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Vinyl Long live the LP. Post topics about LPs, players, setup and more.

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Old 09-05-2009   #79
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Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

Well, I've talked to Bob, and have 5 of his amps and two of his preamps (the 2 Sunfire pieces are for A/V). I currently have no tube equipment, but I was just at a friend's house in Santa Fe and listened to his Sunfire Vacuum Tube Reference preamp, and it was delicious. It even has a tube phono preamp. I love Carver stuff for the bang for the buck, and I know how to work on his mag-coil designs, so I can keep my stuff going that I bought in the early 1980's. Bob is very pragmatic and if there is a question he'll be the first to say "let's try it and find out". Bob is very much into tubes these days. The sound from modern tube gear is much cleaner these days as people learn to keep the output within the linear limits of the tubes. In the 50s and 60s, the tube amps were so underpowered that most were operating at clipping (or above) and that numbness was the soft clipping that tubes do with high levels of second-order harmonic distortion that make single-ended triode amps sound fat. Because the attack time of tubes is slower (slew rate) and the exhibit relatively high output impedance (damping), highs are soft and bass is tubby in most tube amps. But there is magic in the mid-range! Also, modern day capacitors have made tube-amps much better than they used to be. But this is about CD versus Vinyl.

I might have assumed wrongly that we were talking about the digital format, not the CD (44.1 kHz, 16-bit) format solely. I agree that, to me, a good pressing (probably from some European house) on 180 g. virgin vinyl of an album sounds better than a CD. A little softer, maybe, but with better fullness and (of course) dynamic range. Part of the latter could be the result of the recording engineer compressing the CD, but I have made this test myself. When you move up the line to SACD or DVD-A however, the recording engineers are more careful because the artist clearly cares enough about their music to be putting it out on these low-volume formats. I just received Gaucho on DVD-A (96 kHz, 24-bit stereo and 5.1) and have the 180g vinyl on order to do the comparison (in stereo, of course).

I was never a fan of quadraphonic, but I do like a well done 5.1 format DVD-A or SACD. The Beatles Love album was mentioned earlier which is great in 5.1 on DVD-A. Diana Krall's The Girl In The Other Room is another in 5.1 SACD. If you want to try out all the new formats, I recommend getting an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player (or a DV-980H if you aren't into the Blu-ray formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master).
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Old 08-04-2010   #80
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Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

The age old question. Well I think it's right to say CD versus vinyl because vinyl was here first. CD certainly broke a paradigm about the latest thing always being better than what came before. When CDs came out it was inconceivable that they could be anything other than superior to what had come before, after all, they used a laser beam and a small shiny metallic disk that shone all colours of the rainbow when held to the light.

The breaking of that paradigm set off an avalanche as we realised we were being deluged with inferior products with high price tags. CDs and their ilk continue to sound worse as they get older, whereas analogue media remains untouched by time. Even cassettes prove resilient. I have cassettes from the 80's that were played into the ground on different machines, in fact the machines wore out while the tapes they played didn't, and they pull up detail more than CDs. CD's totally collapse when faced with a complex wave form, whereas vinyl and tape excel. Musical detail on CDs is often just plain missing. The distortion of CD is staggering, but we closed our ears to the technical reality and enjoyed the honeymoon illusion of thinking humanity had discovered the philosophers stone, and we could get this fantasy just by looking at a silver disk and pretending that because it was silver it mus be good. Star trek, Dr Who, and Superman. What a lot of snake oil that turned out to be eh?

Of course a big advantage of vinyl is that they are hard to pirate. Groups that sell their music only on vinyl sell more original copies than groups that provide a multimedia alternative. It is also possible to use organic compounds such as shellac to make LPs. Contrary to what those who pedalled the oil derived PVC material about having superior sonic values such as being quieter than shellac, vinyl was found to be as noisy when no equalisation curve was used.

So where as it is possible for musicians to show their green credentials by releasing an LP either using 100% recycled vinyl or encouraging reforestation by using shellac based material instead, it is impossible to do likewise with current electronic microchip hardware because of the immense amount of coltan and other exotic materials from Congo and parts of the world required to make digital systems work. With analogue being simpler and less resource intensive it is greener, as is the case with film cameras when compared to their over complex digital counterparts.
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Old 08-04-2010   #81
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Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

07-17-2009 #69
Vinyl Rules! said
"IMO, SACD was simply a crass marketing attempt by Sony to extend their royalty revenue from the sliver discs after their CD patent expired. But like the entire recording industry, they got blindsided by iTunes and downloads. Consider this: One day's revenue from the iTunes store equals the total annual sales of SACD for 2008. Consumers have voted for convenience over sound quality and I find that sad."

Having been in EMM LABS, The company owned by Ed Meitner who fixed the SACD format for Sony, a few times, as well as having heard SACD in some of the best systems in Calgary, Including the Dual Format Rosemary Clooney album in both CD and SACD formats on EMM Labs equipment. In a price no object system. It is my considered opinion that not only is SACD superior to vinyl but also to CD.
If you have never heard SACD on EMM equipment , Hand crafted and No chips allowed, then you have not heard it as the SACD manufacturers want you to hear it.
All other SACD reproducers user much cheaper methods of re-production, and you get what you pay for.
The unified deck and electronics are expensive at $6K Canadian, but worth it.
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Old 08-04-2010   #82
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Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

No chips in a piece of digital hardware?? That's a first. What makes vinyl superior is that you can get more than what you can pay for. Once you've admitted to using OTA gear and tubes to extract the 'best' from your CD, SACD etc. you've gone into the realm of using distortion techniques to make up for a poor initial sound source in a bid to make it listenable.

The advantage of a turntable is that you can use an ordinary low distortion transistor amp and still get listenable results. You can then move from that base line into using prettier amp gear in order to use 2nd harmonic distortion to enrich the sound in some way for your pleasure.
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Old 08-04-2010   #83
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Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

[QUOTE=occupation;25787]No chips in a piece of digital hardware?? That's a first. What makes vinyl superior is that you can get more than what you can pay for. Once you've admitted to using OTA gear and tubes to extract the 'best' from your CD, SACD etc. you've gone into the realm of using distortion techniques to make up for a poor initial sound source in a bid to make it listenable.

As I have long held most (if not all) vinyl lovers prefer the distortion caused by the tracking of the vinyl because it adds something that is not in the performance.

I do not nor do I prefer the sound of Glass over well constructed electronics designed to eliminate not enhance distortion, glass or solid state.
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Old 08-04-2010   #84
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Cool Re: CD vs Vinyl

No offense, Occupation, but your comments seem delusional. CDs have not gotten worse in the last ten years (although mixing techniques may have, basing their decisions on use by MP3 players, among other factors), but have in fact gotten better. Analog media (LPs, tapes, etc.) have certainly not gained ground, and the idea that your tape player might wear out before your cassettes do strains credibility. Knowing that some metallic oxides peel off any tape EACH PLAY against a stainless steel head comes to mind immediately. Furthermore, since most tapes, especially cassettes, did not capture information above 15Khz (and even high-end playback decks certainly didn't pass through frequencies above 18Khz) while any CD can reproduce material past 22Khz, proves that your points aren't based on any science the rest of us can agree on.

As far as LPs go, honestly, listening to CDs of well-recorded music (I'd point to Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" or Grateful Dead's "Workingman's Dead" for just two well-mastered pop examples) shows plainly that compared to the cheap mass-produced records of the era, the same CD releases sound far more clean, detailed and quiet. Certainly without the high noise floor of most commercially-pressed records, more detail emerges from your recordings. And even if you're lucky enough to acquire an unusually well-pressed disk, simply owning it for any length of time means continued degradation from repeated needle passes or airborne contaminants. I've already mentioned the constant danger of physical tape's deterioration merely from use, and didn't even mention susceptibility to stray magnetic fields.

And ever-higher price tags? CD players can be had for far less expense than turntables today, if you can find one. And the output of any $30 CD player will sound very close to that of a $2,000 player if you're honest, which you certainly cannot say about a record player. In fact anyone daft enough to play a record on a cheap turntable deserves what they'll get: all the definition and detail it once held lopped off of the grooves by a crude needle and heavy tonearm in just one spin. Compare that to the practically-indestructible compact disk and you can see that the LP has the far more delicate life and must be coddled simply to maintain any semblance of its original condition. Barring catastrophic scratches or a break, a CD will sound exactly the same every time you play it, on every device with which you play it, until there are no more devices left that can read the format.

Finally, after meandering about with the arcane discussion of vinyl (hey, a plastic) versus shellac (hey, bug residue) you state that film cameras are somehow more "green" than their digital equivalents. Ever heard of film (acetate, a plastic)? Processing chemicals? Paper prints? Digital cameras are, based on use, far more "green" than their predecessors since people no longer use toxic chemicals and cut down trees just to see the results of their photo sessions. This isn't to say that digital images are better than analog; they're not. Unlike this digital vs analog music discussion, film is widely acknowledged to remain superior as an image-capture media because digital receptors just aren't as sensitive as film emulsions are (yet).

Of course the fact is, contrary to your notion that consumers worship these shiny plastic disks, most of us pop 'em in, press play and forget that we're listening to a disk at all. Compact disks offer instant random access to material, safety from accidental damage, portable storage, and clarity unheard of at in the analog era. I'd say that digital media merely sounds slightly different, neither bettor nor worse, than the best analog recordings of the same material. But tapes...uh uh.

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