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Vinyl player recommendations, primarily for creating digital files...
mattdm11
post May 13 2008, 05:04
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I know this topic has been beaten to death, but since every person's situation is different, I thought I'd start a new thread.... tongue.gif

Anyway, I'm looking to buy something that can play vinyl...I don't own any vinyl currently, but seeing as how most albums that are put out on vinyl are properly mastered and have more dynamic range, I see no reason why I shouldn't start buying and ripping to my computer, since I've read how easy it's gotten. I enjoy my setup currently (in the process of ripping all my cds over the past 1.5 years...almost done): Pioneer receiver, Klipsch bookshelf speakers and subwoofer, Asus Xonar D2 soundcard.

Now, I'm not looking for a top of the line piece of equipment, as all I really want to do is rip the album to WAV....there won't be a lot of playback involved. Does anyone have any recommendations for me? I was hoping to only spend $200 or so. Can I get by with a cheaper piece of equipment if I just want to rip, or do I have to shell out the $$$ if I want an accurate representation of how the vinyl should sound? I know that some players now include ripping software, so should I look for something that includes software, or is there a certain piece of software someone recommends I buy separately?

In a perfect world, I'd love to hear how the vinyl rips would sound before I invested in anything...my first purchases will be MACHINA from Smashing Pumpkins, Accelerate from REM, Young Modern by Silverchair...a lot of the newer albums that are compressed to hell on CD. These albums are so compressed, the vinyl versions just have to sound better....

Any help would be appreciated.

This post has been edited by mattdm11: May 13 2008, 05:06
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Axon
post May 13 2008, 06:27
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Save your money. There are many examples of modern vinyl releases that are just as compressed as the CD. It's a common misconception that vinyl is immune to the loudness war.

Unless you have second-to-God (or second-to-the-mastering-engineer) evidence that the LPs you're interested in are mastered substantially differently, or you have some other good reason to get into vinyl (and admittedly there are many good reasons), you're better off investing elsewhere.

.... that said, for $200, I'd say your only worthwhile choice is the Audio Technica PL-120, unless you go used.

This post has been edited by Axon: May 13 2008, 06:29
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Metanoia
post May 13 2008, 11:49
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They use a CD master to produce a LP these days, so it's useless.
(Just search on video's about how they press LP's)

This post has been edited by Metanoia: May 13 2008, 11:50
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Roseval
post May 13 2008, 18:30
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Maybe this link is of use: http://www.audioholics.com/education/audio...s-part-4-page-2


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mattdm11
post May 14 2008, 01:22
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QUOTE (Metanoia @ May 13 2008, 04:49) *
They use a CD master to produce a LP these days, so it's useless.
(Just search on video's about how they press LP's)


is that entirely accurate though? I know someone posted REM's "Accelerate" WAV from the LP vs the CD, and the LP had more dynamic range....
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Axon
post May 14 2008, 01:41
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As a format, vinyl has provably less dynamic range than CD - it's noisier by a substantial margin. But in terms of how it's used, many producers/engineers choose to master the LP release with more dynamic range. But note that I say "many" and not "all" or even "most". For every REM LP that had an improved mastering there's a Foo Fighters or Decembrists LP that is mastered exactly the same.

Where did you see the plots for the Accelerate LP?


QUOTE (Roseval @ May 13 2008, 12:30) *

That paper has a lot of problems with it. Do a search for more information.
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mattdm11
post May 14 2008, 03:48
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QUOTE (Axon @ May 13 2008, 18:41) *
As a format, vinyl has provably less dynamic range than CD - it's noisier by a substantial margin. But in terms of how it's used, many producers/engineers choose to master the LP release with more dynamic range. But note that I say "many" and not "all" or even "most". For every REM LP that had an improved mastering there's a Foo Fighters or Decembrists LP that is mastered exactly the same.

Where did you see the plots for the Accelerate LP?


QUOTE (Roseval @ May 13 2008, 12:30) *

That paper has a lot of problems with it. Do a search for more information.


Really....I just assumed most albums on LP were mastered differently, especially Foo Fighters albums (since from what I've read, if the LP was mastered like the CD, the needle would physically jump off the vinyl).

And here's the link for Accelerate....177 is a good post to look at.

http://www.murmurs.com/forum/showthread.ph...ess&page=18

Like I just said, I figured all vinyl albums were like this - better dynamic range. Not a ton better, but you can clearly see a difference in Accelerate.
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Axon
post May 14 2008, 04:52
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Large scale waveform plots like that are not easy to interpret. That plot specifically is poorly done because the vertical scaling for the LP and CD are different.

First of all, I'm not totally convinced those transients in the needledrop of Man Sized Wreath aren't merely distortion-related. I'd have to listen to the clips to be sure, but there are certainly distortions present on vinyl that could artificially exaggerate the dynamic range, beyond what actually exists in the source material. Beyond that, the CD version is obviously more limited, but it's certainly not a brickwall limit - it's actually pretty conservative. It could be possible that a limiter was merely tweaked a bit for the LP. That's a mastering difference, but could easily be inaudible!

A more accurate comparison would probably rely on a ReplayGain comparison, or a very detailed look at clipping samples in the two versions, or a more elaborate dynamic range comparison. So touching back on what I said before, it's a lot more informative and accurate to just hunt down the mastering engineer and figure out exactly what he did, and use that to judge your purchase, than to analyze the needledrops. For instance, when Steve Hoffman remastered Tres Hombres recently, he mentioned that all the previous masters used something like a 3:1 compression on the drum tracks, and he used 1.5:1. That is a pretty significant difference, and it's about as good of a justification as you will ever find to buy the vinyl version of an album like that.

The whole "you need to master differently for LP because otherwise it will jump out of the groove" is sort of a red herring. Yes, it is possible to cut a record that will do that. But there are a ton of different ways to avoid that while still using a hypercompressed source. The most obvious solution is to reduce the cutting level, generating a quieter record. Also, acceleration limiters exist for cutters that take care of this too (though their main purpose is different). Or eq the high frequencies down.

Take a look at this thread, where the cutting engineer for the Foo Fighters' "In Your Honor" admits that he used the CD masters for the vinyl pressing, mainly because they were the only things he was given:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/1706712-post20.html

As far as the Decembrists are concerned, I've measured the dynamic range of The Crane Wife in CD and LP versions, and I've looked at the waveforms, and there is just not a whole lot of difference between them.

This post has been edited by Axon: May 14 2008, 04:59
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tgoose
post May 14 2008, 08:31
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QUOTE (Metanoia @ May 13 2008, 10:49) *
They use a CD master to produce a LP these days, so it's useless.
(Just search on video's about how they press LP's)


Not always. I've sent out masters for vinyl that were different (in fact, usually 24 bit) to the CD masters.
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