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(Humans Invent)   Why vinyl sounds so much better than CDs or MP3s   (humansinvent.com) divider line 64
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5043 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Nov 2012 at 9:55 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-09 09:25:40 PM

Wasilla Hillbilly: SpectroBoy: Ant: The only thing I miss about vinyl is large album covers and liner notes.

I miss album art and liner notes too.

Plus double albums were the BEST for cleaning your stash on.

Kinda like how CD cases are, well not the best (it cracks too easily), but adequate for chopping up your cocaine? Or so I've been told.


I've been told that too. I've heard the ones with the clear plastic front and black back make the job the easiest.

I'm amused by this audiophile discussion, as I put a significant amount of effort into finding higher bitrate mp3s/uncompressed AIFF rips, etc- and then listen to them through a tape-deck headphone jack adaptor. It's like I've buried my speakers in a leaf pile.

The 6 disc changer in the trunk is full of legit albums.

/12 speaker HK, it's a shame I don't feed it better data
//Discovery, The Fat of the Land, A Night at the Opera, Dark Side of the Moon, Beggar's Banquet, Abbey Road
 
2012-11-09 10:46:04 PM
Analogue represents the total sound wave. Digital, is a high rate sampling of that sound wave broken into chunks. Analogue will always have the "more true sound". The transfer medium is the only thing in question.

I submit this...... Since sound waves are created from vibration (even live), the vibration can be transferred better through analogue mediums than a digital sampling. Digital sure helps compression and mass distribution. Not a lot of help for rendition..

Just my take.
 
2012-11-09 11:29:07 PM

NoiseGoth: Sort of amazed at the uninformed opinions stated as facts in this thread. The bottom line is that vinyl has the potential to have better frequency response and better dynamic range than traditional CDs (while CDs are better in the wow and flutter department, a good record player can effectively render this moot). Whether an individual release takes advantage of that potential is, of course, open to interpretation.

I say whatever floats your boat. If I want to sit and listen to something I'll go for vinyl if I've got it, CD if not. Mp3s are good for background fill or the car or just when I'm not paying close attention, but that's just me. I don't get down on people listening to mp3s all the time. I do wish more people cared about fidelity (the loudness wars being a direct result of this lack of concern), but I really can't fault them for liking what they like.


The dynamic range of vinyl, when evaluated as the ratio of a peak sinusoidal amplitude to the peak noise density at that sine wave frequency, is somewhere around 80 dB. Under theoretically ideal conditions, this could perhaps improve to 120 dB. The dynamic range of CDs, when evaluated on a frequency-dependent basis and performed with proper dithering and oversampling, is somewhere around 150 dB. Under no legitimate circumstances will the dynamic range of vinyl ever exceed the dynamic range of CD, under any frequency, given the wide performance gap and the physical limitations of vinyl playback.

I don't understand the nostalgia. I remember hearing my first CD, and being astounded at the complete lack of sound between tracks. As far as quality of sound goes, most people really don't care. Remember how popular prerecorded cassettes were back in the 80's? Almost all of them were terrible (I can only ever remember a couple of cassette releases on CRO2 tape). I couldn't believe people bought them. On good cassette decks, quality tape could come very close to CD quality. Back to back, using good quality metal or chrome oxide tapes, I could only really tell the difference between a CD and a good tape of a CD by the hiss between tracks, and even then you had to have the volume pretty high. But that's good tape, on a good deck, with Dolby C and HX Pro. I home taped all of my cassettes, by renting records or CDs, or borrowing them. The prerecorded cassettes you could buy at the music store were of very poor quality, but people bought them anyway.

METCALFE: I enjoy both formats, but my preference is definitely CD.

DANKOSKY: Now, why CD?

METCALFE: Well, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm primarily a recording engineer, as far as working with music. And it's - the closer thing to what I'm sending into the recorder is very much what I'm getting back out. With analog formats, although the sound can be very pleasing in certain styles, it's definitely imparting its own sound on it. And I think, to an extent, it's that sound that some people are really drawn to. But it's nice as an engineer to have the confidence of knowing that what I'm putting into - in most cases these days, the computer - is pretty close to what I'm going to get out.

DANKOSKY: Sean Olive, I have to ask you. I think I know your answer, but vinyl or CD?

OLIVE: Definitely CD.

DANKOSKY: Yeah? So tell me why.

OLIVE: Well, I mean, I grew up listening to records up until about '85, when the CD was already out. And I was involved in testing loudspeakers up at the National Research Council in Canada. And we were testing cartridges at that time, and it was quite apparent that the amount of distortion coming out of these devices was very high compared to CD. So what we found was that vinyl was a limiting factor in our ability to do accurate and reliable listening tests on loudspeakers, and we had to find a more reliable and more accurate medium.


Why Vinyl Sounds Better Than CD, Or Not
 
2012-11-09 11:31:01 PM
And this is probably the single most important sentence in the Hydrogen Audio link: There is nothing wrong with preferring vinyl to CDs, as long as the preference is honestly stated on emotional terms, or is precisely quantified and tied to subjective experience, and not obscured with (fallacious) technical appeals
 
2012-11-10 12:37:45 AM
Vinyl will not always have a better sound, but it will generally have a more satisfying one. There's lots of reasons for that. When people who love vinyl talk about "warmth", they are not talking about hiss or noise...they are talking about how the sounds themselves sound. They are fuller and feel much more alive than digital versions. There are two things in particular that I love when listening to vinyl: when there are two or more instruments making distinct sounds, in digital recordings those sounds merge together into a single sound. On vinyl, they remain distinct, and it becomes a much more stimulating experience. The bass sounds on vinyl has a life to them...it's hard to explain without demonstrating, but the bass sounds are just so much more alive on vinyl.

Thing of it is, not all records will sound good. Not all turntables will sound good. I was raised on records on old equipment, they were hissy sounding and tinny. Not that old equipment is all bad...the higher quality equipment from the 70's and 80's can sound excellent. When you've only been listening to cheap equipment and poorly cared for records, it's going to sound awful. But when you get a record in decent shape, on a good turntable, you will hear an amazing clarity and depth to the sound...playing a CD on the same equipment will just sound flat.

You can't blame digital entirely...while I have never had a chance to listen to it, I'm told SACD is right at vinyl quality. It's the popular mastering techniques and limitations of bitrate in CDs that make digital audio sound poor. I can only imagine if they used a Blu-Ray type technology for digital audio...the quality would be excellent. I just don't know if it would feel "live" like vinyl does.

Yes, there can be hiss, there can be pops, there can be scratches (or mysterious skips, even on new vinyl) and toward the end of a side, the sound quality begins to degrade...and CDs lack those problems. Most of those issues can be resolved with cleaning. Once you've started listening to vinyl, you start to embrace those details...it becomes part of the sound. But a good cleaning can make even an old, thrift store record sound excellent. (My Dark Side of The Moon is an old, scratched up thrift store copy...I cleaned it, and it doesn't skip, and only has a slight hiss...and it still sounds more rewarding sound than the CD version. I haven't heard the more recent remasters, though).

If it were up to me, I'd have all my music on vinyl...but it is very expensive, the selection is poor, and very few stores in my area sell it. CDs are good enough for day to day, MP3s are good for background noise (I prefer music to be an active experience, but it can also be background noise), and they are good for portability (I can carry an ipod anywhere, try playing a 12-inch while going on a walk or driving...).
 
2012-11-10 07:42:29 AM
So many of you are so astoundingly stupid when it comes to this discussion. There is no sound that can't be replicated on the digital medium. If you do a analogue to digital dump of a vinyl record, then replay it, guess what? It brings along even the stupid pops and static of vinyl.

There is no "more alive" sound, that is just your batshiat stupid nostalgia telling you that spending money of a dead medium was a good deal.
 
2012-11-10 08:18:03 AM
Well, that all depends on the bitrate of the mp3.

92KBs? Where is my bass? What the fark is wrong with the high hats? I WANT MY RECORDS BACK YOU ASSHOLES!

128KBs? I'll take vinyl please, but if i need it to be portable, I GUESS I can settle for the mp3.

320KBs VBR? fark that record shiat. It's bulky outdated crap.

/spent too much money on his audio setup
//Learned quite a bit about what audio compression sounds like.
///Owns no records
 
2012-11-10 08:25:57 AM
Oh yes. One more.

FLAC? There is absolutely no difference between what I am listening to, and what the recording engineer wanted me to hear. It is not simply functionally identical, it is literally identical. Records and MP3s are for suckers, people who do not have good stereos, or people who don't care about their music. Records and MP3s should be dead formats and have absolutely nothing to offer in the way of pros over FLAC, considering these days we can fit 40 gigabytes of data on a chip the size of your thumbnail.
 
2012-11-10 09:46:56 AM

Wasilla Hillbilly: It's like people and their tube-amp fascination. If you want to pay 5x what you need to for your hipster cred that's fine, but quit trying to convince me that there are sounds that are somehow incapable of being reproduced digitally.


www.netinstruments.com

I've been asked multiple times if my Trademark 120 was a tube amp.

/love that amp!
 
2012-11-10 11:45:55 AM
If they'd stop compressing the ever loving crap out of CD masters, they'd sound great. CDs are capable of producing just as good a sound as vinyl, it's just too bad nobody has mastered any correctly. In the beginning, they were scared of clipping- they also purposely cut the highs for God only knows why. Around the mid 90s they started to get the hang of it, and CDs started sounding halfway decent... then the frigging loudness wars started and turned it all to shiat again.
This is of course just my opinion, but go get some good CDs from the mid 90s to see what they're (almost) supposed to sound like. Or, try the remaster of Pearl Jam's "Ten"... it's actually a remaster they did correctly without insane compression/ loudness crap (although it is much louder than the original release.)
 
2012-11-10 11:05:05 PM
If you are at home and using good quality gear, then lossless digital recordings will give you pleasure with the dynamic range the music intended.
If you are in your car or working and just want background music, then MP3 will do...
 
2012-11-12 11:24:58 AM
Pontious Pilates

"that's the biggest problem with vinyl. It's a fragile medium."

Not as fragile as most people think. I have 50 year old records that have seen a lot of play and still sound great with very little surface noise. I have records I bought 30 years ago that still sound new. It all boils down to careful handling, cleaning them properly, and playing them on properly adjusted equipment.

"But a pristine record played on decent equipment will outshine digital every time."

Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. The quality of the mastering, the quality of the pressing, the vinyl itself, and other factors affect what you hear. There are also a lot of variables in the setup of the turntable that affect playback, too. Tracking force, anti-skating, vertical tracking angle, pivot to spindle distance, overhang... And you have to be sure your turntable is isolated from airborne and mechanical vibration. All of these have to be absolutely correct to get the best out of vinyl.

The reality is that digital and analog, vinyl, CD, and tape, all have equal ability to sound terrific or god-awful. Each format's quality is dependent on a separate set of factors that affect it's performance.
 
2012-11-12 11:36:30 AM
Gaboo

"CDs are capable of producing just as good a sound as vinyl, it's just too bad nobody has mastered any correctly."

There are plenty of crappily mastered CDs, but there are a lot of really good ones, too. Go listen to Beck's "Sea Change", Janis Ian's "Breaking Silence", Joe Jackson's "Rain", or Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly". Those are just four of about a bazillion well-mastered CDs.

bullsballs

"If you are in your car or working and just want background music, then MP3 will do..."

All of my mp3s that I record from vinyl or tape, or rip from CDs are 320 kbps LAME CBR. In a level-matched ABX test, they're indistinguishable from the original. If it's a MOFI or some other really good audiophile release, I'll use FLAC just on principle, but otherwise a high bitrate mp3 is just fine.
 
2012-11-12 01:24:13 PM

GibbyTheMole: Gaboo

"CDs are capable of producing just as good a sound as vinyl, it's just too bad nobody has mastered any correctly."

There are plenty of crappily mastered CDs, but there are a lot of really good ones, too. Go listen to Beck's "Sea Change", Janis Ian's "Breaking Silence", Joe Jackson's "Rain", or Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly". Those are just four of about a bazillion well-mastered CDs.

bullsballs

"If you are in your car or working and just want background music, then MP3 will do..."

All of my mp3s that I record from vinyl or tape, or rip from CDs are 320 kbps LAME CBR. In a level-matched ABX test, they're indistinguishable from the original. If it's a MOFI or some other really good audiophile release, I'll use FLAC just on principle, but otherwise a high bitrate mp3 is just fine.


NUH UH I HAVE MONSTER BRAND GOLD PLATED EARS, I CAN TELL!

/freaking audiophools.
 
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