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Vinyl vs. CD - fixed tones through an oscilloscope


semente

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Great, another vinyl vs. digital thread!

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Obviously, his turntable just wasn't expensive enough. [emoji12] ...

 

I made no friends with my "listening party trick" back in the 80s. I'd play a 1 KHz test tone from a test LP. Generally, the better the turntable, the better it sounded. Then I'd play the same tone from a test CD or audio signal generator... and all of a sudden the differences were obvious. And then I'd point out that the same problems heard when playing the test tone LP were present in all music played on that turntable...

"People hear what they see." - Doris Day

The forum would be a much better place if everyone were less convinced of how right they were.

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you can simulate the sound of vinyl on your digital source material by adding snaps, crackles & pops

 

I can simulate the sound of digital on my turntable by just stopping the music at random for no apparent reason; playing with the preamp mute button on to simulate non communication between source and DAC; dialling in the occasional set of random tweeter-shredding clicks and thumps, or just playing music with a big bit of fluff on the stylus to get that full jitter effect...

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I made no friends with my "listening party trick" back in the 80s. I'd play a 1 KHz test tone from a test LP. Generally, the better the turntable, the better it sounded. Then I'd play the same tone from a test CD or audio signal generator... and all of a sudden the differences were obvious. And then I'd point out that the same problems heard when playing the test tone LP were present in all music played on that turntable...

So even with a simple test tone LP had more there there. More space, air, subtle detail, depth and musicality. By comparison CD test tones were rather boring and antiseptic sounding?

 

[emoji12]

 

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Computer Audiophile mobile app

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I can simulate the sound of digital on my turntable by just stopping the music at random for no apparent reason; playing with the preamp mute button on to simulate non communication between source and DAC; dialling in the occasional set of random tweeter-shredding clicks and thumps, or just playing music with a big bit of fluff on the stylus to get that full jitter effect...

Haha, there may be good news on digital, apparently Linn, the re inventors of the high end turntable have re invented the DAC. I haven't heard it yet but by all accounts it makes digital playback as enjoyable as vinyl:

 

https://www.linn.co.uk/technology/katalyst

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you can simulate the sound of vinyl on your digital source material by adding snaps, crackles & pops

 

It's easier by recording to digital the vinyl analogue output to digital ! I had done this several time a long ago when there was some lovely LPs that wasn't released as digital.

 

The lovely part is the low (stereo) frequency (below 30hZ) with cartridge mistracking. Maybe this is why some people likes better mono recordings on vinyl?

 

Then, we have to pay attention how oscilloscopes "listen" vs human listen.

 

Roch

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So even with a simple test tone LP had more there there. More space, air, subtle detail, depth and musicality. By comparison CD test tones were rather boring and antiseptic sounding? ... emoji12.png ...

 

You got it... one time I even used an (analogue) audio signal generator for some folks who insisted it was "digititus" making the CD "boring and antiseptic sounding". On a turntable the tone sounded fine initially, but after a few seconds you could start to pick out "organic" features. Subtle variations in pitch and level. "Airy" sounds. A bit like the things that you hear from a flute being played. All of which made the tone via the turntable sound more "alive". Switching to the CD, the tone became more solid and "mechanical". Which, of course, is exactly what it is supposed to sound like. So you could say that LP reproduction adds "life" to the music. Nice to listen to, just not as accurate as what was heard in the studio.

"People hear what they see." - Doris Day

The forum would be a much better place if everyone were less convinced of how right they were.

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I must admit that I found the video interesting, although I'm not that surprised by the results. The thing is though, if I had made this video with the aim of posting it on the World Wide Web, I would at least have taken five seconds or so to mention the type of turntable and what exactly was delivering the digital signal. So what I'm wondering is was the TT a budget item, 30 years old, or maybe a brand new state of the art deck costing thousands? Without this information the absolute results are a bit meaningless. Does anyone know what kit was used?

Windows 10 PC, Roon, HQPlayer, iFi Zen Stream, Paul Hynes SR4, Mutec REF10, Mutec MC3+USB, Devialet 1000Pro, KEF Blade.  Plus Pro-Ject Signature 12 TT for playing my 'legacy' vinyl collection.

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I can simulate the sound of digital on my turntable by just stopping the music at random for no apparent reason; playing with the preamp mute button on to simulate non communication between source and DAC; dialling in the occasional set of random tweeter-shredding clicks and thumps, or just playing music with a big bit of fluff on the stylus to get that full jitter effect...

 

 

+1 Ha, I can replicate digital on my turntable by cutting the power cord -- just like an OS X "upgrade" which makes my $2K DAC worthless for 3+ months.

In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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I find this interesting, if not surprising, digital should beat vinyl in this type of test.

 

The real question for me is this: if the master has the "breath of life" in the music, rather than the sterility of a test tone, shouldn't that be translated to both vinyl and digital? Is the allure of vinyl the dirtiness of it? You can call it whatever you want, but vinyl is dirty!

Jim

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I must admit that I found the video interesting, although I'm not that surprised by the results. The thing is though, if I had made this video with the aim of posting it on the World Wide Web, I would at least have taken five seconds or so to mention the type of turntable and what exactly was delivering the digital signal. So what I'm wondering is was the TT a budget item, 30 years old, or maybe a brand new state of the art deck costing thousands? Without this information the absolute results are a bit meaningless. Does anyone know what kit was used?

 

Shaw is partial to Jon Palmer turntables, another UK manufacturer. These run about $11K here in the USA.

 

This is pure speculation on my part.

 

I agree that revealing his source would have given his demo more credibility, but I think his overall hypothesis is still valid: That contact transmission of an audio signal will always yield poorer results than non-contact transmission.

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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I agree that revealing his source would have given his demo more credibility, but I think his overall hypothesis is still valid: That contact transmission of an audio signal will always yield poorer results than non-contact transmission.

 

A great way to sum up this subject. A few years ago there was a laser turntable under development, but I guess it has gone by the wayside. That would have been an interesting piece, turning the actual analog groove of the vinyl into a digital signal. :)

Jim

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I would like to see a DAC with a processor that modifies the signal to match specific turntable and cartridges 'signatures'... Much like the amp presets on a guitar effects amp.

 

Agreed. I own a little Fender amp that was under $200 which does a remarkable job mimicking sounds through it's non-hifi circuitry and generic speaker.

 

I have wondered for quite some time when we are going to realize that most of us are chasing after perfectly flat boring sound but aren't happy when we get it. There's still a large group of folks who prefer vinyl and tubes even though digital and solid state can beat them on test equipment. Isn't that evidence that colored sound is more pleasant?

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Agreed. I own a little Fender amp that was under $200 which does a remarkable job mimicking sounds through it's non-hifi circuitry and generic speaker.

 

I have wondered for quite some time when we are going to realize that most of us are chasing after perfectly flat boring sound but aren't happy when we get it. There's still a large group of folks who prefer vinyl and tubes even though digital and solid state can beat them on test equipment. Isn't that evidence that colored sound is more pleasant?

 

I don't think it is flat sound that is objectionable per say, but maybe with digital recordings some objectionable noise gets through to the listener unless some eq/dsp is applied to the signal, which could explain why digital recordings can sound better on vinyl. I recently discovered a 'DTS Mode' on my Huawei P9 phone which makes is sound a bit pumped up in the bass but overall the SQ is much better.

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Haha, there may be good news on digital, apparently Linn, the re inventors of the high end turntable have re invented the DAC. I haven't heard it yet but by all accounts it makes digital playback as enjoyable as vinyl:

 

https://www.linn.co.uk/technology/katalyst

I'm not sure they have "reinvented" the DAC. They have just built what they feel is a better DAC.

 

As for the the OP ... I'm not sure its of much doubt that digital can provide a "purer" signal. However many people feel the signal from vinyl is "better" for all kinds of reasons. A pure wave is easy to reproduce, its complex music signals where the difficulty lies.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I'm not sure they have "reinvented" the DAC. They have just built what they feel is a better DAC.

 

As for the the OP ... I'm not sure its of much doubt that digital can provide a "purer" signal. However many people feel the signal from vinyl is "better" for all kinds of reasons. A pure wave is easy to reproduce, its complex music signals where the difficulty lies.

 

Vinyl is clearly struggling with fixed tones: do you think it'll perform better with "complex" signals?

 

In any case, I am attracted by the immediacy and clarity that one gets from the visual representation of particular aspects in audio performance (AKA measurements) and thought others might also enjoy watching this particular test...

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Vinyl is clearly struggling with fixed tones: do you think it'll perform better with "complex" signals?

It depends if you mean a pure reproduction ... or a pleasing reproduction. And the converse is true of course ... just because a DAC can reproduce a simple signal well; doesn't mean a complex signal will also be reproduced well - perhaps (and I'm surmising rather than offering evidence) that the turntable reproduced the complex signal just as well as it did the simple signal, but the DAC is much worse.

 

In any case, I am attracted by the immediacy and clarity that one gets from the visual representation of particular aspects in audio performance (AKA measurements) and thought others might also enjoy watching this particular test...

It does demonstrate the difference, but doesn't explain why one might sound "better". And you're right, its interesting ... but given we are told repeatedly that a simple signal can't explain why DACs sound different ... why does this test explain anything about the difference between vinyl and digital?

 

Please recognise that I'm saying that digital IS better ... but that doesn't equate to it being more pleasing!

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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