Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jim Alfredson

Tonight I compared vinyl, CD, and HD audio

99 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, JSngry said:

Oh, I'd quibble with the unqualified notion that "digital is better than vinyl"

So would I, along with the other unqualified notion that "vinyl is better than digital."

As someone with a room full of vinyl and CDs, I can say that both formats have their advantages and drawbacks, and there are way too many links in the chain that can lead to either sounding amazing, terrible, or anything in between.  

I have LPs that blow away their CD counterparts, and vice-versa.  

I love both for what they are and will continue to do so. 

Edited by Teasing the Korean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we have to differentiate between the source and the playback media - meaning, if I had my way, enough money, etc, I would record on tape, 8 tracks with really wide tape at 15 IPS and no noise reduction  - BUT - I would master to CD, at 24/96 before going down to 16/44; I would not master to vinyl for the reasons that Jim mentions - I love 24/96 multitrack as a a recording format, but if money and time were no object, BIG tape would win every time, with Dolby S if had to use noise reduction.

and of course the kind of music would effect the results - acoustically recorded music versus isolated, booth-recorded, tracked music, which loses huge amounts of presence, harmonics. and warmth.

 

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Teasing the Korean said:

I have LPs that blow away their CD counterparts, and vice-versa.

I do not doubt this but I would argue that such results are not due to the medium itself but rather the expertise with which it is utilized.

 

3 hours ago, AllenLowe said:

I love 24/96 multitrack as a a recording format, but if money and time were no object, BIG tape would win every time, with Dolby S if had to use noise reduction.

I would tend to agree though with some types of music the quickness of digital is a better choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The analog medium is inherently flawed, playback is prone to defects and numerous variables...but I love holding the sleeves, looking at the artwork, being able to read liner notes without my glasses, and of course dropping the needle onto the lead-in groove. PC starts, Bill Evans takes the challenge. It's magical.  CDs...they are just too easy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

analog is higher maintenance - but, I have found, digital is more prone to surprise glitches, things dropping out, odd noises, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, Scott Dolan said:

CDs are just too easy? What does that even mean. 

The analog medium is inherently flawed, playback is prone to defects and numerous variables...

 

Got it now, Scott?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Jim Alfredson said:

I do not doubt this but I would argue that such results are not due to the medium itself but rather the expertise with which it is utilized.

I would say it owes more to bad digital transfers rather than state-of-the-art vinyl pressings.   But nevertheless, there are a lot of bad digital transfers out there that are either no-noised to death or very thin and brittle sounding.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dmitry said:

The analog medium is inherently flawed, playback is prone to defects and numerous variables...

 

Got it now, Scott?

Ah, you like a little tedium in the playback process. ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Scott Dolan said:

Ah, you like a little tedium in the playback process. ;) 

Yep. There's an OCD component to it as well, I reckon. 

Also, I wonder how durable the master tapes are.

Plus all those numerous KOB reissues, I doubt original tapes are still used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now I'm listening to an album I mixed and mastered by Michigan State University jazz guitar professor Randy Napoleon with Rodney Whitaker on upright bass and Greg Hutchinson on drums (soon to be released on the Detroit Music Factory label). It was recorded by my good friend Glenn Brown in 24bit / 88.2kHz, with all the players in the same room, balancing off each other. Glenn has an impressive mic collection and is a fantastic engineer so the mixing was quite simple.

And it sounds fantastic. Would it sound better on tape? Well, I'm using a tape emulation plug-in in the mastering chain and it provides a nice overall glue along with a weight to the low-end. Would it sound better on vinyl? Nah. The 88.2kHz master sounds really amazing. I hope they release it in hi-res as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why? I thought you said you couldn't hear a difference  between CD and HD digital. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just to add, a lot of problem with older issues of everything - CD and LP - are related to bad eq'ing; when I had my business transferring LPs to CDR (using CEDAR) people were often astounded at how much better my transfers from LP sounded than the original LP - it helped to have a good turntable (I have a VPI like Jim does) but ultimately what did the trick was the fact that I have (well, had; having problems now with HF hearing loss)  better ears than about any engineer I have ever worked with.

Edited by AllenLowe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe you picked the wrong albums for this comparison, W & W sounds like crap in any medium. Try some Henry Cow, Pink Floyd "The Wall", Queen "A Night At The Opera", Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" or " Bitches Brew", "Duke Ellington with John Coltrane", or any Led Zep. In all of the above, and many others, vinyl sounds better than digital. I also know cases where the cd sounds better, but they seem to be fewer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, bogdan101 said:

I believe you picked the wrong albums for this comparison, W & W sounds like crap in any medium. 

And there you go. The medium doesn't make a bit of difference. 

As for vinyl sounding better than digital, no it doesn't. Unless more harmonic distortion is your thing. And if it is, fine. But let's not make up fairy tales about it sounding superior to a far cleaner representation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well in my experience digital can _start_ to close the gap with vinyl if you have a proper D/A converter. I only started to get acceptable sound from cd's once I got the Oppo 105 player. The typical cd/dvd/blu-ray player sounds bad, especially with cd media.

By the way, I'm talking here strictly about older, analogue recordings on vinyl vs cd. New digital recordings sound much better, but again, it takes quality playback equipment to get all the benefits.

Edit: To the OP, your Grado Red cartridge might be holding you back a bit.

Edited by bogdan101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not really. Your playback components will give you similar quality no matter the medium. 

And it seems as though you're basing your opinion on early generation CD masters. Yes, they were bad. But listen to the original Beatles CDs and compare them with the remastered ones that came out a few years ago. Huge, and I mean HUGE, difference. Were the first gens worse than LPs? Yes, IMO. But the new remasters are superior in every way. 

Same with Floyd. First gen CDs weren't as dynamic as the LP pressings. But the newly remastered, especially the Immersion sets, are far and away the superior choice. 

Granted, there may be some first gens that were never remastered once the technology caught up to where it wanted to be, and the original LPs still sound better, but those are getting to be far and few between. Not the other way around. 

Edited by Scott Dolan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta love how "abortion" is now much less of a debate compared to the "vinyl vs CD debate". Lazy-ness, space & hearing loss at concerts has me totally with CD forever (as my main format). Definitely any hi-rez audio blows me away when I hear it.

Edited by reverberationmusic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Scott Dolan said:

Why? I thought you said you couldn't hear a difference  between CD and HD digital. 

A good question and after I wrote that post I spent some time comparing my down-sampled 16bit/44.1kHz masters to the original 24bit/88.2kHz files and I couldn't hear a difference. I keep wanting hi-res to sound better but I can't say that it does if I'm honest with myself. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Jim Alfredson said:

A good question and after I wrote that post I spent some time comparing my down-sampled 16bit/44.1kHz masters to the original 24bit/88.2kHz files and I couldn't hear a difference. I keep wanting hi-res to sound better but I can't say that it does if I'm honest with myself. :)

And that's exactly what happened to me trying to compare 256 VBR AAC to CD. I was desperately trying to convince myself I heard a difference. But, by the time I was finished I knew I couldn'r hear even the slightest difference. Either that, or it was so slight that I just wasn't able to identify it consistently. 

1 hour ago, reverberationmusic said:

Gotta love how "abortion" is now much less of a debate compared to the "vinyl vs CD debate". Lazy-ness, space & hearing loss at concerts has me totally with CD forever (as my main format). Definitely any hi-rez audio blows me away when I hear it.

Hi-res blows you away? Compared to what? Well-used cassettes? 

Edited by Scott Dolan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've flirted between formats and a couple years ago, I had my vinyl fetish in full swing and nothing else was good enough. But all formats have a certain quality and at the height of my recent vinyl audiophile stage, I was consumed with a thought: How could we all have been seduced by the condensed glassy sound of the CD like some modern Emperor's New Clothes fairy tale?

Well, the reality many of those first generation CD's, mastered direct from the source tapes sounded extremely good, the rot set-in a little bit later.

Back in the 80s I remember that 12" extended singles sounded extremely good - The Style Council when they were bringing out new releases everything 3 months or so sounded extremely excellent, Heaven 17 too. And of course, we've seen premium audiophile Blue Note re-releases now on two 12" at 45rpm.

Now, I am pretty much a convert to FLAC. I've been ripping CD's since Christmas and play through a NAIM system with a Bluesound hardrive and ripper. I am up to, this evening Gerry Mulligan in the M's. Also downloaded a lot of rock music from the 70s to the 2000s and it's reinvigorated by appreciation of this music. It all sounds much better than the original CD's and vinyl.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm shocked the vinyl fetishists aren't in this thread screaming bloody murder. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Scott Dolan said:

I'm shocked the vinyl fetishists aren't in this thread screaming bloody murder. 

If calling them names doesn't goad them into fighting with you, try insulting their mothers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Calling them names? Are you serious? Even Art used the term describing himself in that phase in the post above mine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.