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LPs that actually do sound better?, Somebody Should Make a List
tonybelding
post Sep 9 2010, 05:08
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Hi all. . . I'm new here, but I've been pointed towards this site many times in the past to settle questions about audio -- especially about digital compression.

So anyhow. . . I got me a turntable!

What prompted me to get it was a series of records that National Geographic published back in the 70s and which never were released on CD. They were high production quality stuff: gatefold, elaborate liner notes, etc. It was supposed to be a history of American music -- an early example of edu-tainment, you might say. I fondly remembered some of these from when I was little, and I thought it would be cool to collect the LPs (thanks to the modern miracle of eBay) and digitize them, and put them in my iTunes library. QED, right?

I first thought I'd get one of those cheap USB turntables, but then I did a little research and found out they were basically crummy, so of course I wanted a better one. . . and one thing led to another. I ended up with a Technics SL-D2 with a Shure M95ED cartridge, which seems to be working pretty well so far. It's been a long time since I had a turntable, and this is way better than any I had before.

So, I dug out some other old LPs. One that particularly pleases me is Blue Oyster Cult's The Revolution By Night. It sounds way better than the CD. The CD is one of those early releases that were. . . messed up. I don't know exactly what the explanation is, but it seems around 1984-86 there were a fair number of CDs that came out sounding thin, harsh and bright. I suspect it had something to do with the mad rush to convert whole back catalogs ASAP while engineers were still getting used to the new format and equipment.

Adding insult to injury, the CD was a "budget" release with the (excellent IMHO) cover art shrunk to about cassette size and surrounded with a useless border proclaiming what a bargain it was. The sleeve art was jettisoned entirely. Gee thanks, CBS Records! mad.gif

I've tinkered with the CD rip before, applying equalization -- greatly reducing the higher frequencies -- and re-normalizing it, and I was able to make the CD sound a lot better. Even so, apparently I never totally figured it out, because the LP still sounds better to me.

At the end of this long story, I'm left wondering. . . Can anybody suggest other LPs that are notably better than their CD release? I mean examples where the CD was messed up in some way, whether it was equalization or over-compression, clipping, whatever, while the LP was OK. Bonus points could be awarded if the LP has great cover art, gatefold art, etc!

We could even make a list of these; it seems like somebody ought to.
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cliveb
post Sep 9 2010, 11:40
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QUOTE (tonybelding @ Sep 9 2010, 05:08) *
Can anybody suggest other LPs that are notably better than their CD release? I mean examples where the CD was messed up in some way, whether it was equalization or over-compression, clipping, whatever, while the LP was OK.

It's not that simple.

The quality of individual pressings of a particular album on LP can be extremely variable. Different masters are cut in different geographical territories, and when titles are reissued; the quality and weight of vinyl used will vary between pressing plants; stampers get old and lose high frequencies; etc, etc.

CDs get reissued multiple times with different masterings; some are good, and some not so good. (And it's not always the most recent issues that sound best, of course).

Example 1. My vinyl copy of 10cc's "Sheet Music" sounds better than my CD copy, but that's probably because I have an original British pressing (on the UK label) on heavyweight vinyl, and the CD version I have is an old Castle Communications version. If you were to go out and buy a vinyl copy of this album, chances are you'd get a reissue that would sound worse than a CD.

Example 2. I bought a copy of Yes's "Going for the One" on CD back in the 1980's and it sounded *so* bad compared to my beaten up vinyl that I returned it. I suspect it was mastered from an LP cutting tape. A few years later, it was remastered for CD and this time sounds OK. If you were to buy a CD of this album today, you almost certainly wouldn't get the dodgy version.

Example 3: Adrian Belew's first two albums "Lone Rhino" and "Twang Bar King". Original Island Records vinyl sounds pretty damn good. If you get the Japanese CDs, they are fine. If you happen to buy the 2-on-1 Gott CD version, you're hosed. (There's a new remaster on BGO that I've never heard).
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tonybelding
post Sep 9 2010, 16:08
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Sep 9 2010, 05:40) *
The quality of individual pressings of a particular album on LP can be extremely variable. Different masters are cut in different geographical territories, and when titles are reissued; the quality and weight of vinyl used will vary between pressing plants; stampers get old and lose high frequencies; etc, etc.


I was vaguely aware of that, but hadn't given it much thought. . . I think I remember reading somewhere that Japanese and European pressings tend to be better, on average, than US pressings.


QUOTE
CDs get reissued multiple times with different masterings; some are good, and some not so good. (And it's not always the most recent issues that sound best, of course).


This brings to mind the first six ZZ Top albums. . . Early on there were generic CD releases that seemed to suffer from the thin-harsh-bright effect I described earlier. Then they decided to redo all six albums to take advantage of the CD format -- but mere remastering wasn't enough! They decided to re-mix them, so that became the ZZ Top Six Pack set. (It was actually a three-CD set with two LPs per CD, but they were also released as six stand-alone CDs.) The problem is, the remix really changed the sound in ways that a lot of ZZ Top old timers didn't like. So that was strike two. Recently they came out with new remasters (from the original mix) of Tres Hombres and Fandango. These are the best-sounding CD versions of those two albums, but they're pretty compressed. They aren't totally brick-walled (the way Mescalero was!), but. . . It's still more compression than I really care for.

That's a whole lot of CD releases, and it's arguable that they were all bungled in various ways and to various degrees. Plus, opening the LP gatefold of Tres Hombres and seeing that huge 24X12" Tex-Mex spread is still one of the great experiences in album artwork. cool.gif
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Posts in this topic
- tonybelding   LPs that actually do sound better?   Sep 9 2010, 05:08
- - Light-Fire   QUOTE (tonybelding @ Sep 9 2010, 00:08) ....   Sep 9 2010, 06:02
|- - tonybelding   QUOTE (Light-Fire @ Sep 9 2010, 00:0...   Sep 9 2010, 13:35
- - cliveb   QUOTE (tonybelding @ Sep 9 2010, 05:08) C...   Sep 9 2010, 11:40
|- - tonybelding   QUOTE (cliveb @ Sep 9 2010, 05:40) The qu...   Sep 9 2010, 16:08
- - gottogo99   Anyone interested in vinyl sound quality, or compa...   Sep 9 2010, 13:50
- - analog scott   Such lists are tricky things. As has already been ...   Sep 11 2010, 00:19
- - analog scott   QUOTE (pdq @ Sep 15 2010, 16:46) QUOTE (a...   Sep 15 2010, 17:46
|- - pdq   QUOTE (analog scott @ Sep 15 2010, 12:46)...   Sep 16 2010, 00:48
||- - 2tec   QUOTE (pdq @ Sep 15 2010, 17:48) I suppos...   Sep 16 2010, 02:06
|- - cliveb   QUOTE (analog scott @ Sep 15 2010, 17:46)...   Sep 16 2010, 15:10
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (cliveb @ Sep 16 2010, 10:10) QUOTE...   Sep 16 2010, 17:13
- - 2Bdecided   You could have listed most of the Beatles albums a...   Sep 15 2010, 18:58
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 15 2010, 18:58) Yo...   Sep 16 2010, 11:55
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 15 2010, 13:58) Yo...   Sep 16 2010, 17:18
||- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (krabapple @ Sep 16 2010, 17:18) QU...   Sep 16 2010, 17:34
||- - greynol   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 16 2010, 09:34) Th...   Sep 16 2010, 18:00
||- - pdq   I thought he was saying that the clearly audible f...   Sep 16 2010, 18:21
||- - 2Bdecided   Yes, sorry if that was unclear - I was talking abo...   Sep 17 2010, 09:50
||- - cliveb   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 17 2010, 09:50) I ...   Sep 17 2010, 14:23
||- - botface   Another +1 with the caveat that CD copies can soun...   Sep 17 2010, 14:55
|- - markanini   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 15 2010, 18:58) Yo...   Dec 1 2011, 06:19
- - ramicio   One newer album I had on vinyl, Panic! At The ...   Dec 1 2011, 06:09
- - Seeking_Lossless   Lou Reed - Lulu already sounds great on CD. I gues...   Dec 1 2011, 09:36
- - kraut   One of the few Lps that sounded better than CD - K...   Dec 2 2011, 06:36
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 2 2011, 06:36) One of ...   Feb 9 2012, 12:41
- - Brod   I think the main reason to buy new Vinyl these day...   Feb 9 2012, 05:21
|- - pdq   QUOTE (Brod @ Feb 9 2012, 00:21) I think ...   Feb 9 2012, 15:08
|- - Brod   QUOTE (pdq @ Feb 9 2012, 22:08) What is y...   Feb 9 2012, 17:31
- - pdq   I tend to distinguish between dynamic range compre...   Feb 9 2012, 18:06


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