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Turntables - help me understand the appeal?

tomelex

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When you consider the compromise of the 45-45 stereo system, I mean the recorder has at best 0.5%IM distortion, playback well over 1% harmonic at the best physical point and frequency on the record itself, noise issues, and for vertical info the distortion increases with frequency and amplitude and full left or right info is most distortion and pure out of phase info from vertical movement is also most distorted, so you have to avoid these extremes, and that is just where the most distortion occurs, well.....

this has to imply that there are other factors going on that trick the ear into enjoying, in my case I feel the mid to lower upper high are just better sounding on vinyl than digital and the soundstage sounds more realistic, so the tricks are occurring there and are not just simple harmonic distortions. it is alluded to in various places what these are but if it were so easy we should have that "digital vinyl sound enhancement" software by now. Maybe its just not considered that important in the digital world. Don't get me wrong, I play mostly digital, but vinyl does have a sound that I enjoy when I want to go through all the , sorry, bother, of dinking around with the whole process. My wife actually plays her albums way more than I do, but she is just now learning how to text, but only because the grandson seems to only communicate that way. :p
 

tomelex

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And while we can enjoy our turntables "effects", never forget how many have gone into the recording before you ever hear it.

 
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Interesting what Hans Zimmer said here: Mini-Moog YT vid If this particular pressing couldn't cut what the master had, I wonder if there are more missing info on other records. Maybe we prefer a more limited set of info for easier processing so we, as human, prefer analog. Just curious.
 

Soniclife

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However in the case of vinyl the euphonic distortion is a result of its technical limitations and if people want that warm sound it can easily be provided in digital format.
Not in my experience so far, I wish it was. What I'd really love is a simple slider on playback that goes from perfect digital at one end, and vinyl sound at the other, would it end up in one final position, unique settings per record, or be abandoned as no longer wanting any distortions after a while? I'll probably never find out.
 

MattHooper

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In one sense, I'm very sympathetic to the unease some audiophiles (e.g. including some on this site it seems) have in regards to the revival of vinyl, especially talk of it's sonic "superiority."

If it were the case the audio industry simply abandoned digital to go back and concentrate on making just vinyl and turntables, that would be a bummer; it would be abandoning the progress we've made toward accuracy and transparency in the chain, to go back to a system that is more colored and has inherent limitations we've already surpassed. That would be pretty stupid.

As it is though, such a scenario is mostly fantasy, the world has become mostly digital and it seems vinyl will remain mostly at niche levels.
I have no problem with vinyl being offered....and even progressed as a format to the degree possible...so long as work is ongoing in the digital domain a well toward every greater transparency and accuracy. It seems obvious audio work in digital isn't going to be abandoned any time soon.
So I'm happy having the option of both formats.
 
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The state of the art of DACs has advanced in terms of measurement but has it really advanced in audible terms over the last 20 - 30 years? My CD player dates back to the early 90's, OK it wasn't cheap (although nor was it excessively expensive, a Sony ES model) and to be quite honest I really wouldn't say that any of my much newer digital sources or alternatives I've listened to are audibly better regardless of how they might measure.
I'm sorry that you can't hear a difference between today's dacs and your almost 30 y.o. unit.
I have a McIntosh cd player from the late 1990s, and a $100 Topping dac sounds so remarkably better that I can't see that someone couldn't hear it, especially someone who's into audio. If one really can't hear the difference, maybe it has to do with that person's hearing or their brain's processing of sound.
 

JJB70

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I'm sorry that you can't hear a difference between today's dacs and your almost 30 y.o. unit.
I have a McIntosh cd player from the late 1990s, and a $100 Topping dac sounds so remarkably better that I can't see that someone couldn't hear it, especially someone who's into audio. If one really can't hear the difference, maybe it has to do with that person's hearing or their brain's processing of sound.
Or maybe Sony made better CD players than McIntosh? Or maybe I am honest and not hearing differences that aren't there? Funnily enough, somebody provided a link to a review providing measurements of my CD player model on this site this week which seemed to indicate it is still a good CD player:

https://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/sony/cdp-x303es.htm
 
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Or maybe Sony made better CD players than McIntosh? Or maybe I am honest and not hearing differences that aren't there? Funnily enough, somebody provided a link to a review providing measurements of my CD player model on this site this week which seemed to indicate it is still a good CD player:

https://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/sony/cdp-x303es.htm
I don't know what DAC is in your early 1990s Sony, but I'm safe to say that my McIntosh MCD7009 was a totl-sounding deck 20 years ago, that's why I bought it. It still plays music, and I sometimes use it a transport. $100 Topping betters it in every aspect... which could be insignificant to someone who's not really listening, like an average house-guest.
Seriously , you can't hear any palpable difference between any two digital sources? Or just between your Sony and whatever dac you compared it to?
 

jsrtheta

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I don't know what DAC is in your early 1990s Sony, but I'm safe to say that my McIntosh MCD7009 was a totl-sounding deck 20 years ago, that's why I bought it. It still plays music, and I sometimes use it a transport. $100 Topping betters it in every aspect... which could be insignificant to someone who's not really listening, like an average house-guest.
Seriously , you can't hear any palpable difference between any two digital sources? Or just between your Sony and whatever dac you compared it to?
Why would they sound different?
 

Frank Dernie

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Why would they sound different?
Quite. When I tried several DACs They all sounded so close to each other that I was pretty sure I couldn't tell the difference between them, otoh I didn't compare with my, at that time, 20 year older DAC which was limited to 48/16 max.
I did fall on my nose a bit when I tried to confidently compare my DAT recorder to my oldest DAC, a Sony DAS 702 ES, their first stand alone DAC to some friends. The DAT player sounded much brighter and better than the antique Sony :( so we just stopped using it.
When I got home I checked the output level and the DAT had a higher output than the old DAC and was therefore louder. Should have checked beforehand, of course.
 

jsrtheta

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Quite. When I tried several DACs They all sounded so close to each other that I was pretty sure I couldn't tell the difference between them, otoh I didn't compare with my, at that time, 20 year older DAC which was limited to 48/16 max.
I did fall on my nose a bit when I tried to confidently compare my DAT recorder to my oldest DAC, a Sony DAS 702 ES, their first stand alone DAC to some friends. The DAT player sounded much brighter and better than the antique Sony :( so we just stopped using it.
When I got home I checked the output level and the DAT had a higher output than the old DAC and was therefore louder. Should have checked beforehand, of course.
When high-end DACs became thing, companies like Theta and PS Audio used very high outputs (I want to say 5 volts) in the name of "better sound". A lot of people had to race back to the preamp before the neighbors complained.
 

MattHooper

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It seems to me transparency has essentially been reached in DACs, and I'm open to the idea it was mostly reached long ago. In that *most* CD players/DACs of similar design would sound the same.

That said I had a few digital sources in the late 90's - two CD players and a DAC - that sounded distinctly different to me. As I had been told that this was exceedingly unlikely, and knowing about sighted bias, I performed blind tests at two different times and I could very easily identify with virtually 100 percent accuracy between them. I don't know what in their design may have contributed to this (Meridian 508.20 CD player, Meitner Bi-Dat DAC, Sony CD player).

On the other hand, not too long ago I switched from streaming my ripped CDs via iTunes to a Raspberry Pi/Logitech server system. I didn't expect any sonic change, but was a bit nonplussed when I thought I perceived a brighter sound with the new server! Confused, I had a pal help me blind test between them (randomized) and it turned out once I didn't know which was playing I couldn't hear a difference. Whew! Saved me some audiophile angst! Now I don't perceive any difference at all and the system sounds as it ever did.
 

JJB70

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I don't know what DAC is in your early 1990s Sony, but I'm safe to say that my McIntosh MCD7009 was a totl-sounding deck 20 years ago, that's why I bought it. It still plays music, and I sometimes use it a transport. $100 Topping betters it in every aspect... which could be insignificant to someone who's not really listening, like an average house-guest.
Seriously , you can't hear any palpable difference between any two digital sources? Or just between your Sony and whatever dac you compared it to?
I think that DACs achieved transparency years ago. Looking at Ken Rockwell's review my Sony still measures pretty well and DACs went beyond the point of further measured improvement being inaudible years ago. Even on old DACs it is not the DAC which is likely to introduce audible noise and distribution unless it was catastrophically badly designed. I am guessing that my Sony was well designed and made, the Sony Es line of that era was effectively there to show case Sony's capabilities and it was designed and made to a very high standard by a company with a mastery of digital technologies.
 
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The first CD player I owned was purchased in the late 80's. It was a mid-line Denon and it was always bettered in sound quality by my turntable. The first CD player I ever heard was the first model Sony sold to the public and it sounded terrible. I got another one in the mid 90's that was much better. It would be interesting to A-B that with the DAC I have know but it don't have it any more. I currently have a Yamaha BD-A 1060 disk player, a Sony UPB-X800 and a cute little Teac half width CD player that dates back to around 2001. I can't say for sure that they all sound the same from their analog outputs but I would not bet on my ability to tell them apart.


Teac CD player.jpg
 
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I think that DACs achieved transparency years ago. Looking at Ken Rockwell's review my Sony still measures pretty well and DACs went beyond the point of further measured improvement being inaudible years ago. Even on old DACs it is not the DAC which is likely to introduce audible noise and distribution unless it was catastrophically badly designed. I am guessing that my Sony was well designed and made, the Sony Es line of that era was effectively there to show case Sony's capabilities and it was designed and made to a very high standard by a company with a mastery of digital technologies.
I don't know if it's what you'd call noise, it's just that they sound as different as two different sets of speakers. The new $100 offering has a better overall presentation of music, it's just better in every way you can conjure up.
 
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