I want to love vinyl, but...

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Noel Patterson, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    Probably misses a lot of CD sales as well. Used sales again apply but average prices much lower. Since vinyl prices keep rising and CD prices are lower though not dropping any further it is hardly that surprising that revenue figures are as they are.
  2. slop101

    slop101 Guitar Geek

    So. Cal.
    You have to kinda love the process of vinyl.
    The whole rigamarole of pulling out the sleeves, being careful of the vinyl, taking care of it (be it putting poly-lined inner sleeves to reduce static/wear, and/or putting outer sleeves to reduce ring-wear, etc), but you're also getting this big piece of art in your hands, that you can appreciate (when it's done right), while listening to what is usually the best representation of the music contained therein. I'll take surface noise from a well-mastered all-analog vinyl over the "perfect" noiseless CD any day of the week - especially since, far more often than not, CDs are brickwalled, and make for difficult listening. I can crank my vinyl way louder than my CDs without any wear and tear to my speakers or even my own ears!
  3. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Used record sales are missed for both formats ... :)

    Digital downloads revenues are going down, comparing first half year:

    2018 - 557 millions
    2019 - 549 millions
    2020 - 539 millions

    In digital formats, only streaming services are growing (that means, poorer artists).

    The black king it's far from dead and a hope for artists.
  4. Ninjur

    Ninjur Forum Resident

    Karlstad, Sweden
    "CD 10,2 million, vinyl 8,8 million."

    End of the year Im guess vinyl are selling more units than CD.
  5. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    I think the "improvements" are to add more sterile and analytical character to the sound.

    The analog sound have a warmer and alive sound that comes justly from the imperfections. When you improve an analog system to high end levels, digital and analog are more and more similar.

    It's not a theorical thing about quality, it's about what your brain likes. We Don't use oscilloscopes to hear ... we use ears and the brain, hearing real sound waves ... not binary streams.
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  6. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    I certainly hope not!
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  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    The article mentions that streaming is now the primary medium and that physical media in general is down quite a bit. Its just that CD's are off by almost half in the first six months of this year.
    CDS AudioFiles likes this.
  8. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    Yeah. I was spinning a lot of LPs tonight, including some old "groovy" Italian soundtrack stuff (I'm a soundtrack fan) and it was so incredibly satisfying. Just the whole thing of owning a cool album, feels great in the hands, I get to interact with my turntable which to me is a gorgeous piece of engineering. There is just something so engaging and wholistic about the whole experience.
    Getting (back) in to vinyl truly re-vitalized my music listening. (And note: I'm not out to make bogus claims that "vinyl is superior" to digital. I get why people love digital, it was my main playback source for decades until recently and of course I still use my digital source. But for some of us, digital just can't provide the overall engaging experience of owning/spinning vinyl).
    Technocentral likes this.
  9. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Exactly the reason why I don’t get those paid streaming services.
    Paying for music without actually getting it - seems like a ripoff to me.
    Classicrock, raye_penber and Lenny99 like this.
  10. The 48% decline is something, although one wonders how the box sets are counted, especially when they include BluRay/DVD and Vinyl (or Records as we used to call them) as well as CDs.

    Perhaps a split between analogue and digital (excluding streaming but including downloads/CD/SACD/DVD-A/BluRay etc) would be of some interest to show what is being collected rather than just listened to.

    Personally, I still have my Record collection, however the last records I bought were in 1984, and it was usually because I didn't want to wait for the later release date of the album on CD (or they were 12 Inch singles). Looking at that collection I am pretty sure (Who's Afraid of) The Art of Noise? was the very last record I bought. That record was superceded in 1985 by the compilation Daft on CD (only) that included the whole Album, plus an EP and single.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  11. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Me too :laugh: ... but experienced people with tts in 5 figures (like sme V) and koetsu cartridges says that when you begin to add more and more precision, analog and digital tends to converge.

    Not that they sound the same, but less different.
  12. Halloween_Jack

    Halloween_Jack Forum Resident

    Hampshire, UK
    Of course they are. That is, if getting accurate playback is the goal, and both formats have been mastered to the same high standards, then of course they’ll sound far more alike than not.

    I think far too many (encouraged over the past 20 years by forum tattle, it has to be said) get hooked on the format, not the fact the format is a means to an end, a ‘carrier’ for the good (or bad) mastering.
  13. jaddie

    jaddie Forum Resident

    DeKalb, IL
    I felt exactly that way too, resisted the idea on principle. But now my wife says "Alexa, play <whatever she wants>" and it does. She has an iTunes library and knows how to use it, but didn't. The CD library is across the room and she never touched a CD. She's now playing from Amazon Music Plus all day long in her office, and is happy. And we're old people! Just think if what the kids do. It works, it accomplishes the goal of letting the user hear what they want, quickly, easily, and without doing much. Just having a happy wife is worth more than $7/month.

    Another perspective: You pay for a CD or download, you own it. What percentage of the time you own it do you play it? Very, very small mostly. How many tracks on the CD do you ever play? Not all, mostly. Some never. You've just paid for music you don't want. With streaming you don't own anything, but you can play anything you want at any time. So, you actually do pay and get it.

    My only negatives are that I'll still buy the CD or high quality file if it's for me, and it's something where I'll appreciate the best quality. But that's actually not a whole lot of selections. Second, no streaming service has absolutely everything. I've found things Amazon doesn't have that I do. I've found things on YouTube that I can't find anywhere else. Not a big deal, but it's all part of the game.
    Thorny Bob, JakeMcD and Oelewapper like this.
  14. tifoso48

    tifoso48 Forum Resident

    So, I have been back into the vinyl hobby since the beginning of the year when I discovered a treasure trove of LP's that we collected in the 70's

    I am retired and we spend the winters in Florida where I did my first setup adding a Clearaudio Concept/Satsify/Virtuoso to our AVR setup which mainly consists of Bang and Olufsen Speakers/Sub and a Marantz SR 6013. I really liked what I heard, understanding full well that an AV focused set up is a compromise, but one that I shall happily live with.

    I liked it so much that I decided that for our home in DC I was going to do a "full on" set up specifically focused on Vinyl and I really liked what I heard when I auditioned Audionote gear. In short order arrived AN E Signature speakers, AN OTO Phono Se, and after a short interlude with Clearaudio, arrived my final TT an AN TT3/Arm3/IQ3.

    I do not have a specific "listening room", instead I am using our living room, which by they way, nobody ever "lived in" and which now has a new lease on life.

    I am still tweaking and tinkering but I truly am enjoying listening to my vinyl records, although truthfully, some of the old record are really not that great and there is no doubt that a poor record will not sound better using really nice gear.

    However, an excellent record played over great quality gear is tough to beat, especially if you add the enjoyment of handling the Vinyl, taking a look at the cover, reading about the artist and engage in active listening. It is an hour or so every day that I very much look forward to.

    I do not exclude streaming ( I am using Deezer HiFi). Good records are not cheap and streaming gives me the opportunity to listen to music that I have heard about or that has been recommended to make a decision if I love it enough to make the investment into vinyl records and yes, sometimes it is not available on vinyl and I will opt for a well recorded CD.

    There is a thread on the forum which talks about what is spinning on your TT, I have found some excellent recommendations which got translated into vinyl I bought for myself.

    Net, net - vinyl delights many of the senses and I am sure glad I re-discovered them.
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  15. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    In principle and in some practice, I agree.

    All other things being equal, a digital signal is the most accurate version. And insofar as you decrease distortion, make analog more accurate, you will necessarily be approaching the sound of the digital version. I have a good turntable/cartridge, and I have a few LPs and CDs that used the same source, and had very similar mastering for each, such that the LPs sound remarkably similar to the CD version.

    But in practice, in most cases, vinyl tends to sound different. And that even includes many LPs that came from the same digital source as a CD. The mastering is often a bit different for vinyl, and there is enough in the process of getting something down on wax, then back off the grooves using a mechanical system, that it somewhat alters the sound. And many of us find the effect pleasant. I've preferred vinyl versions to CD versions because the vinyl playback alters the sound in a direction I enjoy.

    I think that analysis misses the mark. It's going to come down to what an individual values, and what characteristics brings that individual that value.

    If YOU view a format as only having the means to the end of "allowing me to hear the music signal" then of course you can go on and make your choice based on yet more value judgements of your own, such as "I want a format with the most speed and convenience" and maybe things like "and without taking unnecessary room in my home." So then on your criteria, using a digital streaming service makes for the best choice to achieve your goals.

    But streaming won't satisfy some OTHER people's desires, won't engage them in the same way, as vinyl.

    In my situation: I'd ripped all my CDs and sold them, and added streaming from Tidal, and used my ipad/iphone to control my music server. What I found over time, though, was that I because less engaged in the music. Once I had access to thousands...then millions of songs at the swipe of a finger I found myself surfing music as I did the web. Listening while noting there was something next in line and "I wonder what THIS one sounds like?" Saving to "favorites" songs and albums I rarely went back to, and at such a rate I barely even knew the artists or albums.
    So listening to music took on a restless quality, sort of bringing on "Music ADD" as I call it.

    It was getting back in to vinyl, and buying a great turntable, that completely changed this situation for me. Where, for me, CDs are not desirable physical items, and streaming does not satisfy an itch for physical ownership, LPs I find to be very satisfying physical objects that I want to own, and the whole physicality and aesthetics and concept of LPs and turntables engages me in a way streaming music utterly missed. When a new soundtrack vinyl LP arrives I'm giddy like a little kid. The presentation, especially of new vinyl soundtracks (and other LPs) is often beautiful.
    And I find myself more engaged in listening to the music - once it's on the turntable I always listen to at least the whole side of an album, if not the whole album. It's just made music listening/owning feel like a richer experience. For me.

    So, there are ways in which the medium is the message. What may detract and be a pain in the ass in the music experience for some (e.g vinyl) will for others be the factors that they find more engaging.

    And anyone on this forum cares about the sound of what they are listening to. If one generally speaking prefers the sound of vinyl to digital, that also is a strong reason to prefer vinyl.
  16. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    And people have been complaining, in other threads, of the sound quality of newer vinyl. I haven't bought any, but isn't most newer vinyl recorded digitally? That might account for some of the complaints. Some of the other factors is what the vinyl itself is made out of. Some of us noticed, 30 years ago, that even analogue vinyl sounded slightly different than albums recorded just 10 years earlier. There were articles in The Absolute Sound about vinyl formulations and, after enough records were released by certain people (who set up new record labels), that there was a "sound" to those records, which could have been the equipment used to make them, although it was clearly acknowledged, as far back as the '50s, that the same record coming out of Japan (using the same masters) did not sound the same as an American release or a UK release.
    I haven't bothered to investigate what materials are used to make records nowadays, but given that this was a known phenomenon 60 years ago, I wouldn't be surprised why new vinyl is not as pleasing as older stuff. A friend of mine bought one of Barbra Streisand's first vinyl releases in 2015, and I just keep looking at the record - literally - saying, "this sounds weird to my ears." (My friend didn't like it either, (and his hearing is better than mine)) and I doubt it was simply that it might've been digitally recorded: I'd heard digitally recorded albums in the 90s and they sounded better.
  17. David Fischer

    David Fischer Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    It probably was already stated, but as often in the case, the best mix of many albums and songs are available only on LPs or even 45s. Having some type of analog playback is always a good thing for the music enthusiast favoring sound quality over convenience. Some of the best mixes of songs in the 50s and 60s are in MONO which are often not accessible in digital formats.
  18. Lenny99

    Lenny99 Well-Known Member

    Clarksburg WV

    I’m an old retired guy myself. I have an iTunes account and several lists that I’ve put together while I’m driving. I used to burn or purchased CDs for that job, but I found the iTunes easier to use.

    None the less, in the evening when I rest I put on vinyl. I could Pare My iPhone to my Receiver via Bluetooth, but I’d rather listen to vinyl. I don’t have a concrete reason. I just want to play vinyl.
  19. punkmusick

    punkmusick Formerly 4011021

    You pay to listen to the music, not to own it. I don't see any problem. I pay to listen to live music too, and leave without owning the artist.
  20. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    A lot of it. But it doesn't make a difference to me. There are good and bad analog and digital masters, so analog mastering doesn't guarantee better LP sound any more than a digital master entails a bad sounding LP. Tons of my new vinyl came from digitally recorded music. I was just listening to my LP version Disclosure's Settle album. It sounds phenomenal. Everything I could ask for in sound quality: lush, palpable, energetic, smooth, silent background etc.
  21. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    Many good points!

    Owning a physical copy is important for some people, not for others. My wife also actually plays music again that she wants to hear, since we bought a smart speaker. (Though god help me, if I have to hear "Alexa, play all Backstreet Boys" or "Adelle" again....)

    Some audiophiles still like owning CDs. I can't stand them, so good riddance. In fact I'd built up a big movie collection on Blu Ray and I'd actually love to be rid of it, simply because I rarely re-watch the majority of them, and would prefer the convenience of streaming movies now that they look so good on a decent streaming service. Unfortunately streaming doesn't yet offer all my favorite movies.
  22. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    That's ok, if you like. In the physical format you pay for the complete work, i mean, the music, the graphical art, the artist words in the internal letters, to see all the musicians / instruments played ... etc, it's part of the listening experience when you listen to vinyl.

    I repeat, that's ok if you don't care ... i'm only trying to expose why vinyl lovers likes the experience, nothing less, nothing more.
    We're not here to "evangelize" or "convert" anyone ... we're here to understand, to share.
    Maybe someone see something new about it ... or not, it's not important ... important things in life are other stuff, you know.
  23. punkmusick

    punkmusick Formerly 4011021

    I never said I don't care. I have over one thousand records which I truly love and am devoted to, vinyl is my favorite format. Own almost one thousand CDs too by the way. Love them too.
  24. Lenny99

    Lenny99 Well-Known Member

    Clarksburg WV
    I have to agree. The purpose is to listen. When u buy a CD or Vinyl it’s owning the music, but I get your point.

    Actually there is little difference if u look at it purely as a purchase. But to vinyl people there is a difference. For me, it’s not the quality of sound or ease of use. I like vinyl for many reasons that have nothing to do with concrete logic.

    Also, on different forums people have complained on the condition of new vinyl. That’s a problem I have experienced. One way to overcome that us to buy used vinyl that is highly rated. There’s always a chance you’ll get burnt in either purchase. But what choice is there, to give up. Nope, I like vinyl to much to give up. In fact, I think that’s all part of the vinyl experience.
  25. Mike70

    Mike70 Forum Resident

    Well, I said "if you ..." ... It's conditional.
    Only trying to show why I think the physical format worth it.

    Also, streaming is a very bad support for artists ... very bad.
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