The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

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theraven1979
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The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by theraven1979 »

One of Stan's comments on another thread got me thinking about this. I sold all my vinyl (for next to nothing, sometimes giving stuff away to mates) back in early 90s and bought everything on CD. Now I find myself doing the reverse :lol:

I tend to have a blend of both CD and vinyl for the best albums. I agree with Stan in that CD sounds better but I find vinyl to be more of an experience (headphones, glass of malbec etc).

There's a theory I read online somewhere that says the basic rule of thumb is to buy vinyl on any release pre-90 and everything post 90 get on CD. The idea is that producers were producing albums specifically for CD post 90 (even before I guess).

Thoughts?

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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by parasiteinblack »

theraven1979 wrote: 09 Apr 2021, 08:28
There's a theory I read online somewhere that says the basic rule of thumb is to buy vinyl on any release pre-90 and everything post 90 get on CD. The idea is that producers were producing albums specifically for CD post 90 (even before I guess).
This sounds sensible.
These days I tend to buy vinyl as a first option because if I'm going to sit down and enjoy a record it's just better on vinyl. I haven't sat down and listened to a CD for years, my collection is just gathering dust really.
I find it annoying when you buy an LP and it doesn't come with a digital copy though. I mostly listen to music on an ipod these days so sometimes hunting down an old CD copy is the only way of getting a high quality version on there, otherwise you're looking at a USB turntable for vinyl-only rarities.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by aldinblack »

Back in the 70s/80s I used to be a bit of a "hi-fi enthusiast", striving to get the best sound quality I could with the budget I had. It was obviously vinyl then, and I did manage to own a couple of high end turntables.

I did transition to CD but the magic was gone. Part of that was just me getting older and all that entails I guess..

I haven't been bothered for years since, don't own any audio equipment at all, just listen on my phone. I have kept some of my old records though..

But recently I have begun to wonder if I could setup a proper HiFi system again, not vinyl but using some high quality streaming device as the source.

I don't really know where to start though.... has anybody here already done this and have any recommendations ?

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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by MiB81 »

Pritty much the same as most of the above, transitioned from vinyl to CD back in the '90's,
rebuilt the collection on CD but luckily kept most of the old vinyl in boxes up in the loft.
Got back into records again within the last 10years and have been digging the old stuff back
out of the shadows, and I've experienced real heartache when I uncover an old crate of black
vinyl treasure and the damp has got in, ruining covers and some of the records, I've "lost" a shit load
of stuff this way; Smiths, Cramps, Joy Div, Led Zep all spring to mind, and as I said it's heart breaking when
you see how much that stuff goes for now. I'm also back to the real joy of flipping through records
in 2nd hand stores again and theres loads of local ones I'm a regular at again. If I'm buying a new
release now it will be on vinyl, and I also use ebay and discogs to buy stuff. The problem with vinyl is
the storage, Ive recently forked out for a couple of them Ikea Kallax units, and I've still got extra
boxes of records, but I've also still got tons of CDs, split over cased ones and the ones I had the bright idea
a while back to put into wallets, so Ive now got my collection split over the 2 storage ideas. I forked out
at the beginning of the 1st lockdown for a decent CD player, which these days are dirt cheap, and I still buy
2nd hand CDs as, again, these days they can be had for buttons from charity shops etc.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by jonimac »

I think the vinyl experience is very subjective. It depends on factors such as your taste, your ear for detail, your obsessions, your familiarity with each piece of music, your turntable, amplifer, etc.

Having a few mates in the 80s who got a bit too interested in listening to frequencies instead of notes, I have always tried to stay away from getting too deep. But buying a couple of more expensive 2nd hand vinyl recently, I did try to understand what I was paying for - before I paid for it. From the contributions I read online, you can see how easily you can disappear down the rabbit hole

With a tech background, I cannot see any way in which a digitally recorded album will sound better on vinyl. And a badly recorded analog album, will surely sound the same/worse on CD?

So I've decided that for a few classic albums, I will try to source a recommended copy but for most, Im happy with Spotify or the CD. Having bought "Animals" the other week, a big part of the whole experience was staring in awe at a well preserved gatefold sleeve which was 44 years old. Something no digital format will reproduce.

The one LP that made me think twice was getting an early copy of the Beatles first album, "Please Please Me". I can only describe the difference as "presence". The quality of the recording was amazing, and it felt like the band were playing in the corner of my room. I just don't get that from my CD.

Which brings me back to my first point about subjectivity.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by StanInBlack »

theraven1979 wrote: 09 Apr 2021, 08:28 There's a theory I read online somewhere that says the basic rule of thumb is to buy vinyl on any release pre-90 and everything post 90 get on CD. The idea is that producers were producing albums specifically for CD post 90 (even before I guess).
It's a theory that I can completely understand the logic behind, but I don't quite think it's that clear cut, and analogue-to-digital converters have become so much better in recent years. It depends on the vintage of the original recording. For example, an album recorded and released in 1966 probably sounds at its finest on vinyl - and in mono - as recording technology was relatively promitive and mono was the standard of the day. When those albums were initially remastered for CD, the higher resolution of CD could expose the sonic limits of the original master tapes, but of course the original vinyl mastering doesn't as a lot gets sacrificed when mastering for/cutting vinyl and therefore the limits are less noticeable.

As recording technology got more sophisticated, mastering for vinyl became more of a compromise - which is why some CD remasters of '70s stuff actually sound more in keeping with what was originally intended than what went onto vinyl at the time. Tony Visconti always used to complain about bass having to be rolled off in order to have the record cut properly etc.

Digital recording and CD's started to emerge in the early '80s, and I think Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms in '85 was one of the first albums where the CD edition was considered primary (with the edited down vinyl edition as secondary) ... early CD remasters of older titles started to emerge in the mid to late '80s and some of them are a bit pony, but these were vastly improved upon with advances in technology, better analogue-to-digital conversion and a better understanding of getting the most out of the CD format.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by StanInBlack »

jonimac wrote: 09 Apr 2021, 13:07 With a tech background, I cannot see any way in which a digitally recorded album will sound better on vinyl. And a badly recorded analog album, will surely sound the same/worse on CD?
This is correct. A digitally recorded album would have to be compromised/EQ'd in a very particular way to be able to master it for vinyl, and a badly recorded analogue album would sound worse on CD because the limitations of the original recording would be more prominent. A well recorded analogue album might sound better on CD or worse depending on vintage - late '70s, potentially better - early '60s, probably worse.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by airflamesred »

There's a whole load of factors here. Human hearing is roughly 20hz th 20khz and some music will fill all those frequencies though your average 4 piece from Guildford won't, and nor does it need to. It relies on other elements like energy, delivery, youth, angst, social relevance and so on.
The warmness people perceive from vinyl can. be replicated digitally but there is little demand for it. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
Another example would be electronic drums. As soon as you mike up an acoustic kit and record it then becomes an electronic sound _ the sound engineer will do what he wants with it.
So, in conclusion, someone somewhere is dictating what you are going to hear and it has nothing to do with the format purchased.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by Dom P »

aldinblack wrote: 09 Apr 2021, 09:30 Back in the 70s/80s I used to be a bit of a "hi-fi enthusiast", striving to get the best sound quality I could with the budget I had. It was obviously vinyl then, and I did manage to own a couple of high end turntables.

I did transition to CD but the magic was gone. Part of that was just me getting older and all that entails I guess..

I haven't been bothered for years since, don't own any audio equipment at all, just listen on my phone. I have kept some of my old records though..

But recently I have begun to wonder if I could setup a proper HiFi system again, not vinyl but using some high quality streaming device as the source.

I don't really know where to start though.... has anybody here already done this and have any recommendations ?

Cheers
Just saw this! Have you made any progress? I stream hi res audio via a laptop. This is my recommendation, dont buy a streaming device, no need, they're just doing the exact same job, and a PC allows you infinite choice of software and audio source and will never get obsolete (many streamers don't integrate all the audio subscription services) and using a PC makes i so much easier to stream free music such as on Youtube etc...

I run a USB cable into a DAC (digital analogue converter) and then into amp and speakers. Can be done cheap and cheerful or hideously expensively, but the laptop front end will be as good as anything.. the 1s and 0s are immutable.....
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by 8088 »

Dom P wrote: 26 Jun 2021, 11:06 a PC allows you infinite choice of software and audio source and will never get obsolete
I agree the cheap PC/Laptop is a good idea but nothing stands still - apps and OS quickly become redundant and you'll soon enough be having to upgrade.

I had a Mac Mini in 2006 playing all of my music and films via Front Row but one by one all compatibility to online services packed up - at one point all of my music bought from iTunes was unplayable because my computer was out of date.
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by Dom P »

8088 wrote: 26 Jun 2021, 11:40
Dom P wrote: 26 Jun 2021, 11:06 a PC allows you infinite choice of software and audio source and will never get obsolete
I agree the cheap PC/Laptop is a good idea but nothing stands still - apps and OS quickly become redundant and you'll soon enough be having to upgrade.

I had a Mac Mini in 2006 playing all of my music and films via Front Row but one by one all compatibility to online services packed up - at one point all of my music bought from iTunes was unplayable because my computer was out of date.
True, but the laptop does a lot more than a standalone streamer from a hi fi company, so assuming you need a functioning laptop it'll be cheaper to keep up to date...better to bin a laptop than find your expensive streamer box doesn't connect to the latest shiny service...
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Re: The Great CD vs Vinyl debate

Post by 8088 »

Dom P wrote: 26 Jun 2021, 13:30 better to bin a laptop than find your expensive streamer box doesn't connect to the latest shiny service...
Thinking about it, a Raspberry Pi Zero W will set you back about £15 - it will run the latest OS and apps and you can remote control it from any old computer - you could buy the latest model every year whether you needed it or not :lol:
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