Why so much variation on how LPs sound?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by 12" 45rpm, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    I have started creating mix tapes of my ~300 LP collection. I listen to the tapes at the office and also play them around the house when I need background music. I am making the mix tapes on my 3-head JVC v662.

    I notice that good sounding LPs obviously create good sounding tapes. But many of my LP's do not sound good! I would say only 10-20% of my LPs have true audiophile sound. The rest are ok, but definitely lack highs and treble. This becomes more noticeable in the mix tape.

    So I guess my question is why do LP's have such huge variation in sound quality? I know there are a hundred variables that go into making a LP. What are the most common reasons only few sound audiophile grade?

    I know folks are going to question my LP setup or tape deck. I am fairly sure I have no issue there. The problem IMO is in the LP source.. I could have 100k turntable and top of the line Nakamchi and will still create crap sounding tapes from crap sounding LPs.

    For the record I have a Marantz TT-15s1 with Grado gold with 8mz stylus. My JVS cassette deck is calibrated and has no issues. I hear almost no difference when I switch between monitor and source during recording.
     
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  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    "Highs" and "treble" are synonymous terms. Tape inherently isn't a bright-sounding medium, in my experience. No idea why you're putting them to tape. Sounds like a tremendous amount of trouble to me.

    Pressing quality varies greatly, as does the mastering. One can get into a looooong discussion about those two factors alone! If either of these two isn't the greatest, it'll show.

    And then, some albums are just poorly recorded. No amount of great pressing quality or mastering will radically change how Layla sounds, for instance. It'll still be muddy, clogged, whatever terms you wish to attach to it. The drums will still sound like cardboard, etc.
     
  3. doak

    doak Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Short version
    Variations in:
    1. Recording/engineering
    2. Mastering
    3. Pressing
     
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  4. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    I am trying to stick with the AAA theme, so only want to listen to music without 1s and 0s.. Like I said, great LPs create great tapes. . So tape is not the problem. The problem is the LP source...
     
  5. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    Regarding recording, I can tell most LP's are mixed down from expensive multi-track decks. So I suppose mastering is where a lot of the highs/treble gets cutoff? How does pressing affect the treble?
     
  6. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    We are on full agreement that Layla is poor sounding!
     
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  7. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I'm assuming you're using your Onkyo AVR to amplify your cart's signal. If so, I doubt it's a signal path devoid of any digital manipulation. I could be wrong, though.
     
  8. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  10. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Same can be said of CDs or any media.

    I've got some stellar sounding CDs and others that seem to be an incantation for evil gnomes to appear and begin to hammer at my ears with ice picks.
     
  11. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    To each is own but why? Needle drops sound so much better. I would bet that 100 out of 100 unbiased blind listeners would prefer a good needle drop mixed down to MP3 over a cassette tape.

    There is so much you can do to improve how a thin sounding LP sounds not to mention removing all the surface noise from older records that alone will get 98 out of the 100 votes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  12. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    Because cassette captures the magic of AAA. Once you digitize, it becomes "digital" sounding, which I do not prefer.
     
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  13. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    1.5. Mixing (maybe already referred under "engineering"?)
     
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  14. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Like I said to each his own, maybe you never heard a good needle drop. Something like this will get you started https://www.guitarcenter.com/Tascam/DR-05-Solid-State-Recorder.gc give it a try you can return it.
     
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  15. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    Sweet VA.
    Really depends on what cuts you are referring to if speaking of vintage vinyl, especially US vinyl as they pressed so many with wide variations in sonics on most.
    Has the OP tried different prssings of albums he was not happy with, or assumed they are all the same?
     
  16. luckybaer

    luckybaer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
     
  17. luckybaer

    luckybaer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
    Are two-channel stereo receiver/amplifiers considered AVRs?
     
  18. luckybaer

    luckybaer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
    I disagree. My ADC captures vinyl beautifully in 24/96 FLAC files. To each his/her own, though.
     
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  19. doak

    doak Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans
    Yes - recording/mixing, done by recording engineer
    Though Mr. Hoffman is the authority on that subject.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  20. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    No. Cuz there ain't no "V"ideo in dedicated audio gear.
     
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  21. luckybaer

    luckybaer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Missouri
    I didn't think so, but on a couple occasions, a poster had one of Onkyo's 2-channel receiver/amplifiers (like the OP's TX-8020 or my own TX-8555), and a member labeled them "AVR" - almost derisively, too, I might add.
     
  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Back in the late 70's to early 80's, I used to make a lot of nice recordings on cassette for my car, most of which sounded good and I had a decent car stereo system at the time.

    I understand that a lot of analog recordings made to digital really don't sound good, but I have made some, with crude equipment back around seven years ago that sounded pretty natural.

    I'm with you when it comes to records, I would go with that 20% factor with really excellent sounding records. It's not that the others are so terrible that you can't listen to them. But I agree that a lot of them were just so-so.

    I really think that the recordings were only intended to be played back on average stereo systems back then, which, when you think about it, make perfectly good sense. As, such the highs were not that important neither were the lows,, generally speaking. Because we do have some extraordinary recordings, we know that the medium is capable of producing good sound and good recordings.

    I admit, that I wasn't a fan of digital, but I was not head over heels for analog either.

    My outlook today is different than it was some years back. Today I feel that either analog or digital both have the capability to sound good and the problem are in the recordings themselves and not the fault of either being either in the digital or the analog domain. That being said, the right gear is important as well.
     
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  23. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    I'll go one further than that up until the late 60s I believe much of the pop music was mastered to sound good on AM radio where it was most played. Doing needle drops you can carefully EQ and other processes that can give it new life. You can get lots of help here http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/post-your-needledrops-part-8.401997/

    Slick Willy also made a important point that there may be a better pressing. You will see the rare ones get expensive. I like reissues but I suspect you would not.
     
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  24. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Years ago, someone who had a warehouse next to a friend of mine was going to pitch a couple of boxes of albums that her had sitting around in the warehouse for years, so my friend brought them over and gifted them to me, where they sat taking up space in my place.

    I started back into audio after being absent for many years. I started back with streaming content and I bought a decent but entry level table and started doing needle drops, so that I could have access to those records. It got old really fast.

    Since then, I have gotten nice turntables and a decent CD player. I don't have the need for needle drops that I once thought I did.

    If I want to play a record, I just play it. Most of my records are now available on CD or streaming, so I'm fine with that.

    But, on the reissues, you suspect wrong. I do occasionally purchase them for favorite records of mine. I have been completely satisfied with all of the reissues that I have purchased so far, though there are not really that many.

    Now that I have a really nice vinyl playback chain which is all tube based, I find that these reissues really sound excellent.

    I think that digital has come a long way and done right is can sound excellent, just as good as analog. I really used to have an intense dislike for it, but now, I am no longer a digital vs. analog type of guy any more. I just try to play what ever sounds better.

    But, I do thank you for your efforts and consideration and bringing this to my attention.
     
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  25. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    mainly stampers and pressings...my vinyl copy can sound better than your...that's why I love CD we're all hearing the same digital info....unless of course one has a different mastering. Clones...
     
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