Re: Vinyl quality vs. digital sound


Subject: Re: Vinyl quality vs. digital sound
From: Ian Stewart (stewart@econtact.ca)
Date: Thu Oct 21 2004 - 17:14:59 EDT


Jay wrote:
> Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't the vinyl records produce better sound quality then electric tapes and CD (when I say quality I mean frequency range).

The idea that vinyl has unlimited frequency range is a myth; a groove needs
to be physically cut on the record, and in practice, physics imposes pretty
serious limitations. I can't verify the numbers, but, from e.g. electronic
musician (psbg.emusician.com/ar/emusic_pressing_matters/)

" Engineers concur, however, that the practical upper limits of a vinyl
record are in the range of 16 to 18 kHz for albums destined for
audiophile-quality systems and 8 to 16 kHz for the average reproduction
system. The upper limit depends on the physical position of the music on the
record itself as well."

There are different qualities of vinyl and different kinds of digital. Even
CD-standard improves on vinyl in dynamic range and transparency (less noise,
no crackle and pop), among other things. I suppose you could argue that the
characteristics of vinyl can mask the poor quality of bad audio, but that
seems a bit specious. CD is still limited, but standards are opening up to
higher resolution. But standards mean nothing if the original recording
isn't well-made, and there's a lot of bad mixing and mastering going on
these days, which may be fueling the 'analog is better than digital' debate.

Mauricio Duarte-Neira writes:
> But I've heard that records do sound better than anthing else because of physical and scientific proof.

What kind of proof? In terms of specs, other formats clearly do better. And
it seems it would be hard to design a controlled listening experiment,
between, say, vinyl and DVD-Audio, because the first crackle would give away
which one was which, not to mention how one might control the D/A
conversion, stylus, etc, etc...

best,

Ian



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