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Thomas Schirmann – After The Rain – review of the vinyl test pressing (Audiophile approach with studio master comparison)


May 31, 2022

After testing the studio MASTER version (in 32 bits floating 88.2 kHz format) compared to the CD and the Qobuz version, and being present at the lacquer cutting from the studio MASTER files without any modification. Today, here is the review of the vinyl pressing test.

Vinyl (Test pressing) - small.jpg

Thanks to AKELSON for its transparency on the production process of the vinyl.

The vinyl is a double LP in 45rpm. What is interesting is that the master files are provided with the purchase of the vinyl.

Let's start with the measurements, we find a similar waveform between the vinyl and the studio Master and with the same DR13 dynamics.

At the level of the spectrum, we have a perfect superposition of the Vinyl and the Studio Master (Floating 32 bits 88.2 kHz) as shown in the curves below.

Spectrum _AfterTheRain_  Master (blue) vs Vinyl (white) - small.jpg

Vinyl (white) vs Digital Master (Blue)

As there is only one instrument, the piano, the response curve is not very wide. Beyond 7 kHz, we notice that the background noise of the vinyl is higher than that of the Master. But it remains very good, because we have to compare the value of -135 dB for the Master (in 32 bits!) with -105 to -115dB for the vinyl.

So we can see that we find the same characteristics between the vinyl and the Master. This will result in a similar rendering between the vinyl and the master in terms of sound balance and dynamics.

In listening, we find indeed the same sound rendering between the two (with a little more precision in the details for the Master), after if there are differences in listening, it is also due to the DAC and/or to the vinyl turntable and its preamp.

The mastering of the vinyl manufacturing chain, the fact of not having modified the MASTER that was used, allows to have a vinyl that serves as a reference. In addition to being in a beautiful album, it is a superb tool to compare in its system the digital reading and the vinyl reading.

The samples are available to compare the Master and the vinyl here.

Enjoy listening
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