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Discussion Starter #21
Frosty boy. Great post. Brought back memories. Where those Samsun speakers the beautiful wood ones with the lattice wool grills? A lot of those cane to US from PX’s in VN. I thought the receivers were Sansui 5000’s.
Yes, they look like this photo. Mine have some 'war wounds' on the cabinets from moving (9 different houses in my lifetime) but I mentioned that I did recap the crossovers and that seemed to improve the sound. Electrolytic caps were over 40 yrs old when I changed them out so it was probably time. I think I paid $79 each for the speakers and that included free shipping to my parents' house (all my stuff was shipped for free and I never saw it outside of showrooms near my former base in Okinawa until I got home from Vietnam)

Of all the equipment that I bought in Vietnam (from the PACEX catalog), the things I absolutely used the most was the turntable, receiver and speakers. I had maybe 150 albums and a buddy, who had a lesser stereo system, had over 500 albums. We did most of our listening session with his albums on my system. It was at least a once a week get together with 3 other friends and that went on for many years until I got married.

Sansui SR4050C was a really nice turntable. I especially liked that it lowered the stylus very slowly when playing albums and then lifted it and stopped the unit at the end of play. Still had to return the tone arm manually to its resting mount but that was fine. Never really cared for most fully automatic ones. It vanished with a few of my albums 20 or so years ago when girlfriend and I split and she disappeared with it.

The Sansui Eight receiver was a wonderful one. I kept that for a good 13 or 14 years before I sold it (very cheaply). I had LOTS of hours on that, mostly playing vinyl but FM radio, too.

Teac A4010GSL reel-to-reel was one item that I really thought I would use until it died but it turned out that didn't get into reel-to-reel as much as I had thought. It had very few hours on it when I gave it to my (then) brother-in-law maybe 10 yrs after I had bought it.

I had a Sansui reverb that I didn't use much (it did help on some live albums by adding just a tiny bit of reverb). Also a JVC SEA100 (equalizer) that I had connected all the time but it was mostly a 'set it and forget it' add-on piece of gear. Lastly, I had a Sony top-loading cassette deck. I don't remember the model of it but if you ever watch the Charles Bronson movie The Mechanic, he is using the same cassette deck in one of the scenes! LOL I used it more than the Teac reel-to-reel because I had a cassette player in my car but I didn't use it all that often, either.

I'd love to have the receiver and turntable back again although I am sure the receiver would need some recapping/restoration work via a good tech. I had a high school buddy who was one of the lead audio techs for Heathkit which was located in our hometown in Michigan and he could fix just about anything you needed fixed (and for me, it was free labor! LOL). I did aviation electronics in the Marines but my buddy forgot more about electronics than I ever knew. He ate, drank and slept electronics and had a full test bench with all the necessary test equipment at his house. Sadly, he is no longer with us. Died of a heart attack at the too young age of 46. It is just easier to buy newer stuff now.
 

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I never really got into vinyl in my youth although I did have some. I was much more into cassettes, then CDs and finally streaming. In the last couple years I've grown to hate music - even the stuff I listened to in my youth. Still like live music, so I couldn't figure out why. Finally had an ah-ha moment realizing streaming sounds terrible. A culmination of compression, bad processing and God-awful wireless headphones.

I'm now on a new journey to discover music again. Bought a turntable, cabled up the analog side of the Oppo, moved some speakers around and have started looking at Nakamichi cassette decks. It's becoming fun again.
 

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Wow and Flutter!

The big con of LPs for me was their pitch instability, which came from several sources.
  • Warped LPs usually induce wow.
  • The motors of turntables are not always precisely on speed, nor do they always maintain a precisely constant speed (idler rollers and/or belts can contribute to this).
  • Many LP center holes are in fact slightly off center, which causes wow. Nakamichi produced a self-centering turntable to correct for this.
  • Analog tape itself was not always perfectly speed-stable, especially if the recorder wasn't in perfect order. While the major labels didn't suffer from this very much, releases on small labels or older recordings sometimes exhibit pitch wobble.
All of that is most noticeable on an instrument with fixed and stable pitches, like piano.

For me, the HUGE advantage of CD was (and is) that things finally are in tune. And they are so on a cheap player as well as on an expensive one.
 

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Like I said many times already, I dumped my TT in the garbage can when I got my first CD player and listen to it, that was in very early 90s, I think it's 1991. Then I gave my LP collection to my stepson. He said he still have some of the LP like Michael Jackson, George Benson.

There's just no comparison in the sound between CD and LP, CD is just so much better, more dynamic range........Everything is better. TT has a unique sound that is more compressed, reminds me of taking off the "Loudness" in the old receivers. Like everything are kind of flat sounding. It does remind me of the good old days' sound from the 60s and 70s. But this is 2020!!! I just don't believe in reminiscing the good old days. It helps CD players are so so much cheaper and no need to have special preamp for the magnetic cartridge. My CD player is an old OPPO DVD player without Blu Ray. I just love people dumping a perfectly good player just because something new comes out and got to have the latest and greatest. I got the OPPO for $60 including shipping. I like it so much I bought a second one as back up.

BTW, don't they have new digital music that can put CD quality in shame now? I have not even been following the trend.

One thing that is even more important, can you get all the new musics on LP? Or you just stuck with the songs from the good old days also. I thought I saw in Fry's they had a section of LP, but it's very limited.
 
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The big con of LPs for me was their pitch instability, which came from several sources.


  • Warped LPs usually induce wow.
  • The motors of turntables are not always precisely on speed, nor do they always maintain a precisely constant speed (idler rollers and/or belts can contribute to this).
  • Many LP center holes are in fact slightly off center, which causes wow. Nakamichi produced a self-centering turntable to correct for this.
  • Analog tape itself was not always perfectly speed-stable, especially if the recorder wasn't in perfect order. While the major labels didn't suffer from this very much, releases on small labels or older recordings sometimes exhibit pitch wobble.
All of that is most noticeable on an instrument with fixed and stable pitches, like piano.
Try living with a concert grade pianist with perfect pitch. No matter how I modified my Gyrodec, she hated it for that reason (all BDs actually) but she loved my SP10.
 

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2. You didn’t need a magnifying glass to read the inside of the album covers. CDs print size is just too small and I don’t even bother trying to read much on any CD albums. That is one thing I really miss about full-size albums.

3. Smaller and easier to store in less space.
My server is the size of two PC tower cabinets, and holds, currently, 150TB, mainly all my BD and DVDs, but also 300 or so CDs. I can view all the artwork on the 55" and it's much easier than a CD cover to read. When I move back to my home soon, I'll rip my several thousand LPs to the server too at 24/96.
 

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I grew up with vinyl also. Dumped them for CDs in the early 90's. Now have dumped CDs (just sold a big chunk to Decluttr) for streaming and rips. I don't see any advantage to vinyl or CD. Just the snap crackle, pop was and is enough to kill vinyl for me. Then the storage issues of both. And for my perfectionist side, vinyl is also not as accurate as digital (hope I didn't just open a can of worms).

Neither vinyl or CD is as convenient as streaming, which I do wirelessly from an unobtrusive 10" laptop from my recliner, and voice-controlled through Alexa. My whole collection is on a 512GB flash drive smaller than the size of my pinkie plugged into the laptop. It will hold close to 1,000 albums. Then I have access to 60 million songs via Amazon Music HD.

If you can find them (there are sites, such as MusicBrainz), you can also store liner notes using tags. Although I don't because I lost interest in liner notes and album art a long time ago.

I may be an outlier. Even though I'm getting older, as a computer programmer who uses the latest technology, I've never been nostalgic or resistant to change from a technology perspective. Change is a constant in my field. As far as I'm concerned, almost everything new from a technology perspective is an improvement in convenience. I play my music through a computer (or voice), my guitar through a computer and have an Alexa in almost every room of my house. The good old days were not this good.
 

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I grew up with vinyl also. Dumped them for CDs in the early 90's. Now have dumped CDs (just sold a big chunk to Decluttr) for streaming and rips.........................................

Ha ha ha...................You determine to make me feel old!!! I am still stuck on CD, never get to the newer ones.

I am very familiar with both pure analog signal and DAC signal, I designed both type of circuits and have intimate knowledge. There is no reason DAC signal is inferior, in fact, the resolution can easily be improved. Remember 16bits 44.1KHz DAC and ADC was NOT state of the arts even 30 years ago!!! That's the reason all the DAC chips people arguing about here are all UNDER $10 and easily available. If it needs to be, one can easily go to 20bits 192KHz to even get finer resolution. I would go higher speed to 192KHz instead of staying at 44.1KHz. But what do I know, experts stay with 16/44.1KHz, where it's NOT much more expensive to go faster and more bits.
 

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The big con of LPs for me was their pitch instability, which came from several sources.


  • Warped LPs usually induce wow.
  • The motors of turntables are not always precisely on speed, nor do they always maintain a precisely constant speed (idler rollers and/or belts can contribute to this).
  • Many LP center holes are in fact slightly off center, which causes wow. Nakamichi produced a self-centering turntable to correct for this.
  • Analog tape itself was not always perfectly speed-stable, especially if the recorder wasn't in perfect order. While the major labels didn't suffer from this very much, releases on small labels or older recordings sometimes exhibit pitch wobble.
All of that is most noticeable on an instrument with fixed and stable pitches, like piano.


For me, the HUGE advantage of CD was (and is) that things finally are in tune. And they are so on a cheap player as well as on an expensive one.
Great post, and I totally agree, but you missed two potential sources of wow and flutter:


  • The cutting lathe which rotated during the production of the master lacquer itself has wow and flutter
  • Both the cutting lathe rotation and our turntables' rotation may be momentarily slowed slightly due to a heavily recorded passage which suddenly introduces a huge increase it the stylus (or cutter's) drag.*
Another important point to consider is that wow and flutter is cumulative, so theoretically even if:

- a master analog tape has no audible wow and flutter,
- nor the cutting lathe,
- nor the audiophile pressing LP record we buy (due to warps/off center spindle hole, like you mentioned),
- nor our turntable even when playing a sudden, heavily modulated groove,

we may still hear wow and flutter because the sum of all of them together does reach the level of audibility.


*This is why some high end turntables use massive platters, some even exceeding 70 pounds. Like Newton said: "An object in motion tends to stay in motion, especially if it is frickin heavy.":)
 
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BTW, don't they have new digital music that can put CD quality in shame now?

One thing that is even more important, can you get all the new musics on LP? Or you just stuck with the songs from the good old days also.
About 10% of my music library is high resolution (24 bits). I've wowed friends with great CDs, and I own some terrible HR releases. To me, sound quality comes far more from good recording, mixing, and mastering practices than from higher resolution in the files sold. Home DACs have improved a lot over time, and recording practices, too (over-compression of pop music being an exception).

It is a fact that the catalog on LP is limited. Of what's happening in music now -- whether pop, jazz, or classical -- only a small subset is available on LP. To some, it doesn't matter, but does to me.

Try living with a concert grade pianist with perfect pitch. No matter how I modified my Gyrodec, she hated it for that reason (all BDs actually) but she loved my SP10.
The Technics? It should be on my list, then, if I ever buy a TT again.
 
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I'll rip my several thousand LPs to the server too at 24/96.
Assuming for sake of argument that means say 3,000 LPs,
LP records on average are 45 minutes (.75 hour),
the records and stylus never need cleaning (remember this is a best case, fantasy scenario),
and flipping to play the second side is instantaneous,
and recording levels don't need to be set per record, so we don't need to add any time to that .75 hour figure,
you sleep for 8 out of every 24 hours, leaving 16hrs total work hours per day because you are focused on this project and nothing else. . .


. . . the total project should take about 140 days.

Sounds like a big project because I assume you can't actually devote every single waking moment to just this project and in truth there are delays dues to cleaning/flipping etc..

I once recorded the Beatles MFSL boxed set, 14 LPs, for example, and including record flips, stylus cleaning, record cleaning, recording level tests per record, it took me a weekend with other things like meals taken into consideration even though I was devoted to finishing that project over the weekend and not much else. At this more leisurely real-world pace of 14 records per 2 days your project of a 3,000 LP collection should take about 429 days, and that's working non-stop on just this project. Just sayin': its a big project.
 
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This one time... at band camp....
:D
 
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Digitizing my video tape collection of just a few hundred took several years.
 

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Now there are conversion services for that.
 

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Now there are conversion services for that.
Actually I suspect there aren't: My tapes were on an obscure format they couldn't accommodate: D-VHS.
 

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Suspect?
Perhaps at the time of your project there were none readily available.



Either way, your niche format is a "one off". Carry on...
 

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Suspect?
Perhaps at the time of your project there were none readily available.
There are none available now, today, and never have been.
 

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Okay... I was just saying for those that desired "traditional" transfer services.

Thanks for your clarification(s) on everything your personal experience.
 

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As for vinyl, I am really glad that I lived through that era and have many wonderful memories of great times listening to albums for hours with buddies. But overall, I don’t miss it enough to want to go back to it. Even with those long-time buddies, we never sit around listening to music together like we did when we were younger and that really is a shame. I think that digital technology is far superior to vinyl but digital is too often not mastered to take advantage of that. It SHOULD always be better but often it is not.

Good post.


I'm 56 so grew up listening to records but dumped records for digital when CDs came out and mostly never looked back. Until the vinyl revival wave came, which helped revive my own interest in vinyl.



I'd kept a turntable around on and off for years too, that I'd throw in the system to listen to the records I'd been too lazy to throw away. That was both part of the reason I hadn't gone back to vinyl AND a spark for eventually getting me back in to it. Essentially, while I did notice and enjoy a certain nostalgic and/or comfy alluring sound to vinyl when I played it, I associated it mostly with "Old Dusty Things." All my original records were pretty moth-eaten in terms of covers and sleeves, and I hadn't taken a lot of care of them so they tended to be pretty noisy and scratchy. And for the longest time even stepping in to any surviving record shop was to look through similar reams of "dusty old Second-Hand records." Felt like both a sonic and aesthetic backwards experience.


What changed things for me was the revival of vinyl when I started noticing how much NEW vinyl was being released - both new recordings and re-releases of previous albums, re-masters, etc. I'm a huge fan of soundtracks and that soundtrack genre was particularly big on vinyl, with many re-releases of older soundtracks and most new soundtracks being released on vinyl. The attention to detail in the vinyl soundtrack releases was often off the charts.
The artwork often gorgeous, the attention paid to the materials and feel of the album, even the vinyl coming in many intriguing color designs. And then to slide out a Brand New Record from the sleeve, spanking new pristine vinyl, something I never really experienced since vinyl's hey-day. It felt "new" again, re-vitalized.



And even on my older micro seiki turntable I kept around, the sound quality...new, quiet vinyl...was often fantastic!


So as I dipped more and more in to buying newly released vinyl I found it a really compelling, rewarding experience in every parameter, from aesthetic, to physical, to the sound. The fact I was buying more vinyl induced me to upgrade my turntable to a high-mass and, to me, gorgeous looking turntable. And that introduced yet another pleasing aspect of playing records: turntables are just really cool (to me) both in the engineering and aesthetic appeal, so I get to interact with a really cool piece of gear every time I select a record. Plus, the turntable/arm/cartridge/phono-stage upgrade made ALL my vinyl sound better than I imagined it could.


And down the rabbit hole I went. Despite owning a great digital system (ripped CDs lossless streaming, Tidal, all through a Benchmark DAC) and loving digital, I found myself being drawn more often to purchasing and playing records over the past several years. (I also fell in love with a genre - Library Music - which is mostly found on LP, not in digital form).


None of that is to say "vinyl is better than digital" but rather it's just a description of why vinyl has been rewarding for ME, personally.


And I'll end off with some pros and cons of mediums in terms of my own criteria:


1. CDs.


PROS: When they came out: cleaner more accurate sound. Smaller form factor took up less room. Sound stayed "perfectly the same" if cared for properly.


CONS: Hate, hate, hate the form factor. Can not stand jewel cases which are ugly, not nice to hold, which break and snap at a moment's notice. At this point the CD itself seems superfluous to me: I see it as simply a carrier of the 1s and 0s which can be more conveniently stored on hard drives or streamed. So I don't want CDs to take up any physical space in my house at this point.


2. STREAMING DIGITAL (Both streaming ripped CD library and paid services, in my case Tidal):


PROS: Far more convenient in most ways once set up. Cool interface on iphone or ipad. Countess albums and songs at flick of a finger, never even have to get out of my seat.


CONS: Ripping the physical CDs, and doing the work to organize metadata, was a soul-draining experience. Tedious as hell and just went on and on and on. Glad it is behind me. Also, while album art can be decent on a hand held device, it's not nearly as satisfying as a nice LP in the hand.
Also, one of the PROS also turned out to be something of a CON for me. The instant access to thousands or millions of tracks meant listening to music became more like surfing the web. A "this is interesting, but I wonder what this link will lead to" where I ended up surfing through and sampling music more than really settling down and absorbing. I'd rarely listen to whole albums - there was a restless quality to imbibing music. And, there was the "more of it you have, the less you value it" psychology meant, for me, music felt a bit less substantial, more background. As well, given like many people I work all day on a computer, this meant that listening to music involved yet more interaction with computers and screens. My computer and my phone are tugging at me all day long for attention. I don't want more of the same. Switching to listening to vinyl is a way of really taking a break from digital life for a while, of unplugging. Like reading a paper-back book on the sofa.


3. VINYL:



PROS: (Again: from my perspective): more fulfilling physical/aesthetic experience that ultimately enhances the music listening experience. I almost always settle down for at least a full album side, usually a whole album.

And the fact vinyl tends to be more expensive and is a commitment to a whole album means that my music collection is more carefully curated. I tend to buy albums that I really want to listen to, and I can usually demo most of the tracks to know I like the album. So I can pull any album off my shelves and usually enjoy the whole thing.
Whereas I did not tend my early CD collection so closely (hence have many albums from which I only like a few pieces) and my Tidal favorites collection would tend to be filling up with individual tracks of variable interest...because it was just so easy to add anything to favorites.

Again, love owning and using my turntable.


SOUND: Vinyl, though technically not as capable of objective accuracy as digital, nonetheless tends to sound different. And I often find myself really enjoying the sound of vinyl records. Sometimes preferring the vinyl version to digital. And in just sheer "sound quality" terms, plenty of my LPs blow my mind just like my digital source can, so I rarely feel like I've compromised by listening to "poor sound quality" for the benefit of the other aesthetic elements.


I enjoy having a record collection. There is something about cognitively mapping the music on to the physical object that, for me, enhances the object and the music. There's a bit of that in why I like my tube amplifiers as well:
I love the glow of the tubes and there is a certain conceptual satisfaction that what I'm seeing is the musical signal glowing through those tubes!


Buying records is fun. Though I probably buy most from discogs, I also love the proliferation of record stores where I live, visiting is fun, and I enjoy the interaction with the staff and other record buyers at the store.


CONS: Everyone knows them as they've been listed in this thread. in particular the sonic liabilities - susceptible pops, snaps, warble, background noise, sonic degradation over time, lower technical accuracy, etc. Though some of the "cons" of "having to store the physical object" or "select and play the record, get up half way through to flip it" are "pros" to other people.
 

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I can't speak to all of them but the first LP to CD conversion service I randomly came across costs markedly more than simply buying a brand new CD (if the LP came out on CD) itself. Heck if you consider buying used CD's (a good bet since they don't audibly "scratch" as easily and are quite often "perfect") you could save tons of money by buying the pre-made CDs instead of converting your LPs via their service.

I bet these companies survive largely on people who don't do the math.
 
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