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Vinyl Rip vs Orignial CD

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This was just an experiment to see how close a vinyl rip was to a well mastered CD.


We used a CD and Record of Mahavishnu Orchestra Visions of the Emerald Beyond. We choose these because on A/B testing the CD and record sounded very close to being the same, the CD is not overly compressed like most.


We adjusted the loudness of the Vinyl rip and CD to be as close as possible using audacity. The CD was louder because I was using a low output MMC1 moving cross cartridge.


We tested the USB device and Sansui Phono base noise levels, the Sansui was basically zero and the USB was very quite vs some others we tested. Both well under the sound of the needle on the record.

The equipment used.


- Sansui AU717 phono preamp. We compared this to several newer external units and was surprised how much lower the Sansuis noise floor was.



- Very inexpensive Ambery USB Analog to Digital converter using default windows driver. http://www.ambery.com/usbantodiauc.html


- Windows 10 desktop PC with audacity software set to 32bit float bit depth/44.1k sample rate.


- B&O 8002 turn table with MMC1 cartridge Soundsmith SMMC1 moving-iron phono cartridge | Stereophile.com




The CD and Record rips were both made to flac files without compression.




On A/B playback the main difference was the occasional pop or snap from the needle, the files sounded remarkably the same. Only if turning up the volume very loud in a section with no audio could a difference be heard. It was not electrical hum, it was mostly the sound a needle makes with the vinyl.


From this I would have to say there is no need to spend $3000.00 on a Analog to digital converter. The snaps and pops would still be there and you would be out 3000.00 - $13.00 (Price of device on amazon)


Any improvement would most likely be minute.

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Actually the older components are built much better than the new. You have to pay 5k or more to come close to the build quality of the Sansui, they have cheaped things quite a bit today. I also have very expensive components and have talked to the engineers of pre amps and DACs.


The purpose of this shot test was to compare the cheapest ADC converting vinyl and comparing to the CD master. You must not have read what I was doing because component quality (Even if perfect) the limiting part would be the ADC and there would be a very large difference between if it were due to cheap components.


Since there was not a large difference that means even the best components in the world would not close the gap much because it was already close to begin with. To put it another way, lets say the source is 100 and the copy is 99.2 percent of the original. Someone could say well yea but if you have a million dollar pre amp it would be 99.5. I expected the gap to be much larger given how cheap the ADC was.


No doubt some improvement could be made but not much. This does not assume the reverse is true, this is not saying DACs are all the the same, this was vinyl to preamp to computer vs original master CD. Not digital to analog.


I was a physics and engineering undergrad so names, colors, age, don't affect me only data does.


With computer components its a algorithm, a chip that converts signals to 0s and 1s. Silicon is cheap these days.


The analog section of components is where this can be improved. I think a great deal of music lovers do not understand what they are using and only go based on price, the case etc. Many believe phono preamps and other solid state devices breakin in and sound better with use. This has nothing to do with capacitors changing it has to do with subjective view changing, or learning to like the sound rather then the hardware changing. I am more scientific in my approach, yes a bit dry but truthful.


To some people I could put $10,000 on a 50 cent device and they would swear it sounded better based on price. I want to find the point of diminishing returns on components. I think interconnects, wiring, case all are much better on the high end components. But it is interesting to see were the actual audio performance begins to suffer. Many engineers in the industry say mid grade gives 96 percent and to get the last 4 percent costs 20 times more.

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I agree, well mastered digital redbook is my preferred medium over any analog medium. Unfortunately there many works not released on digital or done poorly, this is where a good ADC/TT/software comes into play. But I find these far and few for my needs these days. Nice to have though.


Yes that is exactly what I am finding. It took me awhile to find a CD that was mastered using more of it dynamic range rather than compressing it to make it louder. I have heard Steeley Dan Nighfly is well done too. But I don't have the vinyl recording of it.


I have to admit I do like vinyl for the tactile feel, the artwork and the retro feel of playing on a 1980s TT. Its kind of cool. If they wanted to they could make all CDs great and very close to that vinyl sound, compression of the dynamic range is not needed but it probably sells better. Follow the dollar.


I have an old SACD player but got side tracked and never really used it much. From what I read on those it was not that the medium was superior to regular CDs it was the company/engineers knew the marked for those disks was mostly audiophiles that hated compressed CDs so they re-masted those on SACDs with a wider dynamic range. They could have done the same thing with regular CD I wish more would as there would have been no need for SACD in the first place. I wonder what percentage of CDs are done right, or close to how vinyl was done. 5%?

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I agree, well mastered digital redbook is my preferred medium over any analog medium. Unfortunately there many works not released on digital or done poorly, this is where a good ADC/TT/software comes into play. But I find these far and few for my needs these days. Nice to have though.


I was looking at some of your components. PPA V3 OCXO USB

I can't find a good explanation of what that is, even at the web site. It looks to be a PCix USB 3.0 card with audio on it? A high end PC sound card? Why the USB ports?


Outlaw Monoblock! Was wondering what you thought of those. I bought an Outlaw HT 5.1 in 2001 and found its build quality to be well above average for its price. Ahh probably should not side track this thread.

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Thanks, I did go the Paul web site but they did not have a Brochure type write up explaining why its good, what it does etc. Maybe I just overlooked it.


I understand its a nice audio card. But I don't understand why they put USB 3.0 ports on it. There must be a good reason just curious. Maybe for piping data into the computer? USB 2.0 does around 30 Mbytes/sec +- which is good. Perhaps they put 3.0 in for people that don't have 3.0 ports on the computer. Maybe 30Mb/sec is not fast enough for some recordings.


Wow Magnaplaners. That brings back college memories. Had a buddy that had the big ones. There were one of the best speakers I had listened to. Were are talking 1980s so no idea what the newer ones sound like but if anything like those old ones they must be great for you. They were a WOW speaker back then.

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Wow, nice experiment. I have been looking for stuff like this on the web but have found very little on it.


Have you compared that device to like $300.00 DACS?


Well the cost of converter chips has plummeted, probably does not take much of the chip to do the conversion, I am looking for the best bang for the buck. That little device you tested is a great idea for converting analog though.


I think maybe you should should repost this in the DAC area of the forum.


Just to be clear SCT, I was converting from Analog to digital. A DAC is converting Digital to Analog.


Most of the uses are commercial recording, like a live performer and great mic. So the units are usually quite expensive as they have other features not required by someone that just need to copy a record to his computer.


I have not tested DACs.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Vinyl LP's usually sound better than their CD counterparts. Most new vinyl is remastered by top notch engineers like Doug Sax, Steve Hoffman, Kevin Gray, etc.


Moreover, even with old LP's, the sound will be better because it will not be compressed to death like modern LP's.


Here is a great example:


Nat King Cole - Just One Of Those Things.


Both are 30 second uncompressed WAV files.




We were just experienting in converting some vinyl to digital and testing out the conversion. Yes I found many CDs compressed a bit too much. We found a few that matched the vinyl pretty close. So we used those as the baseline to compare the copy with.

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If you studied physics than you should already know that the bit depth of vinyl is at least an order of magnitude greater than CD resolution... its the actual recorded signal curve and not a digital interpolation. The limitations of vinyl were always in the groove separation required to avoid volume compression of loud passages and how much one was willing to spend on high quality transducer and pre-amplification to tame those pesky LRC circuit non linearities across a 60 db signal range.


LOL. I am sorry to disappoint you Dave. We never studied vinyl records in physics.

Although it sounds like it might have been interesting.

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  • 2 months later...
The B&O turntable is a fashion statement, not an audiophile quality turntable. I shuddered every time one of these came into my store in the 80's. Anyone who plays vinyl on one of these is confusing ability to track a record with ability to reproduce whats on the groove.


the point of this is not what type of turntable. I have thorens, Sansui and other turtables too. It was just a test. And you are wrong on B&O, they were very complicated but a mavel of engineering. They did not skip easily etc. Many good things about them and many jealous people like you.

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