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To get into vinyl, or not?, I was set on constructing an analogue system, but..
almostmitch
post Nov 28 2012, 07:43
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I was set on constructing an analogue system, but I have seen several users criticize the various aspects of the vinyl medium.
(sound quality/accuracy, cost of equipment, effort to play/digitize)

I'm 20 years old and have never truly experienced vinyl. However, I am extremely intrigued by it. I very much like the idea of setting up an affordable but quality system to listen to vinyls on. Also, I would be digitizing my dads old albums and some of my own. I look at it as more of a hobby/interest than its practicality regarding current tech and sound quality. I like the idea of starting a record collection and listening to them with my friends. The nostalgia and audio technology are other aspects that interest me (big tech geek here). I'm aware of the imperfections of vinyl's sound and this is why I want to make sure I get a quality system to achieve the best possible sound the LP will produce (within budget). For my system, I had the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon and a pair of decent floor standing speakers in mind but was not set on which components I wanted to use with it (pre-amp + receiver, integrated amp, or just a receiver w/ phono inputs). This was originally the question I was going to ask you guys. Something I could connect my computer to in order to play music files is something I'd like to be able to do. I have always cared about sound quality and the majority of my albums are perfect CD rips (.flac). I currently do not have a hi-fi system to fully enjoy my music on which is another reason why I'm looking to purchase one. Also, this is something I plan to take with me and enjoy for many years to come.

-So I ask, how do you like the vinyl experience compared to the CD experience? Can the added complexities with vinyl add to the experience?
-Also, if I decide to go for a system, which device(s) combination might produce the best sound quality at a reasonable price?

Thanks for any input!
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Glenn Gundlach
post Nov 28 2012, 08:18
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QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 27 2012, 22:43) *
I was set on constructing an analogue system, but I have seen several users criticize the various aspects of the vinyl medium.
(sound quality/accuracy, cost of equipment, effort to play/digitize)

I'm 20 years old and have never truly experienced vinyl. However, I am extremely intrigued by it. I very much like the idea of setting up an affordable but quality system to listen to vinyls on.
<snip>
-So I ask, how do you like the vinyl experience compared to the CD experience? Can the added complexities with vinyl add to the experience?
-Also, if I decide to go for a system, which device(s) combination might produce the best sound quality at a reasonable price?

Thanks for any input!


Go for it. Get it out of your 'system'. As far as ' experiencing 'vinyl, I don't miss it in any way shape or form. Regardless of how careful you are, records wear out. The surface gets 'torn' on loud sections.

In electronics, the most damage to the signal always happens at the transducers - mics and speakers - worse with speakers IMO. With vinyl you INTENTIONALLY add not one fut two transducers into the mix - cutter heads and cartridges. Cutters use triangular tips but cartridges use circles or ovals and now you have tracing distortion. Supposedly it's compensated during cutting - but for what shape stylus? Then the warps, wow and flutter, acoustic feedback. Off center disc not only add aforementioned wow but angular distortion as the stylus shank SHOULD be (but rarely is) tangential to the groove. Use an inline tone arm. WRONG. It is actually worse than a conventional arm because it's shorter. Oh yeah, rumble from less than perfect mechanics and insane surface noise.

HA wants ABX testing to prove it's not your imagination. How do you ABX something so blatantly bad? Greynol will be unhappy with me but I will categorically state I can ABX vinyl vs digital with 100% accuracy. I'd be VERY surprised if ANY HA member can't make the same claim.

Interestingly, some have made CDs of LPs and ABXd those and said they can't tell the difference between the CD of the LP and the LP and I believe them. The CD faithfully captured all the musicality of the LP. My question then is - if the CD can reproduce all of the LPs quality, wouldn't recording directly form the console be equally 'perfect'?

BTW I gave several hundred LPs to the Goodwil when we moved 8 years ago but I still have the direct to disc LPs. I'm wondering why though.

I hold analog tape machines in the same vein though they can definitely be better than disc.



This post has been edited by Glenn Gundlach: Nov 28 2012, 08:20
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Light-Fire
post Nov 28 2012, 08:19
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QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 02:43) *
I'm 20 years old and have never truly experienced vinyl.


Lucky you. I have experienced it and it is awful.

QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 02:43) *
...how do you like the vinyl experience compared to the CD experience?


The "vinyl experience" is a lot noisier than the "CD experience."
Vinyl is destroyed as it is played.
Vinyl is heavier and takes more space than CDs.
CDs have an error correction system that makes them "damage resistant" (they can still play without noticeable quality losses even when damaged).
CDs can handle a larger dynamic range than LPs.

QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 02:43) *
Can the added complexities with vinyl add to the experience?


The only complexities vinyl adds to the experience are: noise and distortion. Vinyl is a very primitive and obsolete type of media. It's main disadvantage when compared to CD is that vinyl discs are NOT digital.
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Engelsstaub
post Nov 28 2012, 09:01
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Do it, almostmitch.

The Pro-Ject Debut III is a decent turntable...especially so for someone who doesn't want to throw a small fortune at analogue hardware. Mine (pre-"carbon tone arm") has a bit of rumble but it's not really noticeable unless listening to quiet passages on headphones. Good news is that can be filtered out if you plan on digitizing.

You'll likely be told by a lot of people here to not bother. The general consensus around here is that records are crap. I am not here to try to minimize their often legitimate complaints about the format, but I don't think you'll be doing wrong. Especially if you buy a decent, but not overpriced TT like the Debut Carbon. As long as you take care of the equipment and the medium it's a solid investment. You can sell the TT later if you decide it's not for you. Trade-in value of LPs at my local indie store far exceeds that of CDs.

I have a love/hate relationship with vinyl LPs: when they're good they're great. When they're bad it really irritates me. Be prepared to get about one shitty record out of every fifteen new ones you buy. If you're into metal, Century Media and Back on Black have always been above average pressings for me. Earache, OTOH, is has been IME an example of crappy quality control (that actually surprises me for a British company.)

Appreciating and collecting music, on any format, is about fun and what's right for the individual. Your system doesn't have to "measure well" as long as the sound is pleasing to your ears. Some people are understandably sick of records and have long moved on to digital. I personally am grateful for both. Just today I listened to music on my home stereo that consisted of two records, a CD, a DVD-A, and a full album that I downloaded from iTunes. Long story short: I don't care about the format as much as I do about the music.

Make sure you get a decent carbon-fibre brush and keep your needle clean.


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Nessuno
post Nov 28 2012, 09:08
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Upon reading the first post I was preparing to write an answer which would have been identical, word by word to the one by Light-Fire.

That said, I only add @OP: if you want to make this experience just do it, of course, but throw the less money you can at it to start. Search for used, for example and only buy a new stylus, not to wear too much your records. Chances are you'll get tired soon of your new toy: sound quality apart, using vinyl for actual listening is a royal pain in the butt, I tell you!

Should you ever end up getting seriously involved into it, well you'll find plenty of inordinately expensive gears to improve (a little) your starting system.

This post has been edited by Nessuno: Nov 28 2012, 09:12


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Kohlrabi
post Nov 28 2012, 09:46
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The merits of vinyl are larger artwork (if you care for that), and sometimes better mastered albums than found on CD. From a pure technical standpoint it is inferior to CD in every way imaginable. A 50$ CD player is a higher fidelity system than any 1000$+ vinyl playback system. For me it's simply the huge technical deficiencies, and the fact that you have to throw a huge pile of money at your system to even reach a fraction of CD fidelity, which makes vinyl unattractive.



This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Nov 28 2012, 09:50


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Porcus
post Nov 28 2012, 10:38
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What about the following compromise:

- listen to your files
- buy vinyl albums you really care about, rather than other merchandise
- save the money you could have spent on a turntable on a few good-looking solid metal frames, and hang them on your wall in your living room

Downside: if you buy albums, the artists get virtually nothing. Rather than a second copy in a different format, buy a T-shirt.


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dhromed
post Nov 28 2012, 10:50
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Vinyl is entirely about the ritual around the medium; the physical item and the machinery required to play it. It's not about the music.

That's perfectly okay, but you have to be aware of that.
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2Bdecided
post Nov 28 2012, 11:01
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It's fun (if you like that kind of fun), but a lot of the benefits are in the minds of the listeners, rather than based in reality. Other people genuinely like the subtle distortion, speed variations, noise, and often smiley-face EQ of well-regarded vinyl rigs.

Some music was only released on vinyl, or is only released badly on CD (poor copy-tapes used as source, over-compression added, wrong versions used, etc).

CDs are easier to rip, and files are more convenient to carry around and backup.

You can spend as little or as much as you want. Avoid turntables/cartridges that are so cheap that they damage your records.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
David.
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Destroid
post Nov 28 2012, 12:13
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 28 2012, 11:01) *
Other people genuinely like the subtle distortion, speed variations, noise, and often smiley-face EQ of well-regarded vinyl rigs.

This is an excellent point David mentioned. Personally, I thought the anti-digital audiophiles were expecting (or missing?) the extra distortion, crackles and breathy noises. Not to mention the HF roll-off (usually the complaint is, "CD is so harsh!"). I figured these same listeners were used to experiencing these analog nuances because it would not be confused for sounds heard in the real world (i.e. the sound of a car crash in real-life vs. the Hollywood sample with the obvious vinyl flutter when the sound fades- "Whew, it was just the record!"). The reason digital/CD is better for me is minimal friction-noise/degradation from multiple playbacks. I figured the laser-driven phonograph endeavor was cut-short by the obvious advantage that CD was more compact (or perhaps that project was urban myth).

Someone who has the motivation to get a vinyl setup, I say, "Go for it." At the same time I also recommend to, "Go easy on it," as far as pocket expenses. If I was choosing to construct such a system I would research availability and cost of cartridges/needles and balance that with the quality they achieve. I am sure the responses from members here are worthy of consideration.


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Engelsstaub
post Nov 28 2012, 13:42
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 28 2012, 04:50) *
Vinyl is entirely about the ritual around the medium; the physical item and the machinery required to play it. It's not about the music.

That's perfectly okay, but you have to be aware of that.


That's a grossly presumptuous and offensively global statement.

When I go out of my way to find a vinyl pressing of a shamelessly brickwalled CD, is that not "about the music?" Rather than just ritually and lazily ripping CDs and reading EAC logs (now there's a ritual,) I actually listened to them as well. Due to my discontent with some, I sought out a better-sounding version of what *could* have been some great sounding CDs. Again: about the music, I would say from personal experience.

As a side-note: I've rarely come across a modern record so inherently bad that it made me run right back to it's dynamically-clipped CD counterpart. When a nearly-flawless digital medium is so plagued with such completely avoidable flaws it makes the far more subtle but inherent flaws of the analogue medium inconsequential in comparison.


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rgtb
post Nov 28 2012, 15:57
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QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 28 2012, 13:42) *
As a side-note: I've rarely come across a modern record so inherently bad that it made me run right back to it's dynamically-clipped CD counterpart.

I rarely encounter a modern record where it is obvious that it came off a different master than the CD counterpart. I mean, yeah, if I can choose between a 1986 vinyl and a 2012 re-issue on CD that's newly remastered, I will sometimes go for the 1986 vinyl. But if I get to choose between a 2012 release either on vinyl or on CD, I prefer the CD almost always.

This post has been edited by rgtb: Nov 28 2012, 16:01
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mjb2006
post Nov 28 2012, 17:17
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Digitizing vinyl is fun and educational. You are essentially playing (re-)Mastering Engineer. You get to make all kinds of interesting technical decisions that affect the sound, and there's always more to learn and things you could do to make it even better. You'll dive into using an audio editor, you'll learn all about digital recording, you'll figure out what helps and what hurts. You learn what kinds of problems are tolerable and what requires further attention. Some of the shortcomings of vinyl will become more apparent to you when you do this, but so will the medium's strengths. So by all means, go for it, and come back here with your questions. Many of us will enjoy helping you out.

As for people's gripes about vinyl, take them with a grain of salt. In this forum we are used to being rather, um, detail-oriented. We speak the truth, but we often seem to contradict ourselves: when the topic of lossy encodings comes up, we will insist that nothing matters but transparency as ascertained by double-blind testing, and that objective differences, no matter how measurably huge, are irrelevant. But at the same time, some of us will point to things like the lacquer cutting head moving across the master disc in a straight line, while the playback stylus on a turntable sweeps in an arc, and swear, or at least imply, that the resulting distortion is truly a nightmare and a reason CD is infinitely superior.

There was a time when we just listened to the music, and we did this everywhere—at home, in our cars, on our Walkmans, blasting from tiny speakers on transistor radios and out in public shops. We said "oh good, I love this song" when we heard something we liked, not "better not turn it up too loud or we'll hear that it's on vinyl; God, the signal-to-noise ratio is horrendous as compared to CD. And man, I can't believe the stereo separation and dynamic range is so bad. Listen to that tracing distortion!" No, if you asked most of us at age 20 what we didn't like about vinyl, the list of problems would be very short, and would focus on the medium needing to be kept clean and scratch-free, and stored upright and away from heat so it won't warp. We wouldn't be talking about distortion, transducers, rumble, wow, stereo separation, electrical noise, and every other shortcoming as compared to digital. Those things didn't matter to us until we learned about them and started listening for them and comparing vinyl to CD.

We forget that quite a bit of invention and money went into record technology over multiple decades, coaxing as much fidelity and quality as possible out of the medium. It's pretty damn good, overall, considering how crude its basic underlying mechanism is. The sonic characteristics are more than adequate to allow you to enjoy music and not be distracted by imperfections or by what's missing...at least until you "know too much". It's a good 80% or more of the way toward "perfection" IMHO. Sure, CD/digital gets you the rest of the way, and it's way more durable and fault-tolerant (to a point; vinyl can really take more of a beating and still play, noisily)...but as someone once asked me, in an exasperated tone of voice, "how (f'ing) perfect does it have to be?"
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cliveb
post Nov 28 2012, 17:59
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I have a soft spot for vinyl, but let's not try and kid ourselves that it's a superior method of experiencing music.

I have an analogy for you. Some people are really into old cars. There is something "soulful" about them, and their incompetent handling and useless brakes can impart some degree of fun. But they are nowhere near as efficient a means of transport as a modern car.

Vinyl's a bit like that. The care required to get the best out of it is a bit like the high degree of maintenance required to keep an old car on the road. Who knows, you might be the type of person who enjoys the effort required in getting a good sound from vinyl.

But if your goal is to hear recorded music as well as possible, and you're wondering if by some chance vinyl is the route to achieving that, don't bother - it isn't. (With one possible exception - the mastering of some CD reissues is so messed up that the original vinyl does actually sound better).
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almostmitch
post Nov 28 2012, 18:08
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Thanks for the responses guys, great input. I'll steal statements from various posts to discuss further.

QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 28 2012, 03:01) *
Do it, almostmitch.

Appreciating and collecting music, on any format, is about fun and what's right for the individual. Your system doesn't have to "measure well" as long as the sound is pleasing to your ears. Some people are understandably sick of records and have long moved on to digital. I personally am grateful for both.
Long story short: I don't care about the format as much as I do about the music.

Make sure you get a decent carbon-fibre brush and keep your needle clean.


I agree completely and thanks for the tip. I think it's obvious that had I grown up with vinyl and not in the digital age this post would not exist. I can see how those who didn't have the convenience of digital mediums at first are sick of vinyls. I can see myself caring less about the quality of vinyls as a trade off for the nostalgia and curiosity of equipment. Well said though, Engelsstaub, it is more about the music, less about format/quality; even if that's against a typical audiophile's views.

QUOTE (Porcus @ Nov 28 2012, 04:38) *
What about the following compromise:

- listen to your files
- buy vinyl albums you really care about, rather than other merchandise
- save the money you could have spent on a turntable on a few good-looking solid metal frames, and hang them on your wall in your living room


This is a great idea and I will almost for sure frame the vinyl I do purchase. However, seeing the album art on my walls and knowing I can't listen to the physical record would get under my skin. Recommendation of cheap yet protective vinyl sleeves so I can get the best of both worlds here? (hang the art, have the vinyl readily available to play)

QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 28 2012, 04:50) *
Vinyl is entirely about the ritual around the medium; the physical item and the machinery required to play it. It's not about the music.


I agree with this, however, I very much care about the music as well. IMO a stack of great vinyls is a far more impressive and tangible collection than a list of file names on an LCD smile.gif

QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 28 2012, 05:01) *
It's fun (if you like that kind of fun), but a lot of the benefits are in the minds of the listeners, rather than based in reality. Other people genuinely like the subtle distortion, speed variations, noise, and often smiley-face EQ of well-regarded vinyl rigs.


Well said and I agree. I feel like I may fall into this category.

QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 28 2012, 07:42) *
As a side-note: I've rarely come across a modern record so inherently bad that it made me run right back to it's dynamically-clipped CD counterpart. When a nearly-flawless digital medium is so plagued with such completely avoidable flaws it makes the far more subtle but inherent flaws of the analogue medium inconsequential in comparison.


This sort of verifies the hunch I had that for the most part modern vinyls won't have as many nuances and sound as bad as an LP that's 20, 30+ years old.
Also helpful in the sense that almost all of the music I plan to purchase was released within the last 10 years or so. (exceptions of course)

QUOTE (rgtb @ Nov 28 2012, 09:57) *
I rarely encounter a modern record where it is obvious that it came off a different master than the CD counterpart. I mean, yeah, if I can choose between a 1986 vinyl and a 2012 re-issue on CD that's newly remastered, I will sometimes go for the 1986 vinyl. But if I get to choose between a 2012 release either on vinyl or on CD, I prefer the CD almost always.


I'm not sure how to interpret this. If the LP is of the same master as the CD, will it likely be of better quality, or the opposite?

Also, what are everyone's thoughts on what type of rig I should use to tie my speakers and TT together to achieve the best sound? While keeping a modest price tag that is.
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Engelsstaub
post Nov 28 2012, 18:19
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QUOTE (rgtb @ Nov 28 2012, 09:57) *
...I rarely encounter a modern record where it is obvious that it came off a different master than the CD counterpart.
...


Not rare at all for me...and my musical tastes don't often conform to the "audiophile norm" as you can see from this example.

Previous Thread

I'm no recording engineer, so I'm not sure what we are calling a "master" here. It could well be the same master. But, as you can see from the illustrations in my previous post, the digital version was destructively normalized and most of the modern vinyl in my collection retains those spikes that usually indicate percussive sounds.

I could upload more samples of modern audio vinyl/CD comparisons with such a frequency that I would surely wear out my welcome.

...but to be fair many modern records are not that much better in these regards. And as cliveb pointed out, vinyl is all about the maintenance.

OP: I would go with a pair of Polk Audio speakers like these and a cheap two-channel amp. That more than suffices for me at the mo with the small room I listen in. That'll keep the price reasonable and still give you decent sound quality.


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greynol
post Nov 28 2012, 18:53
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QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 09:08) *
QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 28 2012, 05:01) *
It's fun (if you like that kind of fun), but a lot of the benefits are in the minds of the listeners, rather than based in reality. Other people genuinely like the subtle distortion, speed variations, noise, and often smiley-face EQ of well-regarded vinyl rigs.

Well said and I agree. I feel like I may fall into this category.

Which category? You quoted two.

QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 09:08) *
almost all of the music I plan to purchase was released within the last 10 years or so.

Looking for vinyl titles that are not subjected to the same disgusting DRC as their counterparts on CD is going to be a crapshoot.

QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 09:08) *
If the LP is of the same master as the CD, will it likely be of better quality, or the opposite?

If differences can be detected and you aren't predisposed to like the artifacts of vinyl, the CD is guaranteed to be superior.


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Porcus
post Nov 28 2012, 19:42
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QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 18:08) *
Recommendation of cheap yet protective vinyl sleeves so I can get the best of both worlds here? (hang the art, have the vinyl readily available to play)


eBay?


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almostmitch
post Nov 28 2012, 22:08
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QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Nov 28 2012, 11:17) *
Digitizing vinyl is fun and educational. You are essentially playing (re-)Mastering Engineer. You get to make all kinds of interesting technical decisions that affect the sound, and there's always more to learn and things you could do to make it even better. You'll dive into using an audio editor, you'll learn all about digital recording, you'll figure out what helps and what hurts. You learn what kinds of problems are tolerable and what requires further attention. Some of the shortcomings of vinyl will become more apparent to you when you do this, but so will the medium's strengths. So by all means, go for it, and come back here with your questions. Many of us will enjoy helping you out.

As for people's gripes about vinyl, take them with a grain of salt. In this forum we are used to being rather, um, detail-oriented. We speak the truth, but we often seem to contradict ourselves: when the topic of lossy encodings comes up, we will insist that nothing matters but transparency as ascertained by double-blind testing, and that objective differences, no matter how measurably huge, are irrelevant. But at the same time, some of us will point to things like the lacquer cutting head moving across the master disc in a straight line, while the playback stylus on a turntable sweeps in an arc, and swear, or at least imply, that the resulting distortion is truly a nightmare and a reason CD is infinitely superior.

There was a time when we just listened to the music, and we did this everywhere—at home, in our cars, on our Walkmans, blasting from tiny speakers on transistor radios and out in public shops. We said "oh good, I love this song" when we heard something we liked, not "better not turn it up too loud or we'll hear that it's on vinyl; God, the signal-to-noise ratio is horrendous as compared to CD. And man, I can't believe the stereo separation and dynamic range is so bad. Listen to that tracing distortion!" No, if you asked most of us at age 20 what we didn't like about vinyl, the list of problems would be very short, and would focus on the medium needing to be kept clean and scratch-free, and stored upright and away from heat so it won't warp. We wouldn't be talking about distortion, transducers, rumble, wow, stereo separation, electrical noise, and every other shortcoming as compared to digital. Those things didn't matter to us until we learned about them and started listening for them and comparing vinyl to CD.

We forget that quite a bit of invention and money went into record technology over multiple decades, coaxing as much fidelity and quality as possible out of the medium. It's pretty damn good, overall, considering how crude its basic underlying mechanism is. The sonic characteristics are more than adequate to allow you to enjoy music and not be distracted by imperfections or by what's missing...at least until you "know too much". It's a good 80% or more of the way toward "perfection" IMHO. Sure, CD/digital gets you the rest of the way, and it's way more durable and fault-tolerant (to a point; vinyl can really take more of a beating and still play, noisily)...but as someone once asked me, in an exasperated tone of voice, "how (f'ing) perfect does it have to be?"


You make some great points. I agree with your first paragraph, it should be fun. The third paragraph definitely needed to be said. I feel like some of us can forget that when it's all said and done, it's mostly about the music.

QUOTE (cliveb @ Nov 28 2012, 11:59) *
I have an analogy for you. Some people are really into old cars. There is something "soulful" about them, and their incompetent handling and useless brakes can impart some degree of fun. But they are nowhere near as efficient a means of transport as a modern car.

Who knows, you might be the type of person who enjoys the effort required in getting a good sound from vinyl.

But if your goal is to hear recorded music as well as possible, and you're wondering if by some chance vinyl is the route to achieving that, don't bother


That's a good analogy. I think I could be that type of person. Also, I was fully aware before going into this that vinyl is not the way to hear recorded music as well as possible, I'm okay with that.

QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 28 2012, 12:19) *
OP: I would go with a pair of Polk Audio speakers like these and a cheap two-channel amp.


Thanks. Any suggestions for something that would allow me to play my digital files through as well? or do most of them have this capability? They seemed a bit pricey too, from the ones I saw. Also, my listening room is about 25' x 20'. Do you think those speakers will be adequate and pack enough punch?

QUOTE (greynol @ Nov 28 2012, 12:53) *
Which category? You quoted two.


Oops I meant the category of listeners that enjoy some of the extra nuances with vinyl.
Thanks for the other info as well.
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DVDdoug
post Nov 28 2012, 23:22
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I grew up with vinyl, and I always hated the "snap", "crackle", and "pop". I hated the hiss and the lack of high frequences on cassettes even more! I hated the fact that even though I tried to take care of my records, they still deteriorated and got damaged. When I'd listen to one of my records that I was familiar with, I'd know when that "click" was coming, and I'd be gritting my teath waiting for the click, instead of enjoying the music.

QUOTE
Also, I would be digitizing my dads old albums and some of my own.
That's a good reason to get a turntable. (I haven't used my turntable for listening in many years.) However if you want the best sound, buy the CDs or MP3s (if they are available). If cost is an issue, look for used CDs. I've spent some long weekends fixing-up digitized vinyl, trying to make it sound as good as a CD.

QUOTE
I'm aware of the imperfections of vinyl's sound and this is why I want to make sure I get a quality system to achieve the best possible sound the LP will produce (within budget).
With analog, equipment does make a difference. You'll generally get better sound with more expensive equipment. For example just about every different phono cartridge will sound different. Back in the vinyl days, I was always upgrading or wanting to upgrade. You can quickly get to the point where it takes a big increase in price for a small improvement.

But no matter how much you spend, you'll never get "CD quality" from a vinyl record, and expensive equipment isn't going to help if you have a poor-quality or damaged record. (IMO, most older records didn't sound that great when they were new... Once in awhile, you'd run across a gem.)

I don't know anything about the Pro-Ject turntable, but the price "feels" about right... I wouldn't buy a $100 USD turntable (too cheap) or a $1000 turntable (too expensive for something that doesn't sound as good as a CD player). When it comes to phono cartridges, I figure you can't go wrong with Shure's best which you can get for less than $100, so I wouldn't spend much more thatn that. Again, I wouldn't want to go too cheap, or too crazy.

QUOTE
...and a pair of decent floor standing speakers
Of course, good speakers will be nice with analog and digital sources. When it comes to sound quality, speakers make the biggest difference (especially with a digital source).

QUOTE
in mind but was not set on which components I wanted to use with it (pre-amp + receiver, integrated amp, or just a receiver w/ phono inputs).
Usually, a receiver is the most economical option. Modern recevers with phono inputs are rare, and they tend to be expensive "audiophile" items. But, you can get a phono preamp for around $50 USD and plug it into one of your receiver's 'Aux' inputs. Or, if you can find an older-used reciever with a built-in phono-preamp, that's an option too. A good quality older receiver should sound just as good as a modern one (assuming good conditon). The difference is most are now 5.1 & 7.1 channel "home theater receivers" with digital inputs, and they are generally higher-power than the older ones.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Nov 28 2012, 23:35
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Engelsstaub
post Nov 29 2012, 03:42
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QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 16:08) *
...Any suggestions for something that would allow me to play my digital files through as well? or do most of them have this capability? They seemed a bit pricey too, from the ones I saw. Also, my listening room is about 25' x 20'. Do you think those speakers will be adequate and pack enough punch?
...


I just connect my iPod Touch to my receiver via a cheap headphone jack-to-RCA cable. I thought about buying a dock but when I heard the "cheap solution" it sounded terrific. (Substitute "iPod Touch" for whatever device you use to playback your digital files as appropriate.) Those Polk Audio speakers are a great value and sound amazing in my room. I was prepared to throw >$1200 USD at a good set of speakers but took a chance on these first. They perform well above their price-point IMO. It doesn't hurt that they say "Polk Audio" on them either. Resale value is often found in a recognized brand name. smile.gif They will pack more than enough punch: I was prepared to add a sub, but after I heard them in my room I happily noticed that that wouldn't be necessary. (I'll bet my neighbors downstairs would be grateful too if they only knew.)

So I would spend at least that much on speakers, or you'll quickly come down with a really itchy case of upgradeitis from cheap ones. If you want to be thrifty, I recommend doing so on the receiver. You could always find a good used one at a thrift store or on Craigslist. 2-channel amp is preferable for your usage. ...and as before: you're golden with a Pro-ject Debut TT. It's a great "entry-level" table, IME. It's easy to set up and comes factory-fitted with a decent cartridge.

...but as to the tired vinyl vs. digital debate: I think the digital proponents, though sometimes obnoxious in their zeal, really have the upper-hand. Vinyl proponents can be equally obnoxious, if not more so. When all things are equal, modern digital formats really are superior in almost every meaningful way. Both "sides" of this debate are very firmly entrenched by now and are not likely to be evangelized. If we keep bringing it up over and over it's sort of like trying to resurrect that proverbial dead horse; it has long since been beaten to death and rotted away.


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Porcus
post Nov 29 2012, 10:20
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If you are playing old vinyls, and at the risk of TOS#8:

Not only will the stylus matter, but the wear from previous stylii will also. You may actually expensive less wear-related noise with a tip that has smaller radius, which will read the groove where it hasn't been that much worn ... then OTOH, that might mean digging in the dirt. Some drawings here. Other HA users might fill in details, and, likely, corrections – I haven't played vinyl since the Ortofon MC30 Super.

As always, there will be lots of pseudoscience around the 'net, especially in the higher price brackets. (S(h)urely, a $2000 Rohmann has to sound excellent and for some damn good reason, or what?)

From the historical records [sic]: http://shure.custhelp.com/app/answers/deta...and-record-wear


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2Bdecided
post Nov 29 2012, 10:51
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Nov 28 2012, 16:59) *
I have a soft spot for vinyl, but let's not try and kid ourselves that it's a superior method of experiencing music.

I have an analogy for you. Some people are really into old cars. There is something "soulful" about them, and their incompetent handling and useless brakes can impart some degree of fun. But they are nowhere near as efficient a means of transport as a modern car.

Vinyl's a bit like that. The care required to get the best out of it is a bit like the high degree of maintenance required to keep an old car on the road. Who knows, you might be the type of person who enjoys the effort required in getting a good sound from vinyl.

But if your goal is to hear recorded music as well as possible, and you're wondering if by some chance vinyl is the route to achieving that, don't bother - it isn't. (With one possible exception - the mastering of some CD reissues is so messed up that the original vinyl does actually sound better).
Listen to this man. He is too modest to tell you just how much experience he has with vinyl.

QUOTE (Porcus @ Nov 29 2012, 09:20) *
I like that. Interesting claim that a perfect condition diamond stylus causes no wear on a perfectly clean record, but that after couple of hundred hours use the stylus is worn to a very damaging shape.

Cheers,
David.

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dhromed
post Nov 29 2012, 11:34
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 29 2012, 10:51) *
Listen to this man. He is too modest to tell you just how much experience he has with vinyl.


I'm not familiar enough with cliveb's history to know if this is sarcasm or not.
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RonaldDumsfeld
post Nov 29 2012, 13:12
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QUOTE
which device(s) combination might produce the best sound quality at a reasonable price?


A motor car is far more comfortable, safe and user friendly than a motorbike. Some people prefer the bike because it's more fun.


Enough philosophising already. To practicalities. I saw this in a store window the other day.

Audio Technica LP120-USB

It is dead ringer for the now discontinued and much missed, classic Technics 1210 DD turntable. With all the standard tweeks pre implemented. Plus a built in phono pre amp and USB connection. The AT95E cartridge is pretty decent as well.

Looks to be an excellent one stop shop for the aspiring vinylophile.

I find it hard to believe the internals can be up to the standard of the venerable 1210s but you never know? With a sticker price of £219 it looks a bargain whichever way you look at it.

Anyone have any hands on experience to report?

If you decide on a 2nd hand set of Technics instead then either of these look like excellent companions.

ART Phono Plus V2. £60

ART DJ Pre 2 £30

#1 is essentially an audio interface ( what audiophiles refer to as a DAC) with a built in phono pre amp from a reliable and economical supplier. #2 is a more conventional device but very good value.

Discogs is an excellent site for the vinyl enthusiast. You can buy and sell almost anything and the facilities are very useful indeed. I use it for cataloging and tagging my rips. It's good for obtaining artwork as well. Occasionally (very nowadays) I discover I have a release or version not already on their database and it's nice to be able to contribute to a free service by adding something back.

That's all you need mate. Good luck and have fun.

This post has been edited by RonaldDumsfeld: Nov 29 2012, 13:25
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