Originally Posted by SGladwell
I have a cheap vacuum cleaner and a reasonably good belt-driven 'table with a top-notch moving-coil cartridge and some tweako things like an expensive mat. Have had it for some years. The fact that I cannot off the top of my head remember the brand names of any of those components is a good indicator of the last time I used it...
All of my vinyl collection (my parents' vinyl collection and a few records I'd picked up since then, something around 1200 records broken down about 50% 60s and 70s pop/rock, 30% chamber music, and 18% orchestral music, and 2% "alternative"/"indie" or hip-hop) was "ripped" into Apple Lossless for home use by a Boston-area high end audio dealer within three months of Apple's incorporation of that format into iTunes. (I keep all of my music on a Firewire drive connected to an Intel Mac mini in my living room, and use AirTunes to listen to my collection around the house.) Their vinyl rig (the name Boulder sticks in my head for some reason) was well into the five figures if not even perhaps six figures, and I think I paid about $5 per record for cleaning and "ripping." I'm pretty sure it was a huge pain for them, which is why I'm not revealing their name. Records I've bought since then (this town has lots of opportunity to buy records) were "ripped" at home in a similar manner, using a 20-bit Sony portable analog-to-digital converter I bought cheap from a band that had broken up. (I resold the DAT drive that came with it, as I had no use for it.)
True, sometimes an LP (especially a direct-to-disk recording or a painstakingly remastered audiophile nugget) will sound better than the CD version of same. However, the difference is only apparent in direct comparison with records that have been relentlessly babied. But in general the only way someone can think an LP "sounds better" than a CD of the same recording is if they have shitty speakers. Also in general vinyl's sins are better covered up in large orchestral works than in solo works. Ever hear a solo bassoon piece on vinyl? Nothing at all like the real thing. The massive dynamic compression and truncated frequency response of vinyl is glaringly obvious if one has speakers with some balls and an interest in listening to music at live-performance volume levels.
With good speakers*, enough power, and good room treatment, however, a CD can sound startlingly close to the real thing.
*To reproduce music, you need to be able to move air effortlessly. Examples of good speakers include the big Genelec and ATC studio monitors with 12"+ woofers for midbass and then subwoofers underneath, the Sound Lab A-1 electrostats, Acapella horns with separate subwoofers underneath, Quad ESL-63's with Gradient dipole subs, B&W N801D's, and big-bore like that. Not the typical "bookshelf" or "minitower" speaker consisting of a fist-sized "woofer" and a tweeter mounted flat on the baffle most so-called audiophiles end up with.
You don't need statistics, and you don't need measuring equipment, you don't need $30,000 speakers, you just need your ears.
In 12 years in the hi-fi hobby, after A/B-ing my system to countless people, all have affirmed that vinyl is superior.
I've had mid-fi like Paradigm, good stuff like Vandersteen, and excellent stuff (Meadowlark Audio) and vinyl is better on all of those. I've listened extensively to high-end Vandersteens, Maggies of all sizes, Thiels, B&W high-end, and God-knows how many others and vinyl always sounds better.
Having said that, I'm glad you don't think so and I hope to receive some of the vinyl you have dumped over the years.
"The absence of noise does not equate to the presence of music."