Vinyl Rippers: How has 30 years of CD listening affected how we hear our vinyl?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Ben Adams, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Yes, we all say we love our vinyl.

    But we bitch about the quality of our cartridges, our styli, our turntables . . . and we keep searching for that elusive next upgrade which will bring us closer to how we imagine the record should sound.

    Something I never noticed about LPs in the old days is the treble rolloff toward the end of a side. And of course that treble rolloff doesn't exist on a CD.

    Have decades of brightly mastered CDs confused us, causing our LP playback to never quite sound right?

    Right now I'm listening to Be Bop Deluxe's Modern Music on an original US Harvest pressing, and it sounds magnificent . . . tons of body, just enough high end, just really rich. But if I compare this against the CD, it suddenly doesn't sound bright enough.

    Is that the reason for the popularity of the AT440mla? Do bright cartridges/styli compensate for something we've learned to expect from CDs?

    I'm scratching my head here. I'm certain that there's a psychological effect messing with us when we do our rips.

    (And for God's sake, we all need to quit comparing ourselves against pbthal. Hell, he goes through the same upgrade mania we do . . . it's just that his carts alone tend to cost the same as three of my turntable! Oh to have such problems. Bless ya, man.)
  2. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    My next elusive upgrade will most likely be a Jico stylus for my Shure 97.

    I've always noticed the problems with IGD and other analog 'joys' with LPs. I suspect you're right about the AT440mla, it's the kind of bright one is more likely to encounter from a CD than with a LP.
  3. Sid Hartha

    Sid Hartha Old As Dirt

    Location:
    Illinois, USA
    I don't think there's any psychological effect going on, other than the simple fact that PCM 44.1 digital is really good at reproducing the highest audible octave - the vinyl LP, not so much...

    Both formats have their respective strengths and weaknesses.
  4. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Not having that issue...
  5. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Me too. There's an entire other thread on it, that was fun reading. :)
  6. Coldacre

    Coldacre Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne
    I dont know if it's my ears but I don't hear this "treble roll off" at the end of sides.

    30 years of cd hasn't really changed anything for me because I never stopped listening to vinyl
  7. deckeda

    deckeda Member

    I'm not able to completely disconnect the sound quality I hear of records I play (from relatively very modest equipment, by the way) from the enjoyment of owning, playing them and searching for them.

    I suspect that people who sour on vinyl's necessary regimen are more quick to sour on whatever sound quality problems are present. It's a natural outcome.
  8. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    A good record cleaning machine really eliminates most if not all of the issues surrounding vinyl...

    And a bit of care in table setup takes care of the rest. It's really not all that bad.
  9. william shears

    william shears Active Member

    Location:
    new zealand
    How did 30 years of LP listening affect how we listened to CDs? I never stopped doing the former, all these modes, vinyl, CDs, ipod, tape, happened in parallel for me. I still listen to all the above. If I kept stopping to compare and obsess I would have lost valuable music-listening time, which, after all, is the most important time of all!:)
  10. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    OK fellas, I'm specifically asking how this affects vinyl rippers who go nuts looking for the "perfect sound," but may be mistakenly using CDs as their baseline.
  11. Sid Hartha

    Sid Hartha Old As Dirt

    Location:
    Illinois, USA
    Well... that's not me, I guess. Vinyl already has the 'perfect sound'.

    I rip vinyl because the sound of commercial CDs drives me nuts, not the other way 'round.
  12. Coldacre

    Coldacre Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne
    the only 'cd element' I try to emulate with my vinyl rips is the lack of pops & ticks, which is easily done with ClickRepair.
  13. deckeda

    deckeda Member

    The only thing a bright recording is sure to do is grab your attention, not hold it. So if you were raised on shrill or bright sound I'd wager you'd still prefer a balanced sound when presented with it. Dunno if that answers the question.
  14. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident

    Not at all. CDs helped me appreciate vinyl much more. Kind of like going back to that ex girlfriend I should have kept.
  15. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd


    Hi Ben (and a fellow Arizonan),

    As I stated on another thread last week, or so, my first CD player was very bright, and it confused me on how I thought CDs and my vinyl were supposed to sound. Since I thought CDs were supposed to sound like the master tape, I thought master tapes were brighter! I even bought an equalizer to "fix" what I thought was wrong with my vinyl, and ruined a lot of homemade cassettes because of it. It wasn't until I changed my stereo gear that I realized that the CDs weren't always that bright, and that my LPs were just fine. And, now that Steve and Kevin Gray has been doing more titles of stuff I have on original vinyl, and revealing what the mastering guys of those first CDs were doing, jacking up the treble, males me realize that a lot of those CDs were bad too. Sometimes it's hard to listen to something like Audio Fidelity's Heart's Greatest Hits CD because the highs are so subdued. But, they likely reflect more of how those tapes really sound. When I switch to the regular CDs and vinyl records, I hear the brighter sound, yet now the sound is also thinner, lacking any real weight.

    But, from all I can gather, and in my experience, all things being equal, the CD and vinyl counterpart should sound about the same in tonality.

    So, yeah, I think digital, or being accustomed to CDs do contribute to the popularity of the Audio Technica 440mla cartridge at the typical 47 khoms loading. But, I personally look for sound closer to the truth the majority of the time.

    BTW, I always noticed the treble rolloff or compression toward the end of the side of a record. That is why I love Shibata-style styli. They cut through and give you more of the sound that's there. The styli is smaller and can track the smaller groove walls.
  16. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    To me, this seems like an ideal low-cost upgrade. I just hope the sound is in the same league as my AT 150mlx. If not, i'll just have to look for something else.

    I'd love to see some measurements on the Jico SAS upgrade on the Shurse cart!
  17. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    I don't think there is anything wrong with using a CD as the reference, as long as one is cognizant of how the music on that CD may have been interpreted by the mastering engineer. It's always good if the person doing the rip is knowledgeable of the sound of the album on as many formats as possible, and knows as much as possible about how the various versions were mastered, and has some feeling as to how the music should sound, give factors such as where it was recorded, by whom, and when.
  18. tubesandvinyl

    tubesandvinyl Forum Resident

    :edthumbs::cheers:
  19. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident

    Grant, this is a frequency analysis of pink noise (not white noise) I recorded off my test record.

    Attached Files:

  20. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Well now I'm really confused. If you thought the cd was some kind of reference for "perfect sound" why would you bother to make a needledrop? :confused:
  21. deckeda

    deckeda Member

    You said it better than I did.

    At first, CDs introduced to me good sound with convenience. Over time I cared less about the sound and eventually, less about the music. Today I've gone back to spending more time with music and sound goals, and so to records.

    I know I can improve my analog setup to a point that doesn't just match CDs but easily surpasses it in most cases. I know this because I've experienced it through my own simple setup as well as with online shared rips, the latter of which has directly caused me to buy more music, both new and old, in order to get my own copy.

    I'm basically the kind of guy the RIAA says doesn't exist: someone who buys more music as a result of downloading illegally shared files first. Not just to get my own copies, but to go back and take a chance of stuff I haven't heard.

    That's math they don't understand; a metric they can't track or don't wish to.
  22. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    Thanks, Pete. But, although fairly flat, that 10db drop over the spectrum from 500Hz does bother me a bit.
  23. Thurenity

    Thurenity Listening to some tunes

    I've always liked bright - it was definitely before CD's. I had the smiley face setup in my EQ the first time I had an EQ to mess with. :)

    And yes I do love my AT440Mla.


    Imo, the 440 is actually brighter than a comparable CD. My MP-110 is closer in sound to the CD, imho.
  24. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    I always considered jacking up the bass and treble something that the typical teenager, and non-audiophile does.
  25. Thurenity

    Thurenity Listening to some tunes

    Never said I was an audiophile.

    I still do the smiley face, but not quite as severe as when I was younger - more of a slight smile with a little droop in one area. Hey, it's the sound I like so that's how it is. I have found that the better the gear, the less severe the EQ is for me to enjoy the sound.