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Newbie thoughts on analog sound (vinyl)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello there! 

 

I recently finished buying all the components for my home setup: A JVC QL-A5 direct drive turntable (vintage) with a very crappy "Le.son LM 180C" cartridge (that I will replace in the near future), a very nice NIKKO STA 7070 speaker amp (almost perfect condition), a DVD player that I use to play CDs (with very good SQ) and the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 Ohm.

 

My thoughts on vinyl are somewhat mixed. I have 15 LP records but I want to discuss something about these: "In The Court Of The Crimson King" by King Crimson (original US 1969 copy, very good + condition), "Innervisions" by Stevie Wonder (original 1973 Tamla copy, near mint condition), "The Turn Of A Friendly Card" by The Alan Parsons Project (original 1980, german copy, very good + condition) and "Spiral" by Vangelis (original 1977 french copy, good + condition).

 

The first of these that I listened was "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and I was shocked at how bad it sounded. At first I thought that it was because of the cartridge, but then I started listening to other LPs and I noticed that it wasn't the only reason. The record was originally released in the UK by Island Records, but I have the US copy released by Atlantic Records and I've heard that that lable is known for using crappy PVC to print LPs. Maybe that is one reason, maybe it was dirty too, but IDK because everything was distorted in the upper frequencies and on dynamic passages. Then I listened to the original french copy of "Spiral" by Vangelis, (the LP disk has a lot of marcs and scratches). Oh my god! It sounded incredible! The only problem was excessive background noise, but there was no distortion whatsoever although it was heavily damaged. Then I listened to "The Turn Of A Friendly Card" by APP and the sound quality was 1000 times superior than CD. Then I realized it was a german copy of the album. Then, after all this, I listened to "Innervisions" which is a near mint copy and I wasn't impressed at all (it was very good, but not nearly as good as the APP album).

 

What did I make from all this? I think that depending on the country in which the album was pressed, the quality will be better or worse. All my albums are US copies except "The Turn Of A Friendly Card", "Spiral" and "Peter Gabriel (1)" and I can say that all three sounded a lot better than the others.

 

Well, finally I concluded that vinyl is superior than CD (even while using a crappy cartridge). All vinyl records that I listened to have been previously heard on CD, so I have some kind of confirmation. The biggest difference between lps and cds IMO is that vinyl has a much larger soundstage which made the DT 880 sound amazingly clear and focused (although analog is known for that laid-back treble). CDs on the other hand are very clear sounding but the bass is not that tight and controlled and the soundstage is quite smaller; I find it harder to imagine the placement of the instruments with CDs. For your information, I listened to all analog and digital recordings through the same amp and with the same headphone. Besides, the turntable circuits are somewhat rusty, whereas the DVD player is completely new, and its RCA cables are new as well.

 

Ok I don't know if you agree or you don't, but feel free to post your opinion if you so desire. I'd like to hear everyone's point of view.

 

Regards!

 

PD: excuse me if my english is not perfect, I'm not a native speaker

post #2 of 7

Did you spend any time confirming the set up of the tone arm and cartridge before using the table?  If things are pretty far out it could give different results on different albums.

post #3 of 7

It is well known that CDs and LPs are mastered differently, which is usually responsible for the "better" sound of the latter, rather than the format. Unfortunately, popular music sold on CDs is often subject to heavy dynamic compression, and is optimized for playback on lo-fi gear in noisy environments. However, this is done because of marketing, rather than technical reasons. The CD format itself is perfectly fine for high quality music distribution, and if an LP was recorded to CD, chances are that you would not be able to tell it apart from the original under controlled conditions.

 

From your description, it also sounds like you possibly did not perform the comparison at matched levels.

post #4 of 7

It seems you are mostly drawing conclusions about the particular source components you are using not about the differences between CD vs vinyl. I think both can sound very good when you have the correct setup. At times I also feel like the distinction between digital vs analog source components is over-stated. Goldring cartridges for example are known for sounding 'CD like' while some DACs are said to sound 'analog'. In terms of value for money right now I would be inclined to go for digital source components (although I do love vinyl). I have two source components both of which are very well regarded, a Rega P3-24 turn table and a Yulong D18 sabre DAC. Out of these the Rega is a bit more expensive. They both have their strengths but overall I would say the Yulong is superior.   

 

Your observation about the importance of using quality vinyl is correct though. In my experience using new 180 gram 'audiophile' vinyl makes a huge difference compared to using old 2nd hand vinyls that are of a lesser quality.  

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

From your description, it also sounds like you possibly did not perform the comparison at matched levels.

 

Exactly, when I have the money I'll be more than happy to compare both in a controlled enviroment. As you said, the importance is how an album is mastered, not the format (I've thought of that but I forgot to mention it). I think that CDs have inmense potencial compared to vinyl, but ithe mainstream media and market make a huge impact on the mastering of an album, I'll certainly return to vinyl; I love CDs though, I have tons of them! I actually prefer the analog sound because of those properties that I mentioned and because that's the original format in which the artists mastered their albums; I love music from the sixties and seventies, specially progressive rock and vintage electronic music.

 

Quote:

 

 

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Jasper9395 View Post

It seems you are mostly drawing conclusions about the particular source components you are using not about the differences between CD vs vinyl. I think both can sound very good when you have the correct setup. At times I also feel like the distinction between digital vs analog source components is over-stated. Goldring cartridges for example are known for sounding 'CD like' while some DACs are said to sound 'analog'. In terms of value for money right now I would be inclined to go for digital source components (although I do love vinyl). I have two source components both of which are very well regarded, a Rega P3-24 turn table and a Yulong D18 sabre DAC. Out of these the Rega is a bit more expensive. They both have their strengths but overall I would say the Yulong is superior.   

 

Your observation about the importance of using quality vinyl is correct though. In my experience using new 180 gram 'audiophile' vinyl makes a huge difference compared to using old 2nd hand vinyls that are of a lesser quality.  

 

I'll certainly but equipment for my PC and CD collection in the future, sometimes surface noise can get tiring. Also, I'm happy that I'm not crazy about that the quality of PVC affects the sound!

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

To both of you: do you think my setup is decent? Don´t count the cartridge as it's crap, I'm going to buy the Shure M97xE because I think it's a good deal, and also because the tracking force is very light (min of 0.75 g, optimal of 1.25 g and max of 1.75 g) and that helps the records last longer.

post #7 of 7

I really dont know how good your turntable is. All I can say is that I dont think anything revolutionary has happened with regard to building them so there are many very good old turntables out there. The linn LP-12 for instance is still very highly regarded. The problem with buying an old turntable is they are fragile. In terms of your amplifier once these things are more than 10 years old the capacitors start to deteriorate which will make the sound a bit 'fuzzy'. I would recommend replacing the power capacitors inside your amplifier. This is quite easy to do and will have immediate results. I have used old amps in the past and worked on them to improve the sound. While this is fun if your going for sound quality it is probably better to buy a new one. Today they can build things so cheap in China that in terms of money it is often not worth doing DIY anymore. Have a look on the the for sale form for a headphone amp.

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