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To get into vinyl, or not?, I was set on constructing an analogue system, but..
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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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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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.

The Loudness War is over. Now it's a hopeless occupation.
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Posts in this topic
- almostmitch   To get into vinyl, or not?   Nov 28 2012, 07:43
- - Glenn Gundlach   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 27 2012, 22:43) ...   Nov 28 2012, 08:18
- - Light-Fire   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 02:43) ...   Nov 28 2012, 08:19
|- - Nessuno   Upon reading the first post I was preparing to wri...   Nov 28 2012, 09:08
|- - clobon   QUOTE (Light-Fire @ Nov 28 2012, 09...   Nov 30 2012, 16:30
- - Engelsstaub   Do it, almostmitch. The Pro-Ject Debut III is a d...   Nov 28 2012, 09:01
- - Kohlrabi   The merits of vinyl are larger artwork (if you car...   Nov 28 2012, 09:46
- - Porcus   What about the following compromise: - listen to ...   Nov 28 2012, 10:38
- - dhromed   Vinyl is entirely about the ritual around the medi...   Nov 28 2012, 10:50
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 28 2012, 04:50) Viny...   Nov 28 2012, 13:42
- - 2Bdecided   It's fun (if you like that kind of fun), but a...   Nov 28 2012, 11:01
|- - Destroid   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 28 2012, 11:01) Ot...   Nov 28 2012, 12:13
- - rgtb   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Nov 28 2012, 13:42) ...   Nov 28 2012, 15:57
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (rgtb @ Nov 28 2012, 09:57) ...I ra...   Nov 28 2012, 18:19
- - mjb2006   Digitizing vinyl is fun and educational. You are e...   Nov 28 2012, 17:17
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Nov 28 2012, 11:17) As f...   Dec 4 2012, 03:16
- - cliveb   I have a soft spot for vinyl, but let's not tr...   Nov 28 2012, 17:59
- - almostmitch   Thanks for the responses guys, great input. I...   Nov 28 2012, 18:08
|- - greynol   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 09:08) ...   Nov 28 2012, 18:53
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 18:08) ...   Nov 28 2012, 19:42
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Nov 28 2012, 11:17) Digi...   Nov 28 2012, 22:08
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 28 2012, 16:08) ...   Nov 29 2012, 03:42
- - DVDdoug   I grew up with vinyl, and I always hated the ...   Nov 28 2012, 23:22
- - Porcus   If you are playing old vinyls, and at the risk of ...   Nov 29 2012, 10:20
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (cliveb @ Nov 28 2012, 16:59) I hav...   Nov 29 2012, 10:51
|- - dhromed   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Nov 29 2012, 10:51) Li...   Nov 29 2012, 11:34
|- - pdq   QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 29 2012, 05:34) QUOT...   Nov 29 2012, 14:38
- - RonaldDumsfeld   QUOTE which device(s) combination might produce th...   Nov 29 2012, 13:12
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Nov 28 2012, 17:22) When...   Nov 29 2012, 16:08
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Nov 29 2012, 10:08) ...   Nov 29 2012, 17:19
- - pdq   I wouldn't worry about impedances and wattage ...   Nov 29 2012, 16:31
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE One thing I'm still unsure about is impe...   Nov 29 2012, 20:12
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (pdq @ Nov 29 2012, 10:31) I wouldn...   Nov 29 2012, 22:26
- - botface   The most important thing is to ensure you set up t...   Nov 30 2012, 09:42
- - RonaldDumsfeld   QUOTE I'd feel safer spending an extra $1...   Nov 30 2012, 14:40
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (botface @ Nov 30 2012, 03:42) The ...   Dec 3 2012, 14:43
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Dec 3 2012, 08:43) Q...   Dec 3 2012, 16:42
||- - rgtb   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 3 2012, 16:42) A...   Dec 4 2012, 08:24
||- - cliveb   QUOTE (rgtb @ Dec 4 2012, 07:24) in what ...   Dec 4 2012, 10:09
||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (rgtb @ Dec 4 2012, 02:24) QUOTE (E...   Dec 4 2012, 15:46
||- - rgtb   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 4 2012, 15:46) I...   Dec 4 2012, 17:58
||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (rgtb @ Dec 4 2012, 11:58) QUOTE (E...   Dec 4 2012, 22:08
|- - botface   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Dec 3 2012, 13:43) Q...   Dec 3 2012, 19:49
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 3 2012, 10:42) I...   Dec 3 2012, 18:20
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (botface @ Dec 3 2012, 13:49) I gue...   Dec 3 2012, 20:15
- - greynol   When you say something without obvious emphasis (b...   Dec 5 2012, 00:09
- - Engelsstaub   That's fair enough, greynol. I was providing h...   Dec 5 2012, 00:22
- - greynol   Yes, that you have been helpful was not lost on me...   Dec 5 2012, 07:51
- - Engelsstaub   I apologize for the tone and my part in the bicker...   Dec 5 2012, 15:14
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 09:14) A...   Dec 5 2012, 15:52
|- - cliveb   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Dec 5 2012, 14:52) I...   Dec 5 2012, 16:25
- - Engelsstaub   Mine has a plastic flange, so I would actually pre...   Dec 5 2012, 16:54
- - 2Bdecided   I've had two Goldrings, bought from the same s...   Dec 5 2012, 17:26
|- - Nessuno   I have one of those with plastic pivoting flange (...   Dec 5 2012, 18:30
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 5 2012, 11:30) ... ...   Dec 5 2012, 19:08
|- - cliveb   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 18:08) I...   Dec 5 2012, 20:36
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (cliveb @ Dec 5 2012, 13:36) QUOTE ...   Dec 5 2012, 21:04
- - J.Philippe   One thing that might be worth mentioning is that m...   Dec 5 2012, 18:21

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