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Can anyone explain the vinyl renaissance?

HarmonicTHD

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Please give it up people! From my age perspective, this discussion reminds me of a bunch of angry old men arguing whether the greatest band was "technically" The Grateful Dead or Led Zeppelin. It is all preference. And it is all irrelevant. The world has moved on and my generation has voted that they prefer vinyl, whether the old men like it or not. Now go back to your Lawrence Welk.
So you posted to join the club („… of old angry men“ ;-))
 

SuicideSquid

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Yes, we're firmly in the realm of cultural anthropology here, where technical issues are easily subsumed by non-technical.

But the sound waves do carry something, which while technically inferior, are at least distinctive. Ages ago I mentioned on another thread that in the mid-1980s I was involved in vinyl -vs- CD testing, driven by anxiety among record companies because CD take-up was slower than they wished. One conclusion - ethereal and unprovable, thus offered here very tentatively - was that vinyl's flaws presented as subtly regular and periodic, at a rate of 33 1/3 times a minute, due to warp and eccentricity, which was judged to mimic the rate of resting human respiration and about half the rate of a resting human heartbeat, such that they were somehow relaxing and comforting on a physical level. I wonder if that contributes to the otherwise inexplicable appeal?
My own theory is just that it's tied to nostalgia. Most people grew up with records and everything that comes with them - the surface noise, pops and scratches, wow and flutter, the ritual of taking a record out and dropping the needle - is pleasing because it reminds them of youth. I was born in the early age of the CD (1983) but vinyl records were still what I listened to as a child because it's what my parents' collection consisted of. And for people younger than me - those in their 20s, who may have grown up in the late 90s when their parents' collections were all digital, there's still a kind of cultural nostalgia for vinyl as some kind of "real" and "classic" way of listening to music, being so inexorably tied to the 60s and the rise of rock music and the album as an art form, along with all those older people constantly telling them that vinyl sounds more "alive" and more "natural".

It's nearly impossible of course, but I'd be really curious to see some blind tests done between CD and vinyl for listeners who had never listened to recorded music before and who had no personal or cultural baggage, to see if the flaws of vinyl were still perceived as pleasant by many listeners, or if, divorced from context and nostalgia, they were just recognized as merely inferior defects.
 

mglobe

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I don't care until people start popping off about how superior vinyl is.
I feel the same way about digital zealots popping off about what idiots people who play vinyl are and how they “all” say vinyl is superior. I have a Roon server and a turntable and preamp all running through a MiniDSP Flex with Dirac. I like playing records and I like digital. I’m 67 years old, hardly a hipster, fully aware of the sonic differences. All the us and them bullshit is just that.
 

Sal1950

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Cbdb2

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Please give it up people! From my age perspective, this discussion reminds me of a bunch of angry old men arguing whether the greatest band was "technically" The Grateful Dead or Led Zeppelin. It is all preference. And it is all irrelevant. The world has moved on and my generation has voted that they prefer vinyl, whether the old men like it or not. Now go back to your Lawrence Welk.
Great another rude child who thinks he knows better than the adults. A lot of people, especially the young prefer there music so loud its got 10% distortion. Yea its all preference but non of it is irrelevant. Now go back to your Teletubbies reruns.
 

Robin L

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Don't look now, but you are proving my point. Lawrence Welk is in reruns, as I'm sure you know. :facepalm:
The real tipping point for all this: Green Day as background music in a big-box grocery store.

If you like rekkids, ya likes rekkids, relevant or not.

Lawrence Welk is the new Grateful Dead:

 

SuicideSquid

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Please give it up people! From my age perspective, this discussion reminds me of a bunch of angry old men arguing whether the greatest band was "technically" The Grateful Dead or Led Zeppelin. It is all preference. And it is all irrelevant. The world has moved on and my generation has voted that they prefer vinyl, whether the old men like it or not. Now go back to your Lawrence Welk.
Your generation has voted overwhelmingly that they prefer digital downloads and streaming. Physical sales are a niche, and vinyl is a niche within that niche.
 

Sal1950

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It is all preference. And it is all irrelevant.
No it's not to either.
High Fidelity is about accuracy to the source.
Always has been and always will be.
If you really enjoy listening to distortion more, I feel sorry for you.
 

Frgirard

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All contemporary vinyls have a digital origin. We do not stop progress
 

atmasphere

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But when you fire up that electric motor, and the needle starts abrading the surface of the disc, and you send all that stuff through even a spectacularly quiet phono preamp, well...that's going to yield a noise floor much higher than I get coming out of my DAC.
If the stars align, about 10dB difference, if the electronics aren't in the mix. That's why I say the noise floor of the electronics is the ideal noise floor of the LP. In most people's rooms the ambient noise floor is a bigger concern.

Electronic comb filtering due to the bass in mono.
Irregular pitch making the vinyl unsuitable for reproducing a piano
Wear
Offset
Requires a ritual.
Impossible to make comparative discographies.
For me, never more vinyl (I'm 55)
In the era when vinyl was the standard, the first thousand were used to adjust the presses and throw away because they were deemed unsuitable for sale.
Just a FWIW: the first 1000 press are considered the best of the run! You got that bit backwards. There is no 'comb filtering', that bit is nonsense. The pitch thing is only there if you have an off-center LP or a bad (weak drive) turntable. On most turntables the pitch variation is so slight you can't hear the deviation. Its easier to hear the shimmer in the soundstage as the platter speeds up and slows down- the arm tracks one side of the groove with more pressure, than the other side as the speed variation causes the arm to oscillate left to right above the groove. But if you get a better machine (like the newer Technics SL1200G) this issue goes away. If your arm tracks correctly wear really isn't a thing. But it certainly is if the set up is poor or the equipment is sub-standard! The 'net has made 'comparative discographies' easy. Totally requires a ritual, but not much of one. But a ritual nonetheless.
I have digitized vinyl (linn lp 12 used) and remasterings made with vinyl. The bass is always dirty, muddy.

Its a good idea to not conflate personal experience and anecdote as fact. Sounds like you had a setup problem, which IMO is the biggest argument against the LP; to really get their performance you have to have decent equipment and it has to be set up correctly. For most people the former is out of reach and probably 95% fail at the latter.
 

SuicideSquid

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If the stars align, about 10dB difference, if the electronics aren't in the mix. That's why I say the noise floor of the electronics is the ideal noise floor of the LP. In most people's rooms the ambient noise floor is a bigger concern.


Just a FWIW: the first 1000 press are considered the best of the run! You got that bit backwards. There is no 'comb filtering', that bit is nonsense. The pitch thing is only there if you have an off-center LP or a bad (weak drive) turntable. On most turntables the pitch variation is so slight you can't hear the deviation. Its easier to hear the shimmer in the soundstage as the platter speeds up and slows down- the arm tracks one side of the groove with more pressure, than the other side as the speed variation causes the arm to oscillate left to right above the groove. But if you get a better machine (like the newer Technics SL1200G) this issue goes away. If your arm tracks correctly wear really isn't a thing. But it certainly is if the set up is poor or the equipment is sub-standard! The 'net has made 'comparative discographies' easy. Totally requires a ritual, but not much of one. But a ritual nonetheless.


Its a good idea to not conflate personal experience and anecdote as fact. Sounds like you had a setup problem, which IMO is the biggest argument against the LP; to really get their performance you have to have decent equipment and it has to be set up correctly. For most people the former is out of reach and probably 95% fail at the latter.
10dB difference between the DAC noise floor, or 10dB difference between a non-perfect preamp? Because the noise floor of digital should be at least 50dB below even an ideal LP. Ambient noise of the room is a fair point, though - right now I live by a busy road and even with the window closed I'd have to absolutely *crank* my stereo to start noticing LP surface noise above the background street noise. Put on headphones, though, and it's immediately obvious.
 

MattHooper

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It's the new analog MQA. :facepalm:

Tell people it sounds better and a way to sell physical media which is more profitable than a download.

Fair enough that there is certainly some of that out there.

On the other hand, don't discount there are plenty of people who purchase vinyl who have made their own conclusions about the sound (e.g. that they like it or not). Plus there are plenty of good reasons many (if not most) have for enjoying vinyl. So...as fun as cynicism can be...careful relying on it for making sweeping conclusions. :)

Your channel looks fun. I'll have to check it out!
 

8bits

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My 2 cents: as someone who collected thousands of records in the late '90s and early 2000s and gave up around the mid-2000s and recently started to collect again, for me, it's not about sound quality at all (that's a settled issue, digital is objectively better - if the source is also digital, because if not, then you have to take many variables into consideration like master tape, mastering technique, vinyl quality, etc). To me it's all about having access to many records that are otherwise inaccessible via digital platforms, taking the time to go digging for gems, socializing with ppl in record stores and exchanging information, and having physical media with some cool covers that usually have lots of information (CD also has it, but the size kinda sucks). The tl;dr version is that it is a combination of multiple things that make owning records enticing.

I can't say why the younger generation (I am in my 30s btw), likes it, but talking to my younger friends who also collect, is a combination of the points above, and the fetish of owning a physical format and seeing this cool thing spin and sound coming out.
 

Digicile

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My 2 cents: as someone who collected thousands of records in the late '90s and early 2000s and gave up around the mid-2000s and recently started to collect again, for me, it's not about sound quality at all (that's a settled issue, digital is objectively better - if the source is also digital, because if not, then you have to take many variables into consideration like master tape, mastering technique, vinyl quality, etc). To me it's all about having access to many records that are otherwise inaccessible via digital platforms, taking the time to go digging for gems, socializing with ppl in record stores and exchanging information, and having physical media with some cool covers that usually have lots of information (CD also has it, but the size kinda sucks). The tl;dr version is that it is a combination of multiple things that make owning records enticing.

I can't say why the younger generation (I am in my 30s btw), likes it, but talking to my younger friends who also collect, is a combination of the points above, and the fetish of owning a physical format and seeing this cool thing spin and sound coming out.
You realize of course that on this forum you are not allowed to have such heretical views. You are obviously deluding yourself. :rolleyes:
 
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