|Ever since i got into hifi (which, admittedly wasn't too terribly long ago), i have been one who appreciates the sound of a good, pristine vinyl pressing played on a nice high-end rig. i love the fullness of the music, the lack of glare and grain, the ritual of putting the big black disc and flipping it after 28 minutes or so. over time, my rig got more and more expensive (and better sounding) and my vinyl collection has only marginally grown.|
i'm currently using a teres 265, sme arm and VDH colibri cartridge and i've never heard anything sound as nice. ever.
so, where's the problem?
a few things:
one - the modern music i listen to is not too terribly often released on vinyl. and when it is, i usually have to import it from the UK. imagine what bulk rate shipping across the atlantic does to vinyl. it may have sounded good once, but once the postal service is done with it, i have an oversized frisbee to trow to my dog or an uncanny reproduction of bacon being cooked if i actually put the needle to it. (assuming it will even track with all of the warps in it) now, this would be ONE thing if it only occured with the few albums i order overseas, but i would expect a company like clssic records to have better better QC than a mom and pop shop in liverpool. wrongo. two $39+ records were in lousy condition. not warped, just nasty . . . with a film on them. the vpi did not help at all. i am ending up buying 2 copies of everything i buy - one vinyl and one digital. the vinyl one in hopes of a good pressing and the digital one because i never actually get a good pressing of the former.
two: a good deal of what i like consists of stuff like the velvet underground, david bowie, lou reed, iggy and the stooges, etc. the re-releases of all of these sound way worse than the remastered cd's. so, logically i should get original pressings of the lp's for good sound, right? wrong. keep in mind the bands i'm talking about. 90% of all who listened to them in the 60's and 70's were people like me - ie can't take care of their software. many of them did more drugs than lou, iggy, and david combined. i swear that if you scraped the film off of one of my used lou reed lp's and smoked it, you'd be higher than nick nolte on an LA freeway. nasty. so, after purchasing these, scraping my stylus and sanitizing my room - i end up listening to the cd remasters and loving them. oh, and don't even ask me about the copy of the moody blues' "on the threshold of a dream" i bought once here on the 'gon. i wouldn't let my dog's mouth come near that thing.
3. - why is it that when albums are released on vinyl they are sometimes mastered from the 16/44 source?!? hey, let's mix the worst of BOTH formats! and why do you sometimes have to purchase and open the damn thing to find out?!? and why don't they state on the outside whether or not they'refrom the analog master? when i bought wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on vinyl, i couldn't wait to put it on my table. imagine my surprise when it sounded (gasp) nearly IDENTICAL to the CD, only *not as good!* i checked the liner notes. it didn't say *anywhere* what it was sourced from, but believe you me, the vinyl pressing - whatever the source - was sonically inferior to the cd. another $19 wasted. i wouldn't be so upset if it weren't so common and if i didn't know that it could be any better. my LP pressings of the SMITHS' catalogue not only obliterates the CD counterparts, they're (depending on the album, mind you) some of the better sounding things i have. and my miles davis kind of blue. and my other brilliant pressings which make this all the much more difficult to do.
anyhow, my vinyl collection is no longer growing, due to my fear of lousy pressings. my cd/sacd collection is growing steadily as digital technology keeps getting better and better and i find that i have twice as much money tied up in my analog rig as i do my digital, which leads me to another burning analog question - why do you have to spend twice as much on a vinyl rig to make it sound better than a digital one? don't get me wrong, it can sound better, take this for instance - my brother has a $250 cd/sacd player and about a $600 turntable rig. i'd rather listen to the digital. why? it sounds better. now, my analog set-up sounds beter than my resolution audio opus 21, but not by the margin it should at over twice the price. and sacd?!? holy crap! the difference between the vinyl and sacd is barely audible. this is in NO way meant to be critical of vinyl playback, but an SCD-1 (borrowed) sounds so analog that, aside from the low noise-floor, i would have guessed it was my turntable playing.
so, i've reanalyzed my situation and realized that, given my situation, it doesn't make sense to have my money tied up in an expensive analog rig anymore, when i am more satisfied with digital at the moment.
so, i'm giving up the vinyl ghost and hoping audiogon helps me off my analog rig quickly so i can reinvest all of my source budget into cd, sacd, and dvd-a. i'm hoping sicerely that the meitner dac6 will be the answer to my woes.
to those of you enjoying and loving your turntables - i envy you and wish you the best of luck. those of you who've been touting the virtues of digital - i'm starting to lean more to your side. here's wishing that no such bad luck befalls me on my quest for perfect sound forever.
thanks for reading my rant. have a good one.