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SH Spotlight Vinyl vs. master tape?

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

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  1. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Senior Member

    A New Yorker
    This is all Holy Zoo's fault! 349 posts so far and we're going round and round. Where's Prudence?

  2. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    While I *have* heard super-high-end tt setups, I am quite sure *my* rig would nto meet yours stadards of SOTA so I didn't bother.
    But you are welcome to pose your question to a group of audiophiels on RAHE
    whose equipment would likely meet your requirement, and who definitely have weighed in (pro and con) on LP vs CD.

    [/QUOTE] Why is it that the nay sayers never actually bother to really investigate the claims of LP superiority?[QUOTE

    They do. However, almsot inevitably they are accused of not having a rig that's good enough, ears that are good enough, cables that are good enough, etc. But again, feel free to post to a forum where I can assure you there *are* people with $30 K turntables who still think CDs sound better. (There may be people of that sort here too, I haven't read every post...yet)

    The fact is tthat LP playback introduces certain nonlinearities to the signal. Some people like the sound these make, and therefore consider LPs superior. I have no quarrel with that. It's when you insist that that's some sort of *objective* view, that I object.

    I have seen no evidence from people who understand the physics involved that even the msot 'SOTA' turntable somehow avoids the problems inherent in translating the full frequency and dynamic range of music to a vinyl platter and then recovering that with a diamond needle riding in the groove on a rotating base. I'm not even talking about pops and clicks, or off-center pressing, or rumble (all of which can be minimized but of course are not an issue at all with CD).

    Even if I listened to your system, and agreed that it sounded better than CDs, that would not change the fact of euphonic distortion.

    Please don't misrepresent the man's work. Boyk has done *some* DBTs (some of them many years ago) and claimed verification of *some* differences...he certainly hasn't verified all the many, many unlikely claims made by audiophiles, or even a significant fraction of them. Some of the claims he *has* made are contradicted by tests done by others, and have been questioned on methodological ground, hence the controversy. Finally, whether a good DBT may not yet been done for a comparison does not mean that DBT's aren't necessary to scientifically validate many of the sorts of claims of difference that audiophiles make. The fact that a *bad* experiment *can* be done does not invalidate the scientific method.
  3. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    This is assertion, not fact, it's a myth, and has been dissected again and again on RAHE, though I expect it will never die since the visual metaphor for sampling (the infamous 'stairsteps') is too strong and too easily misinterpreted and makes what actually happens seem counterintuitive. The corrective discussion might involve such arcana as the Nyquist theorem, Claude Shannon's ", and information theory, but I can point those with strong constitutions again to google and rec.audio.high-end as a starter (read down into the post to get to the part about 'stairsteps':




    from two guys who are audiophiles and actually *understand* this stuff. ;>

    (Dick Pierce's posts in particular are *always* informative, and always leave me wishing I'd paid more attention in physics class)

    also try searching RAHE on groups google with the term 'stairsteps' for more.
    Giobacco likes this.
  4. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    Gilding the lily means ..I *DON'T* think these formats will *necessarily* sound better
    than 16/44. Where DVD-A or SACD versions sound better (or even *different*), I'd expect it's due to different mastering, not the formay.
    Giobacco likes this.
  5. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident


    "Don't misrepresent the man's work"

    I say don't build strawmen. Name one post where I misrepresented Boyk's work. I suggested that people simply e mail him and check out what he has to say.

    Krabbapple you dwell on the colorations of LP playback yet you still avoid the fact that digital has it's colorations as well. No one has claimed that LP playback is without colorations what we claim is that those colorations are less intrusive than that of CD playback in our experiences. When you can offer some "scientific proof" that 16 bits 44k sampling is perfect and without any colorations when compared to an original analog master then you can talk specs all you want. Til then talking specs on CD vs LP playback is comparing apples and oranges since both are colored differently. I noticed you never offered any specs on the "sampling rate" of the LP which you once said was a subject to talk about.
  6. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    as for audiophiles who have experience with state of the art turntables and still prefer CD playback, please invite them to come here and post their experiences. I don't doubt they exist but I doubt they are in the majority by a long ways.
  7. trhunnicutt

    trhunnicutt Member

    San Jose, CA
    You've got to be kidding me.

    1. Based upon your earlier assertions that better specs equate to greater accuracy, then both DVD-A and SACD are an inherently more accurate reproduction of a master than redbook cd. Much greater theoretical SN, wider freq range, etc. I wonder why studios are using these formats to archive their treasued masters? I can guarantee you it's not "because of the mastering". It would have been a lot easier and a lot cheaper for them to use 16/44 PCM. The reason they don't is because 16/44 throws away bits and information, regardless of all the "studies" you reference above. It's a fact.

    2. DVDA and SACD does sound better than redbook CD. And it's not because of distortions or non-linearitities of the format. Which makes your argument about LP moot. You constantly state the reason for preference to LP is due to these *distortions*. Can you not admit that some systems may be able to expose the limited sampling frequency of 16/44? That a greater sampling rate, and playback mechanism (i.e. LP, DVDA, or SACD) capable of reproducing this information, is what makes that format *sound better*.

    You cannot have it both ways.
  8. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    Which can be two different things.

  9. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    Whoa. I also have written about *audibility* and the non-infinite sensitivity of the human ear. Better specs translate to better accuracy, but I certainly don't think a box that can transparently convey 100 kHz signals is going to sound *any* different from one that doesn't.

    It's simply the concept of 'diminishing returns'. Which every audiophile must be familiar with. ;>

    2. DVDA and SACD does sound better than redbook CD.

    I'm glad you think so, and I'm sure the DVD-A and SACD manufacturers are even more so, but 1) 'better' is a subjective assessment that cannot be factual and 2) validation of audible *difference* hasn't even been properly and rigorously tested
    for the various formats, AFAIK.

    No nneed to. I have said nothing inconsistent. Given the technical capabilities of redbook, and the limitations of the human auditory system, there is no reason a priori to *expect* that SACD or DVD-A will sound better. When a properly controlled comparison between hi-rez and redbnook formats -- where the *only* variable is the format -- has been done , and shows that they are reliably distinguishable, *then* I will have some 'reason to believe'.

    For me, DVD-A (and SACD) are inherently valuable for these reasons only: you can fit more uncompressed music on a disc ( I like having the whole Turangalila Symphony on one disc in non-MP3 format) ; you can do surround sound; you can do video (DVD-A only). That the tape sourcing and mastering is generally very good is gravy amnd I hope will continue to be the rule.
    Giobacco likes this.
  10. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC
    If they choose not to will you take that as a 'win'? And if you choose not to
    post your claims to RAHE, can I take it as one?
  11. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    Is this in fact, a fact? What measurable, audible distortion has been demonstrated to be *inherent* to digital?

    CD is more accurate than vinyl in pretty much everything audible we can measure, so are you are proposing something that hasn't been?

    Giobacco likes this.
  12. RDK

    RDK Active Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Why do i feel that Steve (and no doubt a few others) are sitting back and chuckling over all this sturm and drang?
  13. RDK

    RDK Active Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    This also reminds me of that scene in that Woody Allen film (RADIO DAYS, I believe) where the kid's parents are arguing over which is the better ocean: the Atlantic or the Pacific.


  14. trhunnicutt

    trhunnicutt Member

    San Jose, CA

    I may not be sitting back, but I sure am chuckling. Pretty funny, huh?
  15. trhunnicutt

    trhunnicutt Member

    San Jose, CA

    I thought the Indian Ocean was the best ocean :) LOL.
  16. RDK

    RDK Active Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    That's actually become a running joke between me and my wife whenever my in-laws (and to a lesser extent my own parents, but only because they aren't quite so colorful) are arguing about something stupid. Either she or I will say "Atlantic," followed by the other saying "Pacific." It's old, but it cracks us up every time!

  17. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    You want to have it both ways but you can't. Either CDs 16 bit 44k sampling is perfect reproduction to the human ear or it is distorted. Which do you think it is? If you say it's perfect then tell me what scientific tests have confirmed this. Seems to me the only legitimate test would be comparisons with original analog masters. Are you taking the position that the differences between the two are inaudible?

    If you are talking the position that there are distortions but those distortions are less inaccurate than those of LP playback what is your proof? We are talking about different kinds of distortion here. Guess you might have to do listening tests again. But that would leave us with a subjective evaluation of which distortions leave the end result sounding less like the original.

    Oh waite, thats what we "vinylphiles" have been doing all along.

    So which is your position? "Perfect sound forever" or pick your distortion?
  18. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Here is my long breif list of best sounding records. It's long because I have a lot of records. It's breif because this is meant as a sampler. If I put every record I own of the same caliber of sound quality the list would be at least four times longer. Some of these are the obvious audiophile war horses but what can I say. They sound great. Some are not so well known gems

    Section one. Classical

    1 William Boyce, Symphonies I-VIII, Mariner and st Martin in the Fields
    UK Argo ZRG 874 stampers # 1G 1G
    2 Gerhard, Symphony #4, Coloin Davis. UK Argo ZRG 701 stampers # 1G 1G
    3 Greig & Schumann, Piano concertos, Katchen, Kertesz, UK Decca SXL 6028 stampers # 5G 10G
    4 Vaughan Williams, Sinofia Antartica, Boult, UK EMI ASD 2631 stampers # 1G 1G
    5 Holst, The Planets, Previn UK EMI ASD 3002
    6 Dances de Hongrie, Harmonia Mundi HM 1003
    7 Handel. Watermusick, McGegan, Harmonia Mundi HMU 7010
    8 The 10 string guitar interprets French classics, Vincent Macaluso, Klavier KS 523
    9 Falla Night in the Garden of Spain, Rodrigo Concerto for guitar and orchestra,
    Argenta, London CS 6046 stampers # 7K 9K
    10 Elisebeth Maconchy, Symphony for double string orchestra, Lyrita SRCS 116
    stampers # 1X 1X
    11 McPhee, Tabuh Tabuhan, Mercury SR 90103 stampers3 FR 1 FR 1

    There are many others from each label equally deserving of being on this list but I don't want to bore everyone

    section two Classical audiophile reissues

    1 Copeland, Fanfare for the Common Man. Janos Analog Productions APC 004
    2 Ravel, Works for Orchestra, Analog Productions APC 007
    3 Debussy, Ravel., Piano works, Morevec, Athena ALSY 10002
    4 The Power of the Orchestra, Chesky RC 30
    5 Respighi, Pines of Rome fountains of Rome, RCA LSC 2436, Classics
    6 The Royal Ballet Galla Performances, Ansermet, RCA LSC 2436, Classics
    7 Stravinsky, Firebird, Dorati Mercury SR 90226, Classics
    8 Tchaikovsky, Francesca Da Rimini Fantasia for orchestra Hamlet, Stokowski
    DCC LPZ 1001
    9 Shostokovich, Symphony # 5, Stokowski, DCC LPZ 2016
    10 Dvorak, New World Symphony, Ketesz, King Super Analog KIJC 9114
    11 Brahams, Clarinet Quintet, Boskovsky, King Super Analog KIJC 9122
    12 Espana, Argenta, Decca SXL 2020, Speakers Corner
    13 The Trout Quintet, Curzon, Vienna Octet, Decca SXL 2110, Speakers Corner

    I have four more sections, Jazz, Audiophile original productions, Pop rock, and misc. I will do these later if anyone expresses an interest, If not i won't bore everyone
  19. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-) Thread Starter

    Santa Cruz
    Well Scott - I, for one, would love to see your jazz, pop, and rock lists!
  20. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff


    I would like to see your Jazz and Popular lists as well. Some brief listening notes on each (one sentence) about what makes that LP sound so wonderful or better than it's CD counterpart would be very helpful.

    Bob :)
  21. GoldenBoy

    GoldenBoy Purple People Eater

    Not to jump back into the fray...

    but, when I promise something, I usually keep my word. I was asked at one point in this debate to provide a list of so called 'high-end' TT's that I had heard in order to justify my position. Well, I stated previously that I did not believe what TT's I had heard had any bearing on the debate ( a position I still hold) and that I didn't really keep track of brand names and models of other people's gear, but that I would be willing to get back on at least one of those, as that would be the TT I have heard the most other than my own. In the meantime, I was pratically called ignorant and nearly accused of lying. So, with that said, I have finally heard back from my Uncle via email ( he said he kept forgetting to get this information for me) about said TT so:

    In addition to my already mentioned Numark TT 100, and various and sundry other 'low-end', 'mid-range', and 'high-end' TT's (including my best friend's ELP LT-11XA), I have heard my Uncle's Kenwood KD 600 TT w/ SME arm; and he tells me that the cleaning lady broke his 'good' cartridge and that he replaced it with a 'reasonable' Japanese model (whatever that means), which he would be willing to get back to me on.

    So, there you have it. Take or leave it. Although I'm sure there are many out there who will still find fault and claim some sort of problem with these models and label me unable to assess the relative qualities of vinyl as compared to CD, I have done what I said I would do. ;)
  22. Beagle

    Beagle Senior Member

    Yeah, bring 'em on!
  23. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Re: Not to jump back into the fray...

    Does it look like this?


    20 years ago, this was the sort of turntable that The Absolute Sound used with expensive amplifiers and speakers. At that stage, HP was not convinced that the turntable had a profound effect on sound reproduction, and concentrated on high-end valve amplifiers and hybrid speaker systems (Quad, Tympani etc). The reasoning was that the turntable just had to rotate the platter at the correct speed (thus quartz-locked direct-drive). Money should go elsewhere, including into expensive cartridges in dodgy arms (Black Widow?).

    The UK high-fi scene was stressing that the source was all important, and a front-end of at least the standard of the Linn LP-12, Grace arm, Supex moving coil, usually teamed up with Naim electronics driving much smaller speakers than the TAS fare. Compared with the US systems, these stereos seemed unbalanced, with so much of the budget being assigned to the front-end. And such tiny speakers (probably more suited to the smaller rooms in the UK these systems were being auditioned in).

    There was merit in both views, but convergence was required. These days, no fan of vinyl reproduction will deny that the turntable, arm and cartridge are fundamental. Likewise, great loudspeakers provide the final voice of what components are upstream, and a balanced system is more likely to provide enjoyment.

    I have heard the Kenwood 500 on a few occasions. I had a good friend in Australia who went down the TAS line (stacked Quads, Entec subs) with a Kenwood. I followed the UK line and had a Thorens TD160, followed by a Linn Sondek. Once the effect of these tables was demonstrated in my friend's system, the Kenwood was sold and he moved forward to much better front ends than the Linn - for example, the Aura.

    Now the Linn LP-12 is considered as near the bottom of the high-end range, while tables like the Rockport, Simon Yorke, VPI, Verdier, ClearAudio etc push the envelope.

    You may like the sound of your uncle's system with his Kenwood direct-drive deck, and that's a fine thing. It probably sounds very nice in your uncle's hi-fi, but it does not have the resolution or acoustical isolation of a modern high-quality deck.

    As far as the ELP LT-11XA goes, I have never even seen this record player. There was a demo in Chicago a few months ago and this was well documented on Audio Asylum. Some interesting comments were made, but it was felt that the top manufacturers of record players had nothing to fear from this unit.

    I appreciate your honesty in getting back to us and fulfilling your promise. I can't imagine any one hearing "various and sundry high-end TTs" and not remembering all their names and details, but that's just me.

  24. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    List of Pop/rock albums that I consider great sounding albums out of my collection. I would like to remind you that this is a sampling and not a complete list although this section is a bit more thourough than the classical section. I saw no point in listing 20 or so great sounding Harmonia Mundis or every Classics reissue I liked etc. so I gave a sampling. Also I must say that unlike every classical title i listed and most of the jazz I will list, most pop/rock albums are multi track recordings with electric guitars and or synthesizers not to mention electronic reverb.OK you all know that but I didn't want to be misunderstood by this list. The ones that I found most natural sounding I'll give *. there are also some totally unnatural sounding LPs that also just sound great to me. They are purely subjective but none the less I enjoy their sound as well as their music. I'll give those **. As Bob has requested I'll give little notes on the what i like about each one and comparisons with CDs for the ones I actually compared but... this is from memory. Not all comparisons were what I can call fair since a number of them were made with friends' CDs and equipment. It's not my fault if they didn't have the best mastered CDs or the best sounding CD players and I didn't keep tabs on what they had. For most of my serious auditions of CD players I used CDs from Analog Productions and Opus 3 to compare with their LP counterparts. I'll talk about those comparisons in another post.

    1.Joan Baez. In Concert volume II* Vangard VRS 9113
    No fire works here just Joan and her guitar in your listening room. If I had any
    complaints is that it might be a tad bright. But there she is 6 feet away from me.

    2. Bread. Best of. Elektra 75056 white label promo
    Suprised? This, being a compilation, is a mixed bag but the sonic mix varies from very good to amazing. Comparisons to CD were quite lopsided, TheCD sounded thin, bright , and abbrassive, Kind of like comparing Cerwin Vegas to Vandersteens. I suspect this CD was not mastered well.

    3.Maire Brennan. Maire. RCA BMG PL75358
    The sister of Enya and lead singer for Clannad. This album is very dynamic full range and complex. The mutlilayering is well defined and easy to follow. You can swim in this rich warm yet clear and punchy sound.

    4. Kate Bush. the Dreaming. UK EMI BMG 3419.
    This one is a mixed bag but the sound suits the music on each track and is very well defined. The artificial reverb and other effects are pleasant and work for the music. The one cut , All the Love, Is an intense ballad that strikes a balance between beauty and paranoia. The intimatacy and directness of her voice and piano coupled with the hugeness of the reverb draws you in completely.

    5. Julie Cruise. Floating into the night.** Warner Bros 9 25859
    Remember Twin Peaks? This is a very ethereal dreamy sounding album with tons of reverb. Like David Lynches movies there is nothing realistic about this album's sound. But it is rich and wet with make believe ambience.

    6.Dead can Dance. Aion ** 4AD CAD 0007
    An amazing album mixing old music and new. This album in content and sound is a cross between a classic Harmonia Mundi and Pink Floyd. I did compare this to the CD. The LP is far more relaxed . The CD is to foreward and tires me out right away. It reminds me of wtching a video game up close. So much content so starkly delivered. The LP is richer in harmonic content. The CD lets you hear the electronic sound effects but the LP lets you hear their character. The CD also had an opaque quality and lack of sense of depth. I don't mean so much depth of image but an inability to convey the layering of sound. So instead of letting you float in the sound like on the LP. the CD hammers you like a blunt weapon.

    7.Donovan. A Gift from a Flower to a Garden.* Epic B2N 121
    This album is very raw and direct in it's sound. the cuts with added reverb are extremely revealing of the nature of the reverb but don't get in the way of the sound of the actual instruments or Donovan's voice. The cuts without reverb are stark , intimate and amazingly life like. This LP sounds amazingly undistorted. It almost sounds like a direct to disc in some ways. The * is only is for cuts without added reverb.

    8.Genesis. Trespass**. Japanese pressing Charisma RJ 7301
    This is a qualified recomendation. This album was multitracked to death and fiddled with by means of added distortion beyond belief. The thing is it works. Like the Julie Cruise album and the Dead can Dance album it has this ambience that takes you to another time and place. It's dark and Gothic. Its also beautiful. The CD looses all of that ambience. It kills it in fact. All that is left is an unpleasant distorted tinny sound.

    9.Grateful Dead. American Beauty. Warner Bros. WB 1893
    Am I telling anybody anything they don't already know with this one? No fireworks just nice rich fairly natural sound.

    10. Jimi Hendrix. Band of Gypsies. Classics reissue
    Maybe I'm putting this one in because I was so suprised to hear anything by Jimi Hendrix that didn't have bad sound. I know that the different pressings of all his album vary widely but for the most part his stuff sounds like it was recorded through tin cans and a string. This sounded very much like a real concert. You can actually hear ambience on this record. I like it.

    11.Elton John. Elton John. UK DJM DJLPS 406
    This album really suprised me. It's so much better than the US pressing. Very life like vocal sound, great imaging and seperation of instruments. A tad bright but very palpable.

    12 Gordon Lightfoot. If you could read my mind.
    This is a nice rich sounding album with great warmth. On some tracks the electronic reverb can sound a bit cupped and tinny but overall its' mostly smooth and mellow sounding which suits the music. This album was the first one I played on my first highend table, a SOTA Star with an Alphason HR 100S arm and Koetsu Black cartridge. I was blown away by how beautiful it sounded over my Yamaha rack system.

    OK this post is already too long with all my added commentary. I'll post the second half of this section later. Sorry to all those whom I have bored to tears, starting with my wife....
  25. GoldenBoy

    GoldenBoy Purple People Eater

    Re: Re: Not to jump back into the fray...

    Well, the sound of my Uncle's TT seemed fine to me, but I didn't post it as proof that I 'liked' it. I simply posted it as an idea of one of the 'high-end' TT's I was accused of not hearing. As far as the ELP is concerned, I didn't think it sounded much greater than any of the other TT's I've ever heard, besides that maybe there was very little of the surface noise caused by the needle actually dragging across the grooves. My friend actually inherited it from his friend/neighbour, who rather unfortunately, passed away. As far as not remembering the names of TT's I've heard, my memory is very jagged these days. :) Anyhow, I don't really pay attention to that kind of stuff, unless I'm actually in the market to buy something. I pay a lot less attention to that sort of thing than many of the folks on this board seemingly do. In the end, for me, it all comes down to the music. I don't remember all the CD players I've ever heard either. I know the one I own, I may or not know what players my friends and aquaintences own, but It's not like I sit around keeping tabs you know? ;)
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