Author Topic: Hi-Fi and music formats.  (Read 8812 times)

Q13

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Hi-Fi and music formats.
« on: March 22, 2015, 05:52:02 PM »
I have/had a few thousand albums (I never kept count) collected over quite a few decades. I have about a hundred or so cd's. A few flac files and thousands of mp3 files. Someone has suggested I am a format snob.
I would prefer when sat indoors to listen to vinyl over cd anyday. A respected piece of vinyl, by respected I mean it is wiped with a cloth, the stylus is correctly weighted and placed with care into the run in groove and no drunken idiot is allowed close to the record or platter will last for a very long time. Indeed I have resurrected the cheapest of vinyl which has been abused and misused from many a charity shop. Like a car, you change the tyres from time to time, you do need to change the stylus when playing vinyl too.
Cd's such an artificial clinical sound, certainly not the sound of musicians recorded playing in the recording studio or live by analogue means. Also it is a well known fact the best cd does not have the dynamic range of vinyl.
Some argue to get the best out of vinyl you have to have spent lots and lots of money. Why? An amplifier is an amplifier and loudspeakers are loudspeakers irrespective of what the source is, be it vinyl, cd or dare I say it mp3.
So much that I have on vinyl is not available in digital format unless it has been taken from vinyl and afterall digital formats do just use analogue recordings as the master recording to begin with, which could even be on magnetic tape!

I could play a piece of music from an mp3 recording and it would sound better than a cd in a cheap cd set-up and most certainly if it were a flac digital recording, just because I respect the quality of the music I may listen to, not because I am a format snob, but just because I understand the amp, speakers, interconnects and speaker cable has such a vast role to play. I am sorry others are not aware of these simple facts of life.

Lot's of people fell into the trap of switching from vinyl to cd's to accomodate their lack of understanding and respect for their vinyl and how so many now regret doing so. Vinyl scratches, vinyl shows wear, vinyl warps, well it will if you do not show it respect, same as everything else in life and cd's which are not the real thing to begin with they don't like being scratched, they need to be cleaned before playing (otherwise intead of just being able to blow off or brush off dust or fluff on your stylus your cd front end is screwed permanently with dirt on the laser. Ce la vie! ;)

As an anology for luddites out there, vhs was great, dvd's so much more superior and blu ray now so much better than plain old garden dvd's and the latest must have. Vinyl may not be so convenient, but in my opinion will never be superseded unless you want to go the route of modern home cinema entertainment and want to listen to something like this, I am lucky enough to own and appreciate. Then you have no choice, but to be digital.

A tip for whatever you listen to biwire your speakers if you can, the difference in quality is quite remarkable.

When I am on the bus an mp3 is good enough though an upgrade to flac in due course will be appreciated.
I think flac exceeds cd quality as digital packets go.

And my vinyl collection of Pink Industry and Souixsie bought from new sounds as good as new, (along with so much else).


Oh I concede I am a snob in so far as I have no treble or bass control knobs on my amp*, how could you live without that or even a graphic equalizer or presets for the royal albert hall glastonbury etc etc?

*Less is so much more.

As an example of where vinyl wins over anytime listen to my latest contribution of what you are listenign to and imagine if you can the bass notes resonanting up your spines whilst the perfect clrity of the vocals can be heard with ease. That is vinyl with no cocksuker deciding what you can and cannot listen to.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 06:21:04 PM by Q13 »

New World

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 12:12:09 PM »
Good idea for a thread, Q. I don't think this has ever been discussed before on RB..

As I said on the other thread, I'm still a bit of a vinyl snob at heart, but have been without a turntable for a few years now. I would dearly love to live in a bigger place. My flat is like a cupboard and I no longer have the space for indulgent hobbies that involve collecting things that take up space. That includes CD's, although I did buy two at the weekend on impulse and because they were dirt cheap!

I have an excellent Marantz amp and CD player and old Tannoy M20 Gold speakers which even after almost thirty years sound amazing. I've only had to replace a woofer once (amp and CD player are fairly new)

Now, about this whole concept of not having bass or treble controls, and listening to the music raw. I've never been able to get my head round this and as much as I try if I set my amp to Source Direct it just sounds flat and lifeless to me compared to how I would normally have my controls set. I've always been skeptical of graphic equalizers, but basic tone controls...?

A friend of mine - a former sound engineer - always sets my amp to Source Direct when he comes over and puts some music on and insists it sounds better, but I can't hear the top and bottom end like I want to. I don't understand the advantage to the listener. Maybe it's just a case of training your ears...?


Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 01:06:47 PM »
Good idea for a thread, Q. I don't think this has ever been discussed before on RB..

As I said on the other thread, I'm still a bit of a vinyl snob at heart, but have been without a turntable for a few years now. I would dearly love to live in a bigger place. My flat is like a cupboard and I no longer have the space for indulgent hobbies that involve collecting things that take up space. That includes CD's, although I did buy two at the weekend on impulse and because they were dirt cheap!

I have an excellent Marantz amp and CD player and old Tannoy M20 Gold speakers which even after almost thirty years sound amazing. I've only had to replace a woofer once (amp and CD player are fairly new)

Now, about this whole concept of not having bass or treble controls, and listening to the music raw. I've never been able to get my head round this and as much as I try if I set my amp to Source Direct it just sounds flat and lifeless to me compared to how I would normally have my controls set. I've always been skeptical of graphic equalizers, but basic tone controls...?

A friend of mine - a former sound engineer - always sets my amp to Source Direct when he comes over and puts some music on and insists it sounds better, but I can't hear the top and bottom end like I want to. I don't understand the advantage to the listener. Maybe it's just a case of training your ears...?

I have a pair of these and apart from some Grace Jones vinyl which does sound flat I haven't ever felt the need for tone controls, though I do appreciate the acoustics of a room or the equipment can make it sound flat. If you can biwire your speakers, do so. You'll know if you can because the speakers will have four terminals on the back instead of two and your amp similarly. Otherwise just go into richer sounds and buy some nice thick speaker cable and that too you will hear a significant improvement. I promise.

The logic behind this is that it doesn't matter what car you buy (your amplifier) if you have to travel along a B road (the speaker cable) to get to your destination (the loudspeakers) you will arrive in a much better shape (the sound quality at the loudspeaker) if you were to travel along an empty motorway (upgraded speaker cable) than the B road. I say this not necessarily directed at you NW but perhaps for all those who may read this. The same goes for why you by-pass the tone controls, get the sound off of your platter (or cd front end) and to the loudspeakers and your ear in the most efficient and quality manner possible.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 01:15:50 PM by Q13 »

Sven

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 01:16:55 PM »
I am totally digital.

Mostly because I got rid of a lot of my possessions before moving here.

Sound quality has never been a huge concern of mine. I can hear the difference, but I honestly don't care.
I do find it a little puzzling the effort that people put into getting a "perfect" sound at home. But each to their own.

 

Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 01:26:20 PM »
I am totally digital.

Mostly because I got rid of a lot of my possessions before moving here.

Sound quality has never been a huge concern of mine. I can hear the difference, but I honestly don't care.
I do find it a little puzzling the effort that people put into getting a "perfect" sound at home. But each to their own.

Cause it sounds better. I think this is a sufficient reason why, in and of itself. You just get the most out of all those hard earned schekels lavished on vinyl or cds.

New World

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 02:20:27 PM »
I have a pair of these and apart from some Grace Jones vinyl which does sound flat I haven't ever felt the need for tone controls, though I do appreciate the acoustics of a room or the equipment can make it sound flat. If you can biwire your speakers, do so. You'll know if you can because the speakers will have four terminals on the back instead of two and your amp similarly. Otherwise just go into richer sounds and buy some nice thick speaker cable and that too you will hear a significant improvement. I promise.

The logic behind this is that it doesn't matter what car you buy (your amplifier) if you have to travel along a B road (the speaker cable) to get to your destination (the loudspeakers) you will arrive in a much better shape (the sound quality at the loudspeaker) if you were to travel along an empty motorway (upgraded speaker cable) than the B road. I say this not necessarily directed at you NW but perhaps for all those who may read this. The same goes for why you by-pass the tone controls, get the sound off of your platter (or cd front end) and to the loudspeakers and your ear in the most efficient and quality manner possible.

I think my amp has four speaker terminals per channel but the old speakers have just the two. Yeah, I've always used good thick speaker cable, and you're right it makes a big difference.

One thing CD's have over vinyl is that some vinyl albums can distort quite badly towards the end of the side. I guess this is down to the pressing and the quality of the tone arm. Have you observed this, and is a good turntable purely the answer?

New World

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2015, 02:25:01 PM »
I am totally digital.

Mostly because I got rid of a lot of my possessions before moving here.

Sound quality has never been a huge concern of mine. I can hear the difference, but I honestly don't care.
I do find it a little puzzling the effort that people put into getting a "perfect" sound at home. But each to their own.

It can depend on the music you're into. Some music is recorded to sound very powerful, with good clarity at the top and bottom end. You'll lose those dynamics with a cheap system. A blow out Trevor Horn production was never really intended for the transister radio..  ;)

One man and his guitar type music, just strumming away singing about drinking, sex or unemployment probably doesn't warrant a superb sound system and arguably isn't in the spirit of the music, but when you're stoning out and trying to shake the house down with Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple or Seconds Out by Genesis, you wanna feel it!  8)

Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2015, 02:31:00 PM »
One thing CD's have over vinyl is that some vinyl albums can distort quite badly towards the end of the side. I guess this is down to the pressing and the quality of the tone arm. Have you observed this, and is a good turntable purely the answer?

I have never encountered this NW. As I have said I very very rarely listen to my vinyl I just picked up one of these in case I did and I am happy with it.
A Project turntable for 150 about eight to ten years ago.

BTW my amp is an arcam delta 60 very old but brilliant though I can't hook it up to the tv and other stuff as they are all digital :(
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 02:35:21 PM by Q13 »

Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 02:40:07 PM »
One man and his guitar type music, just strumming away singing about drinking, sex or unemployment probably doesn't warrant a superb sound system and arguably isn't in the spirit of the music, but when you're stoning out and trying to shake the house down with Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple or Seconds Out by Genesis, you wanna feel it!  8)

Along with church organ recitals :) Deutsche Gramaphone.

I have a pair of satelites about seven feet apart and a subwoofer under my desk connected to the pc.

My Dad bought a Bang & Olufsen back in the seventies. As they are today style over substance. Before that a big metal box with a radio, turntable, cassette player and an 8 track player, a couple of speakers and some wires for the speakers. My god those were the days!  :ROFL:
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 12:01:52 AM by Q13 »

Alizarin

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2015, 01:42:51 AM »
I have/had a few thousand albums (I never kept count) collected over quite a few decades. I have about a hundred or so cd's. A few flac files and thousands of mp3 files. Someone has suggested I am a format snob.
I would prefer when sat indoors to listen to vinyl over cd anyday. A respected piece of vinyl, by respected I mean it is wiped with a cloth, the stylus is correctly weighted and placed with care into the run in groove and no drunken idiot is allowed close to the record or platter will last for a very long time. Indeed I have resurrected the cheapest of vinyl which has been abused and misused from many a charity shop. Like a car, you change the tyres from time to time, you do need to change the stylus when playing vinyl too.
Cd's such an artificial clinical sound,
certainly not the sound of musicians recorded playing in the recording studio or live by analogue means. Also it is a well known fact the best cd does not have the dynamic range of vinyl.
Some argue to get the best out of vinyl you have to have spent lots and lots of money. Why? An amplifier is an amplifier and loudspeakers are loudspeakers irrespective of what the source is, be it vinyl, cd or dare I say it mp3.
So much that I have on vinyl is not available in digital format unless it has been taken from vinyl and afterall digital formats do just use analogue recordings as the master recording to begin with, which could even be on magnetic tape!

I could play a piece of music from an mp3 recording and it would sound better than a cd in a cheap cd set-up and most certainly if it were a flac digital recording, just because I respect the quality of the music I may listen to, not because I am a format snob, but just because I understand the amp, speakers, interconnects and speaker cable has such a vast role to play. I am sorry others are not aware of these simple facts of life.

Lot's of people fell into the trap of switching from vinyl to cd's to accomodate their lack of understanding and respect for their vinyl and how so many now regret doing so. Vinyl scratches, vinyl shows wear, vinyl warps, well it will if you do not show it respect, same as everything else in life and cd's which are not the real thing to begin with they don't like being scratched, they need to be cleaned before playing (otherwise intead of just being able to blow off or brush off dust or fluff on your stylus your cd front end is screwed permanently with dirt on the laser. Ce la vie! ;)

As an anology for luddites out there, vhs was great, dvd's so much more superior and blu ray now so much better than plain old garden dvd's and the latest must have. Vinyl may not be so convenient, but in my opinion will never be superseded unless you want to go the route of modern home cinema entertainment and want to listen to something like this, I am lucky enough to own and appreciate. Then you have no choice, but to be digital.

A tip for whatever you listen to biwire your speakers if you can, the difference in quality is quite remarkable.

When I am on the bus an mp3 is good enough though an upgrade to flac in due course will be appreciated.
I think flac exceeds cd quality as digital packets go.

And my vinyl collection of Pink Industry and Souixsie bought from new sounds as good as new, (along with so much else).


Oh I concede I am a snob in so far as I have no treble or bass control knobs on my amp*, how could you live without that or even a graphic equalizer or presets for the royal albert hall glastonbury etc etc?

*Less is so much more.

As an example of where vinyl wins over anytime listen to my latest contribution of what you are listenign to and imagine if you can the bass notes resonanting up your spines whilst the perfect clrity of the vocals can be heard with ease. That is vinyl with no cocksuker deciding what you can and cannot listen to.


I think you adhere to all my suspicions.  Faffing around with your precious vinyl like it's a quasi religious relic. 

The CD is from the master tapes, reproduced to reflect every nuance of sound and frequency.  As the band put it on tape.  Not adulterated by the hum of a turntable and the stylus pick-up.  I'm sure you've stuck a needle, mid air, over vinyl and heard the deep drone?  Well, that's what you like, the sub bass drone of the turntable behind the music.  It's that which gives the music it's so-called 'depth' or 'richness'.  However, it's different depending on the turntable and can be replicated in production.    At this point you might mention the so-called CD 'loudness war' and clipping on MP3s and CDs.  A valid point but vinyl will go well beyond this as far as degradation of sound quality goes  on well played or even moderately played vinyl.  CD retains the quality with moderate care. 


Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2015, 01:52:43 AM »
Not adulterated by the hum of a turntable and the stylus pick-up.  I'm sure you've stuck a needle, mid air, over vinyl and heard the deep drone?  Well, that's what you like, the sub bass drone of the turntable behind the music.  It's that which gives the music it's so-called 'depth' or 'richness'.  However, it's different depending on the turntable and can be replicated in production.    At this point you might mention the so-called CD 'loudness war' and clipping on MP3s and CDs.  A valid point but vinyl will go well beyond this as far as degradation of sound quality goes  on well played or even moderately played vinyl.  CD retains the quality with moderate care.

No Al I don't suffer hum, I am sorry to hear that you do. Evidently you didn't read what I said vinyl is a pretty robust medium unless it is abused and I can assure you it retains its quality with moderate care. Maybe you have just had some bad experiences with vinyl and turntables.
Do you incidently have a turntable and some vinyl? Perhaps I could help you out and cure your hum?

Alizarin

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2015, 01:56:03 AM »
As an anology for luddites out there, vhs was great, dvd's so much more superior and blu ray now so much better than plain old garden dvd's and the latest must have. Vinyl may not be so convenient, but in my opinion will never be superseded unless you want to go the route of modern home cinema entertainment and want to listen to something like this, I am lucky enough to own and appreciate. Then you have no choice, but to be digital.

Sorry Q13, it's already been superseded in sound quality and capacity by CD.  With CD you can convert to MP3 and is more portable than vinyl.  PS, VHS was never 'great' it was shit from the outset but the only show in town.  Personally, the  enhancements of Blu Ray over DVD are nice to have but I can take or leave them.  VHS is a format I was happy to see the back of.

Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2015, 02:05:41 AM »
As an anology for luddites out there, vhs was great, dvd's so much more superior and blu ray now so much better than plain old garden dvd's and the latest must have. Vinyl may not be so convenient, but in my opinion will never be superseded unless you want to go the route of modern home cinema entertainment and want to listen to something like this, I am lucky enough to own and appreciate. Then you have no choice, but to be digital.

Sorry Q13, it's already been superseded in sound quality and capacity by CD.  With CD you can convert to MP3 and is more portable than vinyl.


Vinyl has not been superseded by CD. What cd is is me ripping one of my albums onto the computer and then digitally playing with it. This is a bit like wanting to listen to someone sing or wanting to listen to someone sing through a synthesizer. Regards mp3's I have thousands and of course it is more convenient than the days when i had a sony walkman with tape I could not go jogging with for the music sounded seasick and as I said bring on FLAC.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 02:08:35 AM by Q13 »

Alizarin

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2015, 02:06:42 AM »
No Al I don't suffer hum, I am sorry to hear that you do. Evidently you didn't read what I said vinyl is a pretty robust medium unless it is abused and I can assure you it retains its quality with moderate care. Maybe you have just had some bad experiences with vinyl and turntables.
Do you incidently have a turntable and some vinyl? Perhaps I could help you out and cure your hum?

You must have an expensive turntable then!  A turntable that tries to replicate the zero hum of CD!  Vinyl is not a robust medium and needs almost religious devotion combined with sensitive i.e. expensive, kit. 

When you say 'bad experiences' with turntables, what you mean is turntables that don't cost a shit load of money!  Back in the 80s (poss early 90s), I spent a reasonable amount of money on a seperate turntable and it didn't have any hum.  However, the sound was tinny and not that great.  Great for the high frequencies but badly lacking in low frequencies.  I'm sure if I'd spent another shit load of money on an amp, that would have cured it.  However, guess what?  The Tories were in office, I was in and out of employment and didn't have the cash to chuck at such things.

CD made it a lot cheaper to get good sound for much less expense.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 02:10:03 AM by Alizarin »

Q13

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Re: Hi-Fi and music formats.
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2015, 02:10:39 AM »
You must have an expensive turntable then!  A turntable that tries to replicate the zero hum of CD!  Vinyl is not a robust medium and needs almost religious devotion. 

When you say 'bad experiences' with turntables, what you mean is turntables that don't cost a shit load of money!  Back in the 80s (poss early 90s), I spent a reasonable amount of money on a seperate turntable and it didn't have any hum.  However, the sound was tinny and not that great.  Great for the high frequencies but badly lacking in low frequencies.  I'm sure if I'd spent another shit load of money on an amp, that would have cured it.  However, guess what?  The Tories were in office, I was in and out of employment and didn't have the cash to chuck at such things.

CD made it a lot cheaper to get good sound for much less expense.


I am sorry your personal bitter experiences with the tories have turned you off from vinyl after conceding you had a good turntable.So far I have made over a grand off of people selling their vinyl when they all switched to cd's. The turntable a project 150 about 8 years ago, before that a B&O from the seventies. Amp (all this above) arcam delta 60 and speakers Bower & Wilkins floorstanders (I will put the links in in a minute) amp and speakers from 1991 they cost either 300 or 600 each and some decent speaker cable and gold plated interconnects biwired, the cable did not come from the Chord company. Sure i spent a penny or two but it is very nice stuff does an excellent job and has lasted. Doesn't matter wether you use cd or vinyl assuming you go the seperates route then it is just a choice of source.

Otherwise if you were to invite me over to listen to your music collection I will politely decline, thankyou :)

The tinny sound you refer to was most probably as a consequence of the amp and speakers. Not the turntable.

I know I have posted it before, my vinyl. Some of it anyway.

Incidentally are you a fan of Cr@ss?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 02:50:46 AM by Q13 »