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Vinyl Records and Turntables Are Gaining Sales.

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by LabelKing, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    That's the info I was looking for, thanks.

    You are welcome.

    As more engineers, unfortunately, work in ProTools there is an understanding that mastering in hirez and downconverting to "redbook" or 16/44.1 CD wav files is the best sonically.

    I say unfortunate with respect to ProTools because it can fix problems in the original performance and is often used to create "loud" recordings where the dynamic range is sucked out of the recording.
     
  2. audiophilia

    audiophilia Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    VPI saw this pic, asked for a copy, and is planning to include it in an upcoming gallery section for their website.


    Invoice Sheila for use of the pic! [​IMG] She'd invoice you. [​IMG]

    Great pic, mate. Do you know the story (acronym) behind the JMW? [​IMG] Outstanding arm in all iterations.
     
  3. audiophilia

    audiophilia Senior member

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    At the height of the LP, there were 20 or 25 high end turntable manufacturers. Now it's at least double that. There's a reason for that.

    Long live the turntable and the LP.
     
  4. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    At that sampling rate, an LP is still preferable to a CD as there will be more detail and the recording acoustic will be captured (assuming a good original recording and decent or better mastering of course).

    Not really. Often, CDs are mastered differently than LPs for the same source material, because companies know that the LP buyer often cares about sound quality, whereas the CD is squashed for radio playback. On an apples-to-apples comparison between LP and CD, it comes down to one's preference for LP's euphony and artifacts, which is nothing to be ashamed about.

    --Andre
     
  5. Faded501s

    Faded501s Senior member

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    Audio Technica PL120 is under $200. Rega P1 with cartridge is under $350. [​IMG]

    Is that you Mike? Ha, don't get me going!

    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.
     
  6. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    This is not an easy issue to explain or understand. My understanding of it is this:

    I'm not sure how to say this without offending you, but you should refrain from trying to explain either analog or digital recording processes, because basically almost everything you said is wrong.

    --Andre
     
  7. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Not really. Often, CDs are mastered differently than LPs for the same source material, because companies know that the LP buyer often cares about sound quality, whereas the CD is squashed for radio playback. On an apples-to-apples comparison between LP and CD, it comes down to one's preference for LP's euphony and artifacts, which is nothing to be ashamed about.

    --Andre


    I don't want to get into another pissing contest Andre as we have clear differences on this point.

    In my recording experience, I have worked on albums that had both an analog tape and a digital recording. The LP produced from the analog tape trounces the CD in terms of detail, instrument separation and "hall" ambience. A Super Audio CD was then created which beat the CD.

    So I respectfully disagree.
     
  8. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    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.
    This is unfortunately not accurate. Here are some simple rules to keep in mind. **When things are recorded in analog, staying in the analog domain, ie. tape and LP, is best. **The amount of information stored is a function of both bit rate and sampling rate. The best is currently 24/192. There is 24/352 and 32/352 but they are rare. Epiphany Recordings uses 32 bit. **Many early CDs sound great in fact due to the lack of "loudness" in the mastering and the freshness of the analog tapes which can, driven largely by brand/type, degrade over time unless meticulously cared for. **There is arguably more problems in jitter (time distortion) and the analog output section, than there is in DACs currently. Most current DACs from Burr-Brown or Wolfson are superb. The implementation is key. **CDs technically have more dynamic range but most people understand the great dynamic range of analog tape. **CD's weakness is high frequency response. It can only go to 22khz. While beyond most people's hearing, this affects frequencies in the audible band. This is another reason why hirez digital like 24/96 and higher is much better. It is very noticeable on acoustic recordings. **A suggestion for a view on formats: I have found that modern digital systems are just as good as analog systems (my team records in 24/176 on a Sound Devices machine for commercial classical recordings). However, a good analog system will beat a very good 16/44.1 recording system (I've tried the best from Weiss to Meitner). Overall though I find it best to be agnostic. **The quality of microphone placement and engineer's knowledge is still the main determinant of final sound quality.
     
  9. Faded501s

    Faded501s Senior member

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    OK, I know I'm going to sound hard-headed here but WTF? Am I really wrong about everything? I'm no sound engineer but the bottom line is:

    1) Analog does not have the dynamic range of Digital and so therefore does not reach the highest and lowest frequencies.

    2) Digital does not contain all of the information of Analog and therefore individual notes are "sharper" or "muted", lacking attack and decay.

    No?

    And if these statements are true, as digital formats become better and processing power continues to increase (and DACs are more capable of handling information), is it not probable that Digital will eventually negate any advantages of staying in the Analog realm? [​IMG]
     
  10. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    OK, I know I'm going to sound hard-headed here but WTF? Am I really wrong about everything? I'm no sound engineer but the bottom line is:

    1) Analog does not have the dynamic range of Digital and so therefore does not reach the highest and lowest frequencies.

    2) Digital does not contain all of the information of Analog and therefore individual notes are "sharper" or "muted", lacking attack and decay.

    No?

    And if these statements are true, as digital formats become better and processing power continues to increase (and DACs are more capable of handling information), is it not probable that Digital will eventually negate any advantages of staying in the Analog realm? [​IMG]


    My answers:

    1. Analog can get all of the practical dynamic range needed in a recording.

    2. Some digital (CD or 16/44, AAC, MP3) does not contain all of the information of analog. Higher resolution (24/88.2, 24/96, 24/176, and 24/192) does contain all of the information of analog.

    As for future improvements, there is expected processing speed advantages like a normal digital tech learning and cost curve and we are seeing that iPod storage capacity for instance...HOWEVER, the music labels are very limited in what hirez digital files they share. Blu-Ray may change that a little but I doubt it as I see physical formats being limited and downloading as becoming ever more common. So there are practical limitations there.

    My friends at www.hdtracks.com are showing the way for building a popular platform for the downloading of higher resolution FLAC files at 24/96. Even then bandwidth considerations come into play.
     
  11. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    is it not probable that Digital will eventually negate any advantages of staying in the Analog realm? [​IMG]

    One more thing - on older recordings where there is an analog tape, there will likely remain an advantage (becoming ever so small admittedly) to keeping the music entirely in the analog domain.
     
  12. Faded501s

    Faded501s Senior member

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    Cool...thanks for the info AF. I still don't see where I was so far off except that I was talking in idealistic terms and not practical ones. Prolly beating a dead horse here but if digital can contain all of the info as analog I don't see any advantage to analog...or are we talking distortion?
     
  13. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    Just piling on -- great photo, AF!
     
  14. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Cool...thanks for the info AF. I still don't see where I was so far off except that I was talking in idealistic terms and not practical ones. Prolly beating a dead horse here but if digital can contain all of the info as analog I don't see any advantage to analog...or are we talking distortion?

    It's a bit more complicated but if you have an analog tape then to create a CD you need to have an A to D process and to listen a D to A process. Both of these conversions introduce sonic distortions.

    Just piling on -- great photo, AF!

    Thanks!
     
  15. AThingForCashmere

    AThingForCashmere Senior member

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    Cool...thanks for the info AF. I still don't see where I was so far off except that I was talking in idealistic terms and not practical ones. Prolly beating a dead horse here but if digital can contain all of the info as analog I don't see any advantage to analog...or are we talking distortion?

    The point I think you're missing is that human senses, including our sense of hearing, include certain intangibles that cannot be reduced to or represented with 1's and 0's. E.g. for some people, myself included, the new CGI digital effects used in films feel completely empty compared to older, far less "advanced" techniques. Sure, the new digital methods may look more realistic, but they're missing a certain something in feeling. Music is the same way. It's not just heard, it's felt, and digital music leaves many people unsatisfied and empty inside. The problem isn't that digital does not contain all the information of analog, it's in the way this information is output or presented to our sense of hearing, and experienced by our brains. Often these intangibles cannot even be described in objective terms, so discussion of them becomes next to impossible.

    Another problem is that people are products of their past experience. The less one has heard analog, the less one is able to distinguish what's missing from digital. I know a lot of younger people who sincerely believe 128kbps MP3's sound "perfect". You can't tell them they're wrong, because in their minds this garbage does sound perfect.
     
  16. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Another problem is that people are products of their past experience. The less one has heard analog, the less one is able to distinguish what's missing from digital. I know a lot of younger people who sincerely believe 128kbps MP3's sound "perfect". You can't tell them they're wrong, because in their minds this garbage does sound perfect.

    So true. [​IMG]
     
  17. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    People should just enjoy their media of choice, and refrain from making technical-sounding justifications for why they like their media. That's when we all get into trouble.

    Nice picture of your turntable, AF. Could you describe how the shot was set up?

    --Andre
     
  18. Faded501s

    Faded501s Senior member

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    It's a bit more complicated but if you have an analog tape then to create a CD you need to have an A to D process and to listen a D to A process. Both of these conversions introduce sonic distortions.

    Yes, this is my understanding and thanks again for all of your insight. I didn't know we had an audio pro here. I just got into this hobby about a year ago and it's become a mild obsession.

    The point I think you're missing is that human senses, including our sense of hearing, include certain intangibles that cannot be reduced to or represented with 1's and 0's. E.g. for some people, myself included, the new CGI digital effects used in films feel completely empty compared to older, far less "advanced" techniques. Sure, the new digital methods may look more realistic, but they're missing a certain something in feeling. Music is the same way. It's not just heard, it's felt, and digital music leaves many people unsatisfied and empty inside. The problem isn't that digital does not contain all the information of analog, it's in the way this information is output or presented to our sense of hearing, and experienced by our brains. Often these intangibles cannot even be described in objective terms, so discussion of them becomes next to impossible.

    I see your point but my impression is that digital's "missing a certain something" is the missing information that is the attack and decay of the notes. This is the crux of the analog vs digital debate...that digital, as we know it today, is not capable of holding/processing/presenting as much information as analog. When it is, it will be as AF said, an issue of distortion introduced in the AD/DA conversions.

    Anyway, I appreciate the discussion. But I still maintain that dowloaded FLACS played on my $500 CD Player/DAC combo sound just as good to my silver ears as my buddy's wax played on his $60K system...probably better when my new (10-year-old) $250 MAC-3 gets here [​IMG]
     
  19. Faded501s

    Faded501s Senior member

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    People should just enjoy their media of choice, and refrain from making technical-sounding justifications for why they like their media. That's when we all get into trouble.

    --Andre


    +1,000
     
  20. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I find that when I record certain albums off of vinyl onto tape using one of the old-school dbx expanders, the music's dynamic range is sometimes enhanced significantly.

    The old dbx literature claimed that with an LP one only got so much due to the compression.
     

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