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Why does vinyl still exist?


jeffca
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Honestly.

 

Is there anyone who comes here who honestly feels that vinyl, no matter how well pressed, is a truer representation of the original signal than digital?

 

I could possibly see a shred of logic in this arguement if you were talking about a direct-to-disc recording, but I'm not aware of any company recording directly to a disc cutter anymore.

 

So, that being the case and the fact that a huge majority of commercially-released recordings of any genre are digital, how does running that digital master through a D/A, an analog EQ, a limiter, a RIAA pre-emphasis EQ, a power amp and a cutter head (at the very least) improve the fidelity? The answer is simple: it doesn't. And don't forget that to play it back, it gets converted from squiggles to a signal by the cartridge, amplifed by a gain stage and processed by another RIAA EQ network to get back to an analog line-level signal.

 

And during this process all sorts of noises as well as temporal & phase distortions (rumble, surface noise, wow & flutter, phase shifts) are added. And I'm not even going into the huge amount of THD and IMD generated as well as that scary-good 25 to 35 decibels of stereo seperation.

 

Don't know about you people, but I'll take the vanishingly miniscule maladies of well-engineered digital any day. After doing a lot of studio recording and having the digital playback sound exactly like the take that was just performed, I'm stupified by vinyl zealots who claim it to have greater fidelity than digital. It does have a euphonic sound, but it isn't true to the original source. Just as an electric guitar run through a chorus pedal and a Fender Twin with the gain cranked sounds cooler than the same guitar run directly to the mixing board.

 

Unfortunately, sounding cool by adding distortion and anomolies isn't fidelity. It's an effect. I love effects, but prefer them when I have the option to alter or bypass them (like the iWow plugin, for instance).

 

And then add that every play degrades the recording?

 

Bottom line: no matter how well done, in the long run, vinyl sucks just like cassettes and 8-tracks.

 

Now if you're doing 15ips, half-track reel-to-reel? That will give well-done 16/44.1 digital a good run for it's money. Once you switch to 24 bits, though, it get thumped. Tape still sound really good though (my Teac X2000-M doesn't get much use since I got the MOTU rig 8 years ago).

 

As Ric Flair always said, "learn to love it." Digital is the shit.

 

jeff

 

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Vinyl is the last true analog that is available. If you hear a truly good vinyl system, there is no comparison. You need at least 24/192 tracks with extremely low jitter in both the recording and the playback to match good vinyl IMO. I have send outstanding DAC's and digital gear to several reviewers with good vinyl systems. They dont even begin to compare any digital to vinyl yet. It's no contest. Maybe in the future...

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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In the UK vinyl is more popular here than in the U.S.A. mainly because of the strong garage/underground local scene where aspiring DJs mix on the spot with two vinyl decks as practice etc.

 

You could walk into HMV (a UK music company) and find the top 20 albums on CD AND VINYL except perhaps the very syrupy pop.

 

The best DJs in the UK and Australia have up to four vinyl decks and mix.

 

I know it is a niche market but it still exists and for some it is a way of getting closer to the music and then to mix.

 

Vinyl ain't dead. DJing is not about playing a CD all night.

 

 

 

Keep on Upgrading!!!

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Find someone with a 'silly money' system - you know, spent £5000 on mains leads, £20,000 on replacement fuses. You know the sort of thing.

 

Put this on : RICHARD THOMPSON "SOME ENCHANTED EVENINGS" 45 RPM, Limited Edition, 5 song EP

 

Go away a changed man!

 

If I could afford the £25,000 needed to replicate the system I heard it on, I'd buy it just to listen to this one album. It is, without doubt, the finest recorded work I've ever heard. This work is not available in any digital format, presumably because the bandwidth needed to do it justice is either not currently available or is prohibitively expensive.

 

That's why vinyl not only still exists but is currently enjoying a strong resurgence in popularity. On a good system nothing digital comes even close.

 

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Just to put this old, shop-worn debate back into perspective, No format, technology, equipment, or recording is particularly relevant in the face of Richard Thompson. He is absolutely brilliant on an iPod and a pair of ear buds.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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I always find it interesting how adamant people are when it comes to their vinyl and how often they put down other media. I really just don't get how it is better - but so be it, if someone wants to listen to their vinyl great for them - I'm excited about my Mac Mini music server and am even excited about the MP3's on my iPod and cell phone, all things that have helped me rediscover my love of music (which is the point isn't it? Even has helped me seek out live music more and more.). You know my foot taps just as much to the MP3's as it does to the AppleLossless files on the mini. I considered looking in to adding vinyl to my system but in the end I just don't have the interest in all that it entails, all the accessories, all the stuff that goes with it.

 

Does vinyl sound better? To some people it might and I respect that - for me I have no interest in it as a format and will stick with my digital forms.

 

John

 

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Is there anyone who comes here who honestly feels that vinyl, no matter how well pressed, is a truer representation of the original signal than digital?

 

Of course you did not invite the nea sayers, but not me. IOW I agree fully that there is no way vinyl can compete, which already is so at 16/44.1 in my system.

 

I also haven't the slightest imagination of the ya sayers and there systems. But many things can be wrong of course.

Including my listening to 20K+ turntables with 7K+ cartridges and 100L+ loudspeakers. They were all not mine.

 

It actually does not need any serious listening test to immediately grasp the sincere low dynamics coming from any turntable system. Already that phenomenon is enough from me, let alone the from that derived phenomena (like resolution).

I never heard any sub-low coming from vinyl as well. But this is possibly caused by the well respected LS manufacturer here in Holland who only told his speakers go down to 20Hz, while his own many productions of church organ recordings could not show it on vinyl (this includes my hunch that the lowest waves cannot be captured in the width (height) of the grooves. But Im not sure).

 

Peter

 

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XXHighEnd (developer)

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John,

 

I'm glad you posted simply because of the replies it generated.

If you're ever lucky enough to hear a good vinyl system then you'll know where

Steve is coming from, and he is about as up to speed with the latest technology as you can get.

 

For every reason you give why vinyl can't be as good as digital, so someone will provide you with a reason why digial cannot compare. Particularly on some websites dedicated to this.

 

I've heard great sound on both digital and analogue systems. It'd be foolish to dismiss either.

 

I sold my entire system a few months back and am happy with my current PC -> ADM9.1 setup. However, I was running a Clearaudio Emotion deck for sometime and WILL be buying something better in the future.

 

Go listen to a good system. Then come back and tell us about it.

 

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Peter,

 

I wonder what vinyl system you've been listening to then? We have Steve above, of Empirical Audio, stating just how good vinyl is (or rather can be). I mean, that's got to mean something in my opinion.

 

But, I guess we all have our opinions. That's a cool thing.

Just happy my brother and I have (HAD) access to direct comparison between the two.

 

I firmly believe the original mastering has by far the greatest effect on audio quality, regardless of format. Some MP3's (at 320k) sound pretty amazing, whilst some CD quality tracks can sound awful.

 

Matt.

 

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Hi Matt,

 

The only thing I can say is that I visit these "Vinyl days" which is an anual event here in Holland, mr. Van den Hul being the leader of that event, him being the possible biggest cartridge / turntable guru known. By coincidence he lives across the street here.

People from Holland bring their wildest turn tables and all is run on a fine system ... they say (must take that for granted, because listening "through" vinyl is not the most easy for me, where I gave up on that so many years ago -> didn't come further than some good Thorens with Ortophon cartridge).

 

Regarding the remarks about Steve ... of course and accepted. But I listen a bit through his honesty, him referring to others again, and not to himself. But even if so ...

To me this obviously doesn't do much while setting myself to creating world's best DAC, and which is playing here for a couple of months now. No no, no patents here :-) but this DAC just honestly should be the best one around. And it does matter you know ...

This is not about "who is better" of course, only about that references to (indirectly) other equipment doesn't tell me all. I'd challenge a Zanden btw ...

 

Of course I don't need to tell you about my software, which should put everything in that perspective to start with. In the earlier post I actually wanted to say "which was not so two years ago", but since I'm up to it anyway, now I do. So, that stupid player changed my observations a little bit. :-) And obviously, those not using that, might just choose for vinyl for that reason only. I am serious. I did.

 

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Some additional perspective ...

 

I think it is now some 7-8 years ago that I for the last time setup my turntable stuff, and back then at each and every time I did, felling that great relief of "easy sound" opposed to digital. Each and every year (or maybe twice per) I did, it came down to the same ... wow, so smooth, so less harsh, so nice ... including the nice smell. But it just as well each and every time ended up with a lack of dynamics, which was only the most obvious at going back to digital again. But this was back then ...

 

Today digital doesn't sound harsh and it is as smooth as vinyl, it has the warmth of it, *and* it has the dynamics. Wrong, the dynamics are much much more compared to those days.

Btw, I use the coldest amps possible.

 

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Peter,

 

Just downloaded the latest XXHighEnd and am fiddling around a bit.

 

I'm curious about the 3 output options. Firstly, I select my digital output device under settings. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but you're software appears to be doing nothing about bypassing the K-Mixer of the Vista equivalent on Vista. I can see no way in which it is bypassing any Windows processing ?

 

Could you explain what each setting does - 1 through 3 ... if 2 and 3 are bit perfect, how is this so when I thought the only way to output a bit perfect audio signal on a PC was via ASIO or WASAPI.

 

Curious. I'm going to continue playing a bit. You've added AIFF support so I am enjoying !!

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Maybe this should be a new post on XXHighEnd, but I will add my questions here.

 

What audio files formats does XXHighEnd support?

What bit and sampling rates does it support?

What digital outputs (firewire, AES, toslink, USB, coaxial) does XXHighEnd support?

Will the Lynx AES16 or 16e cards work with XXHighEnd support?

Can you provide the simple steps for installation on a Windows Vista computer?

 

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To answer the original post. I have a vinyl setup, Reel to Reel and digital setup. They are all very high end and I will say that I would take a R2R setup over any other format. Of course this is saying they are all done properly. As noted above, an analog setup is truly amazing. As is Vinyl. There is no doubt that the digital is nice and easy though. The Reel to Reel thing makes vinyl seem easy.

 

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Peter wrote "I'd challenge a Zanden btw "

 

I have a customer in Switzerland with my discontinued Spoiler DAC, the Zanden 5000 and also an outstanding vinyl setup. I believe he actually listens more to the Spoiler because of the convenience. His vinyl is probably better:

 

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1199206353&read&3&4&

 

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?icomp&1208020926&read&3&4&

 

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?icomp&1211443920&read&3&4&

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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I'm hoping Peter will come back and answer our questions Audiozorro. I was using the software last night and whilst I did not have time to do a comparison between XXHighEnd and MediaMonkey, I was seriously impressed.

I've always dismissed it in the past but it seemed easier to use and whilst, in my opinion, it's still a little clunky (sorry), it did sound great.

Maybe we can summarise our questions for Peter ? Perhaps this is worthy of a new thread.?

 

I'm still very interested in how it operates in that it doesn't appear to be bypassing the Windows audio engine. I'm guessing Peter that you have written your own samplers since there are three different audio engines.

Maybe you could summarise this for us, as simplistically as you can ?

 

Peter - I am guessing that any form of remote control is out of the question though ? I'd like to get away from having my plasma switched on; the iTouch works well with MM, but I doubt there is any way it

can function with XXHighEnd.?

 

Lastly Peter, is XXHighEnd better for use with Vista or XP ? There seem to be Vista specific items on your webpage. I am a Vista user.

 

Chris - when you have a couple of hours, I'd be interested in your thoughts XXHighEnd. And very interested in your thoughts on a comparison between this and MediaMonkey.

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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By the numbers, vinyl cannot compete, not even with redbook cds. Does that mean that people can't enjoy their records more than their cds? Of course not. It doesn't even mean that people can't spend thousands on tables and carts to minimize the inherent shortcomings of records -- a compromise, like mp3s, designed for economics, convenience and ease of distribution, not superior fidelity.

 

But the facination with vinyl is not about dynamic range, or even "infinite resolution" from a lack of digital "gaps" created by sampling. It's about tone and mojo. If it was really about the superior resolution of analog, audiophile manufacturers would be building 15 ips tape decks and the resurgent audiophile media would be reels, not records.

 

I gotcher analog right here:

 

 

 

But I still don't have the high FR and dynamic range, and the low distortion and noise floor of digital.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Matt, Audiozorro,

 

Of course this is way off topic here, and indeed maybe you should just ask these questions on phasure.com but alas ...

 

Keep in mind, I talk in the context of Vista only.

 

First of all, all is about Engine#3, and this currently does not allow selection of the sound device. Only the Primay Device will play.

 

Then, Engine#3 is WASAPI, and it plays in Exclusive Mode only. Shared Mode is eliminated, which will guarantee bit perfect in each case you have sound.

Sidenote : Unattended Playback (checkbox at the bottom) removes the GUI (program) and makes SQ independant of that (because the GUI influences, as everything influences).

In demo mode playback lasts for 35 minutes on average, but 6 minutes at least per startup of XXHighEnd.

Demo mode does not allow "Core Appointment" which via 4 different schemes influences sound (largely) by dedicating various PC tasks to the cores you have (does nothig with a single core processor).

The further one thing demo mode prevents, is output of more than 100 items in the Library Area.

 

Supported formats are WAV, FLAC, AIFF, AIF, DXD (which is WAV), and MP3 of any kind. Furthermore Cue Files are supported nearly throughout (meaning that it is hard to find functionalities that won't expand the large .WAV/FLAC into their individual tracks.

Currently unsupported file layouts are not known (note that many exist all with different header layouts and tags incorporated in the file; e.g. a 2L file is not standard and needs ecxplicit support).

 

All bit depths and sample rates are supported from off 16/44.1 up to 24/352.8.

There is more in this than seen at first glance, because e.g. a 16 bit file played on a 24 bit DAC will actually use the 24 bits and not with padding only. The other way around, a 24 bit file can be played on a 16 bit DAC, and anyone perceiving the difference has very good ears.

Upsampling is possible via linear interpolation, or SRC (the latter is the AA checkbox). Just "doubling" or "Quadruple" (without upsampling) is there for jitter rejection.

Note that upsampling on a 16 bit DAC should *not* be done; upsampling needs additional bits, so upsampling a 16 bit file towards a 24 bit DAC is (technically) good.

 

Digital outputs are not related to the software player, at least not that I can think of. So, all are possible.

One important exception : Any DAC or upsampler requiering 24 bits input (hence disallowing 16 bits) over USB will not play. I think the OffRamp is an example.

This is caused by some deep native audio standards as put by M$, and WASAPI rejecting 24 bits over USB. There is much more to this, knowing that WASAPI is an IMO half finished product, internally needing lots of tweaking in order to allow for all bit depths and sample rates. The tweaking itself may be debet on this.

 

There is no reason the Lynx shouldn't work.

 

Engine#1 and #2 are "surrogates" for XP and are actually Direct Sound but as "memory player" as #3.

#1 can play bit perfect for soundcards allowing it, like RME can. Here, however, you'll bump into a 64MB audio file limit. This limit is not there under Vista, but sadly there the bit perfect drivers aren't allowed to exist. #2 is there to go beyond that 64MB limit, but now that one can't be bit perfect ever.

 

The latest 0.9x series is just about remote control, and the Release Notes of 0.9x-1 show how to install the software needed. Careful here, because this is just a first version actually allowing keyboard shortcuts where remote control software can be mapped onto. I, so far, did not manage to implement a properly working IR control, but right now I am working on a WiFi control and I think I am getting that to work (with a Pronto TSU9600).

People got some kind of working from blue tooth cell phones, but I think this is awkwardish.

 

Installation on Vista :

 

1. Shut off UAC (User Account Control) (there are other ways, but for testing this is the most easy). This is a requirement.

2. Unzip the download to a folder of your liking (one that has the version number in it would be good), but do not use Program Files (because of stupid Vista rights).

3. Send XXHighEnd.exe to the desktop in order to create an icon. Drag that to the taskbar at the left if you like. Note that nothing is changed to the registry, and this is nothing like a real "install". It does nothing to your PC whatsoever.

4. Make the sound device you want to play the Primary Device (click on the loudspeaker icon, go to list of devices and click the button "set default" (similar).

5. (Double)Click the XX icon and follow the advises on several messages coming by.

 

Engine#3 should be selected by default (can be seen in the Settings tab).

If you use a preamp, slide up the digital volume right to the top.

Without preamp, carefully test at a lower level.

 

Most convenient at this stage will be opening explorer to find some music files, and drag them onto the Playlist Area. As long as your coverart is not contained in the file itself, it will be found automatically.

Note that the player consists of 3 panes, while the 2 left most are visible only. You can drag the right of the form to the right, and the 3rd pane will be visible. Additional coverart (if you have it) will show there.

 

Press Play should do the trick ...

Do not touch the Q2/Q3/A4/Q5 sliders, because they are just new, and we all still have to find out how they operate for workouts. But *if* you want to touch them, set Q2 and Q3 to the max of 30 and notice a dry piano turning into a wing with the sustain pedal pressed. Remember, no DSP and still bit perfect.

But generally you'd want to play more with Q1, and very general settings that differentiate for everybody are 4 and 14.

 

Peter

 

PS: If you want to disturb yourself about the user interface, try to keep that for later. It has the lowest priority of everything, and SQ comes first. Note that the player is still in beta.

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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I never had one of those, Bob

 

Hehe I have, as well as two of these :

 

 

 

And two of these :

 

 

 

The latter are more noisy as the first of course, but all are.

 

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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