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Turntables - help me understand the appeal?

jsrtheta

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Good question.
Yes, my preamp has the Input Trim function, where I can match volume output of almost every source to the tuner output. I do have to calibrate the output volumes of every source by ear for each value to be memorized by the preamp, but I do get pretty close.
You can't do it by ear unless you can guarantee that you are matching at least within .5dB, which is very hard to do without a meter.
 

levimax

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Here is a study indicating even Millennials prefer music made prior to 2000 which I think is one of the biggest drivers of the vinyl resurgence. The loudness wars and streaming services, which divert most of the revenue from the artists and record companies to the streaming companies, does not seem to encourage the production of new high quality music. This makes me feel better because that is how I feel and I thought it was just because I was old :) https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/07/mill...olden-age-pop-today-research-reveals-8462993/
 

jsrtheta

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Here is a study indicating even Millennials prefer music made prior to 2000 which I think is one of the biggest drivers of the vinyl resurgence. The loudness wars and streaming services, which divert most of the revenue from the artists and record companies to the streaming companies, does not seem to encourage the production of new high quality music. This makes me feel better because that is how I feel and I thought it was just because I was old :) https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/07/mill...olden-age-pop-today-research-reveals-8462993/
That's your theory. I note that the article linked doesn't even use the word "vinyl" even once, nor is the article devoted to the "resurgence" of vinyl. I would further note that between roughly 1985-2000 just about everything was released on CD, not vinyl. (Many of them are on my shelves as I write this.) I went to a lot of shows in that period, and I never heard anyone say, "Wow! They should really put the Midnight Oil out on vinyl!" or "Soul Asylum's "Hang Time" would really sound great on vinyl!" any more than I've ever heard anyone say "Please saw my legs off!" (Those albums actually did come out on vinyl, but everyone bought them on CD.)

As for the production of "high quality" music, look no further than streaming services themselves, since the days of musicians making money off of recorded music died with those services. Elvis Costello made this pretty plain in his memoir, where he discusses the sad truth that he has to tour because no one buys recorded music in a form that comes close to earning a profit. (One friend told me he has to sell 10,000 downloads of one song on Spotify in order to make 10 quid. He, of course, still has a day job despite having released numerous albums that have been critically well-received, including in the pages of Q and the Wall Street Journal.)

No question but that the loudness wars and other factors have contributed to the problems of modern rock and pop. But the real story is the gig economy: The exploitation of workers to benefit the new "entrepreneurs." Taxis? Why no, but you can hire someone to use their own car to drive you somewhere, someone who has no health insurance coverage or a living wage. Someone who hasn't realized yet that it actually costs him money to make those Uber "big bucks". The digital culture was birthed by people who never worked a real job in their lives and who don't give Shit One about the economic well-being of anyone else. That's what has transformed a formerly thriving music scene into merely another corporate decision about maximizing profits.
 

levimax

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That's your theory. I note that the article linked doesn't even use the word "vinyl" even once, nor is the article devoted to the "resurgence" of vinyl. I would further note that between roughly 1985-2000 just about everything was released on CD, not vinyl. (Many of them are on my shelves as I write this.) I went to a lot of shows in that period, and I never heard anyone say, "Wow! They should really put the Midnight Oil out on vinyl!" or "Soul Asylum's "Hang Time" would really sound great on vinyl!" any more than I've ever heard anyone say "Please saw my legs off!" (Those albums actually did come out on vinyl, but everyone bought them on CD.)
Well they did have pictures of records in the article :) .... what do you attribute the resurgence in vinyl to? Here is another interesting article that shows the resurgence is real and rather impressive. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billro...ger-than-we-thought-much-bigger/#73c5c7ef1c9c
 

Soniclife

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what do you attribute the resurgence in vinyl to?
People who use streaming services for most of their listening, but want to own physical media, and support artists. They could buy a CD, but what's the point, the artwork is smaller, and it sounds the same as the streaming version they already listen to.
 

MattHooper

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I went to a lot of shows in that period, and I never heard anyone say, "Wow! They should really put the Midnight Oil out on vinyl!" or "Soul Asylum's "Hang Time" would really sound great on vinyl!" any more than I've ever heard anyone say "Please saw my legs off!"

They were certainly in a minority, but I always knew several people who still spun vinyl, and often preferred it even during the heydey of the CD.

I went pretty much all digital pretty fast, myself.

BTW, I was reading some of Amirm's show reviews and he often expressed dismay at how many rooms used vinyl as a source.
Though I enjoy vinyl at home, I have a similar reaction as Amirm. If I want to audition speakers at a store, or hear speakers at an audio show, I'd MUCH prefer the source to be digital. There's enough ways to screw up the sound of a vinyl set up, and vinyl has it's inherent issues, that I don't want to have to listen around the colorations of vinyl when trying to determine the sound of the speaker. That even goes for auditioning speakers and amplification. Even though I use tube amps at home, I prefer to audition a speaker with a solid state amp because that more neutral source will give me a better sense of the capabilities and character of the speakers. I'll add my preferred colorations with tubes and vinyl at home if I wish, but I first want to hear the speaker unencumbered by colorations I can't control.

As for the production of "high quality" music, look no further than streaming services themselves, since the days of musicians making money off of recorded music died with those services. Elvis Costello made this pretty plain in his memoir, where he discusses the sad truth that he has to tour because no one buys recorded music in a form that comes close to earning a profit. (One friend told me he has to sell 10,000 downloads of one song on Spotify in order to make 10 quid. He, of course, still has a day job despite having released numerous albums that have been critically well-received, including in the pages of Q and the Wall Street Journal.)
This dilemma for today's musicians has become well known enough (and mentioned by enough musicians and stories) to have entered the popular culture. This is why, I believe, that imillenials and other young people about the vinyl resurgance often mention buying vinyl as their way to help support their favorite artists. I like that aspect as well.

No question but that the loudness wars and other factors have contributed to the problems of modern rock and pop. But the real story is the gig economy: The exploitation of workers to benefit the new "entrepreneurs." Taxis? Why no, but you can hire someone to use their own car to drive you somewhere, someone who has no health insurance coverage or a living wage. Someone who hasn't realized yet that it actually costs him money to make those Uber "big bucks". The digital culture was birthed by people who never worked a real job in their lives and who don't give Shit One about the economic well-being of anyone else. That's what has transformed a formerly thriving music scene into merely another corporate decision about maximizing profits.
Get off my lawn!!! ;-)

Whether your analysis is sound or not, I do find it fascinating that it's a demographic that grew up in the digital age who are a force in the resurgence of an analog medium like vinyl. Intuitively it would seem they would be the last one's thinking about it. But I guess the trend says something about human nature, where a fully digital world of choice doesn't seem to meet everyone's needs.

There's just tons and tons of chatter about vinyl all over the net and it's interesting to visit those conversations (for instance on Reddit, where you'll find younger people/millennials discussing vinyl a lot). Some of them are more technically aware of the superiority of digital, but say they still like listening to vinyl, others don't know the subject but don't know or care which is technically more accurate, they like both or prefer vinyl, and others are in the "wow, vinyl sounds so much better, I can't believe I've been missing out on this sound quality!"

For those who think they are discovering "better" sound quality I wonder how much this might have to do with the attendant effects of getting into vinyl records. I'd guess many are used to listening to music on crappy ear-buds, or maybe low quality blue-tooth speakers sometimes, or whatever. Then they want to get in to vinyl, the aspect of buying new audio equipment rears it's head, at least in the form of a turntable. Then they need to make sure they have an amp, speakers etc. I've seen numerous stories that start with "vinyl seems cool" leading to a new audio system. So it could be just as much the fact of paying more attention to the equipment, maybe buying speakers even marginally better than they've ever used before, that contributes to their impression of better sound from vinyl.

In fact, ironically, after years of compressed music listened indolently on laptops and earbuds, it occurs to me that vinyl, of all things, seems to be shifting consciousness of young people back in to the idea of sound quality! And motivating the purchases of new audio gear. And because vinyl is tweaky, people become aware of the concept of "better turntables, better cartridges" etc and I've seen lots of them get the equipment bug "I have this cartridge to start off with, but I'll upgrade at some point."

Life. Unpredictable and all that....
 

jsrtheta

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This dilemma for today's musicians has become well known enough (and mentioned by enough musicians and stories) to have entered the popular culture. This is why, I believe, that imillenials and other young people about the vinyl resurgance often mention buying vinyl as their way to help support their favorite artists. I like that aspect as well.


In fact, ironically, after years of compressed music listened indolently on laptops and earbuds, it occurs to me that vinyl, of all things, seems to be shifting consciousness of young people back in to the idea of sound quality!
It's more complex than that. The biggest "pop" genre, hip-hop, doesn't get CD releases the same day that the albums are released on streaming formats. They are released, if at all, two weeks later, when it's too late. This is an industry choice more than a consumer choice.

If people were really into "sound quality", they wouldn't buy vinyl. Every vinylphile I've talked to knows little to nothing about sound quality, and insists that vinyl is "more accurate", which is nonsense, so I don't really consider the hipster vinylphile standing at the checkout counter with an armful of used, scratched vinyl to be much of a credible source. (I had a friend stop by recently with his two college-age daughters. They heard my stereo playing in another room, and jumped out shouting "Oooh, vinyl!" They were positive the high fidelity they were praising came from an LP. They were shocked to find out the truth. They just knew it had to be vinyl, because "everyone knows" vinyl sounds better.)

If consumers really wanted to "support the artist", they wouldn't stream. (That's one reason I don't.) They would insist on getting the CD release. But they stream, because it's easier and cheaper, and the hell with the artist. Then they might buy the album on vinyl, because it's hip.

And the music companies just laugh their asses off. And the artists starve, which in our society is acceptable.
 

MattHooper

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If people were really into "sound quality", they wouldn't buy vinyl. Every vinylphile I've talked to knows little to nothing about sound quality, and insists that vinyl is "more accurate", which is nonsense, so I don't really consider the hipster vinylphile standing at the checkout counter with an armful of used, scratched vinyl to be much of a credible source. (I had a friend stop by recently with his two college-age daughters. They heard my stereo playing in another room, and jumped out shouting "Oooh, vinyl!" They were positive the high fidelity they were praising came from an LP. They were shocked to find out the truth. They just knew it had to be vinyl, because "everyone knows" vinyl sounds better.)
Again, that analysis doesn't make sense for the reasons I and others have given.

You keep mixing up two issues:

1. People's motivation for buying vinyl

with

2. Whether the beliefs behind those motivations are TRUE or not.

They are separate questions, that you are just mashing together.

It's like saying "if people were really motivated by the desire to treat an ailment, they wouldn't buy homeopathic remedies. Because homeopathic remedies don't work."

See how that confuses two issues? People ARE motivated to buy homeopathic 'remedies' to treat their health problems. They are motivated to do so because they BELIEVE homeopathy works. They happen to be wrong, and ignorant of the science showing their belief is untrue, but that doesn't alter the fact of what is actually their motivation - which is indeed to reach better health.

Your own paragraph above contains this contradiction: First you say vinylphiles wouldn't buy vinyl because they are in to sound quality. Then you end telling us how some young hipsters displayed their belief that "vinyl sounds better and everyone knows it." So obviously there is a motivation regarding perceived sound quality.

And it becomes even more confused to say they aren't motivated by the quality of vinyl sound "because doncha know, digital is actually technically more accurate." Even if digital is technically more accurate, vinyl often sounds different, many express a preference for that sound, hence the sound of vinyl DOES comprise one of their reasons for buying vinyl.

It just seems to me that you are so anti-vinyl in terms of your knowledge that it is innacurate, that you are having trouble really processing the actual intentions and beliefs of other people who don't believe as you do.
 

jsrtheta

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Again, that analysis doesn't make sense for the reasons I and others have given.

You keep mixing up two issues:

1. People's motivation for buying vinyl

with

2. Whether the beliefs behind those motivations are TRUE or not.

They are separate questions, that you are just mashing together.

It's like saying "if people were really motivated by the desire to treat an ailment, they wouldn't buy homeopathic remedies. Because homeopathic remedies don't work."

See how that confuses two issues? People ARE motivated to buy homeopathic 'remedies' to treat their health problems. They are motivated to do so because they BELIEVE homeopathy works. They happen to be wrong, and ignorant of the science showing their belief is untrue, but that doesn't alter the fact of what is actually their motivation - which is indeed to reach better health.

Your own paragraph above contains this contradiction: First you say vinylphiles wouldn't buy vinyl because they are in to sound quality. Then you end telling us how some young hipsters displayed their belief that "vinyl sounds better and everyone knows it." So obviously there is a motivation regarding perceived sound quality.

And it becomes even more confused to say they aren't motivated by the quality of vinyl sound "because doncha know, digital is actually technically more accurate." Even if digital is technically more accurate, vinyl often sounds different, many express a preference for that sound, hence the sound of vinyl DOES comprise one of their reasons for buying vinyl.

It just seems to me that you are so anti-vinyl in terms of your knowledge that it is innacurate, that you are having trouble really processing the actual intentions and beliefs of other people who don't believe as you do.
And you are excusing idiotic beliefs as if they are somehow valid. And you tacitly concede that they aren't with your example of homeopathy.

I have little interest in encouraging ignorance. And even less in approving of it.
 

dkinric

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For those who think they are discovering "better" sound quality I wonder how much this might have to do with the attendant effects of getting into vinyl records. I'd guess many are used to listening to music on crappy ear-buds, or maybe low quality blue-tooth speakers sometimes, or whatever. Then they want to get in to vinyl, the aspect of buying new audio equipment rears it's head, at least in the form of a turntable. Then they need to make sure they have an amp, speakers etc. I've seen numerous stories that start with "vinyl seems cool" leading to a new audio system. So it could be just as much the fact of paying more attention to the equipment, maybe buying speakers even marginally better than they've ever used before, that contributes to their impression of better sound from vinyl.

In fact, ironically, after years of compressed music listened indolently on laptops and earbuds, it occurs to me that vinyl, of all things, seems to be shifting consciousness of young people back in to the idea of sound quality! And motivating the purchases of new audio gear. And because vinyl is tweaky, people become aware of the concept of "better turntables, better cartridges" etc and I've seen lots of them get the equipment bug "I have this cartridge to start off with, but I'll upgrade at some point."

Life. Unpredictable and all that....

This makes sense to me, at least as to why many young people who don't really know any better think vinyl "sounds better". By it's nature, vinyl playback requires listening on a full home sysytem. Perhaps their inexperience doesn't allow it to register that by comparison, compressed music sent via bluetooth to Apple earpods is not the best representation of digital music.
 

levimax

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In fact, ironically, after years of compressed music listened indolently on laptops and earbuds, it occurs to me that vinyl, of all things, seems to be shifting consciousness of young people back in to the idea of sound quality!
CD unit sales didn't exceed vinyl sales in units until the late 1980's and the loudness wars got going in earnest by the mid 1990's so you could make an argument that "good quality CD's" were only widely available for 8-10 years after which even the original "good" CD's were "remastered / brick walled" . If your whole life you only heard MP3's or streamed brick walled digital music it is no wonder you think vinyl sounds better..... because it does!
 

MattHooper

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And you are excusing idiotic beliefs as if they are somehow valid.
Nope, and anyone paying attention would haven't written that strawman.

If you refuse to even try to understand an alternative view, you are doomed to misrepresent it, as you have again here.

I have little interest in encouraging ignorance. And even less in approving of it.
But it's ok to misattribute motivations and argue against other people's view based on ignorance of their actual position?
 

MattHooper

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This makes sense to me, at least as to why many young people who don't really know any better think vinyl "sounds better". By it's nature, vinyl playback requires listening on a full home sysytem. Perhaps their inexperience doesn't allow it to register that by comparison, compressed music sent via bluetooth to Apple earpods is not the best representation of digital music.
Exactly.

Whether it's actually the explanation or not I don't know, but it does seem plausible given what one can observed in regards to the phenomenon.

When it comes to the sound quality aspect: Whether people getting in to vinyl are doing so out of an ignorant assumption - 'vinyl is technically superior to digital' - or due to having unquestioningly imbibed the idea "vinyl sounds better" to bias their reaction, or whether they have a more subtle understanding that they merely prefer certain colorations vinyl brings to the table - in any case, I see more people, old and young including "more desirable sound quality" in their motivation than I ever did during the explosion of the napster/downloading/streaming age.

Even if they could get more accurate sound with a digital source, surely many people getting in to vinyl are finally experiencing better sound quality insofar as they may have moved to buying a new, better sound system to play their vinyl, vs having listened to compressed digital on their laptop speakers for years.
 

AnalogSteph

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Here is a study indicating even Millennials prefer music made prior to 2000 which I think is one of the biggest drivers of the vinyl resurgence. The loudness wars and streaming services, which divert most of the revenue from the artists and record companies to the streaming companies, does not seem to encourage the production of new high quality music. This makes me feel better because that is how I feel and I thought it was just because I was old :) https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/07/mill...olden-age-pop-today-research-reveals-8462993/
It's probably more complex than that. The charts (which the music material was picked from) have never been a good representation of popular music at large, but since about 2000 it has arguably gotten even worse (possibly due to increased focus on gullible teens). It would not surprise me if no small part owed its success to promotion, payola and ready to use music libraries for lazy radio stations. Big labels tend to make the most money on very few very big cash cows, so there is little incentive to promote small artists. It's always a bit of a surprise when a track makes it pretty much all on its own due to sheer popularity IRL - Somebody That I Used To Know comes to mind.
If consumers really wanted to "support the artist", they wouldn't stream. (That's one reason I don't.) They would insist on getting the CD release. But they stream, because it's easier and cheaper, and the hell with the artist. Then they might buy the album on vinyl, because it's hip.

And the music companies just laugh their asses off. And the artists starve, which in our society is acceptable.
That's how this free market thing works, isn't it? For better or worse, popular music is a commodity, and right now there may be more recording musicians than ever competing for rather less disposable income (which, contrary to popular belief, is not generated out of thin air, and is shared with other entertainment such as games and movies). That means more for a few and less for most. And I mean, how could consumers not accept streaming if it's both more convenient and cheaper? You don't see that many rivers flowing uphill either. Mind you, Spotify still isn't profitable despite their low payouts, so pricing is likely to go up at some point. In this day and age, we absolutely need the tools to at least somewhat come to terms with the mind-boggling amount of music out there. At the very least, streaming is a good way of checking things out.

Besides, throughout history there haven't been very many musicians you'd consider rich, often quite the contrary. This is a pure anomaly of the golden age of recorded music, when vinyl records made canned music affordable for just about anyone at a time when music seemed to matter and electronics related to making music were progressing quickly, creating a huge market and consequently sucking a lot of new people in eventually. You are just taking this situation for granted. (And even in the 1960s, touring still was what brought in the money.) These days music doesn't seem quite as important outside of enthusiast circles, and there's a huge overhang of artists. Developments like burned CD and file sharing may not have been helping things, but it seems plausible that the cycle would have come down eventually.

Quite ironically, streaming should seem particularly attractive to - touring musicians. If you can't lug around very many possessions, a physical collection is out of the question, and even a digital one may be a tad on the large side if your personal computing devices are a bit thin on storage. Being able to access a wide variety of music at low cost is not going to hurt from a professional point of view either.

It may seem interesting that Japan with its heavy emphasis on physical media has retained such a strong domestic music market, but I don't think it's up to the choice of media alone. The Japanese have crazy high quality and productivity standards and generally don't believe in selling crap.
 

Soniclife

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Besides, throughout history there haven't been very many musicians you'd consider rich, often quite the contrary.
Very true, and it seems most of those that did get rich from music have bitched and complained they got a crap deal, even at the height of CD, so the songs not new.
The concept of giving your music away so you sell more live tickets had been around for a long time as well.
Every musician I've met uses Spotify, I've never met a rich musician.
The concept that musicians should be wealthy is fairly recent, I'm not sure how I feel about it, they deserved to be decently paid, but so well they have little option to become divorced from the real world does not seem the best way to encourage more good work from them.
 
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