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How to hear the difference between vinyl and mp3

wsaraceni

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,867
ive got a basic setup. What do I need now to hear the difference. I have one vinyl album that I got as a gift but it sounds pretty similar to the digital version.
My setup is pretty basic. Maybe that’s the problem. Uturn turntable with acrylic platter and a Grado cartridge. Built in phono preamp and Fluance Ai40 speakers. Pretty cheap setup. But not junk from the reviews I’ve read. Where do I go from here?
 

ifallalot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,965
Just keep sipping the koolaid, play it loud and smoke/drink something

Eventually you’ll convince yourself

But first you have to buy my artisan organic $1k power cables to get the cleanest electric flow through the crystal lattice
 

wsaraceni

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,867
Hah. Thanks for the responses. But everyone says it sounds better. :). I guess it’s not much different. I’ll be ok with my hand me down collection coming my way and having an excuse to sit and listen to a group of songs in entirety.
 

rust_in_peace

Member
Messages
890
To get the full benefit of vinyl you really need to have quality equipment and, just as important, a proper setup. My recommendation would be to find someone who is an audiophile and has a good setup and do an A/B comparison. Unless you have tin ears, you'll hear a difference.
 

Thedude99

Member
Messages
2,289
You need to move away from the powered speakers.

The U-Turn turntable, preamp and Grado aren’t terrible. But feeding them into powered speakers isn’t going to get you very far. It’s a classic mistake.

You need a separate (decent) amp or receiver and and non-powered speakers. You would have to be hearing impaired not to hear the difference between vinyl and MP3 with a better setup.

I’m not down on digital. CD’s through a good setup sound wonderful. High bitrate digital like Tidal through a good DAC and stereo sound great.
 

johnnyb128

Member
Messages
1,340
You need to move away from the powered speakers.

The U-Turn turntable, preamp and Grado aren’t terrible. But feeding them into powered speakers isn’t going to get you very far. It’s a classic mistake.

You need a separate (decent) amp or receiver and and non-powered speakers. You would have to be hearing impaired not to hear the difference between vinyl and MP3 with a better setup.

I’m not down on digital. CD’s through a good setup sound wonderful. High bitrate digital like Tidal through a good DAC and stereo sound great.
Agree with TheDude - 1) 2x35W 5" powered Bookshelf speakers ain't gonna cut it for quality audio. You need more power via a separate, higher quality receiver. I'd go with bigger speakers but they don't have to be anything crazy, 8" or 10" non-powered.

Also, I see those speakers are Bluetooth, you using them that way? They've got the slightly upgraded codec for BT, aptX, but not aptXHD - if you're using BT to send the signal does your source use that same aptX codec? If not, it's sending at the reduced, very low bitrate, standard BT codec with lots of compression.

In other words, if you're using them over BT, that would be the first thing I'd change...then the receiver and speakers. The Receiver is a no-brainer since a good one these days is cheap and can be connected to the TV, etc.

Edit: i didn't notice the preamp, so you're likely not over BT. I'll leave this all up though since it might be interesting to someone.
 
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Dasein

Member
Messages
4,385
I never understand why people struggle to put an album on spotify or whatever and sit and listen to it.

I do it all weekend long and I never have to do anything. Just pull out my phone and beam it to the bluetooth...never been happier.
Here’s the difference. Playing an album side ties you to a single location for a 20 minute period of time. There’s a ritual in preparing your listening space and loading up the record - the unpacking of the vinyl - the reveal - the static duster - there’s the purposeful dropping of the needle - the anticipation of the needle finding the groove and starting to play... there’s the space between the cuts ... but you are generally confined to your listening space while you curate the record. Because you have to pull the needle up after the side is done and put it away — there’s something meditative and contemplative about the whole process.
 

twotone

Member
Messages
3,501
Here’s the difference. Playing an album side ties you to a single location for a 20 minute period of time. There’s a ritual in preparing your listening space and loading up the record - the unpacking of the vinyl - the reveal - the static duster - there’s the purposeful dropping of the needle - the anticipation of the needle finding the groove and starting to play... there’s the space between the cuts ... but you are generally confined to your listening space while you curate the record. Because you have to pull the needle up after the side is done and put it away — there’s something meditative and contemplative about the whole process.
I'm not into listening to albums. I like to listen to songs. I find all that vinyl stuff inconvenient and time consuming. With MP3s, I can click on any song stored on my device and hear it within seconds.
 

Dasein

Member
Messages
4,385
I'm not into listening to albums. I like to listen to songs. I find all that vinyl stuff inconvenient and time consuming. With MP3s, I can click on any song stored on my device and hear it within seconds.
I hear you - it’s about the experience.... listening to vinyl is about the experience.
 

wire-n-wood

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,328
ive got a basic setup. What do I need now to hear the difference. I have one vinyl album that I got as a gift but it sounds pretty similar to the digital version.
My setup is pretty basic. Maybe that’s the problem. Uturn turntable with acrylic platter and a Grado cartridge. Built in phono preamp and Fluance Ai40 speakers. Pretty cheap setup. But not junk from the reviews I’ve read. Where do I go from here?
The sound is most affected by your speakers. Then the amp. That makes more of a difference than the vinyl vs some reasonable quality digital format.

Most vinyl now days is recorded digitally anyway, then cut onto vinyl. A few boutique exceptions, I'm sure. But mostly, if you want true end-to-end analogue, you'll need an old record. And a record player that does not simply convert to digital (see that USB input?)

But the thing that made vinyl great was NOT the sound. The sound was unreliable, scratchy, and it degraded with playing.

The thing that made vinyl great is your interaction with it. You had to carefully slide it out of the sleeve, wipe off the dust, squint closely as you placed the needle, always slightly nervous you'd scratch it or miss the outside grooves. Then after 4 songs, you'd flip it over, and place the needle again. It was precious, it demanded attention, and it was about the only way to hear albums, or even the full song without a DJ talking over it. It was a different day.

But truth be told, my current stereo with high quality speakers plays CDs with much better response than my old teen record player.
 

I Am Misery

Member
Messages
3,220
Just put on a side and let it spin... and sit and listen. That’s the wonder right there.
...and be sure to just sit there, waiting for the side to end. you'll have to flip it over before you know it. wonderful.

Here’s the difference. Playing an album side ties you to a single location for a 20 minute period of time. There’s a ritual in preparing your listening space and loading up the record - the unpacking of the vinyl - the reveal - the static duster - there’s the purposeful dropping of the needle - the anticipation of the needle finding the groove and starting to play... there’s the space between the cuts ... but you are generally confined to your listening space while you curate the record....
what a bunch of romantic nonsense.

... Because you have to pull the needle up after the side is done and put it away — there’s something meditative and contemplative about the whole process.
there's something "not worth the effort" about the whole process.

I hear you - it’s about the experience.... listening to vinyl is about the experience.
i'm so glad that i don't have to experience any of that ever again.


CD's were a godsend when they came out. finally, being able to just put the whole album on and just sit there listening. random play? whoah... multi-disc changers? Spotify, etc is even better. i can listen to the whole discography without any distraction.
 

I Am Misery

Member
Messages
3,220
Listen to the depth of the bass.
Listen to the stereo separation, and how wide one is compared to the other.
Listen to the "air" of the recording. Higher than brightness.
Listen to the roundness and/or snap of the snare hit.
try closing the lid on the record player, a lot of that goes away. :p
 




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