To Vinyl or not to Vinyl

Discussion in 'TTVJ Premier Sponsor Forum' started by dolifant, Jul 8, 2005.
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  1. Uncle Erik Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JMcMasterJ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I know I'm digging up an old thread, but I'm soo tempted to get into vinyl. I love playing my parent's old records when I go over to their house. I just don't know if my wallet will be able to handle it. I would like to get something like a VPI Scout, but then there are so many other costs... cartridge, phono pre-amp, cleaning stuff, dust cover, etc. To vinyl or not to vinyl? hmmm....



    Go for it. I was nervous about getting into vinyl, but am so glad I did. It's not as much work as some lead you to believe and the payoff is large. If you stick to used records (as opposed to the $45 200g reissues) you will save money on music.

    I'd recommend reading the columns by the Vinyl Anachronist. A quick Google search will bring him up. Plenty of good information and advice.

    I started with a stock Rega Planar 3. Those are terrific decks and a bargain used. I'd recommend starting with a quality used deck. You'll save a lot of money and tinkering with whatever you pick up will give you a lot of insight into a second rig. I ended up wanting a low maintenance suspended deck, and I'm very happy with the current setup.
     
  2. Zanth Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JMcMasterJ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I know I'm digging up an old thread, but I'm soo tempted to get into vinyl. I love playing my parent's old records when I go over to their house. I just don't know if my wallet will be able to handle it. I would like to get something like a VPI Scout, but then there are so many other costs... cartridge, phono pre-amp, cleaning stuff, dust cover, etc. To vinyl or not to vinyl? hmmm....



    Vinyl...everything worth something in life is worth putting some effort into getting it. That can mean relationships, education, proficiency in a sport or hobby, appreciating fine food/wine and yes even music.

    Vinyl can be a PITA. No doubt about it. Quality control varies for the pressings whereas with a CD or a download, one gets an exact copy each and every time. If the disc is damaged, return and get a new fresh one usually in perfect condition. Throw in a silver coaster, press play and enjoy 30-72 minutes of tunes. If you are into digital files...you are limited only by the storage capacity of your computer.

    Getting into vinyl = dealing with higher priced new albums/reissuesd. It equals dirty/scratched records when buying used and we haven't even touched on cleaning them.

    Getting into vinyl = dealing with fragile cartridges, pairing them up with an arm and turntable and then throwing in a phono stage if your preamp doesn't already have one.

    Getting into vinyl = dealing with storing large heavy discs and when playing them, getting up at best every 20 minutes before you have to switch sides.

    Getting into vinyl also = access to 1 billion pressed discs far more than RBCDs and it also means exposure to never again recorded music. Gems you can only get on those large black discs.

    Getting into vinyl = complete access to your music the way you want when you want. No DRM thank you! If you need to back them up...hook up the system to your computer and record away!

    Getting into vinyl = enjoying liner notes without a magnifying glass and beautiful artwork on a large scale.

    Getting into vinyl = a tactile experience with your musical collection, something digital in all forms has stripped from the user. With increased ease of use comes a detachment for the user. One gets a sterile experience. Some appreciate this some don't.

    Getting into vinyl = what many consider better sound. Analogue is often defined as organic, flowing, life-like or real. It is warm and natural and better than anything in the digital realm. There is a reason why most if not all high end digital device manufacturers advertise that their player of the minute sounds more like vinyl.

    Getting into vinyl = access to TONS of music for very cheap. Despite the fact that many new albums cost a lot, there is no doubt that used vinyl is often pennies per album and if one has a discerning eye, you won't get burned with a bum disc.

    Getting into vinyl is worth it for many and worth it was to me and still is. I appreciate vinyl more but sadly I listen mostly to digital files or cds because of the convenience factor and time constraints.
     
  3. JMcMasterJ
    Thanks for the info. There are some good deals on Audiogon right now. I'll probably have to wait until the end of the summer to buy one, so I'll have a little more time to think about it.
     
  4. Solan
    When the CD was introduced, the hi-fi dealers were high in the hype that the CD had the superior sound quality. Some of us never bought that, and kept our turntables and LPs. In the late 80ies, I remember listening to a classic reccording (Arve Tellefsen on violin) on both
    * my medium-fi stereo with vinyl (amp and speakers $600 each, turntable a Thorens with Orthofon slightly more) and
    * a friend's hi-fi stereo with CD (NAD's more expensive stuff)
    and notice two differences:
    1. Vinyl sounded "warmer"
    2. There was something just wrong with the CD sound that gave me a headache.

    No doubt the CD has evolved since then; I no longer get a headache listening to them. But that first experience marked my relation to the two media. Also, given the CDs inherent limitation vis-a-vis playing complex high frequency music (cymbals sound very jingly in MP3, but the jingliness doesn't disappear in lossless or CD), the LP wins for audiophile experiences. But not for convenience.

    But is it all about CD vs LP? Well, I can list four candidates for sound

    1. CD (well, this one won't win)
    2. 24bit/96kHz digital
    3. LP
    4. Big Tapes (like they used for master tapes in the old days). Using the full width of a VHS or BetaMax for sound

    I think there's a tie between 2 and 3 for second place, but with how expensive equipment? Number 4 however ... can you beat the quality of the master tape? I think not. The master is the master. So maybe the return of the LP is an intermediate stage before we return to those broad tapes (OK, I admit it; I've forgotten what they're called in English!) Or maybe digital will win in the end if we just up the ante; most mastering today is DDD, which means that any LP pressed has been through digital anyway, and you'd get the best results by going to those masters (24bit/192kHz?)

    You do of course have the question of cost: maybe equipment that can do justice to the higher-rate digital will be beyond the wallet even of those who build concrete sockets for their $10000 turntables? But then again ... tapes The only area I can see those broad tapes losing out to LPs would be aesthetics.
     
  5. Sweet Spot
    I have a fairly logical way of looking at the vinyl vs. digital debate, which goes:

    You really don't have to spend a ton of money for a good deck/cart/accessories in order to enjoy the benefits of vinyl, really. For those thinking about taking the plunge, remember that it is vital to keep your equipment in perfect shape, so that if you decide to back out of your investment, the resale value of your stuff will be at a peak.

    I decided to go with a Rega P2, and at the time was able to get the older model with a glass platter. Today, I might have either chosen to go with a P3-24 with external power supply or perhaps even a KAB modded Technics SL1200, though all three (which includes mine) are extremely worthy entry level decks.

    I'd like to think that I'm just as anal retentive about sound quality as most other head-fiers, and can honestly say that the time taken and financial investment I made into the world of vinyl, was well worth it. There are some very simple reasons to back this feeling:

    I take comfort in knowing that when I take the time to look for them, well mastered vinyl pressings are out there, which don't conform to the same standards which so many CD masters do. Meaning, I'm able to find out whether or not the pressing was done from the analog master tapes specifically for vinyl, or if it was pressed from the CD. If in the case of the latter, I'll just get the CD for the sake of convenience. Unless however, the production quality on the whole, was really on par. No brick wall mastering, in other words.

    The way I see it is, if for every badly mastered CD which is out there, there is a vinyl counter part which was mastered separately and has all the dynamic range etc which the CD is missing, and I'm going to buy those LP's. Of course then, there's the case where the CD was mastered brilliantly, as was the vinyl. In that case, it's pretty much a matter or preference. Collectors are always going to get both versions, while those on a budget will mainly opt for the better $ deal, and then there are those who will make the purchase based on which sound they find more appealing.

    But then we have the issue of what kind of system the medium is played back on... A more revealing system will truly make the choice either all the more easy, or perhaps harder ! This can probably go on forever, but to make it short, ones foray into the world of vinyl need not be so dramatic or even time consuming.

    I'd probably recommend the Technics SL1200 which is such a low maintenance deck, and really is very durable as well as musical with the right cart. I'll also say the same about the entry level Rega decks. My Rega P2 is equip with a Rega Cart (Elys) which took like zero time to install and adjust. They're specifically made for the arms and are also very low maintenance.

    As for overall system maintenance, I just recently bought a record cleaning machine to replace my worthless D4 brush and fluid. I got the KAB EV-1 manual machine, which requires that you own a cannister vacuum cleaner with a hose. It comes with fluid, which I'll not use because I bought some MoFi super deep cleaning fluid and 3 carbon fiber brushes for application. Total cost for all my stuff:

    Deck: $550
    Cart: $125

    That's under $700 for a totally worthy setup. I was using the D4 brush with fluid for the first few months, and wasn't entirely satisfied, though there are tons of LP cleaning techniques which require little $, but plenty of patience. The KAB EV-1 record cleaning machine cost $160 and the fluids about $40 which includes medical grade distilled water for rinsing. Brushes are about $10

    All in all, the way I see it is that for the money I spend on stupid crap, this is money well spent on something which is an integral part of my life, and will never cease to exist, and only continue to bring me happiness. And you really can't put a price on happiness, if you asked me.

    Edit: Sorry, I forgot to mention what I'm running my deck through. Quite simply, a wonderful receiver. It's the Outlaw Audio RR2150 which has both MM and MC phono stages and to my ears, sounds just great ! Interestingly enough, I also have an old Onkyo TX SV515 Pro which also has a phono stage, and recently found out that it too, sounds pretty decent with my Rega ! So one need not get into fancy or costly phono pre amps... There are alternatives.
     
  6. Sweet Spot
    I have a fairly logical way of looking at the vinyl vs. digital debate, which goes:

    You really don't have to spend a ton of money for a good deck/cart/accessories in order to enjoy the benefits of vinyl, really. For those thinking about taking the plunge, remember that it is vital to keep your equipment in perfect shape, so that if you decide to back out of your investment, the resale value of your stuff will be at a peak.

    I decided to go with a Rega P2, and at the time was able to get the older model with a glass platter. Today, I might have either chosen to go with a P3-24 with external power supply or perhaps even a KAB modded Technics SL1200, though all three (which includes mine) are extremely worthy entry level decks.

    I'd like to think that I'm just as anal retentive about sound quality as most other head-fiers, and can honestly say that the time taken and financial investment I made into the world of vinyl, was well worth it. There are some very simple reasons to back this feeling:

    I take comfort in knowing that when I take the time to look for them, well mastered vinyl pressings are out there, which don't conform to the same standards which so many CD masters do. Meaning, I'm able to find out whether or not the pressing was done from the analog master tapes specifically for vinyl, or if it was pressed from the CD. If in the case of the latter, I'll just get the CD for the sake of convenience. Unless however, the production quality on the whole, was really on par. No brick wall mastering, in other words.

    The way I see it is, if for every badly mastered CD which is out there, there is a vinyl counter part which was mastered separately and has all the dynamic range etc which the CD is missing, and I'm going to buy those LP's. Of course then, there's the case where the CD was mastered brilliantly, as was the vinyl. In that case, it's pretty much a matter or preference. Collectors are always going to get both versions, while those on a budget will mainly opt for the better $ deal, and then there are those who will make the purchase based on which sound they find more appealing.

    But then we have the issue of what kind of system the medium is played back on... A more revealing system will truly make the choice either all the more easy, or perhaps harder ! This can probably go on forever, but to make it short, ones foray into the world of vinyl need not be so dramatic or even time consuming.

    I'd probably recommend the Technics SL1200 which is such a low maintenance deck, and really is very durable as well as musical with the right cart. I'll also say the same about the entry level Rega decks. My Rega P2 is equip with a Rega Cart (Elys) which took like zero time to install and adjust. They're specifically made for the arms and are also very low maintenance.

    As for overall system maintenance, I just recently bought a record cleaning machine to replace my worthless D4 brush and fluid. I got the KAB EV-1 manual machine, which requires that you own a cannister vacuum cleaner with a hose. It comes with fluid, which I'll not use because I bought some MoFi super deep cleaning fluid and 3 carbon fiber brushes for application. Total cost for all my stuff:

    Deck: $550
    Cart: $125

    That's under $700 for a totally worthy setup. I was using the D4 brush with fluid for the first few months, and wasn't entirely satisfied, though there are tons of LP cleaning techniques which require little $, but plenty of patience. The KAB EV-1 record cleaning machine cost $160 and the fluids about $40 which includes medical grade distilled water for rinsing. Brushes are about $10

    All in all, the way I see it is that for the money I spend on stupid crap, this is money well spent on something which is an integral part of my life, and will never cease to exist, and only continue to bring me happiness. And you really can't put a price on happiness, if you asked me.
     
  7. Saucerful
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by periurban /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    6) Distortion that increased towards the end of each side of the record.



    I'm actually surprised I haven't been able to find more information on this, since I've had two record players and I have noticed this myself. It's probably my only beef with vinyl so far.

    Basically what happens is it sounds fine at the start of a side, but as it gets closer to the middle of the record, what it sounds like is the treble frequencies are not clear and muffled, especially when the vocalist pronounces an 'S' or on cymbal crashes, yet the bass frequencies aren't noticeably different. Also happens on 7" vinyl, so this leads me to believe it's related to the angle at which the tonearm is pointed.

    Anybody know what could be causing this? Maybe my cartridge isn't high-end enough.
     
  8. Zanth Contributor
  9. stuartr
    I have heard this too, and I forget the exact reason for it. I think it has something to do with the greater curve that the stylus has to make -- i.e. the concentric circles are getting tighter, and the stylus has to move differently. I also remember hearing that this was specifically why most older recordings would have their best songs near the beginning of each side of an album...so as to make best use of the sound quality. Who knows, it was just something I heard at some point. It could be bs.
     
  10. jonnywolfet
    stuartr is on the right track. the reason is because the groove gets more compressed nearer the centre of the record so tracking accuracy becomes more critical. i have found that small alignment adjustments and tweaking anti-skating force helps a lot to tame the problem.
    for the record, i dont have any problems like this anymore on my setup. even with the not so great linn lvx+ tonearm.
     
  11. Resonance
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sweet Spot /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    You really don't have to spend a ton of money for a good deck/cart/accessories in order to enjoy the benefits of vinyl, really.



    I couldn't agree more... i'll take a dirty record on an old turntable, over an expensive MP3 player any day! The human EAR is a sensitive analog device... meaning it doesn't operate on a principle of 1's and 0's, but vibration. A turntable is the perfect mechanism to re-create sound in a way which is the most compatible with how the human hear works. As for the pops and hiss on a conservative rig, the human brain does a great job of filtering it all out.

    Don't get me wrong, I listen to my ipod, but it's a "convenience" thing. My turntable experience is a concert that I prepare for and concentrate on!

    P.S. If you do spend less on a turntable, it will make it easier on you to avoid hearing "the Joneses" multi-thousand dollar rig! Ignorance is definitely bliss when it comes to vinyl. Has this all been said before?
     
  12. DemonicLemming
    This is a question coming from someone who grew up with vinyl records being some big floppy discs in a dusty box, and the turntable being nothing more than a new battle field for my Ninja Mutant Ninja Turtles, but a question that's been residing in my mind since I saw people still actually listen to vinyl records is probably a pretty simple one but, given my musical tastes, likely means I'll never once step into the realm of vinyl.

    Isn't it ungodly hard to acquire, if they're even made, vinyl versions of any band that started after the 80s? I listen to quite a bit of underground music (not the generic 3-songs-on-myspace "bands" but actual underground stuff) and a lot of metal. I'd imagine that stuff is probably impossible to find, but do newer artists actually release vinyl copies of their stuff? Are there companies out there that legally offer vinyl versions of more modern music?
     
  13. stuartr
    I mostly listen to indie music, but a high proportion of them put stuff out on vinyl -- radiohead, stereolab, tortoise, chris whitley, aphex twin, cat power, beirut, iron and wine, american analog set....many many more. Those are just the ones I can think of off of the top of my head. I know nothing about metal though, but I am not so sure they are as vinyl inclined as the more indie and electronic bands...you never know though.
     
  14. twestby
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by stuartr /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I mostly listen to indie music, but a high proportion of them put stuff out on vinyl -- radiohead, stereolab, tortoise, chris whitley, aphex twin, cat power, beirut, iron and wine, american analog set....many many more. Those are just the ones I can think of off of the top of my head. I know nothing about metal though, but I am not so sure they are as vinyl inclined as the more indie and electronic bands...you never know though.



    Simply much more data in the groove than on the CD!

    -Tim
     
  15. robm321
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by screwdriver /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I have a decent vinyl and cd rig - listening using speakers .

    i use the vinyl rig most of the time ......




    I have a very good CD player which I prefer to the EMM labs front end (with the right tubes), and I still listen to vinyl most of the time.
     
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