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Thread: Are records really better than CD's?

  1. #51
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    The VPI looks great and I've only heard good about machines like this, but it's a little too much for me.

    However, the shop vac seems like a good idea. I've looked around and there are a number of clever ways of cleaning records from, using a waterpic, compressed air, wood glue, and washing them in the sink with a sponge (which is what I used to do).

    Thanks

  2. #52
    3db
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    The VPI looks great and I've only heard good about machines like this, but it's a little too much for me.

    However, the shop vac seems like a good idea. I've looked around and there are a number of clever ways of cleaning records from, using a waterpic, compressed air, wood glue, and washing them in the sink with a sponge (which is what I used to do).

    Thanks
    A few people at Audioholics looked into this and quite liked the results;

    Vinyl Record Cleaner and Washing System | Spin Clean Record Washing System

    This my turntable which I'm totally enamoured with.

  3. #53
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody View Post
    Bottom line is I think the stylus is worth it, especially if you already have a cart in good shape. That statement assumes that the cart is a good match in the first place for your table. I think for under $200 if you've already got a body, you're getting a really good mm cart.
    Thanks, I really appreciate the depth you went into describing the stylus.

  4. #54
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    There is also a clever record cleaning machine at KAB ELECTRO ACOUSTICS . It works like a Nitty Gritty, but with your household vacuum cleaner.

  5. #55
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db View Post
    This my turntable which I'm totally enamoured with.
    I love the looks of turntables like this, simple but elegant. Your tone arm and platter are very cool!

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    I love the looks of turntables like this, simple but elegant. Your tone arm and platter are very cool!
    Thanks. The acrylic platter eliminates almost all static.

  7. #57
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    nice table 3db....what cart and phono amp are you using?
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  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    nice table 3db....what cart and phono amp are you using?
    Thanks. I'm using the built in phono amp of my home theater receiver, a Yamaha RX-V1800. I'm using an Ortofon 2M Red which is what is supplied here in Canada. I understand that the US models use a different cartridge.

  9. #59
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    I've had a couple of days to listen to my new (used) turntable and I have to say that I'm a convert. I didn't realize what I had been missing. It's wonderful. Granted, I've only had DAC's in the thousand dollar range, but digital never sounded this good to me. I would never have believed anyone if they told me it was this good.

  10. #60
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    I did a little searching on the subject matter and it seems that for the most part people are polarized on this issue. I didn't realize this. Some take the line that digital is better in all aspects while others believe that vinyl is, but there is also a general consensus for many that say it depends on the quality of the recording whether it be digital or vinyl.

    I'm not sure whether the all digital only people make this claim of superiority for all CD players or whether they are making reference to state of the art digital playback equipment. I do find it interesting that many reviews of higher end digital systems are said to sound more analog.

    As for vinyl affectionados, there seems to be no end to ways of improving the vinyl experience through equipment upgrades as if there is something wrong with analog.

    For the remaining group that believe it depends on the quality of the recording, I believe they are standing on the strongest foundation just from the fact of the garbage in garbage out principal. Part of this line of reasoning is due to the fact (as I understand it) that recording engineers use a great deal of compression on CD's, but not so much on vinyl. Back in the 70's I only had one record that was compressed and that was done so they could fit more songs onto the record (K-TEL). To me, and in comparison to all the other records in my collection, it sounded lifeless (bland), so I think they may be correct.

    As you know I bought a turntable because the CD copies of my old favorite records were a shadow of what I remember vinyl to sound like and I wanted to reclaim what I had lost. Most of the CD copies were unlistenable. The life was sucked out of them and they hurt my ears.

    Up to the point prior to getting the turntable, I had/have CD's that I thought were fantastic sounding and many that were not. For the ones that were not, my biggest complaint was that they hurt my ears to listen to them. Then sounded strident. In the past, I had purchased outboard DAC's (up to $1,000) to improve this condition, but while there were some improvements, the stridency remained. I assume that even though I failed, there are DAC's that could have made the difference, but I was tired at throwing money at this problem.

    Fast forward to today...

    Keeping in mind that my equipment is different than in the past, I bought a number of records for my turntable. Some of them were the same ones I had back in the day. Surprisingly, many don't sound the way I remember them, not as clear. The jury is still out on this, but I have to say that the cartridge I am using is probably 25 years old and that may be the cause, a new one is in the mail.

    With that said...

    There is one record that really stands out, but it is much newer than than the 70's records and that album is Willie Nelson “Always On My Mind”. I also have the CD. In a nutshell, the record is much better than the CD in every way imaginable. I will attempt to describe the differences in terms of why the vinyl is better.

    First of all, there is more space around the instruments and voices so it is much easier to hear everything in the soundstage. Everything at the back of the (virtual) stage is more defined. All the instruments sound more real in a way that digital has only hinted at. Strings are more vibrant. Comparing strings on this record to the way they sound on the CD is like comparing a really good piano to the synthesized sounds of a decent keyboard. Voices, in comparison, sound more natural. I could go on, but even though I've listened to the CD hundreds of times, I could never have imagined what I hear from the record. It's night and day. Ultimately, there is still room for improvement, mostly concerning clarity in terms of live sound.

    I used to think that my best CD recordings were better than any record I had heard, especially the soundstage. Now, it's the other way around. This record under review is the best sound that I've heard in my home. In no way am I saying that this is better than CD's on state of the art digital equipment (I don't know), but from a budget standpoint, this vinyl has taken the top spot.

    Musing on this issue...

    Technically, CD's are vastly superior to vinyl. I've listened to some very good systems with state of the art digital front ends and there is no comparison to what passes as digital front ends in most homes. So what I've come to believe is that a decent turntable with a very good recording is ultimately superior to a very good recording on a CD played back through an average CD player and even lower priced DAC's.

    Until actually tested in a direct comparison, I will assume for now, that the very best analog system is equal to the very best digital system. From the standpoint of an average consumer with affordable gear, and assuming equal quality in recordings, I have to think that vinyl is superior.

    Well, that's it...

  11. #61
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db View Post
    Thanks. I'm using the built in phono amp of my home theater receiver, a Yamaha RX-V1800. I'm using an Ortofon 2M Red which is what is supplied here in Canada. I understand that the US models use a different cartridge.
    I have a Red as well.....I also have the 2M Black.
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  12. #62
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    I've had a couple of days to listen to my new (used) turntable and I have to say that I'm a convert. I didn't realize what I had been missing. It's wonderful. Granted, I've only had DAC's in the thousand dollar range, but digital never sounded this good to me. I would never have believed anyone if they told me it was this good.
    Hahahaha! Told ya. With digital you get lots of digital noise but you don't realize it. Vinyl may give you some pops and clicks and you may get some noise from your phono amp, but generally vinyl has a lower noise floor so you can hear lots of low end resolution and detail that's not as clear with digital due to the higher noisie floor unless you spend googobs of loot on a very good player with good DAC's. Vinyl is more natural in its sound and presentation. I find vinyl to be more romantic as well.
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  13. #63
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    There are many CDP that sound like analog.....look at some of the high dollar Marantz Reference players...they have a cult like following for that reaons....one day I may join them. You have discovered the argument of Digi versus vinyl.....to my ears vinyl wins.....its more natural sounding.
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  14. #64
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    I have and enjoy both CDs/SACDs and vinyl. There are good and bad examples of both mediums. To my ears, many of the CD reissues sound inferior to their vinyl counterpart. I also have some cherished LPs that have never been reissued on CD, so vinyl is not going away. BTW, I own a Marantz SA-11S2 SACD player, and yes it is very analog-like.

  15. #65
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    There are many CDP that sound like analog.....look at some of the high dollar Marantz Reference players...they have a cult like following for that reaons....one day I may join them. You have discovered the argument of Digi versus vinyl.....to my ears vinyl wins.....its more natural sounding.


    Even the Marantz SA8001 has an analog like quality. Switching from the ttable to the SA8001 is not a shock to the ears. I wonder if the SA8004 is even better in this regard.
    JohnMichael
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    I have a Marantz SA8004 and it has more tube warmth than the tubed player it replaced. Not a spec of dreaded "digitalis" to my ears.

  17. #67
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    I wonder what this digital noise sounds like..

  18. #68
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db View Post
    I wonder what this digital noise sounds like..
    What I mean by digital noise is the hard edges, and lack of emotion that many of the mediocre players have. They seem to be sterile and cold, and lack any feeling in the play back. And what I mean by high noise floor or high sound floor is the point where the smallest sounds weakest sounds in the music can not be heard. The low level detail is lost and you find yourself turning up the volume to hear it. That system may have a high sound floor. Most times its due to mediocre parts and wire inside the players, and very complicated designs that degrade a signal. It could be a result of the weakest link in your system, but I find some of the cheaper CDP's have a high sound floor more so that a mediocre turntable and cartridge.
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  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    What I mean by digital noise is the hard edges, and lack of emotion that many of the mediocre players have. They seem to be sterile and cold, and lack any feeling in the play back. And what I mean by high noise floor or high sound floor is the point where the smallest sounds weakest sounds in the music can not be heard. The low level detail is lost and you find yourself turning up the volume to hear it. That system may have a high sound floor. Most times its due to mediocre parts and wire inside the players, and very complicated designs that degrade a signal. It could be a result of the weakest link in your system, but I find some of the cheaper CDP's have a high sound floor more so that a mediocre turntable and cartridge.
    What you are talking about falls more into the production realm of things. I have CDs that will completely blow away its vinyl counterpart in terms of dynamics where the smallest of sound can be heard clear as day and the music doesn't sound cold and sterile. I also have vinyl that does the same to CDs . IHO, I think the format war boils down to the recording engineer and not the format its recorded on.

  20. #70
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    One of the early vinyl vs. digital debates was how much quicker a phono cartridge responds to the signal than the digital converters. I think the dynamics between notes is better presented by vinyl than digital.
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  21. #71
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db View Post
    IHO, I think the format war boils down to the recording engineer and not the format its recorded on.
    That's really a shame that it's that way. What I don't understand is if CD's and vinyl come from the same master source, why don't they sound the same?

    Where the record excelled, the very best CD I have didn't come close. For instance, for the first time since owning a CD player, cymbals sounded real, but this was from the vinyl. Up to this point I had thought that my speakers and/or equipment was not up to the task, but apparently vinyl proved that wrong. It seems that CD players smear the signal. I assume that a better CD player would overcome this.

    The record players that most people owned prior to CD's paled in comparison to a good turntable and cartridge. Perhaps the average CD player is comparable to the average record player of the past, which explains why, in comparison, vinyl can sound much better today. I know CD's, on a highend player, can sound much better than what I experience at home, but the cost of these highend players is exorbitantly greater than what it cost for a decent TT/cartridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    I think the dynamics between notes is better presented by vinyl than digital.
    Perhaps this is what I hear as smearing? Maybe vinyl is better at reproducing the leading and trailing edges of the signal too?

    I also noticed, on the record, that drums sounded more real and were better defined in the sound stage. The other thing that was extremely apparent was that piano strings would decay slowly like a real piano.

    I have to admit that many years ago I heard a couple of good systems that produced a soundstage so real that I felt I could walk onto the stage and in between the players. This was from CD's. I never experienced this at home. One system had taken this too far, IMO, and the separation was too great. It was kind of odd because while everyone in the recording were playing the same song, it didn't congeal together. It was as if you had five people doing their own thing.

  22. #72
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3db View Post
    What you are talking about falls more into the production realm of things. I have CDs that will completely blow away its vinyl counterpart in terms of dynamics where the smallest of sound can be heard clear as day and the music doesn't sound cold and sterile. I also have vinyl that does the same to CDs . IHO, I think the format war boils down to the recording engineer and not the format its recorded on.
    There is no argument from me concerning digital. CD's can give you a better and higher dynamic and it can give you lower amounts of distortion due to the fact that vinyl play back seems to start to ware on the vinyl. CD also has that digital sound thats hard and edgy. I have never heard a CD, and I have been in this game for a long time, sound as natural than vinyl. Analog and Digital sounds are two different sounds. The dynamic that CD has does not mean a more pleasant presentation. Even in bad recordings of both formats, CD retains that digital sound and vinyl retains that smooth natural sound. Instruments come across as more natural and real where as not so as much with digital.
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  23. #73
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    That's really a shame that it's that way. What I don't understand is if CD's and vinyl come from the same master source, why don't they sound the same?

    Where the record excelled, the very best CD I have didn't come close. For instance, for the first time since owning a CD player, cymbals sounded real, but this was from the vinyl. Up to this point I had thought that my speakers and/or equipment was not up to the task, but apparently vinyl proved that wrong. It seems that CD players smear the signal. I assume that a better CD player would overcome this.

    The record players that most people owned prior to CD's paled in comparison to a good turntable and cartridge. Perhaps the average CD player is comparable to the average record player of the past, which explains why, in comparison, vinyl can sound much better today. I know CD's, on a highend player, can sound much better than what I experience at home, but the cost of these highend players is exorbitantly greater than what it cost for a decent TT/cartridge.



    Perhaps this is what I hear as smearing? Maybe vinyl is better at reproducing the leading and trailing edges of the signal too?

    I also noticed, on the record, that drums sounded more real and were better defined in the sound stage. The other thing that was extremely apparent was that piano strings would decay slowly like a real piano.

    I have to admit that many years ago I heard a couple of good systems that produced a soundstage so real that I felt I could walk onto the stage and in between the players. This was from CD's. I never experienced this at home. One system had taken this too far, IMO, and the separation was too great. It was kind of odd because while everyone in the recording were playing the same song, it didn't congeal together. It was as if you had five people doing their own thing.
    The reason vinyl and digital is different and sounds different is due to they way they are recorded.

    analog is considered to be physical or the real thing due to the physical touch of the wave signal with nothing of the signal is lost. digital on the other hand the signal being a digital signal is stored as numbers and is a abstract of the original sound...this has drop outs of bits during recording.
    Last edited by frenchmon; 09-19-2012 at 07:25 AM.
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  24. #74
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    The reason vinyl and digital is different and sounds different is due to they way they are recorded.

    Vinyl is considered to be physical or the real thing due to the physical touch of the wave signal with nothing of the signal is lost. digital on the other hand the signal being a digital signal is stored as numbers and is a abstract of the original sound...this has drop outs of bits during recording.
    That makes sense because digital interpolates the values between digital words (16 bits) and fills in the gaps. I don't know enough about this to understand it fully except to say that it's possible for the DAC to get it wrong to some degree. Due to the sampling rate, as the frequency increases, I have to assume there is a greater chance for errors to occur, whereas, as you said, vinyl is continuous.

    It also occurs to me that since digital playback can be improved with better DAC's and better algorithms used in the conversion process that an average CD player is a compromise due to the cost factor.

    All I know for sure is that with the equipment I have, the vinyl sounds more real by a good margin and it is not subtle.

  25. #75
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    That makes sense because digital interpolates the values between digital words (16 bits) and fills in the gaps.
    Don't get locked into the notion that there is inherently any limitation to word size or sample rate with digital recordings. The arbitrary Redbook CD standard, yes. I agree that 16 bits is not sufficient to fully render the musical experience, but higher resolutions do exist - if not widely available.

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenSurprenant View Post
    It also occurs to me that since digital playback can be improved with better DAC's and better algorithms used in the conversion process that an average CD player is a compromise due to the cost factor.
    There I'll agree. Don't forget that the analog output stage of a CDP or DAC is as important as the quality of a phono preamp. Most inexpensive CD players use inexpensive op amps that are not as linear as discrete devices.

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