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 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 4:44 AM   
 By:   Marlene   (Member)

I enjoyed reading your article, Marlene, and, as someone who grew up on vinyl LPs and suffered all the faults (including warped discs ... no matter how much I adjusted the counter-balance the arm still jumped!) I much prefer CDs.

That said, I've heard/read time and again that the vinyl sound is better than the CD/digital sound at the high-end ... i.e. a top-end deck, etc. I've not had the chance to hear such equipment and long ago decided CDs (now streaming) is the way forward.


The truth with vinyl lies completely in the eye of the beholder. Is it - objectively - true that vinyl sounds better? Simple answer: no. Truth is: it´s different because of noise and added distortions, the errors are what appeals to the vinyl loving community. But of course this isn´t better, it´s just an inferior playback. Point is that these added distortions are harmonious (because of the nature of analogue distortions), the CD on the other hand doesn´t have any comparable distortions. And there you have it: on most systems CD comes of course closer to the original but many people won´t like it because the distortions are missing wink

But one issue which I don't think you covered (I apologise if I missed it) is that of the DAC: if the CD user is listening with inferior equipment then the vinyl sound will likely sound better simply because the conversion of the digital signal to the analogue sound has corrupted the recording.

The signal reader (i.e. CD transport) is only part of the equation: given a fixed sound environment (i.e. the amplifier (pre/power), interconnects, speakers, remain the same) then the DAC is all-important and a basic CD transport with internal DAC isn't going to do justice to the collector's library of CDs. That said, a high-end DAC is of little use in a cheap hi-fi set-up. Getting the balance right is all-important.


That has to do with the nature of distortions: digital distortions are not harmonious compared to analogue distortions. In the beginning of digital many DACs had relatively high digital distortions. These move the sound generally towards the "colder" side. Nowadays this isn´t a problem anymore. Since roughly 10-15 years DACs have reached a level that was thought to be impossible when the CD was first conceived. Today even cheaper DACs are close to perfection. Yes, even the one inside the iPod. Today the DAC isn´t so important, it´s the surroundings of the DAC, the purely analogue parts. And that is where some cheaper components suck.

When people are talking about DACs they are talking about a part inside a component whose contribution to the overall system is grossly overestimated. Jitter, anti-aliasing problems and such are really easy to handle today.

You write that the DAC is all-important given a fixed environment - I have to disagree. The DAC actually is the smallest part, as would be the drive. In short: if the speakers are crap then even the best DAC wouldn´t turn lead into gold wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 7:37 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I'd have kept some of my LP's if I'd known how long it would take for the CD to be released, still waiting for a few titles.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

...
You write that the DAC is all-important given a fixed environment - I have to disagree. The DAC actually is the smallest part, as would be the drive. In short: if the speakers are crap then even the best DAC wouldn´t turn lead into gold wink


I think we're saying the same thing. In any given set-up a less-than-adequate DAC will affect the sound. I did add that a high-end DAC in a basic system is no use.

I take what you say about DACs being so much better now than years ago but do wonder how the high-end hi-fi manufacturers justify the R&D outlay for a product which is, by implication, superflous. I don't own a stand-alone DAC but I do own a good amp which takes both analogue and digital input ... as my CD has no digital out I have to use the analogue connections. I consider acquiring a new CD transport with digital out an upgrade but as CDs represent only 5 - 10% of my music play these days I cannot justify the expense.

I certainly wouldn't consider connecting my Logitech Squeezebox Touch to the amp using analogue (i.e. using its internal DAC) since I'm certain the amp's DAC is far better. Not scientific but most pleasurable to my ears!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   Marlene   (Member)

...
You write that the DAC is all-important given a fixed environment - I have to disagree. The DAC actually is the smallest part, as would be the drive. In short: if the speakers are crap then even the best DAC wouldn´t turn lead into gold wink


I think we're saying the same thing. In any given set-up a less-than-adequate DAC will affect the sound. I did add that a high-end DAC in a basic system is no use.

I take what you say about DACs being so much better now than years ago but do wonder how the high-end hi-fi manufacturers justify the R&D outlay for a product which is, by implication, superflous. I don't own a stand-alone DAC but I do own a good amp which takes both analogue and digital input ... as my CD has no digital out I have to use the analogue connections. I consider acquiring a new CD transport with digital out an upgrade but as CDs represent only 5 - 10% of my music play these days I cannot justify the expense.

I certainly wouldn't consider connecting my Logitech Squeezebox Touch to the amp using analogue (i.e. using its internal DAC) since I'm certain the amp's DAC is far better. Not scientific but most pleasurable to my ears!


I must´ve overread that you wrote it. Sorry.

And yes, high-end manufacturers claim a lot when the day is long. Most of the things are not justified and highly exaggerated. What most people don´t recognize is that expensive hifi does nothing else than colour the sound on a relatively high level. Several companies tune the sound of their components to match their own preference. That approach then works only for certain kinds of music - but people investing that much money generally seem to accept it.

If you want the purest, undisturbed, untuned and untweaked sound you´d have to use expensive studio equipment. The audio magazines and audiophiles will strongly disagree with me here but this is my own experience collected over the years.

Also, the whole audiophile business works only because of prejudices evident in the customers (the perceived superiority of vinyl is one of those prejudices). Example: many components have torodial power transformers. One of the reason is that they produce less noise than other ones for the component itself. But they have one major disadvantage: they produce more noise than other ones but that noise is mirrored back into the power line where it hurts other components (over RCA cables). Companies could use switching power supplies, they are much more efficient, cooler and cleaner on both ends. But companies don´t use them because audiophiles wouldn´t buy them - they think that switching power supplies are "bad" because they´re in computers too. wink

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 10:38 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)



Why do Eastwood and Burton have fish bowls on their heads?



The LP cover shot comes from one of the film's posters, which attempts to single out two of the "German" soldiers in the photo for special scrutiny. But without the poster's tagline, the photo, as used on the LP, becomes somewhat meaningless.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

...

Also, the whole audiophile business works only because of prejudices evident in the customers (the perceived superiority of vinyl is one of those prejudices). Example: many components have torodial power transformers. One of the reason is that they produce less noise than other ones for the component itself. But they have one major disadvantage: they produce more noise than other ones but that noise is mirrored back into the power line where it hurts other components (over RCA cables). Companies could use switching power supplies, they are much more efficient, cooler and cleaner on both ends. But companies don´t use them because audiophiles wouldn´t buy them - they think that switching power supplies are "bad" because they´re in computers too. wink


I can't disagree with anything you say here ... my amp, as much as I love it, does have an annoying hum - at times - but does produce a truly pure sound (no background hiss, etc.) I've recently upgraded it by adding an external power supply and I do believe this has improved the sound which is now signifciantly wider and clearer (more detailed).

As with any product, we consumers do rely on the marketing and if we're told that gadget A is better than gadget B but it costs X more then we're more likely to believe it than if we're told it costs less. I don't have the funds to experiment and each purchase is a risk but I'm 100% certain that the hi-fi system I run today is the best yet - by a good margin.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 11:35 AM   
 By:   Nicholas_DW   (Member)

deleted

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   Miguel Rojo   (Member)

Ironically enough - channel 5 UK right now!

Havent seen it for at least 19 days!!!


Bob - I see what you mean about the wording on the poster.
I think the english one said something about the major is a commando, the lieutenant is a ranger and the frauleins are spies...something like that.



 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 2:51 PM   
 By:   MRAUDIO   (Member)

But the hiss, pops, tics, etc., were integral to the experience when that is all we had.

And lets not forget that CDs can also get scratches, amass dirt and a few have become unplayable from "CD rot" (something that never afflicted LPs). Heck, some of our CDs were mastered from LPs!

I loved the Varese Sarabande and Intrada LPs from the 80s, with their glossy covers (even major labels didn't spring for that), handsome, colorful artwork and copious stills on the back cover. They were almost like souvenir programs. Some LP releases even came with posters, like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, King Kong, The Deep (The Deep was also pressed on transparent blue vinyl -- how cool is that?).

Someday when I get around to it I'm going to mount my favorite LP sleeves on the wall.


I also have a special fondness for the old Varese Sarabande LP - they alway seem to be of VERY high quality and had a very "heavy"- type feeling to them.

One Varese LP that I still have that comes to mind is my SLAPSTICK OF ANOTHER KIND LP by Morton Stevens/Michel Legrand - this record had a great feel and sound quality to it.

But now, I'm ready for an "expanded" CD edition of the Stevens cues - perhaps, someday...:-)

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 5:31 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

AS most of us know those wonderful soundtrack lp covers were the thing that will always stand out in my mind, also i feel the sound was a bit warmer on vinyl.I can't tell you over the years working as a soundtrack vendor how many people bought a soundtrack lp just for the cover.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 6:28 PM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

As one who still owns nearly 800 of the dead vinyl (most of which will never see a CD release) I can only paraphrase Robert Redford's great line in the film OUT OF AFRICA when he first sees and hears a phonograph: "finally, sombody's invented a useful machine".

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 6:53 PM   
 By:   Ed Lachmann   (Member)

Some of us ancient ones might remember fondly:
The cool silk gatefold of the "Solomon and Sheba" LP
The elegant case artwork and black on gold disc label on the "Cleopatra" LP
Those big MGM boxes with souvenir programs included, like the "Ben-Hur" LP
The neat fold out and LP sized 6 page insert in the original "Spartacus" LP
That little tan booklet including musical examples in the original "Taras Bulba" LP
The 13 story frames inside and six paintings on the back of the "Barabbas" LP
The gorgeous color stills inside the original Dot "Ten Commandments" LP


 
 
 Posted:   Jun 26, 2011 - 8:27 PM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

Some of us ancient ones might remember fondly:
The cool silk gatefold of the "Solomon and Sheba" LP
The elegant case artwork and black on gold disc label on the "Cleopatra" LP
Those big MGM boxes with souvenir programs included, like the "Ben-Hur" LP
The neat fold out and LP sized 6 page insert in the original "Spartacus" LP
That little tan booklet including musical examples in the original "Taras Bulba" LP
The 13 story frames inside and six paintings on the back of the "Barabbas" LP
The gorgeous color stills inside the original Dot "Ten Commandments" LP




The gigantic fold open cover of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Triple albums, like Roots and Woodstock, that weighed a couple of pounds
The hexagonal and expanding virus cover to The Andromeda Strain
The utterly insane absence of a soundtrack album to The Magnificent Seven
Albums in the thousands that "covered" a particular film score, or themes, and this is all that's left of them now
45 RPM Extended Play (EP) jackets and picture sleeves, every bit as elaborate as their bigger siblings
Always waiting for the next Goldsmith, Barry, Jarre


 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2011 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

The gorgeous and gigantic B&W photo of the Tuileries inside the gatefold LP version of THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2011 - 12:25 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I like the idea of framing LP covers. That would be pretty cool.
You couldn't do that with those pesky CD cover booklets.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 6:24 PM   
 By:   RM Eastman   (Member)

I fail to understand now why I collected so many LP's, I had 100's of them. Aside from the actual music I despised all of them; snap, crackle, pop!! Apart from the first time I played one, they all sounded awful with all the spurious surface noise. LP's was music's worst invention, and I'm still angry for all the money and time spent on trashy vinyl. I kept them immaculate to no avail.

"Pops, ticks, scratches, sludge, dirt, off-center pressings, inner-groove distortion, pre- and post-echo, warping, limited dynamics, repeated trips to exchange defective discs . . . "

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 6:50 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

We forgot skipped and stuck grooves!

I still remember a particular 1970s recording on Philips -- and Philips was one of the best labels. It was the Berlioz Te Deum conducted by Colin Davis. I had to return three defective copies in succession. When I opened the last one, I didn't even need to play it. Somebody had taken a ballpoint or stylus and boldly carved the word "defective" across the entire playing surface. And somebody else had simply packaged it for resale! Ah, yes, those wonderful days of the LP.

 
 Posted:   Mar 23, 2014 - 7:01 PM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

The LPs I owned were of pretty good quality and I recorded many to cassette tape just as I burn CDRs now. I recall taking only one back to exchange because of a defect. If memory serves, I owned these titles on LP....

Jaws
Jaws 2
Star Wars
Close Encounters
Superman
Alien
The Black Hole
Star Trek - The Motion Picture
The Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan
ET
Poltergeist
Creepshow
Conan The Barbarian
First Blood
Return of the Jedi
Twilight Zone - The Movie
Star Trek III - The Search For Spock
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Gremlins
Conan The Destroyer
Back to the Future
Aliens
Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home
Spacecamp (the last LP I ever bought)

I've replaced every single one with CDs. I have fond memories of LPs but I don't miss them in the slightest.

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 24, 2014 - 3:21 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

The way people are now, with their gripes about minor issues re CD's and downloads and lossless and packaging, can you imagine the fun we would have had reporting our LP issues and problems WITH THE INTERNET!!?? smile

 
 
 Posted:   Mar 24, 2014 - 4:38 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

What I want to know is, why did I not contribute to this thread at the time? No one has ever been more strident in his condemnation of vinyl than yours truly. No one has ever decried more vociferously the innumerable LP faults so ably enumerated by Rozsaphile. I was even Captain of my high school 'Down with Vinyl" club, eventually earning a merit badge in the form of an LP with "Defective!" scribbled across it. (Hey, wait a minute...)

They must have slipped this thread in while I was on holidays. smile

 
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