• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

The Truth About Vinyl Records

D

Deleted member 50971

Guest
I've tried to hear the separate speakers, but when the image is anywhere between them I just can't. I have no clear idea what I did right, but I'll take it!
I understand that! My speakers called for a lot of toe in from the manafacturer, and they were spot on in my opinion. It wasn’t until I read the manual, were they talked about placement did i get it right.
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
4,602
Likes
6,489
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
The truth about turntables 'n' LPs is that they are meaningful as a signifier to "Mad Men" right here---something akin to Steampunk, something very much styled to its time as really big midcentury modern furniture but in its way magical. Far as I can tell, the turntable's a Garrard. This sequence indicates a time when messages from magical realms were available---expected---in the next LP release. Donovan and Jimi Hendrix were just around the corner. People now attempt to replicate these toys and the vibe of the past. As 12" x 12" is always a good format for visual art, LPs offer all sorts of potential eye-candy. LPs have everything going for them except sound quality. Go figure.

It's funny---LPs really do mess up the sound, but they are cool anyway, being so very "arty".

 
Last edited:

fpitas

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
977
Likes
926
The truth about turntables is that as meaningful signifier they are to "Mad Men" something akin to Steampunk, something very much styled to its time as really big furniture. Far as I can tell, the turntable's a Garrard. The sequence indicates a time when messages from magical realms were available---expected---in the next LP release. And people now attempt to replicate these toys of the past. As 12" x 12" always a good format for visual art, LPs offer all sorts of potential eye-candy.

It's funny---LPs really do mess up the sound, but they are cool anyway, being so very "arty".

Super-hipster bands only release on vinyl, but sometimes also on mp3. Then the irony is staggering.
 
D

Deleted member 50971

Guest
The truth about turntables is that as meaningful signifier they are to "Mad Men" something akin to Steampunk, something very much styled to its time as really big furniture. Far as I can tell, the turntable's a Garrard. The sequence indicates a time when messages from magical realms were available---expected---in the next LP release. And people now attempt to replicate these toys of the past. As 12" x 12" always a good format for visual art, LPs offer all sorts of potential eye-candy.

It's funny---LPs really do mess up the sound, but they are cool anyway, being so very "arty".

Thanks for that, kinda look like James Bond putting a record on LOL. I believe you’re correct that’s a Gararrd changer, and yes the steampunk art is appealing to some (me). It was also a Capital record label.
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
3,691
Likes
5,894
One thing to keep in mind when talking about good vinyl, is that the concept of stereo and two speakers does not equate to a "you are there" but an attempt to get you to believe enough in it that you are there. It is a degree of belief, and many of us simply accept it as the poorish attempt it is to bring the venue into our listening room.

Stereo worked well in cinema to project sounds from either side of the screen, and with vision combined it works quite well. Without vision it does not work as well, and is a rather weird effect for your brain to work on when your eyes are open staring into the space between and around your speakers. The "trick" of stereo is pretty week for sure.

The way I see it is that vinyl weaknesses happened to enhance the illusion and not hurt it with two channel stereo. Is it inferior to digital in all respects when it comes to science, yes, no question. However, it does for many folks enhance the experience of the very week stereo two channel playback system when not watching a video or movie with visible cues.

Vinyl is of course less accurate and has no magical properties to 'fix' the problems of stereo.

Nonetheless, there is an aspect of what you wrote that rings true for me.

Stereo is a gossamer illusion.

The phantom images it produces sound like that, generally speaking - like phantoms. Not truly solid, audible "images" with the sense I could wave my hand through them. Stereo just has those limitations.

But I find with lots of vinyl that the distortion adds a bit more density to the sound. Not focus - vinyl is known to have worse channel separation so it can't be better precision of imaging per se. But there is just a texture (which I presume is distortion) added to the sound that to my ears makes the sound a bit more dense and "there." Drum snares, wood blocks, a sax, whatever, just seem a bit more solid sounding which, to me, goes a teeny way towards heightening the "illusion" of a real instrument. (With trade-offs - the digital will render other aspects of the instrument better). I find this satisfying in of itself, even if I weren't referencing real sounds. So even my electronica music, with all it's bleeps and blips and synth pads can be quite satisfying.

I was playing one of my favorite electronic pieces which I have on digital and on a 45 LP. Sounded incredible on digital. But playing the LP all those sounds - the wood block patterns, hand clap samples, drum machine, synth blips and bleeps all seemed to "solidify" more like real air-moving objects between the speakers. Even though I could hear on the digital version a teeny bit more resolution, e.g. the faintest reverb trails, the solidity of the LP sound was more satisfying for me.

(But that is not always the case, sometimes I prefer digital versions).
 

Robin L

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 2, 2019
Messages
4,602
Likes
6,489
Location
1 mile east of Sleater Kinney Rd
Thanks for that, kinda look like James Bond putting a record on LOL. I believe you’re correct that’s a Gararrd changer, and yes the steampunk art is appealing to some (me). It was also a Capital record label.
That would be "Capitol". Interesting that there's a period of time when the Beatles and Frank Sinatra issued LPs with the same label design.

Too cool for LPs, Ol' Blue Eyes chills with three channel stereo.

The dog has one hell of a nicotine habit:

00-holding-frank-sinatra-home.jpg
 

Scrappy

Active Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
104
Likes
56
I used to be a vinyl fanboy, have tons of LP’s (plenty of junky ones), but I just stream Tidal any more. Never thought I’d go full- streaming. The “Hi-Fi” bitrate is just fine IMO.
 

Digicile

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
25
Likes
17
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Playing vinyl has a coolness to it that streaming doesn't. When I have friends over and I play streaming, they NEVER notice much and it is just background as far as they think. When I play vinyl, they perk up and rally around like it is something special, and they PAY ATTENTION.

I can't understand the polarization on this forum about vinyl. Some people love it and some people hate it. Live and let live, people!
 

DMill

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
451
Likes
538
Playing vinyl has a coolness to it that streaming doesn't. When I have friends over and I play streaming, they NEVER notice much and it is just background as far as they think. When I play vinyl, they perk up and rally around like it is something special, and they PAY ATTENTION.

I can't understand the polarization on this forum about vinyl. Some people love it and some people hate it. Live and let live, people!
Many active members here like vinyl. There is a tangible quality and because of the format you are channeled into listening to album sides. I appreciate a cohesive album by an artist like What’s Going On from Marvin Gaye because each track blends and builds upon the previous. Its truly a masterpiece IMO. and there are too many examples like this to even mention in the heyday of vinyl. Most artists now are forced by their labels to think only about singles. There are of course exceptions, but the concept album is mostly a thing of the past. And album art and liner notes are great too. But what you wont see here is someone who’s interested in verifiable objective measurements for sound repruction alone arguing that vinyl is superior to digital. Cause it’s not. And if you think it is you gotta back that up with something that doesn’t start with, I heard this…. Also vinyl is costly, takes up lots of space, and is subject to scratches, skips and even dust is a problem. But to each his own and if someone likes spinning records I’m glad they do.
 

Scrappy

Active Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
104
Likes
56
When I play vinyl, they perk up and rally around like it is something special, and they PAY ATTENTION.
Great point, especially if it’s a very good copy of a great album. Also, the visual of a spinning record is somethin
 

Digicile

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
25
Likes
17
Location
Pittsburgh PA
But what you wont see here is someone who’s interested in verifiable objective measurements for sound repruction alone arguing that vinyl is superior to digital. Cause it’s not. And if you think it is you gotta back that up with something that doesn’t start with, I heard this…. Also vinyl is costly, takes up lots of space, and is subject to scratches, skips and even dust is a problem. But to each his own and if someone likes spinning records I’m glad they do.
This is exactly the confrontational nature of posts I dislike. I never said anything about vinyl is better. My friends like it better when I play it and there is no argument about that. They never say anything one way or the other about the sound. They just enjoy it when I play vinyl for them, and they stop and pay attention.

All this argument stuff is pointless. If you like vinyl, enjoy it. If you don't like vinyl, move on to something else. :facepalm:
 

DMill

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2022
Messages
451
Likes
538
This is exactly the confrontational nature of posts I dislike. I never said anything about vinyl is better. My friends like it better when I play it and there is no argument about that. They never say anything one way or the other about the sound. They just enjoy it when I play vinyl for them, and they stop and pay attention.

All this argument stuff is pointless. If you like vinyl, enjoy it. If you don't like vinyl, move on to something else. :facepalm:
It was not at all my intent to be confrontational. The first half of my post was about what I enjoy about vinyl. I can also see how your friends would pay attention. ill add that there is something very personable and friendly about curating music you’ve collected for your friends. it‘s far more engaging than putting on a streaming station and having music be just background noise.
 

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
944
Likes
508
Location
So called Midwest, USA
Vinyl is of course less accurate and has no magical properties to 'fix' the problems of stereo.

Nonetheless, there is an aspect of what you wrote that rings true for me.

Stereo is a gossamer illusion.

The phantom images it produces sound like that, generally speaking - like phantoms. Not truly solid, audible "images" with the sense I could wave my hand through them. Stereo just has those limitations.

But I find with lots of vinyl that the distortion adds a bit more density to the sound. Not focus - vinyl is known to have worse channel separation so it can't be better precision of imaging per se. But there is just a texture (which I presume is distortion) added to the sound that to my ears makes the sound a bit more dense and "there." Drum snares, wood blocks, a sax, whatever, just seem a bit more solid sounding which, to me, goes a teeny way towards heightening the "illusion" of a real instrument. (With trade-offs - the digital will render other aspects of the instrument better). I find this satisfying in of itself, even if I weren't referencing real sounds. So even my electronica music, with all it's bleeps and blips and synth pads can be quite satisfying.

I was playing one of my favorite electronic pieces which I have on digital and on a 45 LP. Sounded incredible on digital. But playing the LP all those sounds - the wood block patterns, hand clap samples, drum machine, synth blips and bleeps all seemed to "solidify" more like real air-moving objects between the speakers. Even though I could hear on the digital version a teeny bit more resolution, e.g. the faintest reverb trails, the solidity of the LP sound was more satisfying for me.

(But that is not always the case, sometimes I prefer digital versions).

I have a bit of a different take.

I have two old 5th dimension recordings, one digital and one vinyl. Both played through a SET amp (or solid state either way). Now, the digital version is maybe "cleaner" in that the images are more pinpoint, however, not all instruments act like that in real life, the vinyl one the images are larger and more expansive and "touch" each other, and I find that this is the thing that I like about vinyl in general, its imaging. Yes there is some very minor added flesh, but for me the imaging is King.

I would even say this property is a bit of a magical fix for stereo and the way I enjoy music. When you listen to an unamplified cymbal for example as I just did again today down at the fest, it shimmers and expands greatly, where digital will tend to pinpoint it and vinyl will let it expand and is more natural sounding. Now, as you get further back from that cymbal, it becomes less expansive and more pinpoint, so one of the things that vinyl kind of does is get you closer to the instruments, less pinpointing, more flesh and energy.

I tested needle drops to digital and when played back it retained these "features" of vinyl, so its more about mix and master engineers never really learned how to master the digital process IMO. The technical accuracy of digital was just accepted and they never tried to re-create what they heard on vinyl, they just figured that digital was the "sound" I guess. Who knows.
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
3,691
Likes
5,894
I have a bit of a different take.

Understandable. Vinyl is a pretty kludgy system, vulnerable to sounding different depending on the turntable/cartridge/set up etc.
That's why I never want to use it for evaluating gear, like speakers. And it's why I tend to restrict my comments to how vinyl has shaken out in my system.

I have two old 5th dimension recordings, one digital and one vinyl. Both played through a SET amp (or solid state either way). Now, the digital version is maybe "cleaner" in that the images are more pinpoint, however, not all instruments act like that in real life, the vinyl one the images are larger and more expansive and "touch" each other, and I find that this is the thing that I like about vinyl in general, its imaging. Yes there is some very minor added flesh, but for me the imaging is King.

I would even say this property is a bit of a magical fix for stereo and the way I enjoy music. When you listen to an unamplified cymbal for example as I just did again today down at the fest, it shimmers and expands greatly, where digital will tend to pinpoint it and vinyl will let it expand and is more natural sounding. Now, as you get further back from that cymbal, it becomes less expansive and more pinpoint, so one of the things that vinyl kind of does is get you closer to the instruments, less pinpointing, more flesh and energy.

Interesting.

I concentrate a lot on the sound of cymbals too.

In my experience/system, digital sounds just cleaner enough to render cymbals with more timbral nuance. High hats and ride cymbals are tricky - they are a tiny slice of the high frequency spectrum, right up there where some nasty things can happen - everything from distortion in the recording process, source (e.g. vinyl distortion), room reflections etc. High hats especially, I find, can, with any additional distortion, very easily sound timbrally two-dimensional, more like modulated bursts of white noise vs the 'real' metallic object they are. I find that problem tends to happen on vinyl more often. On digital I find the timbre of cymbals more often sounds nuanced and properly "metallic." And if a player is playing all around his ride cymbal, the nuances of the changing cymbal timbre is more clear on the digital.

Balanced against that is how, to my ear, the vinyl version often sounds more "solid" and "there." (Especially snares). So, two different aspects of realism - one better captured in digital playback, the other sometimes better on vinyl. Today I was passing by a couple street bands, and listening to the drums...yup...there was that balance of just those two qualities - real timbral nuance in the cymbals and snare and rim shots that I hear more on digital, but also that sense of solidity that I hear more often on vinyl.

I understand why some would say if you have both a digital source and a turntable, why bother throwing much effort at the vinyl. It's never going to be as accurate as the digital, so relax and enjoy. But in my case I started off really enjoying certain aspects of the vinyl sound on my previous turntable but wondered if I could ALSO get some of what I liked about the cleaner digital sound. When I upgraded my turntable/arm/cartridge that's exactly what I got: Everything cleaned up, lower overall noise, more clarity, more precision, more detail. For my money it got close to a "best of both worlds" sound - a "holy cow" aspect of detail, but also with just enough of the vinyl signature that I like as well. 'Course it's not perfect, which is why I still love listening to my digital source. But I'm damned happy!
 
OP
Punter

Punter

Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2022
Messages
27
Likes
188
I have a bit of a different take.

I have two old 5th dimension recordings, one digital and one vinyl. Both played through a SET amp (or solid state either way). Now, the digital version is maybe "cleaner" in that the images are more pinpoint, however, not all instruments act like that in real life, the vinyl one the images are larger and more expansive and "touch" each other, and I find that this is the thing that I like about vinyl in general, its imaging. Yes there is some very minor added flesh, but for me the imaging is King.

I would even say this property is a bit of a magical fix for stereo and the way I enjoy music. When you listen to an unamplified cymbal for example as I just did again today down at the fest, it shimmers and expands greatly, where digital will tend to pinpoint it and vinyl will let it expand and is more natural sounding. Now, as you get further back from that cymbal, it becomes less expansive and more pinpoint, so one of the things that vinyl kind of does is get you closer to the instruments, less pinpointing, more flesh and energy.

I tested needle drops to digital and when played back it retained these "features" of vinyl, so its more about mix and master engineers never really learned how to master the digital process IMO. The technical accuracy of digital was just accepted and they never tried to re-create what they heard on vinyl, they just figured that digital was the "sound" I guess. Who knows.
I'm not saying better or worse but vinyl sounds like vinyl because that's how it has to sound. The constraints on the mastering process force the engineer to create the mix in a way that it will best be able to be transferred to a lathe and thence to a master disc. Considering that one of the basics of mastering for vinyl is to mono components under 150Hz it stands to reason that a vinyl recording will sound the way it does.
 

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
944
Likes
508
Location
So called Midwest, USA
I'm not saying better or worse but vinyl sounds like vinyl because that's how it has to sound. The constraints on the mastering process force the engineer to create the mix in a way that it will best be able to be transferred to a lathe and thence to a master disc. Considering that one of the basics of mastering for vinyl is to mono components under 150Hz it stands to reason that a vinyl recording will sound the way it does.

Well, uh, yes, vinyl has to sound like vinyl. Monoing base though is not the main reason it sounds the way it does, bass at low frequencies is pretty non directional. Not the least is everyone picks and chooses their favorite cartridge which has orders of magnitude greater effects on sound compared to the D to A process with consumer DACs.

The thing is there is no question that a digital recording, within its limits, is more accurate when compared to the same result on vinyl, however, for many it is hard to argue that the digital correctness sounds better than the vinyl.

Digital is the best storage medium we have, but it may not be the best reproduction method in our playback location/gear where the rubber meets the road in our ear brain interface. Hence tubes, solid state, vinyl, tone controls, EQ or not to EQ and all that to satisfy personal preferences.

The 1khz test in post 65 will provide a possible reason why one prefers digital or vinyl. That of course does not preclude most folks including me from just enjoying the music no matter what format we get it in, it always comes down to the quality of the recording in either medium for me first, then digital or vinyl are secondary due to the reality of what music I have on hand. I do listen to digital more often than vinyl but I do not stress out on the format as I want to hear "music" first and foremost not the technical format. I think most accept that they can have a favorite format but its all just some week attempt at an illusion that tickles our preferences.
 

Digicile

Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2022
Messages
25
Likes
17
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Digital is the best storage medium we have, but it may not be the best reproduction method in our playback location/gear where the rubber meets the road in our ear brain interface. Hence tubes, solid state, vinyl, tone controls, EQ or not to EQ and all that to satisfy personal preferences.
That is a great point. Digital is great to make sure that the music makes its way to your preferred delivery medium, but from that point onward, its up to them what the circumstances of their listening are. Its also utterly pointless for anybody for to be the control freak and insist on how I choose to listen. I'm very young and I gather that most people into audio here are probably older men. Perhaps that has something to do with it. If so, I sure hope I don't become one of those as I grow older. o_O
 

tomelex

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 29, 2016
Messages
944
Likes
508
Location
So called Midwest, USA
That is a great point. Digital is great to make sure that the music makes its way to your preferred delivery medium, but from that point onward, its up to them what the circumstances of their listening are. Its also utterly pointless for anybody for to be the control freak and insist on how I choose to listen. I'm very young and I gather that most people into audio here are probably older men. Perhaps that has something to do with it. If so, I sure hope I don't become one of those as I grow older. o_O

I sure hope that when you are older you are not still listening to plain old vanilla 1930's two channel stereo, OMG! There is so much potential for music reproduction that we have now that folks are not even in too. The music recording industry is going to steer the ship, if they do not innovate then nothing gets done. It's that simple.
 
Top Bottom