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Vinyl vs cd in the lab -take 2

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davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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ifor said:
davedotco said:
People are entitled to their opinions but when those opinions are used in an attempt to argue against reality I see no problem in calling them on that
But! Dave, no disrespect intended, but you are one of the "preachers" that seem to expect us all to accept your views/knowledge/experience as fact/gospel. I'm far from convinced that your version of reality is "reality". I could have addressed this to any number of people here, so please don't take it as a pointed dig at you. My point is that so many present their views as fact, but I believe very few.
I understand entirely what you are saying and I try very hard to discriminate between objective, verifiable facts and opinion, mine as much as anyone elses.

In this context it is an objective, verifiable fact that vinyl playback distorts the sound more than digital playback there is simply no argument there.

Some people prefer the sound of vinyl playback and think that it sounds more realistic, that is an opinion based on a subjective evaluation, one that I might share in some cases.

Both of these statements are true and not mutually exclusive, I have absolutely no issue with that.

If I ever put across my opinions as facts then I expect to be called on it, I try not to do it but I accept that I may not always express mysellf as clearly as I should and I will try harder.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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davedotco said:
There is nothing personal going on here. People are entitled to their opinions but when those opinions are used in an attempt to argue against reality I see no problem in calling them on that.

If people hold strong views then argue your point, put forward your views and explain how you arrive at them, that is the whole point of a debate.

I am extremely fond of vinyl reproduction and have said so on a number of occasions, I have even explained how the best, most enjoyable reproduction I have heard in a domestic setup came from a small number of vinyl based systems. But I am totally aware that such systems are not accurate and therefore not high fidelity in the true sense of the world.
And I appreciate you stating so Dave - I get the sense that others are scared to say so for fear of being bullied. The thing is, this usually goes beyond debate. As on A N Other forum, there's a hell of a lot of scaremongering going on, exactly as here has been against passive speakers. Vinyl has outlasted every single format so far, and regardless of what the future holds, it will always be around, just like passive speakers will be - so these people need to get used to the fact, accept it, and get on with their lives. No amount of scaremongering will remove vinyl off the face of the earth. 'They' might dissuade one or two, but I would expect that anyone with an ounce of intelligence that is interested in vinyl will go and listen to it and draw their own informed conclusions, and not base their decisions on those who preach hatred for these products/formats.

Vinyl isn't perfect, it never has been, but neither has CD either. Which set of shortcomings do you want to live with? We all have a choice, and we can make that choice ourselves instead of being brainwashed to think of vinyl as a dirty word.

I get the general impression that vinyl listeners actually sit at home listening to music rather than sit on forums and wage wars against opposing formats. If I had somewhere to out my turntable, I'd be doing the same thing.
 

Frank Harvey

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davedotco said:
In this context it is an objective, verifiable fact that vinyl playback distorts the sound more than digital playback there is simply no argument there.
It is also fact that, unlike vinyl (which has been proven to produce energy up the the 60kHz point), CDs ignore all the harmonics that are produced above 20kHz - is this not "distorting" the facts? So based on this, which format is distorting the original the most?
 

chasefrench

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Mar 16, 2011
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The one advantage vinyl has is that all the songs are mastered to same volume, its really annoying constantly changing the volume with itunes/foobar etc
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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David@FrankHarvey said:
davedotco said:
In this context it is an objective, verifiable fact that vinyl playback distorts the sound more than digital playback there is simply no argument there.
It is also fact that, unlike vinyl (which has been proven to produce energy up the the 60kHz point), CDs ignore all the harmonics that are produced above 20kHz - is this not "distorting" the facts? So based on this, which format is distorting the original the most?
Sorry David but again this is nonsense.

First of all such frequencies are inaudible and any suggestion that they can somehow have an effect on sounds that are audible are totally unproven.

In fact it is these kind of arguments that are the scaremongering, yet there are simple tests that can be used to measure distortion, dynamic range, noise etc and simple demonstrations done to shoe that response to 60kHz is irrelevant, yet vinyl enthusiasts simply choose to ignore them.
 

Frank Harvey

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davedotco said:
First of all such frequencies are inaudible and any suggestion that they can somehow have an effect on sounds that are audible are totally unproven.

In fact it is these kind of arguments that are the scaremongering, yet there are simple tests that can be used to measure distortion, dynamic range, noise etc and simple demonstrations done to shoe that response to 60kHz is irrelevant, yet vinyl enthusiasts simply choose to ignore them.
Well, it's all there, whether some choose to ignore that fact is up to them. There's a video on YouTube showing the difference, and that was just using a bog standard turntable - nothing fancy and superior performance wise. But from now on, I won't refer to what these formats do or don't do, as that's not what's important.

There are also simple demonstrations that can be done to show how good vinyl sounds. It's called listening. I get why people won't entertain vinyl for various reasons - which is usually down to the odd click and pop disturbing their listening session - and I get why others prefer to choose their music via an iPad. What I don't get is why the anti vinyl brigade have to constantly make it about measured specs - it's just active vs passive all over again.

Rather than arguing about things, I would just recommend people to go and listen for themselves. If you don't like it, fine. If you do, you may well find your music more enjoyable to listen to.

One thing I would like to say to someone's claim elsewhere that all this 'hype' is being perpetuated by retailers with vested interests is utter nonsense, and just part of the huge list lf evils that retailers are supposed to be guilty of. The profit margins on vinyl isn't going to make us rich. In fact, we could make more profit by filling the space with more expensive products that we can make more profit on. We sell vinyl for the convenience of our customers that want to buy it, seeing as there are very few places to buy it on the high street, and some places that do (like the local 'Voice of His Master'), don't respect it and look after it properly.
 

matt49

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Apr 7, 2013
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David@FrankHarvey said:
'They' might dissuade one or two, but I would expect that anyone with an ounce of intelligence that is interested in vinyl will go and listen to it and draw their own informed conclusions, and not base their decisions on those who preach hatred for these products/formats.
David, this is a shameful exaggeration. No-one is "preaching hatred" here. No vinyl users are being threatened with persecution for their beliefs. Please!
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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David@FrankHarvey said:
davedotco said:
In this context it is an objective, verifiable fact that vinyl playback distorts the sound more than digital playback there is simply no argument there.
It is also fact that, unlike vinyl (which has been proven to produce energy up the the 60kHz point), CDs ignore all the harmonics that are produced above 20kHz - is this not "distorting" the facts? So based on this, which format is distorting the original the most?
David,

While I generally value your opinion, I am afraid you have left the reservation here. It is a proven fact that within the range of human hearing CDs are demonstrably better at reproducing an original stereo audio signal than a vinyl LP.

Now some people prefer the sound of vinyl LPs - and thats just fine, but lets not pretend that somehow we are gaining a greater truth from an LP.

As for the harmonics argument, I am afraid that is 'tinfoil hat' territory. Unless you are a medical phenomenon, your hearing will top out in the mid teens of KHz. Nothing above that will be detectable by you.

For the sake of aurgument, lets assume that in the recording studio, something was producing sound at around 60KHz, and lets also assume that something else was responding to this in some way to produce a sub-harmonic in the audible range. Then the audible subharmonic would be captured by the recording equipment and reproduced at playback time. You don't need the 60KHz sound - its audible effect (if any) is already captured.

As for vinyl LPs being able to record 60KHz - while they can under lab conditions on the first play, a few plays later the frequency response has been dramatically reduced. For anyone who can remember quadraphonic records, the rear channels were encoded on a 30KHz carrier. After playing the LP a few times the amplitude of the 30KHz carrier was reduced and what benefit the quad process was supposed to bring were lost.

I would also point out that for normal stereo LPs, cutting lathes deliberately reduce high frequencies ('de-essing') to avoid sibilent artifacts at playback. So even if you have magical hearing and were hoping for that 60KHz cymbal crash, the blighter running the cutting late has filtered it out.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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Ok, so perhaps humans can't hear anything above 20khz, but for Davedotco to say any reproduction above that is nonsense is nonsense. There's a lot more to human hearing than just the perceived limits.

Unlike turntable skips and pops, which are quite tolerable, CD playback can be thoroughly offensive and hurtful to the ear. Sibilance was not in my vocabulary until I purchased the horrid NAD C521i CD player.

Digital nasties are the worst to the ear.
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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manicm said:
andyjm said:
I would also point out that for normal stereo LPs, cutting lathes deliberately reduce high frequencies ('de-essing') to avoid sibilent artifacts at playback.
Provide proof for this please.
http://www.chicagomasteringservice.com/vinyl.html

De-esser is halfway down the page. Interesting to read the whole doc as it illustrates other compromises that have to be made for vinyl.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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We'll, if anyone hear wants to get in touch to arrange a 'vinyl day' to hear how awful they sound, feel free. I can have three different systems set up of varying budget to firstly show how good even a budget vinyl system can sound with something like. Rega RP1, how amazingly good £1k turntables are these days with something like an RP6, and how different the higher end turntables sound like with a Michell Orbe with SME V. I have vinyl that I played to death in the 80's that still sounds amazing, as well as some rarer albums that many people won't have heard, and people can give their opinion on (non scientific) comparisons to the CD versions.

I think there will be some surprised ears...
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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I read that:

Even when you are rocking the outside grooves and all should be well, you may find that something unpleasant happens on those heavy cymbal crashes or "S" vocal sounds which wasn't there on your mix. Excessive high frequency material is the Achilles' heel of record cutting.

In a (very small and incomplete) nutshell, when an especially intense burst of high frequency information is encountered by a playback stylus, it can actually end up making the needle begin to just bump up over the grooves, which is heard as distortion. Bursts of high-frequency material often have this problem. For this reason, one of the more common corrective processes in vinyl mastering is the use of the de-esser (also called a high-frequency limiter). This device (much as the name suggests) reduces "S" sounds and other excessive high frequency material. In the age of vinyl as the predominant format, recordings were often a good deal darker in tone partly to avoid this problem. In the current digital age, mixes are often made quite bright (sometimes ear-shreddingly so) and vocal sibilance is often accentuated rather than reduced.

If you are preparing a mix for either CD & vinyl or especially for vinyl only, working during mixing to keep excessive high frequency material under control will make it much easier to do a "flat cut" or to cut the disc without the use of additional eq or high-frequency limiting.
All that tells me is that it's a mastering problem, and a decent turntable and hifi will mitigate that. If you're deliberately reducing high frequencies, you're reducing hifi.
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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David@FrankHarvey said:
We'll, if anyone hear wants to get in touch to arrange a 'vinyl day' to hear how awful they sound, feel free. I can have three different systems set up of varying budget to firstly show how good even a budget vinyl system can sound with something like. Rega RP1, how amazingly good £1k turntables are these days with something like an RP6, and how different the higher end turntables sound like with a Michell Orbe with SME V. I have vinyl that I played to death in the 80's that still sounds amazing, as well as some rarer albums that many people won't have heard, and people can give their opinion on (non scientific) comparisons to the CD versions.

I think there will be some surprised ears...
David,

I don't think anyone said that LPs sound awful, and I have posted myself that some people prefer the sound of vinyl LPs to CDs. My only objection to your posts is that you imply that LPs are in some way a more accurate mechanism for the reproduction of a stereo audio signal, when patently they are not.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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andyjm said:
David@FrankHarvey said:
We'll, if anyone hear wants to get in touch to arrange a 'vinyl day' to hear how awful they sound, feel free. I can have three different systems set up of varying budget to firstly show how good even a budget vinyl system can sound with something like. Rega RP1, how amazingly good £1k turntables are these days with something like an RP6, and how different the higher end turntables sound like with a Michell Orbe with SME V. I have vinyl that I played to death in the 80's that still sounds amazing, as well as some rarer albums that many people won't have heard, and people can give their opinion on (non scientific) comparisons to the CD versions.

I think there will be some surprised ears...
David,

I don't think anyone said that LPs sound awful, and I have posted myself that some people prefer the sound of vinyl LPs to CDs. My only objection to your posts is that you imply that LPs are in some way a more accurate mechanism for the reproduction of a stereo audio signal, when patently they are not.
I should also add for anyone following this thread who hasn't lost the will to live by now, that the most accurate representation doesn't necessarily sound the best. With modern DSP techniques, it is possible to arrange for an approximately flat frequency response for an amp / speaker / room combination. I have gone down that route and it sounds pretty dull and lifeless.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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andyjm said:
David,

I don't think anyone said that LPs sound awful, and I have posted myself that some people prefer the sound of vinyl LPs to CDs. My only objection to your posts is that you imply that LPs are in some way a more accurate mechanism for the reproduction of a stereo audio signal, when patently they are not.
I disagree Andy - members on here who are also members 'elsewhere' will know what I'm talking about.

I'm not claiming LPs to be technically superior - they shouldn't be. If you think about the playing process (which has been around now for nigh on 100 years), it really should sound awful. But it doesn't. I think it is a miracle that an LP can sound anywhere near as good as a CD does. People enjoy listening to vinyl, others don't, just like some people like listening to electrostatic speakers instead of the far more common transducer based loudspeakers.

Many are downplaying the current vinyl surge, saying that we've seen these surges before. True. But what makes this surge different is the amount of turntables we have sold over the past year or two - I'll see if I can dig up some figures tomorrow. During the previous surges of 10-15 years ago, album availability was limited, as there were still albums you couldn't buy on vinyl. That has all changed. Almost every new album can be bought on vinyl, even obscure stuff - there will be another addition to that surge if vinyl lovers (who maybe haven't bought new stuff for a while) suddenly find out they can buy a whole new raft of albums they never thought available.
 

pauln

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Feb 26, 2008
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David@FrankHarvey said:
andyjm said:
David,

I don't think anyone said that LPs sound awful, and I have posted myself that some people prefer the sound of vinyl LPs to CDs. My only objection to your posts is that you imply that LPs are in some way a more accurate mechanism for the reproduction of a stereo audio signal, when patently they are not.
I disagree Andy - members on here who are also members 'elsewhere' will know what I'm talking about.
Slightly cryptic? Can the rest of us be told what you're talking about?

David@FrankHarvey said:
I'm not claiming LPs to be technically superior - they shouldn't be. If you think about the playing process (which has been around now for nigh on 100 years), it really should sound awful. But it doesn't. I think it is a miracle that an LP can sound anywhere near as good as a CD does. People enjoy listening to vinyl, others don't, just like some people like listening to electrostatic speakers instead of the far more common transducer based loudspeakers.
I think most people agree with this, some continue to claim that vinyl is technically better which is absurd. An analogue recording can be played back and re-recorded digitally and it will sound exactly the same as the analogue original; the opposite is not possible. The physical limitations of cutting and playing vinyl restrict the dynamic range. These aren't my opinions or the opinions of others, they are well known and observable facts.

David@FrankHarvey said:
Many are downplaying the current vinyl surge, saying that we've seen these surges before. True. But what makes this surge different is the amount of turntables we have sold over the past year or two - I'll see if I can dig up some figures tomorrow. During the previous surges of 10-15 years ago, album availability was limited, as there were still albums you couldn't buy on vinyl. That has all changed. Almost every new album can be bought on vinyl, even obscure stuff - there will be another addition to that surge if vinyl lovers (who maybe haven't bought new stuff for a while) suddenly find out they can buy a whole new raft of albums they never thought available.
What is the demographic that's buying turntables? Do you think that this resurgence in interest in vinyl is a reaction against highly compressed modern music played at low bit rates with crappy headphones, rather than all things digital? Is it maybe a style statement as well; "Hey man, I listen to vinyl," meaning I'm cool/more serious about music/wealthier. Is it older men with feelings of nostalgia who, now that their children have grown up, can afford to indulge themselves and buy the system they'd always dreamt of owning? Is it a hobby thing like owning a vintage sports car or an old motor bike? Or is it all these things and more besides?
 

Frank Harvey

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pauln said:
What is the demographic that's buying turntables? Do you think that this resurgence in interest in vinyl is a reaction against highly compressed modern music played at low bit rates with crappy headphones, rather than all things digital? Is it maybe a style statement as well; "Hey man, I listen to vinyl," meaning I'm cool/more serious about music/wealthier. Is it older men with feelings of nostalgia who, now that their children have grown up, can afford to indulge themselves and buy the system they'd always dreamt of owning? Is it a hobby thing like owning a vintage sports car or an old motor bike? Or is it all these things and more besides?
It is hard to say as the majority of these sales are online. Those that come into the store to by a turntable are generally a mixed bunch. There may well be some that see vinyl as a cool, retro format that is hip to be into, but these seem to be a small number. When I nipped into HuMVy I noticed a few kids who were looking around the vinyl section. Age varies, from young to old. Some are replacing old turntables, some are buying another turntable after not owning one for a few years, some are buying their first one, for whatever reason.

I suppose it could be a backlash against the presumed low bit rate of digital formats, I'd never really thought of that. Maybe because they're being told that hi-res music is no better than CD, they're becoming disenchanted with the whole download thing? I don't think wealth has anything to do with it. Yes, new vinyl is costlier to collect than CD or download, and maybe it is that vinyl represents something of value - CDs are pretty worthless nowadays and have become a throwaway format in this respect, whereas vinyl still has a value attached to it - just recently I managed to secure a rare album for a good price - still cost me £85, but that is cheaper than the price it would normally fetch by some margin. It is one of the few albums I would have paid a little more for. I'm not sure nostalgia is a factor either, not to a great extent anyway. Many who have large vinyl collections aren't suddenly going to convert to download, even for supposed better quality. Their money would be better spent on a better engineered turntable. Hobby? I don't think so. I know most hobbies usually end up expensive, but collecting for collecting's sake? I think art would be a better product to 'invest' money in, and will give far greater return when moving it on. I don't think there is any one single reason, only many. Whatever the numerous reasons are, no one can say they're wrong for doing so. If we were to point the finger and say any of these people are wrong, then you have to include collectors of stamps or coins (collectors), people who collect old postcards (nostalgia), collectors of cars (indulgence) etc etc.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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No-one has mentioned the degree to which record companies 'forced' the conversion to CDs by ceasing production of LPs whilst demand still existed. (The classical labels did this first and far more comprehensively than other genres*.)

The public were never really given the opportunity to 'vote with their wallets' and decide the CD vs LP 'debate' through their purchases.

Philips (50 percent owners of PolyGram at the time) appointed their own CEO at PolyGram, and he - not suprisingly given Philips co-development of the CD format - cut LP and Cassette production from 18 plants to just 5 in 1983. (CD had only just emerged in 1983 and very few people had even heard of it, let alone bought any disks or players, so this was obviously a cynical act of ensuring an accelerated 'take-up' of CDs by drastically cutting LP production to force the demand away.)

*Nimbus Records were massively influential in this respect especially in the classical music arena and then, subsequently (after building massive spare capacity with three CD plants between 1984 - 86) with every other genre.
 

Jim-W

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David@FrankHarvey said:
pauln said:
What is the demographic that's buying turntables? Do you think that this resurgence in interest in vinyl is a reaction against highly compressed modern music played at low bit rates with crappy headphones, rather than all things digital? Is it maybe a style statement as well; "Hey man, I listen to vinyl," meaning I'm cool/more serious about music/wealthier. Is it older men with feelings of nostalgia who, now that their children have grown up, can afford to indulge themselves and buy the system they'd always dreamt of owning? Is it a hobby thing like owning a vintage sports car or an old motor bike? Or is it all these things and more besides?
It is hard to say as the majority of these sales are online. Those that come into the store to by a turntable are generally a mixed bunch. There may well be some that see vinyl as a cool, retro format that is hip to be into, but these seem to be a small number. When I nipped into HuMVy I noticed a few kids who were looking around the vinyl section. Age varies, from young to old. Some are replacing old turntables, some are buying another turntable after not owning one for a few years, some are buying their first one, for whatever reason.

I suppose it could be a backlash against the presumed low bit rate of digital formats, I'd never really thought of that. Maybe because they're being told that hi-res music is no better than CD, they're becoming disenchanted with the whole download thing? I don't think wealth has anything to do with it. Yes, new vinyl is costlier to collect than CD or download, and maybe it is that vinyl represents something of value - CDs are pretty worthless nowadays and have become a throwaway format in this respect, whereas vinyl still has a value attached to it - just recently I managed to secure a rare album for a good price - still cost me £85, but that is cheaper than the price it would normally fetch by some margin. It is one of the few albums I would have paid a little more for. I'm not sure nostalgia is a factor either, not to a great extent anyway. Many who have large vinyl collections aren't suddenly going to convert to download, even for supposed better quality. Their money would be better spent on a better engineered turntable. Hobby? I don't think so. I know most hobbies usually end up expensive, but collecting for collecting's sake? I think art would be a better product to 'invest' money in, and will give far greater return when moving it on. I don't think there is any one single reason, only many. Whatever the numerous reasons are, no one can say they're wrong for doing so. If we were to point the finger and say any of these people are wrong, then you have to include collectors of stamps or coins (collectors), people who collect old postcards (nostalgia), collectors of cars (indulgence) etc etc.
My daughter is 24 and she has a turntable( in fact, she has 2!) and is building up a collection of records. I've asked her about how the format is perceived and yes, it is regarded as cool and somewhat more serious as you suggest. There may well be an elitist thing going on too;she went to university and I would imagine turntables are most popular within this demographic ie many of her friends like records. What is interesting is just how well the records aimed at her generation are presented; she has some Joanna Newsom records, one of which is the most beautiful box that I've ever seen, that are really lovely.Sound quality is good too. Having said that, she listens to Spotify, buys cds, has mp3's etc. She has said that she won't be buying any more cds as they can all be downloaded erm one way or another.

As for old men on bikes, be aware that some of us have never had a car and have ridden bikes all of our lives. I've just had some driving lessons and I'm useless so I'll stick to the bikes.
 

alchemist 1

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Mar 28, 2012
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chebby said:
No-one has mentioned the degree to which record companies 'forced' the conversion to CDs by ceasing production of LPs whilst demand still existed. (The classical labels did this first and far more comprehensively than other genres*.)

The public were never really given the opportunity to 'vote with their wallets' and decide the CD vs LP 'debate' through their purchases.

Philips (50 percent owners of PolyGram at the time) appointed their own CEO at PolyGram, and he - not suprisingly given Philips co-development of the CD format - cut LP and Cassette production from 18 plants to just 5 in 1983. (CD had only just emerged in 1983 and very few people had even heard of it, let alone bought any disks or players, so this was obviously a cynical act of ensuring an accelerated 'take-up' of CDs by drastically cutting LP production to force the demand away.)

*Nimbus Records were massively influential in this respect especially in the classical music arena and then, subsequently (after building massive spare capacity with three CD plants between 1984 - 86) with every other genre.
Totally agree with this.

Only purchased a cd player due to the lack of LP format.

Total Vinyl Blackmail..........:shame:
 

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