I recently tried my old vinyl setup and compared it to my (new) cdp (find that post in my profile). The CD player sounded so much more enjoyable compared to the vinyls.
The main reason for that is of course the age of my turntable and amp. But to get to the point where you get a really good sound from a turntable, it is necessary to invest a lot of money (tonearm, cartridge, phono amp). The same amount invested in a first class dac certainly results in equal or even better sound.
As has been written, the LP has less dynamic reserve than a CD (55 compared to 96 db). This shouldn't have any consequences though, because even my most dynamic recordings have only a dynamic range around 20 (Zaide, from Mozart).
But vinyl recordings are equalized by design. The riaa equalization curve - it is used to enhance highs and reduce bass in the production of an LP. This is done to make the high frequencies recordable and prevent the needle to hop out of the grove because of strong bass. The phono amp reverses that.
If it is not perfectly reversed, the original sound is altered. Fine details may even get lost in the noise.
Could be the reason, why vinyl sounds different. Less treble finally sounds enjoyable! But it is not how it sounds in reality.
The op SunJ writes, he wants to investigate vinyl because his CD sound clips. In my experience, clipping occurs in many modern recordings and remasterings. My most dramatic recent experience is Lana del Rey - terrible sound on CD as well as on vinyl. Lots of clippings on the CD and less than 5db of dynamical range. The second best treatment for this kind of sound is to use a tube amp. Tubes distort much nicer and the overall sound of crappy recordings is much better compared to solid state. I have tubes at the output stage of my cdp and my headphone amp is an otl tube only design. Even Lana del Rey is kind of listenable on this equipment.
The best treatment is of course sending back the CD and complain about its bad quality! I indeed buy old CDs (dirt cheap nowadays) or I try to stick to labels like Mobile Fidelity, Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and the kind, only to be sure to get first class, uncompressed recordings. There are also download alternatives. Did anybody try Studio Masters? Where ever the target audience is audiophile, I have the impression, the quality is better. This may be true for new vinyl pressings (although, its a hype and thus by definition something to make quick money). But it is certainly true for highest quality downloads. I recently discovered Linn records, who offer uncompressed 24 bit, 96 kHz studio masters. Brilliant sound!
So, please, support the labels who deserve it. Buying vinyl nowadays bears the risk to fall for a quick moneymaking hype where turntables are sold for many thousands instead of hundreds, what they should actually cost. Everybody tries to get his share, so the risk of being ripped is high.
Instead, look ahead. The future is digital (the present actually is digital too). That does not exclude high quality artwork, we only accepted it like this. But, as someone mentioned, today music is recorded digitally. This can be pressed to vinyl, but the result can never be superior, in the sense of more authentic, than the original digital format.
If your favorite band produces crappy recordings, write to them and complain, instead of wasting thousands in the hope that on vinyl, things may sound better.
The inferior quality of CDs does not come from the medium, it comes from the way, recordings are treated. Well made music can sound great on vinyl, on CD and as download (uncompressed of course). The problem is not the medium, it is the management of the record labels, the sound engineering and the listeners, who buy and accept inferior quality.
Edited by mironathetin - 6/5/13 at 7:37am