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Analog(ue) Again?
Old 29th April 2020
  #1
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Analog(ue) Again?

I remember when CD's were first a big deal and Billy Joel's Turnstiles was released and some very knowing folks played it at a high end store in the Danbury, CT, area and pronounced it amazing. Then about ten years later the same group of very knowing folks listened to the same recording, this time on a new LP, and pronounced it amazing. Each review also condemned the previous method. First CD's were clearly superior, then LP's were clearly superior.

And there is a lot of snake oil in this racket. Shun Mook is what always leaps to my feeble mind (http://shunmook.com/explained.html) and I have heard the Shun Mook discs demonstrated at a audiiophile show. Meh. I see in the New York Times that there is a fresh assault on the purses of the pursuers of perfection: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/a...-co-vinyl.html

Check it out.
Old 29th April 2020
  #2
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loujudson's Avatar
Only one of their Lps did not sell out: The one priced at $3,700. Even 'Phools have their limits!

These guys have a cool hobby, wonder if it makes a profit. They should take out ads on Bosch® on Amazon!

(If you don't know yet, he's the cop who has a MacIntosh system to play vintage jazz Lps on)

<https://www.reddit.com/r/BoschTV/comments/bijajy/ever_wonder_about_boschs_vintage_vacuumtube/>
Old 29th April 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
Buying those LPs could be the ultimate act of nostalgia, nothing worse (nor harmful) than that ? Even though they're ostensibly using the same disc cutting hardware as the mid 60's, I doubt very much if the vinyl is made of the same components as 'back then' ....but, was it even batch-consistent back then ? Maybe it's engineered to be quieter now. If the current pressing sounds as good as a mint pressing did back then, maybe it's worth the money ...to the buyer ?

I'm a big fan of bespoke bicycle wheels and unbridled esoteric high-order craftsmanship, so I tips me hat to 'im

"There are those who worship loneliness, I'm not one of them,
In this age of fiberglass I'm searching for a gem" ...Bob Dylan, 'Dirge', 1973
Old 29th April 2020
  #4
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boojum's Avatar
I've every LP I ever bought, back to a London mono with Le Corsaire by Berlioz and some others on it. That was in '53 or '54. I do not miss LP's: warping, wow, flutter, rumble, surface noise and the fact that every play wears them just a bit more. I've a couple of cheap turntables and a very nice Signet cartridge. But the ritual before playing, and the gadgets and jimcracks are not missed. But somewhere I have one of those stiff bristle short hair record cleaning brushes still, I suppose micro-fiber would be the better now.

And I can rip CD's and put them on my computer. I tried it with LP's and half the time it did not work.
Old 29th April 2020
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
I've every LP I ever bought, back to a London mono with Le Corsaire by Berlioz and some others on it. That was in '53 or '54. I do not miss LP's: warping, wow, flutter, rumble, surface noise and the fact that every play wears them just a bit more. I've a couple of cheap turntables and a very nice Signet cartridge. But the ritual before playing, and the gadgets and jimcracks are not missed. But somewhere I have one of those stiff bristle short hair record cleaning brushes still, I suppose micro-fiber would be the better now.

And I can rip CD's and put them on my computer. I tried it with LP's and half the time it did not work.
I bet if I'd asked you in 1981 about the drawbacks of vinyl you wouldn't have listed those same criteria...depending one how well you'd maintained your record collection, turntable, cartridge/stylus and tonearm ? If you had invested a wise modicum of money and research into competent record playing hardware back then you'd have likely revelled in pretty good sound....all the while oblivious to the 'perfect sound forever' promise of CD, set to emerge just 2 or 3 years later...

My point being, you're using the convenient filter of history to highlight vinyl's shortcomings, relative to CD's advantages. Maybe the music afficionadoes of 2030 will look down condescendingly at the 'laughably compromised limitations' of CD, low bitrate downloads, mp3's etc of the first 2 decades of the 2000's ?

There will always be lines to drawn in the sand: old/bad, new/good
Old 29th April 2020
  #6
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Old 29th April 2020
  #7
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It's not just a debate about delivery formats; there are still some disciples of analogue at the recording stage. I recently watched a 30-minute documentary film about the recording engineer Julie McLarnon, who still records to tape (but delivers on Spotify as well as vinyl):

https://www.juliemclarnon.com/

Here's her personal statement: "I predominantly use technology from 1976 - 1986 because this provides the best tool box for making exciting records. The right balance of options and limitations. Limitations force innovation. Limitation, focus and pressure are vital ingredients in creative growth.

Analogue recording requires session planning and 100% focus, but it's an exhilarating process which comes together at lightning speed. After 30 years in professional studios I know how to really manipulate the gear creatively. I'm still in constant passionate pursuit of beautiful sonic art, always in service to the song. Always a free thinking sonic artist pushing the musicians to be bigger, brighter versions of themselves, wanting them to dazzle and surprise their listeners.

Everything about the analogue environment is inspirational and conducive to creativity; even a mistake or problem can become an opportunity to think well and truly outside of the box. The screen-less environment allows everyone to fully focus on the music and achieve their potential. I choose to work to an Otari MTR-90 tape machine because it has the best transport system. That means that I can correct little mistakes seamlessly - I'm able to drop in a note or a word without anyone ever knowing it wasn't a one take wonder.

Music is a very connective art-form, yet the art of making records has been hijacked by corrective technology that removes the human aspects, and too often leaves the listener with an over produced-sounding, predictable listening experience. Stuff that's too controlled just washes over me, it's more like Muzak than music. We're in an age when Spotify are accused of making their own faux artists, so making records that stand out as being full of emotional energy and bursting with real creative excitement is truly important.

As a producer most of my work is done before the mix stage. I discuss the feel and the end mix in pre-production and make sure that I get it right to tape. My recordings don't need any mix miracles - in fact they are very easy to mix."
Old 29th April 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I bet if I'd asked you in 1981 about the drawbacks of vinyl you wouldn't have listed those same criteria...depending one how well you'd maintained your record collection, turntable, cartridge/stylus and tonearm ? If you had invested a wise modicum of money and research into competent record playing hardware back then you'd have likely revelled in pretty good sound....all the while oblivious to the 'perfect sound forever' promise of CD, set to emerge just 2 or 3 years later...

My point being, you're using the convenient filter of history to highlight vinyl's shortcomings, relative to CD's advantages. Maybe the music afficionadoes of 2030 will look down condescendingly at the 'laughably compromised limitations' of CD, low bitrate downloads, mp3's etc of the first 2 decades of the 2000's ?

There will always be lines to drawn in the sand: old/bad, new/good
Sorry, but this is nonsense! In the 60's 70's and 80's I was always aware of the surface noise, distortions, and wow etc., exhibited in LP's. Of course they were a big step up from the old 78's but it was only in the era of digital and the CD that we had the pretty much perfect media. And it has got even better since then.
Old 29th April 2020
  #9
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Just looking at my dusty (but pricey), seldom used turntable and had a flash to something that happened the other day.

I was listening to an album from the 1970s that I know very well. It was coming off a HDD on my home network. Sounded fine. But there is a place on the "album" where I used to need to get up off my butt and go over to my trusty Thorens TD125 (in the day) and turn the LP over. My sense of needing to get up and "do something" when that part of the music came on was jaw dropping. The trigger from the old days was strong, to say the least.

I didn't get up.

D.
Old 29th April 2020
  #10
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i'd rather get the newflew19 than going back to ANY of the previous methods of storing music! i'm quite glad that i can have an all-digital signal path from mics to speakers and i don't need tube-gear or 33's to warm my house or soul either...
Old 29th April 2020
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Just looking at my dusty (but pricey), seldom used turntable and had a flash to something that happened the other day.

I was listening to an album from the 1970s that I know very well. It was coming off a HDD on my home network. Sounded fine. But there is a place on the "album" where I used to need to get up off my butt and go over to my trusty Thorens TD125 (in the day) and turn the LP over. My sense of needing to get up and "do something" when that part of the music came on was jaw dropping. The trigger from the old days was strong, to say the least.

I didn't get up.

D.
now we set timers on our comps or phones to walk around every 30 mins...!
Old 29th April 2020
  #12
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i'd rather get the newflew19 than going back to ANY of the previous methods of storing music! i'm quite glad that i can have an all-digital signal path from mics to speakers and i don't need tube-gear or 33's to warm my house or soul either...
Hah, we have so much in common. I am not interested in short record sides, pops or the risk of scratches either. While back in the day I loved the rituals of cleaning, playing, and carefully storing my records, I don't miss it at all.
Old 29th April 2020
  #13
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Plush's Avatar
I have followed the Electric Recording Company for some years. A very passionate fellow runs the company. Audiophiles are also very passionate.

His mastering machine is a tweaked and rebuilt Lyrec tape recorder of very high quality.

But what of the master tape from the 1950's??

The master tape from that era offers little more than the equivalent of 11 bit performance. The master also has strict control of dynamic range built in already as a part of the sound. Turntables of that era were not good at tracking the LP.

So a compromised start for the project.

That is not to say that quality is lacking. I bet the proprietor turns out a beautiful package.

Then his website says: "Only 300 copies of each will be sold.
ERC will not undertake a repress of any release at any future point."

This limited edition is satisfactory for the audiophile who wants to be part of an exclusive club. But he never did hear the master tape.

Indeed the audiophile is deluded----imagining himself a vital and critical part of the creative team merely because he chose a certain collection of gear used at home for reproduction.

Last edited by Plush; 29th April 2020 at 11:01 PM..
Old 29th April 2020
  #14
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Apt.
Attached Thumbnails
Analog(ue) Again?-vinyl-new-yorker.jpg  
Old 29th April 2020
  #15
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ROTFSC
Old 30th April 2020
  #16
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What did record companies do with the stampers or mother plates? If there is a medium stored somewhere in between the master tape (which might now be sticky etc) and the vinyl, that would seem to me a better choice with respect to preserving original fidelity.

Like if Blue Note could simply stamp more vinyl of a title nearly identicle to the first pressing, without even taking the master tape out of storage, that would seem preferable to me. Maybe they do and I'm not aware?
Old 30th April 2020
  #17
I used to cut laquers. It was a failed exercise in preserving that master tape sound. Scrape, groove modulation, inner track THD and all those clicks and pops made it futile. Add 5 generations removed from the master tapes and you only get a partial of the original mix.

Well cut CD's over sampled at 384k into a high end DAC is another story altogether. I hear stuff I never heard on the vinyl releases. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
Old 30th April 2020
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leddy View Post
What did record companies do with the stampers or mother plates?
They used them to make records. That is, they wore them out then they threw them away. Maybe recycled them? Who knows?

What would you do with a worn out stamper if you had one? It's a negative of an LP, so the information is in the peaks, not the valleys. Unplayable I would think.

OTOH, I do have an ancient platter showing the results of a hard drive head crash. It's a drive from the late 1970s -- bigger than an LP, held a whopping 10 Mb (that's an 'M', not a 'G'). The head crash turned it into an expensive piece of scrap metal, but when I pulled it all apart (curious bugger, I was) I found the platter itself looked quite a lot like an LP (the crashed head had carved quite a wide variety of new grooves in the formerly near-mirror-finish-smooth platter). Which is why I kept it. It may have been the last time digital looked so much like analog.
Old 30th April 2020
  #19
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The amazing thing about the resurgence of vinyl is that a lot of people buying these records are buying them (and turntables) just for decoration; they never actually listen to them. Estimates vary but I've seen claims that from 35% to 50% of records sold are never played.

There was a fascinating article in Granta magazine in February 2017 that goes into some of the statistics (you can read an excerpt at the link below; unfortunately the full article is behind a paywall; the issue is available on Google Play Books for about $13):

https://granta.com/vinyl-road-trip/

Some key excerpts:

"In 2006, 900,000 records were sold in the USA. There was a slight rise to a million the following year; and then something happened. Every couple of years or so, the figure would double, so that by 2015, nearly twelve million records were sold, a rise of just under three million over 2014."

In the article there's an interview with Steve Sheldon of Rainbo Records in L.A., who said his company (in 2015) was currently pressing an average of 140,000 vinyl albums every week. It's kind of mind-blowing.
Old 30th April 2020
  #20
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boojum's Avatar
I had forgotten about the pinching on the inner grooves which would limit high frequency sound reproduction and had to be compensated for. Sound levels had to be lower on the inner grooves for the same reason. In retrospect there were more trade-offs than in digital. The dynamic range is so increased and the pinch effect is gone. The sound is clearer. And the RE on the mixing board does not need that notebook full of session settings. All you need do is call up the project on your DAW and the settings are there. The "better past" is a fantasy. And that analog(ue) hardware, too. Just go back to the Stereophile challenge. Bob Carver made his modified amp sound as good as the amp Stereophile brought to the show. Which begs the question, why listen to inferior gear? The best transistor gear is as good as the best tube gear. And there is no problem with weakening and gassy tubes.

These high priced LP's would delight Thorsten Veblen and bolster his theory of "Conspicuous Consumption."

https://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge

https://www.bobcarvercorp.com/carver-challenge
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Nobody uses the hardware, but there's still curiosity about the emulations...this one won't break the bank: https://youtu.be/Y87QhR04Btw
https://gumroad.com/pasttofuturereverbs#nxhkZ
https://soundcloud.com/pasttofuturer...rder-irs-demos
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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loujudson's Avatar
You can get it all with this!

<https://www.izotope.com/en/products/vinyl.html>

and free.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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From a studio, rather than a live recording, perspective...Glyn Johns has some firm ideas about the process of overdubbing...particularly when it involves more than 16 tracks : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge28VPi8Z_A
...from 28:00 to 35.30

As I said in post#5, we all tend to draw lines in the sand...

There's quite the treasure trove of live and studio reminiscences here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCky...GSxgoPQ/videos
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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"For One Night Only":
Paul Gambaccini revisits life changing concerts turned into legendary live albums.

Keith Jarrett, Simon and Garfunkel, Berlioz, Britten, BB King, The Weavers, Bernstein, Miles Davis, Horowitz, Elvis, Flanders and Swann, Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, Bing, Rostropovich, The Who...etc etc...fun for children of all ages:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/b007x9kq?page=1

Off topic ? Probably all recorded on analoog tape...and then released on that awful vinyl LP
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
I've every LP I ever bought, back to a London mono with Le Corsaire by Berlioz and some others on it. That was in '53 or '54. I do not miss LP's: warping, wow, flutter, rumble, surface noise and the fact that every play wears them just a bit more. I've a couple of cheap turntables and a very nice Signet cartridge. But the ritual before playing, and the gadgets and jimcracks are not missed. But somewhere I have one of those stiff bristle short hair record cleaning brushes still, I suppose micro-fiber would be the better now.

And I can rip CD's and put them on my computer. I tried it with LP's and half the time it did not work.
When I was a lad of about 14, I hired LPs from the local library, all varieties of composers and pieces. I used to go there straight from school, which was quite a trek.

One particular LP I hired week after week was a recording of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. I had listened to a lot of jazz and big band recordings prior to this (still do) but it became a revelation to me.

Now why am I writing this? Oh! Yes.

The disc was full of plops and surface noise. Quite some time later I decided to buy the disc myself and have my own copy. When I got it there were no clicks or plops on it (if you wanted any you had to make your own!)

I missed the clicks and plops to the extent that the disc did not have quite the same effect on me. The predictability of library LP with its clicks and pops had become a bit like Uncle Buck's car, with its bad case of pre-ignition, from which you could predict the timing of the backfire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFoY6B6mY8

I've always wondered if this might have added to the nostalgia aspect of LPs, but it also taught me that if you play music which is not that great often enough, it might start to grow on the non too discerning listener.

Repetition (airtime) is, possibly, the salesman's friend.

Last edited by Geoff Poulton; 4 weeks ago at 06:41 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
When I released a vinyl album back in the 1980's I would play them once and give them away. They never sounded as good on the second play.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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tourtelot's Avatar
I used to take new LPs that I got from a friend, the CE at WBLS in New York (that station didn't play 80's rock ) and immediately dub them over to 90 minute cassettes on my carefully aligned and maintained Sony TC153SD machine. They sounded fine and I didn't need to flip LPs. Lazy technology.

D.

Last edited by tourtelot; 4 weeks ago at 06:32 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
I used to take new LPs that I got from a friend, the CE at WBLS in New York (that station didn't play 80's rock ) and immediately dub them over to 90 minute cassettes on my carefully aligned and maintained Sony TC153SD machine. They sounded fine and I didn't need to flip LPs. Lazy technology.

D.
I've heard of another fellow who would tape his first play LP's as you did.

Running semi-precious or precious pin shaped stone over plastic is bound to cause some wear. And considering the contact point the PSI was horrendous. Nevertheless there were some great recordings. Victory at Sea springs to mind. But the mechanical problems were inescapable. The first hearing of a CD with its greater dynamic range and no mechanical noises was startling. It's called progress.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boojum View Post
The first hearing of a CD with its greater dynamic range and no mechanical noises was startling. It's called progress.
The first crop of pop CDs were pretty underwhelming, regression....with the record companies sourcing 'master tapes' which were more like 'subsistence farmer serf' tapes...ie often cassette duplication masters, umpteenth generations down from anything like the 1st gen LP stamper. Then they got better, once those sleazy practices were called out. Now pop CDs (wait, they don't make em any more !) are ultra loud, fatiguing, minimal dynamic range. The CD era in the middle....not too bad.

I'm not referring to classical releases....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
DAH
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Dsd. Depth and space and timbre accuracy of analogue and dynamic range and lossless transferability of digital.
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