Reduce box count

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treesey

Well-known member
May 18, 2015
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I'm amazed sometimes how technology has improved, from the days of midi systems, with nearly skyscrapers of components, stacked on top of each other. I posted a pic of my first system, on this site and it was jammed with buttons and nonsense. I'm sure cassette will never return, but I am puzzled why vinyl is still around. It sounds OK, if you spend enough, but it's large and inpractical and suffers from surface noise etc. I have access to 60 million tunes online and that could never be possible, being nostalgic and buying lots of cumbersome records. I know there's an established vinyl community, but it seems very odd, that you can buy a cutting edge streaming amp (like mine) and it comes with a phono stage. Strange.
Technology at this level hasn't 'improved' - it's changed to suit the market. Otherwise why are valve amps still thought of as producing the best sound? The 'improvement' is mostly in component size, overall power output vs input, blah blah blah - but not necessarily in the quality of sound reproduction.

Fashion also plays a part - back in the day people wanted towers of electronics and millions of buttons. It was as if you were an airline pilot and had to flip 58 switches before you could start the engine. Now the next generation want convenience in music production, want it in their pockets, with sound quality lower down the list.

I like boxes, and I'm a bloke so I don't see dust.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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570
I think there are people right now, listening to vinyl, through a valve amp and they are genuinely convinced this is where music reproduction ends. It's not necessarily a Luddite stance, but many people refuse to move on and grasp modern technology. It would be interesting to run blind listening tests and have a V&V (valve and vinyl) fan, listen to a 24/192 Tidal Masters MQA track through a NAD M33 for example, compared to their current setup. I'm listening to some Bach partitas right now, via Spotify, at average quality, through my Omnia/QA3030i system and I've never heard them sound so good. I reckon there wouldn't be much in it and I'd choose my system, for convenience alone. Also, I'm a bloke and I do see dust, as I live on my own. If I didn't clean now and then, it would be a right sh*thole!
 

12th Monkey

Moderator
Aug 31, 2015
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I suspect that objectively technology has improved, THD figures etc, on an inflation-adjusted pound for pound basis. I also think valve amps are thought of as being better by some, but not all.

Doing a blind test involving vinyl and non-vinyl would probably be difficult - there are giveaways in background noise if you are listening at what I'd consider representative levels.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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570
For me, the fact you can hear surface noise on vinyl, dismisses the format entirely. I listen to well recorded chillwave music and often wonder why they add surface noise and crackles to the track, to make it sound 'old skool'. It's nonsense. The technology these days, has moved us away from this and cassette tape hiss etc. I don't understand how someone can say vinyl can sound as good as CD, when it can't, because each format has been created, from the same studio master tape, but vinyl has surface noise, whereas CD doesn't. Any noise/cracklng detracts from the enjoyment of the recording. I walked into my local HIFI shop recently and was impressed by the quality of a record being played, but it was a very expensive unit, going through top end B&W speakers. A £200 CD player, would have achieved the same quality and no snap, crackle or pop!
 
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podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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Digital sounds better. All technical measurements for CD are better than vinyl and, as I stated, doesn't suffer from surface noise, distortion, pitch instability and hiss etc. A digital file, at high quality, preserving all the studio recording information, will always sound better, than a non-digital version, after it's gone through analog circuitry, to be passed onto the amp etc. Vinyl cannot and does not, contain as much infomation, as a CD. You will always lose information, when playing vinyl. At the end of the day, the air molecules, vibrating in your listening room, are analog. The imformation that starts this process, should be as close to the original studio recording as possible. Vinyl won't give you that. CD and newer formats get closer. A digital file, containing hiss and crackles, would make the hiss and crackles sound better than the hiss and crackles on vinyl, but why would you want hiss and crackles anyway, when you can avoid them? Vinyl will always introduce things, which are not part of the recording. CD won't. CD does sound better than vinyl. I would say most modern recordings, with very high levels of production, are not available on vinyl, for comparison. A 1970 recording on CD, will sound better than vinyl, for the reasons mentioned above. I'd bet, if a modern track recorded at 24/192 was pressed onto vinyl, the shortcomings of the format, would immediately be apparent. Stick the file on a USB drive and play it through a NAD M33 and all the latest studio quality microphone, mixing desk and production techniques, would shine through. Vinyl would never reveal the information, captured by the latest recording studio technology. I know it upsets people, but vinyl belongs in the past. I had a copy of Dire Straits 'Brothers in Arms' on CD, cassette and vinyl, many years ago and, although my hearing was better then, the CD version was by far the best copy. Hearing acuity does diminish with age and I often wonder if people say they prefer vinyl to CD, because their hearing is not as good as it used to be and don't realise. Many people might find admitting this, very uncomfortable, but I think it's something to consider. I remember being a kid and getting earache from all the squeaking capacitors, in all the old 1970s CRT TVs in Wigfalls. Thankfully, most of these components have gone, but I bet I wouldn't be able to hear them now, anyway. I don't have a problem admitting that I probably can't hear things, which I could at 18 and many people get on the offensive, on many forums, without considering this. CDs used to come with a warning: 'The resolution of this format, may reveal the limitations of the source tape'. Or something very similar. This might be a good thing for some, bad for others. CDs can and do give you everything in the recording, warts and all. A cassette or LP record, will not reveal the limitations, but at least CD will give you everything, if the recording is of good quality. Older formats mask the information and flatter the recording, where newer ones, like CD, give you a clear window. I prefer a clear window, even if the recording, is of poor quality.
 
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treesey

Well-known member
May 18, 2015
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I walked into my local HIFI shop recently and was impressed by the quality of a record being played, but it was a very expensive unit, going through top end B&W speakers.
So you agree analogue can sound better?

A £200 CD player, would have achieved the same quality and no snap, crackle or pop!
No - it wouldn't. I suggest you read some of this; it's not easy to read, as it is very technical, but here is someone who knows what he is talking about when the subject is digital and CD players.

It's an old website, but worth wading through, as it explains why CD players produce vastly different sound quality.

There isn't even a good home-page anymore; but use the menu across the top of here.

If you are interested ;)

 

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