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In Reply to: RE: If given a choice and the same price for both posted by audiozorro on June 25, 2012 at 10:31:25
I understand that a higher cost rig potentially buys you better sound. But I have found that the unmistakable vinyl *sound* is far more important than the cost.
I know of those that own or have access to $100,000+ vinyl rigs and those that have vinyl rigs that cost under $1000. What do they have in common? Their descriptions of what they hear from their rigs are often indistinguishably similar. I remember quite well in one of the numerous "vinyl vs. SACD" threads where one of the posters indeed had a $150,000 rig and another poster had a $1000 rig. (Both posters were well known to this forum at the time). I was amazed how their very detailed (not generalizations) descriptions of what they were hearing from their respective playback system channeled each other like synchronized swimmers! You would have thought they owned each other systems.
But I have heard/known that for years. My brother uses an inexpensive Technics 5 (radial tone arm), that my Dad used at the office in the 70's, an over sized Pioneer receiver (built in phono stage) and Quadraflex speakers (an inexpensive local brand from the 80's) completes the system. He loves it better than "digital". And guess what? It does sound good! It's unmistakably and seductively vinyl, a sound that I am drawn to, too.
The common theme: their vinyl rigs betters any digital system they have heard. So cost is not *the* factor. There is "something" intrinsic to vinyl sound, perhaps the RIAA equalization, which can make vinyl seductive and a singular (although "tunable") standard.
And we won't even talk about the 1950s RIAA process that is probably the most severe equalization in audio.
Robert C. Lang
Edits: 06/25/12Follow Ups:
although vinyl, as you're always quick to claim, can have a common or *coloured* type sound quality despite hardware ... the difference between the very best performing, well designed and highly refined & setup vinyl systems (notice i didn't simply claim cost as a measure of vinyl performance) is quite dramatic.
The difference is not just simply another tonal departure or some indirect relationship to vinyl's so called inherited "sound" quality ... but rather a departure from those traditional aspects ... and despite vinyl's inherited characteristics, the very best vinyl includes a far more natural organic type quality, more open, dynamic & transparent in nature ... very best vinyl systems contain a "master-tape" type quality that I've NEVER encountered with common-grade everyday vinyl or digital systems.
(* I much prefer the term "compromised" to "coloured" when it comes to describing vinyl systems, simply because I've heard my fair share of tonal discrepancies with digital hardware also)
***the very best performing, well designed and highly refined & setup vinyl systems****
You use *very best* several times and along with "highly refined" and "setup" they are the linchpin of your illustration, which otherwise is a good one, imho. It is real tough, if not meaningfully possible to limit a discussion to comparisons of the "very best, highly refined, and setup vinyl systems". (Translation: Very Expensive, cost does matter in vinyl playback.) It is simply too narrow to have anything but ambiguous meaning. Clearly you believe your systems makes the cut...and I do believe it does! But how many others do? And how is that judgment determined? Certainly my vinyl system which at $10,000+ only meets the "setup bar" is left in the dust. But it should not have to meet that bar to be competitive. (By the way, when comparing two channel sound my vinyl system is competitive with SACD.) Your standard is awfully esoteric. It's a Bugatti Veyron 1% type standard.
I think threads such this are better served when comparing “properly implemented" setups within a given system, preferably his or hers own system. Given those criteria I would never dispute the results that you have found in your system just as I will not dispute the results of the original poster who has found SACD to be superior in his system My results mirrors his results.
Robert C. Lang
> > It is real tough, if not meaningfully possible to limit a discussion to comparisons of the "very best, highly refined, and setup vinyl systems". < <
Most people in this hobby simply don't understand that any description describing the "very best" vinyl ... is simply a throw about phrase based only on ones personal expectation level, simply a reference to his/her experience ... and therefore ... that term can NEVER be used as a general benchmark for everyone.
What you consider the very best, I might consider ... ?
Your "very best", when it comes to vinyl replay, might be my ... "good enough".
Let me provide an example: My turntable is an 80's design that was well ahead of it's time in terms of overall build quality, particularly in terms of mass & rigidness. During it's time, it was regarded as a premium product, even more expensive than the fabled LP12 for which it was in direct competition. If built today, it's asking price would most likely reflex current production pricing, probably ~ $6k. That's just the table, the arm, cart and isolation platform (much understood, yet so very important) would raise the cost yet another $5k. I estimate my analog rigs value - in terms of build quality & performance - at around $13k, yet it routinely blows away 'tables at near or over that price, and I've heard nothing in the "budget" world that compares.
Question: How is it possible that a "old" 'table who's original asking price was set at around $2.5k more, than 22 years ago, could compete with the better far more expensive 'tables built today?
Answer: Initial superior build quality, and just as important, advanced refinement & setup based on a *true* understanding of turntable physics.
Look, $13k, in the turntable world today doesn't even approach the "very best" in terms of both cost and performance. However, based on my personal expectations, it's easily "good enough".
And trust me, my "good enough" is a benchmark that very few achieve, despite the fact that there are 'tables out-there that have vastly superior sonic potential (I've heard my fair share). They, in turn, represent my "very best" ... based on personal experience.
Perceived performance and it's judgement, is really just a matter of perspective based on actual experience within the hobby.
> > (Translation: Very Expensive, cost does matter in vinyl playback.) < <
Cost does indeed matter, because cost should and often does represent potential performance. Therefore, if you have a superior table with a compromised setup, you'll get a sound that reflects that situation. It does not mean that any inexpensive budget based table, with all it's inherited flaws based on cost cutting measures ... perfectly setup ... will outperform a superior table that requires refinement.
Analog doesn't work that way!
*true* ... most people, even ardent vinyl addicts, don't comprehend the inner workings of a turntable. They tend to simplify things to it's basic common denominator, which is simply a revolving tool. They don't understand that the turntable is the KEY to any analog rig true performance potential. Case in point, simply look at the vast number of people @VA who consider the cartridge just as important or more as the 'table, when in actuality, the cartridge potential performance is slaved first and foremost - to quality of both the arm and the turntable.
but good multi-channel hi-rez audio trumps vinyl. Of course few people have audiophile quality multi-channel audio systems. Most folks just have mediocre to good home theater systems, which usually shows that multi-channel is superior to stereo on these systems, but these good HTS are generally not up to par with good audiophile stereo systems.
The biggest problem I have with SACDs is the lack of albums in genres other than classical. For instance I have at least eight Bob Marley LPs but you won't find this great artist on any SACD. However you can get one of his albums in 24/192kHz resolution from HDTracks.
Both Reference Recordings and Acousence Records have albums in both SACDs and vinyl formats that can be compared. They both also have 24/176.4 and 24/192kHz digital formats for comparison.
Of course, you are preaching to the choir....
I listen to a SACD system with the incalculable advantage over vinyl of well done multi-channel. And though my vinyl rig is no slouch (SME/10, Koetsu Black, Music Reference phono pre) it cannot stand the pressure laid on it by my multi-channel system using the same speakers and amps. I had not mentioned the multi-channel advantage thus far in this thread as I was trying to maintain a decorum of "fairness". Ha! But you are absolutely right. When you are going up against something that's good (vinyl) you counter with the best you got: SACD multi-channel.
You are correct, by a wide margin, most of my collection of roughly 1500+ SACDs is classical. But I do have dozens of multi-channel jazz, and a few R&B and rock, too. But just one Bob Marley, "Young Mystic", that is two-channel.
I have comments on 44 SACDs over at SA-CD.net. Ten are multi-channel jazz. Six are R&B or rock.
Robert C. Lang
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