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Can anyone explain the vinyl renaissance?

MattHooper

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While watch analogies are better than car analogies neither really fit vinyl. The thing about vinyl is that in some cases it can be prefered to other sources. This is of course subjective but there are some cases where I would be surprized if the vinyl version would not be preferred by most people in a legit blind test. An example is the original "AB pressing" of Steely Dan Aja. I have a NM copy of this LP as well the original Japan for US CD and the latest Hi-Res remaster from the original master tapes from Qobuz. They all sound great, I can reliably ABX between them, and I prefer the original LP.

I'm sorry but I simply won't believe that. We know that it's already been settled that no one would prefer a vinyl track over digital in a blind test! *


*(In a study that used a single Frank Sinatra song, on budget equipment...)
 

Robin L

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I'm sorry but I simply won't believe that. We know that it's already been settled that no one would prefer a vinyl track over digital in a blind test! *


*(In a study that used a single Frank Sinatra song, on budget equipment...)
Those old Frank Sinatra Capitol LPs really bring out the best in turntable gear and their CD equivalents don't really compare. I have no idea what happened. Maybe the tapes started to de-magnetize. I collected a lot of the early issue Sinatra/Capitol issues, for a while they were really easy to find and cheap too.
 

IAtaman

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These are newly re-recorded, newly released albums. And fans are fervently streaming. I'm amazed if you can not still see the cultural cache and the money generated by her recent vinyl sales as significant.
I did not say they are not significant. I said comparing the sales of new releases on vinyl to streaming of old albums and making conclusions based on that is senseless - and I stand by that statement.

There is no question what is being revived; we can all see the vinyl revival. It would be blinkered to imagine it's just about Taylor Swift. These days artists huge and small often time their album releases based on when the vinyl can be released.

The revival is why Swift releases on vinyl. She released an elaborate set of CDs as well, yet Vinyl was about 58% of her physical media sales (the rest was CDs and cassettes).
I don't think so. As I see it, the revival was why Swift was releasing on Vinyl. For a while Swift became the reason why revival is getting bigger. With other artists/studios catching up now, she is not as significanty, but still is a big part part of it. And I agree, they will continue pushing for it as long as they are making money from it.

Overall story line that goes like "look at how much money there is in vinyl! It is a renaissance " is also not very sensible if you ask me. According to google, global equine market is $300B a year, and I although I do find horseback riding enjoyable, I do not see myself selling my car for a horse anytime soon and I don't think there is an "equine renaissance" either.

Plus this has nothing to with the format itself in my view. I don't think (outside of the audiophile community) people do care specifically about the format. One influential article on the environmental impact on Vinyl and it will be all over; and Swift and others will move on the another way in which they can make more money.
 

AdrianusG

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Turntable manufacturers also publish specifications that belie any claim to technical superiority, but that doesn't then stop them claiming marvellous advances, or journalists coming straight out and claiming the opposite, does it?

Anyway, here's the claim from the new watches page I linked, the one most buyers will actually read:



Those claims may make sense in the mechanical watch space, but compared to a cheap quartz watch for the telling of time... they clearly do not value exemplary accuracy by the standards of a cheap quartz watch.

And of course we can ask ourselves a related question. If you were offered the choice of the cheapest Rolex, or a high status make smart watch at a similar price, as a gift, which would you take? Is accurate timekeeping or an expanded feature set of the most value to you, or the less definable value of the Rolex?
In that case i would probably go for the Rolex, (if Mechanical!) why, because that Rolex will still be good to great 25 years on (if well maintained!), while the smartwatch will probably not be working anymore due to an outdated software system or a non replaceable battery or failing electronics, (being essentially just a computer).
 

levimax

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I do not see myself selling my car for a horse
I think this all or nothing perspective drives a lot of the disagreement on this thread. Some believe that since digital is technically superior and more economical it is foolish to play around with vinyl and feel compelled to go with the winning technology. Others rather enjoy the foolishness and variety of being able to play and enjoy an obsolete technology (in addition to enjoying the benefits of digital technology) and don't understand why anyone would care enough to disparage it. This point has been made previously but I have never seen an answer of why anyone would care about other peoples choices that are different than theirs in regards to a hobby.
 

IAtaman

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don't understand why
I think it might have something to do with the fact that when you tweeze half of a sentence out a paragraph and quote it out of context, it sounds a lot more black and white than it actually is.

I also find this why can’t you accept others might enjoy it statement a bit tiring to be honest. Thanks for bringing up the first thing that comes to mind as an original argument.

If you'd like to leave the meta-argument realm and join us on the dance floor, the discussion is about whether the large sales numbers vinyl sees and the amount of cash it generates for artists and studios can be attributed to more people liking the vinyl as a better format for music consumption or not. Nobody is discussing if it is OK to enjoy vinyl.
 
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levimax

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I think it might have something to do with the fact that when you tweeze half of a sentence out a paragraph and quote it out of context, it sounds a lot more black and white than it actually is.
I agree your post was not so black and white as the snippet I posted :)

I do see a lot of quotes on these boards and others like "I got rid of all my LP's and only stream" or "I sold my CD's and only play vinyl" or something similar apparently so they can enjoy recorded music the "most correct" or the "most pure" way possible. Others see having different sources with different strengths and weaknesses as part of the fun. It can be hard to reconcile these different perspectives hence 279 pages.....
 

IAtaman

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I agree your post was not so black and white as the snippet I posted :)

I do see a lot of quotes on these boards and others like "I got rid of all my LP's and only stream" or "I sold my CD's and only play vinyl" or something similar apparently so they can enjoy recorded music the "most correct" or the "most pure" way possible. Others see having different sources with different strengths and weaknesses as part of the fun. It can be hard to reconcile these different perspectives hence 279 pages.....
Well, for your defense, I think we had similar arguments on a few pages of those 279.
 

atmasphere

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I don't disagree with much of your post but -80 dB seems hard to believe and I have certainly never experienced anything like that. Are you talking -80 dB with some type of "weighting" or a real honest -80 dB nose floor? Please provide some sources for this claim. Thanks.
We ran a mastering operation (LP Masters) for about 12 years. I've known Chad Kassem for about well over 30 years; when a client asked to have his project pressed at QRP I talked to Chad about doing it since it was a small job (he owns Acoustic Sounds and also QRP).

Now what you may not know (but I've mentioned before, I think on this thread) is that when you cut a lacquer, if the cutter is properly set up the resulting groove is literally dead silent; below the noise floor of the best electronics. To do that the cutter has to be aligned properly, proper groove depth, stylus temperature and a new stylus (for lacquers they are only good for about 10 hours). We cut our client's project and sent it to QRP for pressing. The tests we got back had me questioning if the equipment was even on until the music erupted from the speakers. IOW very nearly at the same noise floor as the actual cut. Chad told me how they accomplished this was by damping the pressing machines of vibration- most of the surface noise of LPs occurs during the pressing process as the LP cools. By damping the machines, they cut the noise floor between 10 and 20dB which I really didn't believe until I heard it myself. Damned impressive.
 

egellings

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There's nothing like the warm, natural sound of vinyl Sal.

You know it...deep within your heart.
Maybe it's possible that Sal's experience of vinyl was brought to him on lousy sounding equipment, so he never heard what it could really do.
 

levimax

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We ran a mastering operation (LP Masters) for about 12 years. I've known Chad Kassem for about well over 30 years; when a client asked to have his project pressed at QRP I talked to Chad about doing it since it was a small job (he owns Acoustic Sounds and also QRP).

Now what you may not know (but I've mentioned before, I think on this thread) is that when you cut a lacquer, if the cutter is properly set up the resulting groove is literally dead silent; below the noise floor of the best electronics. To do that the cutter has to be aligned properly, proper groove depth, stylus temperature and a new stylus (for lacquers they are only good for about 10 hours). We cut our client's project and sent it to QRP for pressing. The tests we got back had me questioning if the equipment was even on until the music erupted from the speakers. IOW very nearly at the same noise floor as the actual cut. Chad told me how they accomplished this was by damping the pressing machines of vibration- most of the surface noise of LPs occurs during the pressing process as the LP cools. By damping the machines, they cut the noise floor between 10 and 20dB which I really didn't believe until I heard it myself. Damned impressive.
I looked online and I do have one LP from QRP, "Are You Experienced" by Jimi Hendrix. I listened at high volume in between tracks and it is very quiet, probably the quietest LP I own (I mostly collect original pressings). I can still hear the groove noise above the noise of the electronics but it is close and it certainly does not interfere in any way with listening to the music.
 

Galliardist

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Maybe it's possible that Sal's experience of vinyl was brought to him on lousy sounding equipment, so he never heard what it could really do.
And maybe he has heard what vinyl really does :rolleyes:
 

atmasphere

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Maybe it's possible that Sal's experience of vinyl was brought to him on lousy sounding equipment, so he never heard what it could really do.
Actually, the better your LP playback apparatus, the closer you find it being to digital in terms of noise floor.

When you have an LP cut, you (unless being sloppy) get a test pressing back from the pressing plant. It is there for approval; you have to sign off on it. Ticks and pops are the sort of thing that can 'pop' up when a pressing plant gets sloppy, so this is an important step. So the vast majority of LPs should be nice and quiet. And IME, they are. And my phono section is immune to the RFI caused by LOMC cartridges so I don't get the ticks and pops that the RFI can otherwise cause. So I'm used to playing entire LP sides without ticks and pops. Plus I treat all my recordings, regardless of format, with respect.

LPs have long had the upper hand in bandwidth. My Westerx 3d/1700 electronics mastering system was bandwidth limited (6dB slope) at 42 KHz. Just for fun we cut some grooves at 30KHz and our cheapie playback system (older SL1200 with Grado Gold) could play it back with ease.

The thing most people don't get is the LP itself is quite low distortion; the cutter is nested in a 30dB feedback loop with the amp (and designed way back in the late 60s; pretty advanced stuff at the time and way ahead of consumer amps of the day). That's more feedback than most solid state amps have had over the last 40 years... the distortion problems arise in playback, and are solved by nicer tonearms with better cartridges. Most of the distortion figures I've seen bandied about are from studies done in the 1960s before the cartridge and arm people really had a handle on what was going on. IOW were/are invalid, useless and misleading studies. But great if you're trying to show to someone how bad LPs are...

When I do shows like AXPONA, I often get asked if digital is playing since I get so few ticks and pops; people don't have a means of knowing otherwise if its an LP, so they have to ask.
 

Newman

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egellings

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And maybe he has heard what vinyl really does :rolleyes:
Well, you can have lousy as well as good sounding recordings that could tilt the opinion of S.Q. either way. Turntable-arm-cartridge alignment is not easy to get right, and if it's wrong. S.Q. will suffer to varying degrees. If done right and the recording is good sounding, then it the medium can provide a good listening experience. Of course, vinyl can never spec out as good as a digital format can in terms of noise and dynamic range, but can spec out well enough so that the listening experience is good. Big problem is that the vinyl medium is very 'tweaky', and setup of the equipment is often not done right, resulting in mediocre performance. 'Needles' wear out, as do the records. It's seriously YMMV in nature. Of course, digital cannot be beat for convenience of use or electrical specs. So with vinyl, if you like it, enjoy; if not, just pass it by. My puppy occasionally piddles on the floor, but I still like him. I see it as more of a love affair with the equipment, rather than the equipment's capabilities, once the capabilities are adequate.
 

IPunchCholla

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JP

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Well, you can have lousy as well as good sounding recordings that could tilt the opinion of S.Q. either way. Turntable-arm-cartridge alignment is not easy to get right, and if it's wrong. S.Q. will suffer to varying degrees. If done right and the recording is good sounding, then it the medium can provide a good listening experience. Of course, vinyl can never spec out as good as a digital format can in terms of noise and dynamic range, but can spec out well enough so that the listening experience is good. Big problem is that the vinyl medium is very 'tweaky', and setup of the equipment is often not done right, resulting in mediocre performance. 'Needles' wear out, as do the records. It's seriously YMMV in nature. Of course, digital cannot be beat for convenience of use or electrical specs. So with vinyl, if you like it, enjoy; if not, just pass it by. My puppy occasionally piddles on the floor, but I still like him. I see it as more of a love affair with the equipment, rather than the equipment's capabilities, once the capabilities are adequate.

He's been asked, several times, to post laybacks he did while he still had a rig, so we can understand his experience directly. He refuses.
 

Anton D

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Wait, are you saying listening to vinyl turns you into a zombie? Awesome!
The revolving dead.

755
 
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