After all too many comparisons like that, I sold my digital player and all my CD's. I have no further interest in digital.
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almost all vinyls after 80's were digitally mixed and i see nothing wrong in sound on most of them. WATT, ECM labels made out every recording excellent.
although i can't just through digital despite not paying too much attention on upgrading my digital combo connected with simple and cheapo Canare digital cable. whatever i cannot acquire on LP i go for cd especially for the new modern jazz recordings Scofield, Stern, etc...
some of Frank Zappa recordings never were released on vinyl.
You're probably not nuts. (Well, you're an audiophile, so you probably ARE nuts, but that's not what's relevant here.) There are two possible explanations for what's going on here. One, as others have said, is bad mastering. There's no guarantee that the LP and CD used the same digital master. Two is that there are things about vinyl that make it sound good. Lots of people think LPs sound "richer" and CDs "thinner." (There's a lot of debate in certain circles about just why that is.) Looks like you've had a very common experience.
Hey ntscdan...I just listened to that same LP a few months back. I didn't compare it to the CD, but I did notice the early digital effect on the recording. It just doesn't sound right in many ways. I've noticed that same thing with other albums from the 80s where people went digital a little too early...the technology wasn't mature yet. I really like Todd Rundgren's "Nearly Human" album, but the combination of the early all digital recording and his mixing (he has tinitinitis) makes it unlistenable to me.
The original digital studio masters probably sound very good, possibly even wonderful.
When an original high bit rate digital master is converted directly to analog, the LP format renders the data very well. When that same digital master is mixed so far down to meet the 21 year old Redbook standard, a good bit of the data is lost.
The same principal applies to digital photography. Super high bit digital captures (originals) and super high quality conversions from analog (film) are almost equal at preservation of the original quality.
As an example (photographically), a perfect digital transfer from a single frame of a Hasselblad (medium format camera) requires a scan of about 500 MB. Making a single analog frame occupy much of the data space on a CDR.
If a digital format were offered that preserved 100% of the original digital material, analog fans may view digital as equal to analog.
This probably would require a format of greater capacity than the current CD or even the SACD. Perhaps a dual layer DVD.
Unfortunately there is no incentive for record companies to offer that quality when so many of today's listeners are satisfied with MP3.
Comparisons between store purchased vinyl and CD versions of the same album are usually meaningless because there's no way to know if the recording chain for each version was kept constant. Sometimes an artist will have a different mix for each format specifically designed to take into account the pluses and minuses of vinyl versus redbook digital. Other times the same final mix, which can be either digital or analog tape, is used to master both format versions.
With all due respect I think the comparison is very valid.
I agree that I have no way of knowing the "chain" of events in the production of each, but I do know that the CD sounds absolutely awful and isn't worth acquiring at any price. It is just a case of buyer beware. I have noticed that CD's that preserve the original tape hiss found in almost all analog recordings tend to sound OK, but when you get a "remaster" from the 60s and you can't hear any tape hiss it usually means they've tried to "fix" one problem and then created another. For example my garden variety James Taylor "Sweet Baby James" CD on Warner sounds pretty much as good as my first pressing vinyl. All the tape hiss is there on both versions and you really have to split hairs to notice the difference...so it is possible to do a half decent job on CD....for my ears anyhow. When it comes to jazz recordings...early SAVOY, Blue Notes etc, ARGO nothing beats the deep groove vinyl!
No you are not nuts. I just had a similar experience with the James Taylor JT album on my old Linn LP12. Only difference was that when I put on the record I was floored; I never remembered it sounding so good. So I quickly put on the cd and then proceed to run out of the room holding my ears. This happens when I only listen to cds for a couple of months, I begin to think that it sounds pretty good. Then when I put on an Lp, I think to myself how could I listen to something so mechanical sounding. Vinyl has a sense of completeness that cds cannot match. PRaT, is also more realistic.
Having said that, cds have significant advantages over lps such as convenience, availability, and can be listened to in the car. Therefore, cd music is much better than no music.
ultrakaz - now you guys are going to think I'm really nutso - I record my vinyl into the computer - trim it up with soundforge and burn it at 1x onto a CDR - I swear that it sounds better than store bought CD's - I do have lots of MOFI and direct disc stuff - I get a kick out of playing it for non-believers - most of them figure I'm fibbing when I tell them that the CD they are listening to is actually "vinyl" - the whole thing must be some kind of delusion because it really doesn't make sense - I feed the output of my ARC Ref into a Denon DA-30 which acts as the A/D then s/dif out into the computer - makes me happy though - so no excuses about "convenience" - you can have your analog made digitally easy...
one more thing - if you like the JT album try and find an original british pressing from 1978 - vinyl quality in the UK hadn't deteriorated as fast as in the US - it is dead quiet - gorgeous - I just listened to it - I think it might have even been pressed on virgin vinyl - I'll have to hold it up to the light - but secret O life is playing,
Ntscdan, sorry for my lack of clarity earlier. What I intended to say was that you can't draw any meaningful conclusions about the overall quality of digital vs. vinyl by comparing any given CD to its vinyl counterpart. Obviously, you could make a comparison and determine in any individual case which version you prefer.
I'm not at all surprised that you could prefer your own vinyl to CD conversions to commercial copies. I've converted a large part of my vinyl collection to digital and came to roughly the same conclusion. Surprisingly, I also found that about 30% of converted music actually sounded better in digital than the original vinyl. Heavily processed rock and pop took to the conversion best.
Ntscdan: What's nutso about that? ACDR made from vinyl will carry all of vinyl's distinctive characteristics. If you like those characteristics, your CDR will sound better than the commercial CD. And there are several things you can do to the digital sgnal, like removing pops and clicks, to make the CDR sound better than the original vinyl.
After reading many posts like this I finally picked up a very basic analog set-up for my system. I had not listened to a record in probably 15 years (in part because I left my 200+ record collection in the basement of my dorm figuring I'd never need them again with the advent of CD's.) All in, I spent about $500 ($275 for sota comet with LMT III arm) ($100 for a new Grado Gold cartridge) and $100 for a new Sumiko Phono Pre amp. Hooked this stuff into my system (BAT VK3i, VTL 185 monos and Revel F30's) and wow!! All you analog guys were right on. I could not believe how more lifelike everything sounded. Needless to say my Christmas list is pretty simple this year - LP's, Lp's and more LP's.