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post #1786 of 2647

After nearly 30 years of digital, I decided to dust off the old records with a vintage Technics SL-20...

 

Neptune shown here, spinning at 33.3 rpm.  Out of this world!

 

post #1787 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post
 

After nearly 30 years of digital, I decided to dust off the old records with a vintage Technics SL-20...

 

Neptune shown here, spinning at 33.3 rpm.  Out of this world!

 

Welcome back to analog! What are your thoughts after 30 years now?

post #1788 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post
 

 

Neptune shown here, spinning at 33.3 rpm.  Out of this world!

 

Such wonderful music. Holst's Neptune is my favorite of the bunch and the XRCD I own is superb, but I really do want it on Vinyl as well.

post #1789 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Welcome back to analog! What are your thoughts after 30 years now?

 

1) No wonder I hated vinyl as a kid.  I had no money for more than a cheap plastic TT that would boom and wow if you so much as sneezed in the same room, and built up enough static to raise the hair on my arms if I got too close to it.  Come to think of it, a TT in a teenager's bedroom that hardly ever sees a broom or a vacuum cleaner... not a great idea.  Those were the days of the Sony Walkman, so I build a cassette collection and consequently invested more in tape decks.  The cassettes are now landfill...

 

The teenage me was clueless on all things vinyl.  Thanks to the Internet, I don't feel at all helpless on things like record care, tracking weight, repairing skipping records.  I have successfully repaired a Brahms LP that was skipping on both sides, whereas a couple of my CDs have skips that I have never been able to get rid of.  I also have a few badly beaten discs on which I want to experiment (for example, I want to try sanding a record http://www.instructables.com/id/Bring-Ruined-Records-Back-to-Life/ at least once).

 

2) I find the little amount of static and dust noise much less disturbing than I used to.  Many people's idea of good sound in the 1980's was "yay cassettes don't scratch and have no clicks and pops" and so what if we have tape hiss, pre-echo and crappy frequency range.  With the better system that I have today*, the clicks and pops don't sound at all like they're part of the music, rather like something completely distinct like a car passing by or rain outside.  And the background tracking noise is nothing compared to tape hiss.

 

3) Love the sound, it's a little warmer than CD's. Currently comparing with Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique (Dutoit/Montreal/Decca), which I happen to own in both formats.  Will post my impressions in a separate post...

 

4) OMG YES YES YES!!! *eargasm*  And by "Yes" I mean the band.  My wife came with a small but nice selection of prog-rock records that basically slept in the basement for two decades.  To my shame, I had not appreciated this fine, fine dowry until this week.

 

* SL-20 → Onkyo receiver, circa 1995 → Polk RTi/A1 (bookshelf) + PSW-10 (sub), or HD-600

post #1790 of 2647

Follow-up to my previous post.  Herein are my impressions comparing three albums which I own in both vinyl and CD: 1) Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique recorded by Dutoit and l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Decca, 1985); 2) Grease original motion picture soundtrack; and 3) U2 War.

 

 

 

About me

 

I'm not a vinyl freak, nor a digital one.  I'm just a music lover who wants to be able to enjoy the music he has, on vinyl or digital support.  I also see a lot of records in garage sales and used stores that can be had really, really cheap; I'd like to buy lots and lots of those and get as much listening pleasure from them as much as I do from CDs, for a little less money.

 

 

Facing off...

 

Technics SL-20 (bought at used record store, new stylus) vs. Onkyo DX-C220 (a 6-disc changer, bought new in the late 1990's).  A bit of an unfair fight, it seems (entry-level turntable vs. mid-fi CD player).  Then again, some would say the SL-20 was entry-level in price only.  Anyhow, it's what I've got.

 

For direct comparison, I drop down the needle and immediately hit Play on the CD, so that both sources are playing at the same time.  Then I can swich the receiver between CD and Phono.  I need to adjust the volume to compensate for the weaker signal from the TT.  Sometimes I also listen to an entire song/movement, and listen to the same from the other source.

 

 

The turntable is too fast!

 

This is the first thing I notice right out of the gate.  I don't have any strobe marks or anything fancy to measure speed, but I do have my ears; I turn the speed adjustment screw until CD and record sound at the same pitch.  That was easy!

 

Later on, I notice that the CD finishes the first movement ahead by a few seconds.  A little extra tweak at the speed screw later, and it's the turntable that is faster by a second or two.  I decide that I'm happy enough, as my ears can't tell a difference.  The math agrees with me: 2 fewer seconds on a 25-minute record side = 0.13% faster speed (and therefore sound frequency), or A = 440.6 Hz.  Peanuts.

 

 

Dynamic range

 

A strict comparison tells me that the CD wins this one easily.  Wipes the floor with the record (do not literally do this at home).  In soft passages, I only need to adjust the volume pot by about an hour (e.g. from 9 to 10 o'clock) to get the same volume from the turntable.  But when things get loud, the difference is 2 to 3 hours.  Or, to put it in another way: If I don't adjust the volume at all, soft passages sound almost the same level on vinyl as on CD, but loud ones sound "in your face" (CD) versus "not enough" (vinyl).

 

Then again...

 

If I let go of the direct comparison and listen for a long time, the vinyl's DR is perfectly satisfactory to me.  Wheras the CD can sound exaggerated.  Yes, it's spectacular, but would you ever hear this from a live orchestra?  Moreover, I don't always want a huge dynamic range because it demands a pristine listening environment.  If someone in the house is flushing the toilet downstairs, I won't be able to hear most of the "Scène aux champs" (third movement of the Fantastique) on the CD unless the volume is high enough to crack open the wall joints with the fortissimo passages.

 

Still... Winner: CD

 

 

Detail retrieval

 

For the life of me I can't hear a difference.  Whatever I hear on CD, I hear it on the record.  For those of you who have done A/B comparisons, you know how you hear new things the second time you listen, only to find that those things were also there the first time, you were just paying attention to something else?  This is happening to me whether I listen to CD or to vinyl first.

 

Winner: none

 

 

Sound signature

 

To me the vinyl sound is very slightly V-shaped compared to CD.  Sometimes I wish the vinyl's midrange was a little more forward.  However, this is more than compensated for by the melt-in-your-mouth bass.  Maybe it's a synergy with the subwoofer thing.  Can't get enough of that doo-wop rhythm section in Grease.  Seems like the SL-20 and the PSW-10 sub (both entry-level components, lest we forget!) are in love like Donny and Sandy...

 

Winner: Vinyl

 

 

Musicality

 

When I was a teenager, I knew a vinyl enthusiast who swore he would never ever go digital because the zeroes and ones chopped the music into tiny pieces and killed the soul out of the music.  You know the kind I'm talking about.  I'm now convinced that this is a load of BS.  I find U2's Drowning Man just as immersive (or should I say submersive?) on CD as on record.  And everything else, too.  I get what really counts, the pleasure, the goosebumps, the smiles, the unconscious foot-tapping, from both sources.

 

This is where the unfair advantage I mentioned above might come into play: My CD setup (matching Onkyo receiver + changer) is a tad on the warm side and "sings" very well compared to other equipment I've heard.

 

Winner: none

 

 

Conclusion

 

My overall preference for each of the three albums:

 

For Berlioz, the CD wins thanks to its dynamic range.  A tad exaggerated, but it really brings out the heat in the Montreal players' performance.

 

For Greasevinyl is the winner for the flavour in the bass and the oomph in the kick drum.  I'm thirsty for an ice cream & soda float just listening to it.

 

For U2, we have a tie.  This is the album where I noticed the least difference.  Fun, effortless listening in either case.

 

Let me hasten to add that these "wins" are very narrow.  I still like Grease on CD (it brings out the midrange details a little more) and the Berlioz record (for the more natural dynamics) and will spin them once in a while.

 

I'm very happy with these results as they show me that this 

Quote:
 Average Blue Collar Joe & Jane with Above Average Sensibilities for good music playback

... can get as much enjoyment from vinyl as he does from CDs, and therefore can rummage through garage sales/record shops without worrying about compromising on sound quality, and without the maintenance/setup headaches that I had as a kid.  On the other hand, they tell me that my CD collection is very much worth keeping.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Benoit


Edited by Delirious Lab - 11/1/13 at 7:58pm
post #1791 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post
 

Follow-up to my previous post.  Herein are my impressions comparing the Vinyl and CD versions of Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique recorded by Dutoit and l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Decca, 1985).  I will update this post from time to time.

 

 

 

The setup

 

Technics SL-20 vs. Onkyo DX-C220 (a 6-disc changer, bought new in the late 1990's).  A bit of an unfair fight, it seems (entry-level turntable vs. mid-fi CD player).  Then again, some would say the SL-20 was entry-level in price only.  Anyhow, it's what I've got.

 

I drop down the needle and immediately hit Play on the CD, so that both sources are playing at the same time.  Then I can swich the receiver between CD and Phono.  I need to adjust the volume to compensate for the weaker signal from the TT.

 

 

The turntable is too fast!

 

This is the first thing I notice right out of the gate.  I don't have any strobe marks or anything fancy to measure speed, but I do have my ears; I turn the speed adjustment screw until CD and record sound at the same pitch.  That was easy!

 

Later on, I notice that the CD finishes the first movement ahead by a few seconds.  A little extra tweak at the speed screw later, and it's the turntable that is faster by a second or two.  I decide that I'm happy enough, as my ears can't tell a difference.  The math agrees with me: 2 fewer seconds on a 25-minute record side = 0.13% faster speed (and therefore sound frequency), or A = 440.6 Hz.  Peanuts.

 

 

Dynamic range

 

A strict comparison tells me that the CD wins this one easily.  Wipes the floor with the record (do not literally do this at home).  In soft passages, I only need to adjust the volume pot by about an hour (e.g. from 9 to 10 o'clock) to get the same volume from the turntable.  But when things get loud, the difference is 2 to 3 hours.  Or, to put it in another way: If I don't adjust the volume at all, soft passages sound almost the same level on vinyl as on CD, but loud ones sound "in your face" (CD) versus "not enough" (vinyl).

 

Then again...

 

If I let go of the direct comparison and listen for a long time, the vinyl's DR is perfectly satisfactory to me.  Wheras the CD can sound exaggerated.  Yes, it's spectacular, but would you ever hear this from a live orchestra?  Moreover, I don't always want a huge dynamic range because it demands a pristine listening environment.  If someone in the house is flushing the toilet downstairs, I won't be able to hear most of the "Scène aux champs" (third) movement on the CD unless the volume is high enough to crack open the wall joints with the fortissimo passages.

 

Call it a toss-up so far...

 

This post will get longer, more impressions to come (but for now I need a change of music).  Stay tuned!

This is a great post - congrats. It gives much needed perspective to the potential vynil (re)adopters.

 

One CAVEAT : although this Fantastique is good ( I like Dutoit & Co, did atend the concert they were playing in my home town ), it is a DIGITAL recording. And as such not particularly useful for vinyl vs CD comparisons. Your "dowry" Yes LPs ( if you were not unfortunate enough your better half got digitally remastered versions ) would be immensely more suitable for this task. Classical analog recordings even more so.

 

And, naturally, welcome back in analog waters !

post #1792 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

This is a great post - congrats. It gives much needed perspective to the potential vynil (re)adopters.

 

One CAVEAT : although this Fantastique is good ( I like Dutoit & Co, did atend the concert they were playing in my home town ), it is a DIGITAL recording. And as such not particularly useful for vinyl vs CD comparisons. Your "dowry" Yes LPs ( if you were not unfortunate enough your better half got digitally remastered versions ) would be immensely more suitable for this task. Classical analog recordings even more so.

 

And, naturally, welcome back in analog waters !

+1 Excellent post! I am glad to see your perspective toward vinyl has changed over time for the better. I remember my uncle telling me something very similar to yours.. something about having dust bunnies on the stylus and toting around a TT briefcase, only to come back a few decades later with a nice Marantz table reliving his vinyl collection he had collecting dust in the attic. He has a killer classic rock collection that makes me drool. He didn't have cassettes back then, until 8-tracks came and went, so i see why he amassed alot of vinyl vs. tapes.

post #1793 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

This is a great post - congrats. It gives much needed perspective to the potential vynil (re)adopters.

 

One CAVEAT : although this Fantastique is good ( I like Dutoit & Co, did atend the concert they were playing in my home town ), it is a DIGITAL recording. And as such not particularly useful for vinyl vs CD comparisons. Your "dowry" Yes LPs ( if you were not unfortunate enough your better half got digitally remastered versions ) would be immensely more suitable for this task. Classical analog recordings even more so.

 

And, naturally, welcome back in analog waters !

 

Thanks for the caveat.  Yes, I know I have a digital Fantastique and I'm only comparing the playback.  Oh, and I just remembered I also have U2 War in both formats... and the Grease soundtrack.

 

Now playing: Cluytens taking his time with Beethoven.  Fantastic 1950's stereo.  The lower strings and timbani are like butter, I tell you.


Edited by Delirious Lab - 11/1/13 at 11:07am
post #1794 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

+1 Excellent post! I am glad to see your perspective toward vinyl has changed over time for the better. I remember my uncle telling me something very similar to yours.. something about having dust bunnies on the stylus and toting around a TT briefcase, only to come back a few decades later with a nice Marantz table reliving his vinyl collection he had collecting dust in the attic. He has a killer classic rock collection that makes me drool. He didn't have cassettes back then, until 8-tracks came and went, so i see why he amassed alot of vinyl vs. tapes.

It is only ( very deceitful ) calm before the biggest vinyl storm that is beyond imagination for most :wink_face:.

 

I know that what we are getting out of vinyl at present is only the tip of the iceberg. Yet, I am realistical enough to see the level as attained and described by Delirius Lab is much more representative of what reasonable non-audio-maniacs are likely to achieve and enjoy. That is why I found his/hers? post so positive.

 

My quest is ultimately to bring the level of vinyl replay that is currently not attainable at any cost to the price level Average Blue Collar Joe & Jane with Above Average Sensibilities for good music playback might still find reasonable to ultimately obtain. In automotive terms - car better than say top Mercedes/Ferrari/Rolls Royce for the price of a fully loaded VW Golf. And with user friendly operation to boot ...

post #1795 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

It is only ( very deceitful ) calm before the biggest vinyl storm that is beyond imagination for most :wink_face:.

 

I know that what we are getting out of vinyl at present is only the tip of the iceberg. Yet, I am realistical enough to see the level as attained and described by Delirius Lab is much more representative of what reasonable non-audio-maniacs are likely to achieve and enjoy. That is why I found his/hers? post so positive.

 

My quest is ultimately to bring the level of vinyl replay that is currently not attainable at any cost to the price level Average Blue Collar Joe & Jane with Above Average Sensibilities for good music playback might still find reasonable to ultimately obtain. In automotive terms - car better than say top Mercedes/Ferrari/Rolls Royce for the price of a fully loaded VW Golf. And with user friendly operation to boot ...

Where do i sign up?

:beerchug:

post #1796 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Delirious Lab View Post
 

 

Thanks for the caveat.  Yes, I know I have a digital Fantastique and I'm only comparing the playback.  Oh, and I just remembered I also have U2 War in both formats...

 

Now playing: Cluytens taking his time with Beethoven.  Fantastic 1950's stereo.  The lower strings and timbani are like butter, I tell you.

Great. Enjoy. Those early stereo recordings are in some ways unsurpassed by anything commercially available - to this very day.

post #1797 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Where do i sign up?

:beerchug:

Let's say that I finally got together the long sought after and elusive right stones for the mosaique.

 

It is still LOOOOOOONG way from a finished product, but now I at least know which stones definitely must not be left out.

 

And the place is - right here !:beerchug:

post #1798 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

Let's say that I finally got together the long sought after and elusive right stones for the mosaique.

 

It is still LOOOOOOONG way from a finished product, but now I at least know which stones definitely must not be left out.

 

And the place is - right here !:beerchug:

I'll be keeping my eyes glued to this thread then! I have been seriously considering going this route, but something homebrew from someone passionate as yourself definitely has me reconsidering. :D 

post #1799 of 2647
Quote:

Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

 

 

 

Let's say that I finally got together the long sought after and elusive right stones for the mosaique.

 

 

It is still LOOOOOOONG way from a finished product, but now I at least know which stones definitely must not be left out.

 

And the place is - right here !:beerchug:

 

:thumb: There you have it, folks! The Queue starts right here...

post #1800 of 2647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent One View Post
 

 

:thumb: There you have it, folks! The Queue starts right here...

I'm first, so no butting in line SO! :wink_face:

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