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Vinyl is not as bad as I expected.

abdo123

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#1
I recently upgraded my mother in law's old record player by replacing the old cartridge with an Ortofon 2M blue and using a Cambridge Audio Duo for phono stage.

And I have to say it's really not as bad as I expected. the noise floor is very dismissable if you're not listening using headphones. distortion is quite okay if you aligned your cartridge correctly. And most importantly, your ears just get used to the flaws and filter them out in a minute or two.

the bass is quite mangled though, and so are transient attacks in general. Kind of hard to imagine someone in the 70s and 80s working hard for a tight bass response.

the only interesting thing that after the upgrade is that I have some decent mains leakage, ~50 Hz at -60 dBFS, not audible at all. Perhaps i should ground the record player to the phono stage?

Overall it was quite an awesome history lesson and experience for the young Gen Z that I am, kudos to everyone who had to deal with this shit for a big chunk of their lives!
 

Gorganzola

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#3
I bought my last LP in the mid-'90s. I still have couple of hundred LPs lying around but I haven't played one, with one exception, in over a decade. As for that one, I had to pull my TT and phono preamp out of storage to demonstrate playing and listening to my daughter-in-law who is from China and had never seen a LP played before.

But no, vinyl doesn't sound bad apart from a few clicks & pops. (Come to that, neither does 320kps MP3.) Many people still prefer vinyl; it filters the sound in a pleasant way.
 
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abdo123

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Thread Starter #4
I grew up in the vinyl era and I had exactly the opposite reaction when listening to records at a friend’s house recently: vinyl is much worse than I remembered.
I grew up in the era of records being 'the old frail distorted medium that grannies play on their stone age gramophones' so my expectations were pretty low.
 
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abdo123

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Thread Starter #5
I have to commend people of that era on how much effort they did on imaging, I mean for ~25 dB of channel separation at best they did a really good job of localizing audio!
 

Inner Space

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But no, vinyl doesn't sound bad apart from a few clicks & pops ... Many people still prefer vinyl; it filters the sound in a pleasant way.
Yeah, looking back, I agree. It scaled pretty well - the lowest-end systems managed to sound tolerable, and the best of the high-end systems sounded pretty seductive. Scratches were always bad, but otherwise, in retrospect, I think the rest of the noise floor kind of helped - because it was made by the groove moving under the stylus, it gave a focused, forward-moving rush that kind of carried the music on its back. I had no hesitation moving to CD (in 1985) but at the time I had a friend with a great vinyl system, and I remember thinking, damn, that's a really fine sound.
 

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So - and bearing in mind the invasion of MQA on some releases - try to find earlier CD issues! The very first ones may have been digitised on the simpler? Sony 1610 and using early DAWs which may not have been properly linear until the late 80's, but modern digital players are pretty darned clean now so the cumulative effect isn't so obvious.
 
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abdo123

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The main thing I've noticed, and maybe why some people perceive it as better, is that vinyl pressings often have a wider dynamic range than the digital or CD version. Stupid but true. Thanks loudness wars.

You can see for yourself at the Dynamic Range Database:
https://dr.loudness-war.info/
that’s fake news. The vinyl rips appear more dynamic to the algorithm when it is made of the same digital master.

the increased dynamic range is an artifact, not a benefit.
 

solderdude

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#10
Alas the dynamic range of vinyl isn't wider on vinyl.


The funny thing is that most people find compressed music more dynamic because they can hear the softer sounds better.

Vinyl is a testament of how forgiving the hearing is and how easily our brain accepts flawed reproduction (aside from all the other mechanical and quite audible nasties)
 
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symphara

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#14
My father in law bought some fancy turntable, for completion's sake since he has very nice audio gear and an LP collection, so we listened to A Love Supreme and Tarkus, yeah it's terrible compared to even Spotify.
 

Frank Dernie

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I have to commend people of that era on how much effort they did on imaging, I mean for ~25 dB of channel separation at best they did a really good job of localizing audio!
Over 20 years ago a specialist organised a few experiments on the shortcomings of LPs to see why, despite their poor measured performance, they sounded pretty good. I was involved in the evaluation.
Several surprises came out of it - like noise giving the impression of a bigger stereo image and quite high distortion being inaudible, but the thing related to this was that by 30dB of separation more made no audible difference, so 30dB is plenty for stereo imaging IME.
 
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#18
OMG, how am I going to look at my FaceTic and my InstaTok if I have to get off my arse every 20 minutes to turn over an LP. As for streaming MQA, I not going to buy the White Album again.
 

sergeauckland

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OMG, how am I going to look at my FaceTic and my InstaTok if I have to get off my arse every 20 minutes to turn over an LP. As for streaming MQA, I not going to buy the White Album again.
It's one of the things I like about LPs. Avoids DVT!

Otherwise, I don't get up for three hours at a time streaming all evening.

S
 

levimax

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#20
Very informative video. Thanks. I stand (mostly) corrected.
While the point the video makes that you can not directly compare vinyl DR Meter results to a digital file DR results does not change the fact that many LP's have more dynamically mastered versions of songs than are found on CD's or streaming services. This is especially true for older music that has been "remastered".
 

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