Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
Audio Technica PL120 is under $200. Rega P1 with cartridge is under $350.
Is that you Mike? Ha, don't get me going!
Originally Posted by sonick
I would assume most new music stamped in vinyl nowadays are recorded/mixed/mastered (any or all of the above) in a digital format anyways. Besides the physical involvement listening to vinyl requires, is there any real benefit to getting these albums in vinyl if they are pressed from the same master as the CD?
This is not an easy issue to explain or understand. My understanding of it is this:
A stereo system/speakers convert electrical wavelengths into sound. While a CD has a larger dynamic range than wax it is still a binary code (0s and 1s) that must be converted to electrical current. The problem with (even lossless) binary code is that it doesn't contain enough information to completely render the attack and decay of each note (how fast the note starts and how long the note lingers). So with CDs (or any binary format) you will not be getting the full effect of each individual note...but with analog you will not be getting the full dynamic range (highs and lows) of the original mastered recordings.
This is why early CDs sound like shit on a good system. The early CDs were mastered off of the vinyl masters and not the original (reel-to-reel) masters. So here you had neither the dynamic range capable of digital nor were you playing back all of the information on the original wax.
The ideal system and what is happening now/where this is going is the remastering of the original 8-track/12-track/24-track recordings (reel-to-reel) in a digitized lossless format like FLAC. Once you have all of this information and it's ALL there you must convert it to analog (electrical current). What makes a good DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) is the sampling rate and bit rate. The bit rate designates the amount of information the DAC can convert (resolution) and the sampling rate designates how fast the unit can process information. Obviously the higher those #s the better. It is in the DAC where the greatest advances in music playback are coming from.
Granted, this is a very simplified explanation but the bottom line is that if you put garbage in (like an MP3) you will get garbage out. The weakest link in the chain right now is the processing power of the DAC which is just about even with good wax and will only get better.