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Why not use effects to get the sound of vinyl?

krabapple

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I'm pretty sure in the case of Portishead the crackle is a real analogue turntable being manipulated by a real live DJ/turntablist type human. It's not a digital effect added later.
Did I claim it was?
 

bluefuzz

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What, and miss out on the all the palaver of finding what you want to play, squinting at the tiny writing on the spine of the record sleeve, putting an LP on the turntable, cleaning it and carefully lowering the needle to the surface, not to mention the faff of getting up every ~20 minutes to change sides.

I find I don't really miss any of those elements of the vinyl ritual. If I miss anything about vinyl (and to a certain extent cds) it's browsing the record bins in some used record store on a saturday morning in happy anticipation of finding some interesting gems. Discovering new music is sometimes a bit too easy on the streaming services but I really wouldn't want to go back. However, I do enjoy the memories of those rituals, of those unique scratches and crackles on my favourite albums, of skinning a spliff on the cover of some Hawkwind album while marvelling a Barney Bubbles' wondrous artwork. But I have have no inclination to relive or revive those rituals. That was then and this is now ...
 

Timcognito

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Everyone here is fixated on the gear, just different ways. ;-)
In spite of the ASR's fixation and charter for I/O measurement and accuracy of that gear.
 

krabapple

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A like for your examples, but not for the @krabby sentiment. I mean, it's lo-fi, but it's the real thing, yes?

Who cares whether it was a real TT or a plugin? Not me. Making a CD sound like crapped-out vinyl was, um, 'interesting' at first, then became a gimmick from overuse. That's how musical production fads go. The quality of the music is what really stands or falls with time.

I'm glad 'crackly LP' CD had its moment; I'm glad it mostly went away.
 

MattHooper

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This research went to great lengths to find out what (if anything) accounted for the preference for vinyl. Spoiler: it wasn't the sound, which was rated worst in controlled tests. Using effects to make your recordings sound worse seems a bad idea. Differences in mastering were controlled out, so the possibility remains that in some cases the vinyl master is better than the CD one, but I doubt effects are going to make up for that either.

That study comes up fairly often here, and as this forum has "science" in the title it's worth a reminder:

To gauge people's impression of sound quality between vinyl/digital, that study used a single song example (Frank Sinatra), played on a lower priced turntable (bottom of the line Project table), no mention of the cartridge. And the study itself reminds us they were testing regular consumers with cheaper consumer gear, and the authors suggest that "High-end equipment will most certainly produce a different listening experience between vinyl and compressed music formats."

Scientists would be extremely cautious about hanging much on a single, limited, as yet un-replicated study, much less leverage that limited data in settling anything about the issue.
 

MattHooper

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Who cares whether it was a real TT or a plugin? Not me. Making a CD sound like crapped-out vinyl was, um, 'interesting' at first, then became a gimmick from overuse. That's how musical production fads go. The quality of the music is what really stands or falls with time.

I'm glad 'crackly LP' CD had its moment; I'm glad it mostly went away.

Even though I enjoyed many pastiche and electronic genres, I also got tired of the "adding vinyl crackling" trend back then too.

(And for that matter, the trend for quite a while in electronic music to have breathy female vocals on seemingly every track....)
 

bluefuzz

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I feel the exact opposite: that going to the cinema is expensive, inconvenient, annoying in very many ways, and often gross

Oh yes! Only since the advent of the big flat-screen TV coupled with the easy discoverability of movies on the interwebs have I really developed a taste for the cinematic arts. I have always found going to the cinema deeply unpleasant and stressful coupled with the fact that the movies I'm actually interested in watching simply never get shown in cinemas anyway. The ability to watch a movie in one's own space and time without interruption or unwanted social interaction is ... life changing.

But perhaps more pertinent to this thread: one of my early discoveries of films I love was Jacques Rivette's Out 1. The first version I saw was a fairly grainy DVD copy with a prominent tape hiss on the soundtrack. The film has since been heavily restored and rereleased on Bluray. In digital film restoration cirrcles much importance is afforded to preserving the film grain of the image and that is still plainly in evidence on the restored version of Out 1. But the tape hiss is gone! Is the tape hiss not an equally important part of the authentic experience as the film grain? Although the restored version certainly looks a lot better – grain and all – I feel something is somehow lost with the hiss-free soundtrack ...
 

egellings

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Even though I enjoyed many pastiche and electronic genres, I also got tired of the "adding vinyl crackling" trend back then too.

(And for that matter, the trend for quite a while in electronic music to have breathy female vocals on seemingly every track....)
Good thing that fads like that have the shelf life of potato salad.
 

somebodyelse

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That study comes up fairly often here, and as this forum has "science" in the title it's worth a reminder:

To gauge people's impression of sound quality between vinyl/digital, that study used a single song example (Frank Sinatra), played on a lower priced turntable (bottom of the line Project table), no mention of the cartridge. And the study itself reminds us they were testing regular consumers with cheaper consumer gear, and the authors suggest that "High-end equipment will most certainly produce a different listening experience between vinyl and compressed music formats."

Scientists would be extremely cautious about hanging much on a single, limited, as yet un-replicated study, much less leverage that limited data in settling anything about the issue.
I think we're talking about different studies since the details you quote don't match at all:
* It used 2 tracks, neither by Frank Sinatra
* Turntable is not specified, other than being "calibrated using a set of test records" and checked by the mastering engineer who had just cut the record, prior to digitisation.
* The study doesn't describe the participants of either test section as regular consumers (or in much other detail), doesn't describe their gear, and doesn't contain the quoted text about high-end equipment.
I'm talking about "Analogue Hearts, Digital Minds" by Michael Uwins, Linear Audio Vol.10 September 2015. It is still a single, limited and (so far as I know) un-replicated study though.
 

bluefuzz

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Why would it even matter?
Well, it was you that brought it up. Why indeed ...?

Are we arguing whether it counts as an 'effect'?

That is, after all, the subject of this thread. But if we are arguing about anything then it is about whether Portishead's use of 'vinyl crackle' is somehow an unnecessary affectation 'added' to the music or whether it is an integral part of the music. I would argue the latter. In fact I believe the music could not exist without it since it is part and parcel of its creation.

But you are right that even if it were simply an added 'effect' – whether digital or analogue - then it is the result that matters. And that's fine with me ...
 
OP
Multicore

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In digital film restoration cirrcles much importance is afforded to preserving the film grain of the image and that is still plainly in evidence on the restored version of Out 1. But the tape hiss is gone! Is the tape hiss not an equally important part of the authentic experience as the film grain? Although the restored version certainly looks a lot better – grain and all – I feel something is somehow lost with the hiss-free soundtrack ...
I well remember being told off in strong terms by two film makers whom I had offended by questioning the complexity and cost of their method of shooting on film which is then digitized. The grain! They were really offended that I should consider this questionable.

Technical and creative people in audio have since the start been trying to remove the noise. It's been hard work and it really is important in many applications, perhaps most. So the culture of appreciation of the intrinsic defects just isn't there.

Perhaps this helps explain why the consideration of vinyl consumes so much of the bandwidth on ASR. There might be something to this. Digital took over in audio, in still images and in TV and film at different times in history. I need to think about this.
 
OP
Multicore

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I'm pretty sure in the case of Portishead the crackle is a real analogue turntable being manipulated by a real live DJ/turntablist type human. It's not a digital effect added later.
That was true on the first album. Notoriously Barrow resorted to all manner of artifice to create such effects for the second, including having vinyl made and then degrading it. Stories were he near drove himself mad trying.

Let's all watch Doug Pray's superb 2001 doco Scratch. I love this film. It has a chapter on the art of digging in which DJ Spookey has some deep philosophical remarks.

 

krabapple

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Well, it was you that brought it up. Why indeed ...?



That is, after all, the subject of this thread. But if we are arguing about anything then it is about whether Portishead's use of 'vinyl crackle' is somehow an unnecessary affectation 'added' to the music or whether it is an integral part of the music. I would argue the latter. In fact I believe the music could not exist without it since it is part and parcel of its creation.

Could not exist? If someone covers 'Sour Times' without vinyl crackle...it's not 'Sour Times'?

If you're saying that the track on Dummy would not sound like it does, if it sounded different....well, yeah, it's hard to argue otherwise

And again, I didn't say Dummy was bad. I said the effect of making a CD sound like 'distressed' vinyl, was cool (i.e., new) at the time, quaint now. Portishead weren't the ones who made that particular lo-fi sound a genre cliche.
 
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solderdude

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For me, a large part of playing vinyl is the amazement that anything so crude can sound as good as it does.
Yes, that's how I see vinyl too.
An inconvenient method of music reproduction, flashes of old days and nostalgia yet kind of fun to use now and then.
Always disliked the cracks/ticks/noise but tolerated it because there was no way around it. Tape had other downsides (noise mostly).

Now convenience, having all old and new recordings handy without ticks, noise is more important.

I don't have the emotional attachment of the OP.
I mean... I can listen to Dire Straits on vinyl and digital and get the same 'emotions' but digital is more convenient, better quality, no noise, ticks, crackling. Why bother putting on a record ?
 
OP
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Multicore

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I find I don't really miss any of those elements of the vinyl ritual.
Relative to streaming on a phone I miss sleeve notes and good artwork. There are lots of good examples. Just for one, even when I'm listening on streaming I want the LP sleeve of Mimaroğlu & Hubbard Sing Me a Song of Songmy in my hand. There's a great deal of interest there and the music can be understood in a different way because of it.

But I don't miss sleeve notes enough to go back to using mainly vinyl.
 

krabapple

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Relative to streaming on a phone I miss sleeve notes and good artwork. There are lots of good examples. Just for one, even when I'm listening on streaming I want the LP sleeve of Mimaroğlu & Hubbard Sing Me a Song of Songmy in my hand. There's a great deal of interest there and the music can be understood in a different way because of it.

But I don't miss sleeve notes enough to go back to using mainly vinyl.

Yup. I always said CDs should have been released in vinyl-sized sleeves. Best of both worlds. And so back-compatible with vinyl storage furniture. :>
 

Cbdb2

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That study comes up fairly often here, and as this forum has "science" in the title it's worth a reminder:

To gauge people's impression of sound quality between vinyl/digital, that study used a single song example (Frank Sinatra), played on a lower priced turntable (bottom of the line Project table), no mention of the cartridge. And the study itself reminds us they were testing regular consumers with cheaper consumer gear, and the authors suggest that "High-end equipment will most certainly produce a different listening experience between vinyl and compressed music formats."

Scientists would be extremely cautious about hanging much on a single, limited, as yet un-replicated study, much less leverage that limited data in settling anything about the issue.
I think your on about a different study. This one used 2 songs, neither by Frank.

From this one
8.2 Conclusion
This investigation has given a clear indication that the reasons behind the recent resurgence of the
vinyl LP are numerous and rejects the hypothesis that audio quality is the sole defining factor. There
does however, appear to be a clear link between subjective audio quality assessments and an indi-
vidual’s appreciation of other attributes of vinyl such as the artwork, sleeve notes, or even their past
experiences, pre-conceptions or memories of the format. It is still clearly a subject which divides
opinion and engenders passionate views on all sides but this study has shown that it is possible to
delineate auditory and non-auditory influences."

No one in the test preferred the vinyl, many preferred the "fake" vinyl that was an exact copy of the digital because they thought it was vinyl.
 
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MattHooper

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I think we're talking about different studies since the details you quote don't match at all:
* It used 2 tracks, neither by Frank Sinatra
* Turntable is not specified, other than being "calibrated using a set of test records" and checked by the mastering engineer who had just cut the record, prior to digitisation.
* The study doesn't describe the participants of either test section as regular consumers (or in much other detail), doesn't describe their gear, and doesn't contain the quoted text about high-end equipment.
I'm talking about "Analogue Hearts, Digital Minds" by Michael Uwins, Linear Audio Vol.10 September 2015. It is still a single, limited and (so far as I know) un-replicated study though.

Oh, thanks! I did indeed leap to the wrong conclusion and should have clicked the link. The other study comes up so routinely I just assumed it was the same one.

I skimmed much of that article and it was a very interesting read, very cleverly done! Not surprised by the result. (And also there were some another interesting bits in the results, e.g. emulated vinyl scoring more highly).
 
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