Do Vinyl Records Sound Better than CDs? (Spoiler: Nope)

I’ve been discussing a number of audiophile myths here on Kirkville, and today I’d like to address another one: the myth that vinyl sounds better than CDs (or downloads). Vinyl sales are booming, reaching the highest levels in more than ten years. To be fair, this isn’t difficult; as long as sales continue to increase, they’ll be higher than any time since the Great Vinyl Decline of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

People abandoned vinyl for several reasons: CDs were more convenient, less fragile, and sounded better[1]. Turntables were annoying and fragile, and you had to manually change sides of records; with CDs, you can play an entire album without flipping discs.

I grew up with vinyl, and, while I miss the bigger artwork, and the added room for liner notes, that’s all I miss. I don’t miss the clicks and pops of vinyl, or the way that, if you bumped into the turntable, or whatever shelf it was on, you could scratch a record, damaging it permanently. With older, scratched records, sometimes the only way to listen to them was to place a penny on the cartridge to add weight to it. Also, the quality of the plastic used for vinyl records was often poor, meaning that records wore out quickly. Oh, and you had to deal with dust, records that warped if exposed to heat or were stored flat, static electricity that could perturb things, the spindle hole that might be off-center, and wow and flutter that added noise to playback.

But the biggest problem with vinyl is simply that records wear out. Audiophiles tout the higher frequency response of vinyl over CDs, saying that vinyl can play back those frequencies that we can’t hear.[2] First, this is only true with a pristine record, a perfect stylus, and a high-end stereo system; in most cases, vinyl’s frequency range is lower than that of CDs. Bear in mind that needles used to play records are made of diamonds, a very hard substance, and each play of a record wears it out a bit. This wear results in lower frequency response and lower overall fidelity. Stereo separation is poor on vinyl; there is spillover from one channel to the other, which is an inherent weakness of the playback process. And, because of RIAA equalization[3], the sound on a recording is manipulated, both for pressing, to reduce low frequencies, and for playback, to attempt to restore them.

But there’s another problem with vinyl that most people don’t consider. The first grooves on an LP offer 510 mm of vinyl per second, but as you get to the end of a side, there’s only around 200 mm per second; less than half the resolution. This is similar to the difference in tape speeds dropping from, say, 15 ips (inches per second) to 7.5 ips. Anyone who has worked with tapes knows that this speed difference results in much lower fidelity. Back in the LP days, musicians would argue about who got their songs on the beginnings of sides, and the music you listen to on an LP gets lower in quality as you get closer to the center.

Most people, when discussing vinyl, talk about an “analog sound,” saying that vinyl sounds “warmer” or “richer” than digital. It does; because there is less frequency response (poorer reproduction of high frequencies), and more distortion. Just as tube amps may sound “better” because of the distortion they introduce into playback, the same is true for vinyl. That “warmth” you hear is simply the poor quality of the playback; the distortion caused by the analog chain, and its lack of detail.

“But the other part of it is that the experience of listening to an LP involves a lot more than remastering and sound sources. There’s the act of putting a record on, there is the comforting surface noise, there is the fact that LPs are beautiful objects and CDs have always looked like plastic office supplies. So enjoying what an LP has to offer is in no way contingent on convincing yourself that they necessarily sound better than CDs.”[4]

There’s a fetishism around vinyl, it’s about the process of listening. If you take more time to prepare for something, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy it more. If this is what you want, then by all means, go for it; but the sound of vinyl is actually inferior to that of CDs or digital audio.

So this is yet another myth that’s used to market products to people who don’t know better. You may like the idea of vinyl, but my guess is that, if you grew up with vinyl, you are probably aware of its limitations, and don’t want to go back into the past. I find it interesting that many audiophiles prefer a format that provides audio in a lower quality, and with more distortion.


Let me close with a few tidbits from turntable reviews in hi-fi magazines.

Each instrument and voice sat unambiguously in the soundstage with a largeness and roundness at its edges–the opposite of an analytic and etched sound.

Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine sounded brilliant on the Clearaudio Ovation, which lent just enough warmth and body to the sound to humanize this music while not obscuring its drive and pulse, its stops and starts.

the music was a steady stream of sound that quickly became a river, then just a few drops

produced a big, slightly warm orchestral sound. String tone was rich, with a pleasing golden glow. The piano’s lower register was cleanly rendered and remained well defined against the hall’s reverberant field. The upper keyboard sounded supple, with a rich, woody, yet sparkling bite. Image stability and solidity were never in question, and the system’s dynamic punch announced a turntable that seemed in complete control.

And, I’ll finish with another gem from What Hi-Fi?:

Play an album such as Nirvana’s Nevermind and the Point 5 delivers an energetic sound that combines fluidity, stability and authority brilliantly.

Where most rivals render a sharply etched sound packed with detail, the Point 5 has a more rounded presentation where the leading and trailing edges of notes aren’t overly emphasised, but the bits in between are defined richly.

The result is an immensely likeable presentation that’s big and muscular without suffering from a lack of agility or finesse.


  1. Yes, many early CDs sounded bad, because mastering engineers initially used masters created for LPs, and it took a while for them to, well, master the process for the digital medium.  ↩
  2. See Music, not Sound: Why High-Resolution Music Is a Marketing Ploy.  ↩
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization  ↩
  4. Pitchfork: Does Vinyl Really Sound Better?  ↩

368 thoughts on “Do Vinyl Records Sound Better than CDs? (Spoiler: Nope)

  1. I owned LPs from 1972 to 1988. I ended up with about 1200 of the damned things. I sold them all in 1988 and got a nice Sony CD player. I replaced many of the LPs with CDs, so I can speak with authority here: the CDs sound clearer, less distorted, and quieter. Early CDs of popular music were made from worn-out tapes used to cut LPs. Besides, LPs of a given album don’t all sound the same. Early pressings from a given stamper were always noticeably better.

    • I don’t think they were made using worn-out tapes; they were made using LP masters, which are quite different from what CDs need.

      Good point about pressing, though. I remember, back in the day, that classical music fans would seek out specific European pressings of certain albums, claiming they were better than US pressings.

  2. I owned LPs from 1972 to 1988. I ended up with about 1200 of the damned things. I sold them all in 1988 and got a nice Sony CD player. I replaced many of the LPs with CDs, so I can speak with authority here: the CDs sound clearer, less distorted, and quieter. Early CDs of popular music were made from worn-out tapes used to cut LPs. Besides, LPs of a given album don’t all sound the same. Early pressings from a given stamper were always noticeably better.

    • I don’t think they were made using worn-out tapes; they were made using LP masters, which are quite different from what CDs need.

      Good point about pressing, though. I remember, back in the day, that classical music fans would seek out specific European pressings of certain albums, claiming they were better than US pressings.

  3. One should clearly first separate recording from reproduction and then take the fundamental differences between the reproduction from the vinyl record or from the digital data into account.
    First, the recording technique makes a great difference e. g. between a “Decca Tree” stereo recording of classical music onto a two-track master tape or a 24-track studio recording for pop music. In the latter, the stereo separation may have been misunderstood to mix completely separated stereo tracks in particular in the early years of stereo LP albums.The total stereo separation in the digital audio version may however have confused listeners used to an artificially narrowed stereo image generated by cutter and cartridge from the over-separated multitrack-stereo mix-down.
    When the recording engineers gradually switched over to digital recording equipment, they had two-track systems available around 1980, with the data storage either on reel tapes or on betamax video cassettes. However, the A-D converters in the professional recording setups appear to have performed already on a much higher quality level than the consumer D-A converters in the first generations of CD players. Early digital recordings sound pleasantly on today’s mature digital players.
    Due to recording/playback equalization in general and a deliberately reduced stereo separation for cutting in particular, neither analog magnetic tape nor the vinyl record will store the sound as it has been captured by the microphone(s). Digital audio does not require such an equalization, and the stereo separation is inherently and technically much better as there is virtually no stereo channel crosstalk and no need for a reduced separation in the low frequency range.
    The unpleasant and harsh sound of the early CD players was caused by pre- and post-echo artifacts which could be filtered out only about ten years later. Today’s high-grade players will render impulse and square wave signals without such artifacts and thus give a smooth and natural rendition even of early digital recordings, as mentioned before. These players also prove that the classical CD audio resolution still suffices. Finally, vinyl records will always show considerable harmonic distortion from at least 1 % at the edge to about 2 % in the center, caused by the cartridge.
    I am digitizing historical vinyl records just for fun from a high-precision quartz-controlled linear turntable with a common stereo amplifier into a digital recorder, but most of them require cleaning and an extensive digital restoration to deliver at least an acceptably audible result. In comparison to the digital standards of both sound cleanliness and media handling, vinyl appears more as a nuisance than a pleasure: aside from the state of preservation the manufacturing (pressing) quality seems to have ranged from occasionally excellent to much more often sub-mediocre at best. Vinyl records were mass produced and at their time the only way to duplicate music recordings at an acceptable production speed for an acceptable price. Today the Digital Revolution eats its children by phasing out physical carriers – but when you connect a palm-sized digital recorder to your stereo system to play back either ripped CDs or digitized and restored vinyl records, the progress in convenience will make you forget about all the analog mess of the past…

  4. One should clearly first separate recording from reproduction and then take the fundamental differences between the reproduction from the vinyl record or from the digital data into account.
    First, the recording technique makes a great difference e. g. between a “Decca Tree” stereo recording of classical music onto a two-track master tape or a 24-track studio recording for pop music. In the latter, the stereo separation may have been misunderstood to mix completely separated stereo tracks in particular in the early years of stereo LP albums.The total stereo separation in the digital audio version may however have confused listeners used to an artificially narrowed stereo image generated by cutter and cartridge from the over-separated multitrack-stereo mix-down.
    When the recording engineers gradually switched over to digital recording equipment, they had two-track systems available around 1980, with the data storage either on reel tapes or on betamax video cassettes. However, the A-D converters in the professional recording setups appear to have performed already on a much higher quality level than the consumer D-A converters in the first generations of CD players. Early digital recordings sound pleasantly on today’s mature digital players.
    Due to recording/playback equalization in general and a deliberately reduced stereo separation for cutting in particular, neither analog magnetic tape nor the vinyl record will store the sound as it has been captured by the microphone(s). Digital audio does not require such an equalization, and the stereo separation is inherently and technically much better as there is virtually no stereo channel crosstalk and no need for a reduced separation in the low frequency range.
    The unpleasant and harsh sound of the early CD players was caused by pre- and post-echo artifacts which could be filtered out only about ten years later. Today’s high-grade players will render impulse and square wave signals without such artifacts and thus give a smooth and natural rendition even of early digital recordings, as mentioned before. These players also prove that the classical CD audio resolution still suffices. Finally, vinyl records will always show considerable harmonic distortion from at least 1 % at the edge to about 2 % in the center, caused by the cartridge.
    I am digitizing historical vinyl records just for fun from a high-precision quartz-controlled linear turntable with a common stereo amplifier into a digital recorder, but most of them require cleaning and an extensive digital restoration to deliver at least an acceptably audible result. In comparison to the digital standards of both sound cleanliness and media handling, vinyl appears more as a nuisance than a pleasure: aside from the state of preservation the manufacturing (pressing) quality seems to have ranged from occasionally excellent to much more often sub-mediocre at best. Vinyl records were mass produced and at their time the only way to duplicate music recordings at an acceptable production speed for an acceptable price. Today the Digital Revolution eats its children by phasing out physical carriers – but when you connect a palm-sized digital recorder to your stereo system to play back either ripped CDs or digitized and restored vinyl records, the progress in convenience will make you forget about all the analog mess of the past…

  5. It would be helpful if this debate could be put to bed for good by extending the experiment described by Mike in the second reply.

    Set up the auditioning space and have a set of recordings mixed to produce a set of masters that sound “right” to the mixing engineer through the amplification and loudspeakers to be used in the experiment. Keep everything in the analog domain at this stage using a studio-quality desk and run the tape at 30ips. These masters must be considered the gold standard.

    Then cut an LP and a CD of each recording using whatever equalization etc. is considered necessary or appropriate. Finally play each LP on the turntable / arm / cartridge that will be used in the experiment and cut a second set of CDs from this source.

    Adjust the relative levels of all four sources (master tape, LP, CD and CD copy of LP) to be within 0.1dB @ 1kHz.

    Now conduct a double-blind test using all four sources and see which the audience prefers.

    If such an extravagance could be contrived I predict there would be a clear preference for the LP and CD copy of the LP, but little to choose between them. Few people, if any, would prefer the master tape over the “warmer”, “more forward” sound of the LP. I’d enjoy being proved wrong.

    It all comes down to personal taste, but I suspect there is something about the vinyl coloration that appeals to many, if not most people.

    I once took part in a comparison between CD and 320kbps MP3 using a track I’ve been familiar with on both CD and vinyl for almost 30 years. I could clearly hear differences between CD and MP3, but was surprised to find that I actually preferred the MP3 due to its brighter top end. In comparison the CD seemed rather dull, and it’s worth noting that the MP3 was derived from the CD rather than a common master.

  6. It would be helpful if this debate could be put to bed for good by extending the experiment described by Mike in the second reply.

    Set up the auditioning space and have a set of recordings mixed to produce a set of masters that sound “right” to the mixing engineer through the amplification and loudspeakers to be used in the experiment. Keep everything in the analog domain at this stage using a studio-quality desk and run the tape at 30ips. These masters must be considered the gold standard.

    Then cut an LP and a CD of each recording using whatever equalization etc. is considered necessary or appropriate. Finally play each LP on the turntable / arm / cartridge that will be used in the experiment and cut a second set of CDs from this source.

    Adjust the relative levels of all four sources (master tape, LP, CD and CD copy of LP) to be within 0.1dB @ 1kHz.

    Now conduct a double-blind test using all four sources and see which the audience prefers.

    If such an extravagance could be contrived I predict there would be a clear preference for the LP and CD copy of the LP, but little to choose between them. Few people, if any, would prefer the master tape over the “warmer”, “more forward” sound of the LP. I’d enjoy being proved wrong.

    It all comes down to personal taste, but I suspect there is something about the vinyl coloration that appeals to many, if not most people.

    I once took part in a comparison between CD and 320kbps MP3 using a track I’ve been familiar with on both CD and vinyl for almost 30 years. I could clearly hear differences between CD and MP3, but was surprised to find that I actually preferred the MP3 due to its brighter top end. In comparison the CD seemed rather dull, and it’s worth noting that the MP3 was derived from the CD rather than a common master.

  7. I thought Apple would do better. Note the images at one of the support pages for Final Cut implies “digital music is a sequence of stairsteps”. The uninformed can be forgiven for assuming Apple would be a good source of information, but here, it is not. Whoever makes Apple’s support pages needs to stop filling in gaps in their knowledge with authoritative information instead of their imagination. Monty Montgomery at XIPH.org explains this so anyone can understand it.

    https://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/usermanual/index.html#chapter=52%26section=7

  8. I thought Apple would do better. Note the images at one of the support pages for Final Cut implies “digital music is a sequence of stairsteps”. The uninformed can be forgiven for assuming Apple would be a good source of information, but here, it is not. Whoever makes Apple’s support pages needs to stop filling in gaps in their knowledge with authoritative information instead of their imagination. Monty Montgomery at XIPH.org explains this so anyone can understand it.

    https://documentation.apple.com/en/finalcutpro/usermanual/index.html#chapter=52%26section=7

  9. my experience is it depends on the recording.
    I have about 1200 classical LPs, and a similar number of CDs. I love them all (for the most part), and in many cases I have the original LP, an early 80s CD issue, and in some cases a mid 90’s or 2000’s re-issue as well. (I buy a lot of used recordings at thrift shops, and I often I forget if I have something, mostly because the cover art is different…the ‘recycling’ of classical music recordings is whole topic in itself!) IMHO, if the recording is good, they all sound good – if the recording is bad they all sound bad! But wait, if the performance is great, it doesn’t matter!!
    I prefer the CD in most cases for convenience. I don’t sit and analyze all the subtle nuances, I’ll leave that for people with more money and time than I have. One anecdote.. In 1985 I had a university music professor go on and on about how much he loved CDs compared to LPs. I later roomed with a music major (piano) – he bought only CDs (by the hundreds each term!!) and thought I was crazy to buy old LPs – not because they were LPs but because I was missing the latest recordings of the newest great young artists. and he was right. I sadly missed the rise of many great new performers in the 1990s because I was so into old LPs back then.

  10. my experience is it depends on the recording.
    I have about 1200 classical LPs, and a similar number of CDs. I love them all (for the most part), and in many cases I have the original LP, an early 80s CD issue, and in some cases a mid 90’s or 2000’s re-issue as well. (I buy a lot of used recordings at thrift shops, and I often I forget if I have something, mostly because the cover art is different…the ‘recycling’ of classical music recordings is whole topic in itself!) IMHO, if the recording is good, they all sound good – if the recording is bad they all sound bad! But wait, if the performance is great, it doesn’t matter!!
    I prefer the CD in most cases for convenience. I don’t sit and analyze all the subtle nuances, I’ll leave that for people with more money and time than I have. One anecdote.. In 1985 I had a university music professor go on and on about how much he loved CDs compared to LPs. I later roomed with a music major (piano) – he bought only CDs (by the hundreds each term!!) and thought I was crazy to buy old LPs – not because they were LPs but because I was missing the latest recordings of the newest great young artists. and he was right. I sadly missed the rise of many great new performers in the 1990s because I was so into old LPs back then.

  11. I grew up with vinyl and like _all_ my peers welcomed the advent of the Compact Disc. We loved our music and wanted to listen to it without the shortcomings of vinyl. But we mourned the special connection artists had with their fans through the 12″ album cover.

    Roll on 30 years and once again I enjoy vinyl. Not because it’s better. Not because I am fooled into thinking it is somehow superior. No, because I enjoy the experience of listening to my music and doing nothing else other than getting lost in it … 20 minutes at a time. But I still hate the clicks and ticks and dust and everything else that comes with the medium.

    Vinyl isn’t better, it’s different. Some kid themselves that vinyl will always be better and that speaker cable and interconnects make a big difference too. Poppycock!

    I guess it’s easier to swallow this than admitting you’ve spent ten or twenty grand on hifi and it’s not discernibly better than kit purchased for a fraction of the price. Hans Christian Andersen wrote about this phenomenon back in 1837.

    • You know, if this was the 1500s us vinyleers would burn you on stakes you digital heathens, especially you KIRK you blasphemer. Acting like you know what you talk about!

      Let me say….I used to be a CD guy, but I was a vinyl guy at the same time, only when I knew what was going on I decided CDs were ruining the sound, I know mastering so lets get that straight. Let me tell you something, I put on a CD of Michael Jacksons, Beat It!

      On the CD it says

      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it

      I then put on the vinyl and yesssss you guessed right!!

      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it, Oooh’haaah’haahaah Oooh’haaah’haahaah

      Which you clearly can’t hear on the CD because they have the limitations called a frequency response. The ear only hears up to 20,000khz right?

      So the vinyl obviously played MORE of the sound and I could hear it and feel it and wouldn’t be able too if it wasn’t such a high response!!

      I then put on a Santana Oye Como Va and guess what!!!?

      On the vinyl you could hear Santanas friend and it was like a completely different song, he was about 2 feet on the left. In the the background you can hear people saying ”Ayee, Aye!!” Bear in mind I was using my sound crystals and super optimum oygen free malgamized silver with crystal freckled wire, so not just your average sound!!!

      Anyway Santana on CD just sounded flat, dull, lifeless!! You couldn’t hear his friend either!!!

      One of my friends came over and he knows how to make CDs from scratch, codes and everything, in studios, for atleast 40 years. I did a blind test with him!

      We played many back to back songs, and lots of ‘tell me lies’ by Fleetwood Mac on both systems, crystals on the front end, carbon record holder, shark wires, through my valve tube amps. My CD player had it’s advanced DAC running in tandem.

      YES, GUESSED RIGHT!!!!! We both chose the vinyl every single time! It was like deeper, fuller, warmer, more dynamic, more separation, hear the instruments properly and the whole song and more secret stuff none of you digital guys wouldn’t know about.

      One thing we both agreed on is CDs coloured the sound, like some weird type of hum, I put it on the noise floor. They also distort the sound and don’t play some notes I noticed. I agreed with my friend that the hot signal and saturation were down to the way digital works and the CD couldn’t do any better I could clearly hear the limitations. It’s a shame that digital also has limitations with stereo imaging because I could hear more of the left and more of the right on the vinyl.

      If you asked my friend what he could hear, he would tell you exactly the same, ”I can hear more on the left and more on the right on the vinyl”. So it’s not delusional or just me, we actually measured it and there was in fact more!

      Anyway, I would like to say good try on this blog but it’s obvious you don’t really know much about vinyl if you think it’s worse, you need the right setup. Get yourself a stylus for 3,000, a tube amp, and the right speakers from the 70’s and you will then hear all the difference and how much cleaner Vinly really is than useless digital.

      All my vinyleers stay beating sense into these lost digital souls with thei cold colour/tainted sound! We know the deep, open, REALISTIC, warm sound, they never will!!!

      • But there you go, misunderstanding one of the main issues of sound reproduction. All the CDs you cite are old recordings. It’s entirely possible – and probably – that when they were first mastered for CD, the LP masterings were used, which simply weren’t right. It took a while for engineers too learn how to correctly master for CD. If you say that you’re listening to remasters, then it’s a different story, but I still have some early CDs that sound very, very bad. It has nothing to do with the medium, but rather with the way the music was mastered.

        The rest of your comments – hum, noise floor, distort, etc. – simply don’t make sense. Maybe your CD player is bad.

        • Kirk, I think you’ve lost your sense of humour. 🙂 Realistic, Spacious, True sound man certainly made me laugh with his excellent satire.

          • 😉 I agree with your comment too. I love the old vinyl covers they are one of the most personal, distinct things about them I also found myself going back because a lot of stuff we had in our family never was on CD format, damn those pops and clicks though I wish it could be another way.

            The sound business is still as crazy today as ever, when i’m not recording or in a studio I enjoy going into the retailers and outlets, being a very passive nuisance to some young guy who is just repeating what he’s heard, I let them pitch to me some interconnects, speakers, DAC or wire then leave them to battle their own conscience the rest of the day over rules of physics 😉

            There is sadly a lot of snake oil out there though!

            • The one thing I miss from vinyl is the album covers. That great cover of In the Court of the Crimson King just doesn’t work on the tiny 5-inch CD size. Thick as a Brick, with the original newspaper. Sandinista! with its lyric insert. And so many others…

        • All I can say is some of it could be truth or all of it could be lies I know the truth though! Good article 😉

      • Spacious? Some years ago I was able to compare a heavy LP pressing of “The Rite of Spring” (I forget the conductor — Fedoseyev?) with the conventional LP pressing. Guess which was more spacious-sounding.

  12. I grew up with vinyl and like _all_ my peers welcomed the advent of the Compact Disc. We loved our music and wanted to listen to it without the shortcomings of vinyl. But we mourned the special connection artists had with their fans through the 12″ album cover.

    Roll on 30 years and once again I enjoy vinyl. Not because it’s better. Not because I am fooled into thinking it is somehow superior. No, because I enjoy the experience of listening to my music and doing nothing else other than getting lost in it … 20 minutes at a time. But I still hate the clicks and ticks and dust and everything else that comes with the medium.

    Vinyl isn’t better, it’s different. Some kid themselves that vinyl will always be better and that speaker cable and interconnects make a big difference too. Poppycock!

    I guess it’s easier to swallow this than admitting you’ve spent ten or twenty grand on hifi and it’s not discernibly better than kit purchased for a fraction of the price. Hans Christian Andersen wrote about this phenomenon back in 1837.

    • You know, if this was the 1500s us vinyleers would burn you on stakes you digital heathens, especially you KIRK you blasphemer. Acting like you know what you talk about!

      Let me say….I used to be a CD guy, but I was a vinyl guy at the same time, only when I knew what was going on I decided CDs were ruining the sound, I know mastering so lets get that straight. Let me tell you something, I put on a CD of Michael Jacksons, Beat It!

      On the CD it says

      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it

      I then put on the vinyl and yesssss you guessed right!!

      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it
      Just beat it, beat it, Oooh’haaah’haahaah Oooh’haaah’haahaah

      Which you clearly can’t hear on the CD because they have the limitations called a frequency response. The ear only hears up to 20,000khz right?

      So the vinyl obviously played MORE of the sound and I could hear it and feel it and wouldn’t be able too if it wasn’t such a high response!!

      I then put on a Santana Oye Como Va and guess what!!!?

      On the vinyl you could hear Santanas friend and it was like a completely different song, he was about 2 feet on the left. In the the background you can hear people saying ”Ayee, Aye!!” Bear in mind I was using my sound crystals and super optimum oygen free malgamized silver with crystal freckled wire, so not just your average sound!!!

      Anyway Santana on CD just sounded flat, dull, lifeless!! You couldn’t hear his friend either!!!

      One of my friends came over and he knows how to make CDs from scratch, codes and everything, in studios, for atleast 40 years. I did a blind test with him!

      We played many back to back songs, and lots of ‘tell me lies’ by Fleetwood Mac on both systems, crystals on the front end, carbon record holder, shark wires, through my valve tube amps. My CD player had it’s advanced DAC running in tandem.

      YES, GUESSED RIGHT!!!!! We both chose the vinyl every single time! It was like deeper, fuller, warmer, more dynamic, more separation, hear the instruments properly and the whole song and more secret stuff none of you digital guys wouldn’t know about.

      One thing we both agreed on is CDs coloured the sound, like some weird type of hum, I put it on the noise floor. They also distort the sound and don’t play some notes I noticed. I agreed with my friend that the hot signal and saturation were down to the way digital works and the CD couldn’t do any better I could clearly hear the limitations. It’s a shame that digital also has limitations with stereo imaging because I could hear more of the left and more of the right on the vinyl.

      If you asked my friend what he could hear, he would tell you exactly the same, ”I can hear more on the left and more on the right on the vinyl”. So it’s not delusional or just me, we actually measured it and there was in fact more!

      Anyway, I would like to say good try on this blog but it’s obvious you don’t really know much about vinyl if you think it’s worse, you need the right setup. Get yourself a stylus for 3,000, a tube amp, and the right speakers from the 70’s and you will then hear all the difference and how much cleaner Vinly really is than useless digital.

      All my vinyleers stay beating sense into these lost digital souls with thei cold colour/tainted sound! We know the deep, open, REALISTIC, warm sound, they never will!!!

      • But there you go, misunderstanding one of the main issues of sound reproduction. All the CDs you cite are old recordings. It’s entirely possible – and probably – that when they were first mastered for CD, the LP masterings were used, which simply weren’t right. It took a while for engineers too learn how to correctly master for CD. If you say that you’re listening to remasters, then it’s a different story, but I still have some early CDs that sound very, very bad. It has nothing to do with the medium, but rather with the way the music was mastered.

        The rest of your comments – hum, noise floor, distort, etc. – simply don’t make sense. Maybe your CD player is bad.

        • Kirk, I think you’ve lost your sense of humour. 🙂 Realistic, Spacious, True sound man certainly made me laugh with his excellent satire.

          • 😉 I agree with your comment too. I love the old vinyl covers they are one of the most personal, distinct things about them I also found myself going back because a lot of stuff we had in our family never was on CD format, damn those pops and clicks though I wish it could be another way.

            The sound business is still as crazy today as ever, when i’m not recording or in a studio I enjoy going into the retailers and outlets, being a very passive nuisance to some young guy who is just repeating what he’s heard, I let them pitch to me some interconnects, speakers, DAC or wire then leave them to battle their own conscience the rest of the day over rules of physics 😉

            There is sadly a lot of snake oil out there though!

            • The one thing I miss from vinyl is the album covers. That great cover of In the Court of the Crimson King just doesn’t work on the tiny 5-inch CD size. Thick as a Brick, with the original newspaper. Sandinista! with its lyric insert. And so many others…

        • All I can say is some of it could be truth or all of it could be lies I know the truth though! Good article 😉

      • Spacious? Some years ago I was able to compare a heavy LP pressing of “The Rite of Spring” (I forget the conductor — Fedoseyev?) with the conventional LP pressing. Guess which was more spacious-sounding.

  13. Of CDs and vinyl, I can certainly tell you which sounds better after a few decades of use: it’s the vinyl. I dumped most of my vinyl in the early 90s as I replaced my LPs with CDs (I was a late adopter). I would say the majority of those CDs will not play anymore, no matter what player I attempt to use–except sometimes the CD/ROM drive in one of my old computers. I’ve been able to use that as a lifesaver to rescue much of my music collection by converting it to MP3 files.

    In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I am a bit angry at how we all believed that CDs were a permanent technology, especially given its obvious flaws. For example, if the disk is storing all that music in digital format, why does it have to spin so fast in the player? Why can’t the player download the music at the beginning of the process, and then play it from internal memorty? And why is the music content stored in such a distressingly fragile manner on the surface? Virtually all of the LPs I still have, some of which are nearly as old as I am, will still play albeit with the odd snap, crackle or hiss here and there.

    Am I the only one who feels that CDs were a huge rip-off? We opened our wallets to upgrade our music collections, only to find that CDs could undergo a great deal of damage and deterioration while just sitting on the shelf. We were suckered into buying binders and albums to store our CDs without being told that the plastic envelopes could react chemically with the playing surface of the discs.

    If CDs are on the way out, then good riddance!

    • Wow, all that you say is weird. I’ve got many old CDs, and all of them work. (Pressed CDs, not burned.) If your hard disk is storing data in digital format, why does it have to spin so fast? Because that’s the way the technology works.

    • Sounds like your CD player is at fault not the media. If you can rip a CD to MP3 successfully (accurately) there’s no reason it won’t play. I was an early adopter and have less than a handful of CDs (all from the 80s) that have degraded … about 0.3% of my collection. These are all very similar pressings that have a bronze finish and little printing on the top (where the data is.) But they still play … with a couple of skips here and there.

      In contrast, my vinyl from the same period, which had a twenty-year break stored neatly in cases, still plays. Many have collected dust, warped a little, and gained the odd scratch through use. But they still play … with a couple of skips here and there.

      Maybe, just maybe, one day a “vinyleer” will post objective evidence about the quality of vinyl vis-à-vis digital media.

      • Hi Martin i’m not sure how much value you put into your vinyls but today it’s possible to get the technology from Cedar denoisers in software. I don’t want to advertise anything here but if it’s ok with Kirk to mention a couple of things.

        I have recently been recording some vinyls that are very rare onto a computer and having success with restoring them to very good quality, even unnatural tempo changes iron out into steady BPM.

        There is a free set of tools if you search for ‘clickrepair’ you should find them, they are quite automated but have options so very easy to use and very, very effective at removing without destructing(automatically that is).

        There is a couple of tasks I have been using another software but sadly it’s not free, Izotope RX, they have been buying Cedar technology rights and that gets me quite far for when theres no masters left of certain artists of the 20th century other than vinyls.

        I have had very good results so far even with the most snap, crackle and popping vinyls but it can be destructive so there is a procedure to the processes I find that work in order. You can even de-saturate, de-reverb, de-construct, restore levels and polarity, restore stereo image, restore dynamics and EQ, remove distortion, noise etc.Very useful and nice to have a peace of mind that your collection will still be safe even if the vinyls deteriorate. I would recommend trying those free ones though for general pops and clicks.

        • My vinyl, especially my early purchases, have a special place in my music collection, but only account for around 20% of all my albums. I’ve invested quite a lot of time cleaning them recently without the use of exotic tools and am very pleased with the results. However, I doubt that I would go to the trouble of recording them to a digital format; I’m more likely to buy the CD if I really want to listen to an album away from home.

          As I said earlier, vinyl makes you listen to music in a different way. That’s where my pleasure comes from plus the autobiographical nature of music and the tactile memories associated with the covers. It has nothing to do with perceived sound quality.

          • Oh thats not a problem at all for you then! I fully understand! You make it an event or hobby to listen to music (vinyl) I completely understand too. I was only suggesting an idea to save yourself incase anything was very rare, I’m not trying to change your ideas or personal hobby in any way. 🙂

            • I appreciate your suggestion and you never know I may record a couple of my rarer albums someday. Indeed I’m pretty sure the new amp I’m about to buy includes a tape / audio loop.

  14. Of CDs and vinyl, I can certainly tell you which sounds better after a few decades of use: it’s the vinyl. I dumped most of my vinyl in the early 90s as I replaced my LPs with CDs (I was a late adopter). I would say the majority of those CDs will not play anymore, no matter what player I attempt to use–except sometimes the CD/ROM drive in one of my old computers. I’ve been able to use that as a lifesaver to rescue much of my music collection by converting it to MP3 files.

    In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I am a bit angry at how we all believed that CDs were a permanent technology, especially given its obvious flaws. For example, if the disk is storing all that music in digital format, why does it have to spin so fast in the player? Why can’t the player download the music at the beginning of the process, and then play it from internal memorty? And why is the music content stored in such a distressingly fragile manner on the surface? Virtually all of the LPs I still have, some of which are nearly as old as I am, will still play albeit with the odd snap, crackle or hiss here and there.

    Am I the only one who feels that CDs were a huge rip-off? We opened our wallets to upgrade our music collections, only to find that CDs could undergo a great deal of damage and deterioration while just sitting on the shelf. We were suckered into buying binders and albums to store our CDs without being told that the plastic envelopes could react chemically with the playing surface of the discs.

    If CDs are on the way out, then good riddance!

    • Wow, all that you say is weird. I’ve got many old CDs, and all of them work. (Pressed CDs, not burned.) If your hard disk is storing data in digital format, why does it have to spin so fast? Because that’s the way the technology works.

    • Sounds like your CD player is at fault not the media. If you can rip a CD to MP3 successfully (accurately) there’s no reason it won’t play. I was an early adopter and have less than a handful of CDs (all from the 80s) that have degraded … about 0.3% of my collection. These are all very similar pressings that have a bronze finish and little printing on the top (where the data is.) But they still play … with a couple of skips here and there.

      In contrast, my vinyl from the same period, which had a twenty-year break stored neatly in cases, still plays. Many have collected dust, warped a little, and gained the odd scratch through use. But they still play … with a couple of skips here and there.

      Maybe, just maybe, one day a “vinyleer” will post objective evidence about the quality of vinyl vis-à-vis digital media.

      • Hi Martin i’m not sure how much value you put into your vinyls but today it’s possible to get the technology from Cedar denoisers in software. I don’t want to advertise anything here but if it’s ok with Kirk to mention a couple of things.

        I have recently been recording some vinyls that are very rare onto a computer and having success with restoring them to very good quality, even unnatural tempo changes iron out into steady BPM.

        There is a free set of tools if you search for ‘clickrepair’ you should find them, they are quite automated but have options so very easy to use and very, very effective at removing without destructing(automatically that is).

        There is a couple of tasks I have been using another software but sadly it’s not free, Izotope RX, they have been buying Cedar technology rights and that gets me quite far for when theres no masters left of certain artists of the 20th century other than vinyls.

        I have had very good results so far even with the most snap, crackle and popping vinyls but it can be destructive so there is a procedure to the processes I find that work in order. You can even de-saturate, de-reverb, de-construct, restore levels and polarity, restore stereo image, restore dynamics and EQ, remove distortion, noise etc.Very useful and nice to have a peace of mind that your collection will still be safe even if the vinyls deteriorate. I would recommend trying those free ones though for general pops and clicks.

        • My vinyl, especially my early purchases, have a special place in my music collection, but only account for around 20% of all my albums. I’ve invested quite a lot of time cleaning them recently without the use of exotic tools and am very pleased with the results. However, I doubt that I would go to the trouble of recording them to a digital format; I’m more likely to buy the CD if I really want to listen to an album away from home.

          As I said earlier, vinyl makes you listen to music in a different way. That’s where my pleasure comes from plus the autobiographical nature of music and the tactile memories associated with the covers. It has nothing to do with perceived sound quality.

          • Oh thats not a problem at all for you then! I fully understand! You make it an event or hobby to listen to music (vinyl) I completely understand too. I was only suggesting an idea to save yourself incase anything was very rare, I’m not trying to change your ideas or personal hobby in any way. 🙂

            • I appreciate your suggestion and you never know I may record a couple of my rarer albums someday. Indeed I’m pretty sure the new amp I’m about to buy includes a tape / audio loop.

  15. Kirk I completely agree with your article you have cut out all of the nonsense that gets spread around. I find there to be a big difference between audiophile guys and mixing, mastering engineers knowledge of sound reproduction.

    There literally is no music or sound that can surpass the limitations of digital capture and reproduction, just impossible. There is so much leeway with digital that you can craft anything and any difference you get comes from everything that made the product, ones signal path or other technology, not the actual bits stored themselves.

    I believe there is a type of ‘saturation’, ‘hotness’ or ‘colouring’ you can get from older vinyl but to me, the most natural sound is the cleaner sound, plus if you want saturation or hot signals you can replicate that in digital domain, distortion and all.

    DSP is the accurate and precise now/future and the past doesn’t have to lose anything, just acknowledge it benefits everything equally for the better!

  16. Kirk I completely agree with your article you have cut out all of the nonsense that gets spread around. I find there to be a big difference between audiophile guys and mixing, mastering engineers knowledge of sound reproduction.

    There literally is no music or sound that can surpass the limitations of digital capture and reproduction, just impossible. There is so much leeway with digital that you can craft anything and any difference you get comes from everything that made the product, ones signal path or other technology, not the actual bits stored themselves.

    I believe there is a type of ‘saturation’, ‘hotness’ or ‘colouring’ you can get from older vinyl but to me, the most natural sound is the cleaner sound, plus if you want saturation or hot signals you can replicate that in digital domain, distortion and all.

    DSP is the accurate and precise now/future and the past doesn’t have to lose anything, just acknowledge it benefits everything equally for the better!

  17. When it comes to classical music, I find it puzzling that some people actually think classical LPs were good. Static on quiet passages is so jarring and grotesque. Harmonic distortion made classical music sound horrible and longer pieces of music were usually flipped over and one could not listen continuously. When CDs first arrived it was striking to see how many classical LP’s were in thrift shops, yard sales, and in charity shops. To this day these same places are full of cheap classical vinul because listening to classical music on vinyl is a painful experience. Even Cd was not the best format since longer collections spanned several discs. In my opinion, high resolution digital files are the future of classical where the traditional constrainta of lenght do not apply and more comprehensive collections can be made without listeners having to change CDs or Lps.

  18. When it comes to classical music, I find it puzzling that some people actually think classical LPs were good. Static on quiet passages is so jarring and grotesque. Harmonic distortion made classical music sound horrible and longer pieces of music were usually flipped over and one could not listen continuously. When CDs first arrived it was striking to see how many classical LP’s were in thrift shops, yard sales, and in charity shops. To this day these same places are full of cheap classical vinul because listening to classical music on vinyl is a painful experience. Even Cd was not the best format since longer collections spanned several discs. In my opinion, high resolution digital files are the future of classical where the traditional constrainta of lenght do not apply and more comprehensive collections can be made without listeners having to change CDs or Lps.

  19. I think this really depends on the speakers one is using. I recall reading another article talking about how vinyl is worse quality.
    The author of said article didn’t talk about actually having a test setup that was identical and just changing the audio source from CD to Vinyl and listening using something other than a pair of headphones. I was in a store in my local town that sells vinyl records, and, I have to admit, there was a “warmth” that was difficult to describe if I hadn’t experienced it for myself. Suppose it’s like driving a super sports car, if you’ve never been behind the wheel, I’m wasting my time describing the actual experience to you (ever try driving a Tesla P85D or P90D?, it’s quite the thrill!). So, if you actually want to experience what people are talking about, go to a specialty store and ask them to show you how a vinyl record sounds better/fuller/warmer than a regular CD track. Then, let’s hear from you, and, see what you have to say. If you think that vinyl is still worse, then, you sir, may be of the mindset that there’s also no distinguishable difference between 96kbps mp3’s and 320kbps mp3’s, or, that an SACD is the same as a regular CD. If this is true, you may have damaged your hearing with a lot of loud/noisy sounds over the years.
    Just my 2 cents.

    About me:
    I’m of the transition generation where my siblings started with vinyl, 8-track, and moved to cassette, then finally to CD, I’m the mp3 and compressed audio generation (I’m more about the lossless audio because I use something more than a cheap set of walmart headphones when I listen, my car has 8.1 surround sound, and, each channel is actually separate, in fact, if I had a digital video i.e. Blu-Ray player, I could watch action movies and hear everything as it was designed to be heard from all around me).

  20. I think this really depends on the speakers one is using. I recall reading another article talking about how vinyl is worse quality.
    The author of said article didn’t talk about actually having a test setup that was identical and just changing the audio source from CD to Vinyl and listening using something other than a pair of headphones. I was in a store in my local town that sells vinyl records, and, I have to admit, there was a “warmth” that was difficult to describe if I hadn’t experienced it for myself. Suppose it’s like driving a super sports car, if you’ve never been behind the wheel, I’m wasting my time describing the actual experience to you (ever try driving a Tesla P85D or P90D?, it’s quite the thrill!). So, if you actually want to experience what people are talking about, go to a specialty store and ask them to show you how a vinyl record sounds better/fuller/warmer than a regular CD track. Then, let’s hear from you, and, see what you have to say. If you think that vinyl is still worse, then, you sir, may be of the mindset that there’s also no distinguishable difference between 96kbps mp3’s and 320kbps mp3’s, or, that an SACD is the same as a regular CD. If this is true, you may have damaged your hearing with a lot of loud/noisy sounds over the years.
    Just my 2 cents.

    About me:
    I’m of the transition generation where my siblings started with vinyl, 8-track, and moved to cassette, then finally to CD, I’m the mp3 and compressed audio generation (I’m more about the lossless audio because I use something more than a cheap set of walmart headphones when I listen, my car has 8.1 surround sound, and, each channel is actually separate, in fact, if I had a digital video i.e. Blu-Ray player, I could watch action movies and hear everything as it was designed to be heard from all around me).

  21. Is a little diference between sound quality between medium so important to enjoy music.There are too many factors here. To have good quality of sound you got to have very good ears that decay with age starting from 30 years old, a good equipment, good mastering, ambient noise, medium.
    Looks like we are looking for the ultimate super sound super earing hero experience. What would the super hero demolisher say about this?I know what?
    He couldnt stand music because hes too sensitive.LOL

  22. Is a little diference between sound quality between medium so important to enjoy music.There are too many factors here. To have good quality of sound you got to have very good ears that decay with age starting from 30 years old, a good equipment, good mastering, ambient noise, medium.
    Looks like we are looking for the ultimate super sound super earing hero experience. What would the super hero demolisher say about this?I know what?
    He couldnt stand music because hes too sensitive.LOL

  23. My two cents – I have a setup that is really, really clean. I make use of “pro” equipment, because of that was where my strive to the ultimate natural sound brought me (on a limited budget I might add). There is no “warmth” in my vinyls if wasn’t there in the first place. I have a CD and a vinyl record from the early 90’s, they are sounding quite similar while in the past with my old vintage setup, there was a clear difference between the two (vinyl won hands down in the “pleasant” range. Also I could not turn up the volume as loud on the CD player as on the vinyl without straining my ears. The vinyl sounded that much more pleasant in the high range.

    But I digress. CD’s are technically superior, no questions, but yes, there are limitations (for me especially in the high range). SACD could sound much better.

    The biggest issue I have with modern recordings, is that they are mastered so badly. Take an old CD or LP and enjoy the music. Nowadays, I feel as if the music “shouts” at you. A lot recordings (if not all!) are making use of compression or other tricks to make the material sound as loud as possible (google “loudness wars” if you want to get more info).
    Thinking along that track, and on my own collection

    So the recording industry wonders why we stop buying records? Because, imho they sound like they were mastered by using a mid range mobile phone’s speaker.. no dynamics, no feeling.. no “air”. It removes all fun out of the music. I might give the latest album of Adele a chance though.

    One exception though, I bought the vinyl of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories a while ago and was truly blown away by the sound quality. All right, so THAT is how a modern age recording could sound like. Heck, even the free download was actually sounding pretty good as well, even that was compressed audio to begin with.

    That leaves the theory that vinyl could sound better in modern recordings because the sound engineers have more limitations using analogue recordings.

    And also, it does not make much sense anymore to invest in a super-duper hifi setup if you are into “modern music” because it does and will sound like certain droppings.

    For me, both CD and vinyl can sound good, but I enjoy vinyl better. To each it’s own 🙂

  24. My two cents – I have a setup that is really, really clean. I make use of “pro” equipment, because of that was where my strive to the ultimate natural sound brought me (on a limited budget I might add). There is no “warmth” in my vinyls if wasn’t there in the first place. I have a CD and a vinyl record from the early 90’s, they are sounding quite similar while in the past with my old vintage setup, there was a clear difference between the two (vinyl won hands down in the “pleasant” range. Also I could not turn up the volume as loud on the CD player as on the vinyl without straining my ears. The vinyl sounded that much more pleasant in the high range.

    But I digress. CD’s are technically superior, no questions, but yes, there are limitations (for me especially in the high range). SACD could sound much better.

    The biggest issue I have with modern recordings, is that they are mastered so badly. Take an old CD or LP and enjoy the music. Nowadays, I feel as if the music “shouts” at you. A lot recordings (if not all!) are making use of compression or other tricks to make the material sound as loud as possible (google “loudness wars” if you want to get more info).
    Thinking along that track, and on my own collection

    So the recording industry wonders why we stop buying records? Because, imho they sound like they were mastered by using a mid range mobile phone’s speaker.. no dynamics, no feeling.. no “air”. It removes all fun out of the music. I might give the latest album of Adele a chance though.

    One exception though, I bought the vinyl of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories a while ago and was truly blown away by the sound quality. All right, so THAT is how a modern age recording could sound like. Heck, even the free download was actually sounding pretty good as well, even that was compressed audio to begin with.

    That leaves the theory that vinyl could sound better in modern recordings because the sound engineers have more limitations using analogue recordings.

    And also, it does not make much sense anymore to invest in a super-duper hifi setup if you are into “modern music” because it does and will sound like certain droppings.

    For me, both CD and vinyl can sound good, but I enjoy vinyl better. To each it’s own 🙂

  25. For the record, I tried the Adele “25” and it was horrbile. Not the music, not the voice, but the production was. Could not stand listening to it. Definitely not recommended on CD. Don’t know if the vinyl is better, I’ll wait until some reviews poor in.

    • The vinyl was mastered separately by Ryan Smith – it’s not going to win any dynamic range awards…but at least it’s an improvement over the horribly loud CD mastering (and 24-bit masterings too, awful)

  26. For the record, I tried the Adele “25” and it was horrbile. Not the music, not the voice, but the production was. Could not stand listening to it. Definitely not recommended on CD. Don’t know if the vinyl is better, I’ll wait until some reviews poor in.

    • The vinyl was mastered separately by Ryan Smith – it’s not going to win any dynamic range awards…but at least it’s an improvement over the horribly loud CD mastering (and 24-bit masterings too, awful)

  27. Hmmmmm, an article attacking vinyl as a medium from someone pushing streaming and digital downloads as the way forward. Well, stone me, he doesn’t come down in favour of vinyl! Phew, that’s a shock! Unfortunately it’s also why I can’t take it seriously, even beyond the sad attempts to demean hifi reviewers, which was pretty shabby by the way…

    Couple of problems with the argument…

    First, CD is capable of far more musical information being stored on it. Yes, in terms of Dynamic range. In terms of bit depth comparison, there is actually only 4 in it, which ain’t much, as Monty argues when he lays into Hires audio. But that’s another story. There is though, no doubt that Digital media can store more information that Vinyl. However, and here’s the rub, as an Audio engineer pointed out, the difference between the two is not only exaggerated, it’s based on 40 year old data. You see dear hearts, when people like our friend here compare the cutting ability of Vinyl compared with the storage ability of CD, it is not 2015’s cutting heads they are talking, but 1968’s.

    As the same engineer said, and he is pro digital by the way, the original wax was indeed tailored to fit the RIAA curve according to the reproductive ability of the day. Which, in 1969, was nearly all mono, stereo was a new fangled idea, and the equipment was usually a dansette.These had very limited frequency response, and as such vinyl was ‘limited’ or ‘tailored’ to their ability.

    The same engineer finished by saying, ‘although I’m a CD fan, it irritates me no end the rubbish people talk about the limitations of vinyl. It is an exceptional replay system, with wide dynamic range, good frequency response and a such you can’t go wrong. Well, aside from the cleaning, handling and storing issues which led to me getting rid of mine’.

    There is another problem with the argument.

    CD the medium may be very capable, but the issue of the hardware is critical. I’ll quote one of my former employers ‘it always amazes me how something so cheap (a Dual 505-3) can produce such great sound – no CD at the price can do that’. He was also a committed Digital fan, and as such only stocked a few TT’s. Sadly, to get very good CD sound, you have to spend an awful lot of money, something I came to realise after years in the trade.. DAC’s may have come a long way, but are still trying to turn something Digital into something analogue at 16/44, and while they do it very well, a PDM DAC still struggles to engage me when the CD is something classical, jazz or other ‘bright’ sounding music. There are reasons why, (see papers by Bothroyd Stuart on why), but this, I fully admit, is strictly personal opinion, not fact. But it’s based on years of listening to CD’s across a wide spectrum. Which, despite the authors dismissive attitude towards ‘reviewers’ it’s what things sound like that matters.

    Back to the article.

    We have another factual problem here. The author says ‘CD’s were restricted by the original master tape’ and engineers had no idea how to produce a Digital master’, which he claims is why early CD’s didn’t sound great. Actually, no. First, Studio tape is an excellent medium for recording. No engineer has a bad word to say about it’s ability to record music. It’s longevity yes, it’s habit of shedding yes, but not it’s ability to store music at very high quality levels. Digital recording in the early days was hampered, according to top engineers, not by inability, but by the poor ADC’s. There is however another problem. When CD first came out, in the rush to get albums out, and if we’re honest, to make a massive killing, the music business was using any old master, metal parts, even turntables to bang out CD’s. Hence a very large number of early CD’s are very poor indeed. Never mind pre-emphasis, if the source is duff, so is the final disc. As such I never understand why people hunt down early CD’s…

    Sheer stupidity.

    The next issue is of course, as the author mentioned, mastering. For CD, rather sadly, the Golden age of mastering was a very narrow window between 1988 – 94. Why? Because by 1988, decent ADC’s were online and the engineers no longer had to rely on a handful of old Sony’s. Sadly, from the early 90’s onwards, something else started to happen – the loudness wars. As CD’s were recorded louder and louder, more and more distortion was introduced, and more and more limiting used resulting in the dreaded ‘brickwall’ effect. Few genres escaped this, but classical and Jazz listeners can take heart, for a brief period they were getting the benefits of full range recordings no one else was!

    This of course, as the author refuses to acknowledge is a very good reason for vinyls return. Contrary to ‘received wisdom’ you cannot brickwall vinyl. An engineer again; ‘vinyl cannot take the loudness levels of a highly compressed CD master. The stylus will literally pop out of the groove as the modulation is too high’. So, yes, vinyl can be cut from a CD master, but it cannot be cut using one that has been saturated. These days the majority of mainstream recordings are.

    One final point on Masters. Sadly, downloads are a very precarious business. For 16/44 companies have been caught using upsampled MP3, while for hire downloads they have been caught (many times) using upsampled 16/44. I’m sure many people will argue ‘who cares’, but then that’s just plain daft?. If you pay for something you expect it to be what it says on the tin, not something cheaper and not of the standard advertised. The source for many downloads is also very shady. Very few, although Pono are better these days, are happy to give the lineage of the Master used. Why? It takes nothing to tell what the Master is – unless you don’t want to be taken to advertising standards?

    Vinyl is making a come back because, as above, it’s a good quality medium. It has it’s drawbacks, and it requires some maintenance, but then so does anything worth having. It doesn’t, as the author claims ‘easily wear out’. Tests have shown normal LP’s should be able to sustain 1,000’s of plays before wearing out. I doubt any of us will wear down an LP to ‘unplayable’ with modern TT’s and styli, in our lifetime

    Whether you think vinyl is better than CD is up to the listener, not some bloke on the internet who presents a half arsed case, sneers at reviewers and provides no current technical info to back himself up beyond what we already knew about CD. That’s half an argument, and it doesn’t hold up. Sorry.

  28. Hmmmmm, an article attacking vinyl as a medium from someone pushing streaming and digital downloads as the way forward. Well, stone me, he doesn’t come down in favour of vinyl! Phew, that’s a shock! Unfortunately it’s also why I can’t take it seriously, even beyond the sad attempts to demean hifi reviewers, which was pretty shabby by the way…

    Couple of problems with the argument…

    First, CD is capable of far more musical information being stored on it. Yes, in terms of Dynamic range. In terms of bit depth comparison, there is actually only 4 in it, which ain’t much, as Monty argues when he lays into Hires audio. But that’s another story. There is though, no doubt that Digital media can store more information that Vinyl. However, and here’s the rub, as an Audio engineer pointed out, the difference between the two is not only exaggerated, it’s based on 40 year old data. You see dear hearts, when people like our friend here compare the cutting ability of Vinyl compared with the storage ability of CD, it is not 2015’s cutting heads they are talking, but 1968’s.

    As the same engineer said, and he is pro digital by the way, the original wax was indeed tailored to fit the RIAA curve according to the reproductive ability of the day. Which, in 1969, was nearly all mono, stereo was a new fangled idea, and the equipment was usually a dansette.These had very limited frequency response, and as such vinyl was ‘limited’ or ‘tailored’ to their ability.

    The same engineer finished by saying, ‘although I’m a CD fan, it irritates me no end the rubbish people talk about the limitations of vinyl. It is an exceptional replay system, with wide dynamic range, good frequency response and a such you can’t go wrong. Well, aside from the cleaning, handling and storing issues which led to me getting rid of mine’.

    There is another problem with the argument.

    CD the medium may be very capable, but the issue of the hardware is critical. I’ll quote one of my former employers ‘it always amazes me how something so cheap (a Dual 505-3) can produce such great sound – no CD at the price can do that’. He was also a committed Digital fan, and as such only stocked a few TT’s. Sadly, to get very good CD sound, you have to spend an awful lot of money, something I came to realise after years in the trade.. DAC’s may have come a long way, but are still trying to turn something Digital into something analogue at 16/44, and while they do it very well, a PDM DAC still struggles to engage me when the CD is something classical, jazz or other ‘bright’ sounding music. There are reasons why, (see papers by Bothroyd Stuart on why), but this, I fully admit, is strictly personal opinion, not fact. But it’s based on years of listening to CD’s across a wide spectrum. Which, despite the authors dismissive attitude towards ‘reviewers’ it’s what things sound like that matters.

    Back to the article.

    We have another factual problem here. The author says ‘CD’s were restricted by the original master tape’ and engineers had no idea how to produce a Digital master’, which he claims is why early CD’s didn’t sound great. Actually, no. First, Studio tape is an excellent medium for recording. No engineer has a bad word to say about it’s ability to record music. It’s longevity yes, it’s habit of shedding yes, but not it’s ability to store music at very high quality levels. Digital recording in the early days was hampered, according to top engineers, not by inability, but by the poor ADC’s. There is however another problem. When CD first came out, in the rush to get albums out, and if we’re honest, to make a massive killing, the music business was using any old master, metal parts, even turntables to bang out CD’s. Hence a very large number of early CD’s are very poor indeed. Never mind pre-emphasis, if the source is duff, so is the final disc. As such I never understand why people hunt down early CD’s…

    Sheer stupidity.

    The next issue is of course, as the author mentioned, mastering. For CD, rather sadly, the Golden age of mastering was a very narrow window between 1988 – 94. Why? Because by 1988, decent ADC’s were online and the engineers no longer had to rely on a handful of old Sony’s. Sadly, from the early 90’s onwards, something else started to happen – the loudness wars. As CD’s were recorded louder and louder, more and more distortion was introduced, and more and more limiting used resulting in the dreaded ‘brickwall’ effect. Few genres escaped this, but classical and Jazz listeners can take heart, for a brief period they were getting the benefits of full range recordings no one else was!

    This of course, as the author refuses to acknowledge is a very good reason for vinyls return. Contrary to ‘received wisdom’ you cannot brickwall vinyl. An engineer again; ‘vinyl cannot take the loudness levels of a highly compressed CD master. The stylus will literally pop out of the groove as the modulation is too high’. So, yes, vinyl can be cut from a CD master, but it cannot be cut using one that has been saturated. These days the majority of mainstream recordings are.

    One final point on Masters. Sadly, downloads are a very precarious business. For 16/44 companies have been caught using upsampled MP3, while for hire downloads they have been caught (many times) using upsampled 16/44. I’m sure many people will argue ‘who cares’, but then that’s just plain daft?. If you pay for something you expect it to be what it says on the tin, not something cheaper and not of the standard advertised. The source for many downloads is also very shady. Very few, although Pono are better these days, are happy to give the lineage of the Master used. Why? It takes nothing to tell what the Master is – unless you don’t want to be taken to advertising standards?

    Vinyl is making a come back because, as above, it’s a good quality medium. It has it’s drawbacks, and it requires some maintenance, but then so does anything worth having. It doesn’t, as the author claims ‘easily wear out’. Tests have shown normal LP’s should be able to sustain 1,000’s of plays before wearing out. I doubt any of us will wear down an LP to ‘unplayable’ with modern TT’s and styli, in our lifetime

    Whether you think vinyl is better than CD is up to the listener, not some bloke on the internet who presents a half arsed case, sneers at reviewers and provides no current technical info to back himself up beyond what we already knew about CD. That’s half an argument, and it doesn’t hold up. Sorry.

  29. For thise is us who still buy new music constantly, there is no doubt that vinyl versions of most new releases sound better, less compression, better dynamic range. The saddest part is that the best bands of this generation have been simply brick walled to death – Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Spoon, the Black Keys. Albums by these acts are slightly better on vinyl, although still not great by any means. But if you see the. Live, the sound is amazing – open, airy, and with a sense of realism that is never captured on a compressed digital file. It’s not a technical shortcoming of the digital format but mastering choices. For whatever reason, the general practice is not to jack up the volume so high on vinyl versions – ergo as a matter of practice, they sound better, which is probably the chief reason for the current resurgence. Or at least that’s why I buy vinyl.

    • YES. I remember reading an article on CD mastering and suddenly realising how fatiguing the modern wall-of-sound mastering is. The first time I hear Dark Side of the Moon I was almost embarrassed at how good it sounded. I mean how cliché is that? But it’s true- the separation, the dynamic range. We can only hope that with the vinyl revival and the death of the CD people start to go back to more dynamic mastering.

    • >Or at least that’s why I buy vinyl

      Yes right, it’s also called the placebo effect. Digital quality surpassed analogue decades ago and there is so much BS spread around by vinyl idiots to justify their “faith” it’s laughable. Go ahead and waste your money, as PT Barnum said “there’s a sucker borne every minute”

  30. For thise is us who still buy new music constantly, there is no doubt that vinyl versions of most new releases sound better, less compression, better dynamic range. The saddest part is that the best bands of this generation have been simply brick walled to death – Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Spoon, the Black Keys. Albums by these acts are slightly better on vinyl, although still not great by any means. But if you see the. Live, the sound is amazing – open, airy, and with a sense of realism that is never captured on a compressed digital file. It’s not a technical shortcoming of the digital format but mastering choices. For whatever reason, the general practice is not to jack up the volume so high on vinyl versions – ergo as a matter of practice, they sound better, which is probably the chief reason for the current resurgence. Or at least that’s why I buy vinyl.

    • YES. I remember reading an article on CD mastering and suddenly realising how fatiguing the modern wall-of-sound mastering is. The first time I hear Dark Side of the Moon I was almost embarrassed at how good it sounded. I mean how cliché is that? But it’s true- the separation, the dynamic range. We can only hope that with the vinyl revival and the death of the CD people start to go back to more dynamic mastering.

    • >Or at least that’s why I buy vinyl

      Yes right, it’s also called the placebo effect. Digital quality surpassed analogue decades ago and there is so much BS spread around by vinyl idiots to justify their “faith” it’s laughable. Go ahead and waste your money, as PT Barnum said “there’s a sucker borne every minute”

  31. I have to disagree with above article. One thing is true though: vinyls will wear out over time, however it is best to rip your audio into a wav file for repetitive plays.
    I don’t think you can have high resolution audio with CD, but I always rip my vinyls in Hi -res and believe me, hi-res is not a myth if you have a pair of hi-res headphones.

    • Audio CDs *are* high resolution WAV files, and at 44.1 KHz they are reproducing frequencies outside of the range of human hearing (and everything in between). You may be thinking of MP3’s, which do throw out a lot of information. But CDs are lossless quality, and are immune from signal degradation through constant use. The reason 44.1 KHz is important is because the Nyquist-Shannon Sampling theorem dictates the sampling rate must be twice the maximum frequency. Humans can’t hear above 20 KHz, so CD quality is MORE than ample. This is not only scientifically proven fact, but backed up by double-blind testing. The reason high-resolution audio sounds so good in high end headphones is because you have high end headphones.

  32. I have to disagree with above article. One thing is true though: vinyls will wear out over time, however it is best to rip your audio into a wav file for repetitive plays.
    I don’t think you can have high resolution audio with CD, but I always rip my vinyls in Hi -res and believe me, hi-res is not a myth if you have a pair of hi-res headphones.

    • Audio CDs *are* high resolution WAV files, and at 44.1 KHz they are reproducing frequencies outside of the range of human hearing (and everything in between). You may be thinking of MP3’s, which do throw out a lot of information. But CDs are lossless quality, and are immune from signal degradation through constant use. The reason 44.1 KHz is important is because the Nyquist-Shannon Sampling theorem dictates the sampling rate must be twice the maximum frequency. Humans can’t hear above 20 KHz, so CD quality is MORE than ample. This is not only scientifically proven fact, but backed up by double-blind testing. The reason high-resolution audio sounds so good in high end headphones is because you have high end headphones.

  33. Those who experience music’s magic don’t need to express it in terms like ‘lively’ ‘airy’ ‘vibrant’ because music itself is a feeling expressed, like a living poem.
    Audiophiles think they can improve their incapable sense to feel by spending ridiculous amounts of money on playback systems only to think about the shortcomings of it.
    But in fact the shortcoming lies in their inability to feel and the sad part is you can’t buy that and no one can give it to you.

  34. Those who experience music’s magic don’t need to express it in terms like ‘lively’ ‘airy’ ‘vibrant’ because music itself is a feeling expressed, like a living poem.
    Audiophiles think they can improve their incapable sense to feel by spending ridiculous amounts of money on playback systems only to think about the shortcomings of it.
    But in fact the shortcoming lies in their inability to feel and the sad part is you can’t buy that and no one can give it to you.

  35. This comment made me write down above’s thought:

    The saddest part is that the best bands of this generation have been simply brick walled to death – Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Spoon, the Black Keys. Albums by these acts are slightly better on vinyl, although still not great by any means.

    To me some of these bands sound great even on fm radio driving in a car. It’s you who’s brick walled but not death enough to write such nonsense 😉 You are the act not the people expressing themselves through their music.

    • As a sound engineer working in FM and AM radio, I can tell you that radio stations are terribly guilty of “brick walling” the audio. Legally, they’re allowed to peak at 105% of their licensed wattage, so everything gets super compressed so that even the quietest sounds have the same amplitude as the loudest sounds, and then it hovers at about 104%. All this to compete and get maximum range and loudness.

  36. This comment made me write down above’s thought:

    The saddest part is that the best bands of this generation have been simply brick walled to death – Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, Spoon, the Black Keys. Albums by these acts are slightly better on vinyl, although still not great by any means.

    To me some of these bands sound great even on fm radio driving in a car. It’s you who’s brick walled but not death enough to write such nonsense 😉 You are the act not the people expressing themselves through their music.

    • As a sound engineer working in FM and AM radio, I can tell you that radio stations are terribly guilty of “brick walling” the audio. Legally, they’re allowed to peak at 105% of their licensed wattage, so everything gets super compressed so that even the quietest sounds have the same amplitude as the loudest sounds, and then it hovers at about 104%. All this to compete and get maximum range and loudness.

  37. Hi Sam

    I’m no sound engineer but I do have a technical background. There is no correlation between the rate of compression of the transmitted sound and the output wattage of a radio station. Increasing the output wattage increases the reach of the station, it does nothing to the transmitted signal.
    The most compressed (and loudest) are the ads between the music. Radio is often used in places with background noise, like cars, hence the compression.

    “even the quietest sounds have the same amplitude as the loudest sounds” ???????

    You are no sound engineer are you?
    However, I do suspect you have a some fine stereo equipment at home. Go tweak your cables buddy pay no mind to the music. Eddie Vedder puts it like ”this is not for you”

    • While I appreciate your talent for a condescending response, I think your assumption that I’m not a sound engineer is likely due to my over-simplification. Instead of saying “…quietest sounds have the same amplitude…” I maybe should have specified that the main output from the board is fed through a compressor with a double-digit to one compression ratio, a very low dB threshold, with a hard knee with a super-fast attack time, thus producing an almost solid waveform, leaving little to no difference between the *recorded* quietest sounds and the *recorded* loudest sounds, before being sent to the transmitter. The loudness on the broadcast source absolutely affects the effective range of a station, because if two stations overlap on the same frequency with the same wattage at the same distance from the towers, the one with the stronger audio signal will win out on a receiver. This is partially why many AM stations are only licensed to broadcast a set amount of hours. I wish I could get paid to “tweak my cables,” but it seems the market can’t sustain that, so—with all due respect to you and Eddie Veder—I’ll keep on working hard as a sound engineer, since that is my field of expertise, and keep on cranking up the volume on the stations I work for, in spite of it destroying the nuanced sound that “audiophiles” are looking for. Kirk is spot on in his article; any quality difference in vinyl over CD is imagined.

      • Educate yourself.

        Hmmmmm, an article attacking vinyl as a medium from someone pushing streaming and digital downloads as the way forward. Well, stone me, he doesn’t come down in favour of vinyl! Phew, that’s a shock! Unfortunately it’s also why I can’t take it seriously, even beyond the sad attempts to demean hifi reviewers, which was pretty shabby by the way…

        Couple of problems with the argument…

        First, CD is capable of far more musical information being stored on it. Yes, in terms of Dynamic range. In terms of bit depth comparison, there is actually only 4 in it, which ain’t much, as Monty argues when he lays into Hires audio. But that’s another story. There is though, no doubt that Digital media can store more information that Vinyl. However, and here’s the rub, as an Audio engineer pointed out, the difference between the two is not only exaggerated, it’s based on 40 year old data. You see dear hearts, when people like our friend here compare the cutting ability of Vinyl compared with the storage ability of CD, it is not 2015’s cutting heads they are talking, but 1968’s.

        As the same engineer said, and he is pro digital by the way, the original wax was indeed tailored to fit the RIAA curve according to the reproductive ability of the day. Which, in 1969, was nearly all mono, stereo was a new fangled idea, and the equipment was usually a dansette.These had very limited frequency response, and as such vinyl was ‘limited’ or ‘tailored’ to their ability.

        The same engineer finished by saying, ‘although I’m a CD fan, it irritates me no end the rubbish people talk about the limitations of vinyl. It is an exceptional replay system, with wide dynamic range, good frequency response and a such you can’t go wrong. Well, aside from the cleaning, handling and storing issues which led to me getting rid of mine’.

        There is another problem with the argument.

        CD the medium may be very capable, but the issue of the hardware is critical. I’ll quote one of my former employers ‘it always amazes me how something so cheap (a Dual 505-3) can produce such great sound – no CD at the price can do that’. He was also a committed Digital fan, and as such only stocked a few TT’s. Sadly, to get very good CD sound, you have to spend an awful lot of money, something I came to realise after years in the trade.. DAC’s may have come a long way, but are still trying to turn something Digital into something analogue at 16/44, and while they do it very well, a PDM DAC still struggles to engage me when the CD is something classical, jazz or other ‘bright’ sounding music. There are reasons why, (see papers by Bothroyd Stuart on why), but this, I fully admit, is strictly personal opinion, not fact. But it’s based on years of listening to CD’s across a wide spectrum. Which, despite the authors dismissive attitude towards ‘reviewers’ it’s what things sound like that matters.

        Back to the article.

        We have another factual problem here. The author says ‘CD’s were restricted by the original master tape’ and engineers had no idea how to produce a Digital master’, which he claims is why early CD’s didn’t sound great. Actually, no. First, Studio tape is an excellent medium for recording. No engineer has a bad word to say about it’s ability to record music. It’s longevity yes, it’s habit of shedding yes, but not it’s ability to store music at very high quality levels. Digital recording in the early days was hampered, according to top engineers, not by inability, but by the poor ADC’s. There is however another problem. When CD first came out, in the rush to get albums out, and if we’re honest, to make a massive killing, the music business was using any old master, metal parts, even turntables to bang out CD’s. Hence a very large number of early CD’s are very poor indeed. Never mind pre-emphasis, if the source is duff, so is the final disc. As such I never understand why people hunt down early CD’s…

        Sheer stupidity.

        The next issue is of course, as the author mentioned, mastering. For CD, rather sadly, the Golden age of mastering was a very narrow window between 1988 – 94. Why? Because by 1988, decent ADC’s were online and the engineers no longer had to rely on a handful of old Sony’s. Sadly, from the early 90’s onwards, something else started to happen – the loudness wars. As CD’s were recorded louder and louder, more and more distortion was introduced, and more and more limiting used resulting in the dreaded ‘brickwall’ effect. Few genres escaped this, but classical and Jazz listeners can take heart, for a brief period they were getting the benefits of full range recordings no one else was!

        This of course, as the author refuses to acknowledge is a very good reason for vinyls return. Contrary to ‘received wisdom’ you cannot brickwall vinyl. An engineer again; ‘vinyl cannot take the loudness levels of a highly compressed CD master. The stylus will literally pop out of the groove as the modulation is too high’. So, yes, vinyl can be cut from a CD master, but it cannot be cut using one that has been saturated. These days the majority of mainstream recordings are.

        One final point on Masters. Sadly, downloads are a very precarious business. For 16/44 companies have been caught using upsampled MP3, while for hire downloads they have been caught (many times) using upsampled 16/44. I’m sure many people will argue ‘who cares’, but then that’s just plain daft?. If you pay for something you expect it to be what it says on the tin, not something cheaper and not of the standard advertised. The source for many downloads is also very shady. Very few, although Pono are better these days, are happy to give the lineage of the Master used. Why? It takes nothing to tell what the Master is – unless you don’t want to be taken to advertising standards?

        Vinyl is making a come back because, as above, it’s a good quality medium. It has it’s drawbacks, and it requires some maintenance, but then so does anything worth having. It doesn’t, as the author claims ‘easily wear out’. Tests have shown normal LP’s should be able to sustain 1,000’s of plays before wearing out. I doubt any of us will wear down an LP to ‘unplayable’ with modern TT’s and styli, in our lifetime

        Whether you think vinyl is better than CD is up to the listener, not some bloke on the internet who presents a half arsed case, sneers at reviewers and provides no current technical info to back himself up beyond what we already knew about CD. That’s half an argument, and it doesn’t hold up. Sorry.

        Reply

        • Thank goodness. I appreciate bob’s summary.

          There is another point about cd’s which has to do with dynamic compression (abuse of the format in the mixing stage).

          Here is an excellent article (by an engineer) comparing LP to CD as well as SACD and DVD-A.

          http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/dynamic-comparison-of-lps-vs-cds-part-4

          I’m not arguing for one format or the other as I use both from non cheap head ends (3500 for my turntable and 2200 for my CD player/DAC). I have several original releases of the same album on both LP and CD. The CD sounds thinner in every case.

  38. Hi Sam

    I’m no sound engineer but I do have a technical background. There is no correlation between the rate of compression of the transmitted sound and the output wattage of a radio station. Increasing the output wattage increases the reach of the station, it does nothing to the transmitted signal.
    The most compressed (and loudest) are the ads between the music. Radio is often used in places with background noise, like cars, hence the compression.

    “even the quietest sounds have the same amplitude as the loudest sounds” ???????

    You are no sound engineer are you?
    However, I do suspect you have a some fine stereo equipment at home. Go tweak your cables buddy pay no mind to the music. Eddie Vedder puts it like ”this is not for you”

    • While I appreciate your talent for a condescending response, I think your assumption that I’m not a sound engineer is likely due to my over-simplification. Instead of saying “…quietest sounds have the same amplitude…” I maybe should have specified that the main output from the board is fed through a compressor with a double-digit to one compression ratio, a very low dB threshold, with a hard knee with a super-fast attack time, thus producing an almost solid waveform, leaving little to no difference between the *recorded* quietest sounds and the *recorded* loudest sounds, before being sent to the transmitter. The loudness on the broadcast source absolutely affects the effective range of a station, because if two stations overlap on the same frequency with the same wattage at the same distance from the towers, the one with the stronger audio signal will win out on a receiver. This is partially why many AM stations are only licensed to broadcast a set amount of hours. I wish I could get paid to “tweak my cables,” but it seems the market can’t sustain that, so—with all due respect to you and Eddie Veder—I’ll keep on working hard as a sound engineer, since that is my field of expertise, and keep on cranking up the volume on the stations I work for, in spite of it destroying the nuanced sound that “audiophiles” are looking for. Kirk is spot on in his article; any quality difference in vinyl over CD is imagined.

      • Educate yourself.

        Hmmmmm, an article attacking vinyl as a medium from someone pushing streaming and digital downloads as the way forward. Well, stone me, he doesn’t come down in favour of vinyl! Phew, that’s a shock! Unfortunately it’s also why I can’t take it seriously, even beyond the sad attempts to demean hifi reviewers, which was pretty shabby by the way…

        Couple of problems with the argument…

        First, CD is capable of far more musical information being stored on it. Yes, in terms of Dynamic range. In terms of bit depth comparison, there is actually only 4 in it, which ain’t much, as Monty argues when he lays into Hires audio. But that’s another story. There is though, no doubt that Digital media can store more information that Vinyl. However, and here’s the rub, as an Audio engineer pointed out, the difference between the two is not only exaggerated, it’s based on 40 year old data. You see dear hearts, when people like our friend here compare the cutting ability of Vinyl compared with the storage ability of CD, it is not 2015’s cutting heads they are talking, but 1968’s.

        As the same engineer said, and he is pro digital by the way, the original wax was indeed tailored to fit the RIAA curve according to the reproductive ability of the day. Which, in 1969, was nearly all mono, stereo was a new fangled idea, and the equipment was usually a dansette.These had very limited frequency response, and as such vinyl was ‘limited’ or ‘tailored’ to their ability.

        The same engineer finished by saying, ‘although I’m a CD fan, it irritates me no end the rubbish people talk about the limitations of vinyl. It is an exceptional replay system, with wide dynamic range, good frequency response and a such you can’t go wrong. Well, aside from the cleaning, handling and storing issues which led to me getting rid of mine’.

        There is another problem with the argument.

        CD the medium may be very capable, but the issue of the hardware is critical. I’ll quote one of my former employers ‘it always amazes me how something so cheap (a Dual 505-3) can produce such great sound – no CD at the price can do that’. He was also a committed Digital fan, and as such only stocked a few TT’s. Sadly, to get very good CD sound, you have to spend an awful lot of money, something I came to realise after years in the trade.. DAC’s may have come a long way, but are still trying to turn something Digital into something analogue at 16/44, and while they do it very well, a PDM DAC still struggles to engage me when the CD is something classical, jazz or other ‘bright’ sounding music. There are reasons why, (see papers by Bothroyd Stuart on why), but this, I fully admit, is strictly personal opinion, not fact. But it’s based on years of listening to CD’s across a wide spectrum. Which, despite the authors dismissive attitude towards ‘reviewers’ it’s what things sound like that matters.

        Back to the article.

        We have another factual problem here. The author says ‘CD’s were restricted by the original master tape’ and engineers had no idea how to produce a Digital master’, which he claims is why early CD’s didn’t sound great. Actually, no. First, Studio tape is an excellent medium for recording. No engineer has a bad word to say about it’s ability to record music. It’s longevity yes, it’s habit of shedding yes, but not it’s ability to store music at very high quality levels. Digital recording in the early days was hampered, according to top engineers, not by inability, but by the poor ADC’s. There is however another problem. When CD first came out, in the rush to get albums out, and if we’re honest, to make a massive killing, the music business was using any old master, metal parts, even turntables to bang out CD’s. Hence a very large number of early CD’s are very poor indeed. Never mind pre-emphasis, if the source is duff, so is the final disc. As such I never understand why people hunt down early CD’s…

        Sheer stupidity.

        The next issue is of course, as the author mentioned, mastering. For CD, rather sadly, the Golden age of mastering was a very narrow window between 1988 – 94. Why? Because by 1988, decent ADC’s were online and the engineers no longer had to rely on a handful of old Sony’s. Sadly, from the early 90’s onwards, something else started to happen – the loudness wars. As CD’s were recorded louder and louder, more and more distortion was introduced, and more and more limiting used resulting in the dreaded ‘brickwall’ effect. Few genres escaped this, but classical and Jazz listeners can take heart, for a brief period they were getting the benefits of full range recordings no one else was!

        This of course, as the author refuses to acknowledge is a very good reason for vinyls return. Contrary to ‘received wisdom’ you cannot brickwall vinyl. An engineer again; ‘vinyl cannot take the loudness levels of a highly compressed CD master. The stylus will literally pop out of the groove as the modulation is too high’. So, yes, vinyl can be cut from a CD master, but it cannot be cut using one that has been saturated. These days the majority of mainstream recordings are.

        One final point on Masters. Sadly, downloads are a very precarious business. For 16/44 companies have been caught using upsampled MP3, while for hire downloads they have been caught (many times) using upsampled 16/44. I’m sure many people will argue ‘who cares’, but then that’s just plain daft?. If you pay for something you expect it to be what it says on the tin, not something cheaper and not of the standard advertised. The source for many downloads is also very shady. Very few, although Pono are better these days, are happy to give the lineage of the Master used. Why? It takes nothing to tell what the Master is – unless you don’t want to be taken to advertising standards?

        Vinyl is making a come back because, as above, it’s a good quality medium. It has it’s drawbacks, and it requires some maintenance, but then so does anything worth having. It doesn’t, as the author claims ‘easily wear out’. Tests have shown normal LP’s should be able to sustain 1,000’s of plays before wearing out. I doubt any of us will wear down an LP to ‘unplayable’ with modern TT’s and styli, in our lifetime

        Whether you think vinyl is better than CD is up to the listener, not some bloke on the internet who presents a half arsed case, sneers at reviewers and provides no current technical info to back himself up beyond what we already knew about CD. That’s half an argument, and it doesn’t hold up. Sorry.

        Reply

        • Thank goodness. I appreciate bob’s summary.

          There is another point about cd’s which has to do with dynamic compression (abuse of the format in the mixing stage).

          Here is an excellent article (by an engineer) comparing LP to CD as well as SACD and DVD-A.

          http://www.audioholics.com/audio-technologies/dynamic-comparison-of-lps-vs-cds-part-4

          I’m not arguing for one format or the other as I use both from non cheap head ends (3500 for my turntable and 2200 for my CD player/DAC). I have several original releases of the same album on both LP and CD. The CD sounds thinner in every case.

  39. Audio is recorded digitally, so how would there magically be more information when it is reproduced in analogue? If you are into super high quality sound reproduction maybe get a 24 bit version with some stupidly high sample rate, CDs are on their way out now anyway. The point is, vinyl sound IS digital, just a crappier version of it.

    • The audio I like to reproduce at home these days was almost entirely not recorded digitally. That would be pretty much all the music recorded before the mid eighties or so. That is what started me down the path of vinyl, so much great music to discover at garage sales!

      I have recordings from a few hundred bands that have come along since but in my view there aren’t that many that are truly great.

  40. Audio is recorded digitally, so how would there magically be more information when it is reproduced in analogue? If you are into super high quality sound reproduction maybe get a 24 bit version with some stupidly high sample rate, CDs are on their way out now anyway. The point is, vinyl sound IS digital, just a crappier version of it.

    • The audio I like to reproduce at home these days was almost entirely not recorded digitally. That would be pretty much all the music recorded before the mid eighties or so. That is what started me down the path of vinyl, so much great music to discover at garage sales!

      I have recordings from a few hundred bands that have come along since but in my view there aren’t that many that are truly great.

  41. I believe that an mportant reason why some people prefer vinyl is the use of an ‘elliptical filter’ during mastering: the bass is made more mono to prevent the diamond cutter from having to move too far sideways (which is impossible and in any case would make it collide with another groove). The same filter is applied to any sound system which uses only mid-range/high stereo loudspeakers and a single mono subwoofer. This works well because the human brain can only detect sound direction from high frequency elements of sound. It’s just a theory, but what do you think? Subjectively, I have to say that when I listen to an originally produced LP, I sometimes feel a more immediate ‘presence’ than I do when listening to a remastered CD of the same music. In art, we prefer a painting to a phiotograph … perhaps it’s the same with LPs?

    • I don’t think that makes much of a difference. You don’t hear the low frequency waves as being in stereo no matter whether you have a sub-woofer or not. Also, the bass is lowered on LPs, so it doesn’t make the needle jump; it is later restored during playback. (This is the RIAA curve.)

  42. I believe that an mportant reason why some people prefer vinyl is the use of an ‘elliptical filter’ during mastering: the bass is made more mono to prevent the diamond cutter from having to move too far sideways (which is impossible and in any case would make it collide with another groove). The same filter is applied to any sound system which uses only mid-range/high stereo loudspeakers and a single mono subwoofer. This works well because the human brain can only detect sound direction from high frequency elements of sound. It’s just a theory, but what do you think? Subjectively, I have to say that when I listen to an originally produced LP, I sometimes feel a more immediate ‘presence’ than I do when listening to a remastered CD of the same music. In art, we prefer a painting to a phiotograph … perhaps it’s the same with LPs?

    • I don’t think that makes much of a difference. You don’t hear the low frequency waves as being in stereo no matter whether you have a sub-woofer or not. Also, the bass is lowered on LPs, so it doesn’t make the needle jump; it is later restored during playback. (This is the RIAA curve.)

  43. For years I tried to record my half-speed Masters to .wav files. These albums are from mostly analog master tapes. The best 16 bit sound cards of the 1990s and 2000s couldn’t do it right. I finally got realistic recordings with a 24bit/192khz sound card. In the process, I’ve found the S/N of some JVC Super Vinyl to be on the order of 105db above 1khz. Your ear filters out the noise below 300 or 400 Hz. The real S/N of all three CD players I own is only around 85db in the real world, not the theoretical 96 db the digital music lovers proclaim. This could be poor quality mastering equipment in the studio. The problem is most of the digital music lovers don’t have 18″ sub woofers or a collection of JBL and Klipsch Monitors for speakers in a deadened listening room with a less than 30 dBm noise floor and a system capable 130+ dBm sound levels. Digital media has very defined limits and sound terrible when pushed beyond those limits. Digital clips hard! By contrast, vinyl in the hands of a true craftsman like Stan Ricker, can bend the rules and push the envelop with subtle soft clipping our ears will except. Our ears are designed for an analog world, not a digital one. Oh, and there is content above 20k and below 20Hz that add realism to music, the shock waves on the Telarc 1812 Overture are at 6 or 7 Hz and harmonics of the cymbals on Dark Side of the Moon exceed 25khz. With 18″ woofers you can feel the music and with top draw tweeters the highs are a crisp point on the sound stage. Another observation is that modern music is mixed for iPods for use in a noisy environment and not critical listening; 16 bit/44.1Khz and MP3s are fine for that.

  44. For years I tried to record my half-speed Masters to .wav files. These albums are from mostly analog master tapes. The best 16 bit sound cards of the 1990s and 2000s couldn’t do it right. I finally got realistic recordings with a 24bit/192khz sound card. In the process, I’ve found the S/N of some JVC Super Vinyl to be on the order of 105db above 1khz. Your ear filters out the noise below 300 or 400 Hz. The real S/N of all three CD players I own is only around 85db in the real world, not the theoretical 96 db the digital music lovers proclaim. This could be poor quality mastering equipment in the studio. The problem is most of the digital music lovers don’t have 18″ sub woofers or a collection of JBL and Klipsch Monitors for speakers in a deadened listening room with a less than 30 dBm noise floor and a system capable 130+ dBm sound levels. Digital media has very defined limits and sound terrible when pushed beyond those limits. Digital clips hard! By contrast, vinyl in the hands of a true craftsman like Stan Ricker, can bend the rules and push the envelop with subtle soft clipping our ears will except. Our ears are designed for an analog world, not a digital one. Oh, and there is content above 20k and below 20Hz that add realism to music, the shock waves on the Telarc 1812 Overture are at 6 or 7 Hz and harmonics of the cymbals on Dark Side of the Moon exceed 25khz. With 18″ woofers you can feel the music and with top draw tweeters the highs are a crisp point on the sound stage. Another observation is that modern music is mixed for iPods for use in a noisy environment and not critical listening; 16 bit/44.1Khz and MP3s are fine for that.

  45. As a degreed EE, a sometimes live recordist, and an ex-Stereophile reviewer, I have to put up with this “LPs sound better” garbage all the time. Well, yes, they “sound better” — if you like the euphonic colorations of phonograph records. But “sounds better” is not the same as “reproduces sound more accurately”. To anyone who’s familiar with live, unamplified sound, a properly engineered digital recording is clearly more like “the real thing”. To slightly paraphrase Peter Walker, it is a significantly closer approach to the original sound.

    As for those who listen to studio recordings of rock music — who cares what you think?

  46. As a degreed EE, a sometimes live recordist, and an ex-Stereophile reviewer, I have to put up with this “LPs sound better” garbage all the time. Well, yes, they “sound better” — if you like the euphonic colorations of phonograph records. But “sounds better” is not the same as “reproduces sound more accurately”. To anyone who’s familiar with live, unamplified sound, a properly engineered digital recording is clearly more like “the real thing”. To slightly paraphrase Peter Walker, it is a significantly closer approach to the original sound.

    As for those who listen to studio recordings of rock music — who cares what you think?

  47. Some people can’t hear the difference between an mp3 and a live band, some, like me and many others can hear the difference between 44,100Hz 16bit and 48,000Hz 24bit. Vinyl, with all the limits inherent to the medium, capture more than 44,100Hz 16bit, CD frequency is good enough for some people not hearing frequencies over 20kHz. We are not all the same, some people are colour blind, some people hear different sounds, higher or lower etc. That is for what concerns sampling frequency, then 24bit give you 22db extra dynamic range, that makes a massive difference between a CD and a high-res audio recording, I work with audio and @ 44,100Hz 16bit, vinyl is way better; at 96kHz 24bit I start to don’t notice any significant difference. I believe my ear, I’ve been earning my bread with it for the last 30 years. I did a test a while ago, just for fun, I recorded at 96kHz 24bit the same music from a brand new vinyl on a good turntable and a CD, no digital conversion, just straight audio recording: I played the two recording with my roland r05 in headphones to 10 friends and 9 of them thought the recording from the vinyl was the best sounding, some comments on the audio from the vinyl were: “richer”, “deeper”, “more colourful” “If I close my eyes I can actually see the musicians playing” etc. One friend didn’t notice any difference. If you are happy with 44,100Hz that is perfectly fine but why patronise people that can hear more? Many people mistake sound cleanness with fidelity, a CD sound cleaner than a vinyl but captures less music details, if we want to go digital 88.200Hz 24bit is the starting point, anything below is not good enough for many people’s hears. This debate is never ending because some people that can’t hear the difference feel compelled to persuade people that can, that there is no difference… It will never end.

    • “Some people can’t hear the difference between an mp3 and a live band”

      Saying that means I really don’t care about the rest of what you wrote. It’s simply fooling to say something like that.

    • And re the dynamic range myth:

      The dynamic range of vinyl, when evaluated as the ratio of a peak sinusoidal amplitude to the peak noise density at that sine wave frequency, is somewhere around 80 dB. Under theoretically ideal conditions, this could perhaps improve to 120 dB. The dynamic range of CDs, when evaluated on a frequency-dependent basis and performed with proper dithering and oversampling, is somewhere around 150 dB. Under no legitimate circumstances will the dynamic range of vinyl ever exceed the dynamic range of CD, under any frequency, given the wide performance gap and the physical limitations of vinyl playback. More discussion at Hydrogenaudio.

      http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)

    • >”Some people can’t hear the difference between an mp3 and a live band, some, like me and many others can hear the difference between 44,100Hz 16bit and 48,000Hz 24bit”

      ———–

      I challenge you $10,000 in a blind hearing booth test.

  48. Some people can’t hear the difference between an mp3 and a live band, some, like me and many others can hear the difference between 44,100Hz 16bit and 48,000Hz 24bit. Vinyl, with all the limits inherent to the medium, capture more than 44,100Hz 16bit, CD frequency is good enough for some people not hearing frequencies over 20kHz. We are not all the same, some people are colour blind, some people hear different sounds, higher or lower etc. That is for what concerns sampling frequency, then 24bit give you 22db extra dynamic range, that makes a massive difference between a CD and a high-res audio recording, I work with audio and @ 44,100Hz 16bit, vinyl is way better; at 96kHz 24bit I start to don’t notice any significant difference. I believe my ear, I’ve been earning my bread with it for the last 30 years. I did a test a while ago, just for fun, I recorded at 96kHz 24bit the same music from a brand new vinyl on a good turntable and a CD, no digital conversion, just straight audio recording: I played the two recording with my roland r05 in headphones to 10 friends and 9 of them thought the recording from the vinyl was the best sounding, some comments on the audio from the vinyl were: “richer”, “deeper”, “more colourful” “If I close my eyes I can actually see the musicians playing” etc. One friend didn’t notice any difference. If you are happy with 44,100Hz that is perfectly fine but why patronise people that can hear more? Many people mistake sound cleanness with fidelity, a CD sound cleaner than a vinyl but captures less music details, if we want to go digital 88.200Hz 24bit is the starting point, anything below is not good enough for many people’s hears. This debate is never ending because some people that can’t hear the difference feel compelled to persuade people that can, that there is no difference… It will never end.

    • “Some people can’t hear the difference between an mp3 and a live band”

      Saying that means I really don’t care about the rest of what you wrote. It’s simply fooling to say something like that.

    • And re the dynamic range myth:

      The dynamic range of vinyl, when evaluated as the ratio of a peak sinusoidal amplitude to the peak noise density at that sine wave frequency, is somewhere around 80 dB. Under theoretically ideal conditions, this could perhaps improve to 120 dB. The dynamic range of CDs, when evaluated on a frequency-dependent basis and performed with proper dithering and oversampling, is somewhere around 150 dB. Under no legitimate circumstances will the dynamic range of vinyl ever exceed the dynamic range of CD, under any frequency, given the wide performance gap and the physical limitations of vinyl playback. More discussion at Hydrogenaudio.

      http://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)

    • >”Some people can’t hear the difference between an mp3 and a live band, some, like me and many others can hear the difference between 44,100Hz 16bit and 48,000Hz 24bit”

      ———–

      I challenge you $10,000 in a blind hearing booth test.

  49. Find out here what an hyperbole is.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbole
    Also deaf people cannot hear that difference, and they are people too, or not?
    Cunning way to dismiss aprioristically an inconvenient rebuttal of your flawed dissertation. Also, is it normal practice for you to censor people disagreeing with you?

    • Wow, that’s pretty hostile. Also, dead people can’t heard the difference.

      Who did I censor? Clearly not you… The only comments I delete are the vulgar ones. I’m happy to engage with anyone who is willing to discuss in a civil manner.

      • Kirk, I do apologise if I came across hostile, I didn’t mean to but my previous were I used my primary email address got ignored and deleted by wordpress while this one with an alternative email address went trough, I infer it wasn’t censorship then, sorry.

        All I wanted was just to have a constructive exchange of ideas about audio quality, I don’t think is fair to dismiss my observations on the basis that I used an hyperbole in my opening to point out differences in people’s perceptions.
        To reiterate, when I listen to a good vinyl, beside the typical media noise I can hear some fine details and nuances in the music material that I cannot hear in a CD with the same music content, particularly, i.e. the top end of cymbals in Jazz recordings are much crispier and defined in vinyl than CD and I’m not alone in this opinion, I don’t think I’m insane or some sort of nostalgia is obnubilating my ears and brain. Then I like how CDs sound clean and are easier to use than vinyl but if we talk about exact reproduction of the original sound I believe both media are not perfect for different reasons. I think digital recording over 88.200hz 24bit is the way to go, I have no doubts that that quality is way superior to vinyl and CD. In my opinion vinyl can have a place beside CDs in one’s collection or the choice of one kind over the other is a matter of personal taste, at the same time I bow to the superiority of high resolution digital audio. There are many aspect in sound transmission and reproduction that are still currently being investigated by science; my contention is that maybe we cannot rule out that, in establish the technical aspect of the red book CD something has been left out… that’s all.
        i.e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undertone_series
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliasing

        • WordPress puts first comments by everyone in moderation to prevent spam. For some reason, it keeps putting comments in moderation, even after I’ve approved one from someone. I don’t know why.

          Your hyperbole at the beginning of your comment was, unfortunately, similar to some of the comments people seriously make when discussing such issues.

          As for the actual quality, there is no objective proof that vinyl sounds better; there’s plenty of objective proof that it doesn’t sound better. (Pops, clicks, wear, lower quality toward the end of a side, etc.) It’s clear that liking the vinyl sound is much more subjective than objective.

          Audiophiles need to learn to say that they like something, rather than what they like is better than something else. I know people who live vinyl because of the process of listening, as I mention in the article. There’s nothing wrong with that. Trying to give a scientific reason for this, however, isn’t very useful.

          Interestingly, we’ll be doing an episode of The Next Track podcast (see the link in the sidebar) about vinyl vs. CD in a few weeks, with a guest who’s produced records, worked at Apple’s iTunes Store, etc.

          • “Audiophiles need to learn to say that they like something, rather than what they like is better than something else.” That pretty much sums it up.

            Most people who fawn over the superior sound of LPs have no grasp of sampling and quantization theory. The fact is that a properly sampled and dithered signal is, when reproduced, a theoretically perfect reconstruction. The //only// change is the conversion of quantization errors into noise.

            It’s interesting that a common claim for the superiority of LP comes from people who do not understand the mathematics behind digital processing, and are unable to critique it on any level other that “I don’t like it”.

            LPs are unique among analog recordings because there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do to get them to provide sound that’s better than euphony. Every other form of analog I’ve heard (especially FM — and even the lowly Compact Cassette) can deliver excellent, accurate sound.

            Some years ago I sat down with a pile of audiophile recordings (mostly direct disks) and listened to parts of them with an Ikeda (Fidelity Research) direct-coupled MC pickup in a Well Tempered arm on a Well Tempered turntable feeding a John Curl Vendetta preamp. The sound never achieved what I would consider accuracy (ie, realism). But it was almost always pleasant.

            A common form of LP defense is the claim that the sound of cymbals is better rendered. Here there’s legitimate room for criticism. Digital superiority is based on the assumption that everything is executed correctly. Cymbals generate a splash of broadband noise. Unless the sampling rate is high enough, and the anti-alias filtering done right, you’re likely to have problems.

            By the way, phonograph records have a lot of trouble getting much past 20kHz. JVC had a heck of time getting to 45kHz for its ill-fated CD-4 quad system.

  50. Find out here what an hyperbole is.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbole
    Also deaf people cannot hear that difference, and they are people too, or not?
    Cunning way to dismiss aprioristically an inconvenient rebuttal of your flawed dissertation. Also, is it normal practice for you to censor people disagreeing with you?

    • Wow, that’s pretty hostile. Also, dead people can’t heard the difference.

      Who did I censor? Clearly not you… The only comments I delete are the vulgar ones. I’m happy to engage with anyone who is willing to discuss in a civil manner.

      • Kirk, I do apologise if I came across hostile, I didn’t mean to but my previous were I used my primary email address got ignored and deleted by wordpress while this one with an alternative email address went trough, I infer it wasn’t censorship then, sorry.

        All I wanted was just to have a constructive exchange of ideas about audio quality, I don’t think is fair to dismiss my observations on the basis that I used an hyperbole in my opening to point out differences in people’s perceptions.
        To reiterate, when I listen to a good vinyl, beside the typical media noise I can hear some fine details and nuances in the music material that I cannot hear in a CD with the same music content, particularly, i.e. the top end of cymbals in Jazz recordings are much crispier and defined in vinyl than CD and I’m not alone in this opinion, I don’t think I’m insane or some sort of nostalgia is obnubilating my ears and brain. Then I like how CDs sound clean and are easier to use than vinyl but if we talk about exact reproduction of the original sound I believe both media are not perfect for different reasons. I think digital recording over 88.200hz 24bit is the way to go, I have no doubts that that quality is way superior to vinyl and CD. In my opinion vinyl can have a place beside CDs in one’s collection or the choice of one kind over the other is a matter of personal taste, at the same time I bow to the superiority of high resolution digital audio. There are many aspect in sound transmission and reproduction that are still currently being investigated by science; my contention is that maybe we cannot rule out that, in establish the technical aspect of the red book CD something has been left out… that’s all.
        i.e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undertone_series
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliasing

        • WordPress puts first comments by everyone in moderation to prevent spam. For some reason, it keeps putting comments in moderation, even after I’ve approved one from someone. I don’t know why.

          Your hyperbole at the beginning of your comment was, unfortunately, similar to some of the comments people seriously make when discussing such issues.

          As for the actual quality, there is no objective proof that vinyl sounds better; there’s plenty of objective proof that it doesn’t sound better. (Pops, clicks, wear, lower quality toward the end of a side, etc.) It’s clear that liking the vinyl sound is much more subjective than objective.

          Audiophiles need to learn to say that they like something, rather than what they like is better than something else. I know people who live vinyl because of the process of listening, as I mention in the article. There’s nothing wrong with that. Trying to give a scientific reason for this, however, isn’t very useful.

          Interestingly, we’ll be doing an episode of The Next Track podcast (see the link in the sidebar) about vinyl vs. CD in a few weeks, with a guest who’s produced records, worked at Apple’s iTunes Store, etc.

          • “Audiophiles need to learn to say that they like something, rather than what they like is better than something else.” That pretty much sums it up.

            Most people who fawn over the superior sound of LPs have no grasp of sampling and quantization theory. The fact is that a properly sampled and dithered signal is, when reproduced, a theoretically perfect reconstruction. The //only// change is the conversion of quantization errors into noise.

            It’s interesting that a common claim for the superiority of LP comes from people who do not understand the mathematics behind digital processing, and are unable to critique it on any level other that “I don’t like it”.

            LPs are unique among analog recordings because there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do to get them to provide sound that’s better than euphony. Every other form of analog I’ve heard (especially FM — and even the lowly Compact Cassette) can deliver excellent, accurate sound.

            Some years ago I sat down with a pile of audiophile recordings (mostly direct disks) and listened to parts of them with an Ikeda (Fidelity Research) direct-coupled MC pickup in a Well Tempered arm on a Well Tempered turntable feeding a John Curl Vendetta preamp. The sound never achieved what I would consider accuracy (ie, realism). But it was almost always pleasant.

            A common form of LP defense is the claim that the sound of cymbals is better rendered. Here there’s legitimate room for criticism. Digital superiority is based on the assumption that everything is executed correctly. Cymbals generate a splash of broadband noise. Unless the sampling rate is high enough, and the anti-alias filtering done right, you’re likely to have problems.

            By the way, phonograph records have a lot of trouble getting much past 20kHz. JVC had a heck of time getting to 45kHz for its ill-fated CD-4 quad system.

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