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Need help! First Time Vinyl Listener!, Any help will be greatly appreciated
Sir Pwn4lot
post Jun 16 2010, 16:14
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Hey guys. I'm new here.

Well, I've decided that I wish to take the jump into Vinyl. I've been ripping my CDs to FLAC level 8 for the past 5 years or so, and they sound great for a digital copy, but last week I heard an original mono pressing (1967) of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP and I almost fell over in awesomeness. A Day in the Life = insane on LP. I can't stop myself any longer.

Firstly I'm 17 (today actually smile.gif), but I have a vast musical taste, mostly within the classic rock genre, or at least music from that era. I also like a lot of the original New Wave stuff (Television is amazing), some Punk (The Velvet Underground) and a little Metal if I'm in the mood (Led Zeppelin and Sabbath). Although I consider myself a diehard hippie at heart smile.gif

Now, obviously I need a turntable, but I need some advice on which to get. I am absolutely clueless in this regard, and any help would be greatly appreciated. I might also need some headphones, although I have Z-5500 speakers, but I'm a little worried they will convert the pure vinyl sound to digital which would (amirite?) ruin in benefit of LPs, which is, as I understand it, a perfect sine wave in the waveform rather than the blocky crap offered by even SACD and DVD-A, let alone CD.

I'd also like to know if there are any good record shops left in Australia, or if not, where I can buy good LPs on the internet. I'm not too fussed about collecting at the moment, so reissues are fine as long as they aren't remastered and don't go through a digital process (because again as I understand it that will take away the benefit of analogue sound). I'm just looking on Amazon at the moment.

Thanks a load rolleyes.gif
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lvqcl
post Jun 16 2010, 16:34
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QUOTE
the blocky crap offered by even SACD and DVD-A, let alone CD.

Nonsense.
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Knowzy
post Jun 16 2010, 16:43
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QUOTE (Sir Pwn4lot @ Jun 16 2010, 08:14) *
last week I heard an original mono pressing (1967) of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP and I almost fell over in awesomeness. A Day in the Life = insane on LP. I can't stop myself any longer.

I appreciate your enthusiasm and happy birthday!


QUOTE (Sir Pwn4lot @ Jun 16 2010, 08:14) *
Now, obviously I need a turntable, but I need some advice on which to get.

The first thing you need to think about is budget. Turntables can be a very expensive hobby but, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, you can't always get what you want, but with a given budget, you can get what you need.

I'm sure several people will be around soon to suggest all manner of used turntables to find on eBay or local record shops. I'll defer to them.

If you're thinking about a budget turntable, I can pass on the advice I learned here in these forums:
  • Avoid ceramic cartridges at all costs! It will make the biggest difference of all in terms of sound quality. Hear for yourself: These two turntables are about the same price. One uses a ceramic cartridge, the other a moving magnet cartridge.
  • Make sure you get a turntable with anti-skate compensation. This allows you to get the best sound, prolong the life of your records and ensures you can upgrade the cartridge later.

Good luck!

Jeff
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2E7AH
post Jun 16 2010, 16:55
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QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 16 2010, 17:34) *
Nonsense.

which reminds me on Steve Jobs:



he could have been explaining the difference between LP as reference and SACD vs CD biggrin.gif
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Knowzy
post Jun 16 2010, 18:58
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QUOTE (lvqcl @ Jun 16 2010, 08:34) *
QUOTE
the blocky crap offered by even SACD and DVD-A, let alone CD.

Nonsense.

I think you'll find that few people around here will claim vinyl offers superior fidelity to modern digital formats, particularly at bit rates and depths that exceed CD.

Many claim they like the "sound" of vinyl better (warmer, more natural, etc), which is a matter of personal taste. Others point to the "loudness war" in digital media that vinyl is seemingly more impervious to.

But calling DVD-A's representation of a sine wave blocky crap and vinyl's representation perfect is, well, nonsense.

Again, listen to the samples I provided. The CD and LP versions are side-by-side. Granted the turntables are very low end and vinyl can sound much, much better on more expensive turntables. But the LP's fidelity limitations are quite pronounced in the samples.

QUOTE (Sir Pwn4lot @ Jun 16 2010, 08:14) *
I might also need some headphones, although I have Z-5500 speakers, but I'm a little worried they will convert the pure vinyl sound to digital which would (amirite?) ruin in benefit of LPs...

Speakers are analog devices. The amplifiers that drive them are also analog on the way out.

The more appropriate question here is whether your amplifier will convert the analog vinyl signal into digital before it comes back out analog. I expect that's the case but I'm not familiar enough with such circuitry to say for certain.

You could achieve this certainty while going head-on into "warm" analog sound by investing in a tube amplifier. But here again, you won't be achieving higher fidelity, just a more vintage sound.
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greynol
post Jun 16 2010, 19:10
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QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jun 16 2010, 10:58) *
I think you'll find that few people around here will claim vinyl offers superior fidelity to modern digital formats, particularly at bit rates and depths that exceed CD.

No knowledgeable person here will claim vinyl offers superior fidelity to the bit depth of CD nor will he suggest that the sample rate of CD is no less adequate to cover the perceptible range of human hearing for musical content.

QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jun 16 2010, 10:58) *
Others point to the "loudness war" in digital media that vinyl is seemingly more impervious to.

Thankfully you used the word seemingly, as this is also nonsense.

QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jun 16 2010, 10:58) *
You could achieve this certainty while going head-on into "warm" analog sound by investing in a tube amplifier. But here again, you won't be achieving higher fidelity, just a more vintage sound.

Where vintage sound = lower fidelity, assuming that fidelity means the ability to reproduce the recorded sound most faithfully (IOW, without coloration).


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DVDdoug
post Jun 16 2010, 19:24
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QUOTE
but last week I heard an original mono pressing (1967) of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP and I almost fell over in awesomeness.
When an LP sounds better than the CD, it's NOT because "analog is better than digital." If you digitize your LP and make a FLAC, it should sound good too! **

With older recordings, the better sound is usually attributed to the use of dynamic* compression during CD mastering (or remastering). This is done to make the CD "sound louder" (Loudness War).

There can also be frequency response variations. Although all phono cartridges are manufactured to have flat frequency response, this is difficult to do with a mechanical/analog device, and all phono cartridges sound different. These (normally unwanted) frequency responce variations can make vinyl "sound better" (or sound different) than digital. (Of course, better/more expensive phono cartridges generally have better frequency response than cheap cartridges.)

WARNING - Most older records don't sound that good (in my opinion). The producers/manufacturers didn't seem that interested in high-fidelity... Back in the vinyl days it was a rare treat to find a really good sounding record. Plus, most 30 or 40 year old records are scratched and worn.



*Don't confuse dynamic compression with file compression (MP3, FLAC, etc.). Dynamic compression reduces the dynamic range by making the quiet parts louder without boosting or distorting the loud parts. This increases the average volume/loudness. Apparently most music buyers prefer "loud CDs", or perhaps it tends to make a good first impression. But, to many music lovers it makes the music boring.

** P.S.
If there is any "snap", "crackle", or "pop", on the record (like most records), these noises can be reduced or eliminated with software and the resulting digital copy can sound better then the original vinyl!

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Jun 16 2010, 19:38
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greynol
post Jun 16 2010, 19:29
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jun 16 2010, 11:24) *
This is done to make the CD "sound louder" (Loudness War).

It can be done (and has been done!) to make the title on vinyl sound louder as well.

The bottom line is this: you can perfectly capture the vinyl experience on CD, but you cannot do this in reverse.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jun 16 2010, 19:30


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Knowzy
post Jun 16 2010, 19:29
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 16 2010, 11:10) *
QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jun 16 2010, 10:58) *
Others point to the "loudness war" in digital media that vinyl is seemingly more impervious to.

Thankfully you used the word seemingly, as this is also nonsense.


More on this in the Vinyl Mastering Wiki:
QUOTE
None of these restrictions explicitly say "hypercompressed, distorting music cannot be cut onto vinyl". Rather, that music may be more difficult to cut and play back than other music.



QUOTE ( @ Jun 16 2010, 11:10) *
...the ability to reproduce the recorded sound most faithfully (IOW, without coloration).

That's a much more concise. I think I need to stop relying on the word "fidelity." Thanks!
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lvqcl
post Jun 16 2010, 19:46
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about "blocky digital sound":

link 1) http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=583901
link 2) 20kHz sine wave @44.1 kHz samplerate
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2E7AH
post Jun 16 2010, 20:25
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and if you google "analog vs digital audio" this image has most hits (among other funnies):



they have even put scale labels - silly

Forgot to mention scale which is set on ms, so assuming one tick is 1ms that 70Hz sine should have 500Hz sampling rate

and just don't know from where that Google picture originates, but found it also here: B&W - The definite guide to 24 bit FLAC, and should I quote some or not:

QUOTE
QUOTE
Compact Disc became a technological time trap for audiophiles...

QUOTE
No surprise then that in recent years, many hi-fi purists have been turning back to vinyl which – being analogue – offers almost infinite levels of resolution. “Analogue audio systems are limited not by digital bits, but atoms,”

QUOTE
The trouble is though, the quieter the signal is, the more the system distorts using the PCM digital system, which effectively sucks out the atmosphere – all the subtle ambient details – of a piece of music.


WOW ohmy.gif atoms got sucked from atmosphere, what's next - photon music?

This post has been edited by greynol: Jun 17 2010, 02:32
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2E7AH
post Jun 16 2010, 21:26
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maybe it's ok for general signal processing, as for audio it deludes people to think that they are missing something at that zoom level (like OP wrote)

vinyl reproduction also can't look like smooth sine wave - more proper would be adding some noise dots + spikes around that smooth tiny line

QUOTE
Most audio editors represent the waveform as a series of stair-steps

maybe they should interpolate than, like CEP does:



maybe others just connects dots, but drawing bars with discontinuities is obviously pretentious

[edit] added screenshot



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db1989
post Jun 16 2010, 21:43
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It's obvious enough, but no one has said it, so:
QUOTE (Sir Pwn4lot @ Jun 16 2010, 16:14) *
Well, I've decided that I wish to take the jump into Vinyl. I've been ripping my CDs to FLAC level 8 for the past 5 years or so, and they sound great for a digital copy, but last week I heard an original mono pressing (1967) of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP and I almost fell over in awesomeness. A Day in the Life = insane on LP. I can't stop myself any longer.

Please research the placebo effect, ABX testing (with reference to this forum's ToS8), etc.
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jazzfan1948
post Jun 17 2010, 06:21
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Hey, we are getting way off topic here! This kid asked for a little advice, and we are getting hip-deep in theory. Here are a few cents worth of my experience that I am willing to share:

1. Congrats on your birthday. When I was 17, I was listening to the Beatles '65 mono LP on a Garrard Lab 80 through a home-wired Lafayette tube amp and a pair of British Leak speakers. I still have the LP, but all the equipment has been upgraded a number of times.

2. While you can get a pretty good used turntable on eBay, I purchased 4 before I got a good one. I suggest that you start with a Music Hall MMF 2.2 as it is reasonably priced and comes fitted with a properly aligned and good quality cartridge. The MMF 5.1 is a delinite step up in quality, but quite a bit more expensive. Another possibility if you are into retro is a Technics 1200. This is a super-rugged unit that could last you for life if you don't subject it to the rigors of DJing. Fit it with an Audio-Technica AT-440, and you will have over 90% of the quality of a unit costing 3-5 times as much. Lots of "audiophiles" pooh-pooh the direct-drive technology and medium-mass S-shaped tonearm - but the fact remains that it works and sounds gorgeous.

3. If you like your speakers, they will sound just as good with LPs.

4. Get a pair of Grado SR-60 headphones, period. They will sound good with all your components and cost a very reasonable amount.

5. Invest in a Discwasher or other record maintenance system. I personally don't see the value of the super-expensive systems, but then the great majority of my LPs are my own and have been carefully stored and maintained over the years.

Good Luck and remember to enjoy the music!
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analog scott
post Jun 17 2010, 06:48
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QUOTE (Sir Pwn4lot @ Jun 16 2010, 17:14) *
Hey guys. I'm new here.

Well, I've decided that I wish to take the jump into Vinyl. I've been ripping my CDs to FLAC level 8 for the past 5 years or so, and they sound great for a digital copy, but last week I heard an original mono pressing (1967) of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP and I almost fell over in awesomeness. A Day in the Life = insane on LP. I can't stop myself any longer.

Firstly I'm 17 (today actually smile.gif), but I have a vast musical taste, mostly within the classic rock genre, or at least music from that era. I also like a lot of the original New Wave stuff (Television is amazing), some Punk (The Velvet Underground) and a little Metal if I'm in the mood (Led Zeppelin and Sabbath). Although I consider myself a diehard hippie at heart smile.gif

Now, obviously I need a turntable, but I need some advice on which to get. I am absolutely clueless in this regard, and any help would be greatly appreciated. I might also need some headphones, although I have Z-5500 speakers, but I'm a little worried they will convert the pure vinyl sound to digital which would (amirite?) ruin in benefit of LPs, which is, as I understand it, a perfect sine wave in the waveform rather than the blocky crap offered by even SACD and DVD-A, let alone CD.

I'd also like to know if there are any good record shops left in Australia, or if not, where I can buy good LPs on the internet. I'm not too fussed about collecting at the moment, so reissues are fine as long as they aren't remastered and don't go through a digital process (because again as I understand it that will take away the benefit of analogue sound). I'm just looking on Amazon at the moment.

Thanks a load rolleyes.gif



There is a wide range of possibilities when it comes to vinyl playback equipment. If you give us a budget it would be very helpful. One can spend anywhere from a few bucks at a garage sale to over half a million dollars for a full vinyl playback setup.

I don't know what the current state of record shops is like in Australia. Many vinyl enthusiasts go the old school rout of garage sales and second hand stores. It's a lot of work but one can find real gems for pennies on the dollar. Ther are several mail order outfits here in the U.S. that will ship to Australia but it ain't cheap. They do specialize in audiophile vinyl both new and used so you will in many cases get what you are looking for based on your reaction to the mono LP of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct are two of the big ones. With both you will find a vast catalog and they offer excellent service. Many audiophile reissues of classic titles such as the ones you seem most interested in are often sonically superior to their original counterparts. Don't avoid reissues just because of the remastering.

There is great sound to be found on any and all of the current formats. The mastering is far more important than the medium. You will get much more variation in sound from vinyl playback equipment so that will be a factor. You have to take it on a title by title basis. There are no hard and fast rules about what version of any given title will be the prefered version and not everyone will agree in each case.

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greynol
post Jun 17 2010, 08:18
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QUOTE (jazzfan1948 @ Jun 16 2010, 22:21) *
Hey, we are getting way off topic here!

Overboard perhaps, off-topic, no. The OP came in with misconceptions about sampling and reconstruction, what followed was an attempt to set the record straight. That said, it is good that his other questions are being addressed.

Update, the discussion about soundcards raised by DVDdoug seems to be getting out of control. I've split it off here:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=81687

This post has been edited by greynol: Jun 17 2010, 21:39


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2Bdecided
post Jun 17 2010, 12:38
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QUOTE (Sir Pwn4lot @ Jun 16 2010, 16:14) *
Hey guys. I'm new here.

Well, I've decided that I wish to take the jump into Vinyl. I've been ripping my CDs to FLAC level 8 for the past 5 years or so, and they sound great for a digital copy, but last week I heard an original mono pressing (1967) of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on LP and I almost fell over in awesomeness. A Day in the Life = insane on LP. I can't stop myself any longer.
Unless you have money to literally throw away, I think you should stop yourself long enough to figure out why the LP sounded better than what you have already. I doubt it was because it's an LP.

Do you have the 2009 remastered Beatles mono CD collection?
Do you have speakers and a listening room as "good" as the one you heard this LP in?

If you answered no to either of those questions, then you're not really in any position to make a fair comparison.

I have most of the original UK Beatles LPs (Parlophone / Apple / EMI) in mono and stereo. I hear a phase error throughout all original pressings of the mono Sgt Pepper LP - like the playback tape deck was slightly out of alignment (azimuth). Not everyone notices it, but I've heard it on enough decks to believe it's really there, rather than some artefact of my playback systems. While there's plenty of intentional phasing on Pepper, this doesn't sound intentional to me - though it's unlike EMI to mess something up like this back then.

I've never heard a US Capitol pressing, or the new mono CDs, so I don't know if the same error is on there.

Cheers,
David.

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Axon
post Jun 17 2010, 18:53
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Y'all are a total buzzkill wink.gif

Re the OP. What constitutes enjoyment of sound/music often times cannot be reduced down to a simple matter of quality. Most justifications for vinyl on the basis of quality make this sort of fallacy and the inevitable conclusion to that thinking is tortured diagrams (like the stair-step plot mentioned earlier), flat contradiction with known facts of human hearing, etc.

It's much saner, and more honest, to simply not require a justification for one's preference for one format or another. It's an opinion after all.

Vinyl recommendations are entirely relative to budget. For under $200 you have no real choice but to go used, preferrably on the local markets instead of ebay, finding a good-running vintage deck that got good contemporary reviews (check vinylengine.com, old issues of Audio magazine at a library, old issues of stereophile etc). Always get a new needle/cartridge if you get a used deck. For $200 ish the AT-PL120 is considered pretty respectable and a few entry-level audiophile units start showing up like the rega P1, pro-ject debut etc. At $300 or more you're likely best off buying a SL-1200, either used or new depending on the budget. (I'm kinda leaving out the discussion on the phonostage here which is a separate and equally complicated discussion.)
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db1989
post Jun 17 2010, 21:50
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Axon, you have a point. However, the OP ought to do something to verify whether vinyl really does sound as superior as he seems to think, or whether it was only the placebo effect. That was what I was trying to promote in my earlier post. It may save him from dropping a load of money on equipment, and perhaps vinyl versions of releases that he already owns.

FWIW, I'm one of those cynics (science-y types? tongue.gif) that doesn't think vinyl can ever sound better than CD, assuming equivalent mastering on both versions. I wouldn't be averse to buying the occasional release on vinyl for the 'look and feel' of the packaging (larger size included), and the novelty of using a 'retro' format (perhaps on a really old turntable, for full effect!)--but certainly not for reasons of fidelity.

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greynol
post Jun 17 2010, 21:58
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The thing is that unless they are from the same master, ABXing vinyl and CD is sort of pointless. Even when they are from the same master, you're not just ABXing the medium but the gear playing the medium as well. This goes without mentioning that the output of each will likely need to be digitized in order to perform an ABX test, which probably won't fly for those who believe digitization can't possibly be a transparent process.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jun 17 2010, 22:02


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Woodinville
post Jun 17 2010, 22:06
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Why do so many people leave the reconstruction filter out of the graph for PCM?

It's really quite annoying, and leads to a whole host of really BAD, completely incorrect misconceptions.

Now, to LP's, well, LP's have a rising distortion with level that can very easily result in loudness growth making the lp sound like it has more dynamic range than it really does.

For the "blocky" mistake please see

http://www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ppt.htm get the "ADC tutorial" and look at page 41. Page 41 shows at the top a sine wave under FS/2. each step below adds more IMAGES of the original sine wave all of which are above fs/2.

All of the "blockiness" is strictly, completely due to images that should be filtered out.

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greynol
post Jun 17 2010, 22:09
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QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jun 17 2010, 14:06) *
It's really quite annoying, and leads to a whole host of really BAD, completely incorrect misconceptions.

I know you're late to the party, but please, let's not have this off-topic discussion all over again:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=710222


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DonP
post Jun 17 2010, 22:31
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 17 2010, 16:58) *
The thing is that unless they are from the same master, ABXing vinyl and CD is sort of pointless. Even when they are from the same master, you're not just ABXing the medium but the gear playing the medium as well. This goes without mentioning that the output of each will likely need to be digitized in order to perform an ABX test, which probably won't fly for those who believe digitization can't possibly be a transparent process.


What you can do (with a big "IF" it's done well) is blind compare an LP against a CD made from the same LP on the same turntable and preamp. In making the CD skip some of the niceties of removing clicks, low-pass filtering, etc, which would serve to differentiate the two. You'd likely need someone else to set which is A or B for each round on a coin flip unless you want to get into computer controlled relay boxes.
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analog scott
post Jun 18 2010, 11:19
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 17 2010, 22:58) *
The thing is that unless they are from the same master, ABXing vinyl and CD is sort of pointless. Even when they are from the same master, you're not just ABXing the medium but the gear playing the medium as well. This goes without mentioning that the output of each will likely need to be digitized in order to perform an ABX test, which probably won't fly for those who believe digitization can't possibly be a transparent process.



ABXing vinyl v. CD is pretty pointless period. OTOH blind level matched (this can be dicey) A/B preference comparisons IME are quite useful for picking a preference. But it is useful if one understands that the results will vary from title to title. Differences in mastering and vinyl playback hardware are far more influencial than the inherent audible differences in the two media. IMO the avid audiophile/music lover is best served by having both, making good blind comparisons between various masterings and investing in quality vinyl playback gear since that does makes a substantial difference.

Level matching is pretty tricky in most cases. Compression alone makes it impossible. Substantial differences in EQ are another issue. I am an advocate in level optimizing rather than level matching. That involves spending some time with each version and picking a level that best suits that particular version. That is how one will listen to that version in the end anyway.
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2Bdecided
post Jun 18 2010, 11:29
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Does anyone think the OP is still reading? wink.gif

Cheers,
David.
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