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"I Swapped Spotify for Vinyl and It Changed My Life"

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Are you kidding? When I first heard a CD I clicked my heels, threw the window open, and shouted to the world that we were saved at last!

I grew up with vinyl (and 78s, for that matter), and I never felt so liberated in my life as the day I heard my first CD.
I did too. Our family had the all in one stereo wood cabinet, pretty much everything sounded mediocre (even had 8 Track). Once I got my car and put in an expensive Alpine CD system I thought I'd never looked back.

From my experience there are excellent LPs and also CDs. It first depends on your gear, then the mastering of either one. I've heard excellent LPs where the CD version was not that good. And excellent CDs where the LP version wasn't.

Like the comic book example, it helps to know people that know the good stuff. I had a new friend drop off some first vinyl pressings. Wow, these vinyl LPs sound amazing. I have a new release copy of one of them, I thought it sounded good, until I heard these ones. But he knows the ins and outs of pressings, where they were done, when, etc.
 

MattHooper

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Are you kidding? When I first heard a CD I clicked my heels, threw the window open, and shouted to the world that we were saved at last!

I grew up with vinyl (and 78s, for that matter), and I never felt so liberated in my life as the day I heard my first CD.

I remember hearing my first CD (on headphones as I recall - a pal got a player) and it was....really strange. The cleanliness and purity of the sound was the first striking thing - no noise. It also struck me, surprisingly, as oddly sterile sounding. Like a bit more mettalic or something. It was amazing, yet kind of hard to immediately warm up to. I don't know if that was due strictly to the contrast with what I was used to in vinyl, or if the sound of certain early CDs had anything to do with it. Nevertheless, I don't remember this slightly off-putting quality lasting too long, as I fully embraced CD like everyone else. And I loved the "Age Of CD" where I would anticipate not only new music, but all the music I'd loved being re-released and re-mastered for this glitzy new format!
 

jsrtheta

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I did too. Our family had the all in one stereo wood cabinet, pretty much everything sounded mediocre (even had 8 Track). Once I got my car and put in an expensive Alpine CD system I thought I'd never looked back.

From my experience there are excellent LPs and also CDs. It first depends on your gear, then the mastering of either one. I've heard excellent LPs where the CD version was not that good. And excellent CDs where the LP version wasn't.

Like the comic book example, it helps to know people that know the good stuff. I had a new friend drop off some first vinyl pressings. Wow, To paraph
I did too. Our family had the all in one stereo wood cabinet, pretty much everything sounded mediocre (even had 8 Track). Once I got my car and put in an expensive Alpine CD system I thought I'd never looked back.

From my experience there are excellent LPs and also CDs. It first depends on your gear, then the mastering of either one. I've heard excellent LPs where the CD version was not that good. And excellent CDs where the LP version wasn't.

Like the comic book example, it helps to know people that know the good stuff. I had a new friend drop off some first vinyl pressings. Wow, these vinyl LPs sound amazing. I have a new release copy of one of them, I thought it sounded good, until I heard these ones. But he knows the ins and outs of pressings, where they were done, when, etc.

To paraphrase Aczel, I'll buy an LP when I buy my next buggy whip.
 

Robin L

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I remember hearing my first CD (on headphones as I recall - a pal got a player) and it was....really strange. The cleanliness and purity of the sound was the first striking thing - no noise. It also struck me, surprisingly, as oddly sterile sounding. Like a bit more mettalic or something. It was amazing, yet kind of hard to immediately warm up to. I don't know if that was due strictly to the contrast with what I was used to in vinyl, or if the sound of certain early CDs had anything to do with it. Nevertheless, I don't remember this slightly off-putting quality lasting too long, as I fully embraced CD like everyone else. And I loved the "Age Of CD" where I would anticipate not only new music, but all the music I'd loved being re-released and re-mastered for this glitzy new format!
MY guess? LPs have much more pre/post echo. How many times have I slipped on my Stax earspeakers to hear Joan Armatrading sing "Down to Zero" on her eponymous A & M records LP, the opening track, and hear pre-echo? It took me many years to hear the pre/post echo of LPs as separate from reality, as LPs were the best I had to work with. It took a long time listening to a lot of CDs before I realized that that sense of additional ambience from LPs was mainly the sound of adjacent grooves fattening up the ambience. Very addictive stuff, but nothing like reality.
 

jsrtheta

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MY guess? LPs have much more pre/post echo. How many times have I slipped on my Stax earspeakers to hear Joan Armatrading sing "Down to Zero" on her eponymous A & M records LP, the opening track, and hear pre-echo? It took me many years to hear the pre/post echo of LPs as separate from reality, as LPs were the best I had to work with. It took a long time listening to a lot of CDs before I realized that that sense of additional ambience from LPs was mainly the sound of adjacent grooves fattening up the ambience. Very addictive stuff, but nothing like reality.
Yeah, I always found that quite annoying.
 

Vacceo

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I remember hearing my first CD (on headphones as I recall - a pal got a player) and it was....really strange. The cleanliness and purity of the sound was the first striking thing - no noise. It also struck me, surprisingly, as oddly sterile sounding. Like a bit more mettalic or something. It was amazing, yet kind of hard to immediately warm up to. I don't know if that was due strictly to the contrast with what I was used to in vinyl, or if the sound of certain early CDs had anything to do with it. Nevertheless, I don't remember this slightly off-putting quality lasting too long, as I fully embraced CD like everyone else. And I loved the "Age Of CD" where I would anticipate not only new music, but all the music I'd loved being re-released and re-mastered for this glitzy new format!
That feeling is the brain "re-calibrating". I have seen that with images, when they transition from smeared color and brightness to good contrast, color and brightness.
 

Newman

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MY guess? LPs have much more pre/post echo. How many times have I slipped on my Stax earspeakers to hear Joan Armatrading sing "Down to Zero" on her eponymous A & M records LP, the opening track, and hear pre-echo? It took me many years to hear the pre/post echo of LPs as separate from reality, as LPs were the best I had to work with. It took a long time listening to a lot of CDs before I realized that that sense of additional ambience from LPs was mainly the sound of adjacent grooves fattening up the ambience. Very addictive stuff, but nothing like reality.
That’s a very good guess. Ken Kreisel, famed direct-to-disc LP producer, said that the pre- and post-echo necessarily embedded in LPs conveys “an artificial sense of depth that was never heard by the microphones”. When Matt refers to a sense of relative sterility when switching to CD, that is only the relative sterility of the actual music itself. Ken Kreisel said that when people first heard digital they often reported a sense that a lot of the notes were missing, but he said this is because the IMD in LPs is so massive that LP listeners are literally hearing notes that don’t belong there (in the music itself).
 

MattHooper

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MY guess? LPs have much more pre/post echo. How many times have I slipped on my Stax earspeakers to hear Joan Armatrading sing "Down to Zero" on her eponymous A & M records LP, the opening track, and hear pre-echo? It took me many years to hear the pre/post echo of LPs as separate from reality, as LPs were the best I had to work with. It took a long time listening to a lot of CDs before I realized that that sense of additional ambience from LPs was mainly the sound of adjacent grooves fattening up the ambience. Very addictive stuff, but nothing like reality.

Hmm...I've certainly *sometimes* heard pre-echo, but often not.

But it is VERY quiet relative to the music signal.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it doesn't strike me as immediately plausible that this would account for some "additional ambience" effect during the music, since much of the time it seems to me it would be swamped by the level of the actual music level, and hence be inaudible. I mean, I put on Van Halen and can barely hear a distant sound and then I'm slammed with loud music. And I'm still suppposed to hear that tiny signal through all that? I'm combining sound elements all the time to create a sense of ambience, and I'd have to push sounds much closer in relative level in order to hear an effect of one influencing the other.

I'm not ruling out out per se...just that I can't really see it, based on the different sound levels I hear between pre-echo and the actual music signal once a song plays.

but he said this is because the IMD in LPs is so massive that LP listeners are literally hearing notes that don’t belong there (in the music itself).

IMD so high it seems to "add notes" that don't belong in a song?

Now that sounds implausible, to say the least.

I have never heard anything like this - especially when I directly compare LPs with their digital counterparts.
 

Robin L

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Hmm...I've certainly *sometimes* heard pre-echo, but often not.

But it is VERY quiet relative to the music signal.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it doesn't strike me as immediately plausible that this would account for some "additional ambience" effect during the music, since much of the time it seems to me it would be swamped by the level of the actual music level, and hence be inaudible. I mean, I put on Van Halen and can barely hear a distant sound and then I'm slammed with loud music. And I'm still suppposed to hear that tiny signal through all that? I'm combining sound elements all the time to create a sense of ambience, and I'd have to push sounds much closer in relative level in order to hear an effect of one influencing the other.

I'm not ruling out out per se...just that I can't really see it, based on the different sound levels I hear between pre-echo and the actual music signal once a song plays.



IMD so high it seems to "add notes" that don't belong in a song?

Now that sounds implausible, to say the least.

I have never heard anything like this - especially when I directly compare LPs with their digital counterparts.
Tricks of our fallible ears. Whatever the level of the adjacent part of the groove, it will doubtless be more than the self-noise of the playback system otherwise. As the tones usually are more or less as what comes before or after, the sound of the adjacent groove works like cornstarch in gravy. It's not a second order or otherwise distortion, more like tape delay at a sonically low but still audible level. And I've heard post-echos in some records when something loud is followed by something much lower in level.
 

Newman

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IMD so high it seems to "add notes" that don't belong in a song?

Now that sounds implausible, to say the least.

I have never heard anything like this - especially when I directly compare LPs with their digital counterparts.
I expect it was most obvious in the bass. LP IMD in the bass is just ridiculous, according to Kreisler.
 

MattHooper

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Tricks of our fallible ears. Whatever the level of the adjacent part of the groove, it will doubtless be more than the self-noise of the playback system otherwise. As the tones usually are more or less as what comes before or after, the sound of the adjacent groove works like cornstarch in gravy. It's not a second order or otherwise distortion, more like tape delay at a sonically low but still audible level. And I've heard post-echos in some records when something loud is followed by something much lower in level.

I'm still skeptical. Has anyone measured the dB difference between pre-echo and a loud musical signal? Pre-echo is usually heard when you have a loud intro to the next song. And even then as I understand it, it tends to be due to "bad mastering" where a "good engineer" can account for it (can widen the groove before a song starts). It doesn't seem like this would be a consistent effect even if one could hear pre-echo added to the music throughout a track.

I just did a quick test on my pro tools, taking a 'worst case' scenario, a track of 2 beeps at 1K, one track off-set so that you get a double-beep when both are playing. Dropping the second "echo" track down to 10dB it already doesn't sound like two beeps, but one slightly thicker beep. Dropping it to -15dB even harder to hear. By 23 or 25 dB it sounds pretty much indistinguishable whether the second "echo" track is on or off. (At least on my fast test).

I expect it was most obvious in the bass. LP IMD in the bass is just ridiculous, according to Kreisler.

I have never perceived such a thing as "sounding like there are more notes" either in the bass or anywhere else.

Just last night I was comparing my Herbie Hancock Head Hunter LP with the digital version, and there was no such "extra note" effect at all. I followed up listening to a whole bunch of old funk and 80's electro dance music (some of my favorite genres) and it was nothing but tight-as-hell clean sounding bass.
 

Newman

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Well you aren’t expected to experience it like that. You are expected to hear CD as ‘missing something’ when first coming to it from vinyl life. Which you did: “sterile” etc. Well, others reportedly (according to Kreisler) called it “as if some notes are missing”. And how about ‘vinyl warmth’ so oft-mentioned? Could be same origin.
 

MattHooper

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Well you aren’t expected to experience it like that. You are expected to hear CD as ‘missing something’ when first coming to it from vinyl life. Which you did: “sterile” etc. Well, others reportedly (according to Kreisler) called it “as if some notes are missing”. And how about ‘vinyl warmth’ so oft-mentioned? Could be same origin.

Yes but I wasn't "missing additional notes" as this IM hypothesis states. That's my point. And as I said, the oddness or sterility was only in my first encounters with CD. I don't hear my digital signal as "sterile" compared to my vinyl, nor any sense of "missing notes," even in direct comparison between the two.

I'm not saying there is no IM influence in vinyl (I don't know). I'm just scratching my head at the characterisation that it is sooo bad it sounds like extra notes are added or that it is sooo bad in the bass "it's just ridiculous." Like I said, this sounds like quite an exaggeration given what I hear, including with direct comparisons.
 

JP

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Pre-echo is usually heard when you have a loud intro to the next song.

MMJ Midnight Blue has it pretty bad on the intros and there’s nothing loud about most of that album.
 

EJ3

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Yes but I wasn't "missing additional notes" as this IM hypothesis states. That's my point. And as I said, the oddness or sterility was only in my first encounters with CD. I don't hear my digital signal as "sterile" compared to my vinyl, nor any sense of "missing notes," even in direct comparison between the two.

I'm not saying there is no IM influence in vinyl (I don't know). I'm just scratching my head at the characterisation that it is sooo bad it sounds like extra notes are added or that it is sooo bad in the bass "it's just ridiculous." Like I said, this sounds like quite an exaggeration given what I hear, including with direct comparisons.
My first CD player (not an "early adopter") sounded great (Phillips/Magnavox single CD device. Sadly, I gave it to a friend when I bought a SONY carousel design [the most awful piece of equipment from a sound perspective that has ever been in my system]). At some point I gave it away. Other than a

Sony KDL-40EX520 model year 2011 (used four 100 LB capacity magnets to mount it on the wall of my room on a ship)​

I have not bought a SONY piece of gear since. I currently use my oppo 205 to spin all types of disks.
 

Doodski

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I bought a SONY carousel design [the most awful piece of equipment from a sound perspective that has ever been in my system]). At some point I gave it away.
I had a bunch of service bulletins beside my workbench for CDP-Cxxxx 5 discs Sony changers (... and for those 100 CD changers and such too.). They had more than several bulletins. So every single unit that came across my workbench received the treatment. Some shops skipped the bulletins when warranty repairs came a knocking but me I put everyone of them in whatever piece I was working on. Some customers got to see the Sony warranty billing copy and they where veryyy happy. I had repaired so many units of various models that I could afford to push paper for awhile and request bulletins and such. The 5 disc changers had disc drawer FPC issues, laser pickup issues, disc motor issues, optical rotation sensor issues, drawer locking issues, DSP IC issues, CPU issues and laser pickup FPC issues too. Then one can add on the actual fault the unit came in for.
 

irontortoise

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My first CD player (not an "early adopter") sounded great (Phillips/Magnavox single CD device. Sadly, I gave it to a friend when I bought a SONY carousel design [the most awful piece of equipment from a sound perspective that has ever been in my system]). At some point I gave it away. Other than a

Sony KDL-40EX520 model year 2011 (used four 100 LB capacity magnets to mount it on the wall of my room on a ship)​

I have not bought a SONY piece of gear since. I currently use my oppo 205 to spin all types of disks.
Oh, you too? i don’t remember the exact model, but my 5 disc Sony was probably the worst piece of mechanical or electronic junk I ever owned! I ended up replacing it with a cheap Sanyo(!) that was better. Lol.
 

Scrappy

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Cool.

It's like how a lot of people like to bring "real" books to read on vacations, or to just curl up on the sofa with a real book, rather than reading on an iPad or whatever. It just makes reading books more appealing. It's one reason physical books never went away like some assumed they might when the kindle showed up. Plus, and this is a big thing, spinning vinyl, like reading a paperback book, is a wonderful way to unplug from digital life for a while. Working on screens all day, with screens tugging for my attention all the time (my phone, my car's wretched dashboard "infotainment system" screen etc), it's just nice to take a break, listen to music and not have to interact with yet another g*d d*amned computer system or screen.
car's wretched dashboard "infotainment system

I hate that I’ll have that soon. Gonna put black felt over it.
 

Scrappy

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I completely understand the fetishistic appeal of the artifact. I'm still that way with books. I also understand the nostalgia factor, even to a younger person who didn't experience vinyl in it's heyday. Things have a tendency to "come back around" for a while. Nothing wrong with it at all...have fun. But there's nothing intrinsic to any specific format that makes it more "musical" and any suggestion that vinyl is a better way to enjoy music than any other way would be pretty silly...in fact, the only thing vinyl really has in it's favor is the artifact appeal and nostalgia. It certainly isn't convenient or portable and the sound quality is demonstrably not better than any other format except maybe cassettes.
Sure I read tons on my phone. I’m a bar fly; quiet bar and interesting content is nice. Also have plenty of books. It’s so refreshing to read a book.
 
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