Vinyl or Digital?

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 25th, 2020, 5:38 pm

I was reading some articles and watching some videos about this, and from what most are saying the digital provides the most pure reproduction. Vinyl can introduce distortion and other side effects.

So this led me to a new theory. Maybe that distortion and other audio artifacts is interpreted as "good" to the human ear. Maybe we interpret it as a richer, warmer sound.

A good analogy are LED light bulbs. You can get full-spectrum bulbs. They look a little blue but they are the best approximation for real sunlight. You can see a lot more with that kind of light, so tend to be used in garages and places like that.

However, for most rooms in the house people prefer the soft white bulbs, which have a much more narrow range yet are more pleasing to the eye. I once tried to install the "blue" bulbs in my game room and people were complaining they were too "harsh".

Could I be on to something here? Could the technical deficiencies of vinyl make the sound more palatable?

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Stalvern
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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby Stalvern » May 25th, 2020, 9:21 pm

It's more what bluenote said, that digital formats allow for truly awful mastering that vinyl physically cannot handle and that older vinyl records predate. Older CDs tend to sound much closer to the vinyl releases. The Kiss debut is an exceptional case – I genuinely cannot tell the '80s CD and the '70s vinyl apart. "Harshness" is not a property of digital audio; it's a result of aggressive dynamic compression and equalization. These are modern practices that did not exist before the '90s and cannot be applied to vinyl today anyway (the groove would wear out very quickly and might even have issues with playback itself).

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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 22nd, 2020, 11:27 am

If you like collecting vinyl you may want to pick up the Foo Fighters EP Saint Cecilia. It was never released on CD, so it's either digital or vinyl. I have both but prefer the vinyl.

One odd thing is that despite having only five songs, they split them between the sides - 3 on side 1, 2 on side 2. Seems like it would have made more sense to put all five on both sides?

OzGamer
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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby OzGamer » June 23rd, 2020, 1:46 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:One odd thing is that despite having only five songs, they split them between the sides - 3 on side 1, 2 on side 2. Seems like it would have made more sense to put all five on both sides?


In my opinion, they probably put the songs over two sides to achieve the best quality sound possible.

comchia
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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby comchia » June 23rd, 2020, 5:02 pm

My girlfriend collects vinyl, and I like the sound that it has, as well as the feeling of having a big-ass record and packaging. I think I like cassettes best for combining the convince and portability of digital, while retaining the analog sound that's similar to vinyl. I hope that rides the current popularity wave that vinyl is setting up. I recently purchased a vinyl from the metal band High Priestess, and already love it.

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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby Lucifixion » June 23rd, 2020, 7:14 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:One odd thing is that despite having only five songs, they split them between the sides - 3 on side 1, 2 on side 2. Seems like it would have made more sense to put all five on both sides?


Anything over approximately 18 minutes per side on your standard 12'' record can result in diminished sound quality. The longer the duration of a side, the smaller the grooves need to be to accomodate the length of time. This can cause issues with dynamics and frequency response, but it largely depends on the music as to whether this is worth the extra time it provides.

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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby Dogman » June 24th, 2020, 8:03 am

A lot of it has nothing to do with "warmth" and all those things that induce distortion from playing back vinyl... a lot of the time it has to do with the source.

Something cut to vinyl directly from the master tapes by a skilled mastering engineer is going to sound better than a second or third generation tape converted to digital with an old 80's or 90's ADC (analog-to-digital converter) of which these ADC's has been since far out-classed since then even in consumer grade equipment.

A lot of the time CD reissues that "remaster" old music use these same outdated digital transfers from the 80's or so as a basis, instead of new ones with modern equipment from the master tapes. It's especially bad if the master engineer for the CD release doesn't give a toss and just brick walls it and calls it a day.

Digital can be "better" than vinyl too; it depends on the playback equipment and the source, and inversely vinyl can sound better than digital using the same logic.

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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 28th, 2020, 10:15 am

I'm thinking about getting the new Pearl Jam album Gigaton on vinyl. Seems to be getting good reviews. Anybody have it?

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Re: Vinyl or Digital?

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 29th, 2020, 1:32 pm

So picked up Gigaton from a Barnes and Noble (had a gift card). It's a pretty fancy album. Comes with two records and a lyric book. Not cheap ($30+) but at least you get something for your money.

I like the album so far, but haven't listened to it enough to have it sink in yet.

One thing I noticed is that when you put the record back in the sleeve (plastic), and then try to slide it into the jacket (cardboard part) it won't go in very easily. It's actually very difficult to finagle it and it makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong!

Records are complicated!


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