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[TROLLBAIT] Dare I start another vinyl topic?

I have a question that I don't feel inclined to ask in That Other Thread, since it seems to have turned into an Atmasphere-kicking session.

I've been (unfairly, IMO) accused of various things on this forum, such as a "vinyl apologist", and a "placebophile". Let me make my position absolutely clear: I am neither a vinylphile nor a vinylphobe. I understand and acknowledge the technical limitations of vinyl, and yet I can enjoy listening to it. Despite its manifest flaws, I happen to think that vinyl can sound pretty damn good in a normal domestic listening situation.

I want to hear from those who hate vinyl exactly what it is that they find so objectionable. Is it just the surface noise (what I call "vinyl roar") and the ticks & pops? Or do some of the other inaccuracies (eg. frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, wow & flutter) make vinyl unlistenable?

To put it another way, if you heard some vinyl that had no audible ticks, pops or surface noise, how confident are you that you would be able to identify it as vinyl?

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #1
So another vinyl topic in General Audio forum... but why not, if the mods don't care.

My opinion is extremely simple: if a vinyl, a tape, or cassette release sounds great, and it is exclusively released on such storage media, I will digitize it ASAP before it deteriorates, or ask someone to do that for me if I don't have the equipment.

Simply because... only digital formats can last forever.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #2
If it wasn't for the pops, it would sound fine to me. It does sound overall different than a CD, but I don't perceive it as worse or better. Just slightly different.

However, I only have limited experience with actual vinyl. I don't own a setup, but my father did in the past. In those days, I didn't have a CD player yet. My vinyl comparisons are using those "24-bit vinyl rips" one can find online, which I have downloaded due to curiosity to compare them against my CDs. So this might invalidate any kind of comparisons I did vs CDs, not sure.

But some of those vinyl rips were surprisingly clean, with extremely few noticeable pops. And those sounded fine to me; as I said, slightly different sound, but not worse nor better. I don't know if vinyl is pressed from a different master though compared to digital releases. That might be the reason for the majority of the differences I hear, and those differences are very small (to me) to begin with.

With that being said though, in the age of Spotify (and friends), I find myself bothering less and less with using CDs when Spotify is just a click away. In fact, I don't think I played an actual CD in... over a year now? So I can't imagine that I'd be willing to deal with the additional hassles of using vinyl. I do realize though that for many people, these "hassles" are part of the experience. I completely understand why holding a vinyl record in your hands, putting it on, moving the needle, etc, would be a satisfying experience. I totally get it.


Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #4
I want to hear from those who hate vinyl exactly what it is that they find so objectionable. Is it just the surface noise (what I call "vinyl roar") and the ticks & pops? Or do some of the other inaccuracies (eg. frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, wow & flutter) make vinyl unlistenable?
For me, it's preamp instability. I've now learned that vynil is a dead silent medium, that does not need heroics/cleaning to reduce surface noise as commonly thought, but rather a stable, albeit bling phono pre. Maybe a dust brush too.
I've subsequently dumped my fancy record cleaner and am in negotiations with Ralphie over a bling stable pre. The >$100 cartridge will have to wait.

To put it another way, if you heard some vinyl that had no audible ticks, pops or surface noise, how confident are you that you would be able to identify it as vinyl?
Other than the NPR and furnace business, I thought we just did??
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #5
Quote
I want to hear from those who hate vinyl exactly what it is that they find so objectionable. Is it just the surface noise (what I call "vinyl roar") and the ticks & pops? Or do some of the other inaccuracies (eg. frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, wow & flutter) make vinyl unlistenable?
Noise!!!   Clicks and pops were always the biggest issue for me.    Defects/damage on records didn't seem to bother my friends & family (as long as the record didn't skip) but they annoyed me, especially if it was my record that was damaged/defective, and I really tried to take care of them.  

I could have lived with "normal" background surface noise and preamp noise but now I've been spoiled by digital.   

But... back when I was listening to vinyl I was always upgrading (or wanting to upgrade) my cartridge for "better sound" (better frequency response).  

Most (rock/popular) records seemed to have rolled-off highs, but there were a few gems with "sparkly-clean" sound.    So, I was on a fool's errand looking for a better cartridge.   And, I felt like I was "cheating" if I turned-up the treble...  Reading too many hi-fi magazines about "flat frequency response"...    Now if I digitize a record (because I can't find a digital copy) I use EQ if I feel like it needs it...    That's after click & pop reduction, of course!

45's were generally lousy...  I can't say what was wrong and it's been decades since I've played a 45, but I suppose it was distortion (loudness war? re-grind vinyl?).   The same song on an LP usually sounded much better.  

With LP's, tracking/distortion problems were only occasional.

I never heard crosstalk (or lack of separation) and I never heard wow/flutter from a turntable that wasn't broken.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #6
I want to hear from those who hate vinyl exactly what it is that they find so objectionable. Is it just the surface noise (what I call "vinyl roar") and the ticks & pops? Or do some of the other inaccuracies (eg. frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, wow & flutter) make vinyl unlistenable?
For me, it's preamp instability. I've now learned that vynil is a dead silent medium, that does not need heroics/cleaning to reduce surface noise as commonly thought, but rather a stable, albeit bling phono pre. Maybe a dust brush too.
I've subsequently dumped my fancy record cleaner and am in negotiations with Ralphie over a bling stable pre. The >$100 cartridge will have to wait.

To put it another way, if you heard some vinyl that had no audible ticks, pops or surface noise, how confident are you that you would be able to identify it as vinyl?
Other than the NPR and furnace business, I thought we just did??

I asked what I thought was a reasonable question. And I thank Nikaki and DVDdoug for actually answering what I asked. (And it seems to me that their main issue with vinyl is indeed the noise).

But you, AJ, seem to just want to try and make jokes. Are you prepared to actually answer the question?

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #7
No diatribe against inner-groove distortion?

@AJ:
You forgot balanced XLR connections, like what can be found on the veil-lifting Squeezebox Transporter.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #8
Oh Clive, c'mon now.

Perhaps you're now just a recovering placebophile...

https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,52171.msg467623.html#msg467623

https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,52171.msg467857.html#msg467857

Sorry, but I think you asked for it.
So you had to go back over 10 years to find something I said that you feel puts me in that camp?

Actually, I'm in awe that you were able to find them in under 23 minutes. Almost as if you keep close at hand a cache of members' posts that you might want to use as ammo.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #9
No, I have a memory and have a penchant for searching efficiently; but if it makes you feel better to dismiss me as a troll collecting ammo against placebophiles, you're more than welcome. It's a conspiracy after all.

But that raises an interesting question, my raising the term conspiracy, that is:  exactly when were you accused of being a placebophile before my pointing out the obvious?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #10
Simply because... only digital formats can last forever.

I dunno bennet, I'm thinking that gold record on Voyager 2 is going to have a good long lifespan.

 Digital files are only as immortal as their backups & error correction, and your ability to read them, of course. :D

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #11
I happen to think that vinyl can sound pretty damn good in a normal domestic listening situation.
CD can sound pretty damn better in a normal domestic listening situation, is more convenient, way cheaper, can be played 1000 times without sonic degradation. CD players can be cheap and good, can be embed in cars or computers, are way less cumbersome, don't need maintenance or a precise setup. And of course a CD can be ripped and the resultant identical-sounding files are even more convenient, can be played litterally anywhere anytime etc.

All in all, the vinyl support has a lot of cons and not a single pro over CD/Files. So the only rational question to ask is: why vinyl over digital?

I'm 59 years old and have known a huge part of the vinyl-only era. Though not affected by nostalgia for this crappy format most of us used to loathe at the time (which every old-timer rejoicing in the so-called vinyl return seems to have forgotten), I can acknowledge and even understand while some people may suffer from it. Especially in modern popular music (from the 50's to today) where image, rituals and plain fetichism are dominant. What I can't understand is how a long-time HA member can question on this very forum the preference for digital. It's been answered in 1982 et never rationally opposed.

You're telling us you enjoy listening to vinyl? Good for you but nobody cares on this forum. Or if some do then they're on the wrong forum.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #12
I dunno bennet, I'm thinking that gold record on Voyager 2 is going to have a good long lifespan.

 Digital files are only as immortal as their backups & error correction, and your ability to read them, of course. :D
Sure. Both digital and analog formats rely on physical storage media. Physical media of course are destructible.

Rephrase it into no generation loss OK?

Also about the "bit rot" thing... I think repeated discussions are not necessary.
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,111995.0.html

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #13
I'd say I'm the cliveb camp - I neither love nor loathe vinyl - and tend to agree with the OP. I'm old enough to remember a time when vinyl was the highest source quality commonly available, tapes were a poorer and hissy second. Given the choice, you listened to vinyl at home, assuming you had the record.

In isolation, I think a well cared for LP on a modestly decent setup is quite acceptable. However, like most I've been somewhat spoilt by digital with its capability of (in real-world terms) noiseless reproduction, better bandwidth, convenience etc. I still have a turntable (with a sub-$100 cartridge) but it rarely sees use and I only have a handful of records.

To answer one of the questions: were it not for the surface noise I'm not confident I could identify vinyl in isolation. I could probably pick it as "not the same" against digital, assuming identical source material but even that might be wishful thinking.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #14
I want to hear from those who hate vinyl exactly what it is that they find so objectionable. Is it just the surface noise (what I call "vinyl roar") and the ticks & pops? Or do some of the other inaccuracies (eg. frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, wow & flutter) make vinyl unlistenable?
I have lots of vinyl records and I love listening to them, when I have time. It's a nice experience.

On one hand they do sound nice on their own, but the little distortions and all that kinda adds to the sound. I.e. when listening to vinyl, it's not entirely about listening to "the best way to listen music" it's about the entire package.

Right now, there's an entire music resurgence going on, with people listening to Lo-Fi, Vapor Wave, Synthwave, etc. Some artists intentionally release their music on MCs because the slightly muffled sound is actually part of the whole point, etc.

To put it another way, if you heard some vinyl that had no audible ticks, pops or surface noise, how confident are you that you would be able to identify it as vinyl?
You're making assumption about a theoretical perfect vinyl already. When you compare two things, then you compare actual real-world objects.

If you want to assume a hypothetical perfect vinyl on a hypothetical perfect player, with no audible artifacts, then what are we comparing against? A perfect hypothetical DAC with infinite bit depth and a infinite sampling rate, playing a source with equally infinite attributes? Why not throw infinite number of channels into the mix for good measure?

Real world objects like that are tested in systems. So you'd actually perform that sort of test in an anechoic chamber, with test equipment which for all intents and purposes have near-infinite attributes to the setup (walls reflectivity of near 0, engineering measurement microphones, etc). This isn't a listening test, this is an engineering experiment at that point, you'd have to decide what you're after. If you want a comparative test setup, you must control for all other coefficients. And if possible make a p-value analysis and control against that with a control group.

The entire assumption is weird when looking from it from the other side: It is relatively easy to synthesize the sound of a vinyl. In fact most DAWs and even some DJ-ing software include these functions, for effects. Cubase has a plugin that lets you select what type of vinyl or amp you want to simulate. And trust me, they are really convincing (btw, similar things also exist for simulating specific microphones, etc.) Similar things exist in the video production world, too. There are grain filters, which intentionally simulate different kinds of film stock in 4k digital footage: https://www.rocketstock.com/video-packs/emulsion-film-grain-overlays/

So I can turn this right around: suppose you select a vinyl with pops and clicks and all that, and I edit the same song or whatever from a lossless source, such that the music has the same dynamic range, same length, but I add vinyl noise, wow and flutter, clicks and pops, to a regular amount. How confident are you, you'd be able to differentiate between the two, given a common test equipment, like amp, speakers or headphones?

What is "unlistenable about vinyl"? Nothing. What drives people up the walls, is that people claim they have nothing in comparison from anything beyond that medium, and if you can't hear it, you simply lack the ears for that. That and the sheer inability to understand assumptions like that is what kinda makes these threads feel like sticking your head in a tumble dryer.

To be hones, I'm having a hard time differentiating what's an honest question and what's a friggin troll trying to pour more oil into the fire.

And last but not least: There's a vinyl section on HA, as well as an off-topic section, and I've seen you post in both. I don't see how this thread doesn't belong in either, but instead goes into General Audio. My understanding is, that discussing vinyl goes into the vinyl section, and meta-discussions go into the off-topic section. But oh well, I might be wrong. People being annoyed at "mis-posting" like that, isn't a HA thing, it's consistent across pretty much all forums everywhere. Usually mods will move a thread into the correct section.

I listen to vinyl because it's fun and for what it is, it sounds pretty good. Not perfect, but good enough - it has its own kinda nice sound and it's a nice experience. I love playing with my reel-to-reel, too, for pretty much the same reasons. The difference there, is that I can record on it and I have no pre-recorded content, while it's the exact opposite to vinyl.

In almost all cases I can think of (mobility or a "regular home equipment", as you stated), digital music beats vinyl in pretty much all cases. On the level of sound reproduction, but also on the levels of investment vs. attained quality, as well as convenience.

Vinyl music is preferable for a small edge case: enjoying listening to vinyl.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #15
But you, AJ, seem to just want to try and make jokes.
I was trying to best Ralph, but guess I failed. I admit his was pretty epic.
In case you missed it, I don't take this stereo music listening stuff, rock through window seriously. YMMV.

Are you prepared to actually answer the question?
Whether I still beat my wife...excuse me, "hate" vinyl?
In case you missed it, I own a TT. I find plenty fastidiously cleaned vinyl quite enjoyable. But as a classical music fan, with my decidedly non-audiophile, slightly capable system, near intolerable.
The only reason I still have a TT in 2017 while walking upright, is to rip music that either doesn't exist digitally, or flat out sounds better mastered. Otherwise the whole ritual thing sucks. Lets not get into the whole, "but it causes focus" Hocus Pocus. Please.
Are you thinking of posting a "silent vynil" file slight more, ahem, capable than Ralphies?
If so, please do.
Loudspeaker manufacturer


Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #17
Are you thinking of posting a "silent vynil" file slight more, ahem, capable than Ralphies?
If so, please do.
I was trying to gauge whether any people claim that vinyl has audible problems other than the obvious noise issues, and that they can tell when they are listening to vinyl even when those noise issues are absent.
Because if they do, then I *am* thinking of posting a few files - some of them will be needle drops, and some will be CD rips.
Their task will be to identify which is which. If vinyl is as flawed as people say it is, then it'll be a trivial exercise.
I personally think they might struggle.
Is anyone willing to risk it?

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #18
Because if they do, then I *am* thinking of posting a few files - some of them will be needle drops, and some will be CD rips.
Their task will be to identify which is which. If vinyl is as flawed as people say it is, then it'll be a trivial exercise.
I personally think they might struggle.
Is anyone willing to risk it?
Sure, how about Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture. There is a Telarc version on vinyl (have) and CD iirc. (think I have)
Hopefully no brick through window from Chibi if I fail.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #19
I've been (unfairly, IMO) accused of various things on this forum, such as a "vinyl apologist", and a "placebophile". Let me make my position absolutely clear: I am neither a vinylphile nor a vinylphobe.
From my (similar but not the same) not-giving-a-crap-either-way point of view, this seems like playing the middle and a false equivalence. Like so many other things nowadays, one "side" seems to be making the outrageous claims and the other "side" seems to just be reacting to the insanity. I would concede that you can place Mr. Science and Reason Warrior, our Dear OP of that other thread, in the "phobe" camp, but that's just him and you can see how it backfired on him.

Quote
I understand and acknowledge the technical limitations of vinyl, and yet I can enjoy listening to it. Despite its manifest flaws, I happen to think that vinyl can sound pretty damn good in a normal domestic listening situation.
I don't think most of the vinyl "haters" here would disagree with that. Seems like you're setting up a straw man here.

Quote
I want to hear from those who hate vinyl exactly what it is that they find so objectionable. Is it just the surface noise (what I call "vinyl roar") and the ticks & pops? Or do some of the other inaccuracies (eg. frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, wow & flutter) make vinyl unlistenable?

To put it another way, if you heard some vinyl that had no audible ticks, pops or surface noise, how confident are you that you would be able to identify it as vinyl?
I don't think that's the issue, the issue is that it's so difficult to get no audible ticks, pops or surface noise in the first place, compared to digital. There is just no contest.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #20
Originally magnetic tape and phonograph records were all that was available (to most people, to me, at least). The noise bothered me on many LPs, and the tape hiss on many tapes. The wow and flutter on many cassettes was more unpleasant. An expensive enough tape deck brought that later under reasonable control but such equipment was beyond the economics of a great many people. I began collecting CDs a couple or so years after they came on the market. There was much to prefer over most of my LPs, as far as the majority of the CDs  I selected were concerned.

Quite a few years later I learned the idea of transferring LPs to digital, then cleaning out some significant part of the noise. After working on my old collection, I started buying used LPs. That was when I discovered their true value.

The recording equipment wasn't as good in the pre-digital days but the art of recording was well advanced, practically perfected by turn of the last century. There have been many great performers for long before that. Mastering practices were, for the most part, much more to my taste than the models used during the last twenty five years.

This produced a bounty of so many thousands of used recordings to choose from, recordings I never could have afforded otherwise, a trainload of marvelous music of many different genres I never would have heard otherwise. That was the true value of vinyl in my life, so much affordable experience and music not hammered to death with the modern mastering approach.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #21
Because if they do, then I *am* thinking of posting a few files - some of them will be needle drops, and some will be CD rips.
Their task will be to identify which is which. If vinyl is as flawed as people say it is, then it'll be a trivial exercise.
I personally think they might struggle.
Is anyone willing to risk it?
Sure, how about Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture. There is a Telarc version on vinyl (have) and CD iirc. (think I have)
I think you misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that an LP and CD of the same recording would be indistinguishable - of course they would sound different (and especially so for classical).

What I am proposing is to post a few clips (some vinyl, some CD) so that those people who claim that vinyl sounds so bad that it's unmistakeable can prove their claim by identifying which ones are vinyl.

If you're still up for it, I will post the clips.

That said, I think perhaps andy o makes a valid point:
I don't think that's the issue, the issue is that it's so difficult to get no audible ticks, pops or surface noise in the first place.
I absolutely agree with this. All of my vinyl-sourced music is needle-dropped and declicked/denoised. I certainly acknowledge that lstening to vinyl direct from the TT is always accompanied by annoying noise.

My original aim here was to establish whether those who seem vehemently hostile to vinyl think there are other problems as well as the noise - because reading comments from the likes of AJ and Arny, that's the impression I get.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #22
In case you missed it, I own a TT. I find plenty fastidiously cleaned vinyl quite enjoyable.

My original aim here was to establish whether those who seem vehemently hostile to vinyl think there are other problems as well as the noise - because reading comments from the likes of AJ and Arny, that's the impression I get.

While I play a psychologist on TV, I'm not really one in real life, so I can't help with that level of disconnect between what I actually wrote vs what's going on in your head. Sorry Clive, no hypotheses to put forward there, perhaps you could help?
Oh and that's a pretty uncalled for low blow lumping me in with Arny. Not nice.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #23
Post those files.  I'd be interested in doing the test. Hating a format is irrational and I don't get a sense of vinyl hate on this forum.
I still listen to vinyl, still buy records and maintain a high end TT and cart. 

I prefer the presentation of well mastered digital though and I believe will be able to pick most of those files that are needledrops.  It's hard to describe, I have heard so many different turntables and digital rigs and generally vinyl has a smoother sound (which I think is an artefact of imprecise low bass and high treble frequencies which sort of blends the sound) which suits some types of music.  However again hard to describe, nearly always vinyl has a sound that is veiled, a sort of like looking through a slightly opaque lens. Sustained notes, such as a hit of the piano key is rarely pitch perfect.  I do know, to these ears, if I compare my best LPs (ie sound quality, very quiet and and perfectly centred pressing) with my best CDs, it is splitting hairs with the CD coming out ahead on tracks with deep nuanced bass and when the track gets closer to centre of the record.

Re: Dare I start another vinyl topic?

Reply #24
I *am* thinking of posting a few files - some of them will be needle drops, and some will be CD rips.
Their task will be to identify which is which. If vinyl is as flawed as people say it is, then it'll be a trivial exercise.
I personally think they might struggle.
Is anyone willing to risk it?

All of my vinyl-sourced music is needle-dropped and declicked/denoised. I certainly acknowledge that lstening to vinyl direct from the TT is always accompanied by annoying noise.

I think you misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that an LP and CD of the same recording would be indistinguishable - of course they would sound different (and especially so for classical).
Umm, no, It's not me who misunderstands. At all.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

 
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