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Could crosstalk be what's responsible for vinyl's superior sound?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
Just something that's crossed my mind over the last few days as I put some listening into my new vinyl setup...

I have a few titles on both CD and vinyl, and there's a couple of things that seem to stand out. The first is (a fairly common belief as far as I know) that high frequencies sound more "real"; for example, a cymbal on vinyl doesn't have the harsh peaking sound that it often has on CD, a sound that I find extranious as it calls attention to itself.

The other one is something that I haven't seen anyone mention (I'm sure someone has, but I haven't seen it myself). Studio fades from one channel to the other (left to right, etc) are blatantly obvious on CD; I can literally note the exact moment where the slider hits the midpoint. This isn't a pleasurable sensation; it completely takes away the feeling that I'm listening to music, not the recording engineer. When I listen to it on vinyl, I can certainly tell that the engineer is doing it, but it feels much more natural; there's no "gotcha" moment when I can hear him crossing the midpoint. In other words, it sounds "real" on vinyl and processed on CD.

It seems to me that the crosstalk is probably responsible for the latter effect; some of that "right channel only" information is going to go to the left channel. It makes sense (to me at least) that this could be the reason that a left to right fade (or vice versa) doesn't sound so "hard" on vinyl.

Is it possible that "flaws" like this are what is responsible for vinyl sounding better? In other words, does CD reproduce music too perfectly?
post #2 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by earwicker7 View Post

Is it possible that "flaws" like this are what is responsible for vinyl sounding better? In other words, does CD reproduce music too perfectly?
There is nothing perfect about cd reproduction. The redbook standard is the flawed one and has been from the start. So no, I highly doubt that flaws are why vinyl sounds better. The cd is lacking bits = resolution, especially at high frequencies. Vinyl encodes the exact same analog signal as the original; not an incomplete copy. Despite the higher noise .... vinyl has the more accurate waveform
post #3 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacd lover View Post
There is nothing perfect about cd reproduction. The redbook standard is the flawed one and has been from the start. So no, I highly doubt that flaws are why vinyl sounds better. The cd is lacking bits = resolution, especially at high frequencies. Vinyl encodes the exact same analog signal as the original; not an incomplete copy. Despite the higher noise .... vinyl has the more accurate waveform
The effect I was speaking of (panning from one channel to the other) seems to be the same even on high resolution digital media... my CD player is universal.
post #4 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by earwicker7 View Post
The effect I was speaking of (panning from one channel to the other) seems to be the same even on high resolution digital media... my CD player is universal.
High resolution digital is still an incomplete copy .... although much better.
post #5 of 63
The lousy fades you are hearing are probably the result of remixing, not the format itself. It seems that a lot of reissues go back to the 24 track and recreate mixes using modern equipment. But equipment isn't what makes music sound good... solid engineering by a mixer with skill and taste is.

See ya
Steve
post #6 of 63
Thread Starter 
I think I might not be expressing my idea too well... maybe this will make more sense.

What I'm hearing on CD when it is panned hard left is 100% of the signal in the left channel. On vinyl, I'm guessing 98% of it goes to the left channel and 2% bleeds over into the right channel due to crosstalk.

I think the reason it sounds better is that no sound naturally occurs in just one ear... there's some form of echo or similar stuff that reaches the other ear. I'm just guessing that, in the same way that tube harmonics "sound better" to most people than solid state, this crosstalk sounds better (more natural) than the clinical exactness of digital.
post #7 of 63
I think you're right, in that the inherent flaws of analog reproduction as seen in vinyl tend to make music sound more "musical." The introduction of crossfeed, surface noise, static, etc. can all serve to affect the presentation and make it sort of "larger than life."

In my mind, vinyl sacrifices accuracy for musicality (except where frequency linearity is concerned), which for some people is a fair and desirable trade.
post #8 of 63
That's a hamhanded mixer, earwicker. The idea is to not have jarring all left or all right, and the transition should have "slow ins and slow outs". Channel separation on vinyl is better than you think. You're hearing bad engineering. They're avoiding using multi-generation analogue mixdowns by recreating them from the multi-track master. And they're doing a lousy job of recreating.

See ya
Steve
post #9 of 63
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
That's a hamhanded mixer, earwicker. The idea is to not have jarring all left or all right, and the transition should have "slow ins and slow outs". Channel separation on vinyl is better than you think. You're hearing bad engineering. They're avoiding using multi-generation analogue mixdowns by recreating them from the multi-track master. And they're doing a lousy job of recreating.

See ya
Steve
These are pretty big albums, though... I'm talking about stuff by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Sonic Youth, etc., where it was a HUGE deal when the re-masters came out. I have a hard time believing they'd let the 3rd assistant master something like that
post #10 of 63
It isn't the work of a 3rd assistant. It's a top professional, but it's also someone who never even met the band working on tracks that were laid down when he was a baby. I'm not sure about Pink Floyd or Sonic Youth, but I can tell you for sure that the Led Zeppelin tracks were totally remixed. It's not the same mix on the LP as on the CD. The record companies think you won't notice the difference. They are banking on the new mix to sound so good, you assume that their "restoration to the way it never was" is better than the one that the artists and engineers who recorded the album originally signed off on. An engineer working by himself on a 30 year old album isn't going to have the same fire under him than the guy 30 years earlier sitting on the mixing stage having to please the whole band sitting there judging his mix. Those little details and creative preferences are going to fall through the cracks.

We do have some great advantages today that weren't available in the seventies. Digital allows unlimited numbers of tracks with no generation loss from mixdowns. Digital reverbs are much more flexible than wire reverbs or slapbacks. But the fact remains, you can't change the sound quality without changing the sound. It isn't the same mix any more.

Authenticity is the principle advantage of vinyl over CD, not sound quality. The quality of the mix itself makes more of a difference than the medium used to release it.

See ya
Steve
post #11 of 63
No, I don't believe crosstalk is a reason why vinyl sounds better than cd. There are many carts and arms out there that have different levels of crosstalk and I have never heard it said that one cart is preferable over another because it has more crosstalk and therefore sounds more "vinyl-like".
post #12 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
I can tell you for sure that the Led Zeppelin tracks were totally remixed. It's not the same mix on the LP as on the CD.
See ya
Steve
Please point out the specific tracks you are talking about as far I as know the original versions were transfers from the 2 track master and later versions were done with Jimmy Page and not remixed from the multitracks but from the 2 track master??
Other than SRTS which is clearly stated to be remixed.
post #13 of 63
I have the complete Led Zeppelin boxed set of CDs, and the mixes are quite different from the LPs, particularly with the first few albums. If they aren't remixed from the multitracks, they must have added some sort of weird phase shift or added digital reverbs over the top. The sound is really distant compared to the up front sound of the LPs. The vocals are much less forward and the whole mix is muddier.

See ya
Steve
post #14 of 63
Earwicker7 - There are a number of possible reasons, what Bigshot says is entirely possible. However, there are a number of issues when comparing analogue to digital. One of them is the artifacts of analogue recording, channel compression, crosstalk and reduction of high frequency content. Looking form the digital point of view, these are all errors. However, these "errors" are in quite often pleasing to the ear, resulting in descriptions of analogue sound such as warmer or richer.

From my perspective vinyl is better than CD, for the first few listenings anyway, after this the wear on the vinyl gradually degrades the signal and this is where digital eventually wins out.
post #15 of 63
Wear is not an issue if your stylus isn't worn and your alignment is correct. Records were designed to be played.

I've got records that have been played hundreds and hundreds of times and they still sound new.

See ya
Steve
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