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Benefit of Vinyl Reproduction Question:


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Posted (edited)

 Firstly, I get the idea of a complete analogue recording on a 'Master Tape' ( Pure unbroken Sound Wave)

and replay through an analogue device .

What though,  if i record something  in the 'Digital Domain' on my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

at say 24bit/96khz  ,  is there any  aural benefit  by transferring and listening to it on Vinyl?

Bear in mind it's already gone through Analogue to Digital Conversion going from my Guitar to the DAW and  not a pure sound wave.

The most pure  form of playback i am going to get  is 24/96  through my  DAW...    Clearly, there is no 'Tape Compression' which

makes  old recordings sound 'Fat and Organic'.. Will Vinyl restore or improve this cold clinical digital recording?

I'm interested in opinions as I am unsure.

My gut feeling is if it's recorded in the digital domain it's best played back in the digital domain..

Edited by bryansamui
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Having had and compared old LPs converted to CD, I suspect the difference you may hear will come from the audible signature of the equipment used, rather than the format being played.

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1 hour ago, bryansamui said:

cold clinical digital recording

If the recording is cold and clinical then I suggest perhaps it wasn't mixed well in the first place.

Digital itself isn't inherently cold and clinical, just as vinyl isn't inherently warm and fat

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1 hour ago, bryansamui said:

What though,  if i record something  in the 'Digital Domain' on my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

at say 24bit/96khz  ,  is there any  aural benefit  by transferring and listening to it on Vinyl?

This has been done many times by the record companies. Most "digitally recorded" vinyl records were of course done this way. There's a lot of vinyl recorded by the Sony Soundstream digital recorder for example.  The Telarc series of classical records is an example.

 

7 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Digital itself isn't inherently cold and clinical, just as vinyl isn't inherently warm and fat

Completely  agree.

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4 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

If the recording is cold and clinical then I suggest perhaps it wasn't mixed well in the first place.

Digital itself isn't inherently cold and clinical, just as vinyl isn't inherently warm and fat

What you are saying is correct. There are thin sounding analogue recordings.  I was just wondering,  if issuing a digital recording  on a vinyl medium  gives  playback  some of the aural attributes that excite  vinyl enthusiasts .

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24 minutes ago, bryansamui said:

What you are saying is correct. There are thin sounding analogue recordings.  I was just wondering,  if issuing a digital recording  on a vinyl medium  gives  playback  some of the aural attributes that excite  vinyl enthusiasts .

My understanding is that there is more to making a record than simply transferring  the digital mix straight to vinyl. It’s an art that has to take into account a whole bunch of factors (eg the resonant frequency of the cutting lathe, the allowable groove width for deep bass or large dynamics etc). 
So it’s hard to know whether difference are caused by the medium or by the process. 
 

I would suggest a better way to tell if the “aural attributes” are due to the vinyl

itself would be to do a digital recording of a vinyl record and compare that way

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The main benefit of vinyl over a digital file (or CD) for music that was originally recorded digitally is the fact that you cannot cut  an overlay compressed file to a lacquer  so the LP in theory should sound more dynamic as a result which is kinda ironic seeing that the CD format has much better specs in this regard but sadly due to the loudness wars is mostly not utilised to its full potential.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Tubularbells said:

The main benefit of vinyl over a digital file (or CD) for music that was originally recorded digitally is the fact that you cannot cut  an overlay compressed file to a lacquer  so the LP in theory should sound more dynamic as a result which is kinda ironic seeing that the CD format has much better specs in this regard but sadly due to the loudness wars is mostly not utilised to its full potential.

So, you are saying that the main benefit of vinyl is that the original recording as mastered by the artist cannot be transferred intact to a vinyl disc due to the physical limitations of the medium?:huh:

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13 minutes ago, frednork said:

So, you are saying that the main benefit of vinyl is that the original recording as mastered by the artist cannot be transferred intact to a vinyl disc due to the physical limitations of the medium?:huh:

I read it as saying that borked overly compressed desired masters can't be cut to the lacquer (not sure why) and so they are forced to use a more 'normal' dynamic range, which is better from a hifi perspective.   Not sure I agree, as they could simply cut a compressed version at lower volume and still fit it on the record (like I suspect ktel and others did for those other 20 hit wonder LPs).  I guess they just would not want to lose the loudness wars, which btw still happened, even back in the days of 45 rpm singles.

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When Michael Fremer reviewed Mobile Fidelity's 2LP release of Brothers In Arms, he addressed the topic of a digital recording on vinyl:

 

"Now while cynics might say "why not just get the CD"? It's not that simple. "Get the CD" and use what to decode the digits? Your CD player or DAC? Is it as good as the one Mobile Fidelity uses? Or do you think all DACs sound the same? When listening to this double 45 you are hearing a combination of Mo-Fi's D/A converter, the mastering engineer's EQ choices and what the analog cutting process does or does not do to the resulting analog signal, just as when you listen to the original CD or LP you are listening to the gear used for those back "in the day" and the EQ choices made by Bob Ludwig."

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7 minutes ago, Goatboy said:

When Michael Fremer reviewed Mobile Fidelity's 2LP release of Brothers In Arms, he addressed the topic of a digital recording on vinyl:

 

"Now while cynics might say "why not just get the CD"? It's not that simple. "Get the CD" and use what to decode the digits? Your CD player or DAC? Is it as good as the one Mobile Fidelity uses? Or do you think all DACs sound the same? When listening to this double 45 you are hearing a combination of Mo-Fi's D/A converter, the mastering engineer's EQ choices and what the analog cutting process does or does not do to the resulting analog signal, just as when you listen to the original CD or LP you are listening to the gear used for those back "in the day" and the EQ choices made by Bob Ludwig."

I'm really struggling to understand what on earth he is saying :)

 

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1 minute ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I'm really struggling to understand what on earth he is saying :)

 

Far be it from me to interpret Fremer, but what I understood is that the mastering process (and with respect to digital the choice and quality of DAC), and all it involves is a lot more complex than 'transfer the CD to vinyl'.

 

FWIW I remember doing a shootout between the CD of BIA and the MOFI LP at a friend's house. At that stage he'd invested around 13K in his digital rig and about 5k in his vinyl setup. We both thought the vinyl sounded better, but only just. 

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7 hours ago, bryansamui said:

if issuing a digital recording  on a vinyl medium  gives  playback  some of the aural attributes that excite  vinyl enthusiasts .

I wouldn't think so

 

3 hours ago, aussievintage said:

I read it as saying that borked overly compressed desired masters can't be cut to the lacquer (not sure why) and so they are forced to use a more 'normal' dynamic range, which is better from a hifi perspective.   Not sure I agree, as they could simply cut a compressed version at lower volume and still fit it on the record (like I suspect ktel and others did for those other 20 hit wonder LPs).  I guess they just would not want to lose the loudness wars, which btw still happened, even back in the days of 45 rpm singles.

agreed

 

mastering onto vinyl will add further limits

  1. reduced volume peaks (than could be supported by digital) to prevent the needle jumping out of the groove
  2. tracing distortion increasing from outer groove to inner groove, meaning treble needs to be wound back towards the inner grooves as the needle just can't track the accelerations required for higher frequencies towards the inner grooves 

I see zero benefit in using vinyl as the playback medium, if the recording/mastering is digital.

 

Mike

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I have a couple records that are made from the same master as the digital recording.

The cartridge and phono stage seem to add dynamics, weight and stage size, versus the digital, which may be more accurate.

The vinyl playback of Hugh Masekala,s Hope album is always more enjoyable,  to my ears, of my TT thru my dual mono Einstein Phono stage.

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7 minutes ago, 20hertz said:

I have a couple records that are made from the same master as the digital recording

How do you know? 
Genuine question, for the reasons stated by me and @Tubularbells above, I didn't think that it was ever possible (or at least its extremely rare) for the digital master to be cut directly to vinyl completely unchanged without any adjustments made for the different formats 

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15 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I'm really struggling to understand what on earth he is saying :)

 

Reading into his complex statement, i got this: Using Vinyl you had  A/D conversion and then D/A conversion done by the engineer ( stuck with those choices)  or using CD, adding a further DAC in your living room. 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, bryansamui said:

 Firstly, I get the idea of a complete analogue recording on a 'Master Tape' ( Pure unbroken Sound Wave)

and replay through an analogue device .

What though,  if i record something  in the 'Digital Domain' on my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

at say 24bit/96khz  ,  is there any  aural benefit  by transferring and listening to it on Vinyl?

Bear in mind it's already gone through Analogue to Digital Conversion going from my Guitar to the DAW and  not a pure sound wave.

The most pure  form of playback i am going to get  is 24/96  through my  DAW...    Clearly, there is no 'Tape Compression' which

makes  old recordings sound 'Fat and Organic'.. Will Vinyl restore or improve this cold clinical digital recording?

I'm interested in opinions as I am unsure.

My gut feeling is if it's recorded in the digital domain it's best played back in the digital domain..

What will help, is to know about methods the recording industry has used to preserve dynamic range in music.   Where you say "The most pure  form of playback I am going to get  is 24/96  through my  DAW... "  then misses out on using what the recording industry has used since 1965  which is companding.

 

An outline of Type 4 DBX , gives some historical view of analog recording drawbacks, and more so digital recording drawbacks, and gives insight where companding has answered the preservation of dynamic range.    https://www.manualslib.com/manual/560757/Dbx-Type-Iv-Conversion-System.html

 

Can you also use companding ?... Yes Type 1 DBX gives possibly the best opportunity , and two vintage devices the 150 x and 180a enable real time processing. CD reproduction IMO benefits greatly from Type 1 , and is outlined in the 150x manual. There may also be plugins you can use, however you need to carefully follow the mathematical relationship and emphasis curves to get close to what Type 1 offers.  I am unsure if a type 1 software plug in is available.  Vangelis as example used type 1 companding in the recordings Antartica , and China to name two   

 

Ironically LP production uses a partial outline form of companding, namely the work Murray Crosby provided, in a failed patent where the  emphasis and de-emphasis methods are used at the time of cutting the LP, and then restored for flat reproduction when you use a phono stage , and is seen in the RIAA curve. Presently CD players do not exploit enough, the advantages of emphasis and de-emphasis  - although they have the capacity. What is needed is agreement on a companding method, and i would put my hand up for type 1 DBX

so when we buy a CD it contains the ability to compand at playback.

 

 

Edited by stereo coffee
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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, frednork said:

So, you are saying that the main benefit of vinyl is that the original recording as mastered by the artist cannot be transferred intact to a vinyl disc due to the physical limitations of the medium?:huh:

 

What (I think) im saying is that if an album is mastered too hot on CD then generally it will sound better on vinyl ironically due to the cutting lathe limitations. Im no expert but the way I understand this is overly compressed music means all those musical peaks have been sliced off and you end up with a brick walled looking file. This is basically clipping (the same thing occurs when driving an amp too hard). As the cutting lathe is in continuous motion it is unable to physically cut what is essentially a square wave onto the lacquer and thus the  vinyl master cannot be clipped or brick walled otherwise you'll end up with is an unplayable record.

 

2 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

How do you know? 
Genuine question, for the reasons stated by me and @Tubularbells above, I didn't think that it was ever possible (or at least its extremely rare) for the digital master to be cut directly to vinyl completely unchanged without any adjustments made for the different formats 

 

It is impossible to use the exact same master for CD and vinyl for the simple fact that vinyl cannot handle the large swings in bass as the modulation would consume too much space as at a minimum a vinyl master will have the RIAA inverse curve applied decreasing the bass level before being cut. 

 

Edited by Tubularbells
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1 minute ago, Tubularbells said:

What (I think) im saying is that if an album is mastered too hot on CD then generally it will sound better on vinyl ironically due to the cutting lathe limitations. Im no expert but the way I understand this is overly compressed music means all those musical peaks have been sliced off and you end up with a brick walled looking file. This is basically clipping (the same thing occurs when driving an amp too hard). As the cutting lathe is in continuous motion it is unable to physically cut what is essentially a square wave onto the lacquer and thus the  vinyl master cannot be clipped or brick walled

I get that vinyl has limitations.  Most vinyl versions now will not exactly be what was the artists vision as it needs to be modified to fit the format. Records will always sound like records as they have certain limitations, which is good if you like the sound of records.  

 

For me the biggest advantage of vinyl is that the temporal information in the music is set at the lathe unlike digital which needs to put it all together again which is where a lot of problems arise.  Both mediums have their issues.

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25 minutes ago, Tubularbells said:

Im no expert but the way I understand this is overly compressed music means all those musical peaks have been sliced off and you end up with a brick walled looking file. This is basically clipping (the same thing occurs when driving an amp too hard).

Actually it isn't.  Those musical peaks are removed by lowering the gain for the duration of the peak,  so it does not clip, it's just made the same height as the surrounding content.  What is removed is the dynamics of the music - only the difference in loudness between different parts of the music.

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Any mastering of a digital source for record production can be done well or it can be done poorly.  There can be brickwall compression, bad eq, and other decisions that result in a horrible record.  Or it can be mastered to bring out the best in the original recordings, retaining dynamic range and optimised for phono reproduction. 

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1 hour ago, aussievintage said:

Actually it isn't.  Those musical peaks are removed by lowering the gain for the duration of the peak,  so it does not clip, it's just made the same height as the surrounding content.  What is removed is the dynamics of the music - only the difference in loudness between different parts of the music.

Probably correct but if thats the case why do overly compressed "loud" recording sound terribly distorted.

 

Two examples I have are Rush -Vapour Trails & Metallica - Death Magnetic. Horrendous distortion on both which to my ears sounds a awful lot like clipping where as the vinyl versions are much better in this regard.

 

Yes vinyl is my preferred format however im also well aware of its limitations and dont pretend for a second that it the perfect medium. In fact it's amazing it sounds halfway decent at all given all the limitations imposed on the format.

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3 minutes ago, Tubularbells said:

Two examples I have are Rush -Vapour Trails & Metallica - Death Magnetic. Horrendous distortion on both which to my ears sounds a awful lot like clipping where as the vinyl versions are much better in this regard

If other people hear this distortion on their different equipment, then I think you can blame but workmanship in the studio.

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Both formats are capable of great music reproduction- that is pretty clear. I am currently listening to my FM tuner and getting great music reproduction. They all have their idiosyncracies, which producers, along with manufacturers of gear  plan for, in the effort to achieve good music coming out at the speakers. The difference between FM stations is indicative of some of the issues- some assume you are going to be listening in your car, and compress the hell out of it, whereas some, like ABC classical assume you are sitting at home and provide uncompressed signal (less compressed?)-   so it is possible to get good reproduction, though you often don't.

 

I love my record player, though I think it is mostly the trimmings- putting it on, cueing the record up, sitting down and watching it spin which is the sweetener. It is making love, rather than sex in isolation, if you like. That said, within the constraints of playing vinyl at all, there is a lot of improvement to be had with equipment, and I would say, the quantum of improvement is greater than that seen in digital gear.

 

Your ears may differ.

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1 hour ago, Tubularbells said:

 

Two examples I have are Rush -Vapour Trails

Just had a listen to this on Tidal. Interestingly there are 2 versions of this (both MQA mastered). They sound very different. The original one is pretty awful sounding and there is a 2013 remaster which is much more civilised and in many ways very different.  The first one sounds like they told the engineer to make it sound like it had been turned to 11.

In the end regardless of if we like it or not distortion is a valid artistic choice still used widely (just listen to the chorus of Adele's "Hello").

 

 

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2 hours ago, frednork said:

Just had a listen to this on Tidal. Interestingly there are 2 versions of this (both MQA mastered). They sound very different. The original one is pretty awful sounding and there is a 2013 remaster which is much more civilised and in many ways very different.  The first one sounds like they told the engineer to make it sound like it had been turned to 11.

In the end regardless of if we like it or not distortion is a valid artistic choice still used widely (just listen to the chorus of Adele's "Hello").

 

 

It was so poorly mastered in 2013 they remixed, remastered and re-released the album.

 

Unfiortunately the band was not in a good place when initially released due to the death of the drummers wife and daughter so were not really interested and/or involved in the process when initially released so im glad it was re-issued at a later date when the band were in a better place.

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100% Agreed, Vapour trails was a mess on release, the re issue is much better.

I'm with Tubularbells on Death Magnetic also.  That is an album universally known with a terrible production. So much so people questioned why Rick Rubin would even attach his name to it.  The  level of distortion is quite terrible, not distortion used in musical sense.   Oddly the Guitar Hero III game version is the best version of this, I am not a gaming person but you'll find that version online to listen to or grab.  Having all formats to compare and yeah for whatever reason the GHIII version is great.

 

I have the GnR anniversary edition of Appetite for Destruction, this is the 192/24 vinyl transfer and I think it sounds fantastic.  They did a great job on that. I prefer it to the original vinyl version.

Iron Maiden's most recent album - Book of Souls they actually had a different person master the CD and Vinyl versions, and they have definate differences  that you can absolutely hear when listening - Is that the format or the different mastering techniques and or vision the person had?

I think thats maybe what Fremmer was illuding too.  Ultimately, when you listen to digital recording reproduced on vinyl you are at the mercy of the the mastering engineers interpretation of how it should sound (to them) and also the D/A equipment used in the studio - as opposed to the OG version which in fact we are still arguably  listening to a mastering engineers interpretation of how it should sound BUT its what we've come to believe how that album should sound and hence anything out that parellel is generally frowned on.

 

My personal grab on this is that it all goes terribly wrong when an album was recorded specifically for CD release but now with the vinyl craze companies are cashing in and releasing these albums on vinyl.   Alot (not all) of these were brickwalled and now get given no consideration to the album gain used on the disc or transfer process to vinyl.   Throw in an engineer to "vinyl remaster" it and or alter the production by pushing forward or pulling back an instrument and all of a sudden what was a good sounding CD can sound crap on vinyl - I own some of these!!! 

Conversely, the exact some issue happens on CD reissues of classic vinyl, remastered, made louder or altered in someway and then that CD gets labelled fatiguing and the vinyl version is king. 

What I dont know if its the format transfer to blame or the person re-engineering it for the said format along with their equipment "house sound" and how they want to put their name to it.  Thats again I think what Fremmer was illuding to.

 

 

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9 hours ago, aussievintage said:

Actually it isn't.  Those musical peaks are removed by lowering the gain for the duration of the peak,  so it does not clip, it's just made the same height as the surrounding content.  What is removed is the dynamics of the music - only the difference in loudness between different parts of the music.

 

8 hours ago, Tubularbells said:

Probably correct but if thats the case why do overly compressed "loud" recording sound terribly distorted.

Because compressed recordings change the shape of the waveform.  And the difference between the original waveform and the changed waveform is distortion.  The greater the change, the greater the distortion.

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On 12/05/2020 at 7:31 PM, audiofeline said:

Because compressed recordings change the shape of the waveform.  And the difference between the original waveform and the changed waveform is distortion.  The greater the change, the greater the distortion.

but as an end listener you have no clue what was the original...but maybe other interpretations of the original (LP vs CD, different masters etc)

 

I only listen to digital, and I haven't looked closely via Audacity etc of the amount of compression applied, but I see an indication of the amount of compression based on the input level on my DEQX.

Material that's compressed keeps the input levels on the DEQX maxed.

 

What I find more interesting, and I haven't delved deeper yet (via Audacity etc), is that albums like the Killers "Sam's Town" and the Strokes  "Is this It", on redbook CD, sound completely shite up loud, but Florence and the Machine albums (as an example) still sound great up loud - even though at an input level, they all pin the DEQX input to max through every song.

 

Obviously there's degrees of compression where it still sounds OK up loud on a decent setup - the Killers/Strokes crossed over it and Florence didn't.

 

It still comes back to how well it was mastered - all recordings have some level of dynamic compression (soft levels increased in volume and loud levels decreased in volume) - take an action movie as an example - compare dialogue with a gun shot - in real life you wear hearing protection when firing guns, but you don't wear hearing protection listening/watching movies - that's dynamic compression.

Another great example of extreme dynamic range are Tom Danley's fireworks recordings  https://www.danleysoundlabs.com/tom-danleys-mic-recordings/

Warning - these recordings can be speaker busters...you hear .nothing...nothing...nothing...turn it up...Bam...soft crackle,... Bam, Bam, Bam, soft crackle, Bam, Bam, BAM, sh!te turn it down, BAM, BAM BAM... quick, where is the remote?

 

The purpose of bringing Danley's tracks into the thread was only to demonstrate extreme dynamic range - you never experience huge dynamic range with typical music, or even movies.

 

Well recorded vinyl will sound fantastic for all music, but the vinyl guys will acknowledge you couldn't put Danley's tracks on vinyl without significant compression.

 

Mike

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1 hour ago, almikel said:

but as an end listener you have no clue what was the original...but maybe other interpretations of the original (LP vs CD, different masters etc)...

But also as an end listener you have the experience as a listener to go on.  Heavily compressed music can sound impressive with it's fullness on first impression.  But after a while, the music can become fatiguing - especially if you have appreciated music with appropriate dynamic range.  You don't need to compare it to other masterings to be able to tell if it's overdone. 

 

I also take on board your other point.  Compression, in itself, is not the evil dark side.  It has it's place, it makes the full dynamics of the natural world reproducible in the home hifi system and listenable in a domestic environment.  It's when it's used to excess that it's on the dark side.

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