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post #1 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 06:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Which has the better sound and why? I was always lead to believe that digital was better because there was a minimal loss of information between the source and the playback. Also, the portability, ability to skip tracks, ability to rip and encode, and lasting almost forever as long as you didn't scratch it. But, nowadays, I hear more and more about the benefits of listening to LP's. I keep hearing about the warmer tone, more realistic noise floor, and sound waves that aren't jagged.

Does anyone here know a lot about this subject that can educate me. thanks!
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post #2 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billzfan View Post

Which has the better sound and why? I was always lead to believe that digital was better because there was a minimal loss of information between the source and the playback. Also, the portability, ability to skip tracks, ability to rip and encode, and lasting almost forever as long as you didn't scratch it. But, nowadays, I hear more and more about the benefits of listening to LP's. I keep hearing about the warmer tone, more realistic noise floor, and sound waves that aren't jagged.

Does anyone here know a lot about this subject that can educate me. thanks!

Well...this question. I mean, you have googled, and read for hours on this topic.

Quick answers...

Vinyl Cons - One of the worst SNRs of any media; Mechnical, potentially subject to wow/flutter, breakdows; Vinyl can wear; Needs RIAA EQ, meaning it's not inherently flat response...to name some

Vinyl Pros - Nostalgia; Stuff on vinyl never made it to CD; perhaps a vinyl sound people are not fond off

CD Pros - Like all digital, it's throwing away information. It's been said in an article that perhaps CD needed a higher sampling rate.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #3 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 06:18 PM
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Geez, talk about a trolling thread....or at the least, opening a can of worms . I thought this debate died about 25yrs ago.

There's no definitive answer, period. There are so many personal biases...along with actual variables to consider (quantitative perspective), that this subject is all but impossible to give a just and meaningful response in on on-line forum.

But for kicks, I'm going to share my perspective :
I still own about 500 vinyl albums, K? While I'll agree that at least the first decade of CDs might have sounded "cold" in comparison to the warmth and richness description that many use when they speak of vinyl.....most of my albums were lucky to even survive the 70's .

Even my best albums....you'll hear hiss, an occasional pop...or something. I used to muse about the definition of a turntable/album; "a machine that uses a diamond to endlessly drag dust along inward spiraling grooves of a material that slowly eroded away with each play."

I don't for one minute miss (other than the pure nostalgia aspect of watching my turntable swing in its suspended macrame holder while I hoisted more brewskies) wiping/cleaning the grooves before each play...worry about turntable speed slipping (either direct drive or belt)...and a few other things I'm sure I'm forgetting at the moment.

No sir, I'll take CDs for $500, Alex.....any day and all day long . (and they've advanced in quality, too)
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post #4 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post

Geez, talk about a trolling thread....or at the least, opening a can of worms . I thought this debate died about 25yrs ago.

There's no definitive answer, period. There are so many personal biases...along with actual variables to consider (quantitative perspective), that this subject is all but impossible to give a just and meaningful response in on on-line forum.

But for kicks, I'm going to share my perspective :
I still own about 500 vinyl albums, K? While I'll agree that at least the first decade of CDs might have sounded "cold" in comparison to the warmth and richness description that many use when they speak of vinyl.....most of my albums were lucky to even survive the 70's .

Even my best albums....you'll hear hiss, an occasional pop...or something. I used to muse about the definition of a turntable/album; "a machine that uses a diamond to endlessly drag dust along inward spiraling grooves of a material that slowly eroded away with each play."

I don't for one minute miss (other than the pure nostalgia aspect of watching my turntable swing in its suspended macrame holder while I hoisted more brewskies) wiping/cleaning the grooves before each play...worry about turntable speed slipping (either direct drive or belt)...and a few other things I'm sure I'm forgetting at the moment.

No sir, I'll take CDs for $500, Alex.....any day and all day long . (and they've advanced in quality, too)

No trolling here. I'm just trying to learn from other people's experiences. Thanks a lot for the info.
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post #5 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by billzfan View Post

No trolling here. I'm just trying to learn from other people's experiences. Thanks a lot for the info.

I wasn't being serious about the trolling, but I admit...it did cross my mind before checking your join date !

I can actually recall debates (read - arguments) that were commonplace in the mid/late 80's. Ironically, it became fashionable for youth to be the ones to speak out the loudest in favor of vinyl, while most of guys my age at the time, were happy as hell at the new and convenient technology. I recall being really disappointed with (and returned a few!) maybe 30 CDs out of say, 300 back then. I thought that wasn't too bad. Some were poorly produced, but the fault fell mainly on the producer, not the medium itself!

Ask kids today which amps they'd rather use....and they all start sounding like 60's/70's musicians, insisting that tube is the only way to go. In reality, solid state amps can be superior in many ways....but try telling that to the followers of the latest fashion of coolness . It's almost an identical argument/debate as the CD/vinyl issue. At least with the latter issue, convenience rules the day as a major difference, while not so much with amps.
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post #6 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post

I wasn't being serious about the trolling, but I admit...it did cross my mind before checking your join date !

I can actually recall debates (read - arguments) that were commonplace in the mid/late 80's. Ironically, it became fashionable for youth to be the ones to speak out the loudest in favor of vinyl, while most of guys my age at the time, were happy as hell at the new and convenient technology. I recall being really disappointed with (and returned a few!) maybe 30 CDs out of say, 300 back then. I thought that wasn't too bad. Some were poorly produced, but the fault fell mainly on the producer, not the medium itself!

Ask kids today which amps they'd rather use....and they all start sounding like 60's/70's musicians, insisting that tube is the only way to go. In reality, solid state amps can be superior in many ways....but try telling that to the followers of the latest fashion of coolness . It's almost an identical argument/debate as the CD/vinyl issue. At least with the latter issue, convenience rules the day as a major difference, while not so much with amps.

Throw convenience out the door for a second. What do you feel, the majority of time, has the better sound quality between the two mediums?

For the record, I am a music fanatic and just wan the best sound reproduction I can for listening.
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post #7 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 07:14 PM
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Which has the better sound and why? I was always lead to believe that digital was better because there was a minimal loss of information between the source and the playback. Also, the portability, ability to skip tracks, ability to rip and encode, and lasting almost forever as long as you didn't scratch it. But, nowadays, I hear more and more about the benefits of listening to LP's. I keep hearing about the warmer tone, more realistic noise floor, and sound waves that aren't jagged.

Well, the sound waves aren't jagged, for one thing. And I've no idea what a more "realistic" noise floor is. A good playback medium should have the lowest noise floor possible.

The best answer i can give you is that the CD medium is technically far superior, but there are certain types of distortion inherent in vinyl (and responsible for that "warm tone," among other things) that some listeners find very appealing. So it's really a matter of personal preference.

On top of that there's the fact that the recordings are never exactly the same. A well-made LP may sound better than a poorly made CD.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #8 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 07:14 PM
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Vinyl CAN be vastly superior to CDs. Here's some samples:

Quote:


Oasis - Wonderwall
cd vs vinyl
Here's a classic example of a poorly mastered album. However, the vinyl reissue appears to be an entirely different mix, and as a result, makes the Cd sound like a cell phone speaker in comparison.

Quote:


They Might Be Giants - Minimum Wage
cd vs vinyl
I chose this song because I could include the whole thing. Notice how much deeper and harder hitting the bass notes are on the vinyl.

Of course, there's a resolution difference. Vinyl is virtually unlimited as far as bit depth and sample rate go, while Cd is stuck at a rather low 16/44.1.
Modern releases often sound much better on vinyl than on CD due to the trend of the loudness war. If a vinyl album was mastered as loud as a CD is today, the needle would jump out of the groove.
The majority of the time, unless it was a bad pressing, vinyl is the way to go. Especially with music made after 2000 and jazz.
The most important thing you can do with CD is AVOID REMASTERS, unless they are from Audio Fidelity, DCC, or MFSL.
Keep in mind, you do need to spend at least $500 to get a good vinyl setup. But that's nothing compared to what people are spending on here...

Also, I have nearly a thousand albums. Name a favorite artist, I can provide a sample.
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post #9 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Well, the sound waves aren't jagged, for one thing.



I really think people who blindly bash vinyl, and say we only like it for nostalgia have never heard a good setup themselves.
Sherwin Maxawow likes this.
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post #10 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 07:37 PM
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And after going through antialiasing filtering the final cd output looks absolutely identical to the original 10khz input. Google nyquist to find out why.

And vinyl hardly has unlimited resolution. In fact, the usable resolution, sampling rate, and dynamic range are all quite a bit less than cd.

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post #11 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 07:52 PM
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Vinyl CAN be vastly superior to CDs. Here's some samples:

Let's be fair. You want to be fair in comparison, right? Posting a poorly produced CD to an excellent and new album is a useless example to prove your point. I covered/mentioned this in my first post (regarding production variables).

But here's a "give you" kinda thing I still recall clearly; David Bowie, being a big time businessman and visionary in the music world (also a billionaire...yes, billionaire)...waited until he felt a company could "properly" transfer his music to well produced CD. Well, he chose Ryko....and I recall thinking how $hitty his "best of" CD sounded (I bought it). I paid extra $$$ to have an import of a Johnny Winter CD shipped to a record store (yeah, I'm old), only to return that pieces of trash that sounded like a tin can playing. But I digress...

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Originally Posted by HelloCDClub View Post

I really think people who blindly bash vinyl, and say we only like it for nostalgia have never heard a good setup themselves.

Well, I hope I didn't sound like I was bashing vinyl, as much as I simply don't miss it other than for nostalgia sake. Though I may not have owned the best money could buy, I can assure you I had some decent set-ups to enjoy them. And fair is fair....I mentioned earlier that it appears to me to be youth largely defending vinyl, so I have to ask...how old are you? Just curious .

And lastly, you're welcome to PM me for info concerning the 500 albums (a great collection) I have and would be more than happy to sell you .
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post #12 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 08:23 PM
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And fair is fair....I mentioned earlier that it appears to me to be youth largely defending vinyl, so I have to ask...how old are you? Just curious .

I think you might want to speak to these people.
I would consider myself young, and I'm also female. But that doesn't mean my choice in formats is part of my "rebellious nature" or youthfullness in any way.

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Let's be fair. You want to be fair in comparison, right? Posting a poorly produced CD to an excellent and new album is a useless example to prove your point.

I believe that in a situation where a CD and a record have the same mastering, the CD will sound better. This, however, never happens. And the vinyl usually comes out on top, even in blind ABX tests. Especially stuff from the mid-90s. The reason Smashing Pumpkins' "Mellon Collie and the Indinate Sadness" is harder to find than the holy grail? Because it blows the CD out of the water. Also, it was pressed in extremely limited quantities. But that's beside the point .
2 rules for when you are shopping for vinyl:
  1. 1st pressing
  2. Country of origin.
For example, German band CAN released their entire catalog on SACD in 2004.
I would gladly take them over the American LPs, and they don't sound bad. But my go-to copy is the German 1st pressing.
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post #13 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 08:40 PM
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If you think vinyl is better because the mastering is generally better, fine. That's your preference.

Then just say that and don't spread misinformation based on technical aspects that you clearly don't understand.

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post #14 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 08:55 PM
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If you think vinyl is better because the mastering is generally better, fine. That's your preference.

Then just say that and don't spread misinformation based on technical aspects that you clearly don't understand.
I'm not sure what I'm not understanding. I understand that CD has a potential for higher dynamic range. I know that it has an extremely low signal-to-noise ratio. I know that very few ears can hear anything past 20kHz. I know vinyl suffers from surface noise, low durability, bad pressings, warping, wear, and is much less convenient. However, to my ears, it's superior, and that's my opinion. I never said anything that could be perceived as inaccurate or deceptive. Vinyl DOES have the capability to have sound information far above CD's range, and certainly operates at a theoretical bit depth (there really is no limit, it's analog we're talking about) above 16 bits.
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post #15 of 156 Old 04-06-2011, 09:27 PM
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I know vinyl suffers from surface noise, low durability, bad pressings, warping, wear, and is much less convenient.
But the CD has a shorter fisical life than vinyl (Long live to the vinyl!)
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post #16 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbx123

Well, I hope I didn't sound like I was bashing vinyl, as much as I simply don't miss it other than for nostalgia sake. Though I may not have owned the best money could buy, I can assure you I had some decent set-ups to enjoy them. And fair is fair....I mentioned earlier that it appears to me to be youth largely defending vinyl, so I have to ask...how old are you? Just curious .
this is the current issue i don't understand. i think a lot of the anti digital sentiment is coming from the kids who think there's nostalgia in their mothers record collections and inhereted turntables. if cds sound so horrible, come on by and let me give a demonstration... i do need to add that i run a label and press on vinyl. mastering is key but i dont think most independents can do this if theyre pressing 500 or so copies of a record... in the end it shouldnt matter what format something gets released (except tape -- that shits wrong...). that said, i buy both. i'm indifferent really. i still sometimes buy both cd+vinyl to support the labels. is that messed..?
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post #17 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HelloCDClub View Post
I think you might want to speak to these people.
I don't need (nor want) to talk to any people about this issue . Been there, done that, 25yrs ago....so to speak.

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Originally Posted by HelloCDClub View Post
I would consider myself young, and I'm also female. But that doesn't mean my choice in formats is part of my "rebellious nature" or youthfullness in any way.
Fair enough. Thanks for answering that and being honest. And though you may think its coincidental that I knew/suspected you were somewhat young, I would guess that the link you provided (your influence, and perhaps reason for asking that question here) would further back up my assumption. It's simply a phenomena of sorts that I have witnessed play out for over 25yrs.

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2 rules for when you are shopping for vinyl:
  1. 1st pressing
  2. Country of origin.
This is nothing new either. Aside from mainstream "inexpensive" mass pressings, we all knew (back in the day) that Japanese vinyl (often red in color) was a superior vinyl product.

But the last word I have on the subject....kind of goes back to what I hinted at in my first post; while you may well perceive vinyl being a better medium, good luck keeping that medium in top form (cleaning and handling being much more sensitive than any CD) to continue enjoying what you perceive to be a superior sound. It can become a cumbersome task, and not one that "the masses" handled well in real life. And I applaud you for trying to find info on a subject you're interested in!
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post #18 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post
Geez, talk about a trolling thread....or at the least, opening a can of worms . I thought this debate died about 25yrs ago.
I thought the real debate was between 8-track and tape.

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Originally Posted by HelloCDClub View Post
Vinyl CAN be vastly superior to CDs. Here's some samples:
Wow, some amazing differences there. Thanks for the samples HelloCDClub.

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this is the current issue i don't understand. i think a lot of the anti digital sentiment is coming from the kids who think there's nostalgia in their mothers record collections and inhereted turntables.
Sure, I think there's some nostalgia factor there. I own a number of my parents albums and after 30 odd years, a lot of the pops, hisses and sense of warmth are now factored into my appreciation of those albums, but there's also the fact that some genres of music never strayed from vinyl. My own personal record collection started in the early 90s because a lot of underground punk bands continued to press singles on colored 7" vinyl. A lot of my goth rock collection is also on vinyl because, for me, it adds to the atmosphere of the music. Given the choice between The Cure's Faith and The Sister of Mercy's Floodland on either CD or vinyl, I'll take the vinyl every time.
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post #19 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloCDClub View Post

I never said anything that could be perceived as inaccurate or deceptive.

Well, not until the very next sentence:
Quote:


Vinyl DOES have the capability to have sound information far above CD's range, and certainly operates at a theoretical bit depth (there really is no limit, it's analog we're talking about) above 16 bits.

Sorry, but that's wrong. On a really good day, vinyl operates at no more than 12 bits. And analog, like all aspects of the physical limits, does have limits.

Vinyl can capture sound above 20 kHz, but not that much above it, and not for long. A couple of plays will start to attenuate it.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #20 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 07:18 AM
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It took me a while to accept the sound of CD's. At first they seemed much brighter in sound, a bit harsh... there was something there that seemed not quite right. Most of my vinyl is from the 60's and 70's and I had become accustomed to hearing their distinctive sound. Even today, when I hear an old fav on CD, I expect to hear a pop or skip where I had always heard one decades ago.

Then along came home theater. I couldn't get my "high end" stereo to tie in well with DVD players and such, and eventually transitioned to some modern equipment. Last year I sold my speakers and "gave away" most of my record albums to a local music store, as I was tired of them taking up floor space (the store called me back and gave me a few hundred dollars BTW). I still have my beloved Thorens turntable sitting idle... they sell for about $400 on eBay, but that would require packing it up and it weighs a ton... then probably dealing with some dissatisfied customer who expected something other than what I had described.

If I could get vinyl sound just by popping a disc in a slot - even in my car - and easily transfer that to an MP3 player that can loop endlessly overnight, then yeah, I'd take vinyl any day. It was interesting reading other replies here about what a painstaking ritual it used to be to play one side of a 20 minute album. I think as the sound has improved somewhat in recent years, I've probably also lost some of my hearing. I agree a higher sampling rate helps... SACD's and music DVD/BR's do sound better than CD, but still have that "suspect" digitized sound. But the convenience far outweighs the difference in sound.

You can mic an acoustic guitar or play the same song on an electric... the acoustic will sound better to most.

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post #21 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 07:26 AM
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I've participated in quite a few of these debates over the years around here. It's always the same stuff. If somebody likes vinyl, that doesn't mean they are "anti-digital" as some have posted. It just means they prefer vinyl. Frankly I find much more of a "hate it" feeling from those that love digital than I do from those that love vinyl.

CD has the capacity to be superior to vinyl. No doubt. But due to compression issues, most CD's today just aren't mastered properly. So in comparrison, vinyl can sound better. Somebody mentioned distortion that is inherent with vinyl. Yep. They also mentioned that this distortion has a distinctive sound associated with it that some vinyl lovers like. Yep. Hey, speakers add color all the time. Some people love B&W, some love Klipsch. to each his own.]

For me vinyl ADDS to my enjoyment. I have CD, I have an iPod, I have a radio, and I have hundreds of albums and a decent analog setup to play them. When I want simplicity, I enjoy digital. When I want to critically listen to music, I listen to vinyl. My opinion. Doesn't make me a hater. Makes me flexible.

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post #22 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Vinyl can capture sound above 20 kHz, but not that much above it, and not for long. A couple of plays will start to attenuate it.

Let me guess.. Hydrogenaudio?

Also this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Sorry, but that's wrong. On a really good day, vinyl operates at no more than 12 bits. And analog, like all aspects of the physical limits, does have limits.

Perhaps so, but what about the Nyquist theorem?
Even if a typical 33rpm record only runs at 12 bits, you still need 24 to get a proper approximation of the sound.
Vinyl can run at insanely high bit depths, it's just a matter of speed.
I can assure you the average CD uses less than 16 bits anyway.
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post #23 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 11:58 AM
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CD's sound awful. Honestly, I used to love music until I got into HT.

I can't stand CD's.

That one comparison of Wonderwall is night and day to my ears. It just makes me angry whenever I think about the current state of music nowadays. =(
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post #24 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
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But here's a "give you" kinda thing I still recall clearly; David Bowie, being a big time businessman and visionary in the music world (also a billionaire...yes, billionaire)...waited until he felt a company could "properly" transfer his music to well produced CD. Well, he chose Ryko....and I recall thinking how $hitty his "best of" CD sounded (I bought it). I paid extra $$$ to have an import of a Johnny Winter CD shipped to a record store (yeah, I'm old), only to return that pieces of trash that sounded like a tin can playing. But I digress...

Off topic but since you brought it up.......

Accounts of his wealth vary greatly. From $250 million to over $900 million.

Also, most of his music sucks. IMHO.
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Originally Posted by htcritic View Post

I've participated in quite a few of these debates over the years around here. It's always the same stuff. If somebody likes vinyl, that doesn't mean they are "anti-digital" as some have posted. It just means they prefer vinyl. Frankly I find much more of a "hate it" feeling from those that love digital than I do from those that love vinyl.

CD has the capacity to be superior to vinyl. No doubt. But due to compression issues, most CD's today just aren't mastered properly. So in comparrison, vinyl can sound better. Somebody mentioned distortion that is inherent with vinyl. Yep. They also mentioned that this distortion has a distinctive sound associated with it that some vinyl lovers like. Yep. Hey, speakers add color all the time. Some people love B&W, some love Klipsch. to each his own.]

For me vinyl ADDS to my enjoyment. I have CD, I have an iPod, I have a radio, and I have hundreds of albums and a decent analog setup to play them. When I want simplicity, I enjoy digital. When I want to critically listen to music, I listen to vinyl. My opinion. Doesn't make me a hater. Makes me flexible.

Good post.
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post #26 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 12:11 PM
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My first Cd's were Michael Hedges Aerial Boudaries. Sounded pretty great to me on a second generation Sony CD player. I had around 700 or so LP's at the time and the sound of his guitar came out of totally black background. Awesome. I was hooked although many of the first CD's were mastered terrribly. Second CD was Money for Nothing. Great as well.
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post #27 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 12:13 PM
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I kind of want this debate to end, so here is my reason for vinyl (to quote a user from SteveHoffman.tv):
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Originally Posted by SamS View Post

Because digital is sometimes mastered poorly and vinyl is the best sounding alternative.

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post #28 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

Also, most of his music sucks. IMHO.

Ack! What!?
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post #29 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 01:03 PM
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Even if a typical 33rpm record only runs at 12 bits, you still need 24 to get a proper approximation of the sound.
Vinyl can run at insanely high bit depths, it's just a matter of speed.
I can assure you the average CD uses less than 16 bits anyway.

So, two more errors and an irrelevancy. A bit of free advice: Stop Digging.
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Because digital is sometimes mastered poorly and vinyl is the best sounding alternative.

Well, congratulations. You finally got one right!

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #30 of 156 Old 04-07-2011, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HelloCDClub View Post

...Perhaps so, but what about the Nyquist theorem?
Even if a typical 33rpm record only runs at 12 bits, you still need 24 to get a proper approximation of the sound.
Vinyl can run at insanely high bit depths, it's just a matter of speed.
I can assure you the average CD uses less than 16 bits anyway.

You may want to read your own link? It has nothing in it about bit depths, right?
Can you hear 20kHz? Let alone 22kHz? Really???
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