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Trent Hoyt

Vinyl

118 posts in this topic

It seems that vinyl is making some kind of comeback. Bands are releasing or releasing a lot of their albums on "audiophile" vinyl. I've noticed the vinyl section at my local music store is growing. So whats the deal? Are people actually buying vinyl again? Are these new high grain records any good?

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It appears so, I've seen more and more stores adding vinyl to their music sections.

But in all honesty, if CDs never came about I seriously doubt I would have the number of film scores I have now. I'm perfectly happy with CDs and really don't care to re-visit LPs.

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I'm a vinylphile. It's all about sound quality. Music on vinyl is far less compressed and has more dynamic range than music on CD (generally). It really just sounds a lot better in most cases, provided the vinyl is clean, and your system doesn't suck. Those are two big provisos, however.

This really only effects pop and rock, though. Classical music and scores generally sound just as great (or better) on CD as on vinyl.

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This "vinyl comeback" is simply beyond me. Super Audio-CD and DVD-Audio have the best qualities of vinyl and CD: presence, warm sound, direct track access, clarity, and constancy. Although, those discs are compatible with current players, the general public don't even know they exist - much less buy them!

SA-CD and DVD-A's lackluster marketing/advertising campaigns have resulted in their underwhelming showing, and it's a shame, as vinyl is such a step back.

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This "vinyl comeback" is simply beyond me. Super Audio-CD and DVD-Audio have the best qualities of vinyl and CD: presence, warm sound, direct track access, clarity, and constancy. Although, those discs are compatible with current players, the general public don't even know they exist - much less buy them!

SA-CD and DVD-A's lackluster marketing/advertising campaigns have resulted in their underwhelming showing, and it's a shame, as vinyl is such a step back.

Agreed a hundred times over. Too bad both formats are dead as a doornail.

Then again, having a hi-res format still doesn't solve the problems of modern mastering (far too loud, compressing the sound until there's no dynamic range yet, using NoNoise on older recordings, etc). These problems tend to be avoided on vinyl if only because the people mastering for vinyl are audiophiles themselves.

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This "vinyl comeback" is simply beyond me. Super Audio-CD and DVD-Audio have the best qualities of vinyl and CD: presence, warm sound, direct track access, clarity, and constancy. Although, those discs are compatible with current players, the general public don't even know they exist - much less buy them!

SA-CD and DVD-A's lackluster marketing/advertising campaigns have resulted in their underwhelming showing, and it's a shame, as vinyl is such a step back.

Well, SA-CD didn't do itself any favors by being a completely proprietary format. I'd be all for buying SA-CDs even given the unlockable copy protection, but to buy a special player for them as well? No thanks.

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I enjoyed lps purely for the large-format artwork on the covers. Beyond that, no. And besides, remember how, as you listened to the record and you got closer to the center of the disc, it would sound absolutely crappy (particularly anything with strings)?

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I love vinyl for many reasons. Amazing sound quality (providing you have the right equipment), but a big part for me is that it's such a tactile format. In an age where a lot of music now consists only of 1s and 0s, it appeals to me to have this disc that someone lovingly crafted. As such, I recently got a high-end player and have been rebuying a lot of vinyl. It's not going to replace CDs for me, but for some albums (like Trout said mostly rock such as the Stones and Zeppelin) I prefer it.

ST-TMP sounds amazing on vinyl though.

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The reason for the comeback of vinyl is not an audiophile one but a psychological one. Deejays love vinyl. Deejays are the new music heroes (of the proletarian culture). And so LPs are giving people the feeling that they too are a little bit deejay.

Alex

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The reason for the comeback of vinyl is not an audiophile one but a psychological one. Deejays love vinyl. Deejays are the new music heroes (of the proletarian culture). And so LPs are giving people the feeling that they too are a little bit deejay.

I had hurried to this thread specifically to read your input, Alex.

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I love vinyl but hate DJs. What a dilemma.

Good for you, but your or my disinterest for deejays doesn't diminish the love other people feel for them. Just look at the electronic stores, for Pete's sake, DJ gear is a booming business. It's everywhere! Today kids no longer want to be a musician in a band, they want to be a DJ. Is it any wonder vinyl is benefiting from that?

Alex

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I bought a cheap USB record player to convert LPs and other records to digital. The loss in sound quality is justified by not having to re-buy older music, much of which is OOP. It's not like I'm going to use it to convert readily available material like a Beatles album, or stuff we have in superior presentation form like the 1980 ESB LP.

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Its amazing how much these new records are going for. They are like $30 dollars a piece, I just don't understand. I guess I need to go to a used record store and check out the prices there.

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I bought a cheap USB record player to convert LPs and other records to digital. The loss in sound quality is justified by not having to re-buy older music, much of which is OOP. It's not like I'm going to use it to convert readily available material like a Beatles album, or stuff we have in superior presentation form like the 1980 ESB LP.

I've been debating doing that but a huge majority of my LP's have been released on CD already. I would like to convert my double LP of TESB to CD and I have about 2 or 3 other non-soundtrack albums that haven't been issued on CD.

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I agree it's probably psychological and just a trend for pseudo audiophiles. It just makes you sound cool and trendy at parties to say you've reverted to vinyl

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I agree it's probably psychological and just a trend for pseudo audiophiles. It just makes you sound cool and trendy at parties to say you've reverted to vinyl

Agreed. As an audiophile, I love vinyl and believe that most of it sounds better than any CD mastered these days (for rock and pop - soundtrack scores and classical I'll still take on CD). But for the general public giving rise to vinyl these days, it's all about trying to look cool. Most of them probably have budget turntables that sound lousy anyway. It's all about the equipment you have (which, as an aside, is why a lot of people hear "inner groove distortion" as mentioned by some else above. That usually goes away with a better ($200+) cart.

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I have some scores and other artists on vinyl, i wouldnt say it sounds 'better' than cd, just different.

If anything in comparison I find CDs to sound more cinical than LPs

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Well, SA-CD didn't do itself any favors by being a completely proprietary format. I'd be all for buying SA-CDs even given the unlockable copy protection, but to buy a special player for them as well? No thanks.

Hybrid SA-CD discs will play in all CD players, but a special player is needed to access the hi-resolution sound. Similarly, DVD-A discs work in standard DVD players (in 5.1 surround), but a DVD-A player is needed for the hi-res sound. Combination SA-CD/DVD-A players exist and are inexpensive.

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I only got one vinyl album and that's Star Trek III The Search For Spock. I'm not sure why I bought it either since it was a long time ago. I understand that if you started out a long time ago when vinyl was hot that you'd have that then when CD's hit the main stream you switched over. However, I don't see the necessary on having to have vinyl if most of the stuff from vinyl is out on CD.

I won't invest into SACD because A: I don't want to have to buy a separate player for that and B: the investment isn't worth it.

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Well, SA-CD didn't do itself any favors by being a completely proprietary format. I'd be all for buying SA-CDs even given the unlockable copy protection, but to buy a special player for them as well? No thanks.

Hybrid SA-CD discs will play in all CD players, but a special player is needed to access the hi-resolution sound. Similarly, DVD-A discs work in standard DVD players (in 5.1 surround), but a DVD-A player is needed for the hi-res sound. Combination SA-CD/DVD-A players exist and are inexpensive.

I know they play in regular players, but that's pointless. If I'm going to play my hi-fi audio in a lo-fi system, I might as well go with the cheaper, lo-fi audio. The other deterrent is the copy protection. It just wasn't feasible to expect the consumer base to shift to a product they had no control over. There's no way for an amateur musician to create SA-CDs or DVD-As. You can't rip them and edited them. DJs, for example, can't mix and match songs for computerized playlists. It was all done behind corporate doors and therefore was inaccessible, both technically and financially. I happen to have an SA-CD product, but only because SA-CD is the only type of release it received. I'm sure the SA-CD layer sounds great (indeed, the composer remarks that listening to only the regular CD layer is like watching a color film in black and white), but I'll probably never hear it. For the same reason I don't think LPs are here to stay. It's a cultural movement that's going to burn out when people get fed up with having no digital control over their music. Don't get me wrong; I'm a total audiophile. I've heard higher-than-CD quality music and it's wonderful. I just wish somebody would market it more effectively.

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Well, it's either that or everyone suddenly turned into an audiophile. Name your choice!

Given that most people would rather download a crappy mp3 than buy a CD I'm guessing they aren't turning into audiophiles...

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If anything in comparison I find CDs to sound more cinical than LPs

Huh?

sorry typo error - i meant Clinical

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Vinyl has a certain sophistication about it. It's the great care you need to take with them, that makes them seem like you're pouring a fine vintage wine. Or, like Indy trying to replace the weight of that idol in ROTL with the bag of sand. It requires a lot of attention and delicate movement not to damage the disc itself with the needl. I'm talking about playing classical vinyls or something, of course. The way some people treat CDs can be quite amazing. Rental CDs from my local library are often a right state. Scratched beyond belief, and sometimes even glue on them. Some also did this with Vinyl I know. But overall the care required in handling Vinyl is one of the things that made it a special experience to play one. Like dismantling a land mine. ;)

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sorry typo error - i meant Clinical

I didn't know if you meant clinical, cynical, or conical. I hate when my music sounds conical.

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I know they play in regular players, but that's pointless. If I'm going to play my hi-fi audio in a lo-fi system, I might as well go with the cheaper, lo-fi audio.

I'd be surprised if you own a "lo-fi" system. SA-CD and DVD-A are really just higher-fi. If it exists for the music you buy, hybrid SA-CDs are the way to go. As a "total audiophile", you may buy an SA-CD player some day.

The other deterrent is the copy protection. It just wasn't feasible to expect the consumer base to shift to a product they had no control over.

That's a valid point. SA-CD and DVD-A were trying to bring back the pleasure in owning and enjoying an original music product - unlike the cold, lifeless digital files.

There's no way for an amateur musician to create SA-CDs or DVD-As.

I know software exists to make DVD-As using DVD-R media. I don't know about SA-CD.

You can't rip them and edited them. DJs, for example, can't mix and match songs for computerized playlists. It was all done behind corporate doors and therefore was inaccessible, both technically and financially.

Remember, hybrid SA-CDs have a rip-able CD layer. DVD-As have a standard Dolby Digital track. And if DJs really wanted the music for their playlists, they could record the music from the discs (analog, in real-time). This kind of thing wasn't a priority for the new formats, as the corporate folks were trying to discourage the copying of the discs.

I happen to have an SA-CD product, but only because SA-CD is the only type of release it received. I'm sure the SA-CD layer sounds great (indeed, the composer remarks that listening to only the regular CD layer is like watching a color film in black and white), but I'll probably never hear it.

That composer is right. Go to a Tweeter, pop your SA-CD into one of their audio systems, and bask in the full glory of SA-CD. (That's why they have those rigs set-up there!) As an audiophile, you'll enjoy the whole experience.

For the same reason I don't think LPs are here to stay. It's a cultural movement that's going to burn out when people get fed up with having no digital control over their music.

Maybe. I hope the sinking ship can be savaged... not vinyl - for SA-CD / DVD-A.

I just wish somebody would market it more effectively.

As do I. But it'll be difficult for the "mp3 generation" to convince.

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The best analog signal will always have better quality than the best digital signal, with the proper equipment of course, for the simple fact that there is no middle-man converting physical data into binary. No amount of ECC will ever be able to correct that.

Of course you're not gonna notice a difference on $20-$500 headphones. :lol:

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I know they play in regular players, but that's pointless. If I'm going to play my hi-fi audio in a lo-fi system, I might as well go with the cheaper, lo-fi audio.

I'd be surprised if you own a "lo-fi" system. SA-CD and DVD-A are really just higher-fi. If it exists for the music you buy, hybrid SA-CDs are the way to go. As a "total audiophile", you may buy an SA-CD player some day.

I might not. What's the incentive to spring for a product that's more expensive than CD or digital downloads, locked with copy protection and requires a special piece of hardware to play (meaning I can't easily take it with me to college, put music on my iPod, etc.)?

The other deterrent is the copy protection. It just wasn't feasible to expect the consumer base to shift to a product they had no control over.

That's a valid point. SA-CD and DVD-A were trying to bring back the pleasure in owning and enjoying an original music product - unlike the cold, lifeless digital files.

Sarcasm noted. It depends what you mean by "the cold, lifeless digital files." Poorly compressed MP3s on cheap, tinny earphones? Okay, fair enough. Lossless or uncompressed music on an iPod wired to a nice set of speakers? Absolutely no different from a traditional vinyl or CD presentation. It's just in your head.

I don't believe in the purist, album listening experience. Some albums are well assembled - really, I don't have a problem with any pop or rock - but if I think a film score works better in chronological order then I'd like to hear it in chronological order, without the hassle of programming a track list, which I doubt every SA-CD/DVD-A player can do, anyway. Then there's the issue of actually editing music...

There's no way for an amateur musician to create SA-CDs or DVD-As.

I know software exists to make DVD-As using DVD-R media. I don't know about SA-CD.

Point taken. There's still the problem of commercial releases.

You can't rip them and edited them. DJs, for example, can't mix and match songs for computerized playlists. It was all done behind corporate doors and therefore was inaccessible, both technically and financially.

Remember, hybrid SA-CDs have a rip-able CD layer. DVD-As have a standard Dolby Digital track. And if DJs really wanted the music for their playlists, they could record the music from the discs (analog, in real-time). This kind of thing wasn't a priority for the new formats, as the corporate folks were trying to discourage the copying of the discs.

Here's the thing: you can't stop piracy. Successful music businesses know this. Why do you think iTunes has converted to DRM-free music? The fact is that with a few clicks I can download anything I want, and there's really nothing anyone can do about it. Would I? No, because I believe in the principle of trade, not take. However, the options for pirates are there and always will be there. It's also worth nothing that piracy can actually be a positive for businesses. I've "previewed" many CDs or songs that a legal, 30-second sample wouldn't have persuaded me to buy. I've bought what I liked and generally deleted what I didn't like. Maybe if I could "preview" some SA-CD quality sound I'd be more compelled to buy the product.

As for regular CD layers that can be ripped, that's great, but you might as well just buy the CD.

I happen to have an SA-CD product, but only because SA-CD is the only type of release it received. I'm sure the SA-CD layer sounds great (indeed, the composer remarks that listening to only the regular CD layer is like watching a color film in black and white), but I'll probably never hear it.

That composer is right. Go to a Tweeter, pop your SA-CD into one of their audio systems, and bask in the full glory of SA-CD. (That's why they have those rigs set-up there!) As an audiophile, you'll enjoy the whole experience.

I know. I've listened to the 5.1 DVD mixes of the Lord of the Rings scores, and they sound fabulous. They rarely get any play time, however, because I have no control over even tracking; you play the whole track or nothing at all. Remember that some of these are around twenty minutes long. I also think the editing decisions made for the end credits "suites" are totally foolish. I've replaced them for my CD rips with the original album end credits with careful cuts, but there isn't really a way to transfer that to the DVD mix. Actually, is that true? Since it's a regular DVD I think it can be ripped.

But say it was a DVD-A or SA-CD; there'd be no way to manipulate the music like that.

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The other deterrent is the copy protection. It just wasn't feasible to expect the consumer base to shift to a product they had no control over.

Yet people have no problem with that on DVDs and Blu-Ray. DVDs started the whole DRM craze, SACD advanced it and with Blu it's reached its peak so far.

The annoying thing about the Vinyl revival is Vinyl-only bonus tracks. Never mind expensive deluxe editions and iTunes-only download which I can't legally access, now that stuff's coming on a medium I can't even play.

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The other deterrent is the copy protection. It just wasn't feasible to expect the consumer base to shift to a product they had no control over.

Yet people have no problem with that on DVDs and Blu-Ray. DVDs started the whole DRM craze, SACD advanced it and with Blu it's reached its peak so far.

DVD copy protection was cracked long ago, though. I don't think they were trying that hard.

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They didn't realise it would be so hard to enforce, especially via laws. And the inofficial players are still illegal, it's just that they've given up long ago. With Blu, they're still actively pushing the DRM, and the only rippers I know don't work on the fly yet (meaning you'd have to rip the whole thing first before you can watch it).

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What's the incentive to spring for a product that's more expensive than CD or digital downloads, locked with copy protection and requires a special piece of hardware to play (meaning I can't easily take it with me to college, put music on my iPod, etc.)?

The discs are a better bang-for-your-buck: better sound quality and in surround sound. And they're not much more expensive than CDs. Most SA-CD and DVD-A discs don't require special hardware. All you need is a CD or DVD player... from there you can do with the music whatever you want.

Lossless or uncompressed music on an iPod wired to a nice set of speakers? Absolutely no different from a traditional vinyl or CD presentation. It's just in your head.

That's not the issue here. Customers pay considerably for compressed music online. SA-CD and DVD-A are the opposite; the sound quality is better and it's presented in surround.

I don't have a problem with any pop or rock - but if I think a film score works better in chronological order...

Yeah, SA-CD and DVD-A are not good for film scores that need programming/editing. But it wouldn't be impossible to do so.

Maybe if I could "preview" some SA-CD quality sound I'd be more compelled to buy the product.

Buy some hybrid discs (SA-CD or DVD-A) of music you like and go to Tweeter. (They might even have some demo disc there.) As an audiophile, you owe it to yourself.

As for regular CD layers that can be ripped, that's great, but you might as well just buy the CD.

That is a top reason that SA-CD is struggling badly. I feel that people that are buying a CD should spring the extra few bucks and buy the SA- version. If you do get an SA-CD player, you won't regret getting that SA- disc instead. OH, THE SOUND QUALITY!

I've replaced them for my CD rips with the original album end credits with careful cuts, but there isn't really a way to transfer that to the DVD mix. Actually, is that true? Since it's a regular DVD I think it can be ripped.

Dolby Digital / DTS tracks on regular DVD-Videos can be converted to standard .wav tracks for editing.

But say it was a DVD-A or SA-CD; there'd be no way to manipulate the music like that.

Again, not true. SA-CD ha has the CD layer. DVD-A has the Dolby Digital track. And there's always the analog way; no big deal if you really wanted to edit the music.

It not an opinion that vinyl, SA-CD, and DVD-Audio can produce more realistic sound than CD (and the mp3-like files that come from them). However, the CD comes out on top in the most important factors: price and compatibility. And let's not forget it's been the industry standard for music distribution for 20+ years. Now digital distribution is gaining ground. It's beyond me that people pay to download compressed music. They just can wait, can they?

FACT: Most people have given up/forgotten about vinyl... and aren't even aware of SA-CD and DVD-A.

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