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Vinyl Heads, Take Note

MarcosCh

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Oh, also OCD Mikey in the video espouses a common audiophile refrain that "music is best played back on the medium on which it was recorded." (So if it was recorded on analog tape, playback on analog tape). That really makes no sense in a way most here would immediately recognize. For instance if something is recorded on a medium that degrades with each generation, then playing it back on a successive copy simply risks a further departure from the sound of the original! Whereas if you can transfer that original copy via an essentially transparent medium (e.g. a good digital copy) then you have a better chance of hearing the original signal as it is!
Well, it is true that until the mid sixties rock albums were just collections of songs, sometimes one would think in random order. But after Pet Sounds and sgt. Pepper's, many, if not most classic albums, specially the 70s, were obviusly conceived to be played in vinyl. Length, song distribution... the ballad at the end of side one, the faster one, or second intro at the beginning of side two..
Sometimes it still feels strange that "Bitch" starts straight away after "you gotta move". It is evident it wasn't meant to be like that.
I would say this is what people refer to whe they say "meant to be played from a vinyl"
My 2cents.
 

MattHooper

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Well, it is true that until the mid sixties rock albums were just collections of songs, sometimes one would think in random order. But after Pet Sounds and sgt. Pepper's, many, if not most classic albums, specially the 70s, were obviusly conceived to be played in vinyl. Length, song distribution... the ballad at the end of side one, the faster one, or second intro at the beginning of side two..
Sometimes it still feels strange that "Bitch" starts straight away after "you gotta move". It is evident it wasn't meant to be like that.
I would say this is what people refer to whe they say "meant to be played from a vinyl"
My 2cents.

Yes to be clear, I agree there is a sense in which playing a certain medium makes sense in that way. For instance vinyl was typically mastered to sound *that way on vinyl.*. So playing the vinyl record can be a reasonable way to hear it on the intended medium. (Whereas a digital master meant for digital playback will be different). And there are plenty of bands these days pressing their music on to vinyl who are saying they feel vinyl is the "ultimate way they would like users to experience their music." So they are focused on the vinyl as their favored end product.

But that is still different, I would say, from the claim made by OCD Mikey, which suggests that something will, on principle, sound better (or perhaps sound more like the original) when played back on the same medium it was recorded on.
 
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Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw

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So, well, further to all this I offer another recently uncovered YT video from one of the mastering guys you met before at Abbey Road. This time, the topic is half-speed vinyl mastering. In it, he touches on many aspects of full and half-speed cutting, the reasons why/why not to do it, and in doing so uncovers some of the limitations of full-speed cutting.

The more you know about your vinyl fetish or phobia, the better -- unless you would prefer an Inquisition to root out and decapitate the facts about the medium.

 
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Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw

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But wait... there's more. And the more you know about vinyl, the better... right?

 
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Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw

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Personally...
From one who has cut lacquer records, I have to say that there's a certain romance and personal involvement in it that rarely occurs with tape, CDs, or digital streaming. There's so much to go right... and wrong. There's so much skill and experience that one draws from.
I have at least a ton of vinyl in bookshelves. In the 90s, I bought a respectable turntable and cartridge to play it all. Yet, I found myself buying and playing CDs much more often. A couple of years ago, I spent a couple of retirement checks for good quality streaming capability. A few times a year, I struggle through the heavy shelves of vinyl, and play a 'record.' And I enjoy it, mostly for the music that's on it, the memories of having heard it before, not so much the ultimate audio fidelity. About twice a week, I sift through a rummage box of CDs, pick one, and play it. Mostly for the music on it, with just the smallest annoyance for the audio quality. About 10 times a day, I dial up the streamer and pick out just the piece I want, by the optimum performance, and with regard to the ambiance I hear in the studio or hall.

I think of it as parallel to the art world. [My ex-wife was an art historian, a teacher of art, and a practicing artist.] You have photography, which has its own artistic values of composition and treatment. Then, there's paint on canvas, which can be as photo-realism or abstract, or just paint dripped or plastered on a surface. Each form has its special character and adherents. Who is to say that one is better?
 
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MarcosCh

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That's interesting. What sort of records did you cut? I see you are in Ohio, any King Records stuff?
 
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Jim Shaw

Jim Shaw

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That's interesting. What sort of records did you cut? I see you are in Ohio, any King Records stuff?
I worked for Audio Recording in CLE. During my time, we recorded live performances of The Cleveland Orchestra. I had the pleasure of working under Vladimir Malechar, musician and engineer extraordinaire. He was one of the first audio engineers to be able to read and follow the conductor's score during recording. Vlad thought in terms of movements, bars, instruments, and ensembles, while other engineers thought in terms of dials, reel lengths, and meters. ;)
 

Cbdb2

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That's true, but somewhat lacking in details.

Provided below is an example of a non-sine wave signal (a square wave) being reproduced by the Shure V15 Type V cartridge. It does quite a reasonable job of reproducing what is a relatively complex signal, where the harmonic components need to maintain appropriate phase and amplitude behaviour in order to get a reasonably "square" square wave.
View attachment 195326
View attachment 195328
The Grace F9E Ruby cartridge doesn't do as well, on account of its rising top end. No sign of a rolled off top end on this test disk.
View attachment 195327
Below is a test result for the Audio Technica VNM20EB phono cartridge (from a review in Australian Hi-Fi).
View attachment 195329
Below is a test result for the Grace F9E Super cartridge (from Audio, January 1986):View attachment 195330

As can be seen in the above examples, that doesn't appear to happen to as big a degree as suggested.
They all suck. They either ring, are HF limited or both.
 

Cbdb2

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Well, it is true that until the mid sixties rock albums were just collections of songs, sometimes one would think in random order. But after Pet Sounds and sgt. Pepper's, many, if not most classic albums, specially the 70s, were obviusly conceived to be played in vinyl. Length, song distribution... the ballad at the end of side one, the faster one, or second intro at the beginning of side two..
Sometimes it still feels strange that "Bitch" starts straight away after "you gotta move". It is evident it wasn't meant to be like that.
I would say this is what people refer to whe they say "meant to be played from a vinyl"
My 2cents.
Songs on an album were usually arranged so both sides were close to the same length, or deliberitly written to length. Some songs were cut down to 20min. Thick as a Brick had to be cut into 2 parts. Beethovens 9th had to be cut into 4 and put on 2 discs.
These are all limitations of vinyl which limit the artist.
 

Cbdb2

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Personally...
From one who has cut lacquer records, I have to say that there's a certain romance and personal involvement in it that rarely occurs with tape, CDs, or digital streaming. There's so much to go right... and wrong. There's so much skill and experience that one draws from.
I have at least a ton of vinyl in bookshelves. In the 90s, I bought a respectable turntable and cartridge to play it all. Yet, I found myself buying and playing CDs much more often. A couple of years ago, I spent a couple of retirement checks for good quality streaming capability. A few times a year, I struggle through the heavy shelves of vinyl, and play a 'record.' And I enjoy it, mostly for the music that's on it, the memories of having heard it before, not so much the ultimate audio fidelity. About twice a week, I sift through a rummage box of CDs, pick one, and play it. Mostly for the music on it, with just the smallest annoyance for the audio quality. About 10 times a day, I dial up the streamer and pick out just the piece I want, by the optimum performance, and with regard to the ambiance I hear in the studio or hall.

I think of it as parallel to the art world. [My ex-wife was an art historian, a teacher of art, and a practicing artist.] You have photography, which has its own artistic values of composition and treatment. Then, there's paint on canvas, which can be as photo-realism or abstract, or just paint dripped or plastered on a surface. Each form has its special character and adherents. Who is to say that one is better?
Your confusing the artists medium and its delivery. A painting can be seen from a TV or a printed page.
 

MarcosCh

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Songs on an album were usually arranged so both sides were close to the same length, or deliberitly written to length. Some songs were cut down to 20min. Thick as a Brick had to be cut into 2 parts. Beethovens 9th had to be cut into 4 and put on 2 discs.
These are all limitations of vinyl which limit the artist.
Nobody is arguing that
 

Cbdb2

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My take away from the video. "If everything goes right, you have a lot of ifs, the recording, the cutting, the work at the factory making the metal bits..."

With digital, half the ifs (the big ones) are gone. And the music is a fraction of the cost.
 

levimax

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One of the appeals of collecting LP's to me is that they often hired a "famous" mastering engineer to master the first pressings of the LP's such as Robert Ludwig or Rudy Van Gelder. (later pressings were mastered by journeymen engineers). These engineers used all the tricks shown in the video plus many more un documented tricks as well as gain riding and on the fly EQ adjustments to create something they felt sounded good while taking the limitations of the format into account. Is it accurate to the master tape? No, but sometimes it is better and sometimes not but it was the way the music was originally released.
 
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JP

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Do you think you could hear the difference? Compared to a 44.1 digital recording those square waves are way better.
?

STR-112 has a good amount of ringing cut right in to the record.
 

levimax

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?

STR-112 has a good amount of ringing cut right in to the record.
Yea LP's are not great with square waves but 44.1 digital is so bandwidth limited it does not do very well with higher frequency square waves either. My point is while I do understand how square waves can be very useful to quickly troubleshoot issues with electronics using them to determine how something is going to sound playing back actual music is not so clear cut.
 

MattHooper

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Thanks for the videos. (I believe I'd seen those before, but always good as a refresher).

The more you know about your vinyl fetish or phobia, the better -- unless you would prefer an Inquisition to root out and decapitate the facts about the medium.


I don't think most folks on this forum are pulling the wool over their eyes, or wish to deny facts about any medium.
 
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Newman

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I offer another recently uncovered YT video from one of the mastering guys you met before at Abbey Road.
…The more you know about your vinyl fetish or phobia, the better

Although artisans selling their artisanship will naturally want to overstate the art/skill/judgement aspect of their topic. So the views therein should not be assumed to be balanced. How about digital mastering engineers who used to be vinyl? Eg head of Nimbus Records who, in an interview for HFNRR magazine, said they couldn’t get out of vinyl fast enough because of weak compromises inherent in vinyl, lack of such compromises in digital, and ongoing vinyl customer dissatisfaction with the small matter of sound quality. Mind you they were in classical music, so, unlike pop-rock producers, Analog Distortion Engines were not intrinsic to getting the sound they were after.

After all, the more you know the better :)
 

Newman

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Maybe with simple sine wave signals, but sadly, carts cannot maintain that as signal complexity rises.
That's true, but somewhat lacking in details.
Details
below is an example of a non-sine wave signal (a square wave) being reproduced by the Shure V15 Type V cartridge
Given the critics of my ‘details’ around the difficulty of making a good PN test disc, I can’t imagine a square wave test disc being superior.
 

gaburko

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It is indeed good to know and this is useful info. However it takes nothing away from my enjoyment of vinyl. I enjoy the multi-sense of it, enjoy the sound, enjoy the process. Knowing there are limits to it is objective knowledge. Music enjoyment though is subjective.
 
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