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Does vinyl really sound better?

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Does vinyl really sound better?

Old 08-03-10, 01:29 PM
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Does vinyl really sound better?

So.. I've been seeing lots of vinyl new releases and old albums getting re-released. I think it's pretty cool that it's making a comeback, but sucks that it's pricier than CDs.. I remember when it was the other way around.

Anyway, "they" say vinyl sounds better than CDs. Does it for real? yes or no or is it more like you really need good ears and good equipment to tell the difference?

I dunno if my ears suck, but I can never tell the difference between CDs and MP3s (unless it's a badly compressed file). But I like the collectable-ness of records so I've been thinking about looking into vinyl for some of my favorites... and I guess I'd need a worthwhile record player too...
Old 08-03-10, 01:50 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

on a real stereo CD's will sound better than even 320kbps MP3's. with vinyl the theory is that it's analog and a constant sound. not just sampling 44,000 times a second
Old 08-03-10, 02:14 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

I bet at least 75% of the people who claim they can hear the difference would fail a blind test.
Old 08-03-10, 02:25 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

It depends on a lot of factors (equipment, pressing quality, etc.), but usually yes it does sound better.
Old 08-03-10, 02:44 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

"Better" is subjective, of course. Vinyls can sound less strident and warmer than their CD counterparts, but that may be due to the digital transfer. My CD version of the SUPERMAN soundtrack far, far, far outperforms my "mint" condition LP, which sounds flat and lacks dynamic range. As one poster stated, differences may be due strictly to the mastering.
Old 08-03-10, 02:48 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Well it sounds better than a vinyl played the first couple times. But vinyl tends to dirty and wear out so to me yes its better but only for so long.
Old 08-03-10, 05:28 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by necros View Post
Anyway, "they" say vinyl sounds better than CDs. Does it for real? yes or no or is it more like you really need good ears and good equipment to tell the difference?
Maybe. Just from a technological standpoint, CDs have better dynamic range, and both CDs and LPs can reproduce any frequency that the human ear can hear (and then some). Then CDs have the added advantage of not wearing down a bit every time you play them or adding extra hiss.

The reason why it's "maybe" is all in the mixing. CDs can be mixed in ways that're physically impossible to put on LPs without the needle flying off the disk. Sometimes that's a good thing -- like the 2009 King Crimson remasters, where they went back to the original master tapes and created a new CD mix that a lot of people (including myself) think is superior to the original LP mixes. But more and more it's becoming a bad thing, because a lot of new CDs are being mixed with everything cranked up to 11. You can't physically do that on LPs, so they have to remix the whole album for the LP version and do it the right way.

Last edited by GHackmann; 08-03-10 at 05:44 PM.
Old 08-03-10, 06:22 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
I bet at least 75% of the people who claim they can hear the difference would fail a blind test.
i think most people can hear the difference. is it better? well thats subjective.
Old 08-03-10, 06:25 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

If you want to score some hipster tail, the answer is, "Hell yes." Then make a show of scorning CD's.

I will say this; I think music tends to sound "better" to my ears on the proper format from its era. For instance, assuming there's no great disparity in equipment, I think 1970s era Waylon and Willie albums sound better on record than their digitally remastered CD counterparts. Stuff recorded today? I can't say I've heard many current vinyl releases, but I suspect I'd prefer their digital versions--unless, of course, the recording was done on analog equipment (such as Shelby Lynne's Just a Little Lovin' album).
Old 08-04-10, 12:00 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

For a lot of older music yes because a lot of CDs feature new mixes and poor remastering.

I disagree on the 320k mp3 vs cds though on a stereo, personally can't tell a difference.
Old 08-04-10, 01:02 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

No, it's the exact same thing (barring something like a different mix, terrible compression, or the mix being a victim of the "loudness war"). The "warmth" that people claim to hear on vinyl is called distortion. Sonically the music is the same but vinyl sounds different because it's a needle grinding into a groove. If the music is not mastered properly for CD then yes the vinyl can sound "better."

It's also a very case-by-case thing meaning that my turntable is hooked up to a better sound system than my computer. A lot of people listen to music on their computer and when they hear something on vinyl (that's generally hooked up to better equipment) they think, "Wow that sounds so much better!" No it doesn't sound so much better, it just sounds different because you're used to listening to music on your shitty computer speakers.

Also people WANT to think that vinyl is better so they think it sounds better. People will believe what they want to be true. Plus people think that it's "cooler" to listen to music on vinyl so there's that.

Just for the record, I love vinyl. I still buy vinyl (occasionally) but generally* I avoid reissues because I really don't see the point.

*I say generally because if I can get a really nice reproduction vinyl replica of something that I really want and is really expensive, I'll go with the reissue. The most recent examples of that being The Feelies - "Fa Ce' La" 7" single and NEU! 2 on white vinyl.
Old 08-04-10, 01:02 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

For some reason i have a hard time imagining hearing like death metal on vinyl. (you all might want a fast hand on the mute button lol) http://www.amazon.com/Suicide-Silenc...0901611&sr=1-1
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Old 08-04-10, 09:57 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by Oliver Clothesoff View Post
It depends on a lot of factors (equipment, pressing quality, etc.), but usually yes it does sound better.
This.
Old 08-04-10, 10:36 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
I bet at least 75% of the people who claim they can hear the difference would fail a blind test.
Exactly. I've won a decent amount of money in bars from guys who thought they could tell their preferred beer to another. Think you can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi? Have someone line up three of one and two of another (but you don't know what is the three and what is the two) for you in a blind taste test (allowing the drinks to settle for a few minutes into glasses (with no ice). I've done it successfully but ... during the test I had to admit it was waay closer a test than I would have thought.

The point being is that if THAT is harder than one would expect imagine how tough hearing the differences really are let alone subjectively deciding what sound is better. I've attended high-end audio shows where audiophiles that would swear that they could tell the difference (or at least know the difference) selected a CD played through the exact same setup of amps/speakers as the vinyl and selected the worshiped vinyl as the CD. It's so much fun to see their faces after getting the results let alone seeing them squirm trying to figure it out.

Vinyl owners often pay for tube amplifiers and there is no doubt that a good tube amp produces a 'warm' sound as well as a certain perceived separation that is pleasing. They also may have paid for a better speakers than the average person. So, someone comes over and 'hears' their vinyl on a really good system and then becomes one of the converted for the benefits of vinyl. Someone that couldn't tell a 128 bps MP3 rip versus a 320 rip if there was a gun to their head. It's all too funny.

Last edited by ctyankee; 08-04-10 at 10:40 AM.
Old 08-04-10, 12:42 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

that's what I figured.. yeah, it's subjective or people just like what they like and decide it's better because they like it.

I like the idea of vinyl from a collector's standpoint, but personally I like CDs better. I like having a wall full of CD cases just like I like a wall full of DVDs & blurays too. I like popping my CD in the computer and copying it to itunes, in fact once I do that I pretty much never pull the CD out of it's case again. when I buy a CD I'll play it in the car for a week or so, then it goes on the shelf. But I still prefer buying a CD over digital download stuff. I just like to have a collection you can see instead of just files on a hard drive. But I think if I were to start investing in vinyl I'd want mostly older, classic albums that I love. Too bad I didn't save any of my old records from back in the day. I was looking at best buy online the other day and there were some turntables with USB cables to copy songs to you PC...

For some reason i have a hard time imagining hearing like death metal on vinyl.
Actually there's a ton of metal on vinyl now from big bands to the little scarey bands from norway. Been seeing a lot of it and thats what got me wondering if vinyl was really "all that"
Old 08-04-10, 12:55 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

I think the current vinyl resurgence is as much a backlash against the loudness wars as anything. It's not so much that vinyl sounds better, it just doesn't sound as bad.
Old 08-04-10, 01:14 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

I've only got a very small number of albums on vinyl (like 5). Of those I can only really say that I think one vinyl sounds better than its cd counterpart (the remastered Pearl Jam: Ten). The others sound about the same or as good to me. I think vinyl is just a trendy thing at the moment for a small group of audiophiles and collectors.
Old 08-04-10, 01:23 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by Mike86 View Post
I think vinyl is just a trendy thing at the moment for a small group of audiophiles and collectors.
keep thinking that way. it makes it easier for the rest of us to get the good stuff.
Old 08-04-10, 02:01 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by ctyankee View Post
The point being is that if THAT is harder than one would expect imagine how tough hearing the differences really are let alone subjectively deciding what sound is better. I've attended high-end audio shows where audiophiles that would swear that they could tell the difference (or at least know the difference) selected a CD played through the exact same setup of amps/speakers as the vinyl and selected the worshiped vinyl as the CD. It's so much fun to see their faces after getting the results let alone seeing them squirm trying to figure it out.
See now that's surprising to me. I would figure the vinyl would be easy to spot due to the hiss. There are also speed variations on vinyl (even on high end turn tables), but those are so minute as to not be noticeable in all but the worst cases.

I don't for a second believe that Vinyl with the same mastering as a CD sounds any better. It can only sound worse because the specs of a CD are higher in all regards. I do think album art looks better on Vinyl than a CD though.
Old 08-04-10, 10:53 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by Oliver Clothesoff View Post
keep thinking that way. it makes it easier for the rest of us to get the good stuff.
Fine by me . Its not like I care that some people like vinyl if you do you do that's your decision. I just don't think vinyl sounds better than CD like some people seem to think. There may be certain cases where the mastering of a vinyl is better or if an album has been remastered many times the CD (especially the past few years) suffers from the "loudness wars" while the vinyl usually doesn't, but aside from that I usually don't think they sound a lot better than CD.
Old 08-07-10, 12:44 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

This thread had me at "hipster tail".
Old 08-07-10, 11:29 AM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

I'm with Lemmy.

I have a large vinyl collection that's now in storage as every title I truly liked and listened to, on even a rare occasion, has been replaced with a CD. In *every* case the CD sounds better. Even those early ones that were rushed to the market using the vinyl mix sound better to me on CD than on vinyl. Many, but sadly not all, remixes/remasters of "classic" titles sound better as they can now be mixed as an artist/producer originally intended but couldn't achieve due to limitations in vinyl recordings (too much bass w/vinyl and the needle jumps out of the track!).

I was thrilled to get rid of all the pops, clicks, and tracking noise inherent in vinyl playback. I was meticulous about the proper cleaning of vinyl prior to playing and using proper storage techniques. CD got rid of all that hassle and just lets me enjoy the music. Yes, there is "loss" due to sampling but if you can hear it you have better ears and equipment than me. And, yes, I *can* hear the difference in CD over MP3 when played on quality equipment. I, too, prefer and demand physical media because I'm a collector as well as a listener.
Old 08-07-10, 01:27 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

pretty surprised there's so little respect for vinyl here. I guess maybe it's the fact that not too many people are listening to pre 1970's music or at least a lot of it.
Old 08-07-10, 02:47 PM
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Re: Does vinyl really sound better?

Originally Posted by Ropes Pierre View Post
This thread had me at "hipster tail".
I knew someone would appreciate that!

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