- Jul 29, 2016
I understand where you are coming from, playing a record does involve more of our senses which can give a more enjoyable experience. It is very much a personal thing though, for some it is an immersive experience while others, it detracts from it. Although I maintain a very decent vinyl rig, I find the whole ritual of finding the record, thoroughly cleaning it, enduring through the inevitable crap tracks and changing the side over to be a PITA. It doesn't help that I'm more of a playlist type of listener as there are very few albums apart from concept albums that I like listening right through.
Inevitably some tracks are good others are bad, I understand the pain in queuing a track up, its quite the annoyance really if the track you actually want is somewhere in the middle of a record. I choose my artists selectively and don't listen to a lot of compilations. To me if an artist can't put together an album that isn't half decent to listen through then I nix that off having it on vinyl. At the same time, just for the fun of it I've been building in some automation to my 50 year old tube amp and have hooked up an Apple TV 3 to my amp but that's a process in itself. It sounds OK, it could sound better. It's getting round to finding $700 to spend on something like a Chord DAC
I have digitised most of my records (the rare ones and those which have the better masterings than the CD or hi res version) and they sound identical to being played on my donor T/T, but now with the flexibility of creating my own playlists. The point you make about digital conversion of 60s Jazz is interesting. I don't know why the label would want to brickwall this type of music as the dynamic are important to this genre. Unfortunately there is a lot of 50s/60s music that the labels put minimal effort for the CD remaster, probably because there isn't enough of a market to justify the time and expense. One really has to do some homework to find the good ones. I was listening to DCC Elvis 24 Karats compilation CD the other night, it is one of the few Elvis CDs which make use of the format and therefore, do sound better than the vinyl versions.
Inevitably as you digitize audio from tape which has a lower overall bandwidth as a medium and less headroom for discrepancies in high and low frequencies you kind of do brick wall it anyhow. Changing the gain levels during the normalisation process eventually follows the same process as "brickwalling" and so you follow the same pathway as everyone else surely but slowly.
The problem with tape vs vinyl, is inherently records from that era have a decibel limit of about 60db. When you go and try to digitise it and adjust it for a modern CD listening space of about 75-85db (with peaks) this is what inherently happens... You no longer have nice looking peaks in the wave form of your music you just have garbage. Eventually you just end up with "A SOLID BRICKWALL" and it sounds like "Schiit Audio."
Now before we had these things called CDs this concept of frequency normalisation for lower DB speakers simply was far less prevelant. If you wanted to go louder you bought a more powerful amp that was that lickity split, because most producers realised it sounded like a fart in a can. Today, knowingly or unknowingly we put up with it, unless of course you listen to Giorgio by Moroder, or you get a really good modern jazz album such as Melody Gardot's My One and Only Thrill which has full dynamic range without any normalisation tricks.
I'd suggest if you do start digitising your vinyl, you don't try to go the cheap root of normalisation and just leave it alone for what it is. You might realise there is an inherent quality in vinyl as a medium at the same time.