SH Spotlight Vinyl vs. master tape?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Holy Zoo, Jan 12, 2002.

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  1. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-) Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Cruz
    I know (well, have read) that vinyl has it's own "sound", or rather, a coloration of sound that people find euphonic.

    Steve, I'm curious - after years of hearing analog master tapes and then cutting vinyl from them, what would *you* choose to listen to for maximum listening pleasure? Do you find vinyl a more pleasurable listening experience than analog tape because of how it colors the sound? Or do you always want to get as close to the master tape as possible?

    I know I've addressed Steve, but anyone else who has had the opportunity to compare vinyl to the master tape from which the came, please chime in!
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Good question, Jeff.

    I know what you are saying, but I prefer the sound that I create.

    Sounds a trifle stuck up, but I've been doing this for so long, I have actually figured out how to make the LP cut and the master tape sound EXACTLY the same. A few tricks that I have up my sleeve.

    The "colorations" that you hear on YOUR turntable however, I have NO CONTROL OVER WHATSOEVER.

    That's a little scary for me. Your table, your cart---either moving coil or moving magnet, your interconnects, your phono preamp, all of these things tailor the sound a certain way that I couldn't even guess.

    So, if it sounds good to YOU, that's what counts.

    I always feel I have done a good job if my LP cutting and my CD master sound close in a blindfold test.

    The DCC LP of "Willie And The Poor Boys" and the DCC Gold CD of the same title, if both played at the SAME level, should sound really close, if your system is reproducing everything properly.

    The Doors first album on DCC LP and CD will NOT match, due to different mastering styles I had to employ because of the length of the LP sides.

    Did I even answer your question? ;)
     
  3. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-) Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Cruz
    Sort of! It's actually a bit reassuring that you can get nearly identical sound out of both the vinyl and cds that you master. Emphasis on you. :)

    But then again... it is disconcerting knowing that the turntable/cartridge combination one has is probably doing the most coloration!

    Hmm.. I'm still going to try to pin you down, which I know you don't like, so you don't have to answer if you don't want :D

    Ok... so lets say you've mastered Green River (my fav!) for vinyl, cd, and you also ran it off to a personal reel-to-reel tape copy while you were at it.

    Later on, you're at home with your sweetie, and you happen to have all three versions of Green River there with ya... what would you reach for with just sonics in mind (ignoring the ritual part of the experience -- or the conveinence aspect with CDs). The tape? The cd? The vinyl?

    :)

    jeff
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I've got it now.

    Well, if I was with my sweetie (Karla), I would punch the CD. It would have the same tonality as the LP.

    If I was alone, I would play the LP. A bit more "glow" due to the slightly euphonic sound of my Joule Electra Phono Stage.

    I wouldn't play the reel to reel copy of the master tape. It would be so dull that I wouldn't really enjoy it much, even though it sounds exactly like the mix.

    How's that? ;)
     
  5. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

    Suppose you mastered a reel-to-reel copy for yourself, not just a dry run. Then choose the reel if the tonality and balance of all 3 is the same?
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    If I felt like threading the darn thing up, then yes, I would choose the reel to reel EQ'd safety.
     
  7. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    Well, vinyl lovers who always say that they prefer the vinyl over CD, even when the CD and vinyl match, always got me suspicious. It tells me that they put way more $$ and care into their vinyl playback, or they prefer euphoria over cold accuracy. i personally always want the cold hard truth of a playback system where I can get it.
     
  8. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al Senior Member

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I think a properly mastered CD will sound as good as properly mastered vinyl. I really have no preference between either format, but I've never "let go" of my vinyl because so many CD's were originally mastered so poorly. While the state of the art has improved, you can still find "re-mastered clunkers" (Mad Dogs and Englishmen being my most recent CD nightmare. Shrill to distraction in the peaks. I will hang on to the old vinyl).

    Vinyl has it's drawbacks - as Steve mentioned - longish lp sides had to have special attention (I don't think I've ever heard Elvis Costello's "Get Happy" sound good until the Rykodisc remastered CD's). Also pressings varied, sometimes short lp sides were cut "hot", with a small runout area - and sometimes thin (longer runout area). These variations were often on the shelves at the same time which caused people who were concerned about sound quality to seek out alternate pressings (any of you old timers try to return an lp that was cut thin and have the proprietor give you a "what the hell do you want me to do, open them all?" look?).

    Of course - the main drawback to vinyl was the surface noise. Thankfully, anyone born before 1975 seems to be able to mentally block this side effect out, it is a form of noise reduction that cannot be bought, but must be practiced. There are a few "digital age" audiophiles that posses the "talent", but this seems to be the primary complaint for those that didn't grow up with the format.
     
  9. Beagle

    Beagle Senior Member

    Location:
    Ottawa
    They can match in tonality but never in other things such as frequency response, depth and emotional involvement. Those things might not be important for some, but they are an important part of my musical enjoyment.

    :)
     
  10. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    Well, if a CD is properly mastered, it will give me that emotional impact. Yes, it IS important to me.

    I suggest that some people have a pychological barrier to computers or anything created by one. It could be why some dislike digital so much. What do you think?
     
  11. GoldenBoy

    GoldenBoy Purple People Eater

    Location:
    US
    I was born before 1975 and grew up listening to vinyl and (yikes!) cassettes, so I can still listen to records and enjoy them, but once I got my first CD player in 1989, I never looked back.

    It has been my personal experience that the LP never really sounds like the Master, but CD is VERY close.
     
  12. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    All,

    It all depends on the quality of the mastering doesn't! I will maintain that any media can sound very pleasing if the mastering is superbly completed to fit that media.

    Bob
     
  13. GoldenBoy

    GoldenBoy Purple People Eater

    Location:
    US
    Grant,

    I agree 100%. :cool:
     
  14. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff


    All,

    If given the opportunity, I would do the same, but I am an affectionado of the sound of high quality reel recordings--something about the special combination of factors that make reel tapes sound as they do. Reel tapes can be both highly dynamic (if properly recorded) and very warm sounding. I record my programs on professional grade high output tape with a record EQ of 35uv at 7.5ips.

    Bob :)
     
  15. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    I think there are some unfounded and very inaccurate assumptions that are being accepted on these threads. When I hear my turntable blow away every CD player I try out here at home it isn't just because of tonal differences or euphonic colorations. The intense loss of information I hear on CDs is not the result of the lack of euphonic colorations. Instruments and voices produce extremely complex sounds. The overtones weave in and out during the decay in a way that sounds as if it has a life of it's own. I am hearing much more of the spacial cues and weaving of the harmonic overtones on the LP. This adds up to more life like sound, more involving sound, more beautiful sound. If it were just euphonic colorations these effects would sound the same on every LP. They don't. I don't think anything in my LP playback system is making selective choices of euphonic colorations. That is what I hear. It's not what I want to hear. This isn't some psych job I've done on myself. As for prefering "the cold hard truth of a playback system" if it is cold and hard it isn't the truth. The truth is live unamplified music played in a good acoustic envirement is neither cold nor hard. It is beautiful. If your playback is cold and hard you are missing some of the good stuff inherent inherent in live music.
     
  16. Beagle

    Beagle Senior Member

    Location:
    Ottawa
    No. It has nothing to do with that. I use my ears. If it sounds lousy it is lousy. I don't dislike digital, I dislike bad sound.
     
  17. -Ben

    -Ben Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC Area
    I like that.

    BC
     
  18. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    ...and a properly recorded CD should be able to capture all that information.

    Scott, you said that you don't think your vinyl playback is coloring your sound but you cannot verify that it isn't, or by how much.

    Vinylviles spend all that time and money to color their playback to sound euphinic to them and get upset when their straightforward CD playback doesn't match.
     
  19. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    Beagle,

    In my opinion, you dislike bad mastering that produces bad sound. Remember, what Steve has said on countless occasions, "it's all in the mastering" and he says so with a "twinkle" in his posts! Complaints about "media" are not getting at the real issue in the vinyl v. digital debate...it is the mastering that is the constant varible

    Bob
     
  20. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    The ear is connected to the brain. The brain biases everything that the senses pick up.
     
  21. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    Grant,

    Because "we" are analog? I enjoy both analog and digital formats. When the mastering is superbly done--all forms of media can sound great, in my opinion!

    Bob :)
     
  22. Grant

    Grant Cranky! It'll happen to you too, kids!

    Location:
    United States
    I'm just saying that our belief systems bias what we percieve. I submit that Beagle's thought process says digital is inferior so any digital he hears will sound bad to him. Todd's view is so ingrained that no one can convince him that digital is not inferior.

    Oh, they could say the same about me and Goldenboy. Mind over matter...

    Isn't the internet great? You get a mix of ALL sorts of minds!
     
  23. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    Grant where did I say I did not think the vinyl playback is coloring the sound? Are you sure you are not hearing what you want to hear?
     
  24. Beagle

    Beagle Senior Member

    Location:
    Ottawa
    I have heard good digital, some CD's have come close to sounding great and a few SCAD's I own sound very good too. Regarding your comments on our LP preferences, have you heard what we have heard? Do you own a decent resoultion LP playback system? If so, I'm curious as to what it comprises of? What 'table and cartridge do you own?
     
  25. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff

    Grant & Friends,

    I still contend that any media can sound great if the mastering is correct for the media. Until we make that admission, the endless debate over which media is the best is merely "personal preference". As someone who enjoys both analog and digital media I feel compelled to not only "moderate" this discussion but to focus on the "root causes" for the quality (or lack thereof) of sound. Without great mastering, Beagle and Todd's LPs will sound poorly. Without great mastering, Grant and Golden Boy's CDs will disappoint. If my contention is not the underlying "root cause" why is it that Steve can master in any media which such sterling results?

    Bob
     
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