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Vinyl will always sound *different* than digital, right?

tonycollinet

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Oh no. You can't really say this. My bet is that there is not one single thread about this subject that didn't also touch the mastering. You're starting to show you haven't read vinyl threads closely.
There is not one singly vinyl thread where this has not been mentioned - probably at least once per page of multiple 10s of pages. At least seven posts on the first page of this thread alone mention mastering. I didn't count the second page, but again - multiple.


Like I say - there is nothing new to discuss on this topic.
 
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kongwee

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No different at all, sinewave sound the same on both media.
 

Snarfie

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The problem with transferring music from analog to digital/cd is the analog master is mostly a Vinyl Master build around the Vinyl limitations. When you use that master for digital/cd purpos you by pass the digital possibilities. Thats why Steven Wilson is looking for the original master.
 

Ricardus

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Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case, which is a crying shame.
There are far too many examples of digital masters that have been irredeemably ruined by incompetent engineers pushing them into hard clipping. If you master vinyl too hot then the needle jumps out of the groove and people return the record because it can’t be played.
You're moving the goalpost. Vinyl at its best will still have wow and flutter, rumble, crackles and pops, reduced quality as you approach the center of the record, etc...

Digital at it's best will sound amazing.

Looking for bad examples to disprove that vinyl is a wildly imperfect and flawed medium (yet not without its charm) is bad faith rhetoric.
 

charleski

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Digital at it's best will sound amazing.
True but irrelevant.

What matters is the music. If I want to listen to a certain piece of music and the digital release of that music has been butchered by clipping (which is all too common), then the vinyl album, for all its imperfections, will be the superior choice. If clipping were limited to a handful of ‘bad examples’ then the issue would be of minor importance, but it’s not, and despite all the outcry over the loudness wars engineers keep producing mangled digital masters. It’s ‘bad faith rhetoric’ to pretend that this is not a continuing problem with digital releases.
 

Snarfie

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True but irrelevant.

What matters is the music. If I want to listen to a certain piece of music and the digital release of that music has been butchered by clipping (which is all too common), then the vinyl album, for all its imperfections, will be the superior choice. If clipping were limited to a handful of ‘bad examples’ then the issue would be of minor importance, but it’s not, and despite all the outcry over the loudness wars engineers keep producing mangled digital masters. It’s ‘bad faith rhetoric’ to pretend that this is not a continuing problem with digital releases.
I realy hope the early digital compressed albums of Adel will be once remasterd properly.
 

Sal1950

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True but irrelevant.

What matters is the music. If I want to listen to a certain piece of music and the digital release of that music has been butchered by clipping (which is all too common), then the vinyl album, for all its imperfections, will be the superior choice. If clipping were limited to a handful of ‘bad examples’ then the issue would be of minor importance, but it’s not, and despite all the outcry over the loudness wars engineers keep producing mangled digital masters. It’s ‘bad faith rhetoric’ to pretend that this is not a continuing problem with digital releases.
Who says?
A little clipping, but still minus the whole world of vinyls distortions, weakness, noise, etc etc etc still makes for a far superior listening experience.

flintstone.png
 

pablolie

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True but irrelevant.

What matters is the music. ...
it does indeed. but if that's what matters most, why not listen to it in its best resolution?

PS: "Analog" isn't bad. Good reel-to-reel systems still have great SNR, so not hating here. Vinyl? Not so much. It's been a measurable truth for many years, otherwise the digital revolution would have been stillborn. It wasn't. It was endorsed by every musically motivated player, starting with classical ensembles. And Karajan and Bernstein. And many others who wanted their performances to sound better.
 
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Sal1950

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And many others who wanted their performances to sound better.
Amen.
Every recording engineer I've read has also stated that when he did his first digital recording, it was the very first time he had ever heard the playback sound exactly like the live mic feed. :p
 

tmtomh

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Hello music lovers,

After reading the thread The Truth About Vinyl Records, it confirmed to me again that vinyl will just always sound different than any digital version.

My understanding here is, that there is really a hell lot of tweaking being done when the master record is being cut, much of which doesn't appear to be necessary when going straight from e.g. 1/4" tape to digital.

To give you an example, the article states:


I am bringing this up because I do every so often compare the sound 1:1 (with appropriate volume matching) of my vinyl record to digital sources, and often can simply only note one thing: They sound different.

Isn't the reason for that simply that the transferring process was completely different? Essentially one could say the original recording was "remastered" once again, although on a simpler scale, once to fit the limitations of a vinyl disc, and then that of a CD or some HiRes format.

The result of my 1:1 comparison is often quite shocking to me... some vinyls sound a lot sweeter to me than their digital counterpart, while others are clearly sounding worse.

And by the way... I do record some of my vinyls to the PC, and when playing back the digital recording, it sounds just like the vinyl... in other words, the difference is not in my source... my digital recording of my vinyl still sounds vastly different than the digital version from Tidal etc.

What are your thoughts?

The answer is Yes, vinyl will sound different than digital, almost every time: additional mastering steps are required to cut vinyl from a master tape or master digital source. And the vinyl playback chain can further alter the original recording's sound: the stylus, cartridge, tonearm, turntable, and phono preamp can all produce audible effects, and it would be a very rare system indeed where every single one of these links in the vinyl playback chain would be 100% audibly transparent.

For these reasons, vinyl does sound different - this is something a vinyl fanatic and an ASR member can agree on, ironically. :)

Furthermore, if maximum fidelity is your reference or standard for good sound from an audio playback system, then if vinyl sounds different than digital it must also by definition sound worse. Of course, many vinyl lovers don't care about the circle of confusion: they don't care if the distinctive vinyl sound comes from the original recording, the vinyl-cutting-master step, the playback chain, or a combination of all three.

The one exception to all this is that vinyl versions of some albums are less compressed - or at least less peak-limited - than digital versions. Sometimes this is because the vinyl gets a separate mastering altogether, and the vinyl mastering engineer wants to produce a more audiophile result and so doesn't ride the limiter as hard. In those cases, you can make a reasonable case that the vinyl is both different and better, or at least not worse: it becomes a question of how compressed the digital version is, and what the sonic tradeoffs are between the more dynamic-sounding vinyl and the otherwise higher-fidelity digital.

Other times, the vinyl master is the same compressed master used for digital versions, but the final mastering stage to prep a vinyl cutting master alters the signal, therefore softening and re-randomizing some of the buzzcut peaks in the original compressed source. In that case, I would say the vinyl rarely if ever improves on the digital original's dynamics enough to be consistently audible, let alone enough to outweigh the vinyl's decreased fidelity.
 

charleski

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You keep bringing it up like it represents a majority of digital releases or something
Did you miss the part where I said, ‘this is not necessarily the case’? Don’t put words in my mouth.

It remains a fact that labels continue to release digital masters that have been irredeemably butchered, and in those cases the vinyl version will be superior. Clipping distortion is especially noticeable and obnoxious, whereas the multitude of distortions from vinyl are mostly harmonic as long as the record has been thoroughly cleaned. Obviously a competently-mastered digital release will always sound better, that’s not the issue here. But we can only play the music that gets put on sale.

I haven’t owned a turntable for decades now, and have no plans to buy one. But it is simply irrational to pretend that there aren’t serious problems with a significant minority of digital releases.
 

BoredErica

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Is it possible to add vinyl distortions into digital tracks to get vinyl sound without the inconvinience of actually playing vinyl? I'm sure there are plugins that tries to do this. I mean, is it possible to be indistinguishable to the real thing?
 

Cars-N-Cans

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Is it possible to add vinyl distortions into digital tracks to get vinyl sound without the inconvinience of actually playing vinyl? I'm sure there are plugins that tries to do this. I mean, is it possible to be indistinguishable to the real thing?
You would have to quantify all of the distortion and noise mechanisms to make a truly accurate plug-in for it. It could certainly be done. The only real "euphonic" value to any sort of plug-in like that, however, will be how it alters the frequency response, like emulating the "warmth" with a faux tube-amp from the attenuation of higher frequencies. All of the various mechanisms with records just deteriorate the sound. Bit like lossy compression but with the digitally generated noise replaced with noise from the record itself. There are things available that emulate the random pops and ticks since its often heard in certain types of music as an effect, for example this one: https://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/dustyScratchedVinylNoiseGenerator.php
 

charleski

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Is it possible to add vinyl distortions into digital tracks to get vinyl sound without the inconvinience of actually playing vinyl? I'm sure there are plugins that tries to do this. I mean, is it possible to be indistinguishable to the real thing?
 

Ricardus

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Did you miss the part where I said, ‘this is not necessarily the case’? Don’t put words in my mouth.

It remains a fact that labels continue to release digital masters that have been irredeemably butchered, and in those cases the vinyl version will be superior. Clipping distortion is especially noticeable and obnoxious, whereas the multitude of distortions from vinyl are mostly harmonic as long as the record has been thoroughly cleaned. Obviously a competently-mastered digital release will always sound better, that’s not the issue here. But we can only play the music that gets put on sale.

I haven’t owned a turntable for decades now, and have no plans to buy one. But it is simply irrational to pretend that there aren’t serious problems with a significant minority of digital releases.
I don't know what to do with the expression "significant minority." That isn't even a thing. It's just another attempt to retcon what you said into truth.
 

Robin L

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Is it possible to add vinyl distortions into digital tracks to get vinyl sound without the inconvinience of actually playing vinyl? I'm sure there are plugins that tries to do this. I mean, is it possible to be indistinguishable to the real thing?
The distortions of vinyl that stick out the most for me are related to disc eccentricity---off-center and warped records. While a plug-in to replicate these effects is possible, why in heavens name would anybody want that?
 

Mart68

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is there actually any real evidence that vinyl releases are any less compressed than their digital counterparts? Why is this taken for granted?

The DR database cannot be relied on for vinyl DR and neither can anecdotes.
 
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