If you eat a bowl of Kellogs Rice Krispies while listening you hear nothing but the music.
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I recently grabbed from the janitor's basement a huge oldies collection with albums from 60's and played it on my Michell. They looked ugly but sounded with very small surface noise only at the beginning and almost nothing was heard in the middle or end of record.
Arm/cartridge plays the vast role in analogue setup on that issue.
I even have records with deep cuts playing descent with only a small pop.
Aged cartridges will certainly make a noise on even mint records so the cartridge replacement should stay first.
I second the cleaning, and it may be worthwhile to have a tech give your 'table a once over. Once you have the rig running nicely (and probably with a new cartridge) you ought to re-look at the records themselves. There may be a local used record store nearby, if you like the records why not replace them ($3 or $4 a copy)? The used emporiums I frequent are very fussy about what they take in, and will refund your money or give you a replacement if the record snap-crackle-pops. Welcome to the dark side my friend, Jeff
Your dad is right ... scratches & audible pops were pretty much the way it was with LP's. The Stereo Magazines (Stereo Review; High Fidelity; etc.) used to advise you to make a tape copy of the LP and play that, because LP's were so easily scratched (usually after the first play). The LP was to be saved for special listening occasions. You were usually OK, unless the disc was really scratched up and then it was outrageously annoying. Also, LP's were warped beyond belief (RCA Dynagroove comes to mind) and there was not too much you could do about that.
Cleaning the LP's, the turntable, and cartridge helps. But if the record is scratched, it's scratched. With 180 gram audiophile records and + $1000 rigs, scratches may be less of an annoyance ... but now you are getting to the same place where you are with a cd player ... get a + $1000 cd player, for the best redbook sound and less digital glare.
I found all this way too frustrating and I gave up on LP's about 10 years ago and spent my time getting the best sound out of CD's.
A third vote for thoroughly clean records, But also, a good quality, well set up turntable and tonearm combination will be incredibly quiet. Friends whom I have had over for dinner evenings or casual "get togethers" have commented at how quiet a turntable can be relative to what they remember.
With a clean record that is in good condition, background noise, scratches and pops are virtually non-existent. I think the old Thorens may be partially at fault. The older, higher mass tonearms really have a tough time keeping up with the newer high compliance cartridges.
But, just keep listening to the music. With a turntable, the music usually sounds so good, it makes all the other stuff go away.
You either love the MUSIC, or not? Can you listen to a cheap radio, and fall in love with a bit of music?
I am forced by my own choice to listen to music with the joyous chatter of my parakeet usually crooning to himself. I do not find it disturbing. I am glad he is having a good a time as I. (My cockatiel listens carefully to the music, as if meditating on each note. and is especially enraptured by Maria Callas.)
Cleaning and stuff is great, but the sound of the music seems better via a 'shaded dog' than a CD. clicks included (on damaged vinyl rescued from the hell of second hand store misery)
Be very greatful you have no tinnitus. Talk about HISS!!!!!
You will find that, with proper VTA, which is the angle at which the stylus meets the record, the surface noise will be presented in a different plane than the music. For many, though not all, of us our sensory gating mechanisms can easily tune this out. Contrast this with the CD, where the noise actually exists within the fabric of the music.
You don't have to get a multi-kilobuck analogue rig to have your records sound quiet.
I set up to my nephiew an analogue with cheap Dual turntable $20 from ebay, $20 Audiotechnica cartridge bought new right after the turntable, "amputated" auto return mechanizm to make it manual... $1 Records he's got from the different garage sale basements sound increadible with no clicks noise and pops.
He's now using RadioShack battery-powered phonostage. Overall the analogue setup was less than $100 including phono. To beat this setup you should realy get CD-player above $200 used or $400 new. Having Thorens table it's more than possible to bring it back alive with carefull cartridge and arm setup. Go to www.turntablebasics.com, examine your cartridge's condition or better-off replace it for any descent new one since cartridge ages when it's not played. I'd recommend looking-up www.turntablebasics.com for proper setup.
Surface noise can be minimized by careful cleaning, and care of the records, but it will never go away completely. Some people learn to listen through it, while others (like me) find it distracting. CD's are the best answer.
There were various electronic devices that tried to reduce record surface noise. Phase Linear (Carver) made a dynamic multiband noise filter (Autocorrelator) which was very clever and fairly effective. There were also "Pop and Tick" eliminators.
Only one approach really worked...DBX records. However this was a compression/expansion dynamic range control system (similar to the system used for tape recorders) that required specially processed records to be played back through their electronics. It failed in the marketplace because too few records were available, and CD's came on the scene. I picked up the electronics and a dozen or so records for $25 just to see how it worked, and I was greatly impressed. Not only was surface noise completely eliminated, but the more uniform groove modulation of the compressed signal did wonders for performance of the phono pickup.
i politly disagree, i believe noise can eliminated. i rarely hear noise on lp's. many are used and i might hear a few pops or ticks on 1 out over every 5 or 6 lp's i play. the proper turnatable, arm and cartidge, and thorough set-up can get you there. even if you are using a lesser set-up now, look forward to the day you can hear the amazing quality of music that only an lp can offer.
If the records are permanently damaged, no cleaning will bring them back to life. If the records are properly cleaned and your vynil rig / phono section is of good quality and properly set-up, surface noise is not a problem at all. A decent linear tracking table, even a mass produced direct drive model, will make this fact oh-so clear to you. Pivoted arms are harder to work with in terms of cartridge geometry and more likely to be misaligned, doing further damage to the record with each playing. Sean
I beleive Sean has nailed this one, no amount of cleaning or snake oil can ever restore a damaged LP. Sometimes when I read the posts I beleive some people dont want to hear the truth, the truth is anolog takes a lot of effort and time to get it right. But if done right it can be truly heaven. I noticed in the post your father said it allways sounded that way, it sounded that way for me also until I began to take it seriously. I beleive a a good example would be if you take a Yugo to the racetrack,it will go around the track but you may be last. You need good equipment to WORK IN CONCERT with each other. If all are done right, incudeing the LP`s condition all a person can say is WHOW. David
Sean is right on with his comments. The issue is not LPs it is more likely the LPs you have. I have LPs that are decades old and still sound very good. Many LPs that people played for years without any proper care are going to sound 'beat', because they have been abused. I refer to the damage done to the groove by dragging a dirty cartridge through them, not some terible form of violence. The problem is not the format, it is the miscare of the the medium.
Pops and hiss are not recorded onto the LP, and unless an LP has been abused it will be easy to clean. At which point it will be vastly superior to CDs and even SACDs.
How good would the average digital based system sound if the CDs were tossed around or abused??? At least the LPs will play. The CDs aren't even usable.
Any medium or product will last a long time, and sound good as long as it is well cared for by it's owner.
I guess that I just listen to the music. If you want to make a big issue out of a few clicks, and destroy the musical experience for yourself, then that is your right. At least, on an LP, the music is there to begin with. Is the experience of listening to a live jazz club event destroyed because someone tinkled the ice cubes in their drink at the next table? Is a live performance of classical music wrecked because somebody coughed in the audience? If your LP has the sound of bacon frying on it, then clean it, or get a new LP. LP's never claimed "perfect sound forever". They just have the best sound obtainable, for as long as you take good care of it.
Folks who say to get CDs are partially right.
It's realy easy to built a nice sounding system arround CD-player where you can use pocket one with line-out connected to the Grado Headphone system and it will sound nice and this is where you can't do the same arround records.
Analogue playback setup needs EFFORT much more than money!
Records as well as CDs should be properly STORED and PLAYED thus will need almost no cleaning(well only sweeping before placing styli). As I remember using cartriges with replacable styli I was change it real often not to create further damage to vinyls. Tracking and alignment plays the vast role in this case as well.
Applying a large effort to clean already damaged records probably used as sleepers or stored with no inner sleeves in one carton jacket or any other kind of mis-use with bad styli, improper cueing can only bring little-to-no success.
Having to shop for the loved records either online or in local stores, checking condition and than taking proper care of the new "normal" collection, without even thinking or examining replacing an old cartrige or styli, also having possible replacement of an old tonearm aged throughout years for even any cheap new will eliminate the vast vast noise from your records.
inpepinnovations@ I'm sure you understand that I am not talking about tape hiss. As Tom and Marty pointed out, tape hiss is audible on CDs to, but it is not part of the recording, it is a fault of the recording medium. As people have gained a better understanding about what was needed to preserve tapes without degradation this is less of an issue.
Hiss was not part of the music recorded in the studio. Where it is audible it is typically caused by poor cared for LPs.
Marakanetz is right, LP playback is not for the lazy. It requires a little effort to totally surpass the sound quality of CDs, but only a little! Many of our 'microwave' generation do not have the patience to obtain good music. That's their choice, but don't fool yourself into thinking that CDs will ever be of the same sound quality as LPs.
Kemp, just use clean LPs!
Allow me to draw a metaphor of sorts. As a recording engineer and vintage studio gear enthusiast, I find tape hiss to be a relatively small price to pay for the benefits of a great 4,8,16 track machine. Listen to the drums on the White Album and you'll know what I mean. That sound came from a Fairchild compressor and a 4 track tape machine. Now, is there some hiss on the recording? Maybe, but the good far outweighs the bad.
Similarly, I find occasional pops on my LP's to be a small price to pay. But this is usually not a problem for me as I try to buy only new, reissued vinyl if at all possible. Thus static is more my problem but it is much easier to cure than scratches.
Moral: The good outweighs the bad in both analog recording and playback.
At least, as someone else noted, the hiss is "below" the music and not "within" it.
TWL and co: talk about selective logic. All this dubious stuff about hearing through LP playback noise or that the noise is in another plane and does not take away from the enjoyment of the recording. What you had to begin with is a candid question by someone who was taken aback by the surface noise of vinyl reproduction. All the usual responses: the discs require cleaning with an expensive machine, the cart is not good enough, the arm is not good enough, the preamp is not good enough, the table is not good enough, the VTA is wrong, the whole set-up is wrong, you need to "invest" in very expensive equipment, you need to retrain your ear to a new and better paradigm and so on. A simple question was asked, and all that is provided is the doctrinaire view on the superiority of vinyl. Has anyone asked what type of music the original poster listens to? Seems to me that listening mainly to rock or metal, the noise issue is not much of a concern. Any music where silence is an integral part and the noise is clearly audible. If audio is a subjective thing, is the original poster's concern about surface noise not a valid consideration? Maybe telling him that if sounds bad to his ears, it is bad is a better subjective audio response that trying to convince him that (a) it's not there and (b) whatever noise is there should be ignored. Making of necessity virtue is wearing thin as an argument.
I'd rather get all of the music and a little hiss from time to time rather than part of the music with a little hiss. Why is it the CDophiles are willing to pay full price for part of the product???
I bought a couple of new LPs this week and was listening to one of them yesterday. There was no hiss at all and only one minor 'pop' during everything I listetned to, but there sure was music. I have this same recording on a SBM CD and it sounds lifeless by direct comparison.
Listening to CD is like having a loved one on lifesupport but consoling ones self with the knowledge that they are still there.
Nrchy, aren't you just discussing which part is missing on which medium? Vinyl, after all, is missing the bottom end and dynamics, while possessing (or at least recreating the "life" and mark my words the life is not being extracted from the grooves but recreated by the motion of the stylus) that poorly recorded CDs are missing.
I don't know why one would want to buy an LP missing low notes and original dynamics.
The best analog master tape recorders used DBX or other kinds of noise suppression, and produced results comparable to digital recorders...no hiss. But digital is a lot easier to work with when it comes to mixdown, so the world has gone digital. If you heard hiss on a CD it must have been a very early (or poor quality) master tape.
By the way, another common source of hiss is vacuum tubes. (Sorry about that).
As to LP's sounding better...I agree that they will sound different, and you may think, better. Mastering of the LP is different from the CD, and the RIAA equalization process, applied to the signal when the record is cut, and to your copy when you play it back is extreem and would be almost impossible to accomplish perfectly. Spectral balance will change. Also, in cutting LPs, it is common for LF signals (subwoofer fodder) to be mixed to monaural, because phono pickups don't do well with very low frequency vertical groove modulation. Of course this will affect the sound, and you may prefer it.
And yet, Eldartford, vinyl proponents will tell you that LP reproduction maintains more of the original music than digital recordings because they don't, for the most part, understand sampling theory and think that somehow the "heart" of the music is being removed. Wrong or inexistant bass, errors in matching the RIAA curve, distortion are not seen as losing anything - only digital loses things, in their minds.
As others (although not many on this forum) have stated, I consider the quality of the silences in music to be just as important as the sound in the music.
Pbb, tlak about the pot calling the kettle black. Yours is a fine example of selective logic. The original poster described noise and ASKED if he was doing something wrong and should he ignore the hiss. He did not mention if these were records that were clean or filthy, they were very old or damaged, or what kind of rig he was using to play them.
I have seen mention here of ignoring the occasional pop or tick, but not that he should ignore all noise. There are many factors that might induce noise. Cleaning the records might be a very good first step. If the records have actual damage, he might replace them with a better copy. If he is using some old record player or a decent TT with a defective or damaged stylus/cartridge, even a very modest upgrade might be of benefit. Who is to say that if he cleans and otherwise dirty record, replaces an otherwise damaged record, or plays it on a decent rig, that he will NOT hear the noise he currently does and find even better sound than the "warmer than CD" sound he also describes?
I would point out that "snap, crackle, pop" and hiss are entirely different issues. Perhaps it is more the former he is hearing and not the latter. The former can be easily addressed in most all cases, using the selective logic approaches mentioned. In my experience, hiss is generally never found as a result of the LP itself unless it is an older recording derived from noisy tape OR there is some kind of RF getting into the electronics chain of events. Nothing unique to vinyl, though. Listen to old Louis Armstrong recordings on CD. Where did all that hiss come from? The CD? Obviously not.
This brings up another point. If your CD deck lens is damaged, the CD has muck and scrapes, or you are using a Walkman as a front end, will those CD's sound great? Would it be valid for someone to post a thread wondering how such CD's sounded bad? And, would suggesting remedies in these areas constitute selective logic or an indictment of CD as a format?
As for the occasional pops and clicks. There are many recordings which I have on LP and CD and I have decent rigs to play both. The LP's nearly always win out over the CD version and, have others have said, a click here or there is outweighed by the improvement in sound. Once in awhile, to be fair, the CD in a re-mastered version will score big. When it does I can enjoy and appreciate its sound. Let us face facts, both mediums have there limitations, not the least of which is the ability of the engineers to record and transfer the masters appropriately. Along these lines, the talk of missing LF on LP's is simply a red herring. For every LP I can toss out there with missing LF, I can throw out a CD that is sterile with no dynamics.
"Making of necessity virtue is wearing thin as an argument."
I am not really sure what this means but, continual and gratuitous bashing of any one medium without objectively looking at the equally onerous shortcomings of another is also wearing very thin.
Motdathird, a very well reasoned response.
I have had many CDP's over the last 20 years and yes I've had nearly as many TT's In my own mind the upgrade was about equal each time I bought a better TT I bought a better CDP also. Right now I have about the same amount of money invested in each. The CDP and the table, arm, and cartridge retail for about $3500 each. In theory they should be of equal sound quality.
I attend concerts and hear live music regularly, and use that as the point of reference. When I listen at home to 'cleaned' records and CDs of which I have the same thing on cd, SACD, or vinyl I have yet to hear a digital recording that sounds as good as vinyl. Is my system so inferior that I cannot detect the differences? Am I just to stupid to notice that CDs really sound better? Or is it that I spent the money to buy what I consider to be a very good (and expensive) CD player, but that I'm still unwilling to give the CDP a fair chance? What am I doing wrong???
Inpepinnovations@, I would take issue with your statement that the redbook CD medium has the greater dynamic range. In fact, LP playback has the greater dynamic range. One can hear roughly 15 to 20db into the noise floor on LPs, but on CD replay all music is simply thrown away if it exists below the least significant bit. I would grant you that CD has the superior signal to noise ratio, but this is a completely different matter.
This is the same old problem here.
Someone new to analog asks a simple question. Members try to answer it as best as They can.
Then some digivites start to bash analog.
That is were we are once again.
We have been down this road before.
After much debate, digital and analog rigs compared worth 10s of thousands of dollars the verdict is in, lp rules. (check the archives)
The only logical conclusion one can make, if one claims the superiority of digital is that you need to listen to a good analog rig. Believe me, we have been in a place where we once wanted cd to be better, because this medium has a lot going for it. The bottom line for those us that have chosen to abandon digital for critical listening is that lp simply has more music on it, period. Plus a pop or a click once in a while, and maybe some grove noise between tracks. Many lp's play with no noise at all.
The low frequencies are the hardest to trace for the cartridge and track for the arm. It takes a superior combo to dig the information out of those groves. Twl's moded Origin Live silver arm and a Shelter 501 cartridge (Retail is $1,600) with the hi fi mod increases the low end with at least another octave. This is the bass that a cd player cannot match.
You do not have to spend a fortune to get good analog sound, that is mostly free of noise(pops & clicks).
A used Systemdeck and a atcoc9 with a Rega arm will sound fantastic($700 range).
There are many sub 1k rigs that will get you most of the way there.
I hope this clears up some issues.
When you here how great, good analog can sound and if you are willing to put in the effort required in setup,(this can be quite a lot sometimes)it is not plug in and play. You will be rewarded.
Wow, Viridian, you enjoy hearing noise that is 20db higher in level than the music?! Even adding the 20db to the average 50db range before hitting the noise floor, that gives you 70db. Don't worry I have measured several LP's for dynamic range and it is a rare disc that has more than 75db. Which is why I have found using an old Phase Linear 1000 range expander quite useful in restoring some dynamics to most LPs. Works well for FM broadcasts also.
Rockinroni, "this is bass that a CD player cannot match"! Please! If only that supposedly added octave in the bass were there to be retrieved. Not usually! I have played back on my vinyl play back system direct to disc organ recordings (low of 16HZ) which are quite satisfying, and still the bass is not as good as the bass through a CD.
TT is Alex Mk IV with Rega arm and BPS.
I am not disputing that playback through analogue is perceived as more pleasing and satisfying, although I think that that is a matter of taste, but disputing the reasons that people are using for justifying their contention. It is not because there is more information to be retrieved on vinyl and that digital has less information.
You prefer vinyl and think that it is better. Leave it at that and stop trying to justify your preference by using objective arguments to prove a subjective point. You will have more credibility from my part anyway.
Peppy, we are talking about well recorded sources here; direct to disc recordings have dynamic range well in excess of 100db. There are many severely compressed CDs too, see Stereophile's coverage of the recent release of Floyd's DSOTM and Santana's Supernatural. Dynamic compression has become an engineering choice and is not inherent in the CD or LP media. Of course hearing noise 20db higher than the quietest sounds is far from optimal, but is throwing away all sounds below an arbitrary threshold somehow better?
I reread all the above... whew!!1
I have gone back to LP. I still have 800 CDs. but I just bought 1,000 LPs (all classical pre 1970) for about $500.
Now I have enough music to keep me occupied for a LONG time. And I didn't buy one new recording. (I am boycotting the recording industry until they figure out how to live with free downloading).
The music on many of the LPs is way more alive than on most of my CDs. A few of the LPs are boring the way CD is boring, I don't know why, but those I can easily toss out.
Even with the cleaning, and noise, the LP is worth the effort. For those who disagree, thank God for the CD... we all win
Motdaturd, seems your apologies are not addressed to the right person. Every fact that ever there was is tortured by subjective audiophiles, be they vinylists or proponents of digital, to the point of being unrecognizable. As I have said and repeated: you eat what you like and I'll eat what I like, don't tell me it's chocolate if it's Ex Lax. The original poster says he hears the noise and appears not to like it. I can only tell him that, except when the planets align and the moon is holding water, he will always hear surface noise from lps, if it is not present when the record is brand spanking new, he just has to wait and eventually the surface noise will be audible. Telling him to learn to like such noise is disingenuous at best.
Kemp, another thing occured to me. There is a product for sale through several of the companies which sell new vinyl. Try www.amusicdirect.com It is called 'Premier' and it works great for cleaning old, and seemingly abused LPs. I have been using it for a few weeks along with a Sota record cleaner and the results have been very good. I'm concerned that some of the LPs you have are probably damaged, and will never sound new again, but this stuff has worked very well for me on some really grungy LPs. Good luck!
Elizabeth, thanks for adding the voice of reason!!! As long as each of us is convinced we own and use the perfect medium what difference does it make what anyone else thinks. Of course only half of us are right.
Pbb, as you nearly always do, you misquote what someone else has said. NOWHERE did I say that the original poster would have to get used to anything, except to maybe infer that he'd quickly get used to NOT listening to CD's! :-)
As for the you say tomato, I say tomatoe garbage, your posts on the site are absolutely littered with smart-ass and condescending remarks disparaging vinyl and those that enjoy vinyl, as anyone who has been here longer than 30 minutes can attest. So, please, don't give any of us this "cant we all get along" noise.
Finally, you can consider yourself most fortunate for the anonymous nature of these websites in light of your "Motdaturd" crack. Grow up.
Exactly. I do find it interesting that there seem to be a lot of people still into LP replay and we should ask why. If we sweep aside the far fetched reasons like mass hypnosis we are left with a couple of obvious things. It certainly cannot be the stability of the media. No one in their right mind wants to be careening a hard rock around a soft vinyl groove and all of the attendent cleaning, preening and aligning that goes along with it. So it is safe to say that it is not convenience either. Some would suggest nostalgia. But there are a lot of younger people into vinyl. I am the only one I know that uses an 8-track player in a high end system. There aren't many people posting here that the compact casette, elcasette or open reel tapes are the way to go, these would seem to engender nostalgic feelings too if that were the reason. Then why so many proponents of the LP? It must be that some prefer the sound, known technical shortcomings and all. But it may also be that some great music is only available on LP and will probably never be reissued on CD, just as there is great music on CD that will never be issued on LP.
firstname.lastname@example.org Your rig is entry level, you will not be able to retrieve the lower 2 or 3 octaves on this turntable combo + a lot of other music.
I have not used a BPS, many like this budget cartridge.
We talked about this LP noise problem some people have,
a while back, and one of the fellows that was complaining about lp noise was using a BPS. "
Remember I said;
"The low frequencies are the hardest to trace for the cartridge and track for the arm. It takes a superior combo to dig the information out of those groves. Twl's moded Origin Live silver arm and a Shelter 501 cartridge (Retail is $1,600) with the hi fi mod increases the low end with at least another octave"
"Rockinroni...Perhaps your phono pickup could track LF vertical modulation of an LP groove, but there isn't any because the recording engineer was producing the LP for people with ordinary playback equipment."
Eldartford I think you will have to take my word for it. I Can now, get tons of LF, bigtime! The Origin live arm is reported to be one of the best arms right now and Twl's mod alone got me another octave. I personally have heard it this. It is not a point of view, it is fact. A lot of lp's have great bass.
ePbb,"xcept when the planets align and the moon is holding water, he will always hear surface noise from lps, if it is not present when the record is brand spanking new, he just has to wait and eventually the surface noise will be audible"
This statement is misleading because you will not "Always" hear noise. I and others here have stated we hear little or no noise from most lp's we have, many of my LP's are 30 years and older. What has been stated here is (and not very clearly) on a 70's technology turntable you will hear a lot of noise. On a modern high end, properly setup analog rig you will not.
"Is it so hard to understand that different individuals have different priorities and different prejudices?"
Also and more to the point, people have there opinions biased upon their experiences. All have had different experiences that is why we have different opinions. If those who differ with me could hear what I listen to. I believe we would have the same opinion.
Viridian, 8 Tracks SUCK bad, talk about noise.