Re: Vinyl quality vs. digital sound

Subject: Re: Vinyl quality vs. digital sound
Date: Thu Oct 21 2004 - 18:14:01 EDT

I wish I had heard as many audiophile systems playing records as I have
playing CDs, but insofar as I recall, the records tend to sound better.
Different, but better. They have more surface noise, but otherwise sound
more detailed and present and "real". _Especially_ direct metal master
pressings, than which I've yet heard nothing better.

This is only apparent on good records -- and good CDs can still sound quite

After years of making digital recordings at CD resolution and at higher
resolutions, I am quite confident that high-resolution digital audio sounds
distinctly better than CDs. CDs, by comparison, sound brittle and grainy.
This seems to be a combination of smaller sample size and lower sampling
rate. Higher-frequency textures, in particular, sound much airier and more
detailed with high-resolution audio. But I can hear a small difference even
if only the sample size is different.

Original Message:
From: Rick Nance
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 06:19:58 +0900
Subject: Re: Vinyl quality vs. digital sound

Hi Ian,

I didn't know about an 18KHz limit on vinyl. Does that include
audiophile pressings, like half-speed masters, and direct to disk recording?


Ian Stewart wrote:

> 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
> (
> " 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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