Why every music lover needs to buy a turntable - discuss.

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#1
I spent the last week touring and meeting with audio dealers, and I am quite astonished that no one else I met knew this: If you are a music lover, you have to buy a turntable. Why? Because the musician is delivering two different mixes/masters, and the better mix/master is always on the vinyl.

An example that I demo'ed last week was the album Pure Heroine by Lorde. She won the Grammy for Song of the Year (Royals) and Best Pop Solo Performance and hence, is now getting a lot of attention.

If you listened to the CD, HDTracks 24bit/48kHz download, or even the Acoustic Sounds 24bit/192kHz download, you'd be wondering what all the hoopla was about. Flat, uninteresting, and one-note bass. However, listen to the vinyl, and you'd be going "Holy cow! This girl is going places!!!" When I played the vinyl to an appreciative audience, almost universally they would come up to me and tell me what an astonishing performance that was. The bass line was to die for; with nuance, detail, and emotion.

Why? They are different mixes or masters - we may debate the accuracy or usefulness of the Dynamic Range Database, but here's the entry for Lorde: http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=lorde&album=

Another recent album that is getting a lot of air play is Random Access Memories by Daft Punk. Again, audiophile reviews are mixed, but I loved every track of the double disk. Why? Some were playing high-rez downloads either from HDTracks (US) or Qobuz Masters Edition at 24/88.2 (EU). Both these are "mastered for iTunes" and have been chemically castrated. The vinyl - in particular the Euro-release Get Lucky single - are uncompressed and offer full enjoyment.

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=daft+punk&album=

A final example - Beck. I love this guitarist, and I frequently demo with his albums. His latest is Morning Phase. Same thing. CD and even the HDTracks 24/96 downloads are flat and boring when compared to the vinyl. What was amazing was that I saw that the DR of the free mp3 download that came with the LP had DR close to the vinyl, and higher than the high-rez download :confused: Now, I've got to download that mp3 - to add to my demo collection of mp3 tracks that sound better than the CD :)

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=&album=morning+phase

Discuss.
 
Last edited:

jazdoc

Member Sponsor
Aug 7, 2010
2,629
2
38
Bellevue
#4
I'm a dedicated vinylphile but have to respectfully disagree. A music lover loves music...period.

When it comes to things that matter to a music lover: cost, convenience, portability, and background noise it's no contest; digital wins. Indeed, the only thing that vinyl potentially has to offer is better sound quality...and that's a crap shoot. Indeed, vinyl will too often break your heart. IF you can afford the hardware and IF you can properly set up your tonearm/cartridge without shagging the stylus and IF the planets align and you find a virgin to sacrifice, the music CAN sound sublime. But all too often, that $50 collectors vinyl release sounds like it was mixed by a teenage boy who didn't take his Ritalin listening through cheap ear buds. That's if you can make out the music over the distortion created by the eccentric spindle hole, warps and surface noise.

I'd elaborate but I'm off to buy the new Real Estate LP ;)
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#6
What's particularly fascinating is that according to the DR database, the mp3 free download of the vinyl has higher dynamic range. I'll have to download the mp3 for a listen. I hope that I didn't throw away the little slip of paper as I usually do when it falls out and it's still inside the sleeve!!!
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,416
1
36
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#7
Maybe it's a plot to get us to buy vinyl. Or best case scenario for them, buy all of the formats.
Would it even make sense for the artist to create a different mix (with all the expense associated with that) for such a small population? Lorde is only 17 years old, and I recall reading an interview with her where she said that they produced 40,000 copies of vinyl in the initial release. Most audiophile labels produce 2,000 copies and then take years to sell through.

That's a huge investment for the producer, and the industry must be seeing something already in order to take that risk.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,484
14
38
Utah
#8
I spent the last week touring and meeting with audio dealers, and I am quite astonished that no one else I met knew this: If you are a music lover, you have to buy a turntable. Why? Because the musician is delivering two different mixes, and the better mix is always on the vinyl.

An example that I demo'ed last week was the album Pure Heroine by Lorde. She won the Grammy for Song of the Year (Royals) and Best Pop Solo Performance and hence, is now getting a lot of attention.

If you listened to the CD, HDTracks 24bit/48kHz download, or even the Acoustic Sounds 24bit/192kHz download, you'd be wondering what all the hoopla was about. Flat, uninteresting, and one-note bass. However, listen to the vinyl, and you'd be going "Holy cow! This girl is going places!!!" When I played the vinyl to an appreciative audience, almost universally they would come up to me and tell me what an astonishing performance that was. The bass line was to die for; with nuance, detail, and emotion.

Why? They are different mixes - we may debate the accuracy or usefulness of the Dynamic Range Database, but here's the entry for Lorde: http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=lorde&album=

Another recent album that is getting a lot of air play is Random Access Memories by Daft Punk. Again, audiophile reviews are mixed, but I loved every track of the double disk. Why? Some were playing high-rez downloads either from HDTracks (US) or Qobuz Masters Edition at 24/88.2 (EU). Both these are "mastered for iTunes" and have been chemically castrated. The vinyl - in particular the Euro-release Get Lucky single - are uncompressed and offer full enjoyment.

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=daft+punk&album=

A final example - Jeff Beck. I love this guitarist, and I frequently demo with his albums. His latest is Morning Phase. Same thing. CD and even the HDTracks 24/96 downloads are flat and boring when compared to the vinyl. What was amazing was that I saw that the DR of the free mp3 download that came with the LP had DR close to the vinyl, and higher than the high-rez download :confused: Now, I've got to download that mp3 - to add to my demo collection of mp3 tracks that sound better than the CD :)

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=&album=morning+phase

Discuss.
Just to be clear, you're not discussing Analog vs Digital, right? If I understand correctly you're talking about the same Digital recording played back from 3 different sources. In this case, i.e. a digital recording, the gross sonic differences in quality mentioned above could also point the finger to the playback equipment rather any format or mix. In my experience, not with these particular tracks but many others, with source equipment of equal high quality there's not this kind of quality difference between vinyl and cd pressings. Of course playing back through various mechanical interfaces will have differences but in the end its still the same DIGITAL recording. This isn't the same as comparing Analog vs Digital.
With all due respect without identifying, analysis and lack of standards set for the source equipment your statement is somewhat premature and broad. For discussion's sake please shed some light on the associated playback equipment including the wiring.

david

PS I am in the analog camp but this isn't about analog.
 
May 7, 2012
1,325
0
0
Seattle area
#9
What's particularly fascinating is that according to the DR database, the mp3 free download of the vinyl has higher dynamic range. I'll have to download the mp3 for a listen. I hope that I didn't throw away the little slip of paper as I usually do when it falls out and it's still inside the sleeve!!!
Maybe they created the MP3 from the vinyl mastering instead of the CD mastering. Why else would the DR be higher?
 
May 7, 2012
1,325
0
0
Seattle area
#10
Would it even make sense for the artist to create a different mix (with all the expense associated with that) for such a small population? Lorde is only 17 years old, and I recall reading an interview with her where she said that they produced 40,000 copies of vinyl in the initial release. Most audiophile labels produce 2,000 copies and then take years to sell through.

That's a huge investment for the producer, and the industry must be seeing something already in order to take that risk.
That's true, but if the music is popular enough it makes sense. Typical audiophile labels are producing music that is not popular enough to sell in large quantities. Plus the audiophile labels have to charge extra because they are selling in small quantities.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
0
0
#11
This thread will get the digital wonks wanking. I have said numerous times that the love and care that goes into mastering for vinyl seems to be a solid notch above the average care that goes into digital. We routinely seem to get more dynamic range cut into vinyl than what is mixed over for digital.
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,585
13
38
Sydney
#12
The Lorde album on vinyl sounds excellent
The irritating Royal you hear on Samsung adds and ad nausium everywhere else takes on a completely different enjoyable 3d character when the vinyl is spun.
Great album
 
May 30, 2010
14,114
78
48
Portugal
#14
It is something that bothers me. Although I listen mostly to classical music in digital, I have many hundreds of jazz and rock LPs that sound great. Why almost all attempts to replace them by CDs resulted in an inferior sounding product?
 

edorr

WBF Founding Member
May 11, 2010
3,151
0
36
Smyrna, GA
#15
Moot point. I could never deal with the aggravation of having to walk to a TT and fiddle with large black objects and mechanical contraptions to be able to listen to music. How do you skip a song you don't like?
 
Dec 12, 2013
943
3
18
NYC , USA
#16
Gary where can people like me that just want digital recordings to deal with get vinyl rips of the albums.

As I can understand what you are saying. And maybe that is key with the analog / digital debate . Once again just getting the best possible recordings to listen to is even more complex. I am not one to point and blame but we spend plenty of money to get the best reproduction we can afford or build. What more can we as a end user group do .

Al
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,585
13
38
Sydney
#17
Moot point. I could never deal with the aggravation of having to walk to a TT and fiddle with large black objects and mechanical contraptions to be able to listen to music. How do you skip a song you don't like?
You should try it. I have little patience for most things, however I find getting up and changing a lp every 20 minutes quite theraputic - the complete opposite to aggravating.
Skip a song, gee stand up and move the tonearm to the next track, however listening to entire albums is musically rewarding

Ymmv
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
0
0
#18
Moot point. I could never deal with the aggravation of having to walk to a TT and fiddle with large black objects and mechanical contraptions to be able to listen to music. How do you skip a song you don't like?
It's only a moot point to those who will only listen to digits. As for how you skip a song you don't like on vinyl, it's easy. You just get up off your butt and lift the needle over to the next song you want to play.
 

rbbert

Active Member
Dec 12, 2010
3,423
0
36
Reno, NV
#19
The whole idea of better mastering (of digital masters no less) for LP is what really pisses me off about the whole LP "revival" thing, but I' ve made that clear in multiple previous posts. Good thing I'm not very interested in today's popular music.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
0
0
#20
The whole idea of better mastering (of digital masters no less) for LP is what really pisses me off about the whole LP "revival" thing, but I' ve made that clear in multiple previous posts. Good thing I'm not very interested in today's popular music.
Do you mean the fact that it is being done?
 

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