Originally Posted by marone
I am listening right now on 668b's to an mp3 320/44.1 rip of the Act's 'Too Late at 20' and before that a rip of the CD of The Woodentops 'Giant'. The rip of the vinyl sounds as I recall the record sounding and the CD rip does not.
The reference memory was of vinyl, so why wouldn't the rip sound like....well, vinyl? I'm not going to bother with the discussion of how auditory memory works...or doesn't.
Originally Posted by marone
Yes, there is no surface noise on the Giant rip but much of the detail, warmth, upper bass, midrange and room behind the instruments is gone. This agrees with the sound of the record and subsequent CD, both of which I owned and compared.
Compare that to an amateur home PC rip on likely a very cheap turntable and needle setup of The Act, which has so much more body to the instruments with internal tonal and harmonic continuity.
In other words the vinyl rip sounds better and more lifelike even though one can hear the surface noise and other vinyl artifacts. Even though the CD was professionally done and the vinyl rip was probably on a $30 rig. Even though the cheap electronics of the vinyl rip chain are obvious, the body of the instruments and sound is simply better.
So, and we've talked about this before, the total path the audio takes to get to your years for the CD vs the vinyl or vinyl rip is different. The people who mastered the CD weren't the same people who mastered the vinyl, and would not have made the same decisions. It may not have even been the same master tape. If you start with the same original tape, and do nothing different in creation of the vinyl and CD master, other than what it normally takes to compensate for the losses in vinyl, you end up with identically sounding vinyl and CDs except for the additional noise and distortion of vinyl. Identical. Not different in any other way. Did I say "identical"? I've done this, twice. When you get the entire process and all systems under control, the vinyl/digital differences vanish except for surface noise, record wear, and tracking related distortion, which on a first play of a new pressing are pretty darn small. All comparisons of vinyl to CD have in common the complete lack of knowledge of the origin of each. Since the creation of the two masters span time and often space, and people, you can be sure there will be differences.
Now, here's the key. A lot of older vinyl was mastered by people who really knew there stuff. A lot of CDs, in the past and today, are mastered by people who either don't know their stuff, or are forced into "competitive" decisions by the producer (or guy writing their check). Yes, in many cases the vinyl sounds better, but it's not because its vinyl. But the important thing here is the vinyl rip, even 16/44.1, will sound indistinguishable from the vinyl, whereas the CD will often sound different. It's true, it's audible, measurable, and not magic. Just be aware of the cause.