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Article: Does Vinyl Really Sound Better?

Hypnotoad

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#4
I think the question should be "Can vinyl sound good?". The answer would be "For all its mechanical constraints very good but not as good as a properly recorded digital equivalent".
 

cjfrbw

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#5
It sounds much better than other vinyl that sounds worse.
 

watchnerd

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#6
Which part of the article did you find particularly bullshitty?

I thought the parts about using often using digital masters, the limitations that playing time cause, the need to mix bass to mono, etc, to be pretty objective.
 

anmpr1

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#9
Records today are generally made better than in the heyday. More care in mastering and cutting. Heavier plastic. I've bought some in the past couple of years that have almost zero surface noise (pops and clicks) although you will always have the low level noise inherent in the format. The advantages of records are better album art and more readable liner notes. And you get to watch something spinning. Sound can be really good, but certainly not as detailed as digits. I just don't understand what people who think that could be thinking.
 

MattHooper

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#10
Sound can be really good, but certainly not as detailed as digits. I just don't understand what people who think that could be thinking.
Agreed that all things being equal, digital will sound more accurate.

But different EQ used for an LP and/or certain deviations from accuracy can make the vinyl sound as detailed, or more detailed than the digital.
Lots of people, newbies to vinyl veterans, report hearing more detail from vinyl likely because of these factors.

(Just a few nights ago I compared my vinyl version of Niel Young at Massey Hall to the digital version, and the vinyl version actually struck me as a bit more "detailed" in certain ways. The digital in other ways).

And of course there are numerous instances where the vinyl can simply be from a better master than the CD, making the vinyl sound better.
 
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#11
I am not a vinyl booster at all. I was listening to a CD of Seargeant Pepper's in the car on a very nice audio system. The CD is sort of revisionist mastering and not as good as the vinyl. But its the mastering not the medium.
 

Wombat

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#13
All things being equal at the 'pre-master' stage, vinyl reproduction will be technically more limited in transferring the recording accurately to disc(stylus tracking control EQ, inner/outer groove frequency performance} - plus there are issues related to the mechanical reproduction apparatus and the deficiencies of the vinyl substrate, e.g. spindle centring, form stability(warping), wear and material grain, to name a few.

"There is no accounting for taste" is a very old saying and it applies to audio reproduction. :)

"Hit me but don't shit me" is another one. :facepalm:

Preferences are OK but let's be 'real' on ASR with the technical side of things. ;)
 

watchnerd

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#14
All things being equal at the 'pre-master' stage, vinyl reproduction will be technically more limited in transferring the recording accurately to disc(stylus tracking control EQ, inner/outer groove frequency performance} - plus there are issues related to the mechanical reproduction apparatus and the deficiencies of the vinyl substrate, e.g. spindle centring, form stability(warping), wear and material grain, to name a few.
Yeah, but...

Everything you said is true regarding the fidelity limitations of vinyl. No sane person would disagree.

But sometimes everything isn't equal. There are some shockingly bad to mediocre digital masters that, for whatever reason, have never been done well in the digital domain.

Case in point: Led Zeppelin remasters

Between Jim Page's oversight leading to ham-fisted EQ and the seemingly crap fidelity of the original master tapes, I haven't heard a very listenable digital version yet.

Which leaves the LP more appealing to me because the lower fidelity of the medium help mask the flaws, merging it all into a 'wall of sound', instead of bunch of distinct instruments that weren't mixed and EQed well enough to give any sense of imaging, soundstage, etc.

I'd put early Rolling Stones in the same bucket.
 

Wombat

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#15
Yeah, but...

Everything you said is true regarding the fidelity limitations of vinyl. No sane person would disagree.

But sometimes everything isn't equal. There are some shockingly bad to mediocre digital masters that, for whatever reason, have never been done well in the digital domain.

Case in point: Led Zeppelin remasters

Between Jim Page's oversight leading to ham-fisted EQ and the seemingly crap fidelity of the original master tapes, I haven't heard a very listenable digital version yet.

Which leaves the LP more appealing to me because the lower fidelity of the medium help mask the flaws, merging it all into a 'wall of sound', instead of bunch of distinct instruments that weren't mixed and EQed well enough to give any sense of imaging, soundstage, etc.

I'd put early Rolling Stones in the same bucket.

I did say "all things being equal ............ ". ;)

Yes, it is possible to get better masters on the technically inferior(vinyl) medium. But this also applies to digital media.

I am a big 'Stones fan since the early 60s. I believe the muddy sound was their chosen sound signature. Could be mistaken, though. :)
 
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anmpr1

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#17
Which leaves the LP more appealing to me because the lower fidelity of the medium help mask the flaws, merging it all into a 'wall of sound', instead of bunch of distinct instruments that weren't mixed and EQed well enough to give any sense of imaging, soundstage, etc.

I'd put early Rolling Stones in the same bucket.
There's truth in this. I remember buying the Mobile Fidelity half speed mastered JVC Super Vinyl Sticky Fingers disc. I was pretty amazed at all the detail I heard within the mix. Stuff you could never make out on the regular album. I said to myself, "I didn't know all that was in there! These guys really put a lot of work into detailing the sound." But you know what? It didn't sound like a Rolling Stones record. It was too clear, and too clean. Subjectively it just didn't have that "it's only rock 'n roll, but we like it" feel. LOL
 

anmpr1

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#18
Full Disclosure: I own an enjoy my vinyl, but not always more than digital. As you say, depends on the mastering (and, if LP, a good pressing).

Now reel-to-reel on the other hand.....
Back in the day I recorded LPs to my Pioneer RT-701. Using Maxell UD @ 7ips. I actually liked the reel 'sound' better than the LP. Now, why was that? Obviously not because the copy was objectively better. How could it be? It had to be because the tape was adding flaws and distortion to the product. But these were not gross distortions. You couldn't hear wow and flutter, and dynamic range was not significantly limited from the record. On the other hand, I never heard a cassette recorder, including high end Tandberg, ReVox and Nak decks sound as good as consumer open reel at 7ips. No Dolby, no nothing.
 

anmpr1

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#19
Agreed that all things being equal, digital will sound more accurate.

But different EQ used for an LP and/or certain deviations from accuracy can make the vinyl sound as detailed, or more detailed than the digital.
Generally there are no important variables for consumer digital. Whether using a PC or CD, it's all a black box. What's in the digits is what you will get. As long as your DAC is at least average, that's all that is required. With LP there are so many variables. I have 3 turntables, with four different tonearms, and they all sound different. I don't want to say one is better--they are all different. Then there are cartridges, which will always sound different.

I recently refurbed a Garrard Zero 100 from 1970, or thereabouts. In order to get the '70s sound, I found a NOS Pickering XV-15 1200e cartridge. I was frankly amazed at how good the thing sounded through my system (Benchmark DAC3HGC preamp and AHB2 amp on Paul Klipsh La Scala II). The old Garrard pantograph arm essentially does away with tracking error, making the sound very crisp and clean. Of course the changer mechanism itself is still as clunky and mickey mouse as ever, and it obviously doesn't have SOA rumble and wow/flutter figures, using idler drive. But the fact that you can get really great sound from a 50 year old source is pretty remarkable, if you ask me.

PS: The Pickering is a great cartridge. NOS. Sure wish Stanton would start making audiophile carts again. But that's Gibson for you. Gibson has a knack of screwing up everything they touch.
 

Frank Dernie

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#20
Now reel-to-reel on the other hand.....
Whilst better than LPs, since it is less compromised for manufacture, still not as good as CD.
Yes, if you set levels wrong it is quite forgiving of overload, nice even. But producing a recording indistinguishable from the microphone feed? None that I have used. Plus the audible hiss on the quiet bits of classical recordings is distracting.
 
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