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-   -   Do you think vinyl records sound better than digital music? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=625956)

aeisen93 09-13-2021 06:41 PM

Do you think vinyl records sound better than digital music?
 
I'm listening to Sgt Pepper's tonight on my record player. It sounds so much better and more realistic than the digital version. To me the difference is huge... Do you notice a big difference between vinyl and digital?

frankmcr 09-13-2021 07:14 PM

Yes, absolutely.

Mr. Paul 09-13-2021 07:59 PM

There are some LPs that I find do sound better than CDs, it all depends on the pressing.

H165 09-13-2021 08:03 PM

Some people tend to like the distortion and limited dynamic range of vinyl. Plus I guess they like the instant destruction of the track starting on the very first play. They also like the warm distortion of tube gear.

Most nutcase audiophiles with decent hearing (like myself, 25 years ago) spent thousands on esoteric bits of gear like direct-to-disc vinyl, virgin vinyl, the Garrard 301 Grease Bearing turntable, transcription arms, Thorens TD124MKII, DBX 5BX, Altec 604-Es, Bozaks, bazillion dollar cartridges, EQed speaker systems, room analyzers, Dolby gear, other dynamic range inhancers, equalizers, tone control banks, and all of their previous and later iterations, trying to get close to the sound of a simple CD from a vinyl record source.

Most of us tossed out all that junk and routed the signal directly from CD player to gain-controlled amps. It took about two years to get really good CDs, but the worst of them were (and remain) light-years better than vinyl on both sound and durability.

I've listened to masters directly off the Studer, Otari, and others in direct comparison with vinyl. Half of the music is missing on the test pressings, let alone the mass-stamped consumer end-product.

Vinyl remains absolutely great for nostalgia, kinda like going to a high school reunion to see what the homecoming queen and the quarterback look like all those years later.

Mr. Paul 09-13-2021 08:14 PM

Always instructive to learn from someone else what I am hearing ;)

Vinyl deniers should a/b the CD and vinyl of David Gilmour's Live in Gdansk. Both great, the vinyl sounds better to me. My turntable is an old Harmon Kardon T40, nothing fancy.

rick-slo 09-13-2021 08:19 PM

I prefer digital recordings sound wise for most anything done since the early days of digital.

Hoyt 09-13-2021 09:26 PM

Vinyl is better if you’ve spent the money needed for a decent system, your hearing is good, you are listening in a nice room, etc. Had a decent system once, but certainly not MacIntosh — or modern equivalent— level.

Nowadays, I love streaming with almost unlimited choice of music and a modest set of headphones. No media storage or big systems to maintain.

I usually play my guitar or mandola if I’m in my quiet cave (little room). Often record it to listen later, even if just once.

But there was a time when tube amps and preamps, decent speakers, etc., were important and appreciated.

J Patrick 09-14-2021 07:20 AM

…different…yes….better?…..that’s up to the listener to decide….

bfm612 09-14-2021 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoyt (Post 6808860)
Vinyl is better if you’ve spent the money needed for a decent system, your hearing is good, you are listening in a nice room, etc. Had a decent system once, but certainly not MacIntosh — or modern equivalent— level.

Really good, practical point. I don't have the money to spend on a great setup. I have a Sony record player and an Andover Spinbase, which together cost well under $1000. And I can compare that to a bluetooth Bose speaker, one of those small one-foot things, through which I play music from Spotify. If there's a marked difference in quality between vinyl and digital, I'm not sure if I'll ever have the setup or the ear to tell the difference.

brad4d8 09-14-2021 07:43 AM

Back in the early to mid '80s, I had a coworker who was a huge audiophile (with a trust fund income). State of the art, from turntable/cartridge, CD player, amplifying system and speakers. He gave me a blindfold test with the same passage from an Angel recording of Aida. Hands down, the LP had a better sound. He had well over $10,000 (close to $30,000 in today's dollars) invested in his system, so an average system might not give the same results, especially depending on the TT and cartridge as any distortion or lack of fidelity there would be magnified.

FrankHudson 09-14-2021 09:06 AM

I believe I don't have golden ears, and I grew up in a time and with a budget that limited what I could spend on music listening equipment back in the LP era. I enjoyed listening to music very very much back then, even if the limited quality of my equipment might seem as if it would disqualify me from that. I heard the music through the rough presentation of the sound of it.

I heard CDs around the time they came out*, though I didn't own a CD player for some time (no money for one, and I had a considerable investment in LPs which is where my music listening budget all went). They sounded good to me on what where probably pretty good systems for the era. I noticed the absence of surface noise and other vinyl record artifacts the most -- that was striking and welcome. Yes, I'm aware I'm supposed to hear digital inexactness in representing waves, missing "warmth" and so on. Didn't hear that -- bad ears or focus being elsewhere? Can't really say.

I eventually got a CD player, eventually a lot of CDs. At that time, I preferred their sound over playing my LPs. Now I tend to listen to streaming services, which we all know isn't ideal from a reproduction standpoint,** but I sure love the most anything whenever you want, wherever you are in an instant access. Just like the teenager who listened on transistor radios and cheap plastic turntable combos I'm listening most to the music and less to the quality of reproduction. I listen to music from all eras, so a lot of it was digital from the microphone or the board on, and even some that was digital from the moment the note was made.

When I occasionally listen to my old LPs and try to be objective, I sometimes find the mixes (particularly early stereo mixes) and mastering odd and not particularly effective. Those are artifacts of taste and their times to a degree, and not the fault of the format. Similarly, but contrastingly, I really really miss the LP package. That may be nostalgia, but that great foot square cover, and liner notes, and eventually inventiveness in using the packaging format added something I think was a real objective plus.

*The Twin Cities was something of a early digital recording adoption center, and some of my early CD listening experiences were with an MD who was an investor in Rykodisk.

**The compressed formats of course, and then that "anywhere/anytime" often means earbuds too. And then there's the issue of how little artists and recordists get per play.

Methos1979 09-14-2021 10:14 AM

Hold on, let me get some popcorn!

MC5C 09-14-2021 12:57 PM

I absolutely can tell the difference between analog/analog vinyl, and MP3 digital. MP3's are nasty and flat in comparison. But there haven't been widespread creation of pure analog recordings (analog tape to analog master to vinyl) since digital mastering became common, maybe in the 1980's. I have some Miles Davis recordings on both AA vinyl and somewhat early CD's, and the difference between them is astounding. The vinyl, on an entry level audiophile system, is so clear and transparent, you can tell where the instruments are located, the dynamic range is much greater than the exact same recording on CD. But digital has come a long way, has made great strides both forward and back. MP3 is sampled at 320 Kbps, CD's are sampled at 1,140 kbps and there is a high resolution audio format that samples at 9,216 kbps. Somewhere in there they do get better than analog on vinyl, I would expect. Vinyl recordings from current digital masters are not all that special, I wouldn't buy one, I'd buy the CD.

Howard Emerson 09-16-2021 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H165 (Post 6808811)
Some people tend to like the distortion and limited dynamic range of vinyl. Plus I guess they like the instant destruction of the track starting on the very first play. They also like the warm distortion of tube gear.

Most nutcase audiophiles with decent hearing (like myself, 25 years ago) spent thousands on esoteric bits of gear like direct-to-disc vinyl, virgin vinyl, the Garrard 301 Grease Bearing turntable, transcription arms, Thorens TD124MKII, DBX 5BX, Altec 604-Es, Bozaks, bazillion dollar cartridges, EQed speaker systems, room analyzers, Dolby gear, other dynamic range inhancers, equalizers, tone control banks, and all of their previous and later iterations, trying to get close to the sound of a simple CD from a vinyl record source.

Most of us tossed out all that junk and routed the signal directly from CD player to gain-controlled amps. It took about two years to get really good CDs, but the worst of them were (and remain) light-years better than vinyl on both sound and durability.

I've listened to masters directly off the Studer, Otari, and others in direct comparison with vinyl. Half of the music is missing on the test pressings, let alone the mass-stamped consumer end-product.

Vinyl remains absolutely great for nostalgia, kinda like going to a high school reunion to see what the homecoming queen and the quarterback look like all those years later.

H,
Totally agreed!

You've absolutely made my day!

Remember the Burwen Click & Pop Suppressor?

Best regards,
Howard Emerson

Brent Hahn 09-16-2021 12:13 PM

I don't think it's quite that simple.

Now this is just me, but with anything that's never been digital, like pre-80's vinyl or old tapes from work, or label-release cassettes and reel-to-reel tapes... I can listen to those for hours, even if it's music I don't love and/or a not-great recording.

But with anything digital, I'll start playing it (in civilian mode, for pleasure and relaxation) and I'll last about 15 minutes before I get agitated and have to shut it off.

If it's a work situation, or I'm plowing through a song list for somebody I'm gonna play with, I can manage without it being a big deal. But listening just for fun like I used to do pre-digital? No way.


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