Vinyl vs digital test

Vinyl Discussion
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Vinyl vs digital test

Post by robotczar » Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:30 pm

I know that many vinyl fans are true believers and there really is no way to "convince" them that vinyl is not superior to digital distribution media (note that many LPs are made from digital recordings and so it is not just a digital vs analog issue).

But, for those willing to have a discussion or who are not part of the faithful, let me make a suggestion.

Talk of a warmer sound and increased 3D effect are true. But, they are additions, not accurate reproductions. The limitations of vinyl reproduction add artifacts that some people like. No harm in that. The harm comes in claiming it is somehow superior in terms of being more accurate. All the measurements say it is not more accurate. But, if you don't trust numbers, I have a suggestion for a more subjective test. Take your favorite LP and record it to CD-R. See if you can tell the difference (level-matched and blinded of course). I suggest that the CD-R recording will capture all the warmth and dimensionality created by the vinyl medium.

I really am not trying to spoil anyone's fun. I just want clarity about what is going on (i.e. truth). It can't hurt to try this if you are having your doubts about vinyl superiority or have an open mind on the topic. And, if you cannot tell the difference, you can enjoy your vinyl sound without partially destroying it each time you play it back

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Re: Vinyl vs digital test

Post by donwass65 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:01 pm

I haven't recorded any vinyl to digital yet but I have listened to the same albums on both cd and vinyl. In many instances the vinyl sounds better, minus the cracks and pops of course. Analog seems to convey the actual recording space better. A good example is to listen to the same recording through a transistor system and then listen to it through tubes. The tubes restore the ambience in spades for some reason. I've read that when a vinyl record is played the stylus actually melts a microscopic layer of the vinyl as it is being drug across the surface. I theorize that this is what gives vinyl that liquidy "hot wax" sound. Of course, the vinyl instantly cools and hardens back up once the stylus passes. That being said I believe good sound is mostly a resolution phenomenon. Analog of course having seemingly infinite resolution. I am holding out for blu-ray sound which they claim will be able to reproduce an actual bit for bit copy of the studio tapes. That would be awesome!

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Re: Vinyl vs digital test

Post by Jag_97470 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:03 pm

In my vinyl versus cd toss test (similar to Frisbee) I must admit the vinyl went the longest distance.

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Re: Vinyl vs digital test

Post by stereo_buff » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Robot, your suggestion is very interesting, but to me, here is the real test: First copy an LP to CD-R, then compare the CD-R made from the LP to the released CD of the same album. Many claim that the CD-R made from the LP is superior to the released CD.

As far as artifacts go, ever look at the output of a CD player (even very expensive, "good" ones) on a real time analyzer? You'll see all kinds of artifacts that are a byproduct of the D/A converter (if not from the glass master used in creating the disc) during playback. No, CDs have their faults as well.

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