PDA

View Full Version : Digital vs. Analog (again)



duke43j
2011-02-11, 07:40
Lately Iíve been seeing a resurgence of claims about how much better vinyl is compared to digital. I have an SB3 feeding a Benchmark DAC and I love it! The sound is wonderful. I also have about 200 LPs in my closet that I listen to occasionally on my somewhat mid-fi B&O turntable with an MMC2 cartridge. While the sound from my turntable is nice, it is not in the same league as my digital input. Naturally, Iím always looking for something better. So, out of curiosity, I went to a dealer who showed me a Rega P3-25 turntable. I wasnít impressed. The highs seemed somewhat rolled off, and the detail wasnít nearly as good as my SB3/DAC. Given the fact that vinyl is so much more of a hassle than digital, the only reason I would ever considering upgrading my turntable is this supposed vast improvement in sound.

Now Iím thinking Ė Either these claims are totally bogus, or Iím just looking in the wrong price range. The retail cost of the Rega table, cartridge and phono preamp was about $1500, which is comparable to the cost of my SB3 and Benchmark DAC 1. How high up the food chain do you have to go to get this ďbetter than digitalĒ sound that people are claiming? Does anybody have a good digital front end (i.e. comparable to a Benchmark, Berkeley, Wavelength Audio Proton, etc.) with an analog front end that they think sounds better?

SatoriGFX
2011-02-11, 07:58
How high up the food chain do you have to go to get this ďbetter than digitalĒ sound that people are claiming?

Not very high according to many who prefer vinyl. Usually, it's the other way around. Many claim you need to spend far more on a digital front end to come close to vinyl.

ghostrider
2011-02-11, 08:07
I gave up on vinyl long ago. I never understood the infatuation with clicks and pops, which are inevitable, as well as the effort involved in maintenance.

RonM
2011-02-11, 08:18
I was reading a post somewhere (not on these forums) from someone who had been ripping his old vinyl to digital. He was very gratified that the "wonderful warm sound of vinyl" was still present in the digital rips. Sigh. He completely failed to understand that this meant the "wonderful warm sound" was an ARTIFACT introduced by the vinyl reproduction, in fact a distortion of the original music. If that sound could be captured digitally in his rips, there would be no barrier to capturing it directly to CD.

A music producer acquaintance once noted to me that the qualities many people believe inherent in vinyl can be reproduced by adding various effects to the digital versions of the music. It may well be that in some abstruse fashion "analog" can have advantages over "digital", but I tend to think that most of the claims simply flow from habituation to the sonic side-effects of analog reproduction.

Ron

earwaxer9
2011-02-11, 08:37
If you follow Steve Guttenburg on CNET he could probably give you a good response to the question of digital vs. vinyl. He is big on vinyl.

I personally dont see any point in vinyl. I believe that vinyl had an advantage in the early days of the CD. Now, digital is supreme. The digital "limitations" have been solved. It doesnt require big bucks to enjoy it either.

I'm sure you can find really really good sounding vinyl rigs, as well as digital rigs. At some point its probably a matter of preference, just as there is a preference with tubes vs. solid state. Its not a question of how much money would it cost to get there. Sure, $10K components tend to sound very good. They should! A $50K system better sound very good. Vinyl or digital. To spend $50K on a system and have to flip disks and drop a needle is just plane silly, IMO. Not to mention listen to clicks and pops.

My personal opinion is that you are barking up the wrong tree trying to build a vinyl rig that will best your digital set up. Better to continue tweaking the digital end of things. Ex. - the Benchmark is good, but certainly not SOTA. Much more can be done there. On the speaker end of things - much more can be done there. etc, etc.

Phil Leigh
2011-02-11, 08:51
I was reading a post somewhere (not on these forums) from someone who had been ripping his old vinyl to digital. He was very gratified that the "wonderful warm sound of vinyl" was still present in the digital rips. Sigh. He completely failed to understand that this meant the "wonderful warm sound" was an ARTIFACT introduced by the vinyl reproduction, in fact a distortion of the original music. If that sound could be captured digitally in his rips, there would be no barrier to capturing it directly to CD.

A music producer acquaintance once noted to me that the qualities many people believe inherent in vinyl can be reproduced by adding various effects to the digital versions of the music. It may well be that in some abstruse fashion "analog" can have advantages over "digital", but I tend to think that most of the claims simply flow from habituation to the sonic side-effects of analog reproduction.

Ron

+1 million.

duke43j
2011-02-11, 09:00
I agree that much of the allure of vinyl is that many people (me included) prefer a warmer and more ďmusicalĒ sound to an ďanalyticalĒ (and probably more accurate) sound. I believe this warm sound is achieved by rolling off the high end, and/or by introducing even harmonics (i.e. distortion) to the sound. As in most things, you can go overboard on anything. I donít like any system that attenuates the high end, but I do have a tube preamp that introduces a modest amount of even harmonics to the sound. I do prefer the sound of my Benchmark DAC => tube preamp => solid state amp to the sound of the all solid state chain consisting of the DAC => solid state amp. So, even though I know full well that introducing a preamp (or any extra gear) into an analog chain will ALWAYS add noise and distortion, there are some circumstances where I actually like the sound better.

Iím also not too distracted by a moderate amount of surface noise (pops, crackles) of vinyl. So, that doesnít bother me. Maybe this is because I got into hi-fi long before CDs came along.

I think all of the above is a matter of personal preference. What Iím curious about is what price range (if any) do you need to pay for a turntable/cartridge that sounds better than a good digital input.

guidof
2011-02-11, 10:00
I think all of the above is a matter of personal preference. What Iím curious about is what price range (if any) do you need to pay for a turntable/cartridge that sounds better than a good digital input.

Sorry, I don't have an answer to your question -- and I doubt that an answer can be stated with any precision. As you point out, what sounds "better than a good digital input" is indeed a matter of personal preference. Hence, any price point will depend on your perceptions of "good sound."

However, I would suggest that in addition to the turntable/cartridge combination, you would need to factor in a phono preamp. The latter will make a significant difference in terms of sound quality.

Happy (digital, for now) listening!

Guido F.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-11, 10:34
Lately Iíve been seeing a resurgence of claims about how much better vinyl is compared to digital. I have an SB3 feeding a Benchmark DAC and I love it! The sound is wonderful. I also have about 200 LPs in my closet that I listen to occasionally on my somewhat mid-fi B&O turntable with an MMC2 cartridge. While the sound from my turntable is nice, it is not in the same league as my digital input. Naturally, Iím always looking for something better. So, out of curiosity, I went to a dealer who showed me a Rega P3-25 turntable. I wasnít impressed. The highs seemed somewhat rolled off, and the detail wasnít nearly as good as my SB3/DAC. Given the fact that vinyl is so much more of a hassle than digital, the only reason I would ever considering upgrading my turntable is this supposed vast improvement in sound.

Now Iím thinking Ė Either these claims are totally bogus, or Iím just looking in the wrong price range. The retail cost of the Rega table, cartridge and phono preamp was about $1500, which is comparable to the cost of my SB3 and Benchmark DAC 1. How high up the food chain do you have to go to get this ďbetter than digitalĒ sound that people are claiming? Does anybody have a good digital front end (i.e. comparable to a Benchmark, Berkeley, Wavelength Audio Proton, etc.) with an analog front end that they think sounds better?

To me, this is similar to the debate on analog vs digital photography. Today, it takes a lot of money to approximate analog photography on a digital camera. However, things are improving at a rapid pace, and it is conceivable that in a not too distant future 50 megapixel cameras with large size sensors will hit mainstream prices.

We're seeing the same trend in the digital sound. Today, Logitech Squeezebox Touch can be purchased for less than $300, and after modding it a bit, you can get to the point of having a high-end digital transport that can compete with $5,000 transports.

Same goes for DACs -- Bersford Caiman, with a fitted Gator board, can be had for around $300, and these two (the transport and the DAC) deliver a very high quality digital sound that can compete with many thousand dollars turntable/arm/moving coil cartridge/phono preamp chains.

However, in my opinion, on a true high end analog, the sound is so superior, that I haven't been able to ever hear digital sound that can come even close.

Few of us have to money to play in that league, though. So I think it's pretty much going to be digital all the way.

garym
2011-02-11, 10:48
you can start your auditioning with this one. ;-)

http://www.needledoctor.com/Roksan-TMS3-Turntable?sc=2&category=791

cliveb
2011-02-11, 10:59
Now Iím thinking Ė Either these claims are totally bogus, or Iím just looking in the wrong price range. The retail cost of the Rega table, cartridge and phono preamp was about $1500, which is comparable to the cost of my SB3 and Benchmark DAC 1. How high up the food chain do you have to go to get this ďbetter than digitalĒ sound that people are claiming? Does anybody have a good digital front end (i.e. comparable to a Benchmark, Berkeley, Wavelength Audio Proton, etc.) with an analog front end that they think sounds better?
In an objective sense, vinyl is a complete dog's dinner compared to CD format digital. That said, the distortions inherent in vinyl replay can be euphonic and some people prefer its characteristic sound. When they say it's "better", what they really mean is that they enjoy it more. (There is a lunatic fringe which clings to an insane belief that vinyl is actually more accurate than digital, but they are simply howling at the moon).

Now, *if* you were the sort of person who prefers vinyl to digital, the Rega TT you've heard is already far enough up the food chain to demonstrate such a preference. Since you were not impressed with what you heard, then there is no device higher up the food chain that will change your mind, not even a Rockport Sirius or Goldmund Reference.

darrenyeats
2011-02-11, 11:01
I've heard high-end rigs with turntable front ends. I've never heard anything to make me think vinyl is superior. Some people hear it, apparently. I don't hear it.

Then again, I could say the same about ultra high-end digital sources. They have not impressed me as being superior to more reasonably priced but well-engineered digital sources.

A lot is in the mind, in my opinion.

One additional factor is that vinyl mastering can sometimes be better than the equivalent CD mastering. In fact, the original recording and the mastering is always very significant no matter the delivery format.
Darren

garym
2011-02-11, 11:12
wow.... $73,750.
http://www.stereophile.com/turntables/258/

duke43j
2011-02-11, 11:47
wow.... $73,750.
http://www.stereophile.com/turntables/258/

I see that stuff and I just shake my head. I'm nowhere near that fanatical (or that rich).

But the question remains. Is anyone out there with a good digital front end that thinks their analog system sounds better?

pski
2011-02-11, 19:32
In any case, the quality of vinyl depends on the production of the product and the quality of the cartridge.

Cartridges were (and are) notorious for flavoring the sound. (From my experience, Grado makes excellent products at reasonable prices. AudioTechnica are good but not so cheap.)

With careful alignment and leveling and down-force and anti-skate, most modern turntables are capable of maintaining the correct RPM's and can sound great. That said, a small amount of down-force alteration can completely change the character of the sound not to mention the other factors (and the terror of acoustic feedback.)

Don't forget also that most albums were (are) not made of strong material. When an album is played, the grooves (the signal) are subtly stretched and this results in alteration. Higher range of response also results in more kinetic energy slamming against the sides of the grooves. Albums from the 60's - 80's could be irrevocably damaged if you played the same track(s) before you allowed the album to "rest" back <closer> to it's manufactured shape.

The early response to attaining higher fidelity made two advancements:

The "half speed" master which drove the cutting head of the master at a slower rate to allow more accurate etching of the program material.

Much harder vinyl that provided more accurate pressing and less stretch during playback.

In short: vinyl is a PITA and though there are crappy CD's it all depends on the care of production. People who say vinyl is better would be better-off buying some Dynaudio speakers and/or a high current amp.

P

RonM
2011-02-11, 19:45
I agree that much of the allure of vinyl is that many people (me included) prefer a warmer and more ďmusicalĒ sound to an ďanalyticalĒ (and probably more accurate) sound. I believe this warm sound is achieved by rolling off the high end, and/or by introducing even harmonics (i.e. distortion) to the sound. . . Iím also not too distracted by a moderate amount of surface noise (pops, crackles) of vinyl. So, that doesnít bother me. Maybe this is because I got into hi-fi long before CDs came along.

I like listening to live music, straight up acoustic in a small space, modest amplification otherwise. Not that I don't appreciate the occasional ear-drum-rattling rock concert.

So for me the objective of any reproduction system is to replicate the live sound of real music. As far as I can tell digital does this as well as and mostly better than analog. As noted in my previous post, the "warmer" sound attributed to vinyl is an artifact largely unrelated to what the music actually sounds like first hand. It's hard for me to see what the benefits might be of introducing the kind of distortion applauded for vinyl.

That said, what we prefer is what we prefer, so I'm not critical of those who prefer this "vinyl sound" -- but think we need to understand that it may often be a learned preference.

The other point is that the so-called brittleness of digital sound is a true fact -- for early digital and for cheap systems. Better recording equipment and better playback equipment have gotten us past that.

r.

Mnyb
2011-02-11, 21:42
In an objective sense, vinyl is a complete dog's dinner compared to CD format digital. That said, the distortions inherent in vinyl replay can be euphonic and some people prefer its characteristic sound. When they say it's "better", what they really mean is that they enjoy it more. (There is a lunatic fringe which clings to an insane belief that vinyl is actually more accurate than digital, but they are simply howling at the moon).

Now, *if* you were the sort of person who prefers vinyl to digital, the Rega TT you've heard is already far enough up the food chain to demonstrate such a preference. Since you were not impressed with what you heard, then there is no device higher up the food chain that will change your mind, not even a Rockport Sirius or Goldmund Reference.

Vinyl != analog.

LP mastering and playback, has a very large se of gremlins not present in "analog" per definition.

The tape master would sound superoir, unless wich was common in the old days the master is somewhat tweaked to " compensate" for the vinyl distorsion, example you make the master a little thinner and no so forward in the midrange as the LP cut will get you more " body".

Many LP are cut from digital master and claiming that thoose are better is just plain 24 carat stupid !
Then it's not hifi anymoore but " special effects". Hifi imho is trying to hear what in petes name is on that recording ( note the recording, the event itself is already lost ).
Note this aproach does not in itself imply cold or " analytical" sound, this is also a missunderstanding.
Your hifi could sound " analytical & cold " as a sfx as well as " warm " .
But the foremost source of bad sound is the recording itself, and it cant be undone by anythinh you do in your hifi.

duke43j
2011-02-12, 07:02
...
The other point is that the so-called brittleness of digital sound is a true fact -- for early digital and for cheap systems. Better recording equipment and better playback equipment have gotten us past that.

r.

I certainly agree. I was one of the early adopters of CDs when they came out in the 80s. I still play some of those old CDs today. They sound somewhat harsh and strident compared to todayís CDs. I can never relax and enjoy the music; I always find myself turning the volume down. I wouldnít say they are awful, but the problems are certainly noticeable. I have none of those complaints with todayís CDs.

I also agree that the recording and mastering of records or CDs can make a huge difference. I have a recent CD of Ella Fitzgerald and an LP of Dave Brubeck that are so bad I wonít even play them. On the other hand, there are some CDs that I like to play, not because I like the music, but because they sound so good. (This hobby can make you crazy.)

ncarver
2011-02-12, 09:43
I was just reading a NYTimes article about manual coffee makers, and how some people get pleasure from spending several minutes hand pouring water into their coffee making devices. I believe LPs can produce similar feelings in many people (aligning cartridges, handling the LPs, cleaning them, building up expectations about eventual sound, etc.). I would rather get my pleasure from actually drinking a good cup of coffee--and from actually listening to music.

I am also quite sensitive to noise compared to most people I meet, so LPs have always been a problem for me. Yes, clean LPs played on high end equipment can have much less apparent levels of surface noise than on cheap equipment, but they never have none. For me, this noise virtually always intrudes on the illusion of hearing real instruments. I have infuriated a number of analog fanatics by complaining about surface noise artifacts in their "absolutely realistic sounding" systems. People differ in their sensitivity to different types of artifacts obviously.

guidof
2011-02-12, 10:45
IMO the quality of the recording has a lot more to do with the enjoyment of recorded music than the medium itself, analog or digital.

I have some LPs for which I also have a CD remastering. Each LP version sounds different from the corresponding CD, but a bad recording sounds bad in both formats, while a good recording is enjoyable in both.

That said, in my system CDs tend to 'open up' better than LPs.

In both LP and CD formats, I often find that Gordon Holt's law applies, namely "the better the performance, the worse the recording, and vice-versa."

Guido F.

RonM
2011-02-12, 11:48
I was just reading a NYTimes article about manual coffee makers, and how some people get pleasure from spending several minutes hand pouring water into their coffee making devices..

What, there's a problem with that? I actually roast my own coffee beans. You sayin' that's like liking vinyl? Say it ain't so!

R.

ncarver
2011-02-12, 13:10
What, there's a problem with that? I actually roast my own coffee beans. You sayin' that's like liking vinyl? Say it ain't so!

Hah! Have you subjected your roasted beans to double blind taste tests to scientifically prove they taste better? If not, you are obviously just fooling yourself about their superiority! :)

Along a similar vein...I got a charcoal grill again last summer after many years with gas only, and my wife and I were ecstatic about how much better burgers and steaks were on the charcoal grill...until I read that blind taste tests have "proven" that for meats cooked for as short a time as those, people cannot distinguish gas vs. charcoal grilling! Really? Is that people with no sense of taste?? (Like those "tin ears" that can't hear differences in speaker cables? :) ) I had gas-grilled burgers for the first time in several months recently because I didn't want to spend much time out in the cold, and I didn't finish mine because it was so tasteless, relatively speaking. But of course this is all in my head--blind tests have proven it must be!! (Actually for me this represents yet another reason to be skeptical about many blind testing protocols and whether the results of such tests can be used to draw valid generalizations or not.)

darrenyeats
2011-02-12, 15:42
Hah! Have you subjected your roasted beans to double blind taste tests to scientifically prove they taste better? If not, you are obviously just fooling yourself about their superiority! :)

Along a similar vein...I got a charcoal grill again last summer after many years with gas only, and my wife and I were ecstatic about how much better burgers and steaks were on the charcoal grill...until I read that blind taste tests have "proven" that for meats cooked for as short a time as those, people cannot distinguish gas vs. charcoal grilling! Really? Is that people with no sense of taste?? (Like those "tin ears" that can't hear differences in speaker cables?) I had gas-grilled burgers for the first time in several months recently because I didn't want to spend much time out in the cold, and I didn't finish mine because it was so tasteless, relative speaking. But of course this is all in my head--a blind test has proven it must be!! (Actually for me this represents yet another reason to be skeptical about many blind testing protocols and whether the results of such tests can be used to draw valid generalizations or not.)

Unsighted tests can be used on a personal level to draw your own conclusions based on your own tastes and preferences. There's no need to rely on third party tests.
Darren

Daverz
2011-02-12, 21:35
Now I’m thinking – Either these claims are totally bogus, or I’m just looking in the wrong price range. The retail cost of the Rega table, cartridge and phono preamp was about $1500, which is comparable to the cost of my SB3 and Benchmark DAC 1. How high up the food chain do you have to go to get this “better than digital” sound that people are claiming? Does anybody have a good digital front end (i.e. comparable to a Benchmark, Berkeley, Wavelength Audio Proton, etc.) with an analog front end that they think sounds better?

It's bogus in the sense that a lot of the people that say that are just repeating received wisdom rather than speaking from experience. But there are folks that really enjoy the sound of records more.

I don't think much of Rega tables, though the arms are very good. And $1500 total doesn't leave much room for a good cart and phono pre-amp given that the P3-24 starts at about $900 or so. Was it all Rega equipment?

Some of those B&O tables were quite respectable. I had a couple back in the 90s, and I remember enjoying them more than the Rega Planar 3 I had. If the stylus is worn, you might consider replacing the cartridge with one from SoundSmith (http://www.sound-smith.com/cartridges/boall.html). They have an adapter so you can keep the cart if you upgrade to a new TT. It's also possible you might benefit from a better phono preamp. It's never going to sound like the Benchmark, though.

This is all pretty irrelevant unless you have records you really want to hear. If you're happy with the digital versions available -- and I have to say I'm usually pretty satisfied with the quality of digital transfers when they are available -- then there isn't much point to this exercise.

pski
2011-02-12, 22:35
It's bogus in the sense that a lot of the people that say that are just repeating received wisdom rather than speaking from experience. But there are folks that really enjoy the sound of records more.

I don't think much of Rega tables, though the arms are very good. And $1500 total doesn't leave much room for a good cart and phono pre-amp given that the P3-24 starts at about $900 or so. Was it all Rega equipment?

Some of those B&O tables were quite respectable. I had a couple back in the 90s, and I remember enjoying them more than the Rega Planar 3 I had. If the stylus is worn, you might consider replacing the cartridge with one from SoundSmith (http://www.sound-smith.com/cartridges/boall.html). They have an adapter so you can keep the cart if you upgrade to a new TT. It's also possible you might benefit from a better phono preamp. It's never going to sound like the Benchmark, though.

This is all pretty irrelevant unless you have records you really want to hear. If you're happy with the digital versions available -- and I have to say I'm usually pretty satisfied with the quality of digital transfers when they are available -- then there isn't much point to this exercise.

So you've been gullible for a long time. Anything else?

P

duke43j
2011-02-13, 07:39
It's bogus in the sense that a lot of the people that say that are just repeating received wisdom rather than speaking from experience. But there are folks that really enjoy the sound of records more.

That may be exactly what Iím going through right now. I see all these blogs about how people are jumping back into vinyl and Iím wondering if Iím missing out on something. Maybe I am just getting caught up in the hype. So far though, Iím not convinced. There would have to be major improvements over my B&O to bring it up to the level of my SB3/DAC.



I don't think much of Rega tables, though the arms are very good. And $1500 total doesn't leave much room for a good cart and phono pre-amp given that the P3-24 starts at about $900 or so. Was it all Rega equipment?

Some of those B&O tables were quite respectable. I had a couple back in the 90s, and I remember enjoying them more than the Rega Planar 3 I had. If the stylus is worn, you might consider replacing the cartridge with one from SoundSmith (http://www.sound-smith.com/cartridges/boall.html). They have an adapter so you can keep the cart if you upgrade to a new TT. It's also possible you might benefit from a better phono preamp. It's never going to sound like the Benchmark, though.

The equipment I auditioned included the Rega, a Grado Sonata cartridge and a Sumiko Tube Box phono preamp. The $1500 figure I mentioned was just ballpark. We never even got close to negotiating a final price on it. It was difficult to compare his Rega on his system in his store with the sound of my B&O on my system in my living room 2 hours later. But I didnít think they sounded that much different. In fact, I couldnít even tell if his sounded better than mine. The big problem with the B&O is that I canít upgrade it. Iíve got a good cartridge in it, and thatís about all I can do. I do have a cheap ($50) phono preamp. Will upgrading the preamp make a big difference?


This is all pretty irrelevant unless you have records you really want to hear. If you're happy with the digital versions available -- and I have to say I'm usually pretty satisfied with the quality of digital transfers when they are available -- then there isn't much point to this exercise.


I have a fair amount of music that I still like to listen to that I have only on records. Of course the aggravation of dealing with them, plus the inferior sound quality discourages me from pulling them out of the closet. If I could substantially improve the sound I would be listening to them a lot more.

JohnSwenson
2011-02-13, 19:21
On the vinyl to digital front I have a Well Tempered Record Player with upgraded platter, with a Shelter 501 cartridge and a Bottlehead Seduction phono stage (highly modified), on the digital side is a Touch feeding my own home grown DAC (I've made about 30 DACs so far). This DAC is one of the best I've ever heard.

Which is better? The best vinyl sounds better than the best digital. But both vary wildly. I have a lot of vinyl thats dreck. There are quite a few cases where I have the same recording on both, in some cases the vinyl is better in some the digital is better. I'm sure a LOT of that has to do with remastering, nobody puts on the CD EXACTLY what they put on the record.

Some of my favorite recordings of all time are on the Reference Recording label, many of these I have in both formats, the vinyl slightly edges out the digital. But I listen to the digital more often because it is way more convenient.

Now I have some new boards and parts on order for a new analog stage for the DAC which may tip the balance the other way. But I'm also putting together a new phono stage, we'll see how things go in a few months.

The vinyl system I have will wipe the floor with a Touch on its own, but with a REALLY good DAC I'd say its neck and neck right now.

BTW the vinyl system I have would cost slightly over $5K today. (the table is 23 years old, it was a lot less when I bought it than it is now)

John S.

pski
2011-02-13, 20:50
On the vinyl to digital front I have a Well Tempered Record Player with upgraded platter, with a Shelter 501 cartridge and a Bottlehead Seduction phono stage (highly modified), on the digital side is a Touch feeding my own home grown DAC (I've made about 30 DACs so far). This DAC is one of the best I've ever heard.

Which is better? The best vinyl sounds better than the best digital. But both vary wildly. I have a lot of vinyl thats dreck. There are quite a few cases where I have the same recording on both, in some cases the vinyl is better in some the digital is better. I'm sure a LOT of that has to do with remastering, nobody puts on the CD EXACTLY what they put on the record.

Some of my favorite recordings of all time are on the Reference Recording label, many of these I have in both formats, the vinyl slightly edges out the digital. But I listen to the digital more often because it is way more convenient.

Now I have some new boards and parts on order for a new analog stage for the DAC which may tip the balance the other way. But I'm also putting together a new phono stage, we'll see how things go in a few months.

The vinyl system I have will wipe the floor with a Touch on its own, but with a REALLY good DAC I'd say its neck and neck right now.

BTW the vinyl system I have would cost slightly over $5K today. (the table is 23 years old, it was a lot less when I bought it than it is now)

John S.

Why should we care? Stupid is as stupid does.

P

Daverz
2011-02-13, 21:38
so you've been gullible for a long time. Anything else?


wtf?

Daverz
2011-02-13, 21:51
Iíve got a good cartridge in it, and thatís about all I can do. I do have a cheap ($50) phono preamp. Will upgrading the preamp make a big difference?


Yes, phono pre-amps can make a big difference, even to things you might not think they would make a difference to, like the level of surface noise that you hear. I hate to use price as a metric, but in my experience, $50 will not buy a very good phono preamp.

stop-spinning
2011-02-14, 00:57
I must admit - I have heard a good vinyl rig demonstrated to me against a good digital rig and I have to say that, to me at least, the vinyl rig sounded better.

There's something that just 'feels' right about the sound of vinyl that I can't put my finger on. It just sound more natural - something that works well with the relationship between you ear and your brain. Yes the digital side sounded cleaner and more dynamic - but still did not make me feel more at ease with the sound.

I guess when you think about it (not that I'm an expert) - the best DAC in the world is no DAC, with the sound being analogue from start to finish without the need to convert from a digital domain to analogue - so no need to worry about those jitter nasties if you don't mind the odd snap, crackle and pop.

Perhaps it also sounds better because from the start the needle on a deck works like a musical instrument - it has to vibrate to make sound, like say, the strings on a violin or you own vocal cords. Who knows?

Rodney_Gold
2011-02-14, 02:22
You have to remember that any playback really has to transport you to some state of audio nirvana via sonics , musical memories , meaning of words , tunes etc.. all really in the mind.
All audio is coloured , from the recording to the playback/room etc - so in essence ppl are choosing the colouration they subjectively like.
One is not better than another as a universal truth..it's better for a particular listener.

cliveb
2011-02-14, 05:17
I guess when you think about it (not that I'm an expert) - the best DAC in the world is no DAC, with the sound being analogue from start to finish without the need to convert from a digital domain to analogue - so no need to worry about those jitter nasties if you don't mind the odd snap, crackle and pop.
Analogue equipment has jitter - it's called wow & flutter. And it's orders of magnitude worse than the jitter levels of even quite modest digital equipment.


Perhaps it also sounds better because from the start the needle on a deck works like a musical instrument - it has to vibrate to make sound, like say, the strings on a violin or you own vocal cords. Who knows?
Everything that makes you like the sound of vinyl is down to its intrinsic distortions and colourations. It is trivially easy to demonstrate that a competent digital recording of a vinyl LP sounds indistinguishable from the LP itself. Nothing about the pleasant sound of vinyl is due to lack of digitisation. (Pretty much all vinyl LPs these days are cut from digital recordings, anyway).

Robin Bowes
2011-02-14, 05:59
On 14/02/11 12:17, cliveb wrote:
>
> stop-spinning;610966 Wrote:
>> I guess when you think about it (not that I'm an expert) - the best DAC
>> in the world is no DAC, with the sound being analogue from start to
>> finish without the need to convert from a digital domain to analogue -
>> so no need to worry about those jitter nasties if you don't mind the
>> odd snap, crackle and pop.
> Analogue equipment has jitter - it's called wow & flutter. And it's
> orders of magnitude worse than the jitter levels of even quite modest
> digital equipment.

I'm not a vinyl apologist, but that's not quite the whole picture.

Sure, bad "wow" is awful, but that really only happens with broken
equipment or badly damaged media, and even then I would argue that a
record with an offset hole is still listenable compared to a corrupt
digital file.

In normal operation, the modulation frequency of any pitch variation is
so low that it is barely audible, if at all.

I believe "jitter" on the other hand has a less obvious effect on sound.
I think it particularly affects higher frequencies which contain a lot
of psychoacoustic cues, ie. positional information (width, depth, sound
stage, etc). I find poor digital sound to be harsh to listen to,
sterile, hard, tiring on the ears, etc. I think getting this right (or
at least good enough) is more important than all other aspects of the
audio chain (assuming of course at least a basic standard!). Of course,
this makes the assumption that it is indeed jitter that causes these
effects.

So, in summary, I don't listen to vinyl - too inconvenient and digital
can sound just as good (to my ears). But don't underestimate the
importance of a good digital source.

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

duke43j
2011-02-14, 07:08
...The vinyl system I have will wipe the floor with a Touch on its own, but with a REALLY good DAC I'd say its neck and neck right now.

BTW the vinyl system I have would cost slightly over $5K today. (the table is 23 years old, it was a lot less when I bought it than it is now)
John S.

So there are some vinyl enthusiasts out there! Thanks for the input. Apparently you must be very happy with your Well Tempered table since youíve kept it for so long. Iíve read some very favorable reviews of them, but the arm pivot scares me. It seems a little precarious. Is it high maintenance or difficult to move with the fluid and all? Once the table is set up, I donít want to be fussing with it too much. Youíve given me my first data point of $5000 for a good quality setup. Thanks.

Daverz thinks that I can benefit by upgrading my dime store preamp, and that makes sense to me. Maybe Iíll start there.

Since Iíve only gotten this one direct answer to my original question (not surprising since this is a digital forum), let me ask my question another way.
Is there anyone out there that has a good quality turntable/cartridge/preamp but thinks their digital input sounds better?

cliveb
2011-02-14, 09:45
On 14/02/11 12:17, cliveb wrote:
> Analogue equipment has jitter - it's called wow & flutter. And it's
> orders of magnitude worse than the jitter levels of even quite modest
> digital equipment.

I'm not a vinyl apologist, but that's not quite the whole picture.

Sure, bad "wow" is awful, but that really only happens with broken
equipment or badly damaged media, and even then I would argue that a
record with an offset hole is still listenable compared to a corrupt
digital file.

In normal operation, the modulation frequency of any pitch variation is
so low that it is barely audible, if at all.
I agree - a good turntable has wow & flutter low enough that it is usually not noticable, except on really demanding stuff like solo piano. But this does not alter the fact that jitter and wow & flutter are both examples of timing errors. Which brings up an interesting point....

A really *really* good turntable might achieve W&F as low as 0.01% (cf. decks such as Linn LP12, Technics SL10, which are typically about 0.03%). Now, 0.01% is a timing error of one part in 10,000. For CD format digital, the equivalent jitter that represents an error of 1 part in 10,000 is about 20 uS. People worry about jitter down around 200 pS, which is a factor of 100,000 less than 20 uS. (Some people even worry about jitter of 20 pS - a MILLION times less than W&F from a state-of-the-art turntable). Granted, wow & flutter is a much lower frequency phenomenon than typical digital jitter, and I'm willing to accept that higher frequency timing errors could well be more audibly intrusive, but I have a hard time believing that it's going to be 100,000 times more annoying.

The fact that wow & flutter this high is generally inaudible seems to gel quite well with Ashihara et al's discovery in a properly conducted test that out of 23 audio engineers/critics/musicians not one single one of them could hear the effects of uncorrelated jitter at 250 nS (that's 250,000 pS) on normal music programme material. (ref: "Detection threshold for distortions due to jitter on digital audio", Acoust. Sci. & Tech. 26, 1 [2005])

You know, maybe jitter isn't the bogeyman so many people seem to think it is. There are other more plausible explanations why different transports sound different through the same DAC, even when the DAC in use is supposed to be immune to jitter (eg. Benchmark, Lavry) - things like ground plane noise and radiated RFI that affects the downstream analogue circuitry.

cliveb
2011-02-14, 09:51
Since Iíve only gotten this one direct answer to my original question (not surprising since this is a digital forum), let me ask my question another way.
Is there anyone out there that has a good quality turntable/cartridge/preamp but thinks their digital input sounds better?
OK, I'll bite. I have a Linn LP12/Lingo with Ittok arm and Karma moving coil cartridge, and a Naim 42.5 preamp with special purpose Karma input boards. I guess the total cost these days would probably be about $4k or so. It sounds pretty good.

Compared to my Transporter, it is dreck.

guidof
2011-02-14, 09:58
Since Iíve only gotten this one direct answer to my original question (not surprising since this is a digital forum), let me ask my question another way.
Is there anyone out there that has a good quality turntable/cartridge/preamp but thinks their digital input sounds better?

Yes, I do.

My digital rig sounds better than my analog, if by "better" one means closer to the impression one gets from live music (though clearly any recorded technology still does not fully recreate the sound of a live performance).

But keep in mind that my analog rig (see below) is, IMO, only "good," not very good or excellent, while my digital is "very good," though roughly as expensive as my analog. Neither is probably as good as John Swenson's.

That said, I still enjoy listening to my vinyl collection, though both for convenience and sound I tend to favor my CDs and now my Touch.

If I had to start all over again, would I invest on LPs and an analog rig? Probably not.

Happy listening!

Guido F.

guidof
2011-02-14, 10:05
so you've been gullible for a long time. Anything else?

P


why should we care? Stupid is as stupid does.

P

What intemperate and uncivil comments to two thoughtful and informative posts!

Guido F.

Daverz
2011-02-14, 14:41
Is there anyone out there that has a good quality turntable/cartridge/preamp but thinks their digital input sounds better?

I have about $6000 sunk into my current analog rig*. I've been collecting records on and off for about 35 years.

I'm very happy with the sound I get out of my records (which I collect for repertoire and artists, not audiophile qualities). A good record can be a real joy. The point for me is to get the best playback for the music trapped on the Lps.

However, I do collect more CDs than Lps, and these day listen mostly to my Touch. There are various reasons:

- Much of the music I want to listen to is only on CD. The CD/digital era has now lasted about as long as the stereo Lp era.
- The original pressings I had access to were mediocre, or I can't find a good vinyl copy, or any vinyl copy. CD was often a godsend because of this.
- CDs are easier to mail order. Lps are a crapshoot because people don't grade them honestly or know how to grade them at all. Used Lps are also too expensive online. I have to make a special trip to L.A. to find good sources of Lps. I won't buy new pressings at $30-50 each.
- Touch is extremely convenient.
- My records are dusty, and I'm too lazy to clean them.
- Don't have to turn over sides for a Mahler or Bruckner symphony (lazy again. You don't even have to switch CDs with the Touch.)

I guess "I'm lazy" is a big reason.

*Michell Gyro SE turntable, SME 309 tonearm, Audio Technica AT33PTG cartridge; the phono pre-amp is an optional (solid state) card in my BAT 3iX preamp. This does not include the record cleaning machine and various other record and turntable care doodads.

Maybe I should do some rips so people can get an idea of how the rig sounds. I don't have a lot of super clean audiophile-type stuff to demo though.

duke43j
2011-02-15, 08:25
That is great information! Itís just the sort of opinions I was looking for.

I often read where somebody thinks that vinyl (or digital) is so much better, but I always wonder if they really know what they are talking about. Have they ever seriously compared the two by listening to both over an extended period of time through the same speakers in the same room? I realize that different people have different ideas about what sounds good and we will always get conflicting opinions. But thatís life. It is certainly much better than no information at all.

Your inputs have actually reinforced what I suspected all along, that vinyl can be good (sometimes very good), but it is not as consistently good as digital. And there is always the nuisance factor of dealing with LPs and turntables.

I still think Iíll upgrade my phono preamp, but after that, Iíll continue to concentrate on improving the digital side.

Thanks, everyone.

Daverz
2011-02-15, 18:05
Hmmm, I tried ripping an Lp to a 24/96 file and my results weren't very good. The digital files seem to lose some presence and even some bass. Maybe my M-Audio Audiophile USB isn't cutting it anymore.

WAD62
2011-02-16, 06:36
I've only ever bothered digitising some of my rare 12"s, it's such a pain to do even if you get the volume levels perfect it's going to take an elapsed time of about an hour. Then there's editing the waveform for track lead in etc. Oh and you get scratches & surface noise too.

Most back catalogue CD's aren't too expensive these days (usually less than £10), and they're probably mastered to CD on better kit than I can afford, so unless you're on minimum wage, or there's no CD version available, it's a waste of time and money IMHO

Daverz
2011-02-16, 13:40
Yeah, I only rip Lps that never made it to CD, and usually only things I want to share with friends at that.

One reason not to bother is that with modern cartridges and tonearms, there's no reason not to just play the Lp when you want to hear it. It's not going to wear out.

However, if something is too scratchy to enjoy, software like ClickRepair can clean it up very well without effecting the music.

pski
2011-02-18, 20:38
What intemperate and uncivil comments to two thoughtful and informative posts!

Guido F.

Please forward the address I should send the lotion

Phoenix
2011-02-19, 15:37
That is great information! Itís just the sort of opinions I was looking for.

I often read where somebody thinks that vinyl (or digital) is so much better, but I always wonder if they really know what they are talking about. Have they ever seriously compared the two by listening to both over an extended period of time through the same speakers in the same room? I realize that different people have different ideas about what sounds good and we will always get conflicting opinions. But thatís life. It is certainly much better than no information at all.

Your inputs have actually reinforced what I suspected all along, that vinyl can be good (sometimes very good), but it is not as consistently good as digital. And there is always the nuisance factor of dealing with LPs and turntables.

I still think Iíll upgrade my phono preamp, but after that, Iíll continue to concentrate on improving the digital side.

Thanks, everyone.

As anyone who looks at what I have in my living room can see, I have a very respectable analog system and a very good digital playback system as well, so I feel qualified to weigh in on this one.

I really like the sound of the analog rig, but I recognize that it is colored in the same way an older tube amplifier is also colored. Yes it does space really well, makes vocals sound delicious, and has very good dynamic range, butt...it colors all records, so they sound this way--and I do kind of like it.
But it has some practical drawbacks as well. I have over 1200 records and they take up a whole wall of storage, the turntable (VPI) weighs over 80 lbs, the unit it sits, the vibraplane weighs over 120 lbs, and must constantly be adjused to have the correct air pressure, I have to adjust VTA if I want the sound to be right, and it goes on and on.
But I love the unit in the same way I love my mother's meat loaf. I love it because it's what I grew up with, and though I know there is better meat loaf out there, I still have a strong desire to return to this meat loaf from time to time.
On the other hand I am in awe of my digital set up. It has super low noise, is uncolored, and with the TACT unit, I can adjust my system for the shortcomings of my listening room and speakers. In short, I think it's close to if not pushing State of the Art.
And it is super convenient. I have almost 1500 CD's stored on and external hard drive which Squeezebox plays without a hiccup. That collection takes up as much room as a paperback book, and is every bit that portable. Did I mention I can use room and speaker correction with digital?
I did, well it's a huge plus, believe me.
So what am I to do. Well, my next project is to use a Korg MR1 to capture the sound of all my vinyl to digital. I am quite confident I can get these captured records to sound exactly like my analog rig, plus I will be able to use the Tact's room and speaker correction to make it sound less colored.
I am not going to tell anyone that listening to analog is listening to a lower fidelity medium--though I will concede it probably is. If you grew up on digital I understand that you will never see the attraction of analog. And I know many a die hard analog person who will never let digital touch their ears if they can help it. That's their privilidge as well.
But I guess that if you don't have a sunken investment in analogue, your very best bet would be to go with something like a Squeezebox Touch and an excellent DAC, and possibly implement room and speaker correction either with a unit like TACT or through a software based solution like INGUZ. That will give you something close to a state of the art front end for comparatively few dollars. Since I started in the 80's building my system, I will have to live with both the analog and digital front ends at least until I decide if I can capture my record collection to digital.

Pneumonic
2011-02-20, 11:58
So what am I to do. Well, my next project is to use a Korg MR1 to capture the sound of all my vinyl to digital. I am quite confident I can get these captured records to sound exactly like my analog rig, plus I will be able to use the Tact's room and speaker correction to make it sound less colored.
I have done this exact thing with close to 800 of my favourite vinyl collection. Not only have I been able to capture all of the "pleasant" distortions and colourations that vinyl has to offer but I no longer need to wear out my prized vinyl anymore.


I am not going to tell anyone that listening to analog is listening to a lower fidelity medium--though I will concede it probably is.
One thing to keep in mind is that vinyl playback is as much a representation of the original source as is digital. Many pro vinyl/anti digital folks seem to forget this part for some reason.

Looking at the problems inherent with the vinyl process (lathe cutting process, imperfect stamper, crosstalk, phase errors, tracking arc errors, wow and flutter, RIAA equalization irregularities, worn out vinyl, etc, etc), it's a wonder that anyone would ever consider vinyl as hi-fi in the true sense of the word (ie an accurate representation of the original).

Saying so, these added colourations and distortions sure can sound pleasant, and addictive, and missed sorely if they are no longer present in the signal path.

ralphpnj
2011-02-20, 13:19
Once again what is fast becoming the "age old argument" of analog versus digital rears its head only this time in the slightly different form of vinyl versus digital.

For what it's worth here is my 2 cents worth:

I own a fairly good vinyl playback rig (Linn LP12 with Ittok arm, Lingo power supply, Grado Reference cartridge and Grado phono preamp) I bought the Linn used sometime in the mid 1980s and since that time I done several upgrades to it. The main reason I bought the Linn was so that I would not have to replace all my vinyl (I had around 2,000 LPs at the time) with CDs and to this day I haven't replaced all that much of my vinyl.

On the digital side of things I have a Transporter and a McCormack UDP-1 universal disc player. Both sound very good but since the Transporter is so much convenient than playing CDs the McCormack is now only used for playing SACDs. My DVD-Audio disc have all been ripped to high resolution digital files and are played back using the Transporter.

How do the two playback methods/systems compare? Pretty much a tie with vinyl getting the edge over digital whenever there is excessive amounts of dynamic range compression (aka "Loudness Wars") used in the mastering of the CD.** What I often find myself saying when I'm listening to an LP is "this sounds as good as a CD".

However the convenience of digital playback, particularly when using the Transporter, is just so much better than that of vinyl that digital wins the "total listening" experience hands down. Add to that the fact I can listen to my entire digital music collection via any of the several other Squeezebox devices located throughout my house and digital again comes out on top.

Now bare in mind that I have over 2,000 LPs, most of the them purchased before the introduction of the CD so getting a high quality turntable seemed like a very good idea. And while I understand the fascination with vinyl I think that the glory days of finding great vinyl super cheap at yard sales is long gone. Add in the high cost of new vinyl (of course it's expensive, audiophiles buy it) and the very limited selection of new releases available on vinyl and the idea of getting into vinyl at this late stage just seems a bit pointless.

** As a side note: there are some people out there who prefer the vinyl over the CD for many new recordings, even when the recording is all digital, since quite often the vinyl mastering does not use dynamic range compression while the CD version does.

pski
2011-02-20, 20:46
Once again what is fast becoming the "age old argument" of analog versus digital rears its head only this time in the slightly different form of vinyl versus digital.

For what it's worth here is my 2 cents worth:

I own a fairly good vinyl playback rig (Linn LP12 with Ittok arm, Lingo power supply, Grado Reference cartridge and Grado phono preamp) I bought the Linn used sometime in the mid 1980s and since that time I done several upgrades to it. The main reason I bought the Linn was so that I would not have to replace all my vinyl (I had around 2,000 LPs at the time) with CDs and to this day I haven't replaced all that much of my vinyl.

On the digital side of things I have a Transporter and a McCormack UDP-1 universal disc player. Both sound very good but since the Transporter is so much convenient than playing CDs the McCormack is now only used for playing SACDs. My DVD-Audio disc have all been ripped to high resolution digital files and are played back using the Transporter.

How do the two playback methods/systems compare? Pretty much a tie with vinyl getting the edge over digital whenever there is excessive amounts of dynamic range compression (aka "Loudness Wars") used in the mastering of the CD.** What I often find myself saying when I'm listening to an LP is "this sounds as good as a CD".

However the convenience of digital playback, particularly when using the Transporter, is just so much better than that of vinyl that digital wins the "total listening" experience hands down. Add to that the fact I can listen to my entire digital music collection via any of the several other Squeezebox devices located throughout my house and digital again comes out on top.

Now bare in mind that I have over 2,000 LPs, most of the them purchased before the introduction of the CD so getting a high quality turntable seemed like a very good idea. And while I understand the fascination with vinyl I think that the glory days of finding great vinyl super cheap at yard sales is long gone. Add in the high cost of new vinyl (of course it's expensive, audiophiles buy it) and the very limited selection of new releases available on vinyl and the idea of getting into vinyl at this late stage just seems a bit pointless.

** As a side note: there are some people out there who prefer the vinyl over the CD for many new recordings, even when the recording is all digital, since quite often the vinyl mastering does not use dynamic range compression while the CD version does.

So? I guess we are supposed to be impressed? I don't understand your point

ralphpnj
2011-02-20, 22:03
So? I guess we are supposed to be impressed? I don't understand your point

Pray tell how did you manage to get to such a high post with such a bad attitude, lack of common decency and completely worthless contributions? Oh wait I know: by posting only single sentences, which quite frankly is a real blessing.

To answer your question, my post was a direct answer to the OP's original question. You see some of us actually prefer to make positive contributions rather than post nasty quips, so please go back to the cave you crawled out of.

Mnyb
2011-02-20, 23:17
Piont was the vinyls limitations also prevent it from being used in the loudness war, hence the oxymoron of digitally recorded stuff being " better" on vinyl ? This is ofcourse a completely perverse state of affairs..

I begun life with vinyl but sold of my 350 vinyls in 1999 to reduce my losses, it was simply cheaper and easier to get cd of the music i listened too, than sink anymoore silly money in a vinyl playback rig.
Have used CD since 1991 . I'm of that generation where CD just have arrived, when i bougth my first lp's as a kid there was no CD.

Daverz
2011-02-20, 23:22
So? I guess we are supposed to be impressed? I don't understand your point

The post you quoted was a direct answer to the question in the original post. Stop being a jackass.

duke43j
2011-02-21, 06:51
Thanks Phoenix and Ralphpnj for the very interesting and informative comments. Having grown up with vinyl I have many of the same feelings toward it that you have, but with only 200 LPs and a marginal turntable I havenít got a huge amount invested in vinyl at this point. Would it be fair to say that, knowing what you know now, if you were to start all over again, you wouldnít invest in vinyl?

ralphpnj
2011-02-21, 06:59
Thanks Phoenix and Ralphpnj for the very interesting and informative comments. Having grown up with vinyl I have many of the same feelings toward it that you have, but with only 200 LPs and a marginal turntable I havenít got a huge amount invested in vinyl at this point. Would it be fair to say that, knowing what you know now, if you were to start all over again, you wouldnít invest in vinyl?

I absolutely would not invest in vinyl were I starting from scratch. High resolution (24bit/88.2&96kHz) digital is pretty much the equal of vinyl in sound quality with all the advantages of digital and none of the disadvantages of vinyl.

WAD62
2011-02-21, 07:39
Piont was the vinyls limitations also prevent it from being used in the loudness war, hence the oxymoron of digitally recorded stuff being " better" on vinyl ? This is ofcourse a completely perverse state of affairs..

I begun life with vinyl but sold of my 350 vinyls in 1999 to reduce my losses, it was simply cheaper and easier to get cd of the music i listened too, than sink anymoore silly money in a vinyl playback rig.
Have used CD since 1991 . I'm of that generation where CD just have arrived, when i bougth my first lp's as a kid there was no CD.

I'm in a similar boat, but being a bit older (I imagine) switched to CDs in the mid eighties...although I've still retained most of my old vinyl.

Back then you'd need to pay about 50% more for the CD version, now perversely the whole thing's been turned on it's head, the Vinyl equivalent of a CD's about twice the price.

Regardless of the perceived difference in playback qualities (and we all have our own preferences), the vinyl enthusiasts are currently being exploited by the music industry, the other downside is that artists have gone back to recording 40 min albums, there was a time in the 90's and 00's where 60 mins was the norm.

The industry is very keen on pushing vinyl again, no copy issues, and the current 'youth' generation's perception of digital music has been tainted by mp3's, so they're easily marketed to.

The Arcade fire have released 'Suburbs' on FLAC at £3.50, the LP costs £14, £11.50 for a bit of plastic and a cover is quite outrageous ;)

Mnyb
2011-02-21, 10:35
yea the LP revival charming but whats next, hand written books on parchment with illuminations ( boo Gutenberg ) .

But all kinds off limited exclusive packaging to sell to collectors arise as alternetive revenue for musicians , I'm sometimes lured into it too having some limited edition remixes on signed CD's etc .

magiccarpetride
2011-02-21, 10:48
yea the LP revival charming but whats next, hand written books on parchment with illuminations ( boo Gutenberg ) .

But all kinds off limited exclusive packaging to sell to collectors arise as alternetive revenue for musicians , I'm sometimes lured into it too having some limited edition remixes on signed CD's etc .

Believe it or not, I've seen a magazine purporting the comeback of the cassette!

Mnyb
2011-02-21, 11:03
Believe it or not, I've seen a magazine purporting the comeback of the cassette!

Yikees time to get that old ghettoblaster dusted off and learn some breakdance ....

http://pocketcalculatorshow.com/boombox/

ralphpnj
2011-02-21, 11:11
Piont was the vinyls limitations also prevent it from being used in the loudness war, hence the oxymoron of digitally recorded stuff being " better" on vinyl ? This is ofcourse a completely perverse state of affairs..

Not exactly. I'm fully aware of the fact that CDs have the capacity for greater dynamic range then LPs so the present situation is truly perverse. From what I can gather when many (if not all) current popular music CDs (rock, pop, rap, etc.) are mastered the engineers are being directed by the powers that be to cut down the dynamic range and "pump up the volume", hence the "loudness wars". However when the same recording is mastered for LP the dynamic range is left basically untouched. Of course if one is listening to other less popular music, e.g. jazz or classical, this is not an issue.

Perhaps this is why so many young people find that the LP of new all digital recording sounds better than the CD - more dynamic range and a less fatiguing listening experience.

ralphpnj
2011-02-21, 11:16
Yikees time to get that old ghettoblaster dusted off and learn some breakdance ....

http://pocketcalculatorshow.com/boombox/

No need to break out that old boombox when you can just turn your iPod into a boombox:

http://www.gelaskins.com/store/skins/ipod_and_mp3/iPod_Video/Boombox

Phoenix
2011-02-21, 12:30
Thanks Phoenix and Ralphpnj for the very interesting and informative comments. Having grown up with vinyl I have many of the same feelings toward it that you have, but with only 200 LPs and a marginal turntable I haven’t got a huge amount invested in vinyl at this point. Would it be fair to say that, knowing what you know now, if you were to start all over again, you wouldn’t invest in vinyl?

That's correct. Digital done right is probably superior to analog even in 16/44--at 24/96 or 24/192 it's no contest. And the advent of dirt cheap servers like the SB or Apple Airport Express which render bit perfect files to the DAC, makes it a no brainer. I am keeping my vinyl because I invested so heavily in it before digital began to sound so good, but no way would I invest what would undoubtedly be over $15 K on an analogue front end today. That would make absolutely no sense given that for less than $5 k you can get a SOTA digital set up with all its convenience and flexibility.

Phoenix
2011-02-21, 17:14
Just came across this on the Stereophile website.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/hifiction-thales-av-tonearm

The tonearm supposedly reduces linear tangential tracking error to something like .0008. But of course there is no tracking error whatsoever on a digital recording.

But it only costs $12,360. USD.

Of course it's hardly the most expensive piece of analog gear out there. If you wanted to you could buy something like a Walker Proscenium Turntable and arm which might only set you by about $75 k. But you could play all the new vinyl with it!

Kind of sad. There was a time when these audio magizines offered sound advice to people looking to find high quality but still affordable alternatives to what was a lot of mass market crap. That's how a lot of us found about classic gear like LS3/5a's, CJ pv5 pre-amps, Lin Sondek LP1's and the like. Today they are little more than a Rob Report for people with enormous amounts of cash looking for their next status symbol.

pski
2011-02-21, 19:40
I absolutely would not invest in vinyl were I starting from scratch. High resolution (24bit/88.2&96kHz) digital is pretty much the equal of vinyl in sound quality with all the advantages of digital and none of the disadvantages of vinyl.

Actually, basic digital CD is far beyond the theoretical limit of vinyl

pski
2011-02-21, 19:50
So? I guess we are supposed to be impressed? I don't understand your point

I'm glad you enjoy your vinyl as much as you seem to enjoy touting your setup. Why don't you just go ahead and post how much you paid?

Thanks for being Fox News: "Perhaps this is why so many young people find that the LP of new all digital recording sounds better than the CD - more dynamic range and a less fatiguing listening experience. " Should "young people" want "dynamic range and a less fatiguing listening experience" they should get some good (not Apple) playback devices and lower their playback volume (not to mention not buying crappy quality songs.)

I normally post because I can help. In this case I can only point out self-manipulation. I have no hope of curing that.

darrenyeats
2011-02-22, 02:27
Thanks for being Fox News: "Perhaps this is why so many young people find that the LP of new all digital recording sounds better than the CD - more dynamic range and a less fatiguing listening experience. " Should "young people" want "dynamic range and a less fatiguing listening experience" they should get some good (not Apple) playback devices and lower their playback volume (not to mention not buying crappy quality songs.
The original point was that the mastering for vinyl can sometimes be better i.e. less dynamically compressed. Better digital playback equipment can't fix that.

Of course, I'm always seeking better recordings and masters for the music I like. But I buy many "crappy quality songs" because the music I like is often poorly produced. In contrast, a lot of well recorded material is drivel to me.

Regards, Darren

magiccarpetride
2011-02-22, 10:59
In contrast, a lot of well recorded material is drivel to me.

I join you in that assessment. It's almost like publishing houses/labels have two choices these days:

1. Either sign good artists, pay them decent compensation, and thus blow the entire budget. Then proceed with doing a cheap, hasty and shitty job recording them, mixing and mastering the tracks. The end result is quick-and-dirty, unlistenable recording containing some excellent music buried within (a very sad case in point: The Black Keys).

2. Or sign lousy artists, pay them next to nothing, and then spend the rest of the budget on lavish production. Sophisticated recording equipment, experienced sound engineers, great tracking practices, great mixing/mastering. The end result is great sounding recording that contains unlistenable drivel.

Phil Leigh
2011-02-22, 11:21
I join you in that assessment. It's almost like publishing houses/labels have two choices these days:

1. Either sign good artists, pay them decent compensation, and thus blow the entire budget. Then proceed with doing a cheap, hasty and shitty job recording them, mixing and mastering the tracks. The end result is quick-and-dirty, unlistenable recording containing some excellent music buried within (a very sad case in point: The Black Keys).

2. Or sign lousy artists, pay them next to nothing, and then spend the rest of the budget on lavish production. Sophisticated recording equipment, experienced sound engineers, great tracking practices, great mixing/mastering. The end result is great sounding recording that contains unlistenable drivel.

Thing is, it doesn't actually cost much to create and publish an excellent recording these days...

You have to really TRY to make a bad recording!

magiccarpetride
2011-02-22, 11:43
Thing is, it doesn't actually cost much to create and publish an excellent recording these days...

You have to really TRY to make a bad recording!

You've got a point there, Phil. You're right, rules of the game have indeed changed, and for the better. Why did I not think of that? Silly me.

True, when I do my home recording, I have to really go out of my way to mess it up in Cubase. But, let's not underestimate our own inbred moronicity -- there are so many knobs and dials on products such as Logic Pro, Cubase and such, it's hard to resist not to play with them. In the end, after twiddling with so many knobs, many chefs spoil the broth, and we end up with crappy sound.

The only thing that still may cost you a lot of money is in figuring our the most optimal microphone placement. That thing alone can make or break the recording. However, with products such as Zoom H4N and their XY condenser mics stereo pattern, even that becomes a moot point.

Power to the people!

darrenyeats
2011-02-22, 13:22
Thing is, it doesn't actually cost much to create and publish an excellent recording these days...

You have to really TRY to make a bad recording!

They're trying really hard a lot of the time then. LOL.

Mnyb
2011-02-22, 15:08
They're trying really hard a lot of the time then. LOL.

Yes they are and this cost more than doing a hasty half witted jobb that would not have been perfect but surely better than the loudness war .

It's not just the final compression plugin , but the whole aesthetics off many modern genres where every one thinks a strained gritty thin distorted sound is as cool as it can get and having any kind of spatial cues or dynamic contrast is a no no... Vocals should always sound like recorded trough a cornflake box etc ,drums and bass should always sound like generic thumps that sound exactly the same on everything and sounds similar on every record ( this is an achievent I don't get how they do... ) .

Note that I do enjoy electronica and indie etc so there is exceptions where some imagination is used and modern production values are fun and intriguing , I'm not a luddite in that way...

But on some record you can hear that they used "everything" they got and a lot of time too, to what ends ?

But most of the billion dollar production budget for the top 10 artist is the music videos and ads promotion tours etc and such anyway .

Don't get me started on "audiophile music labels" many are lobotomised drivel completely meaningless artistic vacuum...

There are exceptions here to like Telarc , but then it is genres of music or part of genres that can be "interpreted" like jazz blues or classical where there are good players available but they are maybe not fantastic original artists .

But why record German blues acts ( stockfish ) singing standards , these guys will never be Muddy Waters anyway what was the point .

Some things cant be interpreted there will always be only one Miles Davies Frank Zappa or Led Zeppelin etc , but this is taking us to the beginning of the modern age where an artist sound is a part of the brand and you cant separate the two. The production has becomme another instrument or way of expressions a pitty that it is used to such a boring effect ?

Where many old recordings is just some dudes grabbing sheet music and arrangements and recording the stuff in 3 days and thats a wrap ?

One popular genre is the boring jazz singing girl ? (or what to call it) Where I do immensely prefer less known names like Claudia AcuŮa over Diana Krall for example (but miss AcuŮa starts to get to well known now and thus given the boring treatment by verve to... oh well ) .

Mnyb
2011-02-22, 15:16
Btw "world music" can sound fantastic it is very basic production thus back to sound of the instrument's and players .

Where i try to get why coldplay is so fantastic they have that gritty thin production that bore me to tears... how can they record this way ? Some songs have potential but you cant listen to the stuff I have to use my boom instead of the hifi rig.. better sq was effortlessly done 50 years ago they apparently wants to sound this way ?

pski
2011-02-22, 20:48
Thing is, it doesn't actually cost much to create and publish an excellent recording these days...

You have to really TRY to make a bad recording!

I got an excellent Jeff Beck concert on usenet that was recorded live with good microphones and a digital deck the size of a brick.. oh, Eric Clapton was also on the lead card.

Specifically: from section 3 row M at Madison Square Garden

Neumann KM150s to sound devices 744t (1.8" x 8.2" x 4.9")


P

earwaxer9
2011-02-24, 17:03
Believe it or not, I've seen a magazine purporting the comeback of the cassette!

I can remember a recording to reel to reel tape sounding very good! Mid 70's system. A simple home made LP to tape recording. A friend in college had the system. Cant remember the brand of the dec. I was skeptical at first to tape transfers. I really didnt want to like it. So much for that. I didnt bite though. Dealing with tape seemed like WAY too much of a hassle.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-24, 17:09
I can remember a recording to reel to reel tape sounding very good! Mid 70's system. A simple home made LP to tape recording. A friend in college had the system. Cant remember the brand of the dec. I was skeptical at first to tape transfers. I really didnt want to like it. So much for that. I didnt bite though. Dealing with tape seemed like WAY too much of a hassle.

Reel-to-reel tape: yes! Cassette: no!

ralphpnj
2011-02-24, 17:15
I can remember a recording to reel to reel tape sounding very good! Mid 70's system. A simple home made LP to tape recording. A friend in college had the system. Cant remember the brand of the dec. I was skeptical at first to tape transfers. I really didnt want to like it. So much for that. I didnt bite though. Dealing with tape seemed like WAY too much of a hassle.


Reel to reel is quite a bit better than cassette and all analog masters are on reel to reel tape. Two track, single direction 1/2" tape at 30 inches per second is not the same as two track, bidirectional (meaning 4 tracks) 1/8" tape at 1-7/8 inches per second. I should note that consumer reel to reel was/is 1/4" tape running at either 7-1/2 or 3-3/4 inches per second, which is still a world away from the cassette.

Mnyb
2011-02-24, 19:53
Yep reel to reel tape was better than vinyl ( quite obvius as the masters tapes themselfes where on this format)
But no comercially viable way off massproducing these very ever lauched ? So more of less a format for the recording enthusiast.

With a good tape deck you could do half decent recordings, not fantastic.

But the real horror of the cassete was the massproduced albums on it ?
And that cassets are rather fragile and deterioate quickly, leave them in you car and they die.
A well preserved LP last, bu an old cassete don't they get worse with time.

Seen with todays hindsigth, it clearly was not a consumer ready medium, it was very easy to get wrong for numerous reasons.
99% off people could not use it properly when making recordings and no affordable tape deck could ever use it's full potential.

As a teenager i tried to make my tapes as good as i could, that meant abusing SR ( sveriges radio , swedish public service radio ) resources, where my dad once was a sound engineer.
So their workshop adjusted azimuth on it's heads and all kinds off stuff, believe me a tape machine has a lot off settings, they had reference tapes for this purpose ?

So most people had tape decks that where not properly adjusted ( maybe they where when they where new ) and they never cleaned the head's or other parts of or used a defluxer to demagnetise it' now and
then. And then cheerfully recorded with to high levels far beyond what the tape or frankly what the tape deck could handle, in it's last years the cassetes themselfs where " better " than the normal consumer tape deck.

Anyone remembered what happened when you used dolby and tried to play the tape on another tape deck ? Due differently adjusted azimuth all treble died .

And as far as i rember some good decks could have decent frequency response, but it varied with the recording level, as if not wow flutter distorsion ( magnetic saturation) and hiss was enough, combine this
with dolby ?

God ridance with that, nostalgia is powerfull people don't remeber how bad it really was.
That goes for vinyl to I think most audiophiles have selectively forgotten how bad a " typical " turntable was, they where very bad. So most normal folks actually got what phillips promised from day one with
CD ( relative to what they where used to have ).

Another fun trivia, as far as i rember LP always sold more than cassete in Sweden.
But in US cassete sold more than LP .

Next super 8 film ;) if home video tapes does not s*ck enough for you.

ralphpnj
2011-02-25, 07:27
Yep reel to reel tape was better than vinyl ( quite obvius as the masters tapes themselfes where on this format)
But no comercially viable way off massproducing these very ever lauched ? So more of less a format for the recording enthusiast.

With a good tape deck you could do half decent recordings, not fantastic.

But the real horror of the cassete was the massproduced albums on it ?
And that cassets are rather fragile and deterioate quickly, leave them in you car and they die.
A well preserved LP last, bu an old cassete don't they get worse with time.

Seen with todays hindsigth, it clearly was not a consumer ready medium, it was very easy to get wrong for numerous reasons.
99% off people could not use it properly when making recordings and no affordable tape deck could ever use it's full potential.

As a teenager i tried to make my tapes as good as i could, that meant abusing SR ( sveriges radio , swedish public service radio ) resources, where my dad once was a sound engineer.
So their workshop adjusted azimuth on it's heads and all kinds off stuff, believe me a tape machine has a lot off settings, they had reference tapes for this purpose ?

So most people had tape decks that where not properly adjusted ( maybe they where when they where new ) and they never cleaned the head's or other parts of or used a defluxer to demagnetise it' now and
then. And then cheerfully recorded with to high levels far beyond what the tape or frankly what the tape deck could handle, in it's last years the cassetes themselfs where " better " than the normal consumer tape deck.

Anyone remembered what happened when you used dolby and tried to play the tape on another tape deck ? Due differently adjusted azimuth all treble died .

And as far as i rember some good decks could have decent frequency response, but it varied with the recording level, as if not wow flutter distorsion ( magnetic saturation) and hiss was enough, combine this
with dolby ?

God ridance with that, nostalgia is powerfull people don't remeber how bad it really was.
That goes for vinyl to I think most audiophiles have selectively forgotten how bad a " typical " turntable was, they where very bad. So most normal folks actually got what phillips promised from day one with
CD ( relative to what they where used to have ).

Another fun trivia, as far as i rember LP always sold more than cassete in Sweden.
But in US cassete sold more than LP .

Next super 8 film ;) if home video tapes does not s*ck enough for you.

Mnyb - what a great post and very true. At the time of the introduction of the CD most of the mass market vinyl being issued was the worst sounding of the entire vinyl era - poor quality vinyl, bad mastering coupled with single manufacturer "rack" systems (where the most important criteria was that the speakers were the same height as the equipment rack) with super cheap mostly plastic turntables and equally bad cassette decks.

And you're right about cassettes out selling LPs in the US by the early 1980s - cassettes were portable and didn't scratch or skip. The fact that the sounded terrible didn't matter since those horrible rack systems it didn't make a difference. Under these conditions it's no wonder that the CD was a giant leap forward for most listeners. It was only those listeners with good quality vinyl playback systems who wondered what all the fuss was about since on their systems most early CDs did indeed sound worse than their vinyl counterpart.

As a side note: I regret that this forum is an English language forum since I'm quite certain that your native Swedish your comments would be even more insightful and amazingly funny. However your English is very good and I applaud your courage and willingness to learn our language and join in these discussions.

pski
2011-02-25, 15:39
Yep reel to reel tape was better than vinyl ( quite obvius as the masters tapes themselfes where on this format)
But no comercially viable way off massproducing these very ever lauched ? So more of less a format for the recording enthusiast.

With a good tape deck you could do half decent recordings, not fantastic.

But the real horror of the cassete was the massproduced albums on it ?
And that cassets are rather fragile and deterioate quickly, leave them in you car and they die.
A well preserved LP last, bu an old cassete don't they get worse with time.

Seen with todays hindsigth, it clearly was not a consumer ready medium, it was very easy to get wrong for numerous reasons.
99% off people could not use it properly when making recordings and no affordable tape deck could ever use it's full potential.

As a teenager i tried to make my tapes as good as i could, that meant abusing SR ( sveriges radio , swedish public service radio ) resources, where my dad once was a sound engineer.
So their workshop adjusted azimuth on it's heads and all kinds off stuff, believe me a tape machine has a lot off settings, they had reference tapes for this purpose ?

So most people had tape decks that where not properly adjusted ( maybe they where when they where new ) and they never cleaned the head's or other parts of or used a defluxer to demagnetise it' now and
then. And then cheerfully recorded with to high levels far beyond what the tape or frankly what the tape deck could handle, in it's last years the cassetes themselfs where " better " than the normal consumer tape deck.

Anyone remembered what happened when you used dolby and tried to play the tape on another tape deck ? Due differently adjusted azimuth all treble died .

And as far as i rember some good decks could have decent frequency response, but it varied with the recording level, as if not wow flutter distorsion ( magnetic saturation) and hiss was enough, combine this
with dolby ?

God ridance with that, nostalgia is powerfull people don't remeber how bad it really was.
That goes for vinyl to I think most audiophiles have selectively forgotten how bad a " typical " turntable was, they where very bad. So most normal folks actually got what phillips promised from day one with
CD ( relative to what they where used to have ).

Another fun trivia, as far as i rember LP always sold more than cassete in Sweden.
But in US cassete sold more than LP .

Next super 8 film ;) if home video tapes does not s*ck enough for you.

I had this Sony cassette deck (TC-fx1010) which featured continuous bias adjustment. With Maxell Metal tapes, playback was almost identical to CD. This is also true of my current Sony ES deck. The 1010 was fully solenoid control and it's POST earned it the nickname "City of Tiny Lights."

Robin Bowes
2011-02-25, 18:31
On 25/02/11 22:39, pski wrote:
> playback was almost identical to CD.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

Mnyb
2011-02-25, 19:35
I had this Sony cassette deck (TC-fx1010) which featured continuous bias adjustment. With Maxell Metal tapes, playback was almost identical to CD. This is also true of my current Sony ES deck. The 1010 was fully solenoid control and it's POST earned it the nickname "City of Tiny Lights."

Beutifull picture, technology looked real back then :)

I had an Alpine, usually they did car stereo, but alpine = luxman back then. and Alpine had a series of home tape decks, I could never afford that Nackamichi ...
2 of my friends had Nackamichi's .

Hm vintage cassete don,t have the model i had ?

djs_6978
2011-02-28, 09:02
screw your $50k rigs, give me a transistor radio and some Hank Williams. ;)

Seriously though, multi-thousand dollar vinyl or digital rigs aren't worth a crap if you aren't enjoying the music coming from the speakers. As far as this argument goes, it's 1a and 1b. Some sources I have only digital, others I only have in vinyl. It's about what I want to listen to, and making sure you have decent gear to accurately reproduce the sounds. I don't need $50k worth of gear to enjoy Stevie Ray Vaughan or Segovia in my living room or on a nice set of cans.

Man I get it that part of the enjoyment is the analysis of the reproduction, etc. But at some point you have to realize you are not seeing the beauty of the forest for all the trees in the way.

ralphpnj
2011-02-28, 09:25
screw your $50k rigs, give me a transistor radio and some Hank Williams. ;)

Seriously though, multi-thousand dollar vinyl or digital rigs aren't worth a crap if you aren't enjoying the music coming from the speakers. As far as this argument goes, it's 1a and 1b. Some sources I have only digital, others I only have in vinyl. It's about what I want to listen to, and making sure you have decent gear to accurately reproduce the sounds. I don't need $50k worth of gear to enjoy Stevie Ray Vaughan or Segovia in my living room or on a nice set of cans.

Man I get it that part of the enjoyment is the analysis of the reproduction, etc. But at some point you have to realize you are not seeing the beauty of the forest for all the trees in the way.

The question really isn't whether or not one is enjoying the music but how can one get the most enjoyment from listening. Sure I can enjoy Miles Davis or John Coltrane when listening to their music on some no-name $200 iPod dock playing back 128bit mp3s but I derive much more pleasure when listening to the same music played back on a well put together high quality audio system. Same music but with more detail and a more lifelike sound. Given the choice I'll go with the better sounding stereo every time.

And you are entirely correct - digital or analog, if the music's worth listening it matters very little whether it's coming from an LP or a CD.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-28, 10:29
screw your $50k rigs, give me a transistor radio and some Hank Williams. ;)

Seriously though, multi-thousand dollar vinyl or digital rigs aren't worth a crap if you aren't enjoying the music coming from the speakers. As far as this argument goes, it's 1a and 1b. Some sources I have only digital, others I only have in vinyl. It's about what I want to listen to, and making sure you have decent gear to accurately reproduce the sounds. I don't need $50k worth of gear to enjoy Stevie Ray Vaughan or Segovia in my living room or on a nice set of cans.

Man I get it that part of the enjoyment is the analysis of the reproduction, etc. But at some point you have to realize you are not seeing the beauty of the forest for all the trees in the way.

I'd like to use an analogy to illustrate the issues regarding what you wrote there. I'm using visual art as an analogy.

In visual art, you can enjoy some artwork (let's say one of Rembrandt's famous self-portraits) in four ways:

1. You can obtain a photocopy from a book containing Rembrandt's work
2. You can obtain the book with the reproductions
3. You can obtain the original canvas and view it under some terrible lighting conditions
4. You can obtain the original canvas and view it under ideal lighting conditions

Obviously, the worst possible scenario is viewing that artwork as a lousy Xerox copy. Yes, you can still see that it's a masterpiece, you can marvel at the ingenious composition etc., but you won't be able to really experience the greatness of this master if the only thing you have is a photocopy.

Moving into a bit better scenario is having a book containing the color reproduction of that canvas. Depending on the quality of the print, you may get more information from that reproduction, such as the ability to notice the brushstrokes to some extent, as well as some of the finer nuances in color.

Of course, the best thing is to get a hold of the original canvas. But even if you are fortunate to be in the same room with the original canvas, if the lighting is lousy (say, someone turned on some terrible neon light bulb, or some colored light bulb), you won't be able to truly enjoy that masterpiece.

It is only in the case when you can view that canvas under the ideal light, such as the regular daylight, that you can truly see what that masterpiece is all about.

Same holds for audio reproduction. The cheapo shitty transistor radio playing your favorite song would be equivalent to viewing a painting as a Xerox copy. Playing that song on a regular stereo would be equivalent to viewing the painting in a book of reproductions. Playing that song on a very good stereo would be equivalent to viewing the original painting under bad lighting conditions. And finally playing that song on an ultra high end stereo is equivalent to viewing the canvas under ideal lighting conditions.

I don't know about you, but I'm personally only interested in scenario #4 (i.e. listening to the real deal). I don't care about experiencing music under sub-standard conditions.

And that's why I'm posting this in the audiophile forum.

johann
2011-02-28, 11:16
snip
4. You can obtain the original canvas and view it under ideal lighting conditions
snip...


I don't know about you, but I'm personally only interested in scenario #4 (i.e. listening to the real deal). I don't care about experiencing music under sub-standard conditions.

So you only liste to live music?

Phil Leigh
2011-02-28, 11:25
So you only liste to live music?

... in certain venues...

johann
2011-02-28, 11:29
... in certain venues...

... with certain sound engineers...

ralphpnj
2011-02-28, 11:49
So you only liste to live music?

No since, if I understand Mr. MC Ride correctly, the equivalent to live music would looking at the real living Rembrandt, not a painting of Rembrandt. Since Rembrandt is long dead all we have left are his many self portraits which, no matter how well they may have been painted, are still not the real Rembrandt.

Same holds with audio: no matter how well the live event may have been recorded and no matter the quality of the playback system it is still only a reproduction of the actual event.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-28, 11:59
No since, if I understand Mr. MC Ride correctly, the equivalent to live music would looking at the real living Rembrandt, not a painting of Rembrandt. Since Rembrandt is long dead all we have left are his many self portraits which, no matter how well they may have been painted, are still not the real Rembrandt.

Same holds with audio: no matter how well the live event may have been recorded and no matter the quality of the playback system it is still only a reproduction of the actual event.

Plus, how can anyone listen to a live "Sgt. Pepper's"? The Beatles took months and months of studio time to assemble the collage that is "Sgt. Pepper's". There is no such thing as 'live' "Sgt. Peppers". It is a studio concoction.

That, however, doesn't mean that, since it's not a live performance, the sound quality doesn't matter. "Sgt. Pepper's" is the same as Rembrandt's self-portrait -- an artifact created by the artists. How are you going to experience that artifact is governed by the conditions where you're viewing/listening to. My analogy serves to point out the merits of striving toward the optimal viewing/listening conditions.

I'm not saying that you cannot enjoy "Sgt. Pepper's" on a cheap shitty transistor radio, same as I'm not saying that you cannot enjoy Rembrandt while viewing a shitty Xerox copy made by scanning the book of reproductions. But to truly experience it, you need better conditions. And this is where this technological wonder called high end audio system comes into play.

So anyone who is belittling the importance of having a good audio system doesn't seem to really care about the music, despite the claims to the contrary.

johann
2011-02-28, 12:05
No since, if I understand Mr. MC Ride correctly, the equivalent to live music would looking at the real living Rembrandt, not a painting of Rembrandt. Since Rembrandt is long dead all we have left are his many self portraits which, no matter how well they may have been painted, are still not the real Rembrandt.

Unless it is performance art, art is expereinced by watching the artwork itself, e.g. the art work IS NOT a reproduction it is the real thing hence the wording a work of art. So the equivalence of an original painting would be a live performance.

Listening to music reproduction through your "stereo" is the same as looking at a reproduction of the art work, for instance a printed copy.

ralphpnj
2011-02-28, 12:31
So anyone who is belittling the importance of having a good audio system doesn't seem to really care about the music, despite the claims to the contrary.

Just a bit of an overreaching statement - these people may really care about music but may find that effort involved in obtaining a high quality audio system is just not worth the trouble or money. The loss is theirs not mine and so I try not to judge them too harshly. A similar statement can be made about movie lovers who watch videos on a cell phone. Does doing so make them any more or less of movie fan with a 100" HDTV?


Unless it is performance art, art is expereinced by watching the artwork itself, e.g. the art work IS NOT a reproduction it is the real thing hence the wording a work of art. So the equivalence of an original painting would be a live performance.

Listening to music reproduction through your "stereo" is the same as looking at a reproduction of the art work, for instance a printed copy.

In today's world the above statement is somewhat true but in Rembrandt's time when there was no photography a painted portrait was the only means available for making a "copy" of something. Perhaps MC Ride should have used a photograph as a point of reference.

With photography the Sgt. Peppers equivalent would be a highly Photoshopped (is "photoshop" now a verb?) picture which created a "reality" which never really existed.

For many musicians there are two kinds of recordings:

1) A live recording of a performance

and

2) A studio recording

A live recording is meant to document as closely and faithfully as possible the actual live performance. On the other hand for most studio recordings there is no "live performance" (expect for those rare live in the studio recordings) to use as point of reference. To throw yet another monkey wrench into the mix, when attending these oh so cherished live music events, exactly which live performance is a recording trying to capture: the one experienced by the listener sitting the center of the 10th row, the one experienced by the listener sitting in the last row of the upper balcony or the one heard by the stage hand standing backstage? They are all listening to the same live music event and yet they are all hearing very different sounding events. Next you'll be telling us that only live, acoustic music is real music. Please spare us.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-28, 12:59
Just a bit of an overreaching statement - these people may really care about music but may find that effort involved in obtaining a high quality audio system is just not worth the trouble or money. The loss is theirs not mine and so I try not to judge them too harshly. A similar statement can be made about movie lovers who watch videos on a cell phone. Does doing so make them any more or less of movie fan with a 100" HDTV?

Good point. I stand corrected. I was mostly referring to people who claim that if you're into high quality audio system, you obviously don't care about music, you only care about the equipment/gear/kit. Which would also be an overarching statement.

In all fairness to these people, I used to know a few crackpot audioheads who would spend obscene amounts of money on the ultra expensive audio components only to end up listening to a few select demo discs. That's ultimate stupidity, in anyone's book. But let's not paint all the other audiophiles with the same broad brush.


In today's world the above statement is somewhat true but in Rembrandt's time when there was no photography a painted portrait was the only means available for making a "copy" of something. Perhaps MC Ride should have used a photograph as a point of reference.

With photography the Sgt. Peppers equivalent would be a highly Photoshopped (is "photoshop" now a verb?) picture which created a "reality" which never really existed.

For many musicians there are two kinds of recordings:

1) A live recording of a performance

and

2) A studio recording

A live recording is meant to document as closely and faithfully as possible the actual live performance. On the other hand for most studio recordings there is no "live performance" (expect for those rare live in the studio recordings) to use as point of reference. To throw yet another monkey wrench into the mix, when attending these oh so cherished live music events, exactly which live performance is a recording trying to capture: the one experienced by the listener sitting the center of the 10th row, the one experienced by the listener sitting in the last row of the upper balcony or the one heard by the stage hand standing backstage? They are all listening to the same live music event and yet they are all hearing very different sounding events. Next you'll be telling us that only live, acoustic music is real music. Please spare us.

The issue with many live performances is also are we keen on reproducing the sound that's coming out of the PA (assuming that it is amplified performance), or are we interested in reproducing the sound as it is coming out of the instruments themselves? For example, we could record the drumkit by close micing, or we could record it as it gets reproduced through the PA. So which one is it?

Same applies to vocals etc.

johann
2011-02-28, 13:15
A lot...

Already at Rembrandts time and long beofre that reproduction of paintings existied. For intance art forgery is not a new phenomen.

What in the word reproduction that sp hard to grasp?

Besides, I never said a reproduction necessarily is inferior, MCR did.

garym
2011-02-28, 13:17
The issue with many live performances is also are we keen on reproducing the sound that's coming out of the PA (assuming that it is amplified performance), or are we interested in reproducing the sound as it is coming out of the instruments themselves? For example, we could record the drumkit by close micing, or we could record it as it gets reproduced through the PA. So which one is it?

Same applies to vocals etc.

yep, the eternal debate by the Grateful Dead community. Some really prefer audience recordings (to pick up the ambiance of the "house" and what it sounded like to a person sitting in that part of the venue) and others prefer the "soundboards". And then there are the "matrix" fans, which do some mixing of audience and soundboard recordings. Some of these are very nice!

Robin Bowes
2011-02-28, 13:23
On 28/02/11 19:59, magiccarpetride wrote:
>
> The issue with many live performances is also are we keen on
> reproducing the sound that's coming out of the PA (assuming that it is
> amplified performance), or are we interested in reproducing the sound
> as it is coming out of the instruments themselves? For example, we
> could record the drumkit by close micing, or we could record it as it
> gets reproduced through the PA. So which one is it?
>
> Same applies to vocals etc.

One of my favourite "performances" (and stories I keep cranking out on
here) is Rachmaninov playing his own Piano Concertos; I come back to
this performance of No.2 time and time again despite it being a severely
limited recording.

There is so much more to a performance than the quality/timbre of the audio.

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

ralphpnj
2011-02-28, 13:36
Good point. I stand corrected. I was mostly referring to people who claim that if you're into high quality audio system, you obviously don't care about music, you only care about the equipment/gear/kit. Which would also be an overarching statement.

In all fairness to these people, I used to know a few crackpot audioheads who would spend obscene amounts of money on the ultra expensive audio components only to end up listening to a few select demo discs. That's ultimate stupidity, in anyone's book. But let's not paint all the other audiophiles with the same broad brush.

It's much easier for someone to poke fun at a stereotype rather than actually getting to know what the people are like beyond the stereotype. Audiophiles, wine lovers and the like are easy to make fun of since for most people the pleasure derived from music listening or wine drinking is not greatly enhanced with more expensive or higher quality equipment or wine. Nonetheless we all a few audio and wine snobs and it's those snobs from which the stereotypes are drawn.


The issue with many live performances is also are we keen on reproducing the sound that's coming out of the PA (assuming that it is amplified performance), or are we interested in reproducing the sound as it is coming out of the instruments themselves? For example, we could record the drumkit by close micing, or we could record it as it gets reproduced through the PA. So which one is it?

Same applies to vocals etc.

Despite what many audio snobs may say listening to or recording a live music event (whether amplified or acoustic) is in many ways not as "pure" and "true" an experience as they would lead us to believe. As I stated earlier, where one sits has much to do with what one hears and experiences. The same holds true for a recording, the choices made by the recording engineer (close miking, straight from the board, etc.) produce as much of difference to the final sound as the notes being played.

It's the people who fool themselves into thinking everything is black and white in world filled with colors and shades of gray that are the real "fools".

Phil Leigh
2011-02-28, 13:56
...It's the people who fool themselves into thinking everything is black and white in world filled with colors and shades of gray that are the real "fools".

well said.

djs_6978
2011-02-28, 14:36
Same holds for audio reproduction. The cheapo shitty transistor radio playing your favorite song would be equivalent to viewing a painting as a Xerox copy. Playing that song on a regular stereo would be equivalent to viewing the painting in a book of reproductions. Playing that song on a very good stereo would be equivalent to viewing the original painting under bad lighting conditions. And finally playing that song on an ultra high end stereo is equivalent to viewing the canvas under ideal lighting conditions.

I don't know about you, but I'm personally only interested in scenario #4 (i.e. listening to the real deal). I don't care about experiencing music under sub-standard conditions.


Ok, first what's the point of limiting your listening to audio that is only A1, premium grade, turn the bits up to 11 kind of stuff? If all you listen to are Linn recordings because of the quality of the recordings, aren't you limiting yourself and your music/audio collection? Would you consider watching a film in black and white sub-standard conditions? Let's say Casablanca, a crowd favorite. Because it's never going to be like Avatar in glorious HD/3D and color. Doesn't mean it doesn't belong in the Cinema buff's collection.

Secondly, just because you have an ultra high end stereo, doesn't mean the reproduction always yields a desired result. Sometimes it can magnify the flaws in the recording to the point where a once listenable recording is now unlistenable, like hiss inherant in the recording. It's kind of like when an HDTV set reproduces a lower resolution source. I almost can't watch SD on my HD set now because the SD resolution isn't native to my HD set. Sometimes I go to my old CRT TV just to watch something in SD and artifact free. Sometimes all you need is a 12" B&W TV to accurately reproduce the source. It's awesome when the studio remasters the source for today's gear in mind. This doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to a source just because it's not up to Audiophilic spec.

If you are truly a "Phile", then your goal should be accurate reproduction of the source as it was intended to be heard, not trying to impress the "ideal conditions" of your gear and setup upon the source. If the engineer was mixing Hank Williams for the reproduction equipment and technology of the day, then to get the engineers intention you have to reproduce it through appropriate equipment. That's why I made the transistor radio comment earlier. To get Hank to sound his best on your Audiophile gear, you will need someone to remaster the orignal recordings with the knowledge and understanding of todays equipment and technology. Your gear cannot do it alone.

But, I think the purpose of the OP was to find out which offered better audio reproduction, vinyl or digital. To me it should be about accurate reproduction of the artist and engineer's intent. If using the high-end gear gets you there, then you're on the right track. The answer is go with the gear that is able to accurately recreate the source and the artist/engineer's intention for reproduction. That's the better rig to go with. Ultimately your ears will tell you what sounds better for a particular source. If that's your vinyl rig, go with it. If it's the digitally re-mastered source, go with it.

The question is, are we able to ascertain the ideal reproduction environment for which the engineer mixed the recording for?

I think some Audiophiles think that if they can hear the cough/sneeze/fart of someone in the recording space that they have truly arrived at nirvana. The artist and engineers intent is for you to hear the music, not the flaws inherent in the recording process. Sometimes I think they are the same folks who think colorizing an old B&W film is the right thing to do to improve the source.

BTW, I troll the Audiophile forums to learn different techniques, setups, gear reviews, etc. You guys have some of the best, well thought out points of view for me to get my audio fix. Gear is part of it, but so much more of it is the music and recordings, then appropriately maximizing the output for increased enjoyment.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-28, 14:53
On 28/02/11 19:59, magiccarpetride wrote:
>
> The issue with many live performances is also are we keen on
> reproducing the sound that's coming out of the PA (assuming that it is
> amplified performance), or are we interested in reproducing the sound
> as it is coming out of the instruments themselves? For example, we
> could record the drumkit by close micing, or we could record it as it
> gets reproduced through the PA. So which one is it?
>
> Same applies to vocals etc.

One of my favourite "performances" (and stories I keep cranking out on
here) is Rachmaninov playing his own Piano Concertos; I come back to
this performance of No.2 time and time again despite it being a severely
limited recording.

There is so much more to a performance than the quality/timbre of the audio.

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

This definitely has something to do with the price of tea in China.

ralphpnj
2011-02-28, 14:55
Ok, first what's the point of limiting your listening to audio that is only A1, premium grade, turn the bits up to 11 kind of stuff? If all you listen to are Linn recordings because of the quality of the recordings, aren't you limiting yourself and your music/audio collection? Would you consider watching a film in black and white sub-standard conditions? Let's say Casablanca, a crowd favorite. Because it's never going to be like Avatar in glorious HD/3D and color. Doesn't mean it doesn't belong in the Cinema buff's collection.

Secondly, just because you have an ultra high end stereo, doesn't mean the reproduction always yields a desired result. Sometimes it can magnify the flaws in the recording to the point where a once listenable recording is now unlistenable, like hiss inherant in the recording. It's kind of like when an HDTV set reproduces a lower resolution source. I almost can't watch SD on my HD set now because the SD resolution isn't native to my HD set. Sometimes I go to my old CRT TV just to watch something in SD and artifact free. Sometimes all you need is a 12" B&W TV to accurately reproduce the source. It's awesome when the studio remasters the source for today's gear in mind. This doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to a source just because it's not up to Audiophilic spec.

If you are truly a "Phile", then your goal should be accurate reproduction of the source as it was intended to be heard, not trying to impress the "ideal conditions" of your gear and setup upon the source. If the engineer was mixing Hank Williams for the reproduction equipment and technology of the day, then to get the engineers intention you have to reproduce it through appropriate equipment. That's why I made the transistor radio comment earlier. To get Hank to sound his best on your Audiophile gear, you will need someone to remaster the orignal recordings with the knowledge and understanding of todays equipment and technology. Your gear cannot do it alone.

But, I think the purpose of the OP was to find out which offered better audio reproduction, vinyl or digital. To me it should be about accurate reproduction of the artist and engineer's intent. If using the high-end gear gets you there, then you're on the right track. The answer is go with the gear that is able to accurately recreate the source and the artist/engineer's intention for reproduction. That's the better rig to go with. Ultimately your ears will tell you what sounds better for a particular source. If that's your vinyl rig, go with it. If it's the digitally re-mastered source, go with it.

The question is, are we able to ascertain the ideal reproduction environment for which the engineer mixed the recording for?

I think some Audiophiles think that if they can hear the cough/sneeze/fart of someone in the recording space that they have truly arrived at nirvana. The artist and engineers intent is for you to hear the music, not the flaws inherent in the recording process. Sometimes I think they are the same folks who think colorizing an old B&W film is the right thing to do to improve the source.

BTW, I troll the Audiophile forums to learn different techniques, setups, gear reviews, etc. You guys have some of the best, well thought out points of view for me to get my audio fix. Gear is part of it, but so much more of it is the music and recordings, then appropriately maximizing the output for increased enjoyment.

I don't think that MC Ride meant that he only listens to perfect recordings. I think he meant that he prefers to listen to "any" recording on the high quality equipment, regardless of the quality of the recording.

I do more or less agree with your point regarding trying to use playback equipment similar to what the recording engineer was mixing the music to sound "good" on. I've run across quite a good number of recordings that sound okay on a car radio or crappy computer speakers only to find that they really sound awful when played on my main stereo. On the other hand 60 year old Hank Williams' recordings and 80 year old Louis Armstrong recordings sound good no matter what equipment they're played on because their great and timeless music allows (actually, DEMANDS) one to overlook the shortcoming of the recording.

magiccarpetride
2011-02-28, 16:50
Ok, first what's the point of limiting your listening to audio that is only A1, premium grade, turn the bits up to 11 kind of stuff? If all you listen to are Linn recordings because of the quality of the recordings, aren't you limiting yourself and your music/audio collection? Would you consider watching a film in black and white sub-standard conditions? Let's say Casablanca, a crowd favorite. Because it's never going to be like Avatar in glorious HD/3D and color. Doesn't mean it doesn't belong in the Cinema buff's collection.

OK, I'll be honest with you -- I have no idea what you're talking about here. When did I ever mention Linn recordings, or A1, premium grade?

ralphpnj
2011-02-28, 17:31
OK, I'll be honest with you -- I have no idea what you're talking about here. When did I ever mention Linn recordings, or A1, premium grade?

As per my previous post, I'm also a little confused as to what djs_6978 is talking about. My guess is that he just wants to make fun of audiophiles based on the stereotype of an audiophile only listening great sounding but musically weak recordings. If one uses The Absolute Sound's HP Super Disc List, which is 90% pure dreck, as a guide to what audiophiles listen to then I suppose he has a valid point. Only problem is I don't know any audiophiles who listen to that garbage.

adamdea
2011-03-01, 04:15
If I could be forgiven for returning to topic...
I have a couple of observations.
1. I have noticed that classical music reviewers such as the Gramophone reviewers and the editors of the Penguin Guide often make comments on the relative merits different issues or masterings of the same recording, including sometimes (but not so often these days) the original vinyl and CD reissue.
2 These people are usually trained musicians and often incurable nit pickers. They are apparently happy on occasions to spend pages comparing 30 or 40 versions of the same work, including different performances by the same artists, looking at very fine details of performance, textual scholarship, and sometimes production. They appear to love an opportunity to have a whinge about something or other
3 They will invariably know what a particular instrument "sounds like", will almost certainly have heard the performer play live, will in the case of a live recording (and some studio recordings ) probably have some experience of the acoustics of the hall and may very well have attended the concert being recorded
4 They not as far as I can see exhibit excessive neophilia and often delight in lamenting the passing of a golden age of great performers (and extolling the virtues of the great producers of the past). It is fair to say that some reviewers do prefer contemporary approaches to performance practice which may predispose them to more recent recordings.
5 Many of these people evidently have huge and treasured collections of analog and digital recordings.
6 I have read on many many occasions comments that cd issues and sometimes subsequent remastering reveal details previously obscured by the vinyl and are generally more pleasing. With the exception of a few early digital efforts they never (or very very rarely) seem to say that the analog issue was better. Whilst they often identify historic recordings as ďessentialĒ, they almost equally often observe that these recordings sound better than ever in their latest remastering.
7 I have never read these reviewers indicate any misgiving about the sound quality of cd as a medium relative to vinyl.
8 I have however noticed some hifi reviewers claim to prefer analog to digital in the case of classical recordings. Most of the time however this has been Michael Fremer.
9 Surface noise is much more of an issue obviously, and would probably be determinative on its own for most people. People who write letters to the Times about the disturbing prevalence of coughing are hardly going to want to hear loud pops and crackles. This may be the case even at the climax of a symphony; but during the slow movement of a piano sonata....
10 I would be interested to hear whether anyone really prefers the sound of vinyl in chamber music.

ralphpnj
2011-03-01, 05:48
If I could be forgiven for returning to topic...
I have a couple of observations.
1. I have noticed that classical music reviewers such as the Gramophone reviewers and the editors of the Penguin Guide often make comments on the relative merits different issues or masterings of the same recording, including sometimes (but not so often these days) the original vinyl and CD reissue.
2 These people are usually trained musicians and often incurable nit pickers. They are apparently happy on occasions to spend pages comparing 30 or 40 versions of the same work, including different performances by the same artists, looking at very fine details of performance, textual scholarship, and sometimes production. They appear to love an opportunity to have a whinge about something or other
3 They will invariably know what a particular instrument "sounds like", will almost certainly have heard the performer play live, will in the case of a live recording (and some studio recordings ) probably have some experience of the acoustics of the hall and may very well have attended the concert being recorded
4 They not as far as I can see exhibit excessive neophilia and often delight in lamenting the passing of a golden age of great performers (and extolling the virtues of the great producers of the past). It is fair to say that some reviewers do prefer contemporary approaches to performance practice which may predispose them to more recent recordings.
5 Many of these people evidently have huge and treasured collections of analog and digital recordings.
6 I have read on many many occasions comments that cd issues and sometimes subsequent remastering reveal details previously obscured by the vinyl and are generally more pleasing. With the exception of a few early digital efforts they never (or very very rarely) seem to say that the analog issue was better. Whilst they often identify historic recordings as ďessentialĒ, they almost equally often observe that these recordings sound better than ever in their latest remastering.
7 I have never read these reviewers indicate any misgiving about the sound quality of cd as a medium relative to vinyl.
8 I have however noticed some hifi reviewers claim to prefer analog to digital in the case of classical recordings. Most of the time however this has been Michael Fremer.
9 Surface noise is much more of an issue obviously, and would probably be determinative on its own for most people. People who write letters to the Times about the disturbing prevalence of coughing are hardly going to want to hear loud pops and crackles. This may be the case even at the climax of a symphony; but during the slow movement of a piano sonata....
10 I would be interested to hear whether anyone really prefers the sound of vinyl in chamber music.

Thanks Adam(?) for putting this thread back on topic. All your points are well taken and can, for the most part, also be applied to other types of music as well. In the area of jazz, which I am very familiar with, much of the same is true and most of the complaints about reissues are usually with issues other then sound, i.e. lack of alternate takes, alterations to the original order of the songs, etc. It is pretty much assumed that the remastered CD "sounds" better than, or at least no worse than, the original vinyl.

Once one gets into the area of more popular music many reissues, particularly those of more recent vintage, sound much worse than the original LP or CD. The fault lies with the remastering and has little to do with analog sounding better than digital. The dynamic range compression used to boost the overall loudness of the remastered CD is the primary culprit and until this madness known as the "loudness war" comes to a stop many, many remastered CDs of popular music will continue to sound worse than their prior releases.

Pneumonic
2011-03-01, 07:57
6 I have read on many many occasions comments that cd issues and sometimes subsequent remastering reveal details previously obscured by the vinyl and are generally more pleasing.
And herein lies the issue that many people have with vinyl, and indeed analog, in general ..... the medium itself inherently adds copious amounts of noise/hiss and distortions which drown out the signal being reproduced, burying much of the music under said noise/hiss and distortions in the process. Once this information is smothered in hiss it truly is gone forever.

For anyone who aspires to build a playback system that accurately reproduces what the recording has to offer, including revealing all the little details and nuances originally available, this is unacceptable.

ralphpnj
2011-03-01, 08:46
And herein lies the issue that many people have with vinyl, and indeed analog, in general ..... the medium itself inherently adds copious amounts of noise/hiss and distortions which drown out the signal being reproduced, burying much of the music under said noise/hiss and distortions in the process. Once this information is smothered in hiss it truly is gone forever.

For anyone who aspires to build a playback system that accurately reproduces what the recording has to offer, including revealing all the little details and nuances originally available, this is unacceptable.

Your willingness to exaggerate analog's flaws in order to trumpet the virtues of digital are boundless. While it is true that badly recorded analog can have all the things you mentioned, a well recorded analog master tape is the equal of a well recorded digital master as far as sound is concerned. Digital is far superior to analog as a storage and editing medium but those qualities have little to do with the either mediums ability to capture "sound".

In addition, a fourth generation copy of cassette tape is sonically no worse than a fourth generation lossly file (by fourth generation I mean something like CD->mp3->CD->wma->CD->m4a(Apple)->CD->mp3 and don't think that doesn't happen and quite often to boot). Sure the cassette (analog) copy will have lots of hiss and sound terrible but the fourth generation mp3 file will have equal amounts of distortion that many people will simply refuse to hear because the file is digital and therefore "perfect". Perfect my ass.

So please do us a favor and cut out the hyperbole so that this discussion can remain meaningful and useful.

Pneumonic
2011-03-01, 09:15
Your willingness to exaggerate analog's flaws in order to trumpet the virtues of digital are boundless. While it is true that badly recorded analog can have all the things you mentioned, a well recorded analog master tape is the equal of a well recorded digital master as far as sound is concerned. Digital is far superior to analog as a storage and editing medium but those qualities have little to do with the either mediums ability to capture "sound".

In addition, a fourth generation copy of cassette tape is sonically no worse than a fourth generation lossly file (by fourth generation I mean something like CD->mp3->CD->wma->CD->m4a(Apple)->CD->mp3 and don't think that doesn't happen and quite often to boot). Sure the cassette (analog) copy will have lots of hiss and sound terrible but the fourth generation mp3 file will have equal amounts of distortion that many people will simply refuse to hear because the file is digital and therefore "perfect". Perfect my ass.

So please do us a favor and cut out the hyperbole so that this discussion can remain meaningful and useful.

Now, now, Ralph. No need to get your knickers in a knot.

You'll get no argument from me that analog may sound better than digital to some people ears. It does for me in fact with some recordings.

But, you'll not be able to convince me that "analog" doesn't introduce copious amounts of noise/hiss and distortions that prevent the reproduction of, especially low level details, in recordings and thus makes it suspect as a true "hi-fi (ie an accurate reproduction of the signal) medium. In such aspects, analog is, technically, far inferior to digital, enough that it is a huge reasons for some audiophiles not to consider analog true "hi-fi" in the strictest sense of the definition . Heck, the simple inclusion of RIAA filtering ensures this alone .... nevermind the oodles of other distortion and noise/hiss issues inherent in analog recording/vinyl playback. Technically it is very easy to demonstrate that these limitations with analog recording/playback are not present in their digital counterparts. Many would therefore argue that is follows that digital has a greater resolution.

Back to my point earlier. The very best signal to noise ratio that you can get from analog tape is about 70dB. Pristine vinyl a tad lower. Basic, ole redbook runs out of resolution at least 30dB below the noise floor of the best analog tape/ultimate vinyl. Where digital is fully resolving low level details in music, analog tape/vinyl is completely obliterating the signal due to tape hiss/noise. It's gone and those minute nuances in the recording are lost forever. Not exactly hi-fi now is it? But, it may sound pleasing to ones ears otherwise ..........

ralphpnj
2011-03-01, 09:45
Now, now, Ralph. No need to get your knickers in a knot.

Ah, so that's why I been having trouble sitting comfortably.


But, you'll not be able to convince me that "analog" doesn't introduce copious amounts of noise/hiss and distortions that prevent the reproduction of, especially low level details, in recordings and thus makes it suspect as a true "hi-fi (ie an accurate reproduction of the signal) medium. In such aspects, analog is, technically, far inferior to digital, enough that it is a huge reasons for some audiophiles not to consider analog true "hi-fi" in the strictest sense of the definition . Heck, the simple inclusion of RIAA filtering ensures this alone .... nevermind the oodles of other distortion and noise/hiss issues inherent in analog recording/vinyl playback. Technically it is very easy to demonstrate that these limitations with analog recording/playback are not present in their digital counterparts. Many would therefore argue that is follows that digital has a greater resolution.

Back to my point earlier. The very best signal to noise ratio that you can get from analog tape is about 70dB. Pristine vinyl a tad lower. Basic, ole redbook runs out of resolution at least 30dB below the noise floor of the best analog tape/ultimate vinyl. Where digital is fully resolving low level details in music, analog tape/vinyl is completely obliterating the signal due to tape hiss/noise. It's gone and those minute nuances in the recording are lost forever. Not exactly hi-fi now is it? But, it may sound pleasing to ones ears otherwise ..........

The second paragraph above states some useful numbers (70dB, 30dB) whereas the previous paragraph uses terms like "copious amounts" and "oodles", which whether true or not, can not be argued or, for that matter, defended. In addition to all this a high signal to noise ratio does not necessarily a good recording make. There are those who feel that the sampling frequency of digital, be it 48kHz or 192kHz, is in and of itself, the main reason the digital is inferior to analog.

Both arguments (signal to noise ratio & sampling frequency) are valid, up to point. Almost all listening environments have low level background noise which can obscure low level signals and high sampling rates can bring digital very close to the resolution of analog.

And the issues get even more complex since what we're discussing above are digital versus analog recordings. However what is to be done with all the very fine analog recordings out there or the many early and rather poor digital recordings? Just has the hiss cannot be removed from an analog recording without altering to some degree the high frequencies, the sampling frequency of an older digital recording can not be fundamentally increased. Oh sure one can upsample all one wants but that just adds meaningless data and does not and can not improve the sound.

I find that it is more useful to accept the fact that digital is here to stay and instead of ignoring digital's shortcoming one works to minimize or eliminate these shortcoming and continue to improve the sound of digital. And I fairly sure that on this we can all agree.

magiccarpetride
2011-03-01, 10:01
As per my previous post, I'm also a little confused as to what djs_6978 is talking about. My guess is that he just wants to make fun of audiophiles based on the stereotype of an audiophile only listening great sounding but musically weak recordings. If one uses The Absolute Sound's HP Super Disc List, which is 90% pure dreck, as a guide to what audiophiles listen to then I suppose he has a valid point. Only problem is I don't know any audiophiles who listen to that garbage.

Gotcha! I've never even heard those tracks, nor do I care to ever listen to them.

Pneumonic
2011-03-01, 10:06
The second paragraph above states some useful numbers (70dB, 30dB) whereas the previous paragraph uses terms like "copious amounts" and "oodles", which whether true or not, can not be argued or, for that matter, defended. In addition to all this a high signal to noise ratio does not necessarily a good recording make. There are those who feel that the sampling frequency of digital, be it 48kHz or 192kHz, is in and of itself, the main reason the digital is inferior to analog.

Both arguments (signal to noise ratio & sampling frequency) are valid, up to point. Almost all listening environments have low level background noise which can obscure low level signals and high sampling rates can bring digital very close to the resolution of analog.

And the issues get even more complex since what we're discussing above are digital versus analog recordings. However what is to be done with all the very fine analog recordings out there or the many early and rather poor digital recordings? Just has the hiss cannot be removed from an analog recording without altering to some degree the high frequencies, the sampling frequency of an older digital recording can not be fundamentally increased. Oh sure one can upsample all one wants but that just adds meaningless data and does not and can not improve the sound.

I find that it is more useful to accept the fact that digital is here to stay and instead of ignoring digital's shortcoming one works to minimize or eliminate these shortcoming and continue to improve the sound of digital. And I fairly sure that on this we can all agree.

Sorry for assuming as I did, Ralph.

My pointing out noise and hiss is but one small part of the rather un hi-fi nature of vinyl.

Add the following "copious amounts" and "oodles" of distortions and noises and hiss to the equation, further degrading vinyl as a true hi-fi medium. And this isn't even taking into considerations huge noise/hiss/distortion issues with analog master tape. This is just vinyl specific.

For one thing the lathe that cuts the master in the first place adds noise and distortion from the get go. And when have you ever seen a perfect stamper yield a perfect, virgin vinyl, copy of what that lathe cut? Never happens so you are already starting out with a noisy and distorted reference before you even drop a needle onto the slab. Next, a stylus and entire mechanical assembly has to accurately trace the vinyl cutout without adding distortion. It is proven to be impossible for this to happen without any degradation of signal. And, unless you use a linear tracker as I did for much of my vinyl years, you are dealing with a tracking arc made by the stylus as it tracks across an LP (worse towards the LP centre) causing inordinate amounts of distortion further degrading the signal. You've got wow and flutter and motor speed issues which are incompatible with the original cutting lathe and its mechanical system which degrades and distorts the signal even more. You've got good ole RIAA equalization artifacts..... further signal degradation. Further, each table/arm/cartridge combo in use adds their own specific distortion and colourations to the mess. And I haven't even touched on what might be the worst of the worst signal degradation factor in all of this ...... degraded vinyl caused by styli that wears unnatural grooves into the vinyl where they aren't supposed to be. And, gawd help you if you are playing vinyl which was previously used (ie degraded) as it'll have added noise and distortions that are off the chart. You want to talk about added distortion. Toss this up on a spectrum analyzer and have a look!

Digital, and any anti aliasing/imaging Nyquist issues that may be problematic, pales by comparison.

Phil Leigh
2011-03-01, 10:22
Don't really want to get into the main debate here, except to say that the issues with digital are not down to sampling rate (or indeed bit-depth).

This is readily proven by the fact that most (99%?) of people cannot tell the difference between playback of a 24/192 file and playback of the same file downsampled (properly!) to 16/44.1.

ralphpnj
2011-03-01, 10:23
Sorry for assuming as I did, Ralph.

My pointing out noise and hiss is but one small part of the rather un hi-fi nature of vinyl.

Add the following "copious amounts" and "oodles" of distortions and noises and hiss to the equation, further degrading vinyl as a true hi-fi medium. And this isn't even taking into considerations huge noise/hiss/distortion issues with analog master tape. This is just vinyl specific.

For one thing the lathe that cuts the master in the first place adds noise and distortion from the get go. And when have you ever seen a perfect stamper yield a perfect, virgin vinyl, copy of what that lathe cut? Never happens so you are already starting out with a noisy and distorted reference before you even drop a needle onto the slab. Next, a stylus and entire mechanical assembly has to accurately trace the vinyl cutout without adding distortion. It is proven to be impossible for this to happen without any degradation of signal. And, unless you use a linear tracker as I did for much of my vinyl years, you are dealing with a tracking arc made by the stylus as it tracks across an LP (worse towards the LP centre) causing inordinate amounts of distortion further degrading the signal. You've got wow and flutter and motor speed issues which are incompatible with the original cutting lathe and its mechanical system which degrades and distorts the signal even more. You've got good ole RIAA equalization artifacts..... further signal degradation. Further, each table/arm/cartridge combo in use adds their own specific distortion and colourations to the mess. And I haven't even touched on what might be the worst of the worst signal degradation factor in all of this ...... degraded vinyl caused by styli that wears unnatural grooves into the vinyl where they aren't supposed to be. And, gawd help you if you are playing vinyl which was previously used (ie degraded) as it'll have added noise and distortions that are off the chart. You want to talk about added distortion. Toss this up on a spectrum analyzer and have a look!

Digital, and any anti aliasing/imaging Nyquist issues that may be problematic, pales by comparison.

But but analog sounds so good.

Only joking since your points are well taken. As I stated digital is the present and the future. I'm sure that the sound of digital will continue to improve in spite of the iTunes store.

Pneumonic
2011-03-01, 10:38
But but analog sounds so good.

Only joking since your points are well taken. As I stated digital is the present and the future. I'm sure that the sound of digital will continue to improve in spite of the iTunes store.
Digital already sounds glorious and, if it can be improved any going forward, then sign me up. But, it's already state of the art as is.

The real problem wit digital are the A&R types who insist that the recording/mastering folks intentionally screw up the sound by wanting it loud. What we end up with is a significant loss of fidelity in what we end up hearing. Nothing worse than truncating the snot out of the low level bits in a 16 bit (redbook) source file giving it degrees of brightness and harshness no tube system can tame and losing essentially all important spatial cues giving the sound little to no imaging properties. Unfortunately, far too many audiophiles associate such recordings as a limitation of the redbook specification when, in fact, the spec is perfectly capable of producing the goods but the recording/mastering has let everyone down.

Thankfully, not all redbook is done this way.

Check the free downloads available at this site for quick and easy proof. Look for the uncompressed offerings. Spectacular sound. If such sound can be spectacular once then there is no reason it can't be so all of the time.

http://bluecoastrecords.com/

EDIT. Of particular sound quality calibre is Emily Palen, solo Violin Improv 1 and 2. It is under "CAS 2010 Downloads" and is available in both redbook and 24/96.

The dynamics are startling!

There are also a few DSD image downloads in that same CAS 2010 folder.

magiccarpetride
2011-03-01, 11:00
Don't really want to get into the main debate here, except to say that the issues with digital are not down to sampling rate (or indeed bit-depth).

This is readily proven by the fact that most (99%?) of people cannot tell the difference between playback of a 24/192 file and playback of the same file downsampled (properly!) to 16/44.1.

That is indeed a very intriguing finding, Phil. Is there a way for you to supply snippets of both samples (i.e. the 24/192 and the exact same sample dithered down to 16/44.1)?

I'd love to be able to subject myself to the rigorous blind test, just to see if I can hear the differences. I was able to convince myself that I can hear the differences between the 24 bit and the 16 bit versions of the same song, however, as you say, the differences may be explained away by the differences in mastering. I myself am not certain that I am qualified to properly downsample high definition (24 bit) files.

I am aware that we must respect the copyright laws, so if I'm asking you for two samples, I hope it would not be illegal for you to provide short snippets, not the entire song.

Phil Leigh
2011-03-01, 11:10
That is indeed a very intriguing finding, Phil. Is there a way for you to supply snippets of both samples (i.e. the 24/192 and the exact same sample dithered down to 16/44.1)?

I'd love to be able to subject myself to the rigorous blind test, just to see if I can hear the differences. I was able to convince myself that I can hear the differences between the 24 bit and the 16 bit versions of the same song, however, as you say, the differences may be explained away by the differences in mastering. I myself am not certain that I am qualified to properly downsample high definition (24 bit) files.

I am aware that we must respect the copyright laws, so if I'm asking you for two samples, I hope it would not be illegal for you to provide short snippets, not the entire song.

Sure - I'll see what I can do...

Wombat
2011-03-01, 11:43
That is indeed a very intriguing finding, Phil. Is there a way for you to supply snippets of both samples (i.e. the 24/192 and the exact same sample dithered down to 16/44.1)?

I'd love to be able to subject myself to the rigorous blind test, just to see if I can hear the differences. I was able to convince myself that I can hear the differences between the 24 bit and the 16 bit versions of the same song, however, as you say, the differences may be explained away by the differences in mastering. I myself am not certain that I am qualified to properly downsample high definition (24 bit) files.

I am aware that we must respect the copyright laws, so if I'm asking you for two samples, I hope it would not be illegal for you to provide short snippets, not the entire song.

What about using samples you were referring to in your own legendary thread?

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=82870

And Blind test doesnīt mean you have to close your eyes. Please do set up a real blind way to test. The word "Blind" is getting used inflationary here imho.

Edit:
Here firedog has 2 samples he tested, maybe he can help you with serious samples...
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=82067&page=3

Edit2:
In this thread you already have asked about using sox for resampling
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=83328

I think it is still the most accurate. About the parameters one can argue of cause.

magiccarpetride
2011-03-01, 13:10
What about using samples you were referring to in your own legendary thread?

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=82870


These were explained away with the fact that I was comparing apples to oranges. I wasn't aware of that at first, but later on came to learn that, indeed, the high definition master is different from the red book version. Naturally, one can expect that the differences will be easily detectable in a blind test.

I've never been in a situation where I could compare exact same masters, one in high definition, the other one in red book format. I'd love to be given a chance to have a go at that comparative listening.

Wombat
2011-03-01, 13:32
I've never been in a situation where I could compare exact same masters, one in high definition, the other one in red book format. I'd love to be given a chance to have a go at that comparative listening.

Lets see what you find out then!

This Hires versus 16bit cd is coming up pretty often these days. Just today on Hydrogenaudio.org today were linked to an old study agian. You may find this interesting.
http://hlloyge.hl.funpic.de/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/audibility-of-a-cd-standard-ada-loop-inserted.pdf

Coming back to sox. I use it with a bandwith of 90 and allow aliasing. This way you donīt have to wurry about any pre or post-ringing some marketing men talk about and you donīt have to take care about to much clipping cause of resampling.
Allowing more bandwith or disabling aliasing means you get clipping pretty easy. So you sometimes have to lower the volume up to -1dB or use --norm with sox to prevent that.

Phil Leigh
2011-03-01, 13:32
http://rapidshare.com/files/450471320/24_192.flac

http://rapidshare.com/files/450468810/16441.flac

Phoenix
2011-03-01, 16:56
These were explained away with the fact that I was comparing apples to oranges. I wasn't aware of that at first, but later on came to learn that, indeed, the high definition master is different from the red book version. Naturally, one can expect that the differences will be easily detectable in a blind test.

I've never been in a situation where I could compare exact same masters, one in high definition, the other one in red book format. I'd love to be given a chance to have a go at that comparative listening.

This is the bummer of the thing. CD if properly recorded has the potential to sound superb, but the record companies intentionally butcher the recordings by ratcheting the volume up.


So audiophiles are left to seek perfection in the audiophile recording ghetto of their neighborhood record store where they will pay twice as much for a superbly recorded bunch of no names, and/or a re-release of something recorded 60 years ago by the RCA or Mercury. Really makes you sick. That's why I think it will pay to recapture my vinyl on digital. I know the vinyl is colored, but the original analog recordings may better the butchered digital transfers. It's a shame how the record industry squandered their opportunity to re-release their catalogs in a medium which really did promise better sound.

earwaxer9
2011-03-01, 17:05
That is indeed a very intriguing finding, Phil. Is there a way for you to supply snippets of both samples (i.e. the 24/192 and the exact same sample dithered down to 16/44.1)?

I'd love to be able to subject myself to the rigorous blind test, just to see if I can hear the differences. I was able to convince myself that I can hear the differences between the 24 bit and the 16 bit versions of the same song, however, as you say, the differences may be explained away by the differences in mastering. I myself am not certain that I am qualified to properly downsample high definition (24 bit) files.

I am aware that we must respect the copyright laws, so if I'm asking you for two samples, I hope it would not be illegal for you to provide short snippets, not the entire song.

I'm convinced that the sample frequency has a much bigger effect on perceived sound quality vs. bit rate.

I have also concluded that the bit and sample rate that sounds the best on a particular system has to do with how it is processed. IMO, on the Transporter, native 24/96 doesnt sound any 'better' than upsampled native 16/44.1. I could see how dithered 24bit to 16bit would sound as good as the native 24bit.

Phil Leigh
2011-03-02, 02:55
http://rapidshare.com/files/450471320/24_192.flac

http://rapidshare.com/files/450468810/16441.flac

Prompted by Wombat, I've included a slightly different version of the 16/44.1 resample... be interested to see if anyone can tell the difference

http://rapidshare.com/files/450546117/1644100DNS.flac

Mnyb
2011-03-02, 12:38
Prompted by Wombat, I've included a slightly different version of the 16/44.1 resample... be interested to see if anyone can tell the difference

http://rapidshare.com/files/450546117/1644100DNS.flac

Thanks for you efforts i downloaded all 3 examples I copied each 3 times and made an fake album I can shuffle .

I also found the That more modern 51 sec snippet of a more recent recording you uploaded, That female jazz singin ?
Thanks for those too, I will also make a fake album full of them too .

Same tag on all and shuffle on,turn off sample-rate display on my system then I can have a goo :)

Why a selection of an old analogue recording for your recent example ?

Is it in your opinion a good remastering jobb, so something can be understood from that ?

Phil Leigh
2011-03-02, 14:30
Thanks for you efforts i downloaded all 3 examples I copied each 3 times and made an fake album I can shuffle .

I also found the That more modern 51 sec snippet of a more recent recording you uploaded, That female jazz singin ?
Thanks for those too, I will also make a fake album full of them too .

Same tag on all and shuffle on,turn off sample-rate display on my system then I can have a goo :)

Why a selection of an old analogue recording for your recent example ?

Is it in your opinion a good remastering jobb, so something can be understood from that ?



yes - I think it is a good master (well engineered) and was taken from tape at 24/192.

I have some other 24/192 and 24/176.4 material.

magiccarpetride
2011-03-02, 19:58
http://rapidshare.com/files/450471320/24_192.flac

http://rapidshare.com/files/450468810/16441.flac

Hi Phil,

I cannot play your 24_192.flac on my Touch. The message says that the format is unsupported.

I hate to be such a pest, but is there a way to post the 24/96 version?

Mnyb
2011-03-03, 00:19
Hi Phil,

I cannot play your 24_192.flac on my Touch. The message says that the format is unsupported.

I hate to be such a pest, but is there a way to post the 24/96 version?

That is probably because you have disabled flac in the server settings and stream as PCM/WAV ? Otherwise SOX would transcode on your server to 24/96

Phil Leigh
2011-03-03, 00:46
Hi Phil,

I cannot play your 24_192.flac on my Touch. The message says that the format is unsupported.

I hate to be such a pest, but is there a way to post the 24/96 version?

:-) - change your Filetype settings back to the default so that FLAC is streamed as FLAC, not wav...

I promise it won't sound any different :-)

magiccarpetride
2011-03-03, 13:23
:-) - change your Filetype settings back to the default so that FLAC is streamed as FLAC, not wav...

I promise it won't sound any different :-)

Good point. This will also ensure that both high def and regular def files are played under the same conditions.

Archimago
2011-03-05, 19:29
Hi guys. I'm 38, been to maybe a handful of loud concerts in my life, work in an office environment, and my audiologist says I have "very good" acuity for my age.

Here's my conclusion after 25 years of audiophilia, visiting the local hi-end stores in Canada and abroad (mainly to S.E. Asia). Along the way spending hours with very expensive analog systems including Linn, Rega turntables. Most expensive I have heard - SME Model 30.

Personally own Technics SL-1200MK2 with Ortofon 2M Black cartridge, Pro-Ject preamp. These days listen to vinyl at most 10% of the time.

1. Digital easily beats vinyl (gotta be careful since obviously reel-to-reel is a different beast) for sound quality. Record cleaning is a hassle and even when Nitty Gritty cleaned, listen with headphones and the surface noise is obvious. This is particularly noticeable for classical music, as is dynamic range limitations. I have no love for the ritual around putting on a record nor the cleaning, not nostalgic about this stuff at all since when I seriously got into music, the promise of CD's was starting to make inroads already.

2. The *mastering* is more important. These days, I enjoy reading the Steve Hoffman forum for recommendations for best mastering of CD's of favourite music. Some of the early mastering from the 80's are excellent! I've hunted and bought a copy of the Toshiba Black Triangle 'Abbey Road' for example and have a SOX de-emphasized copy on my SqueezeServer which sounds amazing. The new reissues of classics like Billy Joel's 'Glass Houses' from Audio Fidelity really add to my enjoyment of a classic I grew up with.

3. In the 16/44 vs. 24/88+ debate, I've done my own ABX'ing with FooBar over the last 2 years. As Phil already suggested, using the same hi-res source and downsampling, it's essentially impossible to distinguish blinded for me. A few times if I rapidly switch from the 24/96 to 16/44, I think I can detect a very slight difference in terms of 'fullness' of the sound in favour of the 24/96 - not sure if this is just the way the DAC handles the data. I have downloaded a few HDtracks albums but would not if finances was an issue :-).

4. For "fun"; these days if I ache for a rolled off top on those grating, poorly EQ'ed, digititis tracks, I just turn on my el-cheapo TDA1543 NOS DAC instead of using the Transporter's AKM4396 for playback... Really works ;-).


Enjoy the music folks. Although I still have my Stereophile subscription and visit the Audio Asylum regularly, I'm getting too old for the hardware obsessionality and tweako tweaks.

Arch

garym
2011-03-05, 21:08
been to maybe a handful of loud concerts in my life

I'm sorry. ;-)

Archimago
2011-03-05, 21:19
I'm sorry. ;-)

LOL. Good catch :-)

I meant loud rock concerts; last one being the Eagles last year. Jazz and classics I attend not infrequently.

Mnyb
2011-03-05, 22:17
Don,t forget that jacking up the treble is also a part of the loudness race, raising lower treble region it can make things stand out on lover volumes as we are not see sensitive to high frequencies. But play this loud....

And digital media makes this all to easy it has almost no limits in this regard.. where the LP cutting lathe could not cope with it or the tape not take it .

Can you say harsh and sibilant... it does not improve the typically close to the mick pop and rock singing..

I Think even ok sounding modern records have some lift in the treble to make it "exciting" .

I sometimes have to play albums that I know sound good to reassure myself of the status of my hearing and my hifi, after the tooth enamel cracking experience of such a record ?

duke43j
2011-03-07, 08:16
1. Digital easily beats vinyl (gotta be careful since obviously reel-to-reel is a different beast) for sound quality.

...

3. In the 16/44 vs. 24/88+ debate, I've done my own ABX'ing with FooBar over the last 2 years. As Phil already suggested, using the same hi-res source and downsampling, it's essentially impossible to distinguish blinded for me. A few times if I rapidly switch from the 24/96 to 16/44, I think I can detect a very slight difference in terms of 'fullness' of the sound in favour of the 24/96 - not sure if this is just the way the DAC handles the data. I have downloaded a few HDtracks albums but would not if finances was an issue :-).

...

Although I still have my Stereophile subscription and visit the Audio Asylum regularly, I'm getting too old for the hardware obsessionality and tweako tweaks.

Arch

That seems to be the consensus from others who have weighed in on this thread. I would tend to put more faith in someoneís opinion when they can compare their own vinyl and digital front end on their own system in their own room. Also, when somebody owns only one type of front end, either digital or vinyl, they tend to be biased toward what they have. In my case, I do have a pretty crappy phono preamp that I plan to upgrade. I still enjoy listening to the music on my old LPs. Beyond that, I love my SB3/Benchmark DAC combination. The sound quality is amazing and it is so much more convenient than the hassle of vinyl.

I purchased a few 96/24 albums from HDTracks and I cannot tell the difference between those and redbook. I have the same track of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong in both formats that I happened to purchase on two separate occasions. I have played that track over and over and I still cannot hear any difference. My ears arenít what they used to be, but as far as Iím concerned, one is as good as the other.

FYI Iíve found this film clip of an AES workshop that debunks many of the audiophile myths. I think it puts a lot of things into perspective.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ

garym
2011-03-07, 08:24
FYI Iíve found this film clip of an AES workshop that debunks many of the audiophile myths. I think it puts a lot of things into perspective.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ

Some "audiophiles" don't want myths debunked. To them it is a religion and they prefer faith to facts.

Waldo Pepper
2011-03-16, 11:18
Hmmm, I tried ripping an Lp to a 24/96 file and my results weren't very good. The digital files seem to lose some presence and even some bass. Maybe my M-Audio Audiophile USB isn't cutting it anymore.

Digital will not lose any bass if the analogue circuits allow the bass through. You are looking in the wrong place.

Waldo Pepper
2011-03-16, 11:19
On the vinyl to digital front I have a Well Tempered Record Player with upgraded platter, with a Shelter 501 cartridge and a Bottlehead Seduction phono stage (highly modified), on the digital side is a Touch feeding my own home grown DAC (I've made about 30 DACs so far). This DAC is one of the best I've ever heard.

Which is better? The best vinyl sounds better than the best digital. But both vary wildly. I have a lot of vinyl thats dreck. There are quite a few cases where I have the same recording on both, in some cases the vinyl is better in some the digital is better. I'm sure a LOT of that has to do with remastering, nobody puts on the CD EXACTLY what they put on the record.

Some of my favorite recordings of all time are on the Reference Recording label, many of these I have in both formats, the vinyl slightly edges out the digital. But I listen to the digital more often because it is way more convenient.

Now I have some new boards and parts on order for a new analog stage for the DAC which may tip the balance the other way. But I'm also putting together a new phono stage, we'll see how things go in a few months.

The vinyl system I have will wipe the floor with a Touch on its own, but with a REALLY good DAC I'd say its neck and neck right now.

BTW the vinyl system I have would cost slightly over $5K today. (the table is 23 years old, it was a lot less when I bought it than it is now)

John S.

Any chance of posting your circuit diagrams so we can review?

Waldo Pepper
2011-03-16, 11:31
In any case, the quality of vinyl depends on the production of the product and the quality of the cartridge.

Cartridges were (and are) notorious for flavoring the sound. (From my experience, Grado makes excellent products at reasonable prices. AudioTechnica are good but not so cheap.)

With careful alignment and leveling and down-force and anti-skate, most modern turntables are capable of maintaining the correct RPM's and can sound great. That said, a small amount of down-force alteration can completely change the character of the sound not to mention the other factors (and the terror of acoustic feedback.)

Don't forget also that most albums were (are) not made of strong material. When an album is played, the grooves (the signal) are subtly stretched and this results in alteration. Higher range of response also results in more kinetic energy slamming against the sides of the grooves. Albums from the 60's - 80's could be irrevocably damaged if you played the same track(s) before you allowed the album to "rest" back <closer> to it's manufactured shape.

The early response to attaining higher fidelity made two advancements:

The "half speed" master which drove the cutting head of the master at a slower rate to allow more accurate etching of the program material.

Much harder vinyl that provided more accurate pressing and less stretch during playback.

In short: vinyl is a PITA and though there are crappy CD's it all depends on the care of production. People who say vinyl is better would be better-off buying some Dynaudio speakers and/or a high current amp.

P

A signal from a record player (and that's all they are) has to be filtered through an RIAA response pre-amp to account for the output voltage being down to the frequency picked off the record. This is the biggest source of non linearity as no analogue filter can ever 100% represent the inverse of the magnetic cartridge due to manufacturing variations. An often overlooked fact as few understand what L.di/dt means. Rate of change of signal is lower at lower frequencies and has to be compensated for by an analogue filter. Michael Faraday worked this out.

They may sound different, but none will be accurate. Digital audio has no such limitations.

Phil Leigh
2011-03-16, 13:44
A signal from a record player (and that's all they are) has to be filtered through an RIAA response pre-amp to account for the output voltage being down to the frequency picked off the record. This is the biggest source of non linearity as no analogue filter can ever 100% represent the inverse of the magnetic cartridge due to manufacturing variations. An often overlooked fact as few understand what L.di/dt means. Rate of change of signal is lower at lower frequencies and has to be compensated for by an analogue filter. Michael Faraday worked this out.

They may sound different, but none will be accurate. Digital audio has no such limitations.

I agree that digital has no such limitations - and sounds better for it IMO - but your explanation of RIAA EQ is way off... it's basically a severe curtailing of low frequencies at three turnover points to preserve the integrity of the cutting heads and make it actually possible to cut the record withput serious distortion in the first place - the RIAA eq circuit in the playback chain reverses the process, somewhat like Dolby or DBX NR compansion... albeit inaccurately as you say.

Even worse, many record labels and cutting/pressing plants didn't use the RIAA curve, they used their own flavour...

mlsstl
2011-03-16, 15:05
I agree that digital has no such limitations - and sounds better for it IMO - but your explanation of RIAA EQ is way off... it's basically a severe curtailing of low frequencies at three turnover points to preserve the integrity of the cutting heads and make it actually possible to cut the record withput serious distortion in the first place - the RIAA eq circuit in the playback chain reverses the process, somewhat like Dolby or DBX NR compansion... albeit inaccurately as you say.

Even worse, many record labels and cutting/pressing plants didn't use the RIAA curve, they used their own flavour...

The RIAA curve has a 40 dB swing from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Heavy bass needs a very wide groove, so the bass response is reduced up to 20 dB when cutting the record. Highs, which don't take up much groove width, are boosted up to 20 dB.

During playback, this curve is reversed. The bass is boosted back up 20 dB at 20 Hz and the highs are cut back 20 dB at 20,000 Hz.

Without the RIAA curve, LPs would be of very short duration and have much more high frequency noise.

The curve was standardized in the mid-1950s and most records after that were not too far off target. Probably a bigger wild card than the LP or the preamp's RIAA curve is the variable response of cartridges and their interaction with cable capacitance. Many moving coil cartridges in particular had very interesting response curves.

Phil Leigh
2011-03-16, 15:11
The RIAA curve has a 40 dB swing from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Heavy bass needs a very wide groove, so the bass response is reduced up to 20 dB when cutting the record. Highs, which don't take up much groove width, are boosted up to 20 dB.

During playback, this curve is reversed. The bass is boosted back up 20 dB at 20 Hz and the highs are cut back 20 dB at 20,000 Hz.

Without the RIAA curve, LPs would be of very short duration and have much more high frequency noise.

The curve was standardized in the mid-1950s and most records after that were not too far off target. Probably a bigger wild card than the LP or the preamp's RIAA curve is the variable response of cartridges and their interaction with cable capacitance. Many moving coil cartridges in particular had very interesting response curves.

Decca was still using their own curve into the early 70's... and they weren't alone.

I agree regarding cartridges - anything but flat...

Daverz
2011-03-17, 02:09
Decca was still using their own curve into the early 70's... and they weren't alone.


I'd like to see a reference for that. I know they were using their own curve in the early "hi-fi" era, but I have Decca Lps from the late 50s that are clearly marked "RIAA".

Waldo Pepper
2011-03-17, 11:11
That's what's so good about standards. There are so many variations of them;)

darrenyeats
2011-04-03, 10:09
At a recent show we heard (amongst many other interesting things) a single driver omni type speaker with tube amps playing from a reel to reel machine. Funky, myself and my two companions liked it. But we are audio geeks I suppose.

The guy mentioned that they preferred the reel to reel of the same (80s pop) music to the digital version. I said, okay we'll come back and try a head to head later!

So we did. Same track, via a £13.5k DAC (!) and the reel to reel. All of us preferred the reel to reel! The digital had spitty vocals and the drums were less catchy.

Afterwards we found the reel to reel was a recording of the same digital file via a much cheaper DAC. This is another experience supporting my belief that digital doesn't have any less musical information than analogue (in fact the opposite). However, it's just less comfortable hearing accuracy in certain set ups.
Darren

Robin Bowes
2011-04-04, 00:55
On 03/04/11 18:09, darrenyeats wrote:
> So we did. Same track, via a £13.5k DAC (!) and the reel to reel. All
> of us preferred the reel to reel! The digital had spitty vocals and the
> drums were less catchy.
>
> Afterwards we found the reel to reel was a recording of the same
> digital file via a much cheaper DAC. This is another experience
> supporting my belief that digital doesn't have any less musical
> information than analogue (in fact the opposite). However, it's just
> less comfortable hearing accuracy in certain set ups.

Indeed. Recording to, and playing back from tape is essentially
processing the signal, eg. rolling off (very) highs, slight compression
perhaps. Perhaps as digital filter that does the same thing would be a
good idea? :)

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

brjoon1021
2011-04-06, 10:55
I went to a local high end gear store just for this purpose several years back. We listened to a mid-range analog front end and a probably little better than midrange digital setup through Krell monoblocks and Apogee speakers - yep, been a while ago, digital has probably improved more since then than analog, obviously. I brought the music in digital that I was REALLY familiar with and they had everything I brought in analog. No stacked deck, not regular CD versus MFSL vinyl or anything like that. Anyway, to cut to the chase... both were really good, simply put, over that great system. But, there is something about an AAA recording (is it analog or the vinyl, I don't know...) that an AAD or whatever seems to lack. There is some small factor of being "there" that the vinyl seemed (and seems) to preserve that I can't seem to get with digital recordings or digital mixes. But, I like tubes better too. My engineer friend says that tubes and analog are better. Period. He also makes speakers, amps and digital front ends - for what an anecdotal point is worth. He can go on and on about why, but it is over my head.

I have also heard differences between pieces of gear that some of you would disagree with, but I was a bachelor with a bachelor room dedicated to my music. I nerded out on speaker placement, etc.... My gear was more midrange than the apogess and Krells. I had Paradigms, Sumo and Conrad-Johnson at home. Knowing recordings in a stable controlled environment is key. Double blind studies are total BS because a sh*tty MP3 of low quality reproduces enough information to sound like a CD when you are listening to popular music (especially) over a system you are unfamiliar with and music you are unfamiliar with. I argued over and over with a guy who is a big hydrogenaudio guru at another forum. He says that it has been proven (scientifically, even) that people can't tell the difference between a CD and an MP3 in blind testing (I don't remember if it was 256 or 320 MP3) - bullsh*t, anyway. Maybe they can't tell the difference between two Michael Jackson songs or two Katy Perry songs they only hear in their car or at the gym between the two formats. But, You take a chamber ensemble that you have heard hundreds of times (and love to listen to) and have someone play an MP3 or vinyl record (frequency response variations introduced by vinyl aside) of it on YOUR SYSTEM and you will hear the difference.

Similarly, I was shocked and very disappointed when a guy that peddled ridiculously expensive wires put his ridiculously expensive cables (everything changed out: interconnects and speaker cables all at once) in my system and I heard a definite improvement. I don't have the money for that stuff but I had to admit that it really was better. Could I hear that difference listening to Maroon 5 (don't like) in some lab on stuff I have never listened through. I'd bet money on no. Could I hear the difference between the expensive cables and my cheap ones ON MY SYSTEM listening to Fleetwood Mac Rumours (like it, know EXACTLY what it sounds like in my room) unfortunately, yes, and clearly. I also could tell the difference between amps pretty clearly in that room. I used to buy and sell gear. Bedini, Forte, Adcom, B&K, Sumo all had characteristics that were different. Not huge, but definitely discernible - just between power amps. Amps are supposedly pretty similar in sound according to engineers unless they introduce huge artifacts. I did not find that to be the case. They have less variation than pre-amps, I think.

I am laboring the point of familiarity because only on familiar recordings over familiar systems can the differences between vinyl and digital be heard. The fundamentals are there on a very lossy digital format, but the harmonics and spacial cues of a small ensemble playing in a live recording space is an enormous amount of information to communicate. I think you would hear the difference between a record and a CD, in other words. Vinyl may be euphoric, I can't say, but it seems to keep more of the recording space in my opinion. I don't know if you consider visceral reactions to music as meaning anything, but I have gotten goosebumps to things I have heard on vinyl, but I don't think that has ever happened when listening to digital sources... don't know why... (you can keep boner comments, etc... to yourselves) I am not talking about coconut audio stuff here (that is a funny site), just the fact that given the proper cues, the ear/brain combo can react as if it was in the space the recording occurred in. I don't know what kind of music you like but some of the songs on Jackson Browne's Running on empty have a lot of "space" to them. If you can, listen to that vinyl record and CD and see what you think. The CD sounds great. But, listen the the record afterward and I think that you will see that it seems like you are more "there" than on the CD. By the way, Stereophile printed and article a few years back where the guy from Krell, Nelson Pass an amp designer and some other golden ears went to a studio and listened to live music while it was being recorded digitally and in analog. They subsequently listened to the recordings on CD, reel to reel and record. They all preferred the record, even to the reel to reel (I may have screwed details up badly, but the take-home message was the vinyl preference). That seems to suggest that there is some artifact that is pleasing to the ear introduced by the action of a diamond racing around banging off of vinyl walls at high speeds. To sum up my take, I like both. Records are a hassle for sure. But some recordings seem to suck me in better on vinyl.

garym
2011-04-06, 11:02
Knowing recordings in a stable controlled environment is key. Double blind studies are total BS because a sh*tty MP3 of low quality reproduces enough information to sound like a CD when you are listening to popular music (especially) over a system you are unfamiliar with and music you are unfamiliar with.

But you do understand that one can do a double-blind ABX test, with familiar material in their own environment,using whatever source material they want. It doesn't have to be mp3 in a foreign environment. Additionally, there is nothing about double-blind ABX testing that requires one to listen to short snippets of music. The switching back and forth can be after weeks of listening if one chooses that time period. Of course one needs repeated trials in order to apply some classical statistics to the results to make sure you are not getting results by mere chance, but other than this, the equipment, source material, and system can be all yours and the timing of each trial can be as long as you wish.

So your concerns about the double-blind testing have nothing to do with double-blind testing validity in the context of audio.

brjoon1021
2011-04-06, 11:27
I was advocating just that.

However, nobody has presented any data done just that way. At least when I was embroiled in an argument with the MP3-is-just-as-the-CD advocate nothing like that was referenced by him. The studies he referred me to were clinical settings where the environment and the music over the system were new to the listeners. The music may have been new to them as well. These conditions are bogus. Also, these were "kidnapped a bowling alley" studies too. Your hearing gets more in tune as you listen critically. This is a known fact by audiologists, musicians, etc....

As I put it, If one takes different formats of a familiar recording over a familiar system (I should say the recording is familiar over THAT system) the differences between the formats will come through in blind testing. Unfortunately, vinyl inherently changes frequency response and has more noise so the question of analog vs digital would really not be addressed even by this study. It would have to be the subjective response of the listeners to euphonic questions like, "which sounds more 'real' to you"? Vinyl and CDs are going to sound different, better is subjective like beer tasting. However, we are talking about art here. Even if the analog digital question could not be adequately addressed (scientifically for some), this familiar recording over a familiar system would put to death the Mp3 sounds just like the CD camp's arguments I would bet.

garym
2011-04-06, 11:35
Even if the analog digital question could not be adequately addressed, this familiar recording over a familiar system would put to death the Mp3 sounds just like the CD camp's arguments I would bet.

That's the point of science. We can test such things without relying on individual's bets or guessing. ;-)

I do agree that a double-blind test between vinyl and digital is all but impossible in terms of not knowing which is which given the inherent limitations. And I agree that ABX tests done the way you describe (mp3 in unfamiliar environment) aren't particularly useful for many questions that we're interested in.

That said, I can say that I have a pretty decent mid-fi system and in my own system, with very familiar music, I can rarely ABX FLAC or WAV lossless files compared against high quality mp3 files (say LAME mp3 encoded at -V2 or -V1 (avg kbs of 192 or 220 or so). Only certain "special" tracks where I can key in on cymbals or piano, etc. I still listen to the FLACs, just because I have them and want to. And of course much of this is because as a male past 50, my upper frequency hearing is much reduced compared to where I was at 16. (And front row at Led Zepplin, Who, and Jimi Hendrix concerts didn't help my hearing abilities!)

And I agree that with a lot of pop music these days, 64kbs files may be overkill. Over-compressed pablum doesn't need quality!

Phil Leigh
2011-04-06, 11:43
Some people simply prefer the sound of vinyl. It's PURELY a personal preference - nothing more.
I used to prefer vinyl - but I don't anymore. My preference has changed.

However, your claim that double-blind testing is BS is simply wrong. DBT is the ONLY valid way of assessing things based on any of the human senses. We see/hear/smell/feel/taste a combination of what we expect, what we believe and what we desire. The brain is in control and - whether we like it or not - every single persons perceptions of reality are slightly (sometimes very) different to everyone elses.

Many years ago there was a test of 2 groups of people who were shown a pair of photographic prints. One group was told that one print was from a top end SLR and the other from a new compact camera (but not which was which) and the other group was told that Print A was taken with the SLR and Print B with the compact.

The prints were in fact identical.

Asked which they preferred and why, the first group picked 50:50 between the two prints, stating deeper colours, sharper focus etc etc. The second group all picked the "SLR" print stating deeper colours, sharper focus etc etc...

So let's be clear - there is no absolute reality, only personal preference... and preference can be manipulated, both conciously and unconciously.

earwaxer9
2011-04-06, 17:44
The biggest factor in how a particular sound is perceived, is governed by the experience of "irritation" or "annoyance". Less irritation is why tubes and vinyl are so popular. Our music enjoyment "mood" is ruined by irritating aspects of the sound. I would be willing to bet that a "flat" 20hz to 20khz reproduction is more irritating than a non linear reproduction (all things being equal). Thats why I'm very hesitant to surrender my frequencies to some sort of equalization, be it digital or otherwise. I know what sounds good. I will let you know - not the other way around.

brjoon1021
2011-04-06, 20:29
"Double blind studies are total BS because a sh*tty MP3 of low quality reproduces enough information to sound like a CD when you are listening to popular music (especially) over a system you are unfamiliar with and music you are unfamiliar with. I argued over and over with a guy who is a big hydrogenaudio guru at another forum. He says that it has been proven (scientifically, even) that people can't tell the difference between a CD and an MP3 in blind testing (I don't remember if it was 256 or 320 MP3) - bullsh*t, anyway. Maybe they can't tell the difference between two Michael Jackson songs or two Katy Perry songs they only hear in their car or at the gym between the two formats. But, You take a chamber ensemble that you have heard hundreds of times (and love to listen to) and have someone play an MP3 or vinyl record (frequency response variations introduced by vinyl aside) of it on YOUR SYSTEM and you will hear the difference."

That is all one theme. Maybe I should have said, "the double blind studies where... unfamiliar music/system... kidnapped bowling alley... are BS". They are. I go to your house with an MP3 of violin/acoustic guitar/piano music you KNOW and play it over your system that you have listened to intently for a long time and I believe that you could tell me which was your CD and which was the MP3. That is all that I am trying to say about that.

I don't know that there is any way of measuring the actual complexity of waveforms which occur when a rich instrument like a violin (let alone an orchestra) bounces off of many walls, people, seats many times including the fundamental and all harmonics - then hits (continually) the transducer of the microphone. That is a very complex thing to capture. My belief is that there is too much there for current digital parameters to capture as well as analog can. Maybe that is why I like vinyl, I could have conned myself into it, can't say, but it seems more like being at a live concert hall to me in some aspects. Studio music is a little different, some of it is very dry as far as its recording space is concerned. Anyway, my .02 ad nauseum. But, I was not trying to say that all double blind testing is BS, just all that I have seen referenced to prove "scientifically" so many different things. Again, those tests were random people on a system they have never heard with music they may or may not know. I would suggest that this kind of thing would sound the same to anyone at all times. Maybe not a dog, but probably about the same to us.

Mnyb
2011-04-06, 21:52
Eh it has been proven before that you can record a vinyl with a digital rig and then nobody can tell the difference, it sounds just like the vinyl ( - acoustical feedback ? so it can be slightly better ) so it is an sound effect inherent in the format one may prefer that or not, but it is not magic.
Pure personal preference I also used to prefer that 20y ago.

Vinyl has loads of quirks that makes it quite different from any other format be it other analog formats or a digital format.

Have in mind that some analog recordings are forever "lost" the digital transfer may have been done after any good tapes where available (they age etc).
So the best you can do in some cases are to play the vinyl or record it.

Robin Bowes
2011-04-07, 01:15
On 07/04/11 04:29, brjoon1021 wrote:
> My belief is that there is too much there for current digital
> parameters to capture as well as analog can.

Actually, that's not the case. The A/D process is relatively simple and
easy to do right. Digital recordings can easily capture everything that
analog can and much more. Indeed, pretty much *all* recordings are done
digitally these days, even those destined for vinyl.

I would say almost certainly that you prefer the "filtering" effect that
vinyl reproduction has on sound - a smoothing effect, with a slight
change in the overall frequency response.

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

Phil Leigh
2011-04-07, 02:02
On 07/04/11 04:29, brjoon1021 wrote:
> My belief is that there is too much there for current digital
> parameters to capture as well as analog can.

Actually, that's not the case. The A/D process is relatively simple and
easy to do right. Digital recordings can easily capture everything that
analog can and much more. Indeed, pretty much *all* recordings are done
digitally these days, even those destined for vinyl.

I would say almost certainly that you prefer the "filtering" effect that
vinyl reproduction has on sound - a smoothing effect, with a slight
change in the overall frequency response.

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

+1 - vinyl also adds noise, various distortions and compresses dynamic range (especially at the bass end).

Anyone who has ripped vinyl using capable equipment knows that it is (as Robin said) easy to capture EVERYTHING about the vinyl, good and bad.

Such rips are 100% indistinguishable from the vinyl. In fact it is possible to make them sound better than listening to the vinyl, by excluding acoustic feedback..

Soulkeeper
2011-04-07, 04:33
During the weekend, I listened to a test print of my band's upcoming 10" vinyl. It sounds ten times better than the digital master tracks. All the microphones and other inputs were plugged into a sound card and A/D-converted. From there, everything was done digitally. The record manufacturers in Poland received the master tracks via the Internet. The result? Analog! Amazing. It must be magic. :)

adamdea
2011-04-07, 04:40
I seem to remember that even Michael Fremer admits to playing people cdrs he has made of different turntables and phono amps to show the difference between them. How does this work if the vinyl magic is removed? I appreciate that it is theoretically possible, but it seems odd that the differences between the 2 most expensive turntables in the world could be completely apparent through a poxy cdr.Try carrying ut the same thought experiment to apprciate the sonic differences between a DCS DAC and an EMM one after recording and cutting to vinyl. Hell-oooo! (as I believe they say in the USA).

Robin Bowes
2011-04-07, 04:44
On 07/04/11 12:33, Soulkeeper wrote:
>
> During the weekend, I listened to a test print of my band's upcoming 10"
> vinyl. It sounds ten times better than the digital master tracks. All
> the microphones and other inputs were plugged into a sound card and
> A/D-converted. From there, everything was done digitally. The record
> manufacturers in Poland received the master tracks via the Internet.
> The result? Analog! Amazing. It must be magic. :)

No, it's called "mastering".

R.
--
"Feed that ego and you starve the soul" - Colonel J.D. Wilkes
http://www.theshackshakers.com/

mlsstl
2011-04-07, 05:45
My belief is that there is too much there for current digital parameters to capture as well as analog can.

You're certainly entitled to your belief, but I've personally transferred to digital over 2,000 LPs and open reel tapes in my collection over the past 10 years. I find my digital version sounds just like the analog source. I've been very pleased with the process.

Of course, you can always claim that I should have used this piece of equipment rather than that one, or that my hearing or audio training is inadequate, but it works for me.

Frankly, I find the endless debate over storage formats (LP, tape, digital) rather pointless. I've heard superb and rotten recordings in every one of them. I find far more variability in the quality of the recording itself than its storage container. Microphones stuffed down a singer's throat, drummers with 12' wide arm spans, ill-used highlight mikes, over-use of special effects and the like are far more annoying than spending hours trying to figure if this LP has more ephemeral cymbal shimmer or bass plunk than the CD. (And its all meaningless anyway if the CD was remastered before release.)

But, each person gets to approach their hobby as they wish. I just hope you don't forget to enjoy the music.

ctbarker32
2011-04-07, 07:02
A point that goes missing quite often in these discussions is that a lot of music simply is not available in any format except LP vinyl. I have literally hundreds and approaching thousands of records that were never issued on CD and still not available in digital form. These are not marginal records but fantastic jazz from such labels as ECM, etc. I was perusing my vast LP collection the other day and cataloged my LPs by Ransom Wilson - a very good classical flute player. I have 6 LPs on the Angel Records on audiophile vinyl mastered and pressed by the great but now defunct Wakefield Mastering in Arizona (they also pressed all of the American ECM pressings). None of these albums are available in any other form other than vinyl.

I have noticed that quite a lot of music that was released in the early 80's, just as CDs were being released, simply got lost in the mix and never got issued on CD. A lot of this is great music. So people that rigidly stick to digital and nothing else are simply missing out on a lot of human history. It's kind of like deciding to buy a digital book reader and swearing never to buy a physical book again. You may think the world is your oyster and you have every digital bit at your fingertips but you would be wrong when you discover that most written words have never been digitized. I choose not too limit my choices artificially.

Regarding LP quality and cost, etc. I recently added a new turntable to one of my systems and I am achieving sound quality that is stunning to me despite the modest cost of the components:

Technics SL-1200 Mk2 - $550
Shure M97xe with Jico SAS stylus - $55 + $129
Ray Samuels Nighthawk Battery Phono Preamp - $700

For a little over a $1k I have access to almost all music ever released by humankind. The sound quality I am achieving from LP is as good if not better than the best digital. I have a Benchmark DAC-1 and all sorts of recommended digital products. Look, I am not Luddite. I have been running a Squeezebox Server for over 6 years running Linux. I made a career in the computer industry. But even still, there is no denying the continued viability of the LP format for the foreseeable future.

-CB

mlsstl
2011-04-07, 07:37
A point that goes missing quite often in these discussions is that a lot of music simply is not available in any format except LP vinyl....
Now you know why I converted much of my material to digital. If I wanted a CD version or to have the music on my server, I had to digitize it myself.

And strangely, if the LP recording was good, the digital version sounds just as good!

BTW, the conversion process is also a great way to get reacquainted with one's collection. I even had a few things that I didn't know I had and still can't remember when I acquired. Still no clue where the Domingo Bethencourt LP came from....

magiccarpetride
2011-04-07, 12:38
+1 - vinyl also adds noise, various distortions and compresses dynamic range (especially at the bass end).

Anyone who has ripped vinyl using capable equipment knows that it is (as Robin said) easy to capture EVERYTHING about the vinyl, good and bad.

Such rips are 100% indistinguishable from the vinyl. In fact it is possible to make them sound better than listening to the vinyl, by excluding acoustic feedback..

This is true. In a similar fashion, you can take the measurements of your ideal woman of choice (36-24-36, yow!) and fashion a vinyl doll that would emulate the real woman (you can rip her, in technical parlance), and no wanker would ever know the difference.

What's more, you can make that doll even better than the real woman (i.e. make the breasts larger, the legs longer, the vagina tighter, etc.)

earwaxer9
2011-04-07, 17:25
What's more, you can make that doll even better than the real woman (i.e. make the breasts larger, the legs longer, the vagina tighter, etc.)

I will leave it there....dont want to get the bug spray!

Curt962
2011-04-07, 18:14
It's difficult to shock me, but even I thought that post was wildly inappropriate. Shame.

Phoenix
2011-04-07, 18:39
It's difficult to shock me, but even I thought that post was wildly inappropriate. Shame.

Less said about it the better.

brjoon1021
2011-04-07, 22:45
"My belief is that there is too much (information - to be recorded) there for current digital parameters to capture as well as analog can."

I did say analog, not "vinyl" here as some of you started talking about digitally ripping copies of your records. I wasn't talking about that. I was referring to whether digital recordings can capture the information of a live event as well as analog recordings can. I know that most all recordings that end up on vinyl now were made digitally at the time the recording was made. I have not referred to any of those. I don't have any vinyl records of anything recorded after early-70's except for Jazz at the Pawnshop, Police and R.E.M. - Good point... do you have both the CD and LP of Jazz at the Pawnsho[? Compare them. GREAT RECORDING. Both sound great but many people think that the vinyl has more of the live feel of the location than the CD. Why ? I don't know. The CD is great but vinyl records sound more real to me many times. R.E.M. comes to mind. Their records sound better than their CDs to me. Maybe the guy that mastered the CDs was not so great, don't know...

To clarify my analog vs digital assertion: I think a big studio tape would sound better than a top-of-the-line digital recording of the very same piece, in other words. I have not had the opportunity to hear either. I have only heard vinyl and CD. My aforementioned Engineer buddy has done a lot of studio recording and setting up studios with his speakers, amps and various other shite he makes (well). He emphatically says that the best digital recordings do not sound as good as the same event recorded on analog. Just an anecdote. Nothing more.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you like as someone else said here. Speakers are wildly inaccurate compared to any artifacts we are talking about adding by a stylus or other vinyl playback equipment. We are already listening to frequency response inaccuracies. Our rooms add a lot more coloration after that.... I was only trying to make a few points:

1. to me, most vinyl records sound more "there" than the CD of the same event. I don't know if there is any way to prove that records have more or less information to be gotten from the groove than a CD has in bits.

2. MP3s are not the same as a CD when you listen to familiar, complex material over a system that you know the material on... (your music, your system).

By the way, I have ribbon tweeters and really fast sealed-cabinet speakers. I don't like soft and flabby sound - referring to the glossing effect of vinyl being possibly what I prefer about vinyl. I listen to digital sources most of the time, too.

I probably won't add any more comments as this is kind of running aground, but a fun topic.

darrenyeats
2011-04-08, 01:44
"My belief is that there is too much (information - to be recorded) there for current digital parameters to capture as well as analog can."

I did say analog, not "vinyl" here as some of you started talking about digitally ripping copies of your records. I wasn't talking about that. I was referring to whether digital recordings can capture the information of a live event as well as analog recordings can. I know that most all recordings that end up on vinyl now were made digitally at the time the recording was made. I have not referred to any of those. I don't have any vinyl records of anything recorded after early-70's except for Jazz at the Pawnshop, Police and R.E.M. - Good point... do you have both the CD and LP of Jazz at the Pawnsho[? Compare them. GREAT RECORDING. Both sound great but many people think that the vinyl has more of the live feel of the location than the CD. Why ? I don't know. The CD is great but vinyl records sound more real to me many times. R.E.M. comes to mind. Their records sound better than their CDs to me. Maybe the guy that mastered the CDs was not so great, don't know...

To clarify my analog vs digital assertion: I think a big studio tape would sound better than a top-of-the-line digital recording of the very same piece, in other words. I have not had the opportunity to hear either. I have only heard vinyl and CD. My aforementioned Engineer buddy has done a lot of studio recording and setting up studios with his speakers, amps and various other shite he makes (well). He emphatically says that the best digital recordings do not sound as good as the same event recorded on analog. Just an anecdote. Nothing more.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you like as someone else said here. Speakers are wildly inaccurate compared to any artifacts we are talking about adding by a stylus or other vinyl playback equipment. We are already listening to frequency response inaccuracies. Our rooms add a lot more coloration after that.... I was only trying to make a few points:

1. to me, most vinyl records sound more "there" than the CD of the same event. I don't know if there is any way to prove that records have more or less information to be gotten from the groove than a CD has in bits.

2. MP3s are not the same as a CD when you listen to familiar, complex material over a system that you know the material on... (your music, your system).

By the way, I have ribbon tweeters and really fast sealed-cabinet speakers. I don't like soft and flabby sound - referring to the glossing effect of vinyl being possibly what I prefer about vinyl. I listen to digital sources most of the time, too.

I probably won't add any more comments as this is kind of running aground, but a fun topic.
If your point is you like vinyl, it's well made. But what do you think about what others have written on this thread? I believe some of the comments are informative and worth engaging with.
Darren

Phil Leigh
2011-04-08, 02:26
"My belief is that there is too much (information - to be recorded) there for current digital parameters to capture as well as analog can."

I did say analog, not "vinyl" here as some of you started talking about digitally ripping copies of your records. I wasn't talking about that. I was referring to whether digital recordings can capture the information of a live event as well as analog recordings can. I know that most all recordings that end up on vinyl now were made digitally at the time the recording was made. I have not referred to any of those. I don't have any vinyl records of anything recorded after early-70's except for Jazz at the Pawnshop, Police and R.E.M. - Good point... do you have both the CD and LP of Jazz at the Pawnsho[? Compare them. GREAT RECORDING. Both sound great but many people think that the vinyl has more of the live feel of the location than the CD. Why ? I don't know. The CD is great but vinyl records sound more real to me many times. R.E.M. comes to mind. Their records sound better than their CDs to me. Maybe the guy that mastered the CDs was not so great, don't know...

To clarify my analog vs digital assertion: I think a big studio tape would sound better than a top-of-the-line digital recording of the very same piece, in other words. I have not had the opportunity to hear either. I have only heard vinyl and CD. My aforementioned Engineer buddy has done a lot of studio recording and setting up studios with his speakers, amps and various other shite he makes (well). He emphatically says that the best digital recordings do not sound as good as the same event recorded on analog. Just an anecdote. Nothing more.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you like as someone else said here. Speakers are wildly inaccurate compared to any artifacts we are talking about adding by a stylus or other vinyl playback equipment. We are already listening to frequency response inaccuracies. Our rooms add a lot more coloration after that.... I was only trying to make a few points:

1. to me, most vinyl records sound more "there" than the CD of the same event. I don't know if there is any way to prove that records have more or less information to be gotten from the groove than a CD has in bits.

2. MP3s are not the same as a CD when you listen to familiar, complex material over a system that you know the material on... (your music, your system).

By the way, I have ribbon tweeters and really fast sealed-cabinet speakers. I don't like soft and flabby sound - referring to the glossing effect of vinyl being possibly what I prefer about vinyl. I listen to digital sources most of the time, too.

I probably won't add any more comments as this is kind of running aground, but a fun topic.

Having worked with "big studio tape decks", Modern digital recording (post ~1990, 24/96 and beyond) can easily outstrip even the most well aligned, well-engineered 0.5 inch mastering tape decks with the best quality virgin tapes and nothing is lost in translation. In fact it's rather the opposite - the digital is somewhat more revealing, which a lot of people don't care for. Certainly the extra 20-25dB of noise floor reduction is worth having... because it removes the need for Dolby/dBX NR each of which have their own problems...

As for 2 inch tape with 24 tracks... digital easily beats that.

It's worth bearing in mind that analogue tape is effectively a "quantum" medium in so far as the smallest detectable changes in magnetic flux are determined by the size of the mag particles on tape... it's not a case of infinite "resolution" :-)