Jump to content
GUTB

Lies about vinyl vs digital

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

On 7/5/2018 at 1:24 AM, firedog said:

 

Get a good digital file of the record and see if the playback is better than what you get from Tidal. AFAIR,  that album is available  in hi-res. Willing to bet you the digital download will sound better than your Tidal steam. 

Deleted.  Replied to dated post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2019 at 6:42 AM, John Dyson said:

 

The signal level is much higher on the vinyl (top) version.  If you notice that the colors are more saturated on the vinyl version -- that clearly shows the stronger signal level.  I suggest adjusting the spectrum parameters (spectogram settings when in the spectrum display mode), and try setting the gain to -10dB instead of the likely '0' dB setting.  Then diddle around the gain setting until there is the best possible match.  The big thing that is worrisome (I didn't read the entire context -- very busy) is that the CD version seems like it has the same rumble as the vinyl version.  There SHOULD normally be a lot less rumble (at about 100Hz or below) for the digital version than the vinyl version.  (There will still be bass signals where it will turn 'red' based upon the bass, but won't be the continual 'red' in the 100Hz on down range like vinyl will show.)

 

Reading spectograms can be tricky -- properly interpreting them can be even trickier.  I do it all of the time, and effectively utilize the information actually provided.  (More often than not, it is tricky to associate distortion with the signal levels -- and distortion is one of the major thingstahta i look for.   One little tidbit -- I have found that if you see that the spectogram has 'stronger signals' in the 8-12kHz range (than it really should), there is a liklihood that DolbyA had been used in the recording process.  (The stronger signal is only visible when there are other signals in the frequency region -- and that 'red' comes from very strong IMD -- often sounding reassurringly like brighter vocals.)

 

John

 

He needs to change the FFT size in step with the different sample rates.  If he's using the default 1024 at 44 khz, then he needs to use 2048 for 88 or 96 khz and 4096 for 192 khz to have a chance to usefully compare visually. 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, esldude said:

He needs to change the FFT size in step with the different sample rates.  If he's using the default 1024 at 44 khz, then he needs to use 2048 for 88 or 96 khz and 4096 for 192 khz to have a chance to usefully compare visually. 

I do beleive that the color difference (level) displayed in the spectogram is more due to the signal level itself.  But you are right about the samples also should be changed to get a more similar amount of detail -- esp for a full averaged spectrum as displayed in another option. 

 

But, I did just do a check with some material, and the general  'color saturation' (which implies the signal level) didn't really change enough at all  given a 2:1 or 4:1 change in samples in the spectogram settings.  (the big difference by changing the samples on the spectogram is the differing amount of time detail vs frequency detail.  When doing major changes in available detail, it can appear that the saturation (level) is different, but it is an artifact)  It appears that any needed correction  of level vs samples (which normally happens on an FFT) is already done in the spectogram (at least on the version of audacity that I use.)

 

A 2:1 change in the averaged spectrum (Analyze/Plot spectrum) makes a huge difference.  A 2:1 change only seems to change detail levels on the spectogram.  The vast difference on the vinyl version shows more of a level mismatch -- but recently, I have been making a lot of mistakes -- so YMMV.  (I did just check my assertion -- and it does appear that my suggestion is correct.  Lately, I have been needing to double-check myself 10 times, and still get it wrong...)

 

What you suggest is 100% true if one looks at the averaged specturm results:  clicking on Analyze/Plot Spectrum.  Matching the sample-rate/samples makes the average spectrum much easier to compare.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, AVphile said:

 .....All I can say is that the vinyl version of each track sounded more "life-like".  Maybe it was due to the underlying frequency response spectrum of my vinyl playback components in comparison to those of my music streamer/DAC; specifically, that perhaps the vinyl version had a gain boost in the "presence" region that I heard as more exciting.  I really don't know.  Regardless, this was the outcome I neither expected nor wanted.

Yep, yep, and yep.  👍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AVphile said:

Over the past four months, I have spent a lot of money (for me) incorporating a decent music streamer/DAC into my audio system which heretofore had been primarily CD- and secondarily vinyl-based.  The playback equipment for both is of good quality, but the ease of using CDs as my "go-to" music source has led my turntable to gather dust.  More recently, with the ability to utilize Roon and Tidal, my CD playback equipment has also been relegated -- most of the time -- to dust collection.

 

Yesterday, just for the hell of it, I decided to compare the vinyl to streamed versions of two songs -- For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield and Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac -- in a real time A to B switching experiment.  The result was really depressing; the streamed versions were good, but the vinyl version of each sounded even better.  I am hard pressed to assign the reason for this as being due to poorer vs. better equipment.  My current audio system represents an investment costing more than $100K, and I have been careful in my purchases of its components.  Also, in my experiment, I made certain that I was using the same (based on album cover) recording for each version.

 

All I can say is that the vinyl version of each track sounded more "life-like".  Maybe it was due to the underlying frequency response spectrum of my vinyl playback components in comparison to those of my music streamer/DAC; specifically, that perhaps the vinyl version had a gain boost in the "presence" region that I heard as more exciting.  I really don't know.  Regardless, this was the outcome I neither expected nor wanted.

 

Eh- might be time to think out of the box. I have a half speed mastered version of Rumors tat hands down sounds better than any of the digital copies I have, which is totally weird to me. Rumors was recorded on a 24 track machine and not under the best of conditions. It was recorded piece by piece, using multi track techniques since the musicians were a bit at odds with each other at the time and not even really talking to each other. Not to mention using enough drugs to supply a hospital for a month or two.

 

How that album can sound as good as it does is always a bit amazing to me. It was recorded in a dead sounding studio and subjected to quite a lot of equalization to make it sound like the band members were at least performing with each other, instead of separately. 

 

My my conclusion is the equalization makes it work better on vinyl. It was intended for vinyl distribution. 

 

The digital versions are more more true to the recording I suspect, being engineered and mixed / altered for fidelity more than to sound good on vinyl. 

Edited by Paul R
Typos

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, AVphile said:

Over the past four months, I have spent a lot of money (for me) incorporating a decent music streamer/DAC into my audio system which heretofore had been primarily CD- and secondarily vinyl-based.  The playback equipment for both is of good quality, but the ease of using CDs as my "go-to" music source has led my turntable to gather dust.  More recently, with the ability to utilize Roon and Tidal, my CD playback equipment has also been relegated -- most of the time -- to dust collection.

 

Yesterday, just for the hell of it, I decided to compare the vinyl to streamed versions of two songs -- For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield and Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac -- in a real time A to B switching experiment.  The result was really depressing; the streamed versions were good, but the vinyl version of each sounded even better.  I am hard pressed to assign the reason for this as being due to poorer vs. better equipment.  My current audio system represents an investment costing more than $100K, and I have been careful in my purchases of its components.  Also, in my experiment, I made certain that I was using the same (based on album cover) recording for each version.

 

All I can say is that the vinyl version of each track sounded more "life-like".  Maybe it was due to the underlying frequency response spectrum of my vinyl playback components in comparison to those of my music streamer/DAC; specifically, that perhaps the vinyl version had a gain boost in the "presence" region that I heard as more exciting.  I really don't know.  Regardless, this was the outcome I neither expected nor wanted.

And that’s why years ago I decided to record all of my LPs.  I have a Korg MR-2000S that records at 1 bit/5.66 MHz to an internal drive.  Transfer the files to a computer, run the single file from the recording through the Korg Audiogate converter to create a 24/96 FLAC file, or leave it as DSD, then into VinylStudio for track breaks and titles, cover art and any crackle/hiss/rumble/eq filters you might want to use.

 

It’s a lot of work initially to develop the experience and a logical workflow, after that you simply record any album when it’s being played.

 

i added a field to my database for Recorded - Y/N, but sometimes forgot to update. The fallback was a package of blue stick-on inventory dots from Staples, I install one in the top left corner of the album jacket plastic sleeve.  At a glance I can tell if it’s been recorded or not.

 

if you ever want to get into this let me know and I can give you a full rundown on tips tricks and pitfalls.

 

Edit:  Korg MR-2000S is no longer being made but used and NOS are available at great peices.  This is something you would use to digitally record your final two track album before sending it to the manufacturing plant for CD or LP pressing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, AVphile said:

Over the past four months, I have spent a lot of money (for me) incorporating a decent music streamer/DAC into my audio system which heretofore had been primarily CD- and secondarily vinyl-based.  The playback equipment for both is of good quality, but the ease of using CDs as my "go-to" music source has led my turntable to gather dust.  More recently, with the ability to utilize Roon and Tidal, my CD playback equipment has also been relegated -- most of the time -- to dust collection.

 

Yesterday, just for the hell of it, I decided to compare the vinyl to streamed versions of two songs -- For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield and Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac -- in a real time A to B switching experiment.  The result was really depressing; the streamed versions were good, but the vinyl version of each sounded even better.  I am hard pressed to assign the reason for this as being due to poorer vs. better equipment.  My current audio system represents an investment costing more than $100K, and I have been careful in my purchases of its components.  Also, in my experiment, I made certain that I was using the same (based on album cover) recording for each version.

 

All I can say is that the vinyl version of each track sounded more "life-like".  Maybe it was due to the underlying frequency response spectrum of my vinyl playback components in comparison to those of my music streamer/DAC; specifically, that perhaps the vinyl version had a gain boost in the "presence" region that I heard as more exciting.  I really don't know.  Regardless, this was the outcome I neither expected nor wanted.

Digital by its nature has a wider dynamic range which lets the ‘dirt’ in a lot easier than a vinyl system of reduced dynamic range and 100% analog transmissions.

That digital dirt clouds the signal and with many components in the chain , each adding its own dirt. 

For vinyl, linear amplification applies which has matured over many years. The disadvantages are largely influenced by mechanical problems which create their own kind of dirt, which to a trained ear is fixable, of which I don’t have and will stick with digital by trying to remove the digital dirt.

A significant blame is traceable to the product we purchase.

 


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, AVphile said:

All I can say is that the vinyl version of each track sounded more "life-like".  Maybe it was due to the underlying frequency response spectrum of my vinyl playback components in comparison to those of my music streamer/DAC; specifically, that perhaps the vinyl version had a gain boost in the "presence" region that I heard as more exciting.  I really don't know.  Regardless, this was the outcome I neither expected nor wanted.

 

A story that repeats, over and over again ... and the reasons remain the same, as well, ^_^.

 

It's about distortion, and always will be - but not the "vinyl distorts and makes it sound more pleasant" explanation - which is nonsense, :P.

 

Rather, it's that the audible distortion generated in digital replay chains is magnitudes more unsavoury, and more disturbing to our human hearing - like an intense flavour ingredient used in cooking, just a tiny pinch is enough to throw the taste in a completely different direction, and in this case, an unwanted direction.

 

I have a local audio friend, who has both vinyl and digital running, who exercises a lot of energy in tuning both sides of the replay fence - and depending upon everything, sometimes the LP chain is clearly superior, and other times, the CD wins.

 

What's happening? Quite simple ... if the digital distortion mechanisms are carefully addressed then this form of replay will win out - but more, and different types of attention are needed to eliminate issues. Very few people have a strong handle on this, meaning it is almost impossible, currently, to buy fully comprehensive solutions, and the ones that really work are very, very expensive, or 'exotic' in nature.

 

Time will ultimately sort all this out - properly engineered gear will eventually be generally available, at sensible prices ... but you might have to wait a bit .... :).


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, kelvinwsy said:

It is ABSOLUTELY Depressing about Digital. 

 How much money did you spend on both the Analogue and Digital sources ?

 Most people spend way more on the Vinyl side than they do on the Digital side.

 Streaming can never be as good as direct play from a well optimised digital source, although streaming can be further improved. as many members here have demonstrated .

 You have no control with streaming over the quality of the source material or the computers used to provide it.

There is also likely to be some obvious audible differences between the same recordings provided by different providers.


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it has never been my Modus Operandi to spend big bucks to buy a Top of the Line System eg 200k speakers. 2nd hand, good valued stuff appeals to me. I spend a lot of effort DIY/Tuning/Tweaks experimentation to get my system to sound the best... At the end of the day it is Music Enjoyment as much as fiddling with gear. It is also a useless effort to argue for that the same Album on Vinyl and CD, which recorded version and pressing is better. Yes there are differences but unless the Vinyl pressing was on crap recycled vinyl material and the Sound Engineer murdered the mastering, the Original Vinyl release will generally (IMHO) beat the best CD release.

 

I can say I spend a lot of effort fine tuning both digital (actually the last 3 years - a lot of effort) and just getting serious again with my Turntable system. 

IMHO, and YMMV - it is the recording process/quality of playback in a Turntable system that just pips the digital system at the finishing line in a race to achieve Top Quality Playback.

I have absolutely Crappy LP's - Linda Rondstadt's rock albums comes to mind - I love LR and her voice/music but the compression and lack of dynamic range is just pathetic

I have digital music that sounds really great. Barbara Streisand's Partners Album is a really good recording in 44.1khz CD format for example.

I will continue to steadily improve both systems when a piece of high quality gear appears in the 2nd hand market. A top of the line phono pre-preamp is next in my target sight!!

Enjoy the Music

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, kelvinwsy said:

Yes there are differences but unless the Vinyl pressing was on crap recycled vinyl material and the Sound Engineer murdered the mastering, the Original Vinyl release will generally (IMHO) beat the best CD release.

 

 Then how do you explain that a high quality A/D conversion to 24/96 of a high quality Vinyl record has been found by many members to sound virtually identical to the Vinyl recording, allowing them to put away the Vinyl recording for safe storage ?

 


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Umh! - Got to get the latest Sprout from PS Audio - Maybe a good choice for phono preamp and 24/192 upsampling and digital recording from my precious Sheffield Labs. 

No until I try it I cannot.. But I have 24/96 and 24/192 recordings from HDTracks that sound fantastic

Sara Bareilles Live at the Variety Playhouse is an example of a stunning recording even if it was from the DVD as the original source.

Some of the Chesky 24/96 music is good too. Christy Barron - Take this journey is another example

Though you can recognize the Chesky house sound with some experience.

No I think i was too critical on my music/system - My digital system sounds really good too. 
Just for that final bit - I think the Sheffield Labs and other Direct Cuts LPs I have - there is some dynamic over range that gives that additional thrill  - I saw this on a Audiophile style.com featured digital vs LP playback of Anne Bisson _ Blue Mind - You can hear the difference even over crappy YouTube. The presenter explained that the way the cutting head cuts the groves, it overshoots on dynamic peaks and this gives the additional SPL overpeak that makes LP's (well recorded ones) that Life like SQ!

Kelvin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Focus in between the two speaker. That's the biggest difference that maybe responsible for our liking for vinyl, IMO. OTOH, I have seen "experts" who couldn't distinguish digital and vinyl without side by side by side comparisons.

 

Recording is not by me.  High end playback for both digital and vinyl.

 

 

LP vs CD. A blind test.wav

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, sandyk said:

I find that Vinyl usually has a broader, often larger than life  centre soundstage, probably due to the much poorer channel separation.

 

What do you mean by "larger than life", Alex?  IME, competent playback projects sometimes massive soundstages, vastly 'bigger' than what conventional rigs do; and this is something I first experienced with CD playback. Only later on did I come across vinyl playback, a couple of times, that could largely replicate this.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Semente - Yes preference for digital or vinyl is just like Music - always a matter of taste or more aptly put a choice of flavors!

If you are referring to Tube amplification vs Solid state then I need to point out I use 2 Pure Class A monoblocs for driving my HPs inclusive of the AByss 1266/HD800/HE 560 etc . Also can use the Audionote Quest Silver 300b Monoblocks. 
Tube or Solid State adds different flavors to the basic music as reproduced.

My TT system has tubes in the Jolida/EML 45 Tube Pre/KT88 power amp.

I also can use my iFi iDSD Micro to connect direct to the Jolida phono pre

 

Depending on the mood of the moment, I can fine tune the end music vista that is presented to my ears. That however does not change the vividness of the BEST of BEST Vinyl has to offer (with the surface noise, etc of vinyl) versus the Best of Digital. (no I am not saying my setups are anywhere near the Top - I would say Mid-FI at best) But they make Music

 

My point in my original post above is that there is something elusive "Life Like of the Best of Best of Vinyl that you need a MEGABUCK Digital playback chain to go Near! That where I feel we have lost our way.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what @sandyk is referring to about Soundstage on vinyl being more center stage more body and yet slightly more diffuse. Vs Digital which is pinpoint focused but like slimmer and not so corporal body like. Definitely Separation on Vinyl is way less than Digital. I hear this all the time over a range of musical genre's.

Kelvin 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kelvinwsy said:

I know what @sandyk is referring to about Soundstage on vinyl being more center stage more body and yet slightly more diffuse. Vs Digital which is pinpoint focused but like slimmer and not so corporal body like. Definitely Separation on Vinyl is way less than Digital. I hear this all the time over a range of musical genre's.

Kelvin 

 

 Peter knows what I meant too .:D

" More body"  is perhaps a better description than I gave though.


"If you can't hear the difference between an original CD and a copy of your CD,

you might as well give up your career as a tester. The difference between a reconstituted FLAC and full size WAV is much less than that, but it does exist. - Cookie Marenco"

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is true that the first what will happen to most with digital, is that it is thin. And at best thinner. But say this is your first 2-3 years of digital. After that you may start to grasp what is going on, and how things improve.

Btw, the very last which would improve is streaming, or a too small "audio PC" for that matter.

 

On an other note, vinyl to me is almost like mono. All is relative of course, but compared to the separation I work with (which is almost infinite - 145dB or so), vinyl indeed is like mono and with that uninteresting. Especially the sheer fact that I will perceive e.g. an upright bass panned from wherever it was set, brings a dimension which you may not be used to (a normal DAC even doesn't do that, for all I compared over here - all bass comes from the middle except for maybe some higher frequency plucking which makes you think it comes from one side). But with 24Hz just the same (synthesizers).

 

Nothing is more warm then decently delineated bass. All what is fuzzy is not warm at all because flat. Or too punchy (good for the disco).  And most certainly gray from LP (yes, even bass).

IME.

 

Digital is mighty difficult.


Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^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)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...