Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience? - Page 7 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #61 of 153 Old 11-17-09, 01:57 PM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

Getting back to the Vinyl vs CD thing

Back in the 1980s before CD players were available at a decent rather than astronomical price i happened to have quite a few records. I probably have more now,but lets not get away from the point

Once i got my first CD player i started to buy a few CDs, though at the time they weren't exactly cheap either, so it took time to build up a collection of more than 20. I can distinctly remember listening to Heaven 17 - The Luxury Gap on both CD player & record deck. The record deck was a cheap pioneer with a non descript cartridge & tbh it wiped the floor compared to the CD, the CD sounded "dead" to put it mildly.

Assuming the room you are listening in is "treated" as some people call it & you have decent speakers correctly positioned then it's really a no brainer (depending on what you listen to music wise) as you'd need to spend approximately 5 - 10 times as much money on a vinyl front end to better a decent 500 ($900) redbook CD player (imo). Then you need to remember that vinyl wares out along with that expensive MC cartridge on the end of the pickup arm. Yes you can get it re-tipped but it won't be cheap! Each time you play the record the output will be slightly more distorted (due to ware) than it was previously.

I think if people spent as much cash on the CD system as they might well do on vinyl they'd be amazed.

As someone mentioned earlier, you can get a lot more out of a CD with the right equipment. I often wondered how come some CD players/transports were so expensive & if they happened to be worth the money. I guess it depends on how much you like your music at the end of the day. As i listen to music every day i'd say it was a pretty major part of my life, so when the means were there i decided to upgrade stuff. Being friendly with a rather good supplier of new & secondhand equipment i had the opportunity to borrow stuff & listen to it at home, this i took full advantage of.

To cut a long story a bit shorter i ended up purchasing a rather decent front end to play CDs, this consisted of a Theta Data Basic transport, Monarchy Audio DAC & interface processor (jitter reducer) & then i messed with cables to get what i regarded as something incredibly musical & detailed. Ok so i haven't got an SME 20 turntable with series 5 arm to compare CD to vinyl.

The Theta set me back about 850 ($1500) at the time & it was secondhand, yes everything in the UK appears to be double the price of stateside. This ran fine until i decided to mod the thing by placing some lead sheats on the inside of the case to damp the thing & i promptly forgot to connect one block when i put it back together Exit the laser & drive. This got replaced with a new drive etc from Absolute Sounds who are the UK distributors for certain "high end" audio. That's not the end of the story though.. Whilst the UK was in the middle of this credit crunch i managed to buy a perfect condition secondhand Krell DT-10 transport off of ebay for 500 ($900) So we now have a 10,000 new ($17,000) transport.

Well was there a difference? Like night & day - there was no comparison, i seriously doubted there could be much improvement if any simply because the transport just spins the disc. However cue the first CD & it immediately became apparent how come people are willing to spend so much on something like this. It was like comparing a cheap midi system to a half decent hifi. I'm sorry but it really was that glaringly obvious!

I'm not rich, hense my ebay purchase! However if i was better off it's (again) a bit of a no brainer from what i have heard. Maybe i'll find a top flight vinyl front end one day, it had better be dead cheap though as i have vastly more CDs IMO given the correct equipment CD can only be bettered by higher resolution digital media.

I don't listen to any modern "pop" albums which do seem to admittedly be near on full volume most of the time. It's been a good 10 years since i listend to the radio!

Get yourselves some well mastered stuff! Music like "FAX +49-69/450464" springs to mind.

Bests to all on here

Last edited by event horizon; 11-17-09 at 02:07 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #62 of 153 Old 11-18-09, 10:34 AM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

A top notch table is not nearly as expensive as some suggest. For $1600-$2500 range, you can get a table/arm set up that will be about as neutral as a table can be within practical circumstances; if you pick your gear wisely, based on actual important technical performance criteria. A great cartridge is also, no need to be very expensive. Take the Denon DL-110; a superbly measuring cartridge. Very low distortion, very flat response, no inner groove distortion issues and very low noise. True, it is an unusually well engineered cartridge for it's price, but it is providing a huge level of performance for not many $$. Audiophile excess can be found in ANY product of audio.

As for good CD players, most mid-fi units are going to be transparent. There is no measured factor to suggest otherwise, and level matched double blinded tests comparing exotic to common units have not demonstrated any mysterious 'X' factor either.

One must realize that psychology plays a huge role in subjective things like listening to music. The mind is one huge imagination playground.

I know first hand about this - as I used to be a traditional 'audiophile' a few years back.


Last edited by WmAx; 11-18-09 at 11:10 AM.
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post #63 of 153 Old 01-18-10, 10:45 AM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

I always find these debates about vinyl vs cd interesting. I'd like to add a few things to the topic here that are new to the debate.

I recently started looking into this myself.

Why do people say records sound warmer then CD's. " a physco accoustic argument for sure"

I have a very high quality turn table and good AD and DA conversion. So I started encoding from analog both CD and vinyl.

what I found was interesting once we move past overall loudness which I adjusted for.

CD's have more high end treble. They have alot more content above 12khz when compared to vinyl.

Also on vinyl there is more distortion and smearing going on up above 8 khz. In fact there is frankly alot of distorotion on vinyl in generall.

2 immediate things come to mind.

distortion almost always "in small amounts' soften the sound of a particular transient. Less high end content in the 14Khz range will sound less brassy or irritating to most listenrs.

I did a blind test with some friends of a vinyl and cd comparison and one of the primary things I did was us a EQ and a mic to make the Cd player complement the Record in terms of FQ response. I could switch from source to source and no listner could tell the difference. I did start with a new record btw that was perfectly clean to.

Try this. Put a LPF or roll off on you stereo the highs above 12khz. Watch those CD's warm right up.
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post #64 of 153 Old 01-18-10, 04:48 PM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

blahblahguy wrote: View Post
Try this. Put a LPF or roll off on you stereo the highs above 12khz. Watch those CD's warm right up.
Interesting perspective.

A similar thing happens in displays. People longingly describe the "realism" of CRT based sets and the harshness and over emphasized color and edginess of digital displays. The reality is that CRTs don't really produce full resolution at peak brightness in many cases, and the higher resolution of larger digital displays shows all of the faults in the signal. Turning down the sharpness, reducing the contrast, and reducing the color intensity can make a digital display look surprisingly like a CRT.

But then again, we may be missing some subtle "inner detail" or "harmonic structure" or some other subjective factors.

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post #65 of 153 Old 01-18-10, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

Interesting response - thanks for sharing. In my setup (which has only DVD), I deliberately include top end roll off and bass boost which I have found to give a certain warmth and the result is more laid back.

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post #66 of 153 Old 01-19-10, 12:45 AM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

paulspencer wrote: View Post
Interesting response - thanks for sharing. In my setup (which has only DVD), I deliberately include top end roll off and bass boost which I have found to give a certain warmth and the result is more laid back.

surprisingly with proper EQ and dynamic considerations you can get a CD to sound like vinyl.
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post #67 of 153 Old 01-21-10, 10:02 PM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

I hate vinyl because it makes my CDs sound so bad. Either way digital or analog, you have to listen through the medium. To me, it comes down to the convenience of CD but the "canned" sound of digital vs (as previously mentioned), the "there" of analog along with it's clicks and pops. Every time I spin up my TT, I just end up frustrated. There can be quite a difference between the LP "mix" vs CD also. I average about 2 hours an evening listening time, (a luxury I truly appreciate), and CD's dominate because of said convenience. People believe what they want to believe, and will often defend their position to no end. I believe analog "sounds" better than digital, but that both are just approximations of an actual event. I'm smiling when I'm listening, (to either), but I know I'm listening to an illusion. Even if a perfect medium came along, would it be used, recorded, mixed, produced, packaged, and implemented correctly? Or would corners be cut to make a profit? Can digital be better than analog? Depends on your definition of better. Can it provide a more realistic illusion?, yes. Does it? Most of the time,

Sorry for the ramble.....
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post #68 of 153 Old 01-21-10, 10:29 PM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

How about has anyone compared Vinyl to Blu Ray concerts?

Digital sound should improve will uncompressed HD audio. Some concerts like the police and NIN have knocked my socks off.
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post #69 of 153 Old 01-24-10, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?


So how did you compare them? Did you rip to PC and then use software to compare the same album and track? I'm not very clear on what you actually did, but I'm curious. I'd like to know if this really is a trait that is typical of vinyl, or if it is something that just happened on certain examples.

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post #70 of 153 Old 01-24-10, 07:05 PM
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Re: Vinyl vs CD - what's your experience?

Missed this thread until just now and have spent the last 15-20 minutes reading the thread -- I'm watching the Saints and Vikings too.

Anyway, my opinion is that CD's sound better. I will admit that I haven't had a chance to do a really good comparison, but the popping and whatnot always takes me away from the music.

This is not to say that I think a CD recording will always sound better than a vinyl recording. I will say that the potential for CD outstrips that of Vinyl. My suspicion is that those that like vinyl like the colorations that the vinyl recording impart

Here are a couple of links that I think clarify some of my beliefs..
Link 1
Link 2
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