Is a vinyl rig only worth it for oldies?

I have always been curious about vinyl and its touted superiority over digital, so I decided to try it for myself. Over the course of the past several years I bought a few turntables, phono stages, and a bunch of new albums. They sounded fine I thought, but didn't stomp all over digital like some would tend to believe.

It wasn't until I popped on some old disk that I picked up used from a garage sale somewhere that I heard what vinyl was really about: it was the smoothest, most organic, and 3d sound that ever came out of my speakers. I had never heard anything quite like it. All of the digital I had, no matter how high the resolution, did not really come close to approaching that type of sound.

Out of the handful of albums I have from the 70s-80s, most of them have this type of sound. Problem is, most of my music and preferences are new releases (not necessarily in an audiophile genre) or stuff from the past decade and these albums sounded like music from a CD player but with the added noise, pops, clicks, higher price, and inconveniences inherent with vinyl. Of all the new albums I bought recently, only two sounded like they were mastered in the analog domain.

It seems that almost anything released after the 2000's (except audiophile reissues) sounded like music from a CD player of some sort, only worse due to the added noise making the CD version superior. I have experienced this on a variety of turntables, and this was even true in a friend's setup with a high end TT/cart.

So my question is, is vinyl only good for older pre-80s music when mastering was still analog and not all digital?
Strictly up to the user.
I have vinyl so I can buy more used music.
Used is just used. LP or CD They sound different.
I buy what i can find that I want.
I am not too worried about if it is on Lp or CD.
Pops and clicks are the fault of teh owner. Learn how to clean LPs if you want to stay with vinyl.

No, records made today are no more or less susceptible to poor mastering than records made 30 years ago.

Pick up one of the Music Matters Blue Note releases. If that sounds like a CD to you then you've missed the boat with your vinyl setup.
Superior in what way, because you can hear the scratches on vinyl that you cannot hear on cd ?? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Uh-oh, the cat's out the bag!

Personally, I would agree with the OPS premise and would think it applies to most except perhaps some of those who like turntables just because they are turntables. I fall into that category. I gre up with and love turntables but am realistic and practical about their advantages and disadvantages. I don't easily get all romantic and gobbly-goopy about them except when the right vintage recordings are playing.
"I don't easily get all romantic and gobbly-goopy about them except when the right vintage recordings are playing."

BTW, the right vintage recordings sometimes includes even old 78's that I occasionally purchase, play on an old Admiral ceramic cat table with 78 stylus hooked to my main rig when needed and recorded to CD for playback moving forward. The CDs sound just like the 78s and are a lot of fun and even quite musical though obviously imperfect in many ways.

WOuld love to own a properly restored Victrola someday!
I would say that there definitely was a "golden age" for record cutting. About 1970 to equipment evolving to transistors, state of the art cutting machines, and experienced engineers who loved their craft. (they even engraved their initials into the records they cut).
Going all the way through the CD generation from 80's and onwards to nowdays I've realized that vinyl's pops and clicks is the worst thing that can happen to the vinyl (agree with mentioned "owner quality" to keep records or CDs in playable condition) while scratches on CD will decline playback entirely. A hair-thin scratch on CD can stop playback on the scratch area entirely while vinyl will only pop or click.
There are many records are now being reissued and re-cut and cutting records isn't expensive procedure that is in many cases less pricey than manufacturing CDs so one can expect purchasing new records (the highest definition audio format indeed) at affordable prices again in our 21st century.

As to playback quality it more depends on component quality that is somewhat more complicated than for CD playback where you have to have a right combination of cart, arm, table and phonostage.

To say that vinyl is good only for oldies is entire misconception since vast majority of them including Motown, old blues and other old hits on 78rpm is available in digital formats with no clicks and pops. Vinyl provides best and natural sonic characteristics AND exceptional DURABILITY. CD will last 10 years in average and than the vacume between plastic plates will be compromised creating trivial oxide film around an aluminium disk which will basically end CD playback ability while first vinyl record ever created might still be OK. There are still lots of DJ's using vinyl playback(not only for scratch) on discoteques and parties. You can place styli on record before spinning turntable and than turn the motor on to start spinning... Can you do same with CD?

Frequent playback may destroy vinyl or decrease sonic performance. I have record of Frank Zappa("perhaps Shut Up and Play..." or other box set such as "Joe's Garage") that will have SIDE1 on first vinyl and SIDE2 on another vinyl so that if you played one vinyl and want to listen to continuation, instead of flipping, FZ wanted you to use different vinyl on "another side" so each vinyl from the album has "break" time while you're listening to a different one.
Vinyl definitely not CD and would NOT appreciate frequent song jumping. The preference is to listen to the entire side and if no desire to listen to the end, change to different vinyl.

My recommendation in that case would be to listen to one side of one vinyl and than switch to another vinyl to listen the other side later after vinyl takes "break".

And finally after all It's really great to have both formats! I often would burn vinyl onto CD in order to preserve the valuable and keep it in new condition as a collection. Whould you care doing the same to CD that you care to have as long as it's "alive"? All of the CD's I listen in the car are burned copies for the same reason as vinyls. Quiet electronic music is often better listen via digital playback while rock tunes are much better with vinyl so It's not worth to bash one or the other formats after all.
Have you cleaned the records before playing them?
That could be part of the sound.
There was a period of digital records that just never worked for me, others may and probably do differ. If I wanted a digital recording I'd get a CD or if available preferably an SACD.
Then again vinyl is an art much more than a science, so what works for one person may not for another.
Solman989, I think what you're talking about is the vinyl with a high level of compression. With new vinyl I've found it depends on the record label, the artist, and/or the mastering studio. I just bought a new pressing of jimi's "Are You Experienced" and it sounds amazing. Bought some other new pressings and they are compressed with no bass.
I guess I'm saying it's hit or miss. I try to read the reviews of the new releases.
Most of the new vinyl I have purchased sounds very good to excellent. But can't say they are better or worse than my old recordings. All things being equal the vinyl outperforms my cd's / SACD's but as always it is recording dependent.

The noise that I was talking about is a part of the medium itself and not due to improperly cleaned vinyl. Depending on the album, it can sound like mistracking or clicks. For example I have compared two copies of the same albums and the noise was present in both at the same spots so I know it is not a cleaning issue. Don't get me wrong, I can overlook it but when I am listening to an album that is basically a hi-res file run through a studio's DAC and then cut onto a LP, well lets just say that's what SACD is for.
Yes, I've heard the clicks in some new vinyl. It must be a defect in the Master. BTW, I never heard these defects in my old records.

Record sets in the 60's and 70's were often mastered so that you could put the records on a changer and still play the set in sequence. So if you n records in the set, and thus 2n sides, the first n logical sides would be placed on separate disks, and the second n logical sides would be placed similarly on separate disks such that 1 and n+1, 2 and n+2, etc were on the same disk. (whew!)

So a 3 disk set in changer order would have sides 1 and 4 on the first disk, 2 and 5 on the second disk, and 3 and 6 on the third. That made it easy to rack'em and stack'em on the cheap, plentiful changers of the time for extended listening sessions.

Changer order had nothing to do with "resting the vinyl". That was never a consideration on mass produced records.
For me the answer is no. My TT rig is clearly better than CD even with some ticks and pops and other issues. Vinyl playback has issues for sure. But as has ben said, learn how to clean. It goes a long way.

CD is limited by 44.1K HZ 16 bit. It is and allways will be a compromised format. There is no argument. If you are talking about Blue Ray DVD audio quality then there is a real discussion. But not with CD.

Now my TT rig cost me in the low $20k range but my previous TT rig at around 5K was also clerly better than CD as well. I dont know what one has to spend (new/used) but I am confident that a TT set up much less than $5K will beat CD.

I buy a 50 or so new releases a year and I like most of them. The compression issue is a real worry on new pop/rock records and I have a few of those where I listen once or twice and would be ready to give them away. But most are at least very good and some are very nice. Some new recordings are claimed to be "analog"

But I will admit, most of my favorite recordings are from the golden age so to speak.


I've got a different feelings having the fact that record players were always dominating record changes(many to few at least) that were never big around the globe.
Tdaudio...Excellent, rational answer.
I tend to agree. The older albums sound great...Fleetwood Mac, Melonie, older Paul new albums are congested, and generally fuzzy....the new Paul Simon, Norah Jones, etc.
I have a somewhat different take on the issues raised by the OP. The issue that matters to me is not ticks and pops, which I am able to ignore for the most part, but rather the quality of the sound. The key point by the OP is when he said:

"It wasn't until I popped on some old disk that I picked up used from a garage sale somewhere that I heard what vinyl was really about: it was the smoothest, most organic, and 3d sound that ever came out of my speakers."

By that measure, if you really want to duplicate that experience, then you need to stock up on LPs pressed in the 1950s through mid-1970s. Even reissues that were pressed during that time period can sound great. For some reason, the vast majority of recordings made after the mid-70s and indeed nearly all pressings made after the mid-70s, just don't have that magic. At the risk of sounding like a total curmudgeon, I almost always prefer the sound of older pressings to so-called audiophile reissues regardless of price.

If the OP really wants to hear smooth, dynamic, organic music, then he should try a mono jazz or rock LP pressed in the late 50s or early 60s, ideally with a true mono cartridge like a Miyajima mono. That can knock you over! Talk about lack of progress in half a century.
Let me give a couple examples of LPs with organic sound. "Meet the Jazztet" is a 1960 recording on Argo that's available in both mono and stereo. Get the mono version since it sounds much better. This is the recording that first opened my eyes to the wonders of properly recorded mono jazz. A dedicated mono setup is not needed. I first heard it with a Benz Glider stereo cartridge. I was so mesmerized by the dynamics and warm, natural quality that I figured it should sound even better in stereo. Wrong! The stereo still sounds pretty good but the mono is the one with the magic.

Another great example is a Jim Hall LP "2 degrees East, 3 degrees West" which is a 1956 recording on Atlantic. The musicians are right there in front of you playing amazing music. You just won't get this kind of sound from a modern recording or a modern reissue.

Even much older recordings can have the magic. For example, the Charlie Christian studio recordings with the Benny Goodman Sextet and Orchestra date back to 1939, but they sound amazing.

Some people are apparently unable to hear past the occasional tick or pop in older vinyl. That's a shame because there is a lot of great music and great sounding music in these older records. And you will only get a glimpse of their sound potential if you listen to a reissue pressed in recent decades.
Were vinyl not such a pain, I would only play vinyl, especially 45 rpm reissues. And it is not as though I have an inferior digital playback system. I have the Empirical Audio music server and even now have dsd sacds on my system as well as HD downloads. These are absolutely amazing relative to 44.1/16 cds. But vinyl is still king!

Recently I replaced the StillPoints Ultra SSs on a StillPoints Component Stand under my Bergman Sindre turntable with an Ortofon A-90 cartridge with the new and expensive Ultra Fives. To say that my jaw dropped at the first few notes is an understatement. I could not listen to additional albums fast enough. The quietness allowed information I had never heard to appear and the realism and precision of the soundstage made everything else worthless.

But changing albums every fifteen or twenty minutes, cleaning styli, demaging the record, and having to get up and lift the arm when getting a telephone call and to not be able to skip around is a pain.

At some point I want to transfer vinyl to my hard drive using Pure Vinyl with RIAA equalization done in digital. I want to do it absolutely as good as I can. I really don't think it will equal the vinyl played in analog, but I have to hear for myself.
I have a few CDs of remastered hits from the 30s and 40's. THese are some of my favorite recordings to listen to these days. I grew up in the 60's-70's rock era when listening to most music that pre-dated The Beatles was not "cool". Being the geek I am, I still listened to a lot of classical and some jazz but tended to steer away from the older recordings. Big mistake! I am making up for that these days mostly at yard sales and the Goodwill Store. Luckily, most never learned the lesson I did about recordings from the "golden age". There was a time back in the 80's I would say when I became jaded by limiting what I listened to and found it quite hard sometimes to find new recordings that rally interested me. Now, I'll buy used CDs and vinyl by the dozens just to hear something, anything a little different until I get so backlogged Ijust have to slow down. I feel like I did about listening to music when I was a kid again. Life is good!
Newly issued material I find almost universally objectionable. That's attributable to the engineering and mastering, not any inherent fault of the medium. For some reason, reissues of older material on CD or SACD is really quite good.
When we issued both of our albums we did do digital backups, but the actual master tapes were analog. We did all the mixing analog as well. Now since I am an audiophile and the like you would think that it was me that influenced the band to do this but that is not the case. There was no CD.

I know for sure that we are not the only band recording that way although its probably a little unusual. But here in the Twin Cities I know of a number of very small recording studios; they tend to offer analog or digital. One artist in particular, Paul Metzger, has released all of his work on 180 gram LP and all of it has been recorded analog. A lot of the bands here in town have released LPs- its the cool thing to do.

So you can't count on all things 21st century to be digital. You just have to listen to the LP and see if its worth it or not.
Jeff Beck recorded his albums analog thru-out the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Obviously this was his decision and the sound is outstanding. However, his live album (2008) is digital and is the worst example of modern vinyl...compressed to hell with no dynamics.
I think dollar for dollar, vinyl consistently beats out CD regardless of when the recording was made. Certainly, I prefer analog recordings to digital, and 30+ years ago, all recordings were analog, but even with current stuff I prefer vinyl. I use a vintage Thorens TD-125 which I've restored and modified, and though its nice, I wouldn't call it a high end table. Still, I'm consistently surprised by the quality of sound it produces, and it trounces CDs over and over again. Sure, a $10K CD rig might best it, but a $2000 one has a tougher time keeping up.
It took me a long time to "give-in" to going back to vinyl. I had to circumvent my acoustical feedback/rumble problem. I have a suspended floor and it took a while to figure that one out. Clearaudio's top of the line would be grand, but alas, I will never see it. My front end isn't the quality the rest of my system is, but I have tried a few medium priced tables and think the cart is the most important ingredient in reproducing good sound from records. As long as your TT turns a constant speed, and doesn't pick-up rumble, all is good. I will also wash them on a semi-regular basis, zap them with a Zerostat and I'm ready. Most, if not all of "Mo-Fi" albums are very good, as well as half speed masters, but they are hard to come by. I try to buy 180-200 gram LP's but the weight really doesn't effect the quality-at least I haven't found it to. I have several 120 gram records that sound just as good, but they are 30 years old-at least. As with any medium, some sound better than others. I have purchased new LP's that arrive with a few pops, but the ambience you get is worth it. I had to laugh when I first went back to albums. I was listening to an LP and reached for the remote to skip a song. That was a special moment. Stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck on dumb I guess...
Back in the early seventies my brother brought back an Akai reel to reel (don't remember the model) from his tour in Vietnam. My friend purchased a new release of Grand Funk Railroad's Closer to Home. I dubbed it to a tape. Years later I found an Akai GX635D in a pawnshop cleaned and tuned it. Played the tape of Closer to Home and was blown away. Bought the CD version then compared it to the tape. The tape has so much more information than the CD, which now collects dust. I have around 100 LP’s of first pressings from the 70's to the 90's. They are such a joy to hear. I never play an LP unless I clean the dust off with an Audio-technica vintage cleaning system. I also tried converting LP’s to CD's by computer and CD recorder. It lost so much of the feeling I was there.
try the decemberists "the king is dead" album from 2011. its a stunning piece of vinyl.
If it was recorded digitally its compromised forever. A case in point, Abdullah Ibrahim's 'Water From an Ancient Well', recorded digitally, and it shows. Beautiful music but just doesnt quite make it as a fine analogue recording could have. On the other hand, Jefferson Airplane's 'After Bathing at Baxter's' cut in the late 70s is one of the finest recorded albums of all time...of course having Owsley at the helm didnt hurt. I find that if I put on a CD Ill listen for about 5 minutes then find myself doing the dishes, or cleaning up...but not paying attention to the music except as background. Vinyl is a different story. Vinyl rules...CD stands for COMROMISED DIGITAL. End of discussion.
I agree it's logical to buy new records in digital formats for those who have a digital player that can match their turntable.
Yes, a lot of vinyl of modern music sounds terrible. A friend of mine LOVES his vinyl but he agrees that most of the new pressings are of very poor quality, worse than your typical CD. In fact, some of them are completely screwed up and unlistenable. The range of quality is huge so it's always a crap shoot. It is clear the market warrants zero money or effort to make them - it's weak marketing at best. It is much easier to find a good-sounding CD version of the music and go with that.

Older vinyl can sound great if you have an expensive and fancy record cleaner, and yet, it will still often be noisier than the cheapest amplifier you can find. If an amp made as much background noise as most vinyl, it would be considered broken and thrown in the garbage.

I have heard vinyl sound fantastic many times, and I've tried it 3 times myself, but in the end, it isn't worth the hassle, room and expense of cleaning, or having it wear each time I use it, or all the extraneous noise, wow and flutter of the record, or dealing with the delicateness of the cart, nor the cost of all the stuff it takes to make it work well, not to mention the space for it all. Maybe if I was older, was not a mechanical engineer, and already had tons of records, I'd be more into it, but at face value today, it simply doesn't add up for me.
"try the decemberists "the king is dead" album from 2011. its a stunning piece of vinyl."

The CD is as well.
Some have alluded to it above, but plain and simple one can not categorically state CD is better than vinyl or visa versa, there are some CDs that sound great and some that don't; there are some records that sound great and some don't. It's always a treat to find a new recording that sounds awesome whatever the media.
I'm with LCD.

Music trumps format for me every time because I am first a music lover and have fine tuned both my vinyl and digital rigs to enable this. I am currently hesitant to change a thing in my system because dare I say it it meets my expectations essentially perfectly at present after many years of work to get it that way.

The addition of a plush recliner chair to my room was enough to throw that off even recently, but luckily I was able to implement a simple tweak with what I have to correct it.
Not cd vrs vinyl!
Old vinyl or new vinyl , there is great and horrible in both old and new. I own it. Is it harder to find quality vinyl now?
Not really, it just cost more. You won't find every new release in vinyl to be equal to the CD. Only some of the lables are maintaing quality in both mediums. I enjoy both.
It really depends on what type of vinyl rig you set up.

The better the rig, the less ticks and pops on lps new or used.

I am not saying that all lps will sound better, just that it's too easy to lay the blame of noise on the vinyl medium.

I've had some poor pressing from the late 70's and 80's and some great old mono' from the 50's and 60's.

I've also had a few snaps and pops on my nice new thick re-issue of Ricky Lee Jones-Pop Pop-perhaps this was an inside joke, but it is an imperfect pressing, you can see an imperfection in the vinyl, a ripple type artifact, there from the day it was pressed.

Getting back to the quality of the vinyl gear,on a properly cleaned( and De-magged) LP,I hear less surface noise on my improved Vinyl system than I did on the less costly ones before it.

Not saying you need to pay out big bucks,but I've found that most lower end vinyl set ups seem to also be the most noisy .

That includes new and old pressings.

I have some very old lps that were still in good shape that I bought new in the mid 70's.

I thought I knew them well.

With the new vinyl set up and after a proper cleaning,demagging, I am hearing details that I never heard before with any of my previous vinyl set ups.

For those who think that vinyl systems are all snap crackle and pop, you need to visit someone( dealer,retailer) who has a properly set up vinyl system, with properly cleaned records
and then hear what we die hard vinyl lovers are raving about.
There is a large variation in consistency of the mediums. When I buy a CD, I can more or less expect to know what it is going to sound like when I pop it in. Sure, there is both good and bad quality recordings, but really the limiting factor for the most part is the CD medium itself and not the mastering.

On the other hand, vinyl is merely -capable- of achieving great sound. The consistency of the audio quality of vinyl ranges from worse-than-CD to mind blowing. Only problem is, when I plop down $25+ for new LP, I have no idea where
on the scale it will be. So as opposed to CD, the limiting factor of vinyl is the mastering quality and NOT the medium (surface noise can be minimized or overlooked).

It has been my experience so far that older pressings lean toward the "mind-blowing" end, while most newer releases fall to the worse-than-cd side and this is perhaps the most frustrating thing about purchasing new vinyl.
Certainly not. Clicks and pops reveal bad pressinps (generally american or british) or bad/(badly mounted) cartridge. The first digital records came out in vinyl around 1979 from TELARC, recorded with Soundstream system (16 bit, 50Kz). I own 100042 and 10047. Mastered by Stan Ricker. Plating and Pressing by TELDEC Germany. Just out of curiosity i purchased the CD (pre-owned in eBay) of the Mussorkgky. The Vynil pressing sounds better on a Rega P5, Benz Glider and Phono Lehmann.
If memory serves it already sounded better with P5, Denon DL-103 and a MC phono in an ARCAM A22. But I only put my hands on the fire for the current Glider, Lehmann and Simaudio Moon i-5 Limited Edition, By the way I played the CD in An OPPO BDP-83 ussed the two channel DAC , linked to the Simaudio via Kimber Hero.
The only CDs that sound good are Refetence Recordings HDCD which are a 20 bit resolution.
SACD is another matter altogheter. RCA living Stereo, Mercury mastered by Wilma Cozart, and some DSD recorded by Pentatone sound quite good. They match the Timbre of Vinyl, but sound "lazy", lack rythm and pace of Vinyl.
I find the mastering to be every bit as hit and miss, regardless of medium. I agree with the assertion that we don't expect as much from CDs, and vinyl does have the potential to render a much more satisfying reproduction. There have always been less than satisfactory mastering/production. Some artists/bands/labels are notorious for putting out crappy sounding stuff. Others are known for consistent quality, still others are hit or miss.

Try Warren Haynes, Man in Motion.
the limiting factor for the most part is the CD medium itself and not the mastering.

On the other hand, vinyl is merely -capable- of achieving great sound. The consistency of the audio quality of vinyl ranges from worse-than-CD to mind blowing.

Hmm. I have an LP mastering system and a CD mastering system. I'm probably arguing nuances, but FWIW here are my experiences. The biggest limitation in CD is indeed in the media itself and not the mastering.

The same is not true of the LP. Here, the limitation has to do with the arm and cartridge. The mastering side of the LP is by any comparison the most unlimited thing in audio. LP cutters can do things in terms of dynamic range that are simply not possible with any other part of the audio system except for perhaps a microphone.

It is the limitations of playback that define how the LP is to be cut, not the limitations of the cutter. And the limitation of the LP has to do with the ability of the arm/cartridge to reproduce what is in the groove. The cutter itself, and the resulting vinyl, has abilities way beyond any digital system. But the cartridges and tone arms do have limitations and it is those limitations that the mastering engineer has to be cognizant of; this is the difference between a good LP and an excellent one.
Atmasphere is right. CD Redbook format has specifications that limit what is possible whereas vinyl does not.

Practically the issue is more how significant are the CD redbook limits and how often are the capabilities of vinyl recordings realized in practice?

The CD redbook format debate is well documented, no need to rehash that.

What is possible with vinyl is more an open book. My assessment/gut estimate is that overall less than 50% of modern vinyl format technical capabilities are realized in most popular recordings and even less most likely by most rigs used for playback, except perhaps for the very top, elite few %, and that comes only on occasional recordings via rigs that perhaps might be better classified as expensive laboratory gear than something the typical consumer is likely to own.
But Mapman what you described just highlights the potential for improvement in the sound of LPs. If somebody has a "typical consumer" phono playback system, he can still buy records and enjoy them, but later on if he upgrades his phono equipment the sound quality just gets better and better. While the same could be said for CDs, the magnitude of potential improvement is greater with LPs by far.
I think there should be some distinctions about modern vs older recording techniques.

Most digital recordings are done in a Frankenstein type way.

Most of the musicians "phone" their parts in, they are pro(really PRO!)Tooled, and put through all kinds of signal processing, and just like processed cheese compared to the real thing, what you get is the producers idea of what will sell to the masses.

Now go back in time.

The whole group gathered in one room for the most part, and there were a minimal number of quality tube mics placed with great care to capture all the subtle shades and nuances of the performance.

The recording engineer likely knew the musicians or at least was familiar with the music and genre and knew what to do to capture on tape what he was hearing with his own trained ears.

Then the tapes were transfered to other masters who were well trained in the pressing and manufacture of vinyl records.Folks who took pride in what they were doing.

The group or solo performer was usually photographed by another trained professional and the final product was a real labour of love for the music, musician and the process.

Everyone involved cared and respected the music,they respected the quality of their craft as engineers and they respected their audience, the record buying public, who perhaps had seen the ensemble in the very same NY club or at the least wanted to re-live that expereince again and again in the comfort of their own home.

Saddly it's all about the bottom line today, and for most they are quite happy with free downloads of poorly recorded and poorly performed music.

Kind of Blue is an example of a Classic in a number of ways.
How many Classics have any of us heard in the last few years in the new age of disposable music formats?

It's great news that so many of these well recorded Classics are once again available in vinyl format and that for the most part, care has been taken to re-issue this music with few if any flaws for a new generation to appreciate.

In any format.
I've been collecting and playing LPs since junior high school and now have a record collection numbering over 5000. Much of my collection is 1950s jazz, and most of them are mono recordings. Want to hear what mono jazz sounds like at it's best: Buy a mint recording of Dave Bruebeck's "Jazz In The U.S.A." Also, don't pass up mono classical recordings either. For example, some of the Mercury Living Presence records in mono are to die for.
Dear Solman989: ++++++ " that I heard what vinyl was really about: it was the smoothest, most organic, and 3d sound that ever came out of my speakers. I had never heard anything quite like it. All of the digital I had, no matter how high the resolution, did not really come close to approaching that type of sound. " +++++

I agree, the digital can't approach that type of sound. IMHO : Why can't approach it?, because analog/LP is totally faulty.

The analog signal is heavily manipulated, let see it:

when recorded and to be cutted ( LP. ) the signal must be equalized according to the RIAA standard and this means and equalization that goes from 20hz to 20khz +,- 20dbs!!!!!!!this deemphasis means added distortions, phase chnages, non-linear anomalies, added noise, additional stages where the signal have to pass through.
Then the signal is trasfered to vinyl with all imperfections where does not exist a perfect cutting system, here there is several kind of signal loses: certainly what is in the recording was not what was recorded before all that proccess.

When we want to hear the LP in our audio system that analog signal must be recovery through the phono stage for we can attain a flat frequency response ( just like exist ( with out RIAA eq. ) in a digital medium. ) so inside the phono stage that signal pass again for an additional RIAA eq. ( this time an inverse eq. ) with all the heavy degradation: distortions, phase problems, added noise, colorations, etc, etc, etc.

Inside that phono stage the very low output signal must be amplified ( sometimes 10K times!!! ) to a level where the preamp can handle it as it handle in "; natural"; way the digital signal that has a lot higher output level. Through the high gain proccess the signal pass through 3-5 additional stages that continue degrading the signal continue adding more distortions ( of every kind ), nothing of this happen with the digital medium. That very low output signal characteristic makes that the signal be extremely sensitive to be degraded by everykind of " pollulation " ( electrical/magnetic. ) where the higher digital output signal is a lot less suceptible of that kind of degradations.

All those is what happen to an electronics level now we have to add the worst of all the signal manipulation:

a cartridge to " read " the recorded information, a cartridge is a rudimentary " instrument " for say the least. Cartridge designers make some kind of " magic "/tremendous efforts for the cartridge can makes its critical/titanic job.

A cartridge is an " unstable " tool, everything affect its performance: kind of cantilever and cantilever build material, stylus shape and with which kind of quality was builded, room temperature, kind and quality of cartridge suspension, cartridge motor design, cartridge body resonances, cartridge ridiculous pin connectors, etc, etc, each part of the cartridge degraded the original signal with out exception.

After that the cartridge must be mounted in a tonearm for it can ride the LP and one of the first challenges that the signal has to deal with are the " stupid " tonearm wire connectors to the cartridge and then the in ternal tonearm wire and the the additional IC between the tonearm and the phono stage. In all those links the signal continue degrading, this does not happen in the digital alternative: so no signal degradation.

But the worst for the " end " ( sometimes I think the analog medium is: endless of problems. ):

now the stylus tip hit the LP grooves and at microscopic level that stylus tip start a heavy fight against the grooves/its compliance and tracking habilities to stay in the grooves to be in touch always and this happen almost never ( especialy with low compliance cartridges as the LOMC ones. ). The stylus tip is " jumping " generating distortions and harmonic distortions. All this " fight " is transmited through the cartridge body to the tonearm which start to resonate ( adding distorions, non.linear anomalies, atc, atc. ) according those cartridge self resonances and according the cartridge compliance/tonearm effective mass.

But all the information captured by the cartrdige has not only a doses of tracking distortions becuase non-perfect cartridge tracking habilities but distortions because the stylus tip never coincide with the grooves never coincide on how the grooves were cutted!!!!! not even in a linear tracking tonearms.

Why is that? for several reasons: the LPs comes all with waves that preclude a perfect alignement trhough all the LP tracks. There is no perfect tonearm/cartridge set up it doesw not matters which geometry alignment we choose: Baerwald, Lofgren, Stevenson, etc, etc, in all them there is tracking errors for a pivoted tonearm and that tracking errors means added distortions in the signal path. Btw and talking of set up there is no perfect cartridge set up_ VTA/SRA/azymuth, overhang/etc, load impedance, load capacitance, etc, etc. All these parameters all the playback time are changing because all the LP imperfections including different LP weights, excentricity LP " center " hole.
Don't forget the TT speed unaccuracies, speed unstability, rumble, wow&fluter, platter resonances, TT bearing ones, tonearm/TT mount board feedback and of course system SPL feedback that affect every analog rig.

I can go on and on and on with all the " thousands " degradation links where the analog signal must pass but as an example I think is enough.

Gentlemans, IMHO it is a " miracle " that we all after all those kind of degradations we still can enjoy the analog sounds!

+++++ " it was the smoothest, most organic, and 3d sound that ever came out of my speakers... " +++++

these and other adjectives that we audiophiles used to use when refereing to LP quality performance experiences does not comes in the recording in the original recording , those " characteristics " are a result of the heavy degradation that suffer the analog signal, degradation that does not exist in the digital alternative so that's why both mediums sounds different. Of course that digital has its own trade-offs, well I prefer it: is truer to the recording.

That we like it the analog alternative does not confirms and does not means in any sense that is right, IMHO is wrong almost dead wrong.

I prefer digital HR for music sound reproduction at home because I 'm nearest to the original sound that passed through the recording microphones with lower " artefacts " than in the analog domain.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I am equally split between old jazz and folk and newer electronic, gothic, and folk-psych. I'm very happy with the sound of both groups of music. I've had to work hard (and spend a lot of $$$) to get equipment good enough to play these different vintages and different genres but it's really paid off for me in a vinyl only system.
Rauliruegas, a very good explanation of the analog signal path and I understand your rationale for enjoying digital.
BUT, your analog setup is so beautiful I hope you are still using it. I can only dream of a setup like that.
Then the signal is trasfered to vinyl with all imperfections where does not exist a perfect cutting system, here there is several kind of signal loses: certainly what is in the recording was not what was recorded before all that proccess.

Raul, I would invite you to spend some time with a mastering lathe sometime. It may change your opinion!

The lathe can cut anything! It has dynamic range that must be very much in the range of the human ear itself- certainly far beyond that of any digital. It is this unlimited quality about them that makes them tricky to work with, as the cartridges and tone arms are the area where you have severe limited imposed- bandwidth, dynamic range, distortion and the like. The ability of the engineer to understand what can be reproduced is the mark of a good engineer.

But in general, the processing done by an LP mastering machine is minuscule compared to the damage done by an analog to digital converter, and all the digital process that follows.

There are those that say its a miracle that the LP system works, but its not a miracle, its simple engineering and an understanding of the nuances.
Dear Lowrider57: I'm a music lover and I still enjoy my analog set up but I'm not talking of what we like or dislike but more what is " right " against what is " wrong ".

IMHO we can't cover up the sun one " one finger ", we have to understand what happen in each one of our analog rigs during playback and IMHO what happen there is that those " " hundreds " links where the signal must pass degrade distort colored the cartridge signal where in de digital medium does not happen in that huge way.

The analog LP medium IMHO is not only imperfect ( nothing is perfect not even digital. ) but extremely faulty during playback.

Anyway, like all of you I'm still enjoy it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I tend to agree with Raul's latest stated position on both digital and vinyl.

DIgital signal processing is much more flexible and accurate in general than analog. I doubt anybody familiar with both technologies in detail could dispute that? CD redbook specifically was a compromise format but one that was well thought out and is now quite mature and very well executed for the most part these days. The potential for digital audio is wide open from a technology perspective. What happens will mostly be determined by the usually open market business drivers as determined by what people want and are willing to pay for.

On the other hand, the 331/3 vinyl format may have some untapped potential still as well that can be realized still by modern technology, but most of what occurs here will be quite expensive and not to far removed from a laboratory experiment in terms of complexity and cost and is not likely to find a wide market, especially as digital continues to evolve.

HEy, look, I'm an old time vinyl record playing lover, but the facts are facts. Some things continue to progress due to the value proposition and some do not. BEtween digital and vinyl, guess which one will continue to progress in a manner that works well for most? In many cases, the gap has already been closed between 331/3 vinyl and digital and digital is obviously continuing to move ahead at warp speed while vinyl is barely moving on the grand scale of things.