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Vinyl Sound Signature

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 10:00am
Originally posted by Graham Slee Graham Slee wrote:

The following are my thoughts on vinyl.

Crosstalk: 25dB if you're lucky... "AAA" recordings also feature print-through and print-bleed from the magnetic tape, not forgetting tape saturation and tape drop-outs. In addition it will have passed through a number of amplifiers of different "leanings".

The cutting lathe master tape (a copy) will have been recorded at 7.5 ips, and the mastering engineer will have applied a number of fixes to get it "to fit" the dynamic range of a long player vinyl. These include compressors, limiters and de-essers, and possibly a noise gate.

Some of the clicks and pops you hear are where the swarf breaks off during the cutting of the lacquer, and during loud passages this swarf will be more random which could lead to more "hidden" noise. Some of the clicks and pops are due to air bubbles in the hot vinyl, which might not have received sufficient dwell-time during pressing.

Between 500 Hz and 2500 Hz, 14dB (5x) overload can be accommodated before breakover, reducing at lower and higher frequencies. This might account for some warmth?

The noise "floor" is about -58dB which will be mainly tape hiss and other garbage.

Therefore the total usable dynamic range is about 72dB which corresponds to 12 bits. However, the noise "floor" is "translucent" and small signals can be made out below it - a sort of mixing between noise and the softest parts of the music until it is lost in the noise - which might add another 2 bits of "depth".

If a cutting lathe master tape were to be used to master a CD, the 16 bits on offer would be more than adequate.

One resource says the frequency response of vinyl might extend to 26 kHz after which it is rolled off at 12dB per octave. In fact, it can be pushed to 40 kHz, the upper 20 kHz having been used for quadraphonic rear channel encoding. The difficulty is in getting a stylus to track such "tight bends".

And it is due to the falling ability of the stylus to track at high frequencies, especially the last track, that I would think most vinyl doesn't have much high frequency energy much above 15 kHz.

Moving magnet playback results in subtle treble boost between 10 kHz and 15 kHz. It peaks at only a decibel or less, and this is due to capacitive loading. Even without an intentional load capacitor, the arm wiring and cables contribute 75 - 100 pF.

It could be argued that with so much processing, the highs might be softer. Then again, distortion might increase considerably at high frequencies because of a number of combined factors (including "riding the peaks"), but near the limits of our hearing it might appear as "sweetness".

I am convinced that "red book" digital audio is nigh-on perfect and probably too perfect for the subsequent amplification. It is my opinion that the amplifier is the bottleneck where the differences are heard, and should we ever surmount the little talked about problems in power amplifier design, we will hear much less of a difference between sources (discounting noise that is).
Thanks Graham. Your technical knowledge puts a different spin on the whole issue, but perhaps it confirms something I have felt for a long time. High-end products are striving for "technical perfection" (i.e. on the spec sheet), but a lot of the time the most technologically advanced product sounds flawed or "feels too digital". Perhaps it's because we are imperfect ourselves so anything that is designed digitally will somehow sound wrong to us?

The Sennheiser HD800 seems to be a good example of this; technically amazing but they felt too analytical and many agree that the older HD540ii sound more correct. Could that be why Sennheiser quickly brought out a re-tuned upgrade?

I may have to look in to red book digital audio.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 10:03am
Originally posted by Chris Firth Chris Firth wrote:

With what you've just outlined, Graham, it's a wonder it works as well as it does Smile


Good point
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Chris Firth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 10:21am
Originally posted by miT miT wrote:

I may have to look in to red book digital audio.


Red book outlines CD and its specifications.
You've been using it for years :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 11:23am
Originally posted by Chris Firth Chris Firth wrote:

Red book outlines CD and its specifications.
You've been using it for years :)
Well at least someone knows what they are talking about... Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 12:34pm
The point I think I'm trying to make is that HF distorion - where the harmonics of the presence band live - has an overall effect on what we hear.

That distortion might be greater with vinyl, but might be more "distributed" and to some degree "rounded off" or even "skimmed over" by the stylus "riding" (a bit like aquaplaning).

With digital it is possible to reach such perfection that the amplifier's own HF distortion mechanisms can render it (the amplifier) more revealing of it; with the possible outcome being harshness or a brittle sound in comparison with vinyl.
Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 1:19pm
Originally posted by Graham Slee Graham Slee wrote:

The point I think I'm trying to make is that HF distorion - where the harmonics of the presence band live - has an overall effect on what we hear.

That distortion might be greater with vinyl, but might be more "distributed" and to some degree "rounded off" or even "skimmed over" by the stylus "riding" (a bit like aquaplaning).

With digital it is possible to reach such perfection that the amplifier's own HF distortion mechanisms can render it (the amplifier) more revealing of it; with the possible outcome being harshness or a brittle sound in comparison with vinyl.
Interesting, so digital potentially reproduces higher quality frequencies... This makes choosing the right DAP that much more crucial!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2019 at 2:10pm
Originally posted by miT miT wrote:

This makes choosing the right DAP that much more crucial!


Plus the rest of the system!
Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...
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