Is vinyl worth getting into? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Is vinyl worth getting into?

I just got a crazy set of speakers(Klipsch kpt-904's), and they have me obsessed with high quality recordings. I've had good speakers, but these are on another level. 320kbps actually sounded pretty good on my old RF-7's, but these reveal distortion in places, scratchy lyrics, harsh drum symbols, it's awful lol.

From what I gather if music was recorded digitally, vinyl is unnecessary, like buying the new Black Sabbath album on vinyl would be pointless. However if it was recorded in analog vinyl will sound better. So that takes care of newer music, but 80% of what I like is pre 1990.

However vinyl seems like a huge undertaking. What turntable to get, what needle to use, then a tube amp... then the releases themselves! As I've read you can't just buy that $20 lp of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on Amazon because odds are it's just a copy of the cd on vinyl! Nope, need to hit eBay and find an original pressing in good condition.

So the question is, is vinyl really worth all that effort and expense? Or would the better route be to seek the best digital version out there?
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post #2 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plissken99 View Post
However if it was recorded in analog vinyl will sound better.
No it won't. Even 16/44 still has far better resolution than vinyl.

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Originally Posted by plissken99 View Post
So the question is, is vinyl really worth all that effort and expense? Or would the better route be to seek the best digital version out there?
If you are like me and have thousands of discs bought through the analog period then, yes. If starting from scratch, no. Go for the digital.
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post #3 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
No it won't. Even 16/44 still has far better resolution than vinyl.

If you are like me and have thousands of discs bought through the analog period then, yes. If starting from scratch, no. Go for the digital.
+1 I totally agree. i also have amassed hundreds of albums from the late 60's and all through the 70's and the only time I really listen to them is when I 'm feeling nostalgic . it was the only way to play music back then not like today.i also agree that its only a fad in todays music. I agree that todays digital recordings have better sound then their older anolog ancestors . to set up an anolog system today is quite a chore from purchasing a decent turntable and a good sounding cartridge , the hassle to get proper cartridge alignment changing the stylus when worn ,the cleaning and storing of any used and new albums to the constant flipping of an album every 20-30 min. to here the whole album( not like cds or other digital forms of music today)and not to take in consideration of the many pops and clicks and other surface noise. so in my ventures of music listening through the years and knowing what I know now, would I get into vinyl ? no way, save your money for a nice sub or room acoustic treatments.just my 2 cents

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post #4 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 05:27 PM
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This is a personal choice you'll have to make. For me I prefer vinyl over digital. This is after all a hobby. It's higher maintenance (even higher for me as I own a Linn Sondek) but I find it more interactive and enjoyable. There are plenty of entry level TT's available to start your hobby. If you find you enjoy it upgrade. Lots of good options out there. I would check out some pro vinyl forums like the Vinyl Engine to give you the other side of the story.
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post #5 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 06:41 PM
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I don't personally have the patience for vinyl, in addition to that, I never listen to entire albums, but rather whatever songs I want hear. I much prefer the convenience of digital music. In fact, I don't even play CD's any more because I find them inconvenient and not worth the hassle. My 3 systems are computer based.

Again, that's me.
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post #6 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 06:46 PM
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I have a few hundred LPs from back in my youth (and my wife's youth), as well as a small collection of classic jazz albums from the 1950s and 60s. But I don't recommend that newbies get into vinyl unless they have a very good reason to. And I don't see anything in your post that suggests a really good reason. Vinyl can sound great, or awful. It is not uniformly better than digital (and it is uniformly worse by some measures). You need a better reason than you've stated, IMHO.

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post #7 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 06:46 PM
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Is vinyl worth getting into? If the goal is collecting records, yes. Evidently that is a rewarding hobby for many. As a means to obtain, catalog, and listen to music, no. That's especially true for contemporary music.

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post #8 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plissken99 View Post
I just got a crazy set of speakers(Klipsch kpt-904's), and they have me obsessed with high quality recordings. I've had good speakers, but these are on another level. 320kbps actually sounded pretty good on my old RF-7's, but these reveal distortion in places, scratchy lyrics, harsh drum symbols, it's awful lol.

From what I gather if music was recorded digitally, vinyl is unnecessary, like buying the new Black Sabbath album on vinyl would be pointless. However if it was recorded in analog vinyl will sound better. So that takes care of newer music, but 80% of what I like is pre 1990.

However vinyl seems like a huge undertaking. What turntable to get, what needle to use, then a tube amp... then the releases themselves! As I've read you can't just buy that $20 lp of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon on Amazon because odds are it's just a copy of the cd on vinyl! Nope, need to hit eBay and find an original pressing in good condition.

So the question is, is vinyl really worth all that effort and expense? Or would the better route be to seek the best digital version out there?
It cost more to get good sound out of vinyl compared to digital.
Vinyl can sound better than digital when it was recorded in digital. Example would be Michael Jacksons Invincible album, it definitely sounds better in vinyl than cd period. The reason being the limiter on cd's. Listening to Invincible on cd compared to vinyl is like listening to mp3 compared to cd, little nuances where left out.
If you dont want to clean a needle after every record and fight dust and static just go digital and search out the best mastered versions.

You should check out hifisquarepants on youtube with his vinyl rips through your equipment and see what you think. That will give you an idea of the SQ you can get with vinyl keep in mind he has expensive cartridges etc.
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post #9 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 06:53 PM
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In those far off days when vinyl was the only choice, there was something of a ritual in setting up the equipment to play an LP. I have to admit that I'm one of those who would go back to that period in a heartbeat, and would probably last about a day.

Cleaning a disc before playing, holding it up to 3 different light sources to make sure it was absolutely dust free, cleaning the stylus before it was allowed to come within a thousand miles of my precious vinyl, ensuring that the turntable was spinning at exactly 33.333rpm using various stroboscopic devices, closing the lid of the turntable (linear tracking, of course) to ensure no dust dared to enter the sanctum sanctorum of musical excellence and lifting said lid several times during playback to ensure no dust/fluff was collecting around the stylus.

Oh, those were the days. I love my CDs/MP3s.

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post #10 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 06:56 PM
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No one mentioned the covers? The liner notes? I do miss those.

Otherwise, vinyl is just a euphonic distortion. If you like it, you can get the effect with a filter. Or a different sort of euphonic distortion with a tube amp / preamp.
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post #11 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 07:13 PM
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My first LPs were Sgt. Pepper & AYE both given to me in '67. Because vinyl was *the* medium, I have a little less than a thousand albums and my 70s vintage TT. I have no illusion that vinyl is better than digital and believe the superior releases are those with the best mastering. Because I'm an old dog, like smasher50 I still spin the occasional album for old times sake.

Btw, my listening habits haven't changed through the years - I still tend to listen to whole releases at a sitting - the way they were intended to be heard

Edit: this subject has been discussed ad nauseam - if one is inclined to to enter vinyl as a hobby - more power to them.
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post #12 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post
No one mentioned the covers? The liner notes? I do miss those.

Otherwise, vinyl is just a euphonic distortion. If you like it, you can get the effect with a filter. Or a different sort of euphonic distortion with a tube amp / preamp.
And you have tried both with good equipment?
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post #13 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 07:25 PM
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No one mentioned the covers? The liner notes? I do miss those.
yeah, the only thing I miss..........

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post #14 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 07:31 PM
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It can be a fun hobby.

And while it's true that CD is technically "better" for a variety of reasons, the sad truth is that for many recordings, the best mastering was done for the vinyl release, while the CD master added compression to gain loudness. Certainly not a blanket statement by any means, but it's happened enough to make getting into vinyl worthwhile if you wish to get the best mastering of certain recordings.

I have about 600 CDs, and maybe 100 vinyl LPs. They compliment each other. One is not better than the other in absolute terms - it's a case by case basis. I'd rather have a better sounding more dynamic recording, flaws such as pops/clicks and all, vs a compressed recording with flat sounding drums. But when a CD is well mastered, that's my choice every time.

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post #15 of 174 Old 08-10-2014, 09:08 PM
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Rediscovering vinyl has brought me back to music.

I decided to explore rock/prog/funk music of the 70s, just before I was buying LPs. My tastes have changed somewhat since the high school and college days, so some of this classic music to me is unknown, vaguely familiar, or never gave it a chance because it didn't have a screaming guitar solo.

Going to used record stores is now a fun and addictive treasure hunt. First stop is the "New to the Store" used bin. Afterward, hit the main racks to see if anything I've been hunting for has made it there. Finally, the cheap racks, often a buck or two per LP, just to see what jumps out. Most are garbage, but with a little perseverance (often involving kneeling on the floor) I uncover some gems. They might need a little cleaning (distilled water works great!) or have a banged up cover, but that's the risk. Flipping through these cheap bins is the real draw for me - like constantly pulling the handle on the slot machine, hoping for some sort of payout. Anything that looks interesting, somewhat familiar, and/or looks like it can play without too much trouble, I'll roll the dice for a buck or two. These random LPs are becoming the majority of my collection.

I also buy new releases and re-mastered old LPs, but much prefer to find the original releases in decent shape. I also like the ritual of pulling an LP out of the sleeve, running a brush over the side about to be played, and plopping on the couch with the cover and liner notes. And being encouraged to explore the album, listening to every song and not skip one that doesn't immediately hit me. Often I only do one side per LP before changing records, so I randomly pick side I or II.

As for the sound, it's a lot of work, can be expensive, numerous things can interfere with the sound, and it never seems to end. Yet, even though digital is cleaner, it's also somewhat sterile. I'm sure it's mostly in the head, but listening to music on vinyl *feels* more "real" than digital. I can look close and see the music on the album, and there something about that visual to emotional analog connection that's missing with digital.

My opinion: the effort and care put into something results in a greater appreciation for it. Music is worth it!
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post #16 of 174 Old 08-11-2014, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by citizen arcane View Post
yeah, the only thing I miss..........

Probably the two best album covers ever. I have both on CD. Maybe Captain Beyond Sufficiently Breathless as well.



But to the OPs comment. I wouldn't waste my time on vinyl. I just recently gave away my entire album collection to an art student using the discs for a collage. The covers went in the trash. When I clean out the attic the turntable will also go in the trash. Life's to short to waste time on rituals to listen to music. I'll take a good 96/24 recording or even a well mastered 44/16 anyday instead. No hassle, cut on the oppo (and attached 1TB hard drive) select title and listen. It's all a few remote clicks away.
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post #17 of 174 Old 08-11-2014, 02:50 PM
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its much more work than digital ...there is lots of stuff released on vinyl that will never make it to cd ...I enjoy both in my system ...I currently have over 2000 lps and around 2TB of lossless digital...if your looking for a simple plug and play thing vinyl is NOT it...if you enjoy hunting out that pristine copy of _____ then getting everything set up just so, then vinyl just may fit the bill
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post #18 of 174 Old 08-11-2014, 03:08 PM
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I have a small but growing vinyl collection....I enjoy spinning the albums....I listen to entire album sides at once...taking me to back in the day...

As others have mentioned, used record stores can be fun too...
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post #19 of 174 Old 08-11-2014, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plissken99 View Post
I just got a crazy set of speakers(Klipsch kpt-904's), and they have me obsessed with high quality recordings. I've had good speakers, but these are on another level. 320kbps actually sounded pretty good on my old RF-7's, but these reveal dist7ortion in places, scratchy lyrics, harsh drum symbols, it's awful lol.
Before you make a final decision why not check out some other digital recordings? Either high bitrate mp3s ripped with something like LAME or maybe some FLAC files or even WAV files.
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post #20 of 174 Old 08-11-2014, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah from the advice here and what I've read elsewhere, looking for HQ digital versions of stuff is far easier and potentially just as rewarding. Records would be fun, but my HT rack already runeth over without a turn table and tube amp... though I may still seek out a good tube amp.


I have been seeking out high quality digital versions of things. For example Metallica's Master of Puppets and ...And Justice For All were remastered in a limited release in Japan in the late 90's and are long out of print. I found them online, and the quality compared to my 320kbps MP3s on the 904's was night and day. The entire sound field was opened up and allowed more room to breathe, everything was just more precise.


Joe Satriani remastered and re-released all of his studio albums in a Chrome head containing two USB drives, all of it in 24-bit/96kHz "High-Resolution Audio", basically copies of the original studio masters. I got it for my birthday a few months ago, the sound is exquisite and perfectly clear, I wish all artists would put out stuff like this! http://www.satriani.com/splash/

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post #21 of 174 Old 08-12-2014, 10:41 AM
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Vinyl can sound great, or awful. Digital can sound great, or awful. I've got examples of both in my collection. It's not black and white, experience the rainbow.
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post #22 of 174 Old 08-15-2014, 12:04 PM
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I play cheap or old vinyl on a cheap turntable thru mediocre speakers, for the fun and so I can continue to play my dads and my collection which has mostly been replaced by CD. My 5yr old son also gets to pick and play records.
I don't do it for the sound quality, that is what my main system is for.
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post #23 of 174 Old 08-16-2014, 12:59 PM
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My now 28 year old daughter got into Vinyl several years ago because many of the modern bands she listened to, (The Mars Volta, The Mountain Goats, Puscifer among others), were paying very careful attention to releasing their music on vinyl...some of them even recording vinyl albums at 45 rpm and whatnot.

I gave her a relatively boring TT I had bought for digitizing all my vinyl, (I got the manual GLi Pro TT as part of the DAK vinyl ripping program that I use), an old Denon receiver I had laying around that had a built in phono stage and my old B&W CM1's that I was using as rear channels in my surround sound system along with a nice Velodyne subwoofer I didn't need anymore, (I replaced it with a more massive Velodyne DD15 and broke out some lesser B&W speakers for the rear that sound just fine). I was very happy that the old great sounding CM1's were now pressed into front line duty in my daughter's system.

She and her b/f were ecstatic and are absolute Vinyl fiends to this very day.

I pressed my old Revox B795 linear tracking TT with its Ortofon Moving Coil cartridge into duty in digitizing the rest of my old vinyl collection so I could complete adding my old vinyl to my iTunes library to play at home and in the car. So I'm not necessarily "back" into vinyl but rather digitizing it so I can hear that old great music again in a more convenient fashion. The digitized WAV files do sound great and I'm very close to completely done digitizing the hundreds of vinyl records that have been gathering dust for years.

Well, the fully automatic Revox finally gave up the ghost as the damping mechanism failed so I bought a new Pro-Ject Debut Carbon TT with an Ortofon Red Moving Magnet cartridge to finish my task...very pleased with it especially after the tweaks I've discussed in a thread on that topic in this section of the AVS Forum which you might be interested in looking at.

Found a guy in Tennessee who repaired old Revox equipment and he completely repaired the failed damping mechanism in that 30+ year old turntable by replacing the damping fluid which had turned to mush over the years and wouldn't allow the turntable to hold a correct tracking force. Bought and installed a Shure M95 cartridge and gave that setup to my daughter.

They are thrilled with the Revox, especially that it is completely automatic unlike the manual Debut Carbon.

So to answer your question yes, absolutely, if you are into new bands that emphasize releasing their music on vinyl, or if you are into buying old records to listen to and/or digitize, go for it.

Do you need to spend an absolute fortune or get into tube equipment to realize a high level of satisfaction?

In my opinion absolutely not.

Buy something like a Debut Carbon and a phono stage for whatever amp or receiver you have and I think you will find it a very satisfying experience.

Do the digitized songs I have ripped from vinyl in WAV sound worse than the CD's that I have ripped to iTunes using their lossless format?

No, not at all...you would have to have far better ears than I to notice a significant dropoff in fidelity of a ripped vinyl album vs a ripped CD in my honest opinion.

Hope that helps.
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post #24 of 174 Old 08-17-2014, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
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Rediscovering vinyl has brought me back to music.
I'm with DaverJ on this. I have about 2 TB of lossless and high res music that I hardly listened to. My cousin started bringing vinyl over and it just rekindled my passion for listening to music. I almost exclusively listen to vinyl at home. Almost every comparison we did between digital and vinyl, the vinyl won. I had a bunch of stuff I bought from HD Tracks that I thought would spank the vinyl but not even close. I know mastering has a lot to do with it but there are very few CDs I would rather listen to than the vinyl.

To the OP. I can't imagine just entering the vinyl game right now with no collection. But a lot of people are doing it. That said, I have a 19 year old nephew that bought a turntable and some powered JBL monitors and all his friends go over and listen to vinyl. He seems to be having fun. It's a hobby so do what you want.
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post #25 of 174 Old 08-21-2014, 07:38 AM
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If you are just interest in listening to music I would say no. I just got into vinyl over the course of this year. I purchased an orbit turntable, some decent speakers, headphones and started collecting. I am mostly getting limited pieces, colored, etc. I think the artwork and packaging on some of them is really great. There is something relaxing about picking up a physical record and playing an entire side of music instead of jumping around. It is really expensive though. My favorite band is pearl jam and finding a lot of their stuff requires patience and lots of money lol. Sound wise i dont notice a difference on a lot of stuff between lossless digital and vinyl. Some does seem to sound better. I am a big music fan, so for me its about collecting something I am interested in and trying to have fun with it. I sometimes question if it is worth it and if i should quit before I get in too deep

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post #26 of 174 Old 08-21-2014, 12:17 PM
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Well, I grew up on vinyl like everyone from my generation. I love records and always have. I still buy thrift shop finds today. But digital beats vinyl records in every way but the ritual. I still play records for the ritual/nostalgia aspect of it all. Some records sound really great, many don't.

Any serious music listener owes it to themselves to experience vinyl but if I were just starting out I don't think I'd devote much effort to getting the level of gear and attention required. I have never bought into the vinyl is better argument nor do I feel tubes are inherently superior.

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post #27 of 174 Old 08-22-2014, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by CSG123 View Post
Well, I grew up on vinyl like everyone from my generation. I love records and always have. I still buy thrift shop finds today. But digital beats vinyl records in every way but the ritual. I still play records for the ritual/nostalgia aspect of it all. Some records sound really great, many don't.

Any serious music listener owes it to themselves to experience vinyl but if I were just starting out I don't think I'd devote much effort to getting the level of gear and attention required. I have never bought into the vinyl is better argument nor do I feel tubes are inherently superior.
I agree. But I just don't get the ritualistic part of vinyl everyone refers to. To me, it's a waste of my time. To me the ritual is in the listening experience, not the preparation for the listening experience, thus I find no use for vinyl and opt to maximize the quality of the listening experience, which again is not vinyl.
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post #28 of 174 Old 08-22-2014, 09:55 AM
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I think the ritual is something people who grew up with vinyl would appreciate more than younger people who grew up with CD's, MP3's and streaming.

The ritual is more than just making sure the record is clean and running a dust brush around it. To me, slipping the record out of the jacket and sleeve and bringing the cover to my sofa with the artwork and liner notes was part of the experience.

And to a number of us, part of the ritual way back when was cleaning our stash on the album cover. Extra points for a double album...
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post #29 of 174 Old 08-22-2014, 09:58 AM
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Cleaning a disc before playing, holding it up to 3 different light sources to make sure it was absolutely dust free, cleaning the stylus before it was allowed to come within a thousand miles of my precious vinyl, ensuring that the turntable was spinning at exactly 33.333rpm using various stroboscopic devices, closing the lid of the turntable (linear tracking, of course) to ensure no dust dared to enter the sanctum sanctorum of musical excellence and lifting said lid several times during playback to ensure no dust/fluff was collecting around the stylus.

Oh, those were the days. I love my CDs/MP3s.
Vinyl warps & wares, I have a whole cabinet full of 'love'... one thing I do think these young people are lucky for is to not have grown up with vinyl like I did.

On occasion I pull out a record, now I wonder how much it will cost when the cartrage/stylus goes south.... Kind of a PITA. I'm one that likes to hold media in my hand, yet I find myself trying to replace what I love in CD or MP3.

For as nice condition my collection is in, I'd be lucky to get a few cents on the dollar for it.

Yeah I also have an Akai GX270, forgot how to thread that sucker too!
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post #30 of 174 Old 08-22-2014, 09:59 AM
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Sometimes it's more than just the ritual, though. Digital does not *always* beat vinyl: if the digital version has a crappy master that's been compressed to death, with listless drums and overall flat sound, in the name of "loudness", often times there's a vinyl version without such crappy mastering. In those cases, vinyl will be the best sound quality simply because it was mastered better.
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