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LP "listening bars" trending... but why not digital?

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Article below talks about a craze that began in Japan (as so many seem to) and is now spreading. People are creating bars and cafes with high end audio gear, and carefully curated libraries of amazingly recorded and rendered (in the owner's opinion) vinyl. People come to have a drink or two, and quietly listen to what great music on great vinyl, selected by the DJ, sounds like through great gear.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/dining/vinyl-records-listening-bar-kissaten.html

 

Got me thinking... I believe that "vinyl" may be the least important part of the concept. Selecting the right albums it seems to me would be most important. I know a lot of music that sounds crappy on even the best DAC based system I've heard, and sounds no better (or worse) on vinyl, and vice versa. When someone wants to hear "what my system can do" I know there are a set of specific albums I go for, where I know the recording and engineering were superb. 

 

The quality of the components, seems to me, would also be big part of the "wow factor." Most people have never heard what a great tube amplifier can do for music, or what great speakers can sound like, versus what most people can afford.

 

Got me thinking about taking the same physical space concept - smallish bar or cafe with the space properly engineered for audio listening. The right diffusion and absorption on the floors and walls, that would sound as good with two people in the room as with 50 people. (I heard tons about how bad the Sydney Opera House was initially if there were empty seats.) 

 

...but with a digital source.  If you were going to build out a digitally based "listening bar", what would you choose for the system, from DAC to the speakers?

 

Keep in mind that setups that are magnificent if the listener sits in a six cubic foot sweet spot probably aren't the best choice. My two main systems are based on speakers that produce nice engaging sound staging no matter where you sit or stand (within reason).  

 

Also interested if you're of the opinion that even with the best digital sources it's not possible to get to a huge "wow" factor where people would seek out the place and return frequently.

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"why not digital?" Isn't that a modern jukebox?  There one in the pub up the street from my house.

 

I think these "LP bars" are for millennials.  I just wonder how much of the vinyl they spin is digitally sourced.  I'll bet it's over 50%.  If an LP bar advertised "100% AAA vinyl", I might be tempted to stop in.

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4 hours ago, Samuel T Cogley said:

"why not digital?" Isn't that a modern jukebox?  There one in the pub up the street from my house.

 

I think these "LP bars" are for millennials.  I just wonder how much of the vinyl they spin is digitally sourced.  I'll bet it's over 50%.  If an LP bar advertised "100% AAA vinyl", I might be tempted to stop in.

 

This is probably the snobbiest, most ridiculous thing I have seen on this forum during it's entire existence. That's really saying something. Why on earth would it matter? There are bars/clubs here in the Minneapolis/St Paul area that spin vinyl and never once have I been there and thought, Gee I wonder if this vinyl is cut from a digital master...

Good lord...


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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4 hours ago, ednaz said:

Article below talks about a craze that began in Japan (as so many seem to) and is now spreading. People are creating bars and cafes with high end audio gear, and carefully curated libraries of amazingly recorded and rendered (in the owner's opinion) vinyl. People come to have a drink or two, and quietly listen to what great music on great vinyl, selected by the DJ, sounds like through great gear.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/dining/vinyl-records-listening-bar-kissaten.html

 

Got me thinking... I believe that "vinyl" may be the least important part of the concept. Selecting the right albums it seems to me would be most important. I know a lot of music that sounds crappy on even the best DAC based system I've heard, and sounds no better (or worse) on vinyl, and vice versa. When someone wants to hear "what my system can do" I know there are a set of specific albums I go for, where I know the recording and engineering were superb. 

 

The quality of the components, seems to me, would also be big part of the "wow factor." Most people have never heard what a great tube amplifier can do for music, or what great speakers can sound like, versus what most people can afford.

 

Got me thinking about taking the same physical space concept - smallish bar or cafe with the space properly engineered for audio listening. The right diffusion and absorption on the floors and walls, that would sound as good with two people in the room as with 50 people. (I heard tons about how bad the Sydney Opera House was initially if there were empty seats.) 

 

...but with a digital source.  If you were going to build out a digitally based "listening bar", what would you choose for the system, from DAC to the speakers?

 

Keep in mind that setups that are magnificent if the listener sits in a six cubic foot sweet spot probably aren't the best choice. My two main systems are based on speakers that produce nice engaging sound staging no matter where you sit or stand (within reason).  

 

Also interested if you're of the opinion that even with the best digital sources it's not possible to get to a huge "wow" factor where people would seek out the place and return frequently.

 

 

IMO you're completely missing the point of these places. There will be no sweet spot. The music is what matters. The medium is probably less important but it's neat that it's on vinyl. Also, the music is not the draw, it's a benefit. Everything else has to be there as well. No one is going to come to your cafe is the coffee is bad and the pastries suck just because you're spinning vinyl.
 

What you're describing is an audiophile listening space, not a cafe that also happens to spin vinyl.


“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” – Marcus Aurelius

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Many people in Japan live in small apartments and simply cannot listen this way "at home". So they go to a small bar with a simpatico owner where they can experience what you guys spend far too much time arguing about.

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I follow the "Jazz Kissa" (= "jazz cafe" in japanese) account on Instagram ( https://www.instagram.com/jazz_kissa/ )

 

The pictures show the philosophy of those bars: vintage equipment, vintage music (mostly 1950's and 60's jazz), vintage decoration.

 

It's obvious that the people who run those places and their customers are interested in stuff from the "glorious" past. It's not about hearing music in the best possible sound with the latest technology. Vinyl is of course an important part of the experience.

 

It's comparable to car lovers. Some are interested in the latest, "fastest" cars, others prefer oldtimers.

 

 


Claude

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When I was much much younger and there were pubs/bars in the UK, often you would get specialised bars or nights, one I remember was acoustic folk music another poetry etc. A bit of fun with like minded people...

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1 hour ago, marce said:

When I was much much younger and there were pubs/bars in the UK

 

There are no pubs/bars any more in the UK ?

You BREXIT !

:P


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34 minutes ago, PeterSt said:

There are no pubs/bars any more in the UK ?

I guess he means when he was younger and frequented pubs/bars.

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So many have closed down, but yes when I was younger and there seemed to be a wider choice in most towns, not just the large cities.

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13 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

This is probably the snobbiest, most ridiculous thing I have seen on this forum during it's entire existence. That's really saying something. Why on earth would it matter? There are bars/clubs here in the Minneapolis/St Paul area that spin vinyl and never once have I been there and thought, Gee I wonder if this vinyl is cut from a digital master...

 

First of all, thank you.  This is high praise 🙂

 

Secondly, what's the point of digitally sourced vinyl?  It's simply a fact that transcribing to vinyl will add distortion.  Adding distortion is the ultimate antithesis of "high fidelity".  Ergo, digitally sourced vinyl is one of the most brazen scams in audiophilia today.

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Eh, you are using a far better medium to store the master with digital, you thinking is all upside down, it is LP that has the BIG problems...

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20 minutes ago, marce said:

Eh, you are using a far better medium to store the master with digital, you thinking is all upside down, it is LP that has the BIG problems...

 

Don't know who "you" is here, but it seems we agree.

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I can see Japan pulling this off.  Here, umm not so much - just another fad, fake, hollywood, kooky, popular, look at me - well at least for the most part😉

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15 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

This is probably the snobbiest, most ridiculous thing I have seen on this forum during it's entire existence. That's really saying something. Why on earth would it matter? There are bars/clubs here in the Minneapolis/St Paul area that spin vinyl and never once have I been there and thought, Gee I wonder if this vinyl is cut from a digital master...

Good lord...

Why does it matter? B/C an LP sourced from digital is, by definition, much less accurate to the digital master source than any reasonable quality level of digital playback of  the same master.  Any "goodness" added by conversion to vinyl is some form of euphonic distortion. People may like the sound of it, but it's amusing to hear them wax about the great  "real music" and "natural sound" provided by their analog rig in this case. 
Proof of this is that if you make a quality needle drop of the same LP and play it back over the same system, these same listeners won't know the difference. The digital conversion captures all the "goodness" added. 


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59 minutes ago, AudioDoctor said:

You have the audience all wrong. The actual people that visit these cafes don't care one bit.

Not even an LSB.

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On 6/5/2019 at 5:29 AM, Samuel T Cogley said:

"why not digital?" Isn't that a modern jukebox?  There one in the pub up the street from my house.

 

I think these "LP bars" are for millennials.  I just wonder how much of the vinyl they spin is digitally sourced.  I'll bet it's over 50%.  If an LP bar advertised "100% AAA vinyl", I might be tempted to stop in.

Do you have any digitally sourced vinyl that sounds way better than the CD?

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11 hours ago, Rexp said:

Do you have any digitally sourced vinyl that sounds way better than the CD?

 

With the exception of some circa 1985 vinyl that was digitally sourced because the transition to digital workflows was underway, all of my vinyl is AAA.  The digital masters of that era are mostly lackluster,  so vinyl derived from that is quite underwhelming.

 

Are you recommending something?

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On 6/4/2019 at 9:38 PM, AudioDoctor said:

 

 

IMO you're completely missing the point of these places. There will be no sweet spot. The music is what matters. The medium is probably less important but it's neat that it's on vinyl. Also, the music is not the draw, it's a benefit. Everything else has to be there as well. No one is going to come to your cafe is the coffee is bad and the pastries suck just because you're spinning vinyl.
 

What you're describing is an audiophile listening space, not a cafe that also happens to spin vinyl.

I'm not missing the point. First, there are speakers (I've heard quite a few) that are unimpressive outside of the sweet spot, but breathtaking inside. I know that for certain from shopping for speakers for my two main audio systems. 

 

I AM talking about an audiophile listening space. The current description includes "that also happens to spin vinyl." I don't think many people have heard how amazing the jazz studio recordings of Rudi Van Gelder sound through top end equipment, or have heard how much better the recent digital remasters sound than the original issues on either CD or vinyl. There are some "live at" albums that are palpably three dimensional. 

My question is, would people choose to come drink in a place with the best of the best sound quality and music selected that's best of the best production, instead of at a place where people talk over the sound system because it's no great shakes. I know that in my younger days, there were one or two people where everyone else wanted to hang out because the audio system was head and shoulders better than anywhere else. 

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23 hours ago, Foggie said:

I can see Japan pulling this off.  Here, umm not so much - just another fad, fake, hollywood, kooky, popular, look at me - well at least for the most part😉

 

Yeah, not beyond notice that the three places in the US where it's caught on are New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, where apartments are small and expensive.

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