Analog tape and vinyl of 60s are OK and in a way better than what you can use today. Regarding mics and cutters I would not be so sure.
What was meant with more problematic was this : in lots of analog masters for the LP or analog master tape themselves a certain degree of compression had to be used in order to squeeze the lenght of the programe on disc and/or make it playable by majority of likely players. If you play records from 60s with an player that is not limited in dynamic range too much, it will reveal these shortcomings - it will not explode in the room with sound the way a really good uncompressed recording would. Wish vinyl was not so limited in bass and not so hard to record in treble - just take a look at the requirements for the master tape meant for LP by any of the firms still doing analog disc mastering and you will understand. It really does take great skill and experience to put anything approaching the dynamic range of digital, let alone feed from the mike as in direct to disc, on the actual vinyl record. It was only with the introduction of the latest generation of cutter heads by Neumann and Ortofon cooled with gas that became possible to put high frequency signals on disc comparable to those found on analog master tape. Those appeared at the end of 70s/begin 80s and although are far better than their predecessors, that does not preclude the possibility of making excellent recordings/masters with them - if not too much HF energy for therm is present, in hands of a skilled operator they can be every bit as good as those made with the latest generation of cutterheads.
Tape from the 60s has held over time rather well - not something that can be said about their sucessors that could take much higher level signals when new, enabling better signal to noise ratio - only to deteriorate with intervening years sometimes to totally unusable condition; in worst case they phisically fall to pieces - game over.
Basically - I will try to find any possible flaw in anything - not for discrediting it, but for finding ways to improve upon something that already has great qualities to begin with. You should always read my posts with this in mind - if and when I am lukewarm or silent about it, it is usually because I feel it would not be worth -.This analog horse is still well alive and kicking, only I feel a new "horseshoe" etc is perhaps in order to keep it competitive for long time to come.
Intersting, while attending the demonstration of the then new Quiex sv http://www.classicrecords.com/blog/ record at the audio fair in Milan, Italy approx 10 years ago, there was quite a fierce opposition from the "analog camp" - the dynamic range, bass extension and channel separation of these LPs was too close to digital for their preconceptions as to what analog should sound like ! IMHO an engineer working with master tape and trying to get his/hers pressed LP as close as humanly possible to the master tape is better suited to judge if he has suceeded or not. I never heard a master tape in home, only a few times in studio - and it is usually quite different/better from the LP issued - ( but not always - half speed mastering in particular can improve above master tape ). In this view, reaction of listeners used to normal vinyl is quite understandable - but you should not praise something for its actual weaknesses.
With increased quality, both analog and digital should start approaching the same sound - each from another side, but if properly done, clearly pointing at meeting at the same point in hopefully not too distant future. If it starts diverging, this is clear indication something went wrong. Each has its own set of streghts and weaknesesses - and I will try my best to help either to get nearer to that goal.
Because music is what matters in the end - and its message is sometimes so sublime and fragile that can be all too easily mangled by technicalities.
I hope we will reach that level where this mangling to technical reasons will be more of a rare fluke than regular occurence ASAP.
I've done those comparisons of an analog master uncompressed acoustic recording vs vinyl on top kit and I think you'd be surprised as well. The problem is that most turntable/cartridge/phono stage combos do have a lot of coloration and some compresion but that's not a format comparison. It becomes a kit/cartidge loading comparison. PM me an email and I'll send you a couple tracks of a 60s classical vinyl 192 rip.
Edited by goodvibes - 1/14/13 at 11:45am