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Turntables - help me understand the appeal?

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Every musician I've met uses Spotify, I've never met a rich musician.
Yes it's ironic that musicians participate in the very behaviors and buying models that undermine their own livelihood to some degree.

It was even worse in the Napster-onward period before streaming became so popular and everyone was torrenting music by the ton, including musicians.

It was similar in the film industry (I work in film post production sound). Few people even in my business seemed to mind downloading movies for free to watch at home, even as that very behavior helped undermine our own livelihood to some degree. I never downloaded any pirated movies or music, because I always saw it as a form of stealing, and saw it as undermining our own livelihood. It's not as simple to say that the situation that came out of this era was only due to pirating, but I can say the pirating era tracked quite well with a reduction in our pay - our earnings plunged and have never come back close to what we used to earn.
 

svart-hvitt

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Yes it's ironic that musicians participate in the very behaviors and buying models that undermine their own livelihood to some degree.

It was even worse in the Napster-onward period before streaming became so popular and everyone was torrenting music by the ton, including musicians.

It was similar in the film industry (I work in film post production sound). Few people even in my business seemed to mind downloading movies for free to watch at home, even as that very behavior helped undermine our own livelihood to some degree. I never downloaded any pirated movies or music, because I always saw it as a form of stealing, and saw it as undermining our own livelihood. It's not as simple to say that the situation that came out of this era was only due to pirating, but I can say the pirating era tracked quite well with a reduction in our pay - our earnings plunged and have never come back close to what we used to earn.
Still, film sound is better in 2019 than in 1999.
 
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Still, film sound is better in 2019 than in 1999.
Weeelll...yes and no.

We actually used to have way more time to do really rich soundtracks. These days it's manic just trying to get the thing done. There are some trends and aspects in film sound these days that I'm not a fan of, and there are some aspects of older soundtracks that I really like.

Anyway, that's beside the point as to how piracy has (or may have) affected our income.
 

JJB70

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I think it is nice to see the thread evolve into discussing music and musicians, so often audio enthusiasts seem to get so wrapped up in audio equipment that the music gets lost. Ultimately audio equipment is a tool to facilitate enjoyment of music at home or on the move. If it does that then to me it is doing its job.

I think that the biggest issue by far in audio today is the quality of source material. I really believe that if you have a well recorded and mastered source then you really don't need to spend a lot on audio gear to enjoy it as my experience is that an excellent master still shines on modest equipment just as an over compressed brick still sounds rubbish regardless of how great an audio system it is played on. Hence in that respect I think endless arguments over digital formats (a well mastered track in MP3 format will sound much better than an equivalent brick in 192/24 high res IMO), vinyl vs. CD, the minutiae of DAC measurements and amplifiers, speaker design etc really miss the point. If the quality of the source material is junk then no amount of expensive, high performing audio ear is going to change that (well, not unless we arrive at a point where we can happily uncompress, move mic placement around, adjust the recording levels etc). I have no issue at all with the argument that a well recorded and mastered track on vinyl will sound better than a badly recorded and mastered digital one, it has nothing to do with source format and everything to do with how the music is recorded and mastered.

PS. all of this assumes that the music itself is music you like, but that is another argument.
 

CoupeDeBoulder

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I just recently got back into vinyl more for nostalgic reasons and also curious about how it had changed since I had last used a TT (back in the 80"s, yes I'm that old). I did an interesting test last night to compare Tidal streaming HiFi and a mobile fidelity album of Rickie Lee Jones. As it turns out, I enjoyed the sound better from the TT. I could hear the cymbals clearer and I think overall the soundstage was better.

On the TT side i use a Rega Planar 3 with a Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 cartridge going thru a Parks Audio Puffin as the phono preamp. The output goes to a Massdrop THX AAA 789 to HD6XX and Focal Elex phones. On the streaming side it went thru my i7-2600k HTPC via USB to an SMSL SU-8 to the 789 and the phones.

I realize that that's a different signal path and maybe the USB is too noisy, but it was the best I could do. Also the Mobile Fidelity pressings are better than average.

The main tracks I used were Danny"s All-Star Joint and Weasel And The White Boys Cool. I went back and forth many times because I wasn't expecting this outcome. I really thought that Tidal would sound better. At the end, there was no doubt in my mind which sounded better.

I'll have tho try it again with different albums tho really see if it holds up. But the other thing I like about vinyl is I listen to songs in the order the producer thought they should be listened to, a side at a time. I found that after listening to the album this way (as opposed to jumping around with digital), I enjoy the album much more. Now that doesn't hold for all albums, but think about it, the songs didn't end up in this order randomly. This is the way the artist thought they should go together.

-mike
 
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Interesting, thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum!
I would be interested in hearing your take on other album comparisons, and if you can articulate what exactly sounds different. I wonder if the mixes are the main differences, or just the colorations of the TT as a source is more pleasing? This is really the big question in my mind.
It's worth noting that your TT setup alone is very nice and an investment of well over a grand.
 

Frank Dernie

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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.
My wife is a musician. She pretty well never listens to recorded music.
She may check out somebody else's performance on youtube from time to time but if I hear music coming from her direction it is usually her listening to Sibelius software replaying her own composition or arrangement.
 

Soniclife

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My wife is a musician. She pretty well never listens to recorded music.
I have zero stats to back this up, but I think she might be in a tiny minority of musicians in not listening to other peoples music often. Does she explain why she does not listen to music for pleasure?
 
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Interesting, thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum!
I would be interested in hearing your take on other album comparisons, and if you can articulate what exactly sounds different. I wonder if the mixes are the main differences, or just the colorations of the TT as a source is more pleasing? This is really the big question in my mind.
It's worth noting that your TT setup alone is very nice and an investment of well over a grand.
After getting involved with this thread with a "pro TT" bias (I love mine for older music) I have spent time going back and doing needle drops of some of my favorite songs (all albums older than 1987 and most from the late 60's and 70's) and doing some captures off of Tidal and loading them into Foobar2000 to ABX. My TT is a Technics SL 1300 with a VM540ML cartridge so nothing special or expensive but competent. Here is what I found which may give you some data points based on mixed objective / subjective data.

1. For a surprising number of tracks I "failed" to ABX between the album and Tidal. For all the talk about "coloration" at least on my system and my ears the differences are subtle especially when level matched. Sometime I thought for sure I heard a difference but failed. It seems like the less popular older and therefore "non- remastered" tracks on Tidal (many of which had similar DR values as my needle drops) sound pretty good and very similar to vinyl.

2. For many tracks I could ABX a differences but didn't really have a strong preference. In some cases the DR were much lower on the Tidal tracks but when level matched the differences were subtle and hard to say which I preferred.

3. For some of the tracks, especially for the "famous" artists like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and the like, which have been remastered multiple times, I could very easily ABX the tracks and I had a strong preference for the vinyl version. It was not just the compression and EQ but there was also much more detail on the original vinyl due I guess to using "fresh master tapes"?

So to me it seems that the main differences in sound are due to the tape source, mix, and mastering and the "coloration" is much more subtle than you would think.
 

Frank Dernie

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I have zero stats to back this up, but I think she might be in a tiny minority of musicians in not listening to other peoples music often. Does she explain why she does not listen to music for pleasure?
She is performing every week and her love is the the interaction with the other musicians.
I don't know many musicians so my sample is of one.
 
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After getting involved with this thread with a "pro TT" bias (I love mine for older music) I have spent time going back and doing needle drops of some of my favorite songs (all albums older than 1987 and most from the late 60's and 70's) and doing some captures off of Tidal and loading them into Foobar2000 to ABX. My TT is a Technics SL 1300 with a VM540ML cartridge so nothing special or expensive but competent. Here is what I found which may give you some data points based on mixed objective / subjective data.

1. For a surprising number of tracks I "failed" to ABX between the album and Tidal. For all the talk about "coloration" at least on my system and my ears the differences are subtle especially when level matched. Sometime I thought for sure I heard a difference but failed. It seems like the less popular older and therefore "non- remastered" tracks on Tidal (many of which had similar DR values as my needle drops) sound pretty good and very similar to vinyl.

2. For many tracks I could ABX a differences but didn't really have a strong preference. In some cases the DR were much lower on the Tidal tracks but when level matched the differences were subtle and hard to say which I preferred.

3. For some of the tracks, especially for the "famous" artists like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and the like, which have been remastered multiple times, I could very easily ABX the tracks and I had a strong preference for the vinyl version. It was not just the compression and EQ but there was also much more detail on the original vinyl due I guess to using "fresh master tapes"?

So to me it seems that the main differences in sound are due to the tape source, mix, and mastering and the "coloration" is much more subtle than you would think.
Wheras I've found very recent remasterings to be noticably improved (Latest Led Zep catalog, Beatles catalog), at least in the digital domain These in particular were well publicized and done at great effort and expense, so these may be more the exception than the rule. That is one big advantage of Spotify, etc, you get access to these remasterings right away and don't have to go out and purchase another copy. It gives me hope that if the main culprit is "tape source, mix, and mastering" as you suggest, then maybe these newer mastering releases will help close the gap.
 

Soniclife

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After getting involved with this thread with a "pro TT" bias (I love mine for older music) I have spent time going back and doing needle drops of some of my favorite songs (all albums older than 1987 and most from the late 60's and 70's) and doing some captures off of Tidal and loading them into Foobar2000 to ABX. My TT is a Technics SL 1300 with a VM540ML cartridge so nothing special or expensive but competent. Here is what I found which may give you some data points based on mixed objective / subjective data.

1. For a surprising number of tracks I "failed" to ABX between the album and Tidal. For all the talk about "coloration" at least on my system and my ears the differences are subtle especially when level matched. Sometime I thought for sure I heard a difference but failed. It seems like the less popular older and therefore "non- remastered" tracks on Tidal (many of which had similar DR values as my needle drops) sound pretty good and very similar to vinyl.

2. For many tracks I could ABX a differences but didn't really have a strong preference. In some cases the DR were much lower on the Tidal tracks but when level matched the differences were subtle and hard to say which I preferred.

3. For some of the tracks, especially for the "famous" artists like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and the like, which have been remastered multiple times, I could very easily ABX the tracks and I had a strong preference for the vinyl version. It was not just the compression and EQ but there was also much more detail on the original vinyl due I guess to using "fresh master tapes"?

So to me it seems that the main differences in sound are due to the tape source, mix, and mastering and the "coloration" is much more subtle than you would think.
Did you find any where the digital version was clearly better?
 
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Wheras I've found very recent remasterings to be noticably improved (Latest Led Zep catalog, Beatles catalog), at least in the digital domain These in particular were well publicized and done at great effort and expense, so these may be more the exception than the rule. That is one big advantage of Spotify, etc, you get access to these remasterings right away and don't have to go out and purchase another copy. It gives me hope that if the main culprit is "tape source, mix, and mastering" as you suggest, then maybe these newer mastering releases will help close the gap.
For a lot of this older stuff they are never going to recreate the original sound.... often times it isn't possible as the original tape sources are long gone or damaged as are the original machines. Also the skill sets of the engineers are different. A good remaster can sound good but it will be different. One of the appeals of old vinyl is you get to hear the original version as it sounded back in the day... that is fun and interesting to me... others don't care. I would take some of the hype about the latest and greatest re-mastering of the famous old classics with a grain of salt .... they may sound different or even better than some previous versions but when compared to the originals they may not be all they are hyped up to be.
 
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Did you find any where the digital version was clearly better?
I knew someone was going to ask that :)..... not really but I wouldn't expect that on the old classic rock stuff I compared except if surface noise is a big issue.... classical no questions better on digital.
 
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For a lot of this older stuff they are never going to recreate the original sound.... often times it isn't possible as the original tape sources are long gone or damaged as are the original machines. Also the skill sets of the engineers are different. A good remaster can sound good but it will be different. One of the appeals of old vinyl is you get to hear the original version as it sounded back in the day... that is fun and interesting to me... others don't care. I would take some of the hype about the latest and greatest re-mastering of the famous old classics with a grain of salt .... they may sound different or even better than some previous versions but when compared to the originals they may not be all they are hyped up to be.
Maybe. I could argue that the new remasters are closer to the artist's intent and what was actually heard in the studio than the older original pressings. If done correctly, they go back to the best master tapes they can find and mix it to better match the resolving nature of today's modern equipment. Take The White Album for example. The new remaster to me sounds cleaner compared to the previous mix - vocals and bass are more defined for example. It doesn't sound like the original mix/presentation was changed much, just sounds better - more resolving, better DR, more alive (IMO).
This is the kind of comparison I would be interested in. An older pressing of this album on a good TT setup vs a new remaster via HQ digital.
I think the question here is how a good quality (re)master via digital compares with a good quality - but older - master via analog. Is it the mastering/mix or the playback medium that has the most impact on SQ?
There are probably too many other factors to get a definitive answer, but an interesting experiment anyway.
 
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After getting involved with this thread with a "pro TT" bias (I love mine for older music) I have spent time going back and doing needle drops of some of my favorite songs (all albums older than 1987 and most from the late 60's and 70's) and doing some captures off of Tidal and loading them into Foobar2000 to ABX. My TT is a Technics SL 1300 with a VM540ML cartridge so nothing special or expensive but competent. Here is what I found which may give you some data points based on mixed objective / subjective data.

1. For a surprising number of tracks I "failed" to ABX between the album and Tidal. For all the talk about "coloration" at least on my system and my ears the differences are subtle especially when level matched. Sometime I thought for sure I heard a difference but failed. It seems like the less popular older and therefore "non- remastered" tracks on Tidal (many of which had similar DR values as my needle drops) sound pretty good and very similar to vinyl.

2. For many tracks I could ABX a differences but didn't really have a strong preference. In some cases the DR were much lower on the Tidal tracks but when level matched the differences were subtle and hard to say which I preferred.

3. For some of the tracks, especially for the "famous" artists like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and the like, which have been remastered multiple times, I could very easily ABX the tracks and I had a strong preference for the vinyl version. It was not just the compression and EQ but there was also much more detail on the original vinyl due I guess to using "fresh master tapes"?

So to me it seems that the main differences in sound are due to the tape source, mix, and mastering and the "coloration" is much more subtle than you would think.
That speaks to the point I raised several times early on.

When vinyl nay-sayers go through the list of perils vinyl has to go through, which can depart from measurable fidelity, the impression one can get is to expect vinyl to be a sonic disaster relative to digital. And yet that's often enough not the case in terms of perception when comparing vinyl and digital from the same high quality master. The difference can be much more subtle than one would intuit from the technical discussion. The only reason to care about technical accuracy is insofar as it has consequences for what we hear. That's why Amirm constantly reminds us that he's often measuring differences that don't have audible consequences.

The vinyl process can and often does have audible consequences, but the *degree* of those audible consequences is relevant; how much one *audibly* departs from another. And I find sometimes there is an obvious vinyl signature/departure from accuracy, sometimes quite subtle differences that I could never agree ought to be described as showing the "obvious" superiority of digital in terms of the sonic results.
 

Soniclife

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I knew someone was going to ask that :)..... not really but I wouldn't expect that on the old classic rock stuff I compared except if surface noise is a big issue.... classical no questions better on digital.
My guess is that about a quarter of my rock records sound massively better from digital, in general I'd say the weirder they get the more digital wins, and the more simplistic they are the more likely vinyl will win.
 
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My guess is that about a quarter of my rock records sound massively better from digital, in general I'd say the weirder they get the more digital wins, and the more simplistic they are the more likely vinyl will win.
For the testing I mentioned I was comparing first pressing vinyl to what Tidal has to offer.... if I start comparing to all the digital versions I have i.e. Early CD's, SACD, DVD-A, hi-res downloads, etc..... then I definitely have some digital sources I prefer for many albums. Some of the best sounding digital versions I have are the "Made in Japan for USA" CD's from the early 1980's. They were really trying hard to make these sound as good as possible to show case the new CD technology and apparently took some care as many sound great (many claim they are just a "flat transfer" from the master tapes). They tend to be the opposite of "loudness wars".... you have to turn them up quite a bit. Yesterday I picked up an original Japan for USA "Gaucho" CD and I compared it to all the other sources I had including an RL mastered record and it is my favorite version. The problem with streaming is you tend to get the "latest" version of a song not necessarily the best version.
 

Awsmone

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That speaks to the point I raised several times early on.

When vinyl nay-sayers go through the list of perils vinyl has to go through, which can depart from measurable fidelity, the impression one can get is to expect vinyl to be a sonic disaster relative to digital. And yet that's often enough not the case in terms of perception when comparing vinyl and digital from the same high quality master. The difference can be much more subtle than one would intuit from the technical discussion. The only reason to care about technical accuracy is insofar as it has consequences for what we hear. That's why Amirm constantly reminds us that he's often measuring differences that don't have audible consequences.

The vinyl process can and often does have audible consequences, but the *degree* of those audible consequences is relevant; how much one *audibly* departs from another. And I find sometimes there is an obvious vinyl signature/departure from accuracy, sometimes quite subtle differences that I could never agree ought to be described as showing the "obvious" superiority of digital in terms of the sonic results.
Yes I get your point
From a engineering point of view vinyl playback would seem a disaster dragging a rock through pvc , but if everything is optimised in analogue it’s hard to believe how good it is
I used to think my digital and analogue were pretty equivalent, but recently with improved set up, my vinyl on many occasions is clearly superior, but also sometime inferior, usually due to lousy used vinyl
My digital is always very good, but doesn’t except rarely reach the heights that analogue sometimes does, and the more you optimised the analogue the better it gets...
The exception in my digital set up is high Quality dsd recordings which some of the live recordings are extraordinary

From this one might conclude the media provenance might be more important than the digital vs analogue question
 
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