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How can Vinyl still sound good compared to digital?

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We are now having the best measuring equipments. Digital’s dynamic range now can exceed 140dB. THD can be as low as 0.001%.  
 

OTOH, vinyl is nowhere close to any of the current measurements except the theoretical unlimited HF. However, we still have have good sounding vinyl setup that can be as good as the best digital setup. Why?

 

It looks like the measurements are no longer important. Is it the room acoustics? Or is it the imperfection that makes vinyl sounds better with stereo playback?  

 

Or does vinyl sound worst than digital with headphones? Frankly, I have not listened to vinyl with headphones. Anyone here listen to vinyl with headphones? Do you think they sound better than digital?
 

 

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  Vinyl is technically not as good as digital, but *usually* vinyl has been mastered correctly, but digital, not so much.   In fact, even PREMIUM digital hasn't been mastered correctly.  I have been going through premium supertramp digital copies -- not mastered corrrectly.  Please refer to my digital 'Crime of the Century' -- not technically fully mastered, but getting rave reviews because what I did do, it was done correctly.

 

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22 minutes ago, John Dyson said:

Please refer to my digital 'Crime of the Century'

 

Not the best example because it is by far the worst digital master that I know of (not making this up today - I have said so a dozen times before).

So yes, it is an example, but a poor representative.


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Just now, PeterSt said:

 

There we go again. Vinyl does never ever sound as good as "the best" digital. Vinyl, by now, sounds like sh*t.

If you think differently, go check your digital chain.

 

What you said :-).

I ran into an interesting situation -- hunting for good copies of 'ABBA'.   A friend sent me a copy that sounded pretty good, and in fact one or two of the 'albums' was DolbyA -- which is what I was looking for.  I ran the decoder on the material, and it sort of worked, but not so well.  Studied the signal -- the damned vinyl rip fooled my ears!!!   All you gotta do to prove that vinyl isn't as good (even though there are other reasons) -- look at the spectogram, you can see the rumble as bright as day!!!

 

John

 

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1 minute ago, PeterSt said:

 

Not the best example because it is by far the worst digital master that I know of (not making this up today - I have said so a dozen times before).

So yes, it is an example, but a poor representative.

Have you heard the decode? :-).  Actually, the one that all of the audiophiles raved over, the decoder didn't have the distortion cancellation fully enabled.

I actually know part of what is wrong with 'Crime' and 'Quiet'.   The slew on the vocals is so fast that it causes the DolbyA to splat badly.   Also, they EQed the signal wrong.   I can make 'Crime' sound like a normal recording...  The audiophiles didn't like it -- they wanted the version with the modulation distortion!!!

I have a major errand in about an hour -- but later on today I'll do a version of a cut from Crime that sounds normal...

 

John

 

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2 minutes ago, John Dyson said:

Have you heard the decode? :-).

 

Haha, no, but I sure want to if I have the full version. But John, small problem: so many versions exist, and I suppose you tend to use the "loudest" one (which is still far too soft). So the issue is: the best original it is way too dynamic. The others are "manipulated". Neither is listenable to these ears, although the other day I found one which is sort of OK. I believe it's something with MQ in it. Not sure. swoon.gif.b49003764b0738d542acd802379a32dc.gif

 

Anyway, might you recognize it: The best original uses only half of the digital headroom (or just a bit more IIRC) and still smashes into your face because of being too dynamical (like Rudy).

One of the best albums out there, wasted (for digital).

 

But this was off topic ?

 


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Just now, PeterSt said:

 

Haha, no, but I sure want to if I have the full version. But John, small problem: so many versions exist, and I suppose you tend to use the "loudest" one (which is still far too soft). So the issue is: the best original it is way too dynamic. The others are "manipulated". Neither is listenable to these ears, although the other day I found one which is sort of OK. I believe it's something with MQ in it. Not sure. swoon.gif.b49003764b0738d542acd802379a32dc.gif

 

Anyway, might you recognize it: The best original uses only half of the digital headroom (or just a bit more IIRC) and still smashes into your face because of being too dynamical (like Rudy).

One of the best albums out there, wasted (for digital).

 

But this was off topic ?

 

Oh man -- my big problem was that I didn't have a reference source.  I remembered that the original album sounded harsh, and every time that I produced a version that was 'not quite as harsh', then it got bounced by the reviewer helpers.   The EQ into the decoder is pretty mild -- that is, the decoder is pushed so hard to produce the desired sound, it even made my decoder produce splats (however nicely bandwidth limited they were.)

I am about 1/2 way through figuring out a normal decode -- still 'different' sounding, but much cleaner.

I'll PM you where to get it the version that everyone wanted.

It is NOT for the faint of heart, and has lots of dynamics.  It is NOT normal, but it was what some real audiophiles wanted.

 

John

 

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John,

Please provide the original undecoded example as well as decoded. We cannot compare without both. If this has been addressed please ignore. My memory of Supetramp dates back 30 years or more.

 

Thanks,

 

MAK

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2 hours ago, Jud said:

 

You're bloody well right.

I only have so much space...  I have just completed IMO properly (differently) decoded cut 1 'School', and uploading it right now.

Even in the Quietest Moments is in progress right now.

 

If you send a link to a Dropbox (by email), then I can upload it directly into your account.   Don't send it through Dropbox, becuase then the upload will charge against my very small account.

 

The original is a feral-EQed DolbyA copy.  The corrective EQ is the hard part.

 

I don't think that the original will do anyone any good -- really.  Feral DolbyA is just yet another commonly available release that sounds compressed.

 

If you want to compare against anything -- find the vinyl, that is what the audiophiles were using for the basis to tell me if I hit the mark.

 

PS:  I just thought of possibly uploading a 128k mp3 for your reference.  It won't sound perfect, but would give you a basis for reference.  That would avoid filling up my Dropbox space (just trying to help!!!)

 

 

John

 

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PS:  I haven't actually llistened to the original feral-DolbyA -- after a quick listen, I can hear the frequency response skew during the sibilance, etc.  It is compressed sounding -- the kids in the background (on cut 1) are louder.  But it doesn't sound like the vinyl (as I remember) either.

Also, for comparison, I did a 'standard' decode per my own sensibilities -- ignoring the vinyl -- it is in the repository, (it is under differentEQ.)   I happen to like it better, but that wasn't how I was directed.

 

John

 

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I started my quest for great sound around 45 years ago.  My definition of perfection is music that I thoroughly enjoy, with no artefacts to suggest that I’m listening to artificially produced sound and nothing irritating like room nodes or frequency emphasis. Finally every recording should sound unique with no identity across recordings except purity, transparency, dynamics and timing. Live music is involving and exiting without demanding anything from the listener and I want my hi-fi to sound the same way. 

For many years my only source was a TT and LPs. This was gradually improved with better support furniture power supplies, tone arms, cartridges and phono amplifiers and it got the point where it sounded great but never ‘perfect’ as defined above. What stopped it?  Noise was a major factor, the ratio of exceptional to average ‘pressings’  was another.  Then along came CD. Perfect sound forever, except it never was and in my opinion, never beat Vinyl. Why not? It was quieter, and more dynamic, but it never sounded as natural, as musical, and until the very last generation of CDPs that I owned it sounded quite mechanical.  Whenever I’d listen to a CD where I also had the LP, I would always have the feeling that certain details, smoothness and a sense of musicality were missing...to the point I still preferred the TT. 

Then within the last 2 years I decided to implement a new front end based on local and remote streaming, which required a fair bit of learning and research on my part. I bought an Innuos Zenith SE and later a Statement and spent considerable time researching the best network configuration, including wired and wi-fi, with various cables, routers, extenders, linear power supplies and so on. 

And for the first time I actually achieved the perfection I was looking for, with a highly realistic, immersive, 3 dimensional sound with timing and involvement that brought back feelings of live events.  Shortly before the Zenith arrived, I’d bought a new TT, arm and cartridge Michell Orbe, SME IV and Ortofon Cadenza Black, which I spent a nice relaxed day setting up and optimising to within an inch of its life. I also bought about 200 albums.....180 classical including lots of original Deccas and EMIs and 20 or so of the latest 180 gram vinyl remasters. Altogether the TT sounded fantastic and reminded me of how previous Well Tempered References and Linn LP12s had sounded in my various systems. But in comparison to the Innuos Server, on both local and remote streamed files, the TT sounded slightly old,  a little less dynamic, a lot more noisy and did not reach the Innuos’s standard in any hi-fi related category like naturalness,  PRaT, soundstage, image focus, tonal accuracy, frequency extremes, neutrality, transparency, etc.

With a fully optimised network, the Innuos could create a completely believable 3 dimensional recording venue, with no listening room artefacts, obviously depending on the quality of the file it was streaming, with bass rich in timbre and shimmering, sparkling treble. The TT had a romantic side to its nature. It still sounded extremely musical but left the ‘specialness’ to the Innuos. As I’m not terribly nostalgic with things like cars and hi-fi I traded in the TT against an Innuos Statement. 

Anyone looking for some old classical vinyl and a few 180g remasters should let me know. 

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11 minutes ago, Blackmorec said:

I started my quest for great sound around 45 years ago.  My definition of perfection is music that I thoroughly enjoy, with no artefacts to suggest that I’m listening to artificially produced sound and nothing irritating like room nodes or frequency emphasis. Finally every recording should sound unique with no identity across recordings except purity, transparency, dynamics and timing. Live music is involving and exiting without demanding anything from the listener and I want my hi-fi to sound the same way. 

For many years my only source was a TT and LPs. This was gradually improved with better support furniture power supplies, tone arms, cartridges and phono amplifiers and it got the point where it sounded great but never ‘perfect’ as defined above. What stopped it?  Noise was a major factor, the ratio of exceptional to average ‘pressings’  was another.  Then along came CD. Perfect sound forever, except it never was and in my opinion, never beat Vinyl. Why not? It was quieter, and more dynamic, but it never sounded as natural, as musical, and until the very last generation of CDPs that I owned it sounded quite mechanical.  Whenever I’d listen to a CD where I also had the LP, I would always have the feeling that certain details, smoothness and a sense of musicality were missing...to the point I still preferred the TT. 

Then within the last 2 years I decided to implement a new front end based on local and remote streaming, which required a fair bit of learning and research on my part. I bought an Innuos Zenith SE and later a Statement and spent considerable time researching the best network configuration, including wired and wi-fi, with various cables, routers, extenders, linear power supplies and so on. 

And for the first time I actually achieved the perfection I was looking for, with a highly realistic, immersive, 3 dimensional sound with timing and involvement that brought back feelings of live events.  Shortly before the Zenith arrived, I’d bought a new TT, arm and cartridge Michell Orbe, SME IV and Ortofon Cadenza Black, which I spent a nice relaxed day setting up and optimising to within an inch of its life. I also bought about 200 albums.....180 classical including lots of original Deccas and EMIs and 20 or so of the latest 180 gram vinyl remasters. Altogether the TT sounded fantastic and reminded me of how previous Well Tempered References and Linn LP12s had sounded. But in comparison to the Innuos Server, on both local and remote streamed files, the TT sounded slightly old,  a little less dynamic, a lot more noisy and did not reach the Innuos’s standard in any hi-fi related category like naturalness,  PRaT, soundstage, image focus, tonal accuracy, frequency extremes, neutrality, transparency, etc.

With a fully optimised network, the Innuos could create a completely believable 3 dimensional recording venue, with no listening room artefacts, obviously depending on the quality of the file it was streaming, with bass rich in timbre and shimmering, sparkling treble. The TT had a romantic side to its nature. It still sounded extremely musical but left the ‘specialness’ to the Innuos. As I’m not terribly nostalgic with things like cars and hi-fi I traded in the TT against an Innuos Statement. 

Anyone looking for some old classical vinyl and a few 180g remasters, let me know. 

The kind of thing that *really* helps me are vinyl rips.  It isn't that I normally listen to them, but they give a basis of frequency response balance.  SOMETIMES, I can guess correctly...  However, like SuperTramp where the vinyl was mastered very hot -- that means that I have to reverse-engineer the 'hot' mastering myself instead of doing normal decoding.  Similar with ABBA -- the normal ABBA releases don't appear to be normal DolbyA EQ, but if ABBA is decoded normally, it actually sounds a little more 'normal'.

 

If people supply me with a few 55 second rip-snippets -- I'll look around and ask friends or search in my archives for feral-DolbyA copy to decode.  The 'decoding' itself is very easy -- the problem is the reverse engineer the 'extra love' on the feral DolbyA copies -- it is a big guessing game, but I am starting to get pretty good at it.

 

John

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5 hours ago, Jud said:

Mostly LP doesn't sound as good as digital, if my experience at audio shows with stratospherically priced playback systems for both is any indication. Nostalgia as far as fiddling isn't an upside for me. Bigger covers are lovely (digital audio player software developers take note with regard to UI) but don't make anything sound better.

 

But better mastering definitely matters. Still haven't found a digital version that can match my 50 year old LP of Tommy for goose bumps, and that just shouldn't be the case. Same with Steely Dan's Gaucho.

 Hi Jud

 Are you able to provide information about the actual CDs that are poorly mastered to John Dyson who may have copies of them in his personal collection, and possibly uncover and correct the reasons for their very poor quality.

As a very recent example, John was able to correct with his S/W , a SuperTramp -Crime of the Century" CD where 2 people participating in John's project found that his corrected version then easily outperformed their own copies on Vinyl.

 Kind Regards

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 18-06-2019

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Yesterday's session over at the friend's house was as good an example as any of what goes on - depending upon what had been done prior to me turning up, vinyl, or digital, would be clearly 'superior'. And it was the turn of the LP, this time ... 😉.

 

N. has the technical chops to dive in, and sort stuff out - can solder in SMT bits, or completely redo mechanical areas. His TT is a base model Pro-Ject unit, but essentially every aspect of its mechanics has been pulled apart and rejigged - his way. Sometimes it goes backwards - but then he recovers what was lost, and goes forward again.

 

For want of a better phrase, the needle delivered bloom in the room - full, rich sound, the sense of the event was everywhere you happened to be in listening distance. Was it "perfect"? No, the speakers were still identifiable when you got close to them, but the 'bigness' of what was on the album was largely projected - the final sparkle of optimum treble wasn't quite there - but this you could forgive it, 🙂.

 

Could you have measured precisely why it sounded this together this time, but was lacking last time? I doubt it, very much - there is obviously some type of distortion which has been brought below a critical level, but to be able to point to exactly that being the culprit would be almost impossible - with current knowledge.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

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

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