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Thread: Vinyl vs CD

  1. #1
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    Default Vinyl vs CD

    The pictures say it all

    see post 6 below

    Vs




    Photographs taken by Chris Supranowitz.

    ST

  2. #2
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    Default Pictures say what?

    What do they say?

    See technical comparison here:

    http://www.macfh.co.uk/JavaJive/Audi...VinylVsCD.html

  3. #3
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    Default

    Difficult for me to trust anyone who refers to LP's as vinyls. I like the sound of both but find I'd rather listen to music than tinker so I've decided to stick with digital.

  4. #4
    honmanm Guest

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    "vinyls" - no malice there, it is probably just a coloquialism (in Brazil people refer to "a vinyl" as anyway "LP" doesn't make sense in Portugese!).

    I often find LP nicer to listen to than CD - but that is personal preference and like Art K the convenience of CD wins out. "Nice" and "accurate" don't always go together (for example I'd take a "nice" reproduction of Scottish bagpipes over an accurate reproduction, any day!). I suspect that the sound of less-than-perfect LP reproduction is easier on the ear than less-than-perfect CD (similarly valves vs. transistors).

    The article that Labarum linked to has a further very useful link
    http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/HFN/Clipp.../clipping.html

    which probably explains why it is possible for an LP to actually be closer to the original recording than a modern CD.

    The original article is a bit "polemic" in style, being a recitation of the technical areas in which CD betters LP, and then the conclusion "So why do people persist in claiming against all scientific reason that vinyl is better?"... as if science is limited to the areas chosen by the writer...

    I'd love to know the facts behind the common subjective preference for LP (and discussing the compression, hotness, and clipping issues with modern CDs is a good start) but if people prefer LP we should be able to measure why...

  5. #5
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    Default Master tape = vinyl?

    This is a topic that had been debated to death. The pictures were just pictures which the vinyl ( or LP (long play phonograph record)) looks like an art and CD looks so sterile. Vinyl looks so natural with its imperfection. BTW, i used to call them records.

    To me vinyl, at least some of them sounded better than CD but I wouldn't say all of them. Whatever it is, the fact remains that all of us agree that the best sounding medium is the master tape. In 1997, TDK did offer 1 million dollar during a consumer show to anyone who could correctly identify the master tape, tape and CD in 10 successive trials. No one could. You can read about it in the Soundstage magazines. So a CD is as good as the original master tape yet vinyl lovers would prefer master tape but not CD even when CD can sound as identical as the master tape.

    Now if a CD sound is as good as a master tape than why vinyl is still preferred by audiophiles ?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    The pictures say it all



    Vs




    Photographs taken by Chris Supranowitz.

    ST
    By the pictures, it seems that it is a choice between a trip to the Grand Canyon or a trip on pills.

    Sebastien (I consume both each day)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    Now if a CD sound is as good as a master tape than why vinyl is still preferred by audiophiles ?
    I wonder if this preference is more of a player thing than format? It could be true to say that a good CD player yields a sound comparable to the master tape sound, whereas a bad CD player sounds horrible - not sympathetic to human hearing at all. The difference between a good and bad record player, while just as marked, is perhaps different in nature. Somehow a poor record player doesn't sound so offensive to the ear.

    This is just a suggestion - I have some, but not enough, experience to back it up. Thoughts?

  8. #8
    honmanm Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    In 1997, TDK did offer 1 million dollar during a consumer show to anyone who could correctly identify the master tape, tape and CD in 10 successive trials. No one could.
    With respect, that is not a scientific trial. One master tape and CD master, *chosen to demonstrate a point*, *for marketing purposes*, cannot be distinguished - why is that surprising? Demos are designed to sell, whatever product is being demonstrated... it would be a failure on the part of those who set up the demo if anyone *could* hear the difference.

    What I'd like to know is whether, if one set up CD and turntable sources that measure the same (within the accepted limits of human hearing), would the average audiophile (by definition someone who makes a point of listening for differences) have a preference?

    There is a potentially useful test though, and that is to record the output of a really good turntable to CD, and compare the recording of the turntable to the turntable itself. I've read that that "audiophile" traits of the turntable sound are captured on the CD, but not having a turntable in the system (let alone a really good one!) it's not possible to satisfy my curiosity on this one.... yet...

  9. #9
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    Would it possible that lp records, being the lower common denominator compared to digital in terms of performance, appeal to those whose sound systems are deficient? Lp records, cannot for one, go as loud, or have the dynamic range of cd’s. In a less capable stereo system this would create lots of distortion. Many might interpret (digital) this as a poorer medium.

  10. #10
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    Default Scientific measurements

    I agree it wasn't scientific. It is also dependent on the musical contents, the recording limitations. The point is, they manage to make three formats to sound alike and indistinguishable to human ears. Nevertheless, I think vinyl aficionados weren't interested in scientific measurements. Measurements clearly say CD format is superior.

    We can't compare CD and vinyl because of the inherent audible noise that vinyl generates which makes double blind tests meaningless.

    Five months ago, during our international hi-if show Clearaudio demonstrated their Master Reference turntable. My friend who is a die-hard vinyl believer made it a point to be the first person to audition so he went to the show in the morning on the first day. He was so taken aback by the smooth sound quality of the expensive turntable. On Sunday, he invited me to hear how good can a SOTA turntable sound like.

    After the show while we are having drinks, we were informed the turntable was only set up around 4 pm on Friday and on Sunday at the time we were listening to it was actually playing CD. Here we have a seasoned vinyl listener who truly believed that he was hearing to a SOTA turntable and can't tell the different between a CD and LP sound.

    Having said that, there is something right about vinyl at times. My thinking is it may got something to do with channel separation and stereo effect on our brain.

    ST

  11. #11
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    Default Preference for LP (vinyl) over digital

    I think that the key point is that even if the signal arriving at the cutting lathe is of perfect master quality, due to the sheer mass of the cutting head etc. etc. etc. the lathe itself cannot be expected to make a perfect rendition of that signal. Nor is it ever asked to. The skilled analogue Mastering Engineer has his hand on the volume (and other) controls during the cutting process because he has to be sure that the music will fit the LP side without a break, and he has to be sure that the dynamics are within the range of the average LP buyer's PU cartridge replay capabilities. The primary requirement is therefore not fidelity but the avoidance of LP records being returned to the stores as 'uplayable on my system'.

    It is blindingly obvious from the electronmicrograph scan of the LP groove that the groove walls are far from smooth. They should be perfectly smooth, glass-like if they are to even pretend to mimic what is on the master. Since voltage is produced by the cartridge output terminals by the wiggling action of the stylus in the groove, every one of those irregularities will produce an unwelcome voltage which is superimposed onto the music. Hence the constant hash of vinyl due to the stylus wiggle as it slides over the unwanted lumps and bumps.

    That said, as I reported a long time ago, I bought my first CD player the day they were launched - a date etched on my memory (3 March 1983 in the UK) and the only available CDs. I was a shade disappointed as I could make the direct comparison between my LPs (via Shure V15/3) and the CD. When the levels were equalised (by ear) on the right tracks the differences were small at a moderate listening level. The give-away was when the music became complex and/or loud when the vinyl was clearly struggling - as you would expect. But LP can indeed sound nice. And it is great theatre too.

    There are some interesting things we can observe from a close look at the supplied electron photo of an LP record - see attached.


    • I've marked three adjacent grooves - that's three revolutions of the record, 1, 2 and 3.
    • With red arrows I've marked every piece of dirt and rubbish in the groove, every one of which would generate an unwanted noise at the speakers
    • I mentioned the skill of the mastering engineer. We can see from point A that had the signal been any louder i.e. the groove fatter, that groove 2 would have broken through into groove 1 at that point - a disaster. Just like a train being derailed by faulty points, there would have been the double jeopardy of severe distortion and groove-skip, with huge return-to-store problems.

    What we must conclude is that it is nothing short of a miracle that vinyl can sound as good as it does, and for that to be true, every tiny detail of manufacturing and replay needs careful attention. And especially the quality and cleanliness of the vinyl material and cutting conditions.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  12. #12
    honmanm Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    We can't compare CD and vinyl because of the inherent audible noise that vinyl generates which makes double blind tests meaningless.
    Unless one records the output of the turntable to CD and then do a comparison of the TT and its recording.

    Another forum that I follow has a lot of vinyl fans, and I've noticed some people reporting that with the latest upgrades their decks are at risk of sounding lifeless and sterile, "like CD". That says a lot... but as that kind of gear is totally out of my league I haven't paid much attention to the debate & as ever with hi-fi discussions there are loads of opinions & very few facts.

    Five months ago, during our international hi-if show Clearaudio demonstrated their Master Reference turntable. My friend who is a die-hard vinyl believer made it a point to be the first person to audition so he went to the show in the morning on the first day. He was so taken aback by the smooth sound quality of the expensive turntable. On Sunday, he invited me to hear how good can a SOTA turntable sound like.

    After the show while we are having drinks, we were informed the turntable was only set up around 4 pm on Friday and on Sunday at the time we were listening to it was actually playing CD. Here we have a seasoned vinyl listener who truly believed that he was hearing to a SOTA turntable and can't tell the different between a CD and LP sound.
    That's a great story! And probably a good example of expectation bias, i.e. if you are expecting an improvement whatever difference you hear has to be "better". So for example if a "better" component is actually bass-light the midrange will be more prominent & one can end up thinking it has better midrange.

    There's an interesting question here - what aspects of a good turntable contribute to it sounding "nicer" than CD? In a friend's system the sound of his turntable is much nicer than any CD player he has tried (both his opinion & mine) but as the CD players sound very much alike in that system it is quite likely that the problem lies elsewhere in the system. There's another expectation bias thing - if you have a session comparing CD players, it is easy to fool oneself into thinking that the differences or problems one can hear are in the players.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labarum View Post
    Just reading the amount of control that I will have with the LP software, i.e Mechanical Noise Electrica lNoise, Wear, Dust, Warp are some of the things that are part and parcel of LP sound. Should we even bother to listen to LP?

    Quote Originally Posted by honmanm View Post
    Unless one records the output of the turntable to CD and then do a comparison of the TT and its recording.........
    I am not sure how this would help. CD's output will be more accurate.

    There's an interesting question here - what aspects of a good turntable contribute to it sounding "nicer" than CD? In a friend's system the sound of his turntable is much nicer than any CD player he has tried (both his opinion & mine) but as the CD players sound very much alike in that system it is quite likely that the problem lies elsewhere in the system.
    I am still thinking it may have something to do with channel separation. I am trying to get recording samples with different channel separation and LP recording. Will update soon. This time I need to think it over properly.

    ST

  15. #15
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    Default Some like it "nice"

    It is the case that some people prefer the sound of LPs, FM Radio and valve amplification.

    I think there is good evidence that, compared to good digital systems, these media remove something from the original data, and add something; yet the 'analogue sound" or "valve sound" is still perceived by some to be 'nicer'.

    [Of course the most accurate meaning of "nice" is "precise". !!!]

  16. #16
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    Yes, this is an interesting thread. For me, its about what music i can get on which format. I have many Lps, especially of great classical string players of the 1940s and on, which have never been released on cd. I also agree with Allen, there is a theatre to using record players, just as there is to live concerts, or playing an instrument, it takes a little more interaction. There is also nothing wrong with 'coloration' in my opinion. When i record lets say a violin track, i use a ribbon mic, which has a very dark sound, then add a little reverb, maybe alter the tone a little. I spoke to a record player maufacturer recently who spoke about the need of reducing coloration, to play just whats on the record. I would rather have someting that sounds lush and rich, than 'Clinical', even if that is 'unrealistic' or less precise. Finally, and this is to Allen, what did you partner your Shure cartridge with? I guess a Sme arm and Mitchel gyro deck. How close did i get?

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    Default Allen should of course be Alan. Apologies!

    Allen should of course be Alan. Apologies!

  18. #18
    Charles Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labarum View Post
    It is the case that some people prefer the sound of LPs, FM Radio and valve amplification.

    I think there is good evidence that, compared to good digital systems, these media remove something from the original data, and add something; yet the 'analogue sound" or "valve sound" is still perceived by some to be 'nicer'.

    [Of course the most accurate meaning of "nice" is "precise". !!!]
    When I compare the same record and the same mix on my Oracle Delphi V, Graham 2.2 , Benz Ruby and Whest with my Meridian 506.20 I hear nearly no difference at all. However the LP sounds more free and I prefer the LP. But what an amount of money to invest in a turntable - not rational, but falling in love is not rational either.

    By the way I tried the same with my Thorens 160, Denon 160 and you hear a real difference.

  19. #19
    honmanm Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    I am not sure how this would help. CD's output will be more accurate.
    If the turntable and a CD recording of its output cannot be distinguished, that would prove the "CD is essentially perfect" proposition. If they can be distinguised, it would show that not all CD reproduction is perfect.

    If the sound of the turntable recorded to CD is "nicer" than a well-mastered commercial CD of the same material, that supports (but doesn't prove) the proposition that LP reproduction loses information in a way that pleases the ear.

  20. #20
    Charles Guest

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    It was my first contribution and it went wrong
    Last edited by Charles; 27-11-2010 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Double

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