Author Topic: Vinyl  (Read 2411 times)

menthel

  • Jim is my real, actual name
Vinyl
« on: April 13, 2015, 01:44:45 pm »
I have new Godspeed! You Black Emperor. It is on 180gm vinyl. Mmm.

Who else is still buying the wonderful, shiny beauties?

Rhys W

  • I'm single, bilingual
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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 11:54:53 pm »
I might get that - do you get a download code with it?

The physicality and superior sound of vinyl and the convenience and portability of digital files - best of both worlds.

Mr Larrington

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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 12:09:38 am »
While a 12" slab of Shiny is usually a thing of beauty, as a card-carrying cloth-eared wossname any superiority in sound cannot be detected by my ears.  An unscientific experiment the other week put nine or a dozen versions of the same track on random play - formats ranging from "the best FLAC has to offer" to 128 kbps MP3.  I could not perceive any difference and thus concluded that it is a waste of anbarons to store music files at higher quality; any investment in the extra hardware required to wire up my elderly but probably still OK turntable to the AV system would be wasted.

Your ears may vary.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 12:30:18 am »
My general take on the superiority of vinyl is that it's overwhelmingly about the intentions of whoever mastered the track, rather than the properties of the medium itself.  I consider CD (and lossless functional equivalents) to be the superior standard for audio reproduction, let down by the "moar louder = moar better" philosophy that's infected music since at least the early 90s.

Which isn't to say there's not something fundamentally satisfying about playing the things.  It's just not really about audio quality.


Mental note:  Get barakta in a quiet room with a record player, and demonstrate that with the amplifier off you can hear the sound coming directly from the needle.  It's one of those neat little experiences that she missed out on because she didn't have that kind of hearing in the 80s.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Mr Larrington

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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 12:36:57 am »
Perhaps one day someone will apply current mixing trends to the first Motörhead album, coz that sounds positively anaemic today.  Even the 12" single version of the title track is pretty quiet.  It didn't help that producer Speedy Keen was as deaf as a post, but I for one would like it to get the same treatment that Iggy meted out to "Raw Power" (Bowie having been coked off his tits when he did v1.0).
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

menthel

  • Jim is my real, actual name
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 06:39:55 am »
I might get that - do you get a download code with it?

The physicality and superior sound of vinyl and the convenience and portability of digital files - best of both worlds.

Yep, code included!

I can't say I can hear a significant difference it's more about the tactile fondliness and scale of the artwork!

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 06:51:20 am »
Meh.

I listen to music using a 19th century gramophone with wax cylinders. So much better reproduction than this modern vinyl electrickery rubbish.

And I should know because I'm an audiophile.

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 07:35:07 am »
I think I would have to spend big to get a vinyl setup that matched my old digital one.  I ditched the CD player and now use a laptop or tablet to feed Lynn speakers through an upgraded A400 amp of 1992 vintage.  The files need to be FLAC because even my ears can easily tell when it's only mp3 format.  Since the amp was upgraded well-produced digital tracks are very obvious, to the detriment of the low quality ones.   
Sic transit and all that..

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2015, 08:41:35 am »
My general take on the superiority of vinyl is that it's overwhelmingly about the intentions of whoever mastered the track, rather than the properties of the medium itself.  I consider CD (and lossless functional equivalents) to be the superior standard for audio reproduction, let down by the "moar louder = moar better" philosophy that's infected music since at least the early 90s.

Which isn't to say there's not something fundamentally satisfying about playing the things.  It's just not really about audio quality.


Mental note:  Get barakta in a quiet room with a record player, and demonstrate that with the amplifier off you can hear the sound coming directly from the needle.  It's one of those neat little experiences that she missed out on because she didn't have that kind of hearing in the 80s.
Having been working with high quality audio equipment at the time CDs were introduced, I can confirm they were a step backwards from vinyl, and seriously inferior to DAT for sound quality (though for convenience beat it hands down).  I find CDs quite hissy, though not as bad as the first generation.  As for the promise that they would never skip or degrade.... ;D
Getting there...

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2015, 09:38:04 am »
Some years ago a blind test was conducted.  Vinyl vs (cassette)tape vs CD vs MP3.

Nothing really conclusive was found, apart from finding different people prefer different types of output and that cassettes were rank awful.

The nearest they came to a conclusion was that a CD, played on the cheapest of cheap Philips CD player, gave the most pleasing output.

It seems that the sheer crapness of the electronics actually resulted in a warm and rich sound, comparable to a traditional valve output.

Since I always end up cranking the extreme highs and extreme lows right up, whilst reducing mid range, I suppose I'm the equivalent of an Australian Shiraz wine drinker.  Big taste at the expense of any subtlety. 

Also my phone is one of those modern ones without a record player on it so vinyl fails on that count for me.

320kbps sounds fine to my old ears and I don't need to keep getting up every 20 minutes to turn the LP over.

I still think they should sell CDs in LP sized covers though.  That was always the great appeal of vinyl for me, the whacking great picture of Debbie Harry you could stare at for an hour (other artists are available).
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 10:11:33 am »
I too have cloth hears, vinyl, CD, mp3, it's all just music. I'm happy enough with the practicality of an iPhone full to the brim with middling quality mp3 and AACs.

But there's something about vinyl that makes me miss it. The tactile experience of those big covers, artwork you didn't have to squint at, lyrics on the liner, the heft of the plastic itself, it's smell, and the little symphony of noises as the needle lands, finds the groove, the pops and crackles that busy themselves in the silence between tracks, and that final phut as the needle takes off at the end. Flip and repeat. Albums had sides and each was it's own domain. All this and fond memories of my youth spent flipping through the new releases in Nottingham's Selectadisc and getting the bus home, happily clutching my silver carrier bag. It's all a bit anaemic typing a name into a search field and pressing a few buttons to make it appear on your device. Plus, how does the Devil send us messages without encoding them into the end of albums?

Of course, the boxes of vinyl I have weigh a tonne and sit in the attic straining joists and cracking ceilings. One day I'm going to set up turntable I tell myself without actually doing it.

I'm sure I read plenty of stories about the preference for mastering albums for the loudness, compressing everything – certainly older stuff I have is a lot quieter and the range between quite and loud more expansive.

Cassettes were bloody horrible though. My classy Amstrad stereo system had quite an appetite.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2015, 11:59:46 am »
The other advantage of vinyl is that it's way easier to construct a Camberwell Carrot on the back of "Live Dead" than on an iPod Shuffle.

Allegedly.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2015, 12:04:08 pm »
DAT is obviously better than CD in that both are digital but DAT is 24 bit / 48kHz and CD is 16 bit 41kHz. DAT therefore holds more information however for practical purposes that might not make any difference at all. Depends on what you play it back on, how good your ears are and how it was recorded and mixed in the first place. If the mixing was digital (Pro Tools or whatever) that my have been 16 or 24 bit you don't know.
You shouldn't get hiss with either CD or DAT (or any other digital media) as 0 is zero no matter what the digital format so the silence should be inky black whatever unless your playback equipment introduces noise or it was recorded with noise (mastered to tape or some other analogue noise in the recording).
I think you can definitely hear the difference between 128kbs MP3 and CD quality or above IF you play it back on a decent system (and by decent I don't mean mega bucks, a 100 amp and 100 speakers would do it just not an iPod or phone with £5 ear buds on the Central Line).
Move up to 192kbs VBR MP3 and it gets a lot harder but its still there I think if its a good recording. Above that well I cant tell really but since hard disk space is cheap I'll rip to FLAC.
Vinyl sounds fantastic, or it did when everything was mixed for vinyl and you had a reasonable record player (I still do but don't use it much). It doesn't have a higher dynamic range than CD or MP3 in fact its more limited. Good recordings were mastered to take account of the limitations of vinyl though.
As others have pointed out one of the reasons people thought CDs were worse than vinyl to start with is that CDs require a different mixing / mastering than vinyl and a lot of those early releases they just didn't bother. They just digitised the original master tapes without any kind of remixing, quick and dirty or did it without much care. That's why by the mid 90s when CD was understood by engineers better you suddenly started getting lost of re mastered re-releases.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2015, 12:09:46 pm »
I'm sure I read plenty of stories about the preference for mastering albums for the loudness, compressing everything – certainly older stuff I have is a lot quieter and the range between quite and loud more expansive.

This is true. You can actually get a better dynamic range with digital than vinyl and a quicker change of dynamics - the needle on a record would just jump off the groove if the dynamic changed too much too quickly. The lack of dynamics in a lot of modern stuffs is not due to digital versus analogue but rather to mixing for crap reproduction via radio and cheap / small radio speakers and these days for rubbish ear buds and crappy little iPod doc speakers. Years ago Phill Spector did the same thing with his wall of sound stuff. He mixed i t specifically so it would sound awesome on the radio or jukeboxes.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Mr Larrington

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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2015, 12:18:05 pm »
I initially tried my unscientific testing with a track from the Digital Age but the one I initially chose was too long to listen to ten times back to back so I substituted a 100-second long instrumental from the mid-70s.  Amp and squeakers are good if not mind-buggering.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2015, 12:33:56 pm »
DAT is obviously better than CD in that both are digital but DAT is 24 bit / 48kHz and CD is 16 bit 41kHz. DAT therefore holds more information however for practical purposes that might not make any difference at all.

I thought DAT was 16bit at a variety of sample rates (up to 48kHz), so at 44.1kHz is identical to CD.  Mind you, I haven't used one for a very long time, so maybe the 24bit variant came along later.


Quote
Depends on what you play it back on, how good your ears are and how it was recorded and mixed in the first place. If the mixing was digital (Pro Tools or whatever) that my have been 16 or 24 bit you don't know.

I'd hope that any mixing done this century was floating point.  It's all just data now, so no need to go around quantising things at interim stages because of the hardware.


But at the playback end, I don't really see a need for more than 16 bits: that gives you 96 dB of dynamic range.  Who wants to listen to anything that's painfully loud, in the same track as sounds so quiet you can barely hear them over your own heartbeat and breathing (assuming your hearing's even that good in the first place)?  24bit is literally into bleeding ears territory, so is a healthy degree of overkill for storage of audio that might be manipulated in future without introducing noise.  But I doubt even classical commercial recordings are mastered with anything near 96dB of dynamic range.

What's the dynamic range of vinyl anyway?  70dB on a good day?  I doubt that anyone actually masters recordings at that, either.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2015, 12:49:39 pm »
But at the playback end, I don't really see a need for more than 16 bits: that gives you 96 dB of dynamic range.  Who wants to listen to anything that's painfully loud, in the same track as sounds so quiet you can barely hear them over your own heartbeat and breathing (assuming your hearing's even that good in the first place)?  24bit is literally into bleeding ears territory, so is a healthy degree of overkill for storage of audio without introducing noise.  But I doubt even classical commercial recordings are mastered with anything near 96dB of dynamic range.
I totally agree. There are some technical arguments about where the noise floor is in 16 v 24 bit but for playback really who cares. I sort of like the idea of the master being higher quality than the playback though. It's the engineer in me just wanting some headroom in there for playing with.

Quote
What's the dynamic range of vinyl anyway?  70dB on a good day?  I doubt that anyone actually masters recordings at that, either.
Vinyl is about 60dB for a really good virgin pressing but usually in the low 50s and CD is over 90dB. The thing is analogue tape is only about 65dB on a good day with a really nice tape machine so you can't really use the 90dB of CD if the master was tape.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
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Re: Vinyl
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2015, 12:50:59 pm »
I thought DAT was 16bit at a variety of sample rates (up to 48kHz), so at 44.1kHz is identical to CD.  Mind you, I haven't used one for a very long time, so maybe the 24bit variant came along later.

Wikinaccurate would seem to agree:

Quote from: Wikinaccurate
The DAT standard allows for four sampling modes: 32 kHz at 12 bits, and 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz at 16 bits.

I didn't know that Ry Cooder's "Bop Till You Drop" was the first all-digital rock album though, coz I'd always thought it to be "Levitation" by Hawkwind.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2015, 12:54:49 pm »
I kept my record player and still enjoy playing it. Got it connected through my sonos system.
Its not about sound quality, I just enjoy playing it.   Still have a few albums that I dont have on digital, but I find the biggest difference is I tend to play a whole album, turning it over half way obviously. On the sonos, I pick and choose tracks much more, which to my mind is a bit lazy and misses the point of an album.
Note to self: Must play more albums on the sonos and less playlists.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2015, 12:58:37 pm »
Its not about sound quality, I just enjoy playing it.

Wise words.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2015, 01:01:54 pm »
I didn't know that Ry Cooder's "Bop Till You Drop" was the first all-digital rock album though, coz I'd always thought it to be "Levitation" by Hawkwind.

I've got "Bop Till You Drop" ..... on vinyl :)
I bet there are people who say it sounds better on vinyl than well mixed digital though.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2015, 01:06:20 pm »
I kept my record player and still enjoy playing it. Got it connected through my sonos system.
Its not about sound quality, I just enjoy playing it.   Still have a few albums that I dont have on digital, but I find the biggest difference is I tend to play a whole album, turning it over half way obviously. On the sonos, I pick and choose tracks much more, which to my mind is a bit lazy and misses the point of an album.
Note to self: Must play more albums on the sonos and less playlists.

Me too. Still have vinyl, CD and digital downloads. I don't buy many digital downloads though I prefer CD so I have a hard copy for backup.
The only thing I have junked is tape. I liked the physicality of my big silver Pioneer tape deck though with glowing VU meters but the sound quality was crap really and compared to vinyl or CD. Hadn't used it for years so it went for landfill :(
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 01:09:25 pm »
That's a point, never mind all this vinyl rubbish, what about reel-to-reel tape?  Now that's an archaic recording system I can get behind.  Sure, it's utterly redundant for anything sensible, and editing is faff in the extreme, but there's something deeply satisfying about taking bits of sound, cutting them up and sticking them back together with sticky tape.   :thumbsup:

(This is probably because about 30 seconds after completing my theatre Revox training, I was handed the manual for the JE510.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Vinyl
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2015, 01:13:25 pm »
^^^^^Menthel, are you going to see them next Monday?  My big bro has bought tickets, perhaps forgetting the ear trauma that followed from the last GY!BE gig we went to...

menthel

  • Jim is my real, actual name
Re: Vinyl
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2015, 01:18:37 pm »
^^^^^Menthel, are you going to see them next Monday?  My big bro has bought tickets, perhaps forgetting the ear trauma that followed from the last GY!BE gig we went to...

Unfortunately not. Would have been good to see them live and they don't come to the UK very often. I would imagine it will be a very interesting gig! As for deafness, I couldn't hear for a week after seeing Mogwai at the Brixton Academy a while back. Stupidly got too near the front and the speakers!