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Modern Vinyl "Masters" vs. CD--My Experience, It Really IS About the Music
Engelsstaub
post Dec 5 2012, 18:59
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Due to some recent past experiences in other threads wherein some members (who plainly state their honest dislike of vinyl) claim that modern LPs are just as dynamically clipped as their CD-counterparts, I'd like to take an opportunity to illustrate that this is IME not the case. I've heard it stated more than once that "vinyl is not about the music..it's about the ritual.) This is seemingly just plain-old lazy bias. It can easily be forgiven in that these posters make it pretty obvious that they don't purchase vinyl, let alone compare modern releases to their CD-counterparts.

Here are screenshots from needledrops I've done of some of my favorite recent records. All but one were released in the past two years. Warrel Dane's "Praises to the War Machine" was released in 2008. (As a fun side-note, the vinyl LP came with the CD and was limited to 1,000 copies worldwide.)

I would like to note that I did not cherry-pick these examples. I only have about three more needledrops that I also have a CD copy or iTunes Matched version of. I can upload those as well. It should also be noted that all of these examples are on the heavier-side of the metal genre and probably are far more dense in sound than most other examples from other genres.

I've brought each vinyl recording up to 0.1 under 0 dB for easier comparison. None of the peaks are "pops" or any artifacts associated with the LP medium. Only one had a "pop" that hit the ceiling and I corrected it before applying gain.


Borknagar - "The Earthling" from "Urd" (2012)

LP



iTunes Matched AAC




In Flames - "Ropes" from "Sounds of a Playground Fading" (2011)

LP



CD



(This album is an egregious example of how bad they can make a modern CD sound through destructive normalization.)


Saint Vitus - "Let Them Fall" from "Lillie: F-65" (2012)

LP



CD



(Yes, really. It sounds worse than it looks IME.)


Warrel Dane - "Brother" from "Praises to the War Machine" (2008)

LP



CD




Septicflesh - "Oceans of Grey" from "The Great Mass" (2011)

LP



CD




[continued in next post due to apparent image constraints]


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Engelsstaub
post Dec 6 2012, 17:48
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QUOTE (hlloyge @ Dec 6 2012, 02:25) *
I've replaygained Ropes sample and played them back with track gain adjustment, so they are at same volume.
You can say whatever you want, but these samples DO sound different - the LP one is clearer, and the CD one is muddier...


I greatly value your input. I'm glad to see respondents to this topic are taking this in the right spirit. I feared the reaction would largely be...well...reactionary smile.gif

QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 6 2012, 04:28) *
...
You really should follow the two links that krabapple posted...
...
However, when zoomed in, and listened to, your results are different. In Dirty Window of Opportunity, at 0:27.924 in the AAC version the kick drum clips, whereas it does not appear to clip in the LP version (found at 0:27.811). The sound of the two versions becomes much closer if you match the volume (drop the CD version by 8.47dB) and match the EQ (between flat and -2dB at 100Hz, raising to 0dB around 3kHz, 2-3dB up by 10kHz; gentle slope throughout) - but the CD still has a slightly more compressed sound. I think it may have better stereo separation though...
...
It seems your turntable set-up boosts the treble by 2-3dB. It's quite common for cartridges to add a little "smiley face" EQ, though yours doesn't seem to help the bass. All other things being equal, if you like this EQ, you'll prefer vinyl over CD every time on your set up...


Many thanks for your time and input, David. I'm now aware that my little pictures are somewhat inadequate in conveying the existence of the sort of problems I'm talking about. I'm hoping we're all learning even just a little here. I know I've learned a lot thus far. smile.gif

I'm going to be completely honest and concede that I've never tried to match the two quite as meticulously as you have. ...so there's that smile.gif In my experience, and the way I've compared (namely just listening to the two on the same stereo at about the same volume) I almost always favor the vinyl "masters" by a significant margin. I don't believe this is personal bias because I actually really want the CDs/AACs to sound better. It's less of a pain in my ass that way biggrin.gif

Regarding my TT: I guess I do prefer just slightly more treble than what any given recording really has by default. I usually leave it alone either way whether listening to vinyl or digital. FWIW I'm listening to my iPod plugged into my receiver right now and the treble seems very agreeable to me. I've no intention of hunting down the vinyl version of what I'm currently listening to--a 2012 release...it sounds perfectly adequate and I'm enjoying the music and not thinking about how much better it could have been produced.

There's a point IMO when people, regardless of medium-preference, start becoming so overly-analytical that they actually appear to not even want to try to enjoy the music. (This isn't directed at you....it's just a closing observation. Nobody in this thread has come across this way to me. I enjoy your posts and find them enlightening.)


QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Dec 6 2012, 06:33) *
While I agree it is likely worthwhile to get into vinyl seeing those waveforms, this more shows that the current (and future?) generation of (label-employed) mastering engineers is batshit retarded, more than vinyl is a superior medium...


I couldn't agree more. I would never argue that vinyl is a superior medium to digital. I feel it can be more than adequate, but I prefer digital when all things are seemingly equal to me. I think we may be able to all agree that modern pop, rock, and metal "masterings" suck and that they only seem to suck a little less at least on some of these vinyl examples I've provided. As before, I don't really believe that the word "mastering" is adequate for description or that it's terribly different between the CD and the vinyl. I believe we're really hearing a "normalization" that would be best left up to the consumer. The problem is that the public by and large gives less than two-thirds of a crap. Their iTunes software provides Soundcheck for them but they'd rather have their digital music spoon-fed too them at "acceptable" levels for their cell phones.


QUOTE (rgtb @ Dec 6 2012, 06:58) *
QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Dec 6 2012, 13:33) *
Are win margins larger with vinyl, somehow? I always assumed CD technology was a win-win for both customers and producers, maybe I'm wrong?

I don't think the profit margins for vinyl are higher. Afaik, nowadays, the majority of vinyl presses result in a loss but I'm not entirely sure. Even if vinyl was vastly more profitable than CDs, it would still be a tiny market. For example, look at the sales figures for 2011 for the home country of both of us, Germany. Revenues from vinyl were EUR 14 mil (based on 0.7 mil units sold), while revenues from CD were EUR 1.1 bil (based on 97 mil units sold). So in 2011, the market for CDs was about 80 times as large as the market for vinyl.


From personal observation it seems that vinyl is produced in higher numbers for the UK/EU market. I think the sales may be even less for the North American or Australian market, for example.

Edit for grammar.

This post has been edited by Engelsstaub: Dec 6 2012, 17:59


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Posts in this topic
- Engelsstaub   Modern Vinyl "Masters" vs. CD--My Experience   Dec 5 2012, 18:59
- - Engelsstaub   Dimmu Borgir - "Born Treacherous" from ...   Dec 5 2012, 19:00
|- - Nessuno   Never actually made measurement of the sort, but m...   Dec 5 2012, 19:24
|- - StephenPG   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 5 2012, 20:24) Never...   Dec 5 2012, 22:14
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (StephenPG @ Dec 5 2012, 16:14) QUO...   Dec 5 2012, 23:24
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (krabapple @ Dec 5 2012, 23:24) QUO...   Dec 6 2012, 10:26
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 6 2012, 04:26) Yes, ...   Dec 7 2012, 17:42
|- - Nessuno   QUOTE (krabapple @ Dec 7 2012, 17:42) Why...   Dec 8 2012, 10:46
- - Engelsstaub   Probably not I think people who produce classical...   Dec 5 2012, 19:29
|- - Porcus   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 19:29) I...   Dec 5 2012, 20:05
|- - rgtb   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 19:29) M...   Dec 5 2012, 20:25
- - [JAZ]   @Engelsstaub: While I agree that probably more car...   Dec 5 2012, 20:08
- - Engelsstaub   @ Porcus: I'm going to try to get a few sample...   Dec 5 2012, 20:22
- - Engelsstaub   I think it should be a bit more clear that we...   Dec 5 2012, 20:59
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 19:59) I...   Dec 6 2012, 11:28
- - almostmitch   I like what I see especially after just taking th...   Dec 5 2012, 21:32
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (almostmitch @ Dec 5 2012, 14:32) I...   Dec 5 2012, 21:41
- - [JAZ]   I'll wait for the samples, to see what I can g...   Dec 5 2012, 21:45
- - Triza   I left the rock scene primarily because of bad mas...   Dec 5 2012, 21:50
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Triza @ Dec 5 2012, 14:50) I left ...   Dec 5 2012, 21:59
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 15:59) A...   Dec 5 2012, 22:22
- - [JAZ]   Mmm... after a few tests, I cannot get what I want...   Dec 5 2012, 22:56
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE ([JAZ] @ Dec 5 2012, 15:56)...   Dec 6 2012, 00:46
- - krabapple   You can't turned a hard limited (as in a limit...   Dec 5 2012, 23:13
- - krabapple   And please, before you conclude that vinyl 'so...   Dec 5 2012, 23:27
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (krabapple @ Dec 5 2012, 16:27) And...   Dec 6 2012, 00:41
- - mjb2006   Can you upload a clip of one of the AAC files and ...   Dec 6 2012, 01:57
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Dec 5 2012, 18:57) Can y...   Dec 6 2012, 02:27
|- - mjb2006   No, I mean, start with the AAC file and "appl...   Dec 6 2012, 02:44
- - extrabigmehdi   Well, just by looking at the graphs I wouldn...   Dec 6 2012, 03:56
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 5 2012, 20:56)...   Dec 6 2012, 04:04
|- - extrabigmehdi   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 6 2012, 03:04) D...   Dec 6 2012, 04:43
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Dec 5 2012, 21:43)...   Dec 6 2012, 06:35
- - Engelsstaub   I've no software on the Macintosh platform tha...   Dec 6 2012, 03:56
- - hlloyge   I've replaygained Ropes sample and played them...   Dec 6 2012, 09:25
- - [JAZ]   QUOTE (krabapple @ Dec 5 2012, 23:13) You...   Dec 6 2012, 12:06
- - Kohlrabi   While I agree it is likely worthwhile to get into ...   Dec 6 2012, 13:33
|- - rgtb   QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Dec 6 2012, 13:33) Are ...   Dec 6 2012, 13:58
||- - Nessuno   QUOTE (rgtb @ Dec 6 2012, 13:58) I don...   Dec 6 2012, 15:46
|- - DVDdoug   Most of my CDs don't "look" that bad...   Dec 6 2012, 20:36
- - almostmitch   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 5 2012, 18:41) @...   Dec 6 2012, 15:46
- - 2Bdecided   I've checked out "the earthling". Th...   Dec 6 2012, 17:45
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (hlloyge @ Dec 6 2012, 02:25) I...   Dec 6 2012, 17:48
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 6 2012, 03:26) ... G...   Dec 6 2012, 17:56
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 6 2012, 13:36) ...I...   Dec 6 2012, 20:56
- - mjb2006   Assuming the QuickTime trim function doesn't t...   Dec 7 2012, 11:20
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Dec 7 2012, 10:20) I wou...   Dec 10 2012, 14:00
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Dec 7 2012, 04:20) Assum...   Dec 7 2012, 16:31
- - mixminus1   My thoughts exactly. I'd be very surprised if...   Dec 7 2012, 19:20
- - mjb2006   I'm wondering if we should change the vinyl my...   Dec 7 2012, 22:07
- - greynol   OT regarding the wiki: I would strive to make the ...   Dec 7 2012, 22:44
|- - dhromed   In light of this thread, I de-sweep my earlier swe...   Dec 8 2012, 13:20
- - Engelsstaub   Agreed. My personal vote (assuming I even have one...   Dec 7 2012, 23:49
- - RonaldDumsfeld   Impressive and thought provoking thread. Thanks E...   Dec 8 2012, 01:47
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Dec 7 2012, 18:47...   Dec 8 2012, 17:12
|- - GeSomeone   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 8 2012, 17:12) I...   Dec 10 2012, 22:03
- - Engelsstaub   I had to go back nearly ten years (in pressing dat...   Dec 10 2012, 18:30
|- - Blueshirt   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Dec 10 2012, 18:30) ...   Dec 10 2012, 20:39
- - Gecko   I just had a quick listen to the "Heathen Thr...   Dec 10 2012, 20:11
- - greynol   BTW, just because a straight line in a waveform mi...   Dec 10 2012, 20:20
|- - WernerO   QUOTE (greynol @ Dec 10 2012, 21:20) BTW,...   Dec 11 2012, 09:04
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Gecko @ Dec 10 2012, 13:11) I just...   Dec 10 2012, 21:25
- - Engelsstaub   Well that's disappointing to hear. I'm gl...   Dec 10 2012, 23:20
- - Engelsstaub   I'm bumping in the interest of continued relev...   Jan 4 2013, 19:08
- - gnypp45   I haven't read this thread in detail, but I wo...   Jan 4 2013, 22:35
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Indeed the crest factor of the allpass filte...   Jan 4 2013, 23:04
- - Engelsstaub   I'm not even sure what proof we still require ...   Jan 5 2013, 00:37
|- - rgtb   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 5 2013, 00:37) I...   Jan 5 2013, 09:39
||- - Nessuno   QUOTE (rgtb @ Jan 5 2013, 09:39) given vi...   Jan 5 2013, 10:51
||- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (rgtb @ Jan 5 2013, 02:39) ... give...   Jan 5 2013, 12:01
|- - Kohlrabi   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 5 2013, 00:37) I...   Jan 5 2013, 09:47
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Jan 5 2013, 02:47) ...I...   Jan 5 2013, 12:10
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE So I guess my question now is this: is the T...   Jan 5 2013, 01:34
- - hlloyge   I think that there is one mastering proces where t...   Jan 5 2013, 16:02
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (hlloyge @ Jan 5 2013, 09:02) I thi...   Jan 5 2013, 17:02
|- - GeSomeone   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 5 2013, 17:02) [...   Jan 5 2013, 18:46
- - Engelsstaub   Yes, I don't doubt that that is quite possibly...   Jan 6 2013, 17:47
- - 2Bdecided   I don't have anything recent on both vinyl and...   Jan 7 2013, 15:46
- - Engelsstaub   Sounds like a good idea, David. I can easily figur...   Jan 7 2013, 18:21
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 7 2013, 18:21) D...   Jan 7 2013, 21:00
- - Engelsstaub   Thanks, Kees de Visser. Apparently iZotope RX2 do...   Jan 7 2013, 21:55
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Does anyone know of a suitable all-pass filt...   Jan 7 2013, 23:02
- - Engelsstaub   Here is the DR value analysis of the CD (FLAC rip)...   Jan 9 2013, 00:02
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 8 2013, 15:02) D...   Jan 9 2013, 01:41
- - Engelsstaub   I'm struggling to believe that the LP, even t...   Jan 9 2013, 03:23
|- - 2Bdecided   Thank you for posting those results Engelsstaub. ...   Jan 9 2013, 11:07
- - greynol   Beats not knowing that such an effect exists.   Jan 9 2013, 04:16
- - Engelsstaub   Ah, ok. Thanks for the clarification. I know some...   Jan 9 2013, 16:33
- - Kohlrabi   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ Jan 9 2013, 16:33) ....   Jan 9 2013, 16:58
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Jan 9 2013, 09:58) If y...   Jan 10 2013, 00:12
- - greynol   Remove the b.   Jan 10 2013, 00:16
- - Engelsstaub   Even better I think I'm going to give this...   Jan 10 2013, 00:31
- - 2Bdecided   Actually, I think it would be wonderful to have a ...   Jan 10 2013, 16:13
- - Engelsstaub   I'll try to do my part in the near future. May...   Jan 10 2013, 17:16
- - greynol   I want to revisit this discussion because I just p...   Jan 28 2013, 22:29
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (greynol @ Jan 28 2013, 15:29) ...i...   Jan 28 2013, 23:42
- - greynol   Just the last one. Again this is solely based on ...   Jan 28 2013, 23:50
- - 2Bdecided   This looks like one for the list of vinyl that bea...   Jan 29 2013, 12:03
- - Kohlrabi   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jan 29 2013, 12:03) Th...   Jan 29 2013, 16:41
- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Kohlrabi @ Jan 29 2013, 09:41) ......   Jan 29 2013, 23:35
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