with the term 'better'. It can mean many things, and it is accurate to say that vinyl can sound 'better' while actually being worse at the same time. It can be a better experience to listen to an LP, while the accuracy, dynamic range, and noise are unequivocally worse than a digital recording.

It's only the same as valve amps for guitar; noisy, non-linear, low-headroom pre- and power- amps, drivers with wildly non-linear response in boxes with notable resonances. Early instrument amps are actually pretty terrible at their intended purpose, but conspire to create something profoundly compelling. Some of the 'best' guitar sounds are the sound of an amplifier doing everything badly! 😄

 

I think the problem is that it is easy to read a simple statement such  'vinyl sounds better' and assume that it is higher fidelity (I know I did!) but it just isn't that kind of better.

 

Taken to its logical conclusion, it is an audiophile issue, and even then there are different goals. The most pleasurable listening experience may come from a turntable, valve amp, and a set of 'vintage' speakers with all that additional colour, but for those looking for the most accurate representation of the final master, that option would be throughly inadequate.

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A lot of the vinyl Vs digital is down to what we are used to hearing and whether the imperfections of the delivery system are intrusive (or not).

 

For me listening to a lot of independently produced records in the late 70s and early 80s the pressing quality was variable at best, and pretty appalling at lot of the time, and that got in the way of my listening enjoyment. Pops, crackles and general surface noise do not enhance the experience for me no matter how much more warm delivery medium supposedly sounds.

 

The loudness wars of CDs only existed because the medium allowed it, without any adverse physical effects. At least the CDs were still playable (even if the music didn't sound as good as it could have done), unlike several records I owned where the amplitude of the pressing would cause a lot of styluses to jump to of the groove on playback.

 

The true test of vinyl vs CD is to take albums that have been released on both media and separately mastered for the appropriate formats and ask the musicians who produced them which they prefer. In my case the Díck Venom & The Terrortones album "SnakeOil For Snakes" was done this way. The vinyl pressing isn't bad (although these days it has to be - if they were as bad as those made 40 -45 years ago no-one would stand for it), but the CD version is far closer to what we heard (and liked) in the studio when we were doing the final mixes.

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7 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

The most pleasurable listening experience may come from a turntable, valve amp, and a set of 'vintage' speakers with all that additional colour, but for those looking for the most accurate representation of the final master, that option would be throughly inadequate.

 

An old Garard TT, going through an Ongaku phono and 10W SET amp into Tannoy Westminsters is a very pleasurable experience; for those who listen to breathy female vocal music this is audio nirvana. But at the opposite end of the spectrum, my Clearaudio Revolution with SME arm and Audionote cart de-phono-ed by an EAR 834 deluxe and amplified by a Bow Technology pre and Bryston 14bsst power into either my Leema Xaviers or Ditton 66/2s is capable of surprisingly accurate fidelity as well as extraordinary scale and power. I'd defy any listener to actually be able to spot any actual lack compared to my Advantage cd player (which is also a pretty serious piece of kit - a bit of a Wadia-beater!). Both do an excellent job - and comparing to the original tape master is a) absolutely irrelevant wot with it not being available b) absolutely irrelevant wot with it having been produced in a completely different acoustic environment from my listening room.

What I really don't understand is folks who continually diss vinyl; after all it's great at producing music, as is digital! Ultimately listening to music is subjective - those who enjoy death metal will swear blind their choice is better than, say Scarlatti, and vice versa. Similarly, some will say that music sounds appalling unless its source is sitting on at least 14 layers of Mana tables. Others will violently uphold that this sucks out the life and you need a pneumatic platform. And among these sub-sects folks will fight about whether to stick a Linn LP12 on top of their Mana skyscraper, or an SME 10. But really, all those groups are just justifying purchases when they should just listen to their choice of music on whatever playback device they want to and not tell everyone else all their choices are sh!t!

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9 minutes ago, Leonard Smalls said:

What I really don't understand is folks who continually diss vinyl; after all it's great at producing music, as is digital!...

...they should just listen to their choice of music on whatever playback device they want to and not tell everyone else all their choices are sh!t!

 

I'm paraphrasing for my reply, but good post!

 

I also don't understand the dissing- every medium has certain characteristics; which will be most appropriate to requirements or just plain most satisfying will vary from case to case. It's really not a competition to be won or lost- the psychological tendancy to divide and compete puzzles me, especially over something as almost universally enjoyed as chucking on some music!

 

20 minutes ago, Leonard Smalls said:

absolutely irrelevant wot with it having been produced in a completely different acoustic environment from my listening room.

I still remember the downcast look on my friend's face when I informed him thusly! He has recently moved to a stone cottage in Yorkshire with all his fancy hi-fi and SACDs- he'll need to get some serious traps and absorbers up in that place if he wants to make the most of them!

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I'm 42 and started buying music when I was about 8 so I was just on the cusp of CDs coming of age but because of the cost of players (and discs back in the day!) I did most of my listening on a mono tape recorder and a series of boot sale/hand me down/budget turntables.

 

I picked up most of my vinyl from secondhand shops, charity shops and car boot sales and did so primarily becuase it was cheap and secondarily because the covers looked better that big and I also genuinely enjoyed the process and ritual of putting a record on.

 

Fast-forward a couple of decades and my continued miserly ways have been thwarted by the vinyl resurgence: unremarkable pressings that I spent £3 or £4 pounds on routinely sell on Ebay for anything between £30 and £80 and the days of hitting the Vinyl Exchange and coming out with a stash of stuff that I just fancied the look of are long gone. I still love vinyl for the other reasons mentioned above but I'm finding it harder and harder nowadays as the quality of new records has entirely gone to pot: indeed the last three new records I bought (Stephen Fretwell, Arlo Parks and Jesca Hoop) all sounded like complete sh!t - clearly the quailty control people are aware of how many of these new releases are being used solely as objets d'art. (And yes, I have a reasonable turntable with an upgraded and properly aligned cart).

 

I suspect my days of buying *new* records are now over but I'll always love the format for many of the reasons others have cited above and hopefully we'll see a return to sensible secondhand prices once the current, inexplicable, penchant for cassettes fully takes hold...

 

(DOI: currently own two turntables and am actively looking to replace one of them)

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1 hour ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

cassette tapes. 

 

Now if you want to talk about a real shoddy musical medium.......

Funnily enough my first taste of proper hifi was from cassette!

I'd just blown my 1st term's grant in Superfi in Leeds on a Technics SU V5 amp and Kef Carina 2 loudspeakers. Got chatting to the salesman, we discovered we like similar music and both liked a little smoke (this was long ago, btw!). So I went to his house, we listened to Yello's "Claro Que Si" on cassette, and it sounded better than anything I'd ever heard before (the tootle probably helped!). However, this wasn't just a Waltham portable, twas a Nakamichi Dragon into Radford pre/power, into Tannoy 12" concentrics (Chatsworth, iirc).

Edited by Leonard Smalls
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Back on topic - I like it, at least it has a bit of character.

 

I have a ton of vinyl which I don't play and a Dual deck which doesn't get used. Not because I don't appreciate the sound, because Vinyl is fragile compared to CDs. My only reason.

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It's strange how any discussion of HiFi especially when it comes to playing vinyl descends into some weird "willy-waving" one-upmanship of ever more ridiculous cost and complexity. It is in my nature to be suspicious of anything that requires massive amounts of money spent on it in order to be "properly" enjoyed.

 

Ultimately it is the music and not the delivery medium or playback system that is important.

 

For many years my music listening was done on a Dansette purchased from a junk shop in the mid 70s for £7, and which played one side of the stereo image considerably louder than the other, to the point that when I did finally get a decent hifi system it revealed all sorts of additional instruments I hadn't previously been aware of in the mix, and not always to the improvement of the music IMO, which all goes to show that we end up liking the sounds we are used to, and not necessarily those that are technically the best.

 

These days I own reasonably decent Project turntable that is used for one purpose - to transfer recordings only available on vinyl to my computer. Then I can remove all the pops, clicks and other unwanted artefacts that will detract from my listening enjoyment. However this is not a simple or straight-foward process, and therefore I have found it more effective to buy the CD or digital download copy of anything I have only on vinyl and rip that instead.

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5 hours ago, BigRedX said:

It's strange how any discussion of HiFi especially when it comes to playing vinyl descends into some weird "willy-waving" one-upmanship of ever more ridiculous cost and complexity. It is in my nature to be suspicious of anything that requires massive amounts of money spent on it in order to be "properly" enjoyed.

 

Ultimately it is the music and not the delivery medium or playback system that is important.

 

For many years my music listening was done on a Dansette purchased from a junk shop in the mid 70s for £7, and which played one side of the stereo image considerably louder than the other, to the point that when I did finally get a decent hifi system it revealed all sorts of additional instruments I hadn't previously been aware of in the mix, and not always to the improvement of the music IMO, which all goes to show that we end up liking the sounds we are used to, and not necessarily those that are technically the best.

 

These days I own reasonably decent Project turntable that is used for one purpose - to transfer recordings only available on vinyl to my computer. Then I can remove all the pops, clicks and other unwanted artefacts that will detract from my listening enjoyment. However this is not a simple or straight-foward process, and therefore I have found it more effective to buy the CD or digital download copy of anything I have only on vinyl and rip that instead.

Well said, great post. I was a vinyl guy in my teens ( '82-'90 ) but I usually put my albums onto tape because obviously you needed to for the car.

One of the greatest days of my life was when I got an in car CD player ( that didn't jump and skip!!!!!) , people take that for granted but it seemed to take forever for the technology to get that right 😆😆

Ive enjoyed using all the different media over the years, all have pluses and minuses, but boy are we lucky to live at a time when we have such a great choice of format. ENJOY the music, people.

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7 hours ago, BigRedX said:

It's strange how any discussion of HiFi especially when it comes to playing vinyl descends into some weird "willy-waving" one-upmanship of ever more ridiculous cost and complexity. It is in my nature to be suspicious of anything that requires massive amounts of money spent on it in order to be "properly" enjoyed.

 

Ultimately it is the music and not the delivery medium or playback system that is important.

Absolutely.

But it's not just vinyl that descends into willy-waving.

 

The best way to "gain access" to the subtleties contained in recorded music isn't by investing a fortune in replay equipment. It's by investing in your ability to listen to music. Best achieved by learning to play a musical instrument. 

 

And here we are.

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On 23/09/2021 at 16:06, Leonard Smalls said:

Almost!

It appears to be a MoFi Ultra Deck which they've replaced the plinth of with a bit of Fender Wood, then added $1200 to the price...

And if I were spending $2200 on a US deck I'd buy a VPI Scout!

 

Or a Studiodeck, in which case they've trebled the price.

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10 hours ago, Lfalex v1.1 said:

Absolutely.

But it's not just vinyl that descends into willy-waving.

 

The best way to "gain access" to the subtleties contained in recorded music isn't by investing a fortune in replay equipment. It's by investing in your ability to listen to music. Best achieved by learning to play a musical instrument. 

 

And here we are.

Interestingly, I quit playing 3 years ago and enjoy listening to music now more than ever. When I was playing, I tended to listen with a bias towards focusing on the bass part, technique and tone of the track that is playing. Nowadays that bias has diluted and I tend to focus on the music in its totality. Though here in Ireland, live music still has not kicked off just yet due to covid, I look forward to attending gigs just like an enthusiastic punter, rather than a bassist, focusing on the Bass player, what gear he is using and so on.

 

Edited by leroydiamond
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Just now, Doctor J said:

The Tucker Carlson reporting of sound wave analytics 😂

Yep it’s a bodge but better than a 50 page thesis that no one will ever read. I once worked with some old school broadcast engineers that really knew their stuff. They could get pretty tedious about it though. The main reason that I don’t use my vinyl much is I’ve just got lazy. I always wanted a juke box. Apple did this cheaply and in miniature. Spotify completed the job. I now have everything but don’t really appreciate any of it!

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4 minutes ago, tegs07 said:

Yep it’s a bodge but better than a 50 page thesis that no one will ever read.

 

I'm not sure I'd agree being crudely misinformed is any better than being entirely oblivious on any topic, to be honest. If anyone cares enough to get over the hype, understanding digital representation of music is fairly basic stuff.

https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/digital-audio-basics-sample-rate-and-bit-depth.html

 

https://www.headphonesty.com/2019/07/sample-rate-bit-depth-bit-rate/

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