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Casual vinyl vs digital blind test
post Mar 30 2003, 22:56
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Today a friend visited me, so I seized the occasion to perform a hardware blind test. Computer blind test, like original vs MP3, I can do them alone with a program, but for real vinyl vs CD blind tests, I need someone to switch the source selector "in my back".

It was a "vinyl versus digital" test. A vinyl was playing back. The line out of the ampli was directed into the DAT deck, 48 kHz 16 bits. The ampli vinyl input (pure analog) was compared to the DAT input (digitized to 48 kHz 16 bits).

Preliminaries listening sessions : the digital sound seems more bright, shiny and detailed to me, the vinyl more smooth, silky and "noisy". The digital sound seems also "tiresome". No difference in frequencies or definition, just feelings.
The voice seemed to be more separated to the instruments on the digital version to her, though there is quite no difference between the two versions.

Then, in turn, the operator writes down on a paper a serial of sources, digital or analog, that are going to be played. The subject must then write on his own paper the source that he thinks he is listening to, for each session. Then the results are compared. After the test the roles are inverted, the operator becomes subject, and the subject operator.

Results :
Me :
6/10, but I guessed 3 of them recognizing the level difference, the real result is then 3/7.
Her :
5/8. After 5 trials she said she couldn't concentrate. We stopped for 2 minutes, then I played the references again, and she said the feeling was opposite now : the voice seemed more detached in the analog version, and that she had probably inverted all previous answers. Anyway, noting 0 for false and 1 for true, she got
0 0 0 1 1 -pause- 1 1 1 , so it's a failure whatever way we interpret the results.

Here's a sample of what we listened to, to illustrate the ability of digital to reproduce the "warm, fuzzy, fat, analog sound of vinyl".
sandra.mpc 516 kB, 22 seconds

Setup :
Technics SL-3100 turntable. Stanton Trackmaster EL cartridge, 5 grams tracking force, 3 grams of antiskate (it's the maximum on this turntable).
Arcam Diva A85 ampli, Sony DTC 55ES DAT, Dynaudio Gemini Speakers (not equalized, this time).
Between each trial, the operator switches the source selector (electronic commands) to a silent input, adjusts the volume to match the levels (digital volume display), then switch back the selector to the new source.

Records : Cocteau Twins - treasure (Virgin), track 1 & 3. Not convincing. So we used Sandra - 10/10 - Maria Magdalena for the blind tests.
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post Feb 26 2007, 15:03
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Also the other way around: phonograph records can contain higher frequencies than CDs. Using a high enough sample rate, I can record the sweep tones that go to 30kHz on the Cardas Frequency Sweep LP with no trouble what-so-ever. I made that recording using a sample rate of 88.2kHz. Harmonics of the sweep tone are clearly visible in various measurements right up to the 44.2kHz Nyquist limit. What any particular system can retrieve from the LP is dependent primarily upon the phono cartridge and, to a lesser extent, upon the phono preamp.
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post Feb 26 2007, 17:02
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Feb 26 2007, 15:03) *
What any particular system can retrieve from the LP is dependent primarily upon the phono cartridge and, to a lesser extent, upon the phono preamp.

And not too mention that an improperly adjusted turntable setup (which is a true science) can turn all possible advantages into disadvantages without most users even recognizing.

The name was Plex The Ripper, not Jack The Ripper
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Posts in this topic
- Pio2001   Casual vinyl vs digital blind test   Mar 30 2003, 22:56
- - lucpes   Comparing vinyl to digital sound is a very subjec...   Apr 17 2003, 11:56
- - budgie   I made very long and sometimes more than thorny wa...   Apr 17 2003, 12:16
- - jkauff   I don't think that's a fair comparison. Th...   Apr 18 2003, 00:42
- - fewtch   Not suggesting it means anything, but it's int...   Apr 18 2003, 08:01
- - Continuum   QUOTE (lucpes @ Posted on Apr 17 2003 - 12:56...   Apr 18 2003, 08:42
- - Garf   QUOTE (fewtch @ Apr 18 2003 - 09:01 AM)Not su...   Apr 18 2003, 11:42
- - Pio2001   Right, the digital was virtually a copy of the vin...   Apr 18 2003, 11:58
- - shazzan   I have heard this argument alot. Its true that vin...   Feb 26 2007, 12:39
|- - eofor   QUOTE (shazzan @ Feb 26 2007, 12:39) I ha...   Feb 26 2007, 13:26
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (shazzan @ Feb 26 2007, 11:39) viny...   Feb 26 2007, 13:29
- - AndyH-ha   Also the other way around: phonograph records can ...   Feb 26 2007, 15:03
|- - JeanLuc   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Feb 26 2007, 15:03...   Feb 26 2007, 17:02
- - fistandantilus   Speaking from a personal view i think nostalgia ha...   Feb 26 2007, 17:41
|- - eofor   QUOTE (fistandantilus @ Feb 26 2007, 17:4...   Feb 26 2007, 18:22
- - dvautier   I have looked at lots of technical comparisons bet...   Mar 4 2007, 20:41
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (dvautier @ Mar 4 2007, 14:41) I ha...   Mar 11 2007, 07:30
- - pepoluan   dvautier: I agree. You seem to hit it right on the...   Mar 5 2007, 09:03
- - boojum   I have a pretty high-end audio system and do not t...   Mar 11 2007, 06:50
- - ShowsOn   I think the difference is the mastering as well. S...   Mar 11 2007, 08:51
- - krabapple   QUOTE (ShowsOn @ Mar 11 2007, 03:51) I th...   Mar 11 2007, 22:15

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