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In Reply to: RE: Reviewers with LP - how many are there ? posted by RGA on March 04, 2017 at 21:04:38
I didn't consider expense -thinking there are a number of 'affordable' decks $3-5,000. This is a 'vinyl revival', isn't it ?
On gear, don't we have 'vastly improved' tonearms and cartridges ? Quieter motors and plinths ?
I thought reviewers were concerned with sound quality -to 'get the best' out of their downstream components and loudspeakers. It looks like they're doing that - but with digital/CD.
I think the thing is most of those reviewers who don't have vinyl systems think vinyl sound quality is second rate. It's okay to disagree with those reviewers. Many of them make me scratch my head - I read them for entertainment but I wouldn't trust 99% of them to tell me what is good. I know what is good. All of these reviews should be taken for entertainment, or post purchase feelgood support.
Irony detector activated ....
I agree - and you're with the vast majority of reviewers.
Vinyl lovers claim LP is 'easier to listen to'. But live music doesn't have speed variation, needle drag and belt resonance.
With perfect speed control and flat frequency response, digital is a good place to start. A reviewer can understand his components better (by removing a wildly-variant source -LP).
There's almost no worry of microphony, esp. with servers. You get more bass and treble. At least digital tries to do highs -LP cuts them off at 15 khz.
More dynamic range, less surface noise. And you *always* get the best copy (of recording). Can we say that with LP ?
It's quite hard to find *any* problem with digital/red book these days !!
Actually LP has no issues beating digitial in the top end , for realism and naturalness and i have not heard any PC base system to beat a CD player with redbook ...
I think another aspect to this is that the older reviewers who grew up on LP and have 10,000 or 20,000 album collections were mostly against CD from the start. That is a massive investment in a recorded medium that unless you are supremely wealthy you don't want to dump.
And CD did stink it up in the beginning so it was easy to write off the format.
I grew up on CD though and vinyl had to convince me. I wasn't one of the 60 year olds telling people that a Rega P2 was better than CD at 10 times the price. I read this endlessly on forums - $500 turntable beats $5000 CD.
So after a relatively horrible second hand Dual I bought said $500 P2 Clone (a NAD 533 with the famous RB250 tone arm) and a Goldring and then a Shure M97xE cart). Depending on the recording (oh yeah the recording which is 95% of to sound) the Turntable would win but so too would my modest Cambridge Audio CD 6.
And as you rightly note - even when I liked the vinyl better - it was never free of surface noise nor a lot of bad sounding vinyl (new or used).
Growing up with vinyl - you accept surface noise because that's all there was. Every turntable no matter which model - you will get surface noise and pops clicks and generally higher noise floor.
If you grew up with CD none of that exists - the sound is noise free. So it's very difficult to be listening to a piece of music where a female singer goes into her belting range and you hear sibilance or a loud pop. This doesn't exactly hold your ability to suspend your disbelief.
Having heard some very premium machines though - the weakness dwindle greatly and there are certain strengths which CD lacked - ambiance cues is a big one - it's the same reason modestly priced SET amplifier pulverize SS amps at 10 times the money.
The problem is for me - the entry turntables I don't think are particularly good - not against CD. You have to spend in the $3k+ range and even here - is it worth the hassle? For a newbie who has no vinyl is it really advisable to get into vinyl? Unless you have buckets of money - it's not.
And you still have to put up with the surface noise. In this day and age few are willing "to put up with" something. Lose a button on the shirt out goes the shirt. If you can hear past the up front weakness for the in the back strengths then vinyl has merit. If it is about music though then when a format has significant music content unavailable on the other formats it is a worthwhile format to own. But it's not about music for most people. It's about buying that special audiophile disc with the percussion solo to wow your friends.
Here is the thing about records besides the cleaning, resonances, low frequency feedback, groove noise, tonearm adjustments, record warps, expensive cartridges, stylus replacement, phono stages, LP storage space, side changes every 1/2 hour...it goes on and on!
The thing is a record will never sound the same way twice due to wear. Every time you play a record there is wear to both the stylus and the record. The stylus itself wears out the record while it itself is wearing out. As the groove noise increases with time you can never get that original state back.
When I put a CD on the very first time in my life. I could not believe that total silence until the music started. I had never experienced anything like it after all those records since I was 14 years old. I always wanted that absolute silent black background and would never go back, especially now at 68. That silence remains. The CD never changes. 50 plays are always as good as the very first. Music without noise.
One reason I love music is it allows me to forget life's annoyances. I do not need some of those annoyances to be part of the music. That is why I hate records!
Most surface noise issues( bad grooves / worn stylus apart) is usually from poor tracking , vinyl can be very quite and considering noise floor levels in most listening rooms gives up nothing to digital dynamically ..
No argument from me. My next upgrades will be a phono stage an analog (read tube) preamp and then an upgrade to my AN TT2. Maybe to the TT3.
I am basically noting that if people can't get past surface noise then this is not for them. Plus all the inconsistent quality of vinyl both new and used. It's not fun to spend $40 on a new record only for it to be stamped poorly or have issues. And here in Hong Kong - there is no refun and no exchange on any vinyl - so if it sucks or the center hole is punched wrong - you're out of luck. This is a policy in many countries. And for vinyl to come back it needs more than just the US market. CD just doesn't have any of these problems.
I think it is fair to warn people who are about to get into vinyl that there are pitfalls and it's not cheap.
Heck I would jump onto R2R tape but there is just no music on it. I absolutely love the sound (which to me is by far the best) but if all I can get on it is Cafe Blue and have to pay $3,000 for a few tapes of music I don't get to choose it's no good. I so wish Tape would come back in a big way -
Yes LP collection can be an issue, if you weren't collecting from yore, best to buy an estate collection and weed out what you dont want. I'm culling mine currently taking a 100 or so out and exchanging at the local Record joint.
I played my table for the first time in 2 months yesterday, digital is interesting ... :)
Another suggestion is your local recycling center - In Canada they basically sell you a $2 bag and say stick as much stuff as you want in the bag. You can get may 10 new still sealed vinyl in a bag. Only happened to me once but then I don't go that often. People die and the stuff gets thrown away. Classical is very easy to pick up in big numbers. Jazz is usually next.
Probably need a record cleaning machine. My VPI 16.5 is in Canada - so no good - I need a new one for HK but want something smaller and cheaper. New vinyl seems to need a healthy clean before it gets played. The sound has often been utterly terrible about 30 seconds in. Must be some sort of gunk or extra vinyl or something in these new pressings. Companies today that don't exactly know what they are doing compared to the 70s.
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