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the truth about vinyl

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,780
Vinyl is fun. To me the fun is around he whole experience picking out an album, putting on a side, listening to an entire 15-20 minute side in one shot, looking at the cover art. To me, 15-20 minute is the perfect length for a musical statement. After that I can decide to flip it or put on something else. For me vinyl has absolutely zero to do with sound quality. I don't have that great of a stereo anyways.

Most of my records were bought for <$1 at garage sales (or inherited from my older brother many years ago). It's getting a bit harder, but vinyl doesn't have to be expensive. Part of the fun, too, is the "thrill of the hunt." I don't know ahead of time what records I want to buy, but if i stop by a thrift shop or garage sale I always look through the vinyl section. I've found some really great stuff, and I buy stuff that I wouldn't normally get because it's cheap. Vinyl gets me to listen to music that's a bit off my radar.

90% of my music listening is on my phone, either commuting or working out. It's just where my life is at. Vinyl has its place, and I really enjoy it when I get the rare chances to dedicate time for music listening.
 

fetchmybeer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,585
I like records and have gone to the record store a handful of times in the past few years to dig through their stash. I never got rid of my cheapo Sony player I bought back around 1989 or so. Replaced the stylus and had a re-solder one of the RCA cables, but it works just fine.

As somebody early on in this thread said, the classics were mixed and mastered for vinyl and sound different and awesome because of it.

That said, I really like the SACD and blu rays that I've bought, particularly the surround mixes. There is a clarity to them that is lacking in both the regular CDs and the vinyl.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,718
i remember talking to this guy who owned the only local used record place in our town years and years ago (sadly he died 2 years ago of cancer), he opened his shop in early 80s, and it's still going...the only one in our town....anyway, were were talking about the 80s and the change from vinyl to CD, and he said that honestly he didn't see the CD change coming, and he didn't think it would take over so fast. he also said that he thought that it probably hit a lot of people like that also...technology changing so fast....
i think Frank Zappa talked about the change of the CD from Vinyl, and he talked about the CD sort of removed the "objectness" of music, you no longer had this 12" square thing to hold/covet that held your music, now (in late 80s) you had this 5" plastic thing that held your music....and obviously the image for the album art got smaller...and we sort of "progressed" to you hold nothing.
i'm not sure it's a good or bad thing. some people want to hold/own things (vinyl albums, cds, guitars, effects, amps, cars, etc etc) some people are fine w/ having 10000+ songs on their phone....i just think the change happened so fast that I think the record companies were sort of like a lot of people and didn't know what to do w/ the changing technology...
i was honestly never a huge fan of vinyl, it seemed every album i had , even if it was new, had skips and hiss....

the other funny thing that i was thinking about is all the artists talking about "how crappy the new format of music sounds (streaming)....the thing I thought of , was most of the artists/guitarists that we love, talk about/emulate (etc) when they were growing up in the 50s/60s/70s....most of the music they heard was probably on a crappy little radios with tiny little speakers....i don't think the sound was anything close to the pristine sound of a good stereo system, etc etc....and they seemed to do fine...
 

rauchman

Member
Messages
1,245
I still have all my albums from when I was a kid, but they are pretty much all "popcornized". Having said that, once in a while, I turn on the turn player and listen.....

Forget about the crackling/popcorn, and the sound is so much clearer than CD. I can hear what every instrument is doing clearly and the warm is superb. Reminds me of watching old 8mm movies vs. modern video. There is a richness/warmth in the analog that so far, is not repeatable in digital format.

And of yeah, who can forget the fun of spinning Stairway To Heaven backwards in quest of the satanic verses.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,718
i got rid of all my albums in '95, i didn't have a player, and it just didn't seem worthwhile to keep them.
the funny thing is I had the original Vai Flexable and Flexable Leftovers album:

and the place I took it to, said, had I tried to sell that a few years earlier I probably would have gotten a little better return .....man I listened to those 2 albums all the time!!!!
friend of mine who was a big Talking Heads fan back in the 80s had this album:

cover by Robert Rauschenberg, he said his copy skipped a lot...wonder what this is worth today....
 

Spec

Member
Messages
909
I had a friend that was off the deep end in the audiophile pool.
Don't know the total cost of his system but he had big electrostatic speakers, 2 mono tube type power amps, ginormous preamp, isolated turn table, premium cables, etc.

Sounded glorious of course thing was he really only listened to punk rock type music. I used to kid him that he had more invested in reproduction than most of those bands had invested in production!
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,053
.

What reopened the door for vinyl to become popular again:
-Massive song compression on every CD/Streaming format for the Loudness Wars
-Portable earbuds to listen to all the music -- which really feeds off and needs the compression

Look at how the Beats headphones were rising in popularity, then Apple bought them (presumably to squash their use), and it seems Beats are rarely discussed anymore.

.
 
Messages
4,036
I saw this while scrolling through memes and I wondered, what would TGP think about this? :D

I definitely think the comic is funny, but honestly it's only really an inconvenience if you don't take listening to music as an activity in itself and more as something going on in the background. Sure, when I'm working out I want to be able to have the convenience of mp3s on my phone...but when I sit down at home to listen to records I want to pour over cover art, lyrics, and just generally get sucked into that world the same way people get sucked into a good movie or a good book. The "inconvenience"/con of having to get up every 20ish minutes to flip a record 5 feet from where I'm sitting just really doesn't factor in for me when weighed against all the pros. I absolutely love listening to records and I do it just about every day.

And you really don't need an INSANE rig to enjoy great sound from your records. I think my entire setup including the turntable, preamp, headphones, and speakers ran me about $1000 total and it sounds incredible.

But it’s definitely high maintenance and the point of diminishing returns is surprisingly high.

But you don’t HAVE to spend a fortune to get something fun and enjoyable. There are plenty of bargains out there.
If anything, vinyl is now once again an investment...I have lots of records that I purchased for $20-$30 that are now long out of print and sell for $100-$200 a pop online. It is a LOT of fun to go record hunting though, and sometimes you really find some insane deals. When I first started up my collection a few years back I was on my way to a big local flea market when I ran across a guy selling records on his stoop, and he had just the stuff I was after and all in great shape without a scratch to be found - Zeppelin, Floyd, Rush, Genesis, King Crimson, list goes on and on. This was maybe a year or so before vinyl really "came back into fashion" heavily so he sold me about 75 records for $80. Nowadays record shopping is a lot more difficult and I do most of mine online because running into something I actually need/want in a store is getting tougher, but it's still fun to browse the crates and every now and then you run into a real gem. Just a few weeks ago I picked up an Ella Fitzgerald record for $1 (sleeve has seen better days but the record was mint) and it's one of the best albums I have ever heard in my entire life. Can't beat that kind of joy for a buck!
 

TopJimmy5150

Member
Messages
1,463
I love my Jazz record collection. They are my sanity.

My system isn't fancy (a new Audio-Technica AT-LP150 or a Hitachi from 1978 through a Bose Wave Radio) but it's amazing sounding, treats my vintage Jazz records nicely, and makes me happy.
 

Tom CT

Old Supporting Member
Messages
17,774
I love the fact that records have to be played through an RIAA EQ curve to overcome limitations of the format. Lived through it in the '70s. I'll take digital, thanks.
 

TopJimmy5150

Member
Messages
1,463
You know the loudness wars that caused every CD made in the last 20 years sound like flat over-compressed crap? Guess what? You can't do that on Vinyl! A lot of bands are mixing their albums separately for vinyl...and they sound so much better.
 

HesNot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,872
When I started listening to music seriously cassettes were a new thing and vinyl was the format of choice. Cassettes, for my friends and I, were primarily a medium to record our albums for portable use (car mostly) or to make a mix tape for a girl you fancied (a dicey proposition, at best but High Fidelity was not far off). I've never fully left vinyl but pared down the collection significantly over the years - mostly things I had on CD.

The best part of vinyl was the new album experience - stopping at the record store to pick up a new release from your favorite band and getting to slice the shrink wrap and smell the "new vinyl" - hold the sleeve and liner and read the notes and the lyrics. It is a memory somewhat stamped into my brain. The fiddle factor cuts both ways - it can be either therapeutic, the ritual of cleaning, dropping the needle, flipping, cleaning and dropping the needle; or irritating and disruptive.

I was also an early adopter of CDs - and my first player was as expected a bit average, as were many of the first CDs themselves that were not terribly well mastered. But eventually the convenience and, yes, sound quality won me over. I listen to both but maintain a well mastered CD played with a good player sounds every bit as good as vinyl to my ears and on my system, and is significantly more convenient (and easily converted into Apple lossless files if you want to have the album available on your phone or music player).

My CD player from 1991 is still (knock on wood) going strong and I've had a Thorens TD280 (motor) and Harman Kardon T35C (optical sensor) die on my over the same period (finally settled on a Rega RP2 as being about as bone simple as possible). Although I am scoping about for a CD upgrade and given the formats relative drop in popularity there are bargains to be had for very nice units.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,044
I like the process of vinyl. I all of it's faults. But it's not as good as digital. There's no measurable quantity where it surpasses a good 24 bit 96 kHz recording. I learned this when I recorded some vinyl records onto DVD's years ago and couldn't find anyone who could tell the difference in a blind test.

Vinyl albums are mastered differently. They have the highs exaggerated, which are then rolled off due to the properties of the stylus. They also have the bass rolled off to prevent skipping. Digital is pretty much flat. So what I found out is if you use high end digital recording and playback equipment, you can record a vinyl album and keep all of it's vinylness intact. It's sad, but true.

CD's, MP3's, and other compressed formats don't seem to capture the dynamic range as well, and some even do some funky dithering to the highs which can create a harsh, swooshing effect. You also have to consider that most CD players and other digital playback devices have terrible DA Converters. So when most people say vinyl or analog sounds better than digital, that might be true to them, but only because of the crappy systems they're listening on, or their own preference for the way Vinyl albums are mixed. Even the old 12 ips tape machines can't touch a high end digital system. As much as I love analog, and I do because I generally hate computers and what they've done to society, I have to admit, that digital is just superior when both are deployed to the fullest of their potential.
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,903
I was born in (see avatar) and it was all about vinyl. We also had 8 track tapes which were awful. They sounded real flat and dull. There were 4 different sections and the tape would switch when one was finished and sometimes a song would be too long and it would stop and you had to wait for it to resume and a lot of times it would pick up at the beginning of the last part you heard, kind of a repeat. Just terrible. Cassettes were a huge improvement over that and were the thing for driving. I had boxes of cassettes in my cars. Vinyl was so much better and it wasn’t close.
Cd’s were supposed to be far superior with their digital technology and the truth is they never lived up to it. Sound quality of albums has gotten worse and worse over time. There was nothing like having a nice turntable plugged into a good receiver/amp running through a couple 4 way tower speakers. The clarity and separation of all the nuances in the recording was light years better than what we have now. It was like having the band in your living room.
Technology is great but audio quality took a huge hit as a result. For those who weren’t around in those days, sadly you’ll likely never experience what we did sonically all the time. As always we take it for granted in the moment but looking back, there was nothing and to this day, still nothing better than vinyl on a good vintage system. Even a decent system was far and away better than today’s stuff.
Extremely accurate post! Unless you weren't there and I can see a lot of your were not. Propagandized in the modern world.
 

teleman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,903
I like the process of vinyl. I all of it's faults. But it's not as good as digital. There's no measurable quantity where it surpasses a good 24 bit 96 kHz recording. I learned this when I recorded some vinyl records onto DVD's years ago and couldn't find anyone who could tell the difference in a blind test.

Vinyl albums are mastered differently. They have the highs exaggerated, which are then rolled off due to the properties of the stylus. They also have the bass rolled off to prevent skipping. Digital is pretty much flat. So what I found out is if you use high end digital recording and playback equipment, you can record a vinyl album and keep all of it's vinylness intact. It's sad, but true.

CD's, MP3's, and other compressed formats don't seem to capture the dynamic range as well, and some even do some funky dithering to the highs which can create a harsh, swooshing effect. You also have to consider that most CD players and other digital playback devices have terrible DA Converters. So when most people say vinyl or analog sounds better than digital, that might be true to them, but only because of the crappy systems they're listening on, or their own preference for the way Vinyl albums are mixed. Even the old 12 ips tape machines can't touch a high end digital system. As much as I love analog, and I do because I generally hate computers and what they've done to society, I have to admit, that digital is just superior when both are deployed to the fullest of their potential.
The major flaw in your post is DINERO! Now explain to the folks how much money one needs to spend to have digital that sounds better than VInyl I can put an awesome system together with used craigslist products for less than 800. Isn't that what a good dac costs?
 

taez555

Member
Messages
8,053
The funny thing is a big part of the reason I got (back) into was vinyl because it was so much cheaper than buying CD's.

I grew up with my parents vinyl collection in the 80's, but then somewhere around Jr High the CD revolution hit and that's all I bought for near 20 years. Then after college around 2000 I was browsing used record stores and seeing vinyl albums for $1 each. And of course there were hundreds of artists I always wanted to check out, but couldn't afford to throw down $10 per album on. So I got a decent record player, and next thing you know I have the entire discography from the 70's of Rush, Billy Joel, ZZ Top, etc... for the price each of one CD.

Then all the sudden used prices starting going through the freakin' roof. That $1 record is now $30 on ebay. WTF.

Oh well.. I still buy new albums from time to time when they're released on vinyl, but honestly the original pressing from the 70's of most still sound better than these 180 gram $50 a pop re-re-re-masters.
 




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