Clickable link for those who don't want to highlight the link, right click and then select go to.http://www.factmag.com/2015/05/07/pressed-to-the-edge-vinyl/
Interesting article btw. I wonder how long the current vinyl craze will go on. I sometimes see in my local record store remnants from RSD exclusives from years past at slightly discounted prices.
Some of the "facts" in the article sound specious to me. Better run this by Fremer.
There was an article in one of the high end magazines a few years back ... I think it was Harry Pearson who said: "If you want to enjoy digital, stop listening to your vinyl records." For those who have never heard vinyl records played through a highly resolving system, the experience can be eye (ear) opening. Records are making a huge come back because they sound great. Besides sounding great, they look great. From the front cover art, to the liner notes, they are works of art. Its up to the marketplace to keep up with the demand.
I have lots of great LPs from the past several decades and love 'em...however, I've bought 2 LPs recently from Barnes and Noble (!). I wanted a clean copy of Beggar's Banquet and there it was...for 22 bucks or so...got it home and it's pressed on heavy-ish clear vinyl and sounds great. Next a Sargent Pepper (I know...from the digital "masters" but whatEVER), and it sounds better than any copy I've had including my utterly trashed original, had all the old LP's paperwork, and, again, 22 bucks or something. Craze? Fine with me.
Wolf, if your Sgt. Pepper is from the new Mono series, it is NOT from a digital master, but from the 4 track analog masters!
My Pepper LP is as stated...stereo, from digital. I am not into the mono LP hype by the way.
I'm sorry but I dislike playing my vinyl records (with a few exceptions). I have a descent rig (VPI Classic 2 w/Sumiko Blackbird) and almost every record I play has clicks, pops, groove noise, etc.. It just bothers me to distraction -I almost never play vinyl.
Note: I recently played Hendrix's "Are you Experienced" for maybe the second time (super-duper premium 2 record set) and hit a total-blockage point that threw the stylus out of the groove (totally not groovy!). Frustrating? Chee-wa-wa!
I wet-wash before each play (Nitty Gritty vacuum), use a Zerostat ion gun, do all the things your supposed to do but if it's in the vinyl already, it aint commin' out.
I admit that a clean pressing sounds awesome (Dark Side of the Moon comes to mind). But these are one-in-ten if your lucky. I guess I should keep buying the same record over-and-over until I find one I like?
I hope Meridian's new encoding scheme (MQA) will finally tip the sonic scales to digital's advantage.
Dweller... you don't need a new digital encoding scheme you just need a better DAC... or a more musical, analog-like one.
If you want to hear every detail on the recording, I highly recommend the PS Audio DirectStream DAC with the Pike's Peak firmware. It will provide plenty of fine detail and articulation (bass is amazing) and it will still sound natural, musical, and non-fatiguing.
If you need a tube DAC, I can recommend the Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC III with the cap upgrade and Bybee Music Rail mods. There is not as much detail and articulation as the DirectStream but the Jolida has a super musical and very satisfying presentation without losing too much detail.
Records still sound quite good to me but like you, I don't like hearing the ticks and pops, etc.
I'm NOT audiophile, but most of my vinyls DON'T have clicks and pops. They do have surface noise, but that's the most I've been listening to for the past 40 years and probably will for another rest of them.
Those who think that vinyl rig must be expensive to get the idea how good it can sound are in deep delusion of real facts. Basic vintage turntable such as Sony 5520($60 average price), Pioneer SX435 receiver($30...75) and Klipsch pro-media 2.1 speaker set($100) is actually good enough to challenge digital playback. The groove noise or ambiance is clear sign of live music, while in digital playback ambiance not achievable with any type of resolution period.
Digital playback of any resolution is clinical noiseless and certainly lifeless and it will always be.
Czarivey: If you don't hear clicks and pops on EVERY vinyl record have your hearing checked, seriously...
Yes a few ticks and pops are on almost every LP playback, however a properly setup analog rig is IMO vastly superior in communicating the essence of music to any digital rig. When listening to my analog setup the few ticks and pops that inadvertently are there simply don't register with me. Everyone focuses on different things so if your focus is waiting for the next tick or pop to appear then of course it will break your connection to the music.
The best way to eliminate almost every tick and pop on the record surface is a ultra sonic cleaner like the KL Audio cleaner for an example.
One point, in my first post, is that distortion is embedded in the music during the molding process which creates the record. I don't think a piece of airborn dust can cause the tremendous POP heard on the (virtually new) Hendrix album.
Also, no record cleaning device can remove it.
I think the people who knew how to create a clean stamper either died or retired thirty years ago.
As well-intentioned as technicians today might be, there is no substitute for 40 years of experience doing one thing.
I keep a turntable for music that will never be released on digital. How many times I've approached listening rapture only to take a knee in my aural groin by "CLICK", "POP", "SHHHHHHH-FITZ", etc..
I'm waiting for digital nirvana and it may be close...
Czarivey is right. The implication is that something is not right with your setup. True we do have filters but these only operate within reason. I often check the noise levels during silent passages on popular & classical discs listening for nothing but the noise and it invariably proves unintrusive.
Not to cause offence, ironically, the worst T/T demo I've ever heard was the VPI Classic (!!) It was a fully tricked up model with peripheral clamp, JMW Memorial etc. with a Transfiguration cart.
The Dealer had pre-cleaned 2 albums 4 times each and the result was the most nightmarish surface-noise-from-Hell experience you've ever witnessed. Persistent and continuous, the bangs & cracks were LOUD! You couldn't ignore or filter them any more than if someone was slapping your ear every half-second.
Prior to the demo they'd tried 2 other brand new pressings. Again, each had been cleaned 4 times on a VPI 17.5 to no avail.
There were a lot of people in the room and every one of them, being analogue enthusiasts, maintained a dignified composure but you could feel the discomfort at the embarrassing severity of the problem. If you had been a digital enthusiast this would have been the worst possible introduction to analogue.
While all this was going on, privately I longed to be playing bashed up 2nd hand (noiseless) vinyl back home on my own system. Trashy old 2nd hand LPs sounded like a shining beacon of demonstration-quality audio compared with this stuff.
That was 2 hrs of my life that I'll never get back. :(
Contrast this with my most recent experience of new vinyl. An album sealed and stored in a cupboard for nearly 2 years, probably saturated with MRA, played straight from the bag without cleaning but displayed noiseless and "inky black" backgrounds throughout (paying attention, not "filtering", and checking these factors was the specific object of the experiment BTW because I expected to have to clean it).
Peaks also tracked perfectly ;^)
My 40+ year old (uncleaned) vinyl gives the same experience.
What am I doing wrong?
It is a fact that poorly designed or optimised phono stages can exaggerate/stretch the duration of noise pulses from the vinyl. So can turntables under the wrong conditions. Static in a low humidity environment can also be a factor whether you use a zerostat or not.
My comments are not intended as a rebuke or a defence of analogue playback but more an expression of disbelief. :(
BTW Dweller, you mentioned problems with new vinyl specifically and that people don't know how to make LPs anymore? I should warn you that certain LPs that have expressed/exuded a surfeit of MRA will sound exactly the way that you described. It may not be the embedded problem that you think it is?
If the MRA is then successfully removed using a power cleanser you will be treated to a 100% silent disc...that tracks properly on peaks.
Just a thought....
Terryb - thanks for the article. Provides interesting insight into the vinyl mftg. process. AND the real differences between vinyl today vs from "back in the day".
There is no venue where music does not have some kind ambient noise except for Digital music. To me it is too clean and unnatural. I do listen to digital music, the scale and depth is getting better with hires. Vinyl is preferred, it does have issues but sounds more natural.
Tried vinyl and also could not get past the clicks and pops. I find my dac and rig as musical as any turntable I have heard, in my system, to be honest. Some of the sweeping comments against digital here are simply not true. Broad based and sweeping absolutes are rarely true folks. Widen your experience and learn these absolutes just don't stand up. Too many factors ranging from system synergy, room, source and personal preferences to make absolute statements. Just impossible.
In my rig, in my room, with my sonic preferences, my digital front end was more enjoyable.......for me.
Dweller and Granny
It could just be a matter of what kind of sound one is used to, did you grow up with vinyl or did you first start this journey with digital sound?
As I mentioned above the small clicks and pops that inadvertently is on a LP surface simply does not matter to me, I don't even register them. The etched cool and not, to me, as lifelike sound from digital does not connect me to the music in the same way LP playback does.
In my main personal listening room I have quite competent analog and digital setups. If only judging from the use that either setup sees, the analog side gets WAY more use than the digital one does.
To return to the article that started this tread it states that theres only 2 places in the world that produce lacquers for pressing LP's, one of which is mentioned to be a older gentleman in Japan working out of his garage. This clearly is misinformation - if you do a simple google search for LP Lacquer
dozens of places in the US alone pops up.
I started listening to vinyl in 1956 on a Zenith portable record player. My Mother removed it from me when I learned I could alter reality by turning the record faster with my finger. My later turntables included: Panasonic, Garrard Sl-95B, Garrard Zero-100, AR Classic (new version), Linn Basik+, 2 Music Halls and the current VPI Classic 2.
As most of my listening is digital, I may be spoiled and, consequently, hyper sensitive to vinyl noises on my semi-monthly visits to LP land.
I do recall (1970s) reading a stereo magazine and seeing a mastering engineer looking at the grooves of a metal stamper through a microscope. He was using a stylus to "gouge out" an imperfection in the stamper.
I wonder if stampers are made with the same care today?
My money is still on digital.
I can probably save you the wait by way of example...
At the invitation of a friend, a while back, I bought a "True_HD" BD copy of the Rolling Stones "Grrr" (60 track compilation of their greatest hits) and for fun I compared it with a bashed up 2nd hand copy of "Rolled Gold" (40 track compilation).
Bearing in mind that the BD was probably derived from "original masters" whilst the LP compilation was from a secondary master, the vinyl versions were easily and noticeably more rewarding, and dare I say "live" sounding and involving, than the state-of-the-art digital offering.
I'm always intrigued enough to test new developments but sad to say it didn't satisfy.
Given your age & experience it's highly likely that under the same conditions you'd have drawn the same conclusion as I did (in fact my 23 yr old daughter would have drawn that conclusion even though she hasn't got the slightest interest in audio ;^)
Given the hype and the level of expectation I found it hard to believe but given a choice I'd ignore the BD completely and run any old vinyl instead - even an old compilation album. I'm not the only one who found the BD too sterile, sanitised and uninvolving. (I think that included digital enthusiasts who preferred earlier SACD versions!)
FWIW I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with digital recording as a medium, just that the results (usually) seem totally inconsistent with it's capability i.e. indifferent mastering or the current condition of those master tapes?
As they say, there are no easy routes to musical satisfaction (pardon the pun) when you are dealing with classic material. Most often the best way to jump into an audio "time machine" is to obtain copies of the original LPs.
"I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with digital recording".
Meridian's Bob Stuart would beg to differ.
In the May/June Absolute Sound, His new encoding system, MQA, is explained (on a high level) and will be available for sale soon. This system virtually guarantees that what we will hear is identical to the mike feed of the studio.
I know, we've heard it before: CD, HDCD, SACD, Bluray, et al.
All sound at least "good" but after CD, I've been consistently unimpressed.
I say give him a chance -this one may get it right.
As a matter of fact, 5 or 6 months ago, a close friend told me he had already been treated, purely by chance, to an early demo and was very impressed.
He claimed he hadn't heard anything this good since analogue...
I'm a tiny bit sceptical. With Meridian it probably won't be just a case of offering media. Their recent headphone amp is an example where they are trying to ambisonically render signals in a manner that is more palatable to the listener. Nothing wrong with that but it is nevertheless, artificial?
The beauty of LPs is that there are no tricks or DSP up the sleeves. They are what they are. They can often deliver from 2 channels what it takes DSP systems 4 to 7 channels to create.
By all means check out the "Meridian experience" - as I would myself - but my point is (for those who have an established collection dating back to the 60s or 70s) : why ditch perfectly satisfying "media" for media that may not satisfy you and cost additional/serious dollar investment in the process?
I take it you have no actual connection with Meridian? ;^)
Funny ,,I grew up with records,and as long as the pops ,ticks are not too many I do not seem to have a problem.They seen to exist on a different plane than the music.But as I said ,I grew up listening to mainly records and radio.
By the way,,,Not sure if it is a national or regional sale .Guitar center is having a Memorial day sale May 21-25 with records going for as low as 7.98 as much as 22.00 off .They had some nice ones last time i checked.
No, I don't work for Meridian.
Also, I'm not obsessed by every little hint of surface noise (I would prefer that it weren't there, however).
But the worst of it usually occurs at the most critical part of the music.
"WAY DOWN INSIDE (echo: inside),
WOMAN (e: woman),
YOU_U NEED IT (e: need),
LOVVVVVVV CLICK, POP, FIZZLE....."
Maddening. P.S. See original "Bedazzled" movie (w/Cook & Morre) for explanation.
Dweller, You've got a problem. Some set-ups do communicate ticks and pops in excess, and yours might be one of them. I listened to LPs about 2 hours per night, each of the last 4-5 nights. A few LPs have a very few ticks and pops. By and large though, I am able to enjoy the music without any thought to surface noise. The sense of dynamics is superior to that afforded by RBCDs. (SACD and other hi-res sources are great, too, IMO.) If you're not happy with vinyl, don't listen to vinyl, but don't infer that everyone else is a clod, if they are not plagued by ticks and pops. You might begin by checking your choice of cartridge and its matching to your phono stage. Factors that artificially enhance high frequencies, like RF interference, can play a role in highlighting tracking glitches.
Lewm: Please specify where, in any of my posts, I suggested that anyone else but me is having a problem. Thank you
Update: I had a "vinyl night" tonight and was very pleased.
Steve Winwood: Arc of a Diver purchased in 1980. Splendid sonics and NO DEFECTS!
Steppenwolf: The Second (reprint, year unknown) Sonics so-so, one piece of punch-out paper embedded in groves per side (oops!).
Yes: Fragile - 1972. Sonics good to very good. No intrusive defects.
All-in-all a pretty good session!
Maybe it's just modern pressings that are pure crap?
I bought first "King Crimson" at T.H.E./CES and it sounds like a 1920s broadcast from Mars i.e. static city...
Apologies, it was a light-hearted suggestion. ;^)
I had visions of Meridian reviving Philips original marketing strategy of getting the punters to focus on noise rather than the music.
I think the analogue enthusiasts that are left are far too sophisticated and informed to be fooled by that one.
The other half of their target market is of course the Digiphile...who already claim to be happy with digital as it stands.
First impressions I get from the grapevine is that many digiphiles are cynical and sceptical about MQA in the extreme. I think they've been stung too many times with the latest new fad. They look like they've made their decision already. :(
Speaking of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore... ;^)
If you can get hold of a rare curiosity of an album called "Consequences" (the full 3-LP set) you'll witness a work of genius. Peter Cook does all the voices in the drama with the exception of the receptionist and Mrs Stapleton, from Jewish accent to posh inebriate lawyer. It's a grower so the full magnitude won't hit you until you've heard it a few times.
Cool Voiced Receptionist : "Mr Hague, may I have the rest of the afternoon off? My niece is on fire..."
Hague (inebriate lawyer) : "Alright (muttering) same bloody excuses every time..."
It was true btw! There was a global disaster going on outside! :D
The musical background is analogous to one of those massive oil paintings with a cast of thousands. If you were to snapshot one tiny bit of it there is always an incredible wealth of detail, sound effect, and subtle musical accompaniment going on in the background at occasionally near inaudible levels.
So, it'll come in handy that you've proved you're able to play older albums without interference ;^)
All the best,
Cool name. I have about 3000 vinyl records, many dating from 60's and 70's, plus a few hundred 45's. No RCM any more. Just use a good brush. I listen to vinyl quite a bit. I listen to rock, classic rock, indie, pop, etc. I hear NO pops! NO Noise of any kind! I only hear what's originally recorded on the record. I do not know your complete system. I would suggest you don't tell others to get their hearing checked. I would also suggest you take a hard look at your system. Most likely your phono stage. If you do your research you will find the phono stage is the most common cause of pops and other noises.
I'm just sayin ✌️
Whatthe: After 45 years of listen to records, seriously, I'm pretty sure I can tell the diff between defective vinyl and defective equipment. One type of distortion I kept noticing last night is something I call "groove lettuce". This intermittent sound is kind of like an amplifier clipping and is probably "my bad" for not knowing how to dial in my cartridge to perfection.
While we're on the subject, how could my phono head-amp (Ayre) be causing click and pops? I'm using XLR out to my BAT and XLR equipment is usually pretty quiet.
Moonglum - I didn't recall Peter Cook's contribution to Consequences. I enjoyed it very much and played the heck out of it back in the day. Persons looking for it now might do well to search under Godley & Creme as they were the creators.
I buy a lot of used vinyl, much of it collectible now. I'll usually hold out for minty condition records, but given the subjective nature of record grading, not all are in the high level of playing condition I prefer. For the records I truly care about, I will sometimes be forced to buy multiple copies of these old records to get a dead quiet one. Sometimes, I think this is simply the result of abuse, not of defective manufacturing; in many cases, the older records clean up extremely well after a serious cleaning.
I don't tolerate pops and clicks, and for the most part, the records I listen to are very quiet.
I occasionally buy 'new' vinyl, but those purchases are limited to newly released music or the occasional remaster of an old record that is very hard to obtain at a reasonable price. My experience with new vinyl today is probably about the same as it was during the 60's and 70's- some quality control problems, including bad pressings, bad masterings (which I didn't know much about 30 or 40 years ago), off-center spindle holes or other defects that a good cleaning won't rectify.
I'm not going to wade into the digital v analog quagmire- I think, like politics, you rarely convince somebody of the opposite view once they have made up their mind. But, I do think you can achieve quiet noise free vinyl listening- it takes some time to sort, I have relied on outside expertise to help me (though I've gotten pretty good at dialing in my arm/cartridge). I also agree that some cartridges and phono stages may emphasize surface noise more than others.
Whether the current vinyl 'craze' is a fad or not, I'm pleased that there is renewed attention to the manufacturing process. I don't know much about sourcing raw lacquers, but the neglect of the rest of the vinyl manufacturing "infrastructure"- from presses to cutting lathes- sounds accurate. It does seem that the article was Euro-centric.
Ghosthouse, you must have blinked. It's all explained here... ;^)
...or not...the system has rationalised the link and given a full list!
From the list shown scroll down to the "Consequences Album" which will hyper-link you to the correct page.
(might even be quicker to google Wiki yourself!)
If you read some of the production notes, you'll see references to how they did the burial scene. I think someone in the studio mentioned that they were actually shovelling "rubble", not sand, down the studio stairs.
When you look at the lengths they went to when "mechanically" simulating the sound of a saxophone, we ask ourselves, "why didn't they just use a saxophone?"
It was probably because they didn't want to compromise the purity of their original intent in fully exploiting the "gizmotron".
Dweller, this is not the one I am looking for. Hard to find. I know that Jcarr has coved subject in deeper detail.
As well as others. Do your own dd.
Well said. I agree 100%. Although, vinyl done right, definitely sounds better then any digital!
I'm just sayin ✌️
This is a better thread.
I'm just say'n ✌️
Dweller, You asked how could your Ayre phono stage be "causing" clicks and pops. I don't think it's per se causing the problem, but the Ayre stuff does have a very wide bandwidth, probably up to megacycles. Thus, any RF that's getting into your system can add to the hf response even down into the audio spectrum, tilt it upwards, so as to emphasize the ticks and pops. Also, in ways I do not quite understand myself, the cartridge itself can be a culprit, or its alignment. You have very high quality equipment. Did you say you're using a Sumiko cartridge?
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Besides "Bedazzled" in 1967, which nearly caused me to die from laughing, my favorite bit of theirs is the one-legged man trying out for the part of Tarzan. Cook as director, Moore as the hopeful one-legged actor.
Modern pressings can sound astonishingly great on heavier vinyl so I don't see new LPs as any sort of issue generally, and note that since I have hundreds of LPs from the 60's onward that I like to listen to from time to time, a turntable is the only thing that plays the damn things. I enjoy great sounding digital also, this most likely due to a good DAC re-clocking everything...maybe...but more to the vinyl point, you can's play LPs on anything else...you could make digital copies maybe, but life's too short for that sort of thing and the fiddly parts of vinyl are sort of involving anyway. The latest (May 25th) issue of the New Yorker has a cartoon of two dudes looking at a vinyl rig saying, "The two things that really drew me to vinyl were the expense and the inconvenience." Oh yeah...
In one of my favorite studios they A/D-D/A with a Burl Audio suite. The unmixed program material at this juncture of the process absolutely kills any high end digital playback equipment while maintaining the timing issues that tense my shoulders within seconds of digital playback as well as all the vinyl peccadilloes born from mastering, pressing, and affordable vinyl spinners.
All this without even considering the big money in mixing today goes to making a master that sounds its best when played through ear buds and laptop speakers. These guys are spending big money on multiple clocking devices and they're achieving this goal to satisfy their clients. The sonic difference from the original A/D-D/A is stunningly tragic. Many of these massaged masters are used to master the vinyl version of the release.
Also, consider the end user has little to no experience with non digital information and the ones that do will soon be gone. So, aside from the tactile and fashion that the vinyl resurgence has become how important can poor vinyl production be?