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Don't overlook "Thrift Stores". I occasionally find near pristine albums for as little as $1 each.

One advantage to old vinyl is the changes that have taken place in the recording industry WRT compression and the volume wars.

"Remastered" CDs suffer from this as well as new music. So, old albums, with all their issues, may actually sound better than some re-releases.

I'm contemplating building an Ultrasonic record cleaner to clean my albums with.
 

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In the following rebuttal, I'm not arguing the superiority of vinyl over digital or vice versa, so I skipped over any related comments made by the quoted participants. I listen to both formats, and enjoy both. I have roughly the same amount invested in playback gear for each in order to extract as much enjoyment as possible for my tastes. YMMV.

Like i said....
Listening to vinyl albums is a completely different experience and it has little to do with sound quality.
If you enjoy the LP experience by all means enjoy it, but there is a lot more to it than just listening to music.
I'm trying to understand exactly what you mean by "little to do with sound quality." I think you paint with a very, very wide brush. Do you mean to say that vinyl has NO sound quality because it has:
  • surface noise (the "sssshhhhhhhh" sound),
  • transient noise ( the "ticks and pops"), and
  • high maintenance?
You agreed with and thanked Glenn for his post, but it actually contradicts your views on many points. Please elaborate.

The trouble with starting out cheap to figure out if you like it is that you will hear a very high noise floor, static, pops, wow & flutter, etc leading to disappointment.
I agree.

The vinyl-philes will argue that you have been let down due to the cheap gear. So you will then buy expensive gear and still hear a high noise floor, static, pops, wow & flutter and still be disappointed (compared to digital).
I disagree. You obviously haven't heard a properly set up uber-expensive rig that costs as much as a high-end luxury car! Seriously, I'm not sure where the price-to-performance threshold lies, but when I upgraded from a ((Direct-Drive, servo-controlled Dual 501 turntable with the venerable Shure V15 Mark-IV cartridge)) to an ((integral belt-drive VPI HW-19 JR turntable with the Sumiko Blue-Point Special cartridge)) AND adopted a wet-clean over dry-clean LP method:
  • surface noise all but vanished
  • the number of ticks & pops were reduced (variable results)
  • wow & flutter only increased if the belt was improperly installed, or when it stretched with age
  • turntable rumble was dramatically reduced
Price difference? Roughly $600-700. Hardly a raid-the-kids-college-fund endeavor. And sorry, no empirical data to back my claims except hundreds of thousands of other subjective testimonials. Actually, there are probably published objective studies out there somewhere. If not, maybe the staff could have a shootout comparison like they did for the amps?

Even with brand new virgin $25 vinyl that has been properly cared for and washed, there probably will still be static and pops.
True, but... see my last comment below.

This purchase also reinforces my experience that the most important aspect of sound quality is the engineering of the audio. MP3's, CD's, Hi Res downloads, and LP's can sound good or they can sound bad. Over the last week I have listened to many LP's that sound wonderful and many that sound dreadful (same experience with MP3's, CD's, and Hi Res dwnlds).
I agree you've heard both bad and good. Me, too! :T

But playing vinyl does have several negative aspects that are noticeable even with well engineered audio, these include very high noise floor, the pop's & clicks, and maintenance of both the vinyl and the TT.
Almost. I'm assuming by "noise floor" you mean vinyl surface noise, table wow & flutter, table rumble, etc. A very high "noise floor" is present only with very poor quality hardware and very poor quality media. But "noise floor" has an inversely proportional relationship with quality; the noise floor diminishes with increasing hardware/media quality. The act of performing maintenance has nothing to do with sound quality. The fact that it needs to be performed does. If an album isn't properly cared for, don't expect it to sound it's best. On the flip side, if a CD isn't properly cared for, it will eventually fail--catastrophically. So maintenance doesn't really factor into the equation, because both formats need it--it's just that digital media has the upper hand, because it's robust.

And there is a good feeling when you start to play an LP, it doesn't sound right with extra popping & clicking...
I can only answer that with a quote from an editorial title Excerpt From The Absolute Sound 2011 Buyer’s Guide to Vinyl Playback

"I also think that not all listeners hear things the same way. For some, the occasional tick or
pop of vinyl jolts them out of the immersion in the music. For others, the distortion imposed
by standard-resolution digital never allows that sense of immersion in the first place. Both
types of listeners are “right” in their preferences."
 

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There is also a following of people who are convinced laser disc is a better format. I have a Pioneer LD player and 6 LDs I think the last time I gave one of them a spin was about 5 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Good or bad, popular or not so popular, the more I think about it, vinyl, to me at least, is as much about the act of playing a record as it is about what comes out of the speakers. That's what I can remember about playing records back in the day.

As technology advanced and folks moved eventually to digital, if you were in another room and someone put some music on, and you could hear a slightly elevated noise floor or a few ticks and pops, you'd know they put some vinyl on, and not a CD.

I think it is also about one's expectations. Sure, you can attempt to duplicate the exact sound quality from a record as you can get with a CD by upgrading your table and associated equipment, and for many; this is the way to go. But if you appreciate the tactile parts of playing a record, chances are you can also understand one's appreciation for the "differences" between what they hear when they play vinyl vs. a CD or other digital media.
 

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RE: Listening to vinyl albums is a completely different experience and it has little to do with sound quality.

First, I am not arguing for or against vinyl in general.
As far as sound quality goes greatness can be achieved with CDs (digital music) and LPs.
So for the sake of this conversation lets say equal sound quality can be achieved just to take that moving part out of the conversation for an instant.

The experience listening to music from a server/ipod/HDD/CD changer......... you get the beverage of your choice sit down in your comfy chair and relax ... turn on your system and choose the song/album/playlist or shuffle all from your library press play and you are listening to music. You decide 30 seconds in you were wrong about wanting to hear XYZ press a couple of buttons and in a few seconds something more in tune with the mood is wafting through the room.... opps you have to do something so you hit pause.... nothing to worry about for hours on end if necessary.

The experience listening to vinyl (boy it has been so long ago I can barely remember).... select album by rifling through the stack, humm are they up on an easily accessed table or down on the bottom shelf, ug I am not nearly as spry as I used to be.... get ut all the stuff and clean the album, dont forget to clean the stylus with different stuff, put LP on platter, turn on TT, sit stylus on LP and the music starts as you go to your comfy seat. Hummm XYZ really isn't what you wanted after all but you give it two songs because you just went through putting the LP on.... nope thats not what you want to listen to, get up, move tone arm, remove LP, put LP back in sleeve, select new LP, clean it, clean stylus, put LP on platter, turn it on, put stylus on LP, music starts playing on the way to your comfy seat and 30 - 40 seconds into the song you relax and finally get the first sip of the beverage that now has sweat all over it and then you need to do something, do you hit pause....no you get up, lift the stylus, think hummm should I turn it off or leave it running, .......

If those two experiences (which have little to do with sound quality) do not seem very different .... well I don't know how to describe it.

Yes I agreed with gdstupak, and I do not think his post is at odds with my original entry.
Now that the instant has passed even if an LP has equal or greater sound quality how will you ever know since it has a higher noise floor, pops, clicks.....

I have spent literally 1000's of hours playing LPs and recording them onto reel to reel to preserve the LPs.... I just don't see going back to it for myself, but if that is what floats your boat enjoy it in all its glory.
 

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The 'splaining was not intended to rip, I am very sorry that it came across that way.
The written word can be harsh even if the one writing it is laughing about it.


Oops I misread your post.
You didn't do anything to get ripped for.
 

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To the comment on the laserdisc... my uncle has his with about three dozen movies or so. For a good while after DVD was released he said the LD was still better... but after years passed and the players improved and/or proper disc usage or whatever he said DVD finally surpassed LD. No question out there BD is superior to all of the above (currently)

I have heard LP on one of the systems that cost more than a car... his "Basis Audio" LP deck alone cost some 26k and he has an external power supply and some other stuff, really I'm not that familiar with the LP systems

BUT... I can hear a huge improvement of soundstage on the LP vs. the same CD. Not sure what else to say but for one I know that LP has a better sound. However he has all the expensive wet cleaning tools and all sorts of other stuff to go with it. It helps he has over 2000 albums on LP but thats 40 years of collection.

He does say the LPs do wear out... he has multiple copies of his favorite albums and told me that there was one album he has worn out three copies but has 4 more in there ready to go.

LP is expensive and really it's not ever gonna be for me. call me cheap :p
 

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To the comment on the laserdisc... my uncle has his with about three dozen movies or so. For a good while after DVD was released he said the LD was still better... but after years passed and the players improved and/or proper disc usage or whatever he said DVD finally surpassed LD.

BUT... I can hear a huge improvement of soundstage on the LP vs. the same CD.

He does say the LPs do wear out... he has multiple copies of his favorite albums and told me that there was one album he has worn out three copies but has 4 more in there ready to go.

LP is expensive and really it's not ever gonna be for me. call me cheap :p
It's hard to compare one to the other or say one is better than another. You can look at the specs and see which one has the potential to be better. At the end of the day a well made VHS could look better that a Bluray.

I have so many versions of Starwars and I can't believe the different. The DVD transfer on one of my copies is beautiful, you would think it was a Bluray and in the same packaging is the "original" copy taken from the LD and it looks very poor. My old DVD of Outbreak looks like they copied it straight from the VHS, it even has the scan lines at the far bottom that are cut off on my CRT but show up on my projector.

As far as LP and CD's. I believe on average LP's are made to a higher standard back in the day. Spec wise CD's overall are "better" but music does not bring profit so they need to cut back on mastering.

LP's can be cheap or expensive, just don't get it in your head that you need to spend X amount of dollars to get something good.
 

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There was a big downturn in LP quality in the late 70s to early 80s. Thinner pressings resulted in more edge warps, and recycled vinyl resulted in higher background noise just to mention a few issues.
 

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I can't recommend it from a fidelity, value, or a convenience standpoint. If you're interested in exploring the history of music and/or music reproduction, that's a different issue. Some music never made it to digital.

I have approx. 800+ LPs, and my LP cleaner was close to the cost of my turntable/cartridge (I already had the 2-channel vintage equipment). Do I enjoy listening to vinyl? Of course I do. It can be transferred to digital, and it will have the same sound as vinyl. It's a time-consuming, tedious task, tho.

FWIW, I also have a 1916 Victor/Victrola. I use that to help guests that overstay their visit make an exit.
 

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There was a big downturn in LP quality in the late 70s to early 80s. Thinner pressings resulted in more edge warps, and recycled vinyl resulted in higher background noise just to mention a few issues.
A lot of new releases these days are pressed on 180 gram, virgin vinyl. Mastering is dependent on the engineers. Some new stuff sounds great (often the 180 gram stuff), but some of it is not mastered or pressed well. My friend brought over something brand new recently and I thought it was something used from the 70s.
 

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I've said this plenty of times before, but for me I like vinyl because it is inconvenient. No that's not a typo. The inconvenience of vinyl makes listening to music more of an event, instead of just background noise. It helps make music the main event, which it isn't for many people today.

Also, it helps a lot that most of the music I listen to is primarily released on vinyl. It's not usually exclusively vinyl (sometimes it is), but it's obvious that vinyl is the flagship.
 

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Great sound, setup is almost a black art. Fiddly, very fiddly, but also very rewarding and kinda fun when you get the hang of it. 2K will get you a used VPI Scout and a tubed, fully adjustable, Jolida JD9 phono stage, and a Spin Clean record cleaner. Then you're pretty much set.
 

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There are those (me for example) who have large vinyl collections much of which will never be released on CD. If we want to hear that music a TT is necessary. So, considering my collection (3500+ LP's, 1600+CD's), having a TT is essential. I have a dedicated music server PC to which all my CD's have been ripped. However, being realistic, because it's done in real time there are too many LP's in my collection for me to rip all of them.

I've started "ripping" some of my favorite vinyl to my music server as 16/48 FLAC files. That it's time consuming is a given, especially if you manually remove excessive "ticks and pops". I have all the accoutrements needed (vacuum RCM, brush, Zerostat, strobe, stylus pressure gauge, stylus protractor) to unsure maximum playback quality. Besides, I've become used to the whole "thing" that is inherent in vinyl playback. One thing I've noticed is that many CD releases of LP's do not sound as good as the LP. My rips of those LP's sound a lot better than the commercial CD. So yes, IMO it's worth it.
 
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