SH Spotlight Vinyl vs. master tape?

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

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  1. Bob Lovely

    Bob Lovely Super Gort Staff



    Thank you so much! Your descriptions of what you hear are very insightful, well-written and really address some of the specifics that have been discussed by vinyl fans. Wonderful tip on the Bread LP. I have never been happy with the Bread CD's as compared to my old Elektra vinyl. I do not have the "Best" on vinyl. You have a real "find" there. I think the "Bread" example may point to a lot to mastering as Steve has asserted.

    I will look forward to part two. Thank your wife for our indulgence!

    Bob :)
  2. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC

    A transfer doesn't need to be 'perfect', in terms of measurement, it only needs to keep nonlinearities below the *audible* range. A transfer that isn't an exact duplicate of the original when measured with sensitive instruments is still 'perfect' from the listener's POV if he can't tell it apart from the original. Thus the only legitimate test, it seems to me , would be *blind* comparison of a flat digital transfer to its analog original. I would not be at all surprised if they were impossible to tell apart. Nor would I be surprised if you could tell them apart, but it was *much* harder to tell them apart , than to tell an analog copy from its original.

    Moreover, to be more accurate than LP, a digital transfer doesn't need to be 'perfect'; it only needs to be more accurate.

    The proof is in the measurements. S/N isn't a perfect 100 for digital, but it's a damn sight (or sound) better than analog, for example. They are *certainly* 'less inaccurate' for CD than for LP playback!

    No one requires that LP be 'perfect' reproductions of the master, yet many find them pleasurable to listen to. I simply contend that digital is *more* accurate -- *more* technically 'perfect'. That's demonstrably true. Whether that translates to 'better sounding' to you is a subjective call.

    I avoid the fallacy of the excluded middle, and pick the one that distorts the least. Thanks.

    (btw, what are the 'kinds' of audible distortion that are demonstrated to be inherent to CD but not present in LP? Jitter?)
  3. Mike V

    Mike V New Member

    If we can't put a name to it, does that mean it's not there? Listening with my ears tells me again and again, as good as it is, CD isn't perfect. And LP is far from perfect, but has a ton to offer if you are actually listening and not spending all your time with bench measurements.

    They're both great formats. I prefer my best LPs over my best CDs. But I have a lot of CDs that kill their LP counterparts too. It can go both ways depending on the mastering. So there!
  4. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    "In other words I would not be suprised if they were impossible to tell apart"

    In other words you don't know? No test of this kind has been done? You are just assuming CDs are audibly indistiquishable from the original master if copied without any knob turning? Wow for someone who seems so committed to blind tests for facts about what is and is not audible this seems like a gross assuption. I would be suprised if they were indistinguishable.

    "More over to be more accurate the LP,a digital transfer doesn't need to be 'perfect'; it only needs to be more accurate"

    How do you judge what is more accurate when you are comparing different kinds of distortion? Which is less accurate an amp with audibale harmonic distortion or an amp with a nonlinear frequency response? Bottom line is in the end you have to listen and evaluate by ear which is more "acurate"

    You now seem to take the position that CD has either no audible distortions or lesser severe distortions than LP playback without the support of any listening tests. I've done plenty of listening tests and I know what sounds more like live music.
  5. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Since this thread has been brought back from the dead I'll continue my lists of records since no tomatoes have been tossed my way regarding these lists.

    13. Led Zeppelin. Houses of the Holy. Atlantic SD 19130
    This is the late seventies reissue. It has no business sounding good but it does. No Quarter is awsome. A great mix of psycodelic distortions and very natural sounding instruments. I will be comparing this to my Classics reissue in the near future. One would think that there are some if not many superior versions of this title.

    14. Don McLean. American Pie. UA UAS 5535
    This varies from cut to cut and unfortunately the title cut is the weakest of all in sound quality. But Vincent and the other cuts on that side are soooo good. Rich, lush and sweet sound. Very natural sound of voice and guitars tastefully moistened in reverb. This is what euphonic colorations are all about.

    15. Joni Mitchell. Clouds. Reprise RS 6341
    This also varies from cut to cut but it is for the most part very clear and vivid. Some cuts are a bit bright but never tiring. Excellent imaging and palpabilty.

    16.Roy Orbison. All Time Greatests Hits. DCC LPZ 2 2042
    Do I need to comment on the sound of a DDC title on this message board?

    17. Pink Floyd. Dark Side of the Moon MFSL
    I have not had the chance to hear the original UK version. This is the best version I own. I suspect this is old news to all of you but I put it in because it belongs here.

    18. Elvis Presley. 24 Karat Hits. DCC LPZ 2 2040
    See comments on Roy Orbison.

    19. John Renbourn. The Lady and the Unicorn.* Reprise RS 6407
    One of the few pop/rock records, if you can call it that, which stands up to the best sounding classical recordings. Very life like sound with a close and clear perspective. Each cut sounds as if they used a different recording space and different mics but each cut still manages to sound brilliantly life like. This and the next title are also available on Transatlantic from the UK and Windom Hill. Forget them. This is the one to get.

    20. John Renbourn. Sir John a lot. Reprise RS 6344
    Same as above.

    21. Paul Simon. There goes Rhymin Simon. DCC
    Paul Simon has many great sounding LPs so I picked one just to represent.

    22.Simon and Garfunkle. Collection UK CBS 100029
    There are so many versions of their music with such different sound it is hard to believe. Of all the versions of all their records that I own this is my favorite. Who would guess that an 80's UK compilation would sound the best. The best by so slight a margin and it is give and take between this and the original US pressings. compared to the CD counterparts this LP sounds clearer without any of the nasty nasal brightness on the CDs. The best cuts sound so relaxed yet revealing. It conjures up feelings of rainy days in my childhood. The CD is missing so much info. Where's the texture? Wheres the beauty? I considered turning the CDs into the police. They were killing these songs.

    23. Cat Stevens. Tea for the Tillerman. UK Island ILPS 9135 ST3U3, U3
    Yes this one is that good. Yes it is better than the MOFI. It's sad really. I listen to the MOFI and think that if it weren't for that terrible EQ job they might have equaled the Island pressing or even bettered it. Anyways compared to the CD the LP sounds Full, warm, articulate and natural. The CD sounds like a blunt instrument in a tin can. Night and day this comparison. No doubt the mastering is bad on the CD. Evn the MOFI blows it away.

    24. Steelers Wheel. Steelers Wheel. A&M SP 4377
    Had more groups recorded like this. All the instruments are clear, relaxed and well placed on the sound stage. No fire works on this one either just nice relaxed natural sound.
  6. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Forum Hall Of Fame

    South Texas
    Hi Mr. Wheeler,

    As many have said before, thanks for the great list(s) of lp's. I really have enjoyed the read.

  7. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    I think I'll make a useful list next. Great sounding records that no one else I know of ever talks about
  8. Beagle

    Beagle Senior Member

    That would be great! Some we might know, others we can seek out.
  9. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Milwaukee, WI
    What CDs are you listening to? The original '80s CDs? The "remastered" versions in Collected Works? The MoFi and CBS gold discs? The new remasters, which have remixes of the first 3 albums?

    Simply saying "I listened to the CDs" doesn't cut it.
  10. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident


    Fair critisizm. The problem is I don't know. When I was asked to make comparisons between these records and CDs I thought it would be a good idea but warned everyone that many of these comparisons would be considered unfair becasue I have no control over my freinds CD players or which versions of any given CD they have chosen to buy. I'll look into this one since I do remember who brought those CDs over for comparisons.
  11. krabapple

    krabapple New Member

    Washington DC
    I agree 100% wiht the 'it can go both ways' statement. I also agree that CDs and LPs of the same material do usually sound *different*. And if you tend to prefer LPs, that's fine! So there!

    But: since the sources of audible 'euphonic distortion' inherent to LP *are* identifiable and measurable, how do you know that the difference you hear on CDs is due to some unnamed, inherent audible distortion, rather than simply the lack of those inherent euphonic distortions you are used to? By the axiom of Occam's razor, there's no need to 'multiply' distortions when a simpler explanation will do.
  12. trhunnicutt

    trhunnicutt Member

    San Jose, CA
    How do you know it's NOT "inherent audible distortions", but increased sampling rate? For instance, I prefer SACD to CD, and there ARE NOT any "linear distortions" in the SACD format or medium. Yet, I prefer the sound.

    Again, why does it always have to be "euphonics"? Based on the SACD preference over CD, the "euphonics" and "inherent distortions" argument is not the only valid possibility.

  13. Humorem

    Humorem New Member

    Scott, kinda liked your pop list, but this one looks strongly influenced by a certain fellow with the initials HP, with whom I rarely agree, although if we are only talking about sonic values, I would agree with many of your choices.

    I spent most of last year playing and evaluating golden age classical LPs, all day every day for months, and I would say at the very least several hundred deliver sound that is equal or superior to Harry's list, with much better music, so for my money I don't find much value in his classical list. (His pop list, as everybody knows, is a real joke.)

    Seriously, do you consider 2436 on Classic to be a good sounding record? Don't you find your ears bleeding all over your shirt? I know it's on the TAS list but does anyone really think it belongs there? When's the last time you played it? It doesn't age well, IMO.

    And have you ever heard an original of 90226, 2020 (the London 6006 will do just fine),2609 or 6065? I wrote at length last year about how dissapointing, even painful, it was to go back and play some of the "better" Classic reissues after hearing the originals. You don't find that to be the case? I find them hard, bright, shrill and completely unmusical almost without exception. Lots of cheap London and RCA reissues sound so much better, to me anyway.

    But cheers for 9114, a great record that gets no credit. Also 2016 on DCC. 1001 is quite good, but the Strauss side of DCC 1002 is overall the best DCC classical, IMO, and can be had for cheap from almost any dealer.


    BTW, check out pages 26-33 in the 12/01 catalog I sent you; that has lots of amazing classical recordings in it.
  14. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    I knew a few of these were on HPs list but I also happen to own them and think they sound great. The list was just a sampling of what I like and many of the choices were based on the fact that i heard them more recently. As for the reissues compared to the originals, I rarely get the chance to compare since the originals are hard to find at a reasonable price. Oh and yes it was strictly sonic values. The Gerhard is one of the wierdest records I've ever heard but it sounds great. Has anybody else ever recomended the 10 string guitar record on Klavier? That one is a real gem. I would love to compare originals to reissues on these and many other classical titles. The ones with music I love are #3,#4 extremely,#5, #6,#7, #8 extremely, #9. On the audiophile reissues #3 indespensible, Morevec is my favorite pianist,#7,#11, #12, #13. That is not to say I don't like the music on the others. Any classical list I may come out with would hardly be definitive. I just don't own everything that is great. I stand by my Harmonia Mundi recomendations and have many more. I know this label well and love the music. I love ancient musics and they are THE label for that. Now I'm going to give the Respighi another listen. If the original Espana is better than the reissue it must be mind blowing because the speakers Corner version is great to my ears. I do find some of the earlier Classics bright but certainly not all of them. Classics has been an odd hit and miss reissue label for me. I don't have the DCC 1002. guess what just got added to my want list. Thanks for your input. I value your experience.
  15. Mike V

    Mike V New Member

    Truth is, I don't. You probably don't either, unless of course you master from source material for a living. I'm only making the point that accuracy (and yes, I do believe CD to be a more accurate medium) does not equal musical realness. Euphonic distortion perhaps, but if it sounds sweet and natural (i.e. more lifelike), then I will prefer it. This is why I lean toward the LP, but it really is a subjective argument at that point (a matter of taste).

    The same argument you have made here all along could be applied to the great recordings Bill Porter made with Roy Orbison. Surely, modern equipment is more accurate. Test equipment will prove it so over and over again. But there's magic in those old recordings that will never be reproduced with the most accurate equipment. If that's euphonic distortion at work, then I don't see the harm. In fact, I would say we've lost something by assuming that total equipment neutrality is always a good thing.

    The distortions that LP playback add to the listening experience do not detract from musical enjoyment. You claim they add to it (euphonics). I say I'm not sure if LPs distortions are euphonic in nature. They may be, but that doesn't really interest me. I just think LPs are a great way to listen to music, euphonic coloration or not.
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