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Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

There's nothing that prevents modern dynamic-range compression from being pressed to vinyl, right?  I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt and think that complaints about DRC form the basis of this whole hipster vinyl mythology.  For myself, the points made in this thread have dissuaded me from even dabbling with a turntable.


By far the majority of modern releases on vinyl use the exact same master as the CD or download version, so there's no real difference in sound quality apart from what the LP format itself imparts. Some people claim that the inherent limitations of vinyl sort of smooth over the edges of overcompressed or clipped master, because obviously an LP cannot sit pegged at 0dBFS (technically a DC signal) and clip like digital formats can.

Personally, I buy (new) LPs because I like the mechanical nature of the whole thing, because I love the big artwork and the extra stuff that is usually added, and because stuff like transparent/colored etc. vinyl is just neat. I know it's completely nonsensical, since I get worse sound quality and they take up space, but I just like flipping through records more than I like flipping through chintzy CD jewelcases or browsing through a collection of files on my hard drive. I also like that it kinda forces me to listen through albums in their entirety, instead of just randomly shuffling tracks.

Everything I have on LP, I also have digitally. Sometimes you just want to listen to music, but sometimes you want to make a small occasion of it, and that's when I break out the LPs.

I fully recommend that you don't get into LPs. It gets expensive quickly, especially if you like to browse record shops for neat semi-forgotten releases.


Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #1
By far the majority of modern releases on vinyl use the exact same master as the CD or download version, so there's no real difference in sound quality apart from what the LP format itself imparts.

My understanding was the exact opposite, that nearly every single LP made has the deep bass blended to mono (to be more tracking friendly to needles) at the very least. High frequency attenuation I thought was also common but not as nearly as universal as mono-ized deep bass.

Here's a list from a vinyl pressing facility, Custom Records, explaining what else they require in submitted CD masters:

"Tips to remember when making your CD master are:

•Do not over compress, over EQ or over process your program. Make your mixes sound satisfying to you.
•Normalize all track peak levels to about -1db
•Try to make all tracks have same average sound levels (unless a certain track is meant to be way soft)
•For best vinyl sound place your loudest brightest most important music on the outer tracks and quiet subdued material on the inner tracks.
•Do not include loud level out-of-phase signals in your master. If using a phase meter keep it in the positive range.
•Watch out for ultra high frequency signals. WARN US of any abnormal sustained high frequency content.
•Keep sibilance ("sss" and "shh" sounds) to a minimum by de-essing where necessary.
•Blend or mono-ize the bass frequencies. Do not pan low bass frequencies left or right.
•WARN US of any surprises such as loud sudden transients, deep low bass, longer than normal silent passage, etc."

http://www.customrecords.com/prepare_music...nyl_record.html

This begs the question, since the LPs are made from a CD, why don't they just sell us bit for bit perfect copies of that CD?!

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #2
It's not uncommon for that CD mix to be the released version on both LP and CD. How much panned deep bass is there on the average rock/pop album? Exactly, probably none at all.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #3
There's nothing that prevents modern dynamic-range compression from being pressed to vinyl, right?


Wrong. Trying to shoehorn a modern wide-dynamic range or hypercompressed recording designed for CDs or downloads onto a LP is like trying to fit 10 pounds of $#!* into a 1 pound bag.

One thing to remember is that there are many reasons why most sane people avandoned analog media, and that is because of its inherent audible limitations, both in terms of high frequencies and loud passages,

The loud passages on the dynamic recording will be likely to be audibly distorted on the LP, and the hypercompressed recording will have to be turned way down to play cleanly off the LP.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #4
It's not uncommon for that CD mix to be the released version on both LP and CD.


Come on, so you never heard of mastering?

Recordings are generally remastered for cutting the LP master.


Quote
How much panned deep bass is there on the average rock/pop album? Exactly, probably none at all.


It varies.

Digital media is all about putting that decision in the hands of the artistic people, not the cold hard limitations of the distribution media.

Since when has this forum been ruled by LP bigots who habitual gloss over the bad audible consequences of their favorite analog media?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #5
Come on, so you never heard of mastering?

Recordings are generally remastered for cutting the LP master.


What a condescending question.

If you go speak to the people who put out modern LP releases, and particularly those who do the re-releases of older albums that were originally on LP, you'll find that the basic master is the same as the CD version. They do a little bit of massaging like cutting out subsonic content and making sure all low bass is mono, but that's about it. If you're really lucky, they'll tweak the EQ a little towards the inner grooves.

It's extremely rare that a completely different master is made for an LP release, like with some of RHCP's albums, where for instance the LP of 'Californication' sounds much better than the CD. But that's mostly because the CD version is very badly mastered. And remastering costs money, so it's easier to just throw a CD master with a few token tweaks to the LP plant and leave it at that.

Quote
Since when has this forum been ruled by LP bigots who habitual gloss over the bad audible consequences of their favorite analog media?


And who would that be?

If you had bothered to read my posts, you would see that I specifically point out the limitations of the format, but that I like it for the physical aspect and large cover art, as well as less tangible benefits such as the enticement to play entire albums instead of shuffling random tracks. The sound quality is not perfect, but it's good enough. Certainly with a lot of badly mastered music, it's not like the digital version is much better, not to me anyway.

I much prefer LPs to CDs as a physical object to keep on my shelf, I find them a lot more interesting, especially the large cover art. As illogical as it is to keep either around when lossless digital codecs exist, I just like to have a shelf for music. And I also spent probably $200 on Bandcamp downloads over the last couple of months, so please don't think I'm a luddite :-)

I just really like browsing through thrift stores for cool old albums, and I like to have to some modern stuff to play, too. I also have an old-fashioned stereo VU meter hooked up to my stereo, for no other reason than because I think it's neat. Not everything has to be 100% optimized and perfect, sometimes a bit of nostalgia and fun is OK, too. You should try it.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #6
Wrong. Trying to shoehorn a modern wide-dynamic range or hypercompressed recording designed for CDs or downloads onto a LP is like trying to fit 10 pounds of $#!* into a 1 pound bag.
..hypercompressed recording will have to be turned way down to play cleanly off the LP.

There's still no reason why compressed music can't be cut on vinyl. You off your meds man? Been on a tear lately. Look, I don't own a TT or record, but comparing record companies to cigarette makers....jeez. 
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #7
... but comparing record companies to cigarette makers....jeez.


They sell you the same cigarette over and over again. I never bought the same piece of music twenty times a day! They sell you the same cigarette, and don't even pretend it's different to the last one.

(nb... I gave up 23 years ago)
The most important audio cables are the ones in the brain

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #8
I want evidence.

Here's a list from a vinyl pressing facility

Anecdotes aren't evidence.

Wrong.

Can't get a clippressed title on LP, huh?  Go and tell that BS bluster to a vinyl copy of Death Magnetic*.

I love when people build a house of cards by pontificating absolutes from their posteriors. It only takes one example to bring the whole thing down.

(*) Just one of many examples.  Usually whenever someone has the courage to provide physical evidence of differences, we generally get another.  Mzil, Arny, go ahead and try not to add to the growing list.

I'm sorry to have to bring this up yet again.  I guess it can't be helped that not everyone missed or didn't remember the last half-dozen times people thought they knew better couldn't support their beliefs with hard evidence or were otherwise shown to be wrong.

...and no, I'm not claiming vinyl is always sourced from the same master as CD, just that it doesn't seem to happen anywhere near as often as people championing this mantra claim it does.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #9
I think everyone needs to calm down and listen to a widely-acclaimed piece of music, played on a very high quality turntable* and cartridge**.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ9tCRh41OM

 

* $80,000
** $10,000

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #10
0dBFS (technically a DC signal)

No, this isn't correct.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #11
0dBFS (technically a DC signal)

No, this isn't correct.


You snipped out an important part of my post. I wrote "pegged at 0dBFS".

If the signal is literally pegged and flatlining at 0dBFS, how is that not the same as a DC signal?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #12
Full-scale exists on both sides of 0.  Last time I looked at a square-wave, it hit -1 as often as it hit +1 (normalized).

I think we both agree that a periodic waveform such as a square wave is not DC.  Of course a sine wave can easily be 0dBFS, but it doesn't flat-line.

Can we get back to the (in)audibility of jitter now? (EDIT: Thread was split)
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?


Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #14
Let me point out one similarity between DC and square waves: RMS amplitude.

But even if you severely hard-clip music, you will neither get clean square waves nor will the square waves have a low enough frequency to be confused with DC.
There is however noise the likes of Merzbow produce, which comes pretty close to the former.
"I hear it when I see it."

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #15
They do a little bit of massaging like cutting out subsonic content and making sure all low bass is mono, but that's about it. If you're really lucky, they'll tweak the EQ a little towards the inner grooves.

So they're not the same.

I guess we can settle this quite easily by analyzing the content of ever LP ever made that was also released on CD and then we'd be able to figure out what percentage has undergone change. Sounds pretty simple.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #16
With many people having large collections of FLAC vinyl albums, it would however be a fun project to do some analysis of a random sampling of tracks and see exactly what is changed.  Since the analysis could be automated easily enough (at least in terms of compression, levels, EQ), potentially a large enough sample could be processed to come up with generalizable results.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #17
They do a little bit of massaging like cutting out subsonic content and making sure all low bass is mono, but that's about it. If you're really lucky, they'll tweak the EQ a little towards the inner grooves.

So they're not the same.

I guess we can settle this quite easily by analyzing the content of ever LP ever made that was also released on CD and then we'd be able to figure out what percentage has undergone change. Sounds pretty simple.


My point is that there is the same amount of dynamic compression and clipping. Compared to that, a subsonic filter and summing of low bass frequencies is relatively minor.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #18
So they're not the same.

Like I said, feel free to present your waveforms.  I'll shoot them down wherever I can.  Please don't bother asking me to compare a digitization of a record manufactured in the previous century with a CD remastered in the current century.  Also, don't try and tell me that reducing gain and/or applying filtering to a clippressed master in order to prep it for vinyl production counts.

As has been mentioned in another thread, the era where "engineers" exercised best practices is long gone.  All I see now is fanboy consumers clinging to erroneous TTDR measurements and waveforms which they think they understand but actually don't.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #19
So they're not the same.

Like I said, feel free to present your waveforms.  I'll shoot them down wherever I can.

My belief that low bass is routinely mono-ized, if it needs to be [a mono recording or ones where the bass instruments are already centralized obviously doesn't need it] is not based on my personal examination of LP content, it comes from having read about it, way before I had even heard of that link I gave above I might add.

Just for the record, I'm not quite sure what your stand is regarding mono-ized low bass for LPs. Unlike me, you think it exists on some, but is uncommon, or at least is uncommon today in modern LPs made in recent years? Please elaborate on this point.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #20
I did a quick test because I was curious, and because I have a number of albums in both LP and digital formats. Both versions were simultaneously release, so the use of a common master would be highly possible. For reference, the track is "Amen & Attack" by Powerwolf, off their 2013 album "Preachers of the Night". I chose it because all of their CD releases have a relatively high amount of clipping. This track is by far one of least clipped.

(I apologize in advance for the width of the images. I use a rather large monitor)

Here's the CD version, which I lowered by about 5dB to match the recording from my turntable:



There's definitely some clipping around 26,1340, 26,1440 and 26,1560.

Here's the LP version:



Please note that I have only done a rudimentary job of aligning the two tracks, but it is indeed the same section of the song. It looks different enough to me, so I'll concede that more albums than I initially believed seem to be using a different master for CDs and LPs.

Unless I'm reading it wrong, of course. I still have the files if there are any requests for different sections etc.

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #21
Too small of a time window to make a distinction, but it looks like it could easily be from the same master. Provide 30 second samples and I can tell you more definitively whether it is from the same master and show you where/how/why.  As another blow-hard on the forum likes to say, been there, done that.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #22
uncommon today in modern LPs made in recent years

years -> decade plus

Bingo.

You guys should really have a look at the relevant discussions which have already been had.

I've linked them so many times before that it's gotten well beyond old.

http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=98199
http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=102895
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #23
Too small of a time window to make a distinction, but it looks like it could easily be from the same master. Provide 30 second samples and I can tell you more definitively whether it is from the same master and show you where/how/why.  As another blow-hard on the forum likes to say, been there, done that.


I zoomed in that far to show the clipping in the CD version.

No blowhards here. It would support my assertion that most LPs are made from the same master as the CD version.

I've uploaded samples of a more clipped section, later in the song: http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=110034

Personally, I don't think the LP version sounds markedly different from the CD version when the levels are approximately matched. A little more bass in the CD version, but that could stem from factors other than mastering (cartridge, phono preamp).

Can the same master used to press a CD be used to press vinyl?

Reply #24
Some non-perfect RIAA eq, some low bass blocking filter and maybe some "monofication" and your CD waveform will look like the LP... (ignoring all the additional nonlinearities introduced by the LP).
"I hear it when I see it."

 
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