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Mobile Fidelity Analog Vinyl Controversy

amirm

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Really, I'm not deluding myself - if there were rampant ticks and pops in good vinyl, I'd just be honest and say so (and yes, there are some even new records which have some noise). But on my own setup, and I imagine many more well set up systems, there are no ticks or pops which come remotely close to making one want to 'jump out of their seat' Also, at shows, vinyl hygene is sorely lacking - records sit out in the open and are subject to dust - the turntables usually don't have dust covers - the records are not usually even brushed prior to playback. Those are huge 800 pound gorilla problems which cannot be ignored if someone is remotely serious about lack of noise.

Please don't be that person who makes hyperbolic generalizations without due exposure to systems which might make you question your bias. After all, that is just scientific method, and that's what we supposedly do here. Right? ;)
I didn't make generalization. I said that at shows on half a million dollar systems where people sit there quiet like they are honored to be there, some LPs have pops and ticks that bother the heck out of me but not others. Said LPs are meticulously handled by the demo people as they put them on $100K turntables. Have I heard LPs that don't have them? Sure. But they are there as for sure on my LPs I have heard in many situations.

What do you mean by bias? That I imagined pops and clicks? How does that work?
 

ROOSKIE

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In terms of Mo-fi and digital.
Tom Nousaine was a big proponent that analog vs digital was hogwash and that any variation was due to changes intentionally made to the tonality in order to get appropriate and affordable pressings. Especially the highs which are often cut back for vinyl production reasons and bass which is often dealt with differently - especially since digital can handle more information in the bass region vs a record - unless you want 1 song or less per side.

Anyway he used to blind test people with digital recordings he made from vinyl vs the vinyl itself. He said nobody ever was able to tell the difference (at least last I heard it was nobody). I wish his stuff was available. After he died it all seemed to go poof. All this was digital recording made in the 90's so even then the DAC he used was transparent to vinyl.

Certainly this could be tested. Make some quality digital recordings of truly 100% analog vinyl and then AB or ABX them. Could be super fun and even a money maker .... This wager is only if you have something to prove which I know many do not = Pass you keep your albums, fail you and I partner up and I get to sell them on Discogs and split the loot with ya 50/50... I need some more speakers!
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I didn't make generalization. I said that at shows on half a million dollar systems where people sit there quiet like they are honored to be there, some LPs have pops and ticks that bother the heck out of me but not others. Said LPs are meticulously handled by the demo people as they put them on $100K turntables. Have I heard LPs that don't have them? Sure. But they are there as for sure on my LPs I have heard in many situations.

What do you mean by bias? That I imagined pops and clicks? How does that work?
Now your are playing the 'they use $100,000 turntables.....half a million dollar systems....." game. I thought that's what we studiously avoided here! I guess I should sliver off in disgrace, a defeated man in the presence of such extravagant systems. :facepalm:

Playing good, high quality pressings such as the best ones from places like Acoustic Sounds, I uniformly and routinely hear essentially silent surfaces for the entire side. Sure there might be the occasional very low level tick, but that's it. You probably aren't purchasing these pressings, so you hear what you hear. But truthfully, even the crappiest of 1970s mass market pressings I have are far from something which would 'make me jump out of my seat' because of record noise.

If you're not inclined to vinyl, that's fine, its not for you. But just realize that your experiences, your particular gear, and your particular program material does not automatically translate to the experiences others have with the same medium. The specialized knowledge to get the most out of older technologies can arguably make all the difference.
 

ROOSKIE

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Now your are playing the 'they use $100,000 turntables.....half a million dollar systems....." game. I thought that's what we studiously avoided here! I guess I should sliver off in disgrace, a defeated man in the presence of such extravagant systems. :facepalm:

Playing good, high quality pressings such as the best ones from places like Acoustic Sounds, I uniformly and routinely hear essentially silent surfaces for the entire side. Sure there might be the occasional very low level tick, but that's it. You probably aren't purchasing these pressings, so you hear what you hear. But truthfully, even the crappiest of 1970s mass market pressings I have are far from something which would 'make me jump out of my seat' because of record noise.

If you're not inclined to vinyl, that's fine, its not for you. But just realize that your experiences, your particular gear, and your particular program material does not automatically translate to the experiences others have with the same medium. The specialized knowledge to get the most out of older technologies can arguably make all the difference.
Dude I don't think you are lying but you missed my point. It is a treasure hunt.
Who knows when and if this is going to be the case.
Plus I do know that some people make pressing vinyl into a work of art and that is spectacular. (I still anticipate noises)

Again I get that you love this stuff and I am down with that. One of my people would be running in and out of his house if it was on fire saving his records. I would help him as I know how much he loves them and how rare some of them are. (unless he decides to cash in on insurance as I think his collection is seriously valuable, then I will skip the flash burns)

The noise might just not bother you as much honestly. Like my GF driving around with a dirty windshield where I am like WTF running the wipers. I really don't consider myself type "a" but in some places maybe. In any case the sudden and random noise issues are not good for me in terms of my hifi.

Interesting I got into photography when it was film and one of the best things about film is the artifacts of the medium and the tremendous efforts to make the art. For the lonest time when digital came out and reached a high quality point, everyone wanted images to be so clean and easy to make that all the life seemed sucked out of it - then when it was clear life was in jeopardy it became all about making them look insanely stylized Instagram like! Anyway, now I do prefer the ease and quality of a digital camera and no more chemicals. That said I am careful not to get to clean and at the same time not over do things with over stylized LR filters or taking 200 shots of everything (spray and pray once was reserved only for paparazzi and sports). In the end it is all good that more options exist. Most people just use phones or have like I do have a couple digital cameras and yet I have a buddy who does real old school tin types in a mobile bike studio.
So I'd guess you and some others actually like the artifacts of the medium here, same way I like the grain in an enlarged image or the stain from improper development. It might not only not bother you but actually feel right.

I even thought about trying CD's after xing out vinyl and then remembered scratches and scuffs. Yikes, those can be insane. I mean I am doing 95-105db peaks and 85-90+ avg spl sessions a few times week and that is before I crank it up :)

I think I could do vinyl for background and cool factor but then I'd have to change it so often... it just didn't work out over here.
 
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MakeMineVinyl

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Dude I don't think you are lying but you missed my point. It is a treasure hunt.
Who knows when and if this is going to be the case.
Plus I do know that some people make pressing vinyl into a work of art and that is spectacular. (I still anticipate noises)

Again I get that you love this stuff and I am down with that. One of my people would be running in and out of his house if it was on fire saving his records. I would help him as I know how much he loves them and how rare some of them are. (unless he decides to cash in on insurance as I think his collection is seriously valuable, then I will skip the flash burns)

The noise might just not bother you as much honestly. Like my GF driving around with a dirty windshield where I am like WTF running the wipers. I really don't consider myself type "a" but in some places maybe. In any case the sudden and random noise issues are not good for me in terms of my hifi.

Interesting I got into photography when it was film and one of the best things about film is the artifacts of the medium and the tremendous efforts to make the art. For the lonest time when digital came out and reached a high quality point, everyone wanted images to be so clean and easy to make that all the life seemed sucked out of it - then when it was clear life was in jeopardy it became all about making them look insanely stylized Instagram like! Anyway, now I do prefer the ease and quality of a digital camera and no more chemicals. That said I am careful not to get to clean and at the same time not over do things with over stylized LR filters or taking 200 shots of everything (spray and pray once was reserved only for paparazzi and sports). In the end it is all good that more options exist. Most people just use phones or have like I do have a couple digital cameras and yet I have a buddy who does real old school tin types in a mobile bike studio.
So I'd guess you and some others actually like the artifacts of the medium here, same way I like the grain in an enlarged image or the stain from improper development. It might not only not bother you but actually feel right.

I even thought about trying CD's after xing out vinyl and then remembered scratches and scuffs. Yikes, those can be insane. I mean I am doing 95-105db peaks and 85-90+ avg spl sessions a few times week and that is before I crank it up :)

I think I could do vinyl for background and cool factor but then I'd have to change it so often... it just didn't work out over here.
I hope in this thread (and my screen name) you don't pigeon hole me as a 'vinyl only zealot' - I am not. Probably 80% of my listening time is streaming with the remainder divided between analog tape and vinyl, and a small percentage playing 78s on the wind-up grammophone in my living room. But whatever technology I use, I insist on doing it right to get the best performance possible. I don't believe in dissing any technology unless I have personally explored and learned as much as possible about it - only then can I feel comfortable enough to critique it.
 

ROOSKIE

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I hope in this thread (and my screen name) you don't pigeon hole me as a 'vinyl only zealot' - I am not. Probably 80% of my listening time is streaming with the remainder divided between analog tape and vinyl, and a small percentage playing 78s on the wind-up grammophone in my living room. But whatever technology I use, I insist on doing it right to get the best performance possible. I don't believe in dissing any technology unless I have personally explored and learned as much as possible about it - only then can I feel comfortable enough to critique it.
No, I don't think that.
Plus, you have made 3500+ post at ASR & usually folks who do that are not vinyl zealots per say.
You seem like someone who deff likes their vinyl but that is no issue for me. I originally wanted to like it all for good reasons and I do feel there are great reasons to have vinyl in the world.
I get the impression you are very experienced with it and just want folks to give it a fair shot because to you it is interesting enough to warrant putting in some real effort.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I get the impression you are very experienced with it and just want folks to give it a fair shot because to you it is interesting enough to warrant putting in some real effort.
I am not an evangelist for anything one way or the other. I just don't like blanket, hyperbolic statements like 'this or that sucks'. Audio technology can have immense subtleties and I would hope that especially on a science based forum, that scientific method be practiced instead of doing the cheap thing by spouting generalizations - especially untrue ones.
 
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I am not an evangelist for anything one way or the other. I just don't like blanket, hyperbolic statements like 'this or that sucks'. Audio technology can have immense subtleties and I would hope that especially on a science based forum, that scientific method be practiced instead of doing the cheap thing by spouting generalizations - especially untrue ones.
I've owned plenty of albums and took care of them. They all sucked compared to CD's. Maybe there's some vinyl album you can spin up on an esoteric system with a 20k turntable that would wow me. But the big wow is most likely, "wow this moron spent 20k on a turntable" hehe
 

IPunchCholla

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I've owned plenty of albums and took care of them. They all sucked compared to CD's. Maybe there's some vinyl album you can spin up on an esoteric system with a 20k turntable that would wow me. But the big wow is most likely, "wow this moron spent 20k on a turntable" hehe
I’m stupid to jump in here. First off, less than 1 percent of my library is Vinyl, the rest is 16bit, 44.1 minimum. Yes, digital measures better in every way. But the differences aren’t this vast gulf ,or some finely drawn line in the sand. If you treat vinyl record right, and have adequate equipment (my entire setup cost <$400) you can get very close to digital. I know you said you did treat them right, but what did you do?Ive non-scientifically blind A/B tested it. The test subject could hear a difference, but didn’t know which was which. They preferred vinyl. I didn’t do anything special to prevent snap,crackle, pop besides carbon brush before playing. Now I have it set-up so that I can use a filter to remove those pops (you can get a $30 plug-in) if I want to. I use it half the time, maybe, mostly when humidity here gets crazy low.

Also hearing isn’t all about measurements (though they should be the foundation). We know sighted biases among others happen. We should use that on ourselves with music, like we do with everything else. Fancy restraints with their ambience, car dealerships with their perfectly clean cars and perfect lighting, art museums with their giant foyers and astronomically tall ceilings. All of this plays to those biases we have to make what they are selling a better experience.

LPs can do the same thing, even with pops and clicks, because the ritual sets you up to listen. Maybe you don’t need that. Great! Other people might find it beneficial. And the distance between good vinyl and digital isn’t as large as so many seem to think.
 
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I’m stupid to jump in here. First off, less than 1 percent of my library is Vinyl, the rest is 16bit, 44.1 minimum. Yes, digital measures better in every way. But the differences aren’t this vast gulf ,or some finely drawn line in the sand. If you treat vinyl record right, and have adequate equipment (my entire setup cost <$400) you can get very close to digital. I know you said you did treat them right, but what did you do?Ive non-scientifically blind A/B tested it. The test subject could hear a difference, but didn’t know which was which. They preferred vinyl. I didn’t do anything special to prevent snap,crackle, pop besides carbon brush before playing. Now I have it set-up so that I can use a filter to remove those pops (you can get a $30 plug-in) if I want to. I use it half the time, maybe, mostly when humidity here gets crazy low.

Also hearing isn’t all about measurements (though they should be the foundation). We know sighted biases among others happen. We should use that on ourselves with music, like we do with everything else. Fancy restraints with their ambience, car dealerships with their perfectly clean cars and perfect lighting, art museums with their giant foyers and astronomically tall ceilings. All of this plays to those biases we have to make what they are selling a better experience.

LPs can do the same thing, even with pops and clicks, because the ritual sets you up to listen. Maybe you don’t need that. Great! Other people might find it beneficial. And the distance between good vinyl and digital isn’t as large as so many seem to think.
Yep, don't need that. I need good sound, reliability and a reasonable cost. Digital fits the bill for me. Listening to vinyl is fine, but don't tout records to be as good or better than digital. Regardless of system or recording, they're not. I'm too old to drink kool aid...
 

Chrispy

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It's funny, I've spent my entire adult life crapping on vinyl and not having a TT set up in my home, until a couple years ago I decided it would be nice to have something to play (and make decent recordings of) the 50 or so LPs I'd collected of music that never made it to CD. And since then I've found I really enjoy listening to music on vinyl. I like the physicality, the sense almost of ritual, the 20 minute increments, the 12 inch sleeve. I like all of that. It even sounds good, and sounds noticeably better with system upgrades like a better cartridge. I have discovered for myself that vinyl is a great way to listen to and appreciate music.

But these goofballs acting like vinyl is peak audiophilia are just so obviously and completely full of it. In terms of fidelity, it's plenty good enough to enjoy but it's inferior to CD and everything else out there now. Why can't they just enjoy it for what it is instead of burying it under tons of BS?
I had most of those same experiences when I was relatively new to vinyl (and there were no other choices anyways besides RtR tape which was a whole different level of involvement). I still have my vinyl and tt and do use it occasionally for nostalgia....not some vague analog better thing. Some vinyl is well recorded and well pressed...a lot isn't; and digital isn't exempt from that......but eliminates several issues with vinyl so.....
 

Jaxjax

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I have no interest in "setting up" anymore turntables. They just don't sound as good, period. To each his own.
Exactly on the to each his own part. I am completely on the opposite of your views on this for many reasons. I have many pressings that no digital can compete with as its not available as Ive said before & even then who knows because these are outstanding pressings. AS has more then a few pressings that exceed any digital I've heard of the given version. My TT & cart is only in the 6-7k club & there are obviously much,much better. I would say I'm 50-50% on analog/digital. There is so much more to it then CD's are superior, streaming, etc, etc. They all suck if released to the public that way. I used to be a big Mofi fan but not so much now. Chad & company will get my new vinyl money every time.
The one thing that puts me off bout ASR is the sad BS about digital being so superior. Just like my vintage gibsons suck compared to new ones. yeah right.
Digital guitar amps make me vomit
Pedals too
on & on
Massive garbage left studios's in digital form just as analog. One is not superior to the other in making wonderful music playback. I actually like the sound of tape to either as a general rule.
So in truth the forums are pure entertainment & meaningless in that in the end no matter if you read everything & retained every single word from every audio related subject you studied/ read about , it is you the individual who knows if the music being played is good or not.
Nothing else matters at that point
 

amirm

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Now your are playing the 'they use $100,000 turntables.....half a million dollar systems....." game. I thought that's what we studiously avoided here! I guess I should sliver off in disgrace, a defeated man in the presence of such extravagant systems. :facepalm:
Not in this topic. People with those tables are more anal with their LPs than one can imagine. It is like a ritual so the notion that they leave LPs sit around is non-sequitur
 

amirm

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I am not an evangelist for anything one way or the other. I just don't like blanket, hyperbolic statements like 'this or that sucks'. Audio technology can have immense subtleties and I would hope that especially on a science based forum, that scientific method be practiced instead of doing the cheap thing by spouting generalizations - especially untrue ones.
Well, as far as audio science is concerned, LP as a format is dead and buried. Show me the last research paper into its performance in the last four decades. The format is around due to non scientific reasons. So my stance by owning R2R myself and providing space for people to talk about it, is far more flexible than normally be warranted given our charter.
 

FrantzM

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So everything recorded from 1950 until 1980 on analog tape sucked? That limits your music choices considerably. Perhaps there were individual recordings which sucked for reasons not having to do with analog tape, and there were great ones which were great for reasons other than analog tape? Maybe its just the skill, or lack thereof of the original recording engineers which really made the difference? I know - gray areas force people to think, which is a big ask.
Valid point but the technology is thoroughly surpassed by digital.. thus, "sucks"... An hyperbole and, I am sure, you knew that ...
Much has been said about the great engineers of the past. I dare submit that there are in any areas good and bad example/items/products... Some of those past Greats were almost magicians, in the way they could extract and preserve so much from the , objectively inferior capture, storage and reproduction chains. No doubt... There are also some great engineers today and they have the advantage of objectively widely available, superior and comparatively less expensive technology..

Peace
 
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rdenney

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Well, as far as audio science is concerned, LP as a format is dead and buried. Show me the last research paper into its performance in the last four decades. The format is around due to non scientific reasons. So my stance by owning R2R myself and providing space for people to talk about it, is far more flexible than normally be warranted given our charter.

Science and engineering can be validly applied to obsolete technologies to improve them in ways difficult or impossible with a less scientific approach.

It is not inherently unscientific to preserve obsolete technologies. Claiming them to be better than they are is the unscientific part. As is throwing them into the landfill when they already exist in a context, when in that context they still fulfill requirements.

Rick “much good science is devoted to optimizing the use of obsolete technologies to avoid throwing them in the landfill” Denney
 

watchnerd

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It's funny, I've spent my entire adult life crapping on vinyl and not having a TT set up in my home, until a couple years ago I decided it would be nice to have something to play (and make decent recordings of) the 50 or so LPs I'd collected of music that never made it to CD. And since then I've found I really enjoy listening to music on vinyl. I like the physicality, the sense almost of ritual, the 20 minute increments, the 12 inch sleeve. I like all of that. It even sounds good, and sounds noticeably better with system upgrades like a better cartridge. I have discovered for myself that vinyl is a great way to listen to and appreciate music.

But these goofballs acting like vinyl is peak audiophilia are just so obviously and completely full of it. In terms of fidelity, it's plenty good enough to enjoy but it's inferior to CD and everything else out there now. Why can't they just enjoy it for what it is instead of burying it under tons of BS?

+1

I don't know why some need to spin some yard that it's better than digital to justify spending shameful amounts of money on vinyl.

Just embrace it!

Records are expensive, cartridges can be expensive to ludicrous, and the diminishing return point for a really quality turntable is a *lot* more than the diminishing point of return for DACs.

But people shouldn't feel the need to claim it's better to justify that. It's just, duh, (good) Analog Is Expensive.
 

watchnerd

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Nope, pops and clicks suck everything out of it for me.

I'm always surprised when people bring this up because I have a huge number of albums with no pops or ticks I've noticed, a few with like one on a side, and only a handful of really old, used records that have lots of pops and ticks.

Are people just listening to worn out LPs and / or to carts + alignments that are badly tracking?

Pops and ticks rarely register in my listening.

Perhaps I have some cognitive masking that I've developed??
 
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MattHooper

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I've owned plenty of albums and took care of them. They all sucked compared to CD's. Maybe there's some vinyl album you can spin up on an esoteric system with a 20k turntable that would wow me. But the big wow is most likely, "wow this moron spent 20k on a turntable" hehe

Welcome to ASR :)
 

watchnerd

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Anyway he used to blind test people with digital recordings he made from vinyl vs the vinyl itself. He said nobody ever was able to tell the difference (at least last I heard it was nobody). I wish his stuff was available. After he died it all seemed to go poof. All this was digital recording made in the 90's so even then the DAC he used was transparent to vinyl.

Certainly this could be tested. Make some quality digital recordings of truly 100% analog vinyl and then AB or ABX them. Could be super fun and even a money maker .... This wager is only if you have something to prove which I know many do not = Pass you keep your albums, fail you and I partner up and I get to sell them on Discogs and split the loot with ya 50/50... I need some more speakers!

Ripping vinyl to digital today is so common I don't think you'd even need to test it.

People have anecdotal first hand experience with how transparent it can be.

However....

You can game the test if you record the vinyl with speakers off / disconnected, because then the vinyl rip will have the acoustic feedback from the speakers into the TT/tonearm/catridge, creating extra reverb, removed.
 
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