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Vinyl Sound Signature

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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 9:35pm
Has anyone produced high quality digital rips of some of their vinyl recordings and done AB blind tests of the direct vinyl reproduction against the digital recording? How significant is the difference?
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miT View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote miT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 9:46pm
Originally posted by Ash Ash wrote:

Has anyone produced high quality digital rips of some of their vinyl recordings and done AB blind tests of the direct vinyl reproduction against the digital recording? How significant is the difference?
Just to be difficult, wouldn't it be an unfair comparison if you don't go back to the analogue mastering media? I would presume it to be different going from HD digital to analogue but aren't there a number of atmospheric variables involved in ripping vinyl recordings which could ultimately alter the sound?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 10:25pm
Originally posted by miT miT wrote:

Originally posted by Ash Ash wrote:

Has anyone produced high quality digital rips of some of their vinyl recordings and done AB blind tests of the direct vinyl reproduction against the digital recording? How significant is the difference?
Just to be difficult, wouldn't it be an unfair comparison if you don't go back to the analogue mastering media? I would presume it to be different going from HD digital to analogue but aren't there a number of atmospheric variables involved in ripping vinyl recordings which could ultimately alter the sound?

Indeed there are. I know a couple of guys that do high-end vinyl rips they share with a small number of people. I also know of a record label that has admitted to me they master from vinyl to create CD reissues where original tapes are no longer available. Even with click removal and noise software and sophisticated devices like the Sugarcube, there is going to be some noise getting through. Try to remove all of it through aggressive NR and you'll end up with a dead, lifeless sound because you are also removing bits of the music.

The issue with vinyl rips, no matter how expensive the gear used to make them is, is that the folks that make these rips usually have systems that are adding some level of sonic coloration to the process. That's before we get to things like record/groove wear, which is often a factor on pre-owned vinyl. 

I'm not saying some of these "vinyl rips" can't be enjoyable to listen to - they can be, but in general I do not prefer them over a good digital mastering where a decent tape source was available and the work was done by a good mastering engineer. The majority of the time they are of historical interest to me only. Exceptions occur where no good CD/digital version exists because of things like overly compressed digital mastering, lost tapes, damaged tapes, etc. 

Odds are if an album is older and a somewhat popular or very popular title that has been released on CD and digitally a number of times, is that somewhere along the line, someone did a good job with the mastering and used a good source tape. That doesn't mean that an LP version might not sound subjectively better to some folks, but if you're not already committed to vinyl you shouldn't worry about it and instead just try to find the best CD/digital version available (for a reasonable price). 
Reflex M + PSU-1 used with AT VM95ML, Stanton 680mkII + Jico Shibata, and Shure M35X cartridges.
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