Why vinyl?

I understand the thoughts of a lot of you that digital is harsh and bright and has an edge. I know that analog has a warmer fuller sound, otherwise why would so many people put up with the inconvenience of records, cartridges, cleaners, tone-arm adjustments, etc. I used to be there. Of course all I had was a Garrard direct drive turntable. If the idea is to get as close as possible to the original source, why has not open-reel tape made a huge comeback. After all that's how most of the stuff was recorded in the first place. Very few were direct to disk recordings. Why would dragging a stylus through a groove be better than the original? There used to be a company out there called In-Synch that used the original masters and sold cassettes of them, dubbed at 1:1 ratio. I was the happiest person in the world when CD's came out and I could throw out my disk-washer and everything else that went with it, including the surface noise and the TICKS and POPS. Just something I've wondered about.
I'm with you. I love CD's and the digital technology. Once the music is numberized, the possibilities are unlimited! The best vinyl may have an edge (over redbook), but the future belongs to digital. I think vinyl persists because digital takes the human out-of-the-loop. No longer are you required to know how to carefully clean, polish, fuss, etc. It's like car guys no longer having the stick-shift option. Living with an automatic just changes the whole dynamic. If the MUSIC is good (and I'm in the mood) I don't care what box it comes out of...
I was the happiest person in the world this week when I sold my CD player. Now I can only play vinyl. And that's all I want to play, because when I put my CD player on, it sounded like it was broken in comparison to my TT. I will never buy another CD player as long as I live. I am using the proceeds to buy a large vinyl collection. Hey guys! If you aren't using your classic records anymore, give me a call. I know just what to do with them.
I dabble in both worlds. I also have an SACD player. Elmuncy, to appreciate vinyl you need to clean the LP's with more than disk-washer. I listened to vinyl again about 6 months ago, after about 16 years of 'perfect sound forever'. In a good system, it immediately sounded better than my SACD and CD's. Sure it had surface noise, but a VPI 16.5 w/ Disc Doctor brushes clean the old albums up very nicely. Surface noise is down over 90%. About the only time I hear pops anymore is in between tracks. As for the sound, listening is believing. The LP's are warmer, lusher, with more soundstage depth. It's more 'real'. That being said, I still do listen to cd's. When I'm busy or just plain lazy. CD's are definitely less maintenance. When friends come over and listen, they kick themselves for selling all of their LP's. My $2250 analog setup (that includes the VPI 16.5 record cleaner) easily sounds better than my $3500 cd player.
When CD's sound can match that of a good analog rig then I am all for it. In the meantime, vinyl still sounds far superior when done correctly, I think most who are comparing first hand would agree.
That's an interesting point about "why not tape?". Another question I've asked myself a few times about vinyl is whether the more limited selection of new releases is another form of audiophile I-only-listen-to-certain-recordings. This, of course, is a non-issue for somebody who listens to largely older music, but I like to listen to a lot of new releases.

I not only really like the convenience in terms of playback of CD, I also like the more limited storage space req's as well as the ability to have a complete system with fewer components / space. I also agree that while CD's are not perfect sound, now or forever, that digital is where the focus is going to be going forward, and there's some really neat stuff happening there. With storage becoming cheaper by the second, there will be more cool stuff.

None of this is said to suggest that vinyl isn't what those who have vinyl setups say it is, and certainly not to say they're wrong. I like convenience and efficiency, and to be honest, I never sit here and think, "man that CD playback is full of glare and harshness." In fact, I'm usually sitting here with a big smile on my face. I accept that I quite possibly don't realize what I'm missing, and someday I might explore that, but I learned a long time ago that sometimes you just ride happiness without asking a lot of questions.
To answer your question from the viewpoint of someone who still uses open reel tape as a source in his system, the problems are as follows:

1)Commercial open reel tapes are copies, not original masters. In this sense they are removed several generations from the original just as an LP or CD copies are.

2)As volitile as LPs are, tapes are often more so. Oxide shedding, stretching of the backing material and magnetic print through are common problems. Many compositions are particularly sensitive to temperature, heat and light.

3)The range of music available on open reel tape was quite small compared to the LP and the Compact Casette.

4)Most commercially sold open reel tapes are recorded at 7.5 ips. This is a very compromised speed from a sonic standpoint; archival quality machines found in studios generally run at 30ips.

I still believe that the more sources the better and even have a modified 8-track in my system as well as the tweaked Revox A-77 open reel machine. Most of my listening is still done with LP, as much to do with the depth of my collection as anything, with CD and FM tied for second followed by open reel and 8-track.
Viridian, Good Post.
I have just begun a rexamination of my life (which of course means a return to vinyl!) and I am finding that while I still love my CD's, I now am able to over look the surface noise on LP's and just enjoy the music.

Most of the time (recording dependent), they sound fantastic even through the ticks and pops. However,I am not in love with all the work involved, or the (at times)bad distortion from LP's that were mistracked many moons ago.

I'm never going to quit CD and I will likely purchase most new music on that format for the forseeable future. That said, I can go down to my local vinyl store and buy lots of great old music for $2 to $5 bucks a piece! My spousal unit hates seeing them again, but that is a whole different problem... :?)

I also miss album covers. I was talking to a friend the other day after getting an email about the "Best Concerts" thread. I had been going through my LPs and album covers evoke a feeling that I have never felt looking through my CDs. A lot like the feeling I got thinking about favorite concerts.
I hate jewel cases, they are too small for the wonderful art of the LP cover, they break all the time and its a big pain to remove the tape on the edge. CDs should come in album covers! Somehow I find room for my albums. And they do sound better.

By the way, has anyone experienced LP quality sound from reel to reel? Never sounded that good to me, what ever the cause.
The studio mastering speed is 15ips.
At speed of 30ips you will finish 2km tape in 15 min which is not suitable to record a long pieces longer than 15 min.
Actually it's not bad if you can walk or run 30ips everytime:)
The thickness of the tape and so the tracks matters for the best channel clarity. I used to have played with Otari MX5050 B2 that plays 1/2" tape with two 1/4" tracks. In order to record a stereo you can only use one side of an open reel.

Please note that among the three sources LP, CD and open reel tape, the tape has the smallest dynamic range and has to be more compressed depending on the type but still never greater than LP or CD. The dynamic range cannot be altered with spead and solely depends on tape design and physical/chemical structure.

As to CD vs. LP I don't mind VTA, cleaning and caring for my records. I don't even mind some clicks and pops.
I only mind about Click-free... Pop-free... Life-free...
I've tweaked my CD-based system to where (to my ear) there is a rich and warm midrange with no harshness or glare (so long as I don't do a direct comparison to vinyl). Like Kthomas, I ride the happiness of listening to the music and have let go of the temptation to create dissatisfaction with what I have. Owning a turntable would only create frustration since I know that I want the convenience and selection available with CDs.
Hey Marakanetz...15ips and 30ips are both used. It depends on who's doing it, what equipment they have, what kind of music they're recording, what sort of sound they want, and how many reels of tape they can afford to buy. :-) I've read interviews where guys said they preferred 15ips for rock because they liked the way it compressed certain instruments, even though 30ips was *technically* better.

Elmuncy...I think the main reason people still prefer the sound of analog to digital (and I happen to be one of them, but I still love the sound of my CD player and listen to it more often than LPs) is the fact that the 16 bit, 44.1khz CD technology is dated and compromises the sound to a certain degree (and it is noticeable on good systems). I don't think people will mind digital as much when(if??) a good high-resolution technology is widely adopted and executed properly. Although there is a sentimental side to vinyl that will probably never be replaced, and there is a certain "something" that the physical needle on vinyl contact provides...something that digital never will, no matter how high the resolution.
Thanks for the kind words Judit. Marakenetz, I was speaking of archival tape recording and 30ips is commonly used in this application as well as in many studios. It is a superior alternative to 15ips assuming the caveat that you identified of reduced recording time.
blkadr ... you're right. Sound quality aside, LPs are much more treasured posessions than CDs. And LPs look so cool spinning on a good deck.
As for sound I like both. CD for classical (because of low background noise) LP for rock (AC/DC, Zeppelin etc etc).
I belive there is a happy medium and both can co exist quit nicely.
I have over 800 Lp's the cost to replace them made my choice to buy a Turntable a no brainer.
When I want to get the best out of music I spin Viynl, When I want convinince I load up the 7 CD music bank and away I go.
Nice to have the best of both worlds.
I have been into digital for the entire time I have really been into 2 channel audio.

Only recently did I decide to get a turntable. I got a Basis 1400 with a RB300 tonearm and Micro Benz cartridge.

Listening to analogue is different than digital. I know this is painfully obvious, but those that have never heard a half decent turntable setup really have little to NO idea what good analogue sounds like. So they just might asume it is worse or maybe better than digital.

My initial analysis of Vinyl v. CD

-Blackest background, little to no background noise depending on the recording
-better dynamic rage for the most part
-more consistant sound, CDs are not affected by dirt and dust
-Digital in some ways has a clearer soundstage and in some cases a cleaner sound. This is to be expected. Whenever the analogue wave is sampled and filtered the end result is cleaner sound. Just listen to MP3's. MP3's are even cleaner than CD's in a lot of ways due to the way they are sampled eith less frequency than CD's.
-Digital only covers the frequency range of 20hz-20khz.
-Some people say digital is harsh or has an edge. I think this judgement has to do with the fact that digital is a cleaner sounding medium than Vinyl. In a lot of ways Digital does sound bright when compared to Vinyl.

-Difficult to maintain. This we all know.
-Vinyl play the complete audible analogue wave. This is what will always separate Vinyl from Digital. Something happens when you play back sound this way. It seeming has details and qualities that digital has not been able to pull out of the music. Sonic textures and layerings pop out that are just obscured in digital. Instruments seem to have a more organic quality to them. Voices seem to be more real...

Anyway these things being said, I am one to say that those who make judgements saying Vinyl is superior to digital or vice versus are DELUDING themselves and just being SILLY.

There should be room in every audiophile/music system for both formats. Each has it's pros and cons. But until I hear a system that can produce live unamplified music perfectly from ANY source, I reserve judgement as to what source is better.

I would state this though... Listening to Audio at home is a surreal experience that has some subjectivity to it. We try to reproduce music the best we can; however, everyone has slightly different tastes and slightly different ways they want to hear music. IT WOULD BE A SHAME TO TOTALLY DISCOUNT EITHER FORMAT, VINYL OR CD BECAUSE THERE IS CERTAIN MUSIC YOU CANNOT GET ON ONE FORMAT OR THE OTHER (OR SOUNDS BETTER ON ONE OR THE OTHER). For example... You really have not heard the Beatles until you hear them on vinyl... or Hendrix for that matter. Then there are several modern artist and recordings that are not being released on vinyl (only on CD).

Anyway... my 2C


I've been collecting vinyl since the mid 60's so I predate digital. Although I have an excellent CD player I much prefer the sound of analog. The annoying ticks and pops you refer to are much diminished with a good, well adjusted turntable and clean, well cared for software. Very early on I developed good habits handling and storing my library, so what some see as a huge maintenance nightmare is, in reality, no big deal. I love the jackets and the benefit of reading them without a magnifying glass. Like TWL I have considered selling my CDP since I have only 40-50 CD's. I have chosen not to do this because a lot of music isn't available on vinyl.

Finding quality used albums is a lot of fun and is preserving our musical heritage. A fair amount of my collection is very desirable to other collectors and will fetch huge sums if only I chose to sell them. This has never been my intent. Rather I seek out music or album art that interests me. The bonus of having something that appreciates in this insanely expensive hobby is nice for a change.

I don't know what direction I would go if I were new to this passion. Most likely I would embrace CD's but would be very envious of others that have what I now take for granted. Vinyl playback will not change but the digital domain will continue to evolve until it surpases analog. If I were CD based I would cringe at the thought of my stuff becoming obsolete through the years. In fact, that's how I felt when Michael Jackson released "Thriller" on CD early on. Perhaps the same good fortune will befall the redbook crowd that benefitted we vinyl lovers. Used albums were incredibly cheap from '85 to '95.

As the road sign said, "Pick your rut carefully. You'll be in it a long time".

Happy listening,
For what it's worth, I find the regimen of having to Disc Doctor all my old vinyl (and any new additions, both used and new) is a hassle. Tics and pops are annoyances which can be so obtrusive as to be difficult to ignore. Not being able to hit the remote and quickly navigate tracks is a pain. Having to disturb the listening experience to flip sides is a bummer. Frankly, I don't get off on being "required to know how to carefully clean, polish, fuss, etc. It's like car guys no longer having the stick-shift option." All that was fun for about 15 minutes. New music has to be purchased on digital. Finding good vinyl is hard, and bad vinyl is just...bad.

But as a pianist and studio musician, to my ears analog is just that much truer to what I hear than digital. Dynamic range on orchestral works (i.e., Mussorgsky's Pictures, Beethoven's symphonies, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos) on good vinyl cannot be touched by the CD's I've heard.

Now, granted I don't have SACD, I'm not running a transport and DAC, and all that may make a difference. An expensive difference.

But to my ears, there's just no question. Inconvenient, messy, and all...I got into this for the music, not as a hobby (no disrespect intended to you hobbyists). It just sounds truer on vinyl.

Tim Wat
Why vinyl? Why not. Like Lugnut I have albums that are 30 years old (ones that I bought new; I have other albums that are older which I bought used) which still sound great today, because I took care of them. I don't wash my records everytime I listen to them, only when I feel that they need it. I remember when Telarc issued the first digitally recorded LP. I ran out and bought it and took it right back after listening to it. It was not good and although digital recording has improved over the years, I still hear those blistering high notes. I have a CD player/recorder which I use to dub LP's. The one's I make from LP's sound better than most of the commercial stuff, even with the pop's and ticks. Yes, LP's can be a pain in the ass, but it is the only medium I really enjoy and I am willing to go that extra mile required.

As to commercial audio tapes. They were relatively expensive, they wore out with play (all tapes do), and there could be compatibality problems between the deck they were originally recorded on and the deck used in playback. Also, only the really expensive reel to reel decks could maintain the correct speed throughout the tape.
I believe now is the best time to jump back to vinyl.

Why vinyl?
And why now???

When LP were popular, the playbck technology(cartridge, tonearm, turntable or even phono preamp design) were still at the "Stone Age" !!!!

Now we have the best tonearm, best mc cartridge, best turntable, best phono preamp ...... The playback technology for vinyl were at its peak now!!!! Right now!!!

If more people are jumping into the vinyl now, there will be even more breakthrough in the vinyl playback technology in the near future since progress are depend on the consumer demand.

And finally if you have the chance to listen to a playback from a hi-end, high quality and porperly set-up turntable/tonearm with mc cartridge.

Afterward you will ask yourself. "Why digital?"
The Sonic Differences:

Just what is it about vinyl’s sound that gives it the sonic edge? Perhaps the most effective way for me to contrast the differences I hear between the two mediums is to compare them to two differing motion-picture formats, celluloid (or film stock) and video tape. As you watch a motion picture—that is, actual film in a theater projected by light onto a screen—there is an overwhelmingly three-dimensional perception to the image. There is more vividness to a motion picture viewed on celluloid. Images have more detail, colors are rendered with more vibrancy, detail is more vital, contrast more stark and nuances exhibit more power over the viewer. These distinctions, readily apparent to anyone that chooses to compare both a film and its video-taped transfer, all serve to create greater involvement with the motion-picture experience. Although the videotape catches the essence of the film, these more subtle interpretations and variations just don’t make the translation. So I find it with vinyl.

Timbre, like the color in our celluloid film, is more natural and correct sounding. Bass is more full, round and rich. Vocals are more present, providing more of a sense of the "body" that created them, be it flesh and blood, wood or metal. Cymbals are more detailed, more bronzy and lifelike. They are more likely to shimmer over you rather than splash at you. The soundstage, again much like the film image, is more dimensional in its layering, providing a better sense of both the real space of the individual instruments as well as its placement in the venue. There is a greater sense of the space around instruments, and of the bloom of each instrument itself. The image, just like that of the film, is wider, deeper and especially taller. There is an overall vitality and life to the music that is inescapable—to me anyway.

With the CD, bass tends to be more flat, coming across more in a two-dimensional sense, with less depth and less breadth. Timbre is often less honest. Vocals nearly always seem rougher and have less body. Cymbals sound "whiter," often with a splashy, tishy sound. The stage is usually more shallow. Layering is rendered much more discreetly, more like a two-dimensional cut-out suspended in space rather than projecting spherically in all directions and overlapping in space. The CD portrays the acoustical space much like a videotape foreshortens and flattens the cinematic image. The obvious "flatness" of the videotaped image is inescapable by comparison. The image is most often more prone to wander. While I will acknowledge that these attributes typically lessen as the cost of the player/DAC rises (and conversely, increase as the price drops), they nonetheless describe the overall performance of the digital medium in general. There is an overall sense of "less" rendered by the CD when compared to that of good analog playback, and it is painfully obvious.

Neil Young, the grizzled rock veteran, has a much more graphic analogy for the contrast. He said that if you equate listening to vinyl to the feel of the water falling on you when standing under a waterfall, then listening to digital is like standing under someone pouring buckets of ice over you.
Nice analysis Thomasheisig!

For a long time, I wouldn't buy a TT or records. Everytime I heard a demonstration of why vinyl was better, it wasn't, but it was different in most cases from CD's. I based my audio experiences on CD's and concluded that clean, low background noise and ease of operation was paramount.

I was at Andy Payor's home last year and heard vinyl for the first time and it was totally different than digital. It reproduced the room with air and space while the dynamics of the cd and the imaging of the instruments were the stock and trade of great CD.

I have both, but regularly consider selling my CD player. I probably never will, but I think about it a lot.

Vinyl is better. It is more detailed, more open, has more depth and is more lifelike. BUT. AND I MEAN BUT... I have never heard any other TT other than a Rockport Serius that I would have bought considering the pain in the ass getting into vinyl is. I have tolerated a phono stage making static noises for six months while being told it's something else. Returned it four times for repair and await its return. Have to clean 5000 records, sort, inspect and listen to crap. Building shelving to hold tens of thousands of pounds of records is expensive and so is the steel I beams to hold them up.

However, when I heard the real deal I was compelled to own and listen to records. I hope that more will have the opportunity to experience the full depth and emotion of great audio with a great turntable.

Bill E.
Just a couple of additional thoughts. When CD came out it was "the death of vinyl". Well not so fast. There has been a rebirth of interest in vinyl and I think it was initially fueled by the abysmal sound quality of alot of the early CD releases. Now there are more and better choices when it comes to TT set-ups. I can even think of several Turntable manufacturers that started up (and are still doing well) after CD came out. Why now? Well someone thinks its still a viable (and marketable) format.

Also another Neil Young analogy. He once likened digital sound to floresent lighting, you may not be conscious of the fact it is constantly turning itself on and off but it can irritate you none the less.

I listen to CD and LP on modest equipment. CD is getting better and if I could afford it I would explore the best digital. But if I had the coin it might end up going towards a top notch analog set-up.
I read an article about 5-6 years ago where sony built the best, 24-96 digital recorder they could, and they took it to oceanway studios. In short, the analog tape still won out. There are more posters here that would know more about that than I would.
There are meny ways to view the differences/superiority of cd's and records, but for sound, the record will always beat the cd provided the playing field is equal.
The first reason is there is a LOT more information that can be stored on a typical lp than a 16-bit cd.
The second is that the technology and cost involed for accurate reproduction of a cd is more complicated and costlier than a record.
For 100$ or 200$ it is probably hard to find an anolog rig that would sound better to most people than a cd player of that amount. But I could easily put together a record player for 400$ that would outclass a 400$ to 1000$ cd player. There are many record playing systems out there that cost 2500$ that no 16-bit player could touch in terms of sound quality at any price, that sounds so obviously better that it is not a matter of opinion.
The reason cd's get a reputation for sounding harsh the way you desribe is because when things go wrong in a cd player, or rather, things in the design are a limitation to sound quality, that is the first thing to happen with the sound quality. Vinal is the opposite. But you can easily have a record player that sounds harsh and nasty and metallic. For me, it is usually a struggle to get my cd player to sound as clean and detailed as my analog.
Consider this- a speaker is a magnet, with a coil, and produces sound by means of a varying electrical input. A microphone is a diaphram that has a magnet, a coil, and produses an electrical output. A tape head produces a signal through a coil onto magnetic tape. Do you see it? All processed the same way.
A cartridge is like a microphone but replaces a diaphram getting soundwaves from the air with a needle that gets signal from a hard surface. So it is pretty easy to understand that a record playing system can ultimately be so capable of a high level of fidelity.
There is a lot more that has to happen in a digital playback system to produce a signal to listen to. And that signal, which started from a magnet/coil has to end with a magnet/coil.
Sure, there are a lot of things/alterations that can, and do happen to the signal that make sound quality suffer in a record player, but a lot of these same things also apply in degragading the sound quality in a cd player. They just have a different effect on the sound quality. The same rules of preserving the integrity of the signal still applies.
If you don't believe me, (extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof), try spending some money on analog the way you spend it on digital. It's quite honestly hard to say how much, because the more you have spent on a cd player, the less of a percentage of that you would have to spend on a record playing system, But you could go to your local dealer, and say, "my digital system cost me 'x' amount of dollers, and if that analog system for the same amount sounds better than my cd, I'll buy it, and eat my shoe".
If it doesn't, e-mail me and I'll give you 10 bucks.
Thomasheisig, You realise, of course, that film playback is "digital" at 32 frames a second!? Be carefull in your analogies.
Salut, Bob P.
inpepinnovations, something more to say ?
Or is that all ?
It is a example my friend and btw, a picture shot with a SLR Camera and a colour slide film is much more sharper,has much more colour information than a picture shot with a digital camera.
The difference is in the detail.
Have a nice day.
Come on, inpepinnovations -- that's 32 analogue frames/sec :). There's no d to a conversion... IMO, Thomasheisig was just making an analogy regarding the reproduction characteristics. Cheers!
Thomas & Greg, I am just pointing out the dangers of using an inappropriate analogy to try to make a point. And, don`t be so sure that the frames are analogue and not digital in the 32 frames/sec play back.

Salut, Bob P.
I give up. You're right. I've just ordered a new, to me, turntable, and can't wait. I dragged out my old Garrard DD75 and sat and actually listened, and could tell even from that. A shot cartridge and a crappy TT sounded wonderful. Thankyou all for helping me to "see the light"
Really bad analog to digital conversions is a good reason.
Sure the Rolling Stones and Beatles etc get state of the art treatment but if you like music from the 60s or minor artists the vast majority of it is awful. This holds true especially for soul and other popular music. I just listened to a great album by Shirley Ellis with her hit "The Name Game". Mono vinyl from 1963 and absolute incredible fidelty and recording quality. I pulled out one of those compilation CD's that had the track. It was like a different song. Probably some fifteenth generation dat dub. If you like modern recordings that are digital to begin with CD is fine, but if it's old stuff that you like you are missing out with the silver disc. My set-up cost an unreasonable amount of money but it does give me satisfaction each and every day. A bargain actually.
The CD version of Donovan's Mellow Yellow can't touch the Epic mono version. Incredible sonics for a pop album.
I was just browsing at the SF Stereo yesterday and came across two systems they had set in their lobby for auditions. The two systems were like opposite sides of the spectrum.

System 1 consisted of dynaudio temptation, Krell FB300, and Krell cast CDP.

System 2 consisted of dynaudio 1.3SE 25th anniversary, project RM-9, Project carbon tonearm, sumiko blue point, audio fidelity phono, and Krell KAV amp and pre-amp.

Before actually listening to either systems, I must be honest and say that I was more intrigue at system 1, mainly due to it's size and $$$$. However, after listening to both system, my ears were more attracted to system 2. The soundstage, depth, warmthness, and overall listening experience was amazing. Considering the difference in $$$, system 2 was up there if not more enjoyable to listen to then system 1.

Besides the sound characteristics of vinyl, I think prefer vinal over CDs because it's has a life. Records comes alive and will eventually looses its quality over time and usage, where CDs can have unlimited playing hours. Vinyl are in ways like human, which I think makes it more interesting and lifelike to experience over CDs. Vinyl requires tweaking, cleaning, and more hassels than CDs. I can say the same about keeping a human being alive. At end of the day it's all worth it.
The ticks, pops and maintenance of vinyl are just not worth it. Have you heard the remastered Stones CD's? They sound terrific without any harshness. But my system is certainly not an audiophile one.
Because it touches, moves and inspires every time.
that's why.
keep the vinyl spinning.
I must chime in here as a long time CD listener and brand new vinyl user. Vinyl is just way better. It has nothing to do with human factors like the fact that vinyl deteriorates like a human. If I could get vinyl sound from a CD, trust me I'd be the happiest of all. But the reality is it just sounds way better, even with the unwanted cracks, pops, and all. More lifelike, more realistic, more pleasing. The traces that the music is being digitally reconstructed simply aren't there with analog.

I do think eventually digital will catch up and be able to reproduce with record-level quality, yet retain all the advantages of CD (if the public supports such upgrades...mp3 is frightening evidence of the contrary). I remember being told at one point that the CD's bandwidth is greater than the human ear can detect. This flat out lie was probably created as part of a CD marketing campaign, where they doctored some data or played some 80 year olds some test tones or something.

Seems unrealistic to ditch CD's. For me, best bet is to still collect and play CD's, but keep some good quality records on hand for my at home, dedicated listening.
I love the way the original question concerned open reel tape and the respondants have coopted it into a thread contrasting CD and vinyl replay.
Viridian, perhaps because it is impossible to find new releases on open reel tape. Only two formats remain to discuss, I.E.: (from post originator).

"I understand the thoughts of a lot of you that digital is harsh and bright and has an edge. I know that analog has a warmer fuller sound"

Thus, the topic began with a statement of digital versus analog.
No, Albert, I can't read it the way that you do. The question asked is, if LPs are held in high regard sonically, why isn't open reel tape the preferred sonic medium as it is closer to the original. As far as there only two mediums left to discuss, that is your opinion, clearly not the opinion of the originator of the thread. Oh, and Lucky's doing fine, got him some flea powder, that did it.
I have recently gotten back into vinyl after 15 years. All things being equal I prefer the sound over cd's. The only down side of vinyl to me is the time limitation of one side of a record. But other than sound quality there is something special about record albums. From the early seventies thru the mid eighties I aquired hundreds of records. Even though I didn't even have a turntable in my system for many years and at times thought I never would again I would not sell my albums. They just ment to much to me. Cd covers and packaging can't compare to LP's. Almost all of my friends that are big music fans reguardless if they care about stereo equipment or not still have all their old albums stored safely away somewhere in their house. I haved looked through their collections drooling over items I would 'kill' for but knew better than to try to buy them. This emotional attachment to vinyl may sound irrational but I have found it to be true.
Digital breaks up the unitary spatial perspective into planes, isolates players into "bubbles", effecting the illusion of players playing together, does not replicate infinite dissipation of wave front, nor in depth perspective, nor is foundational harmonic fabric of voice comparable to analog, nor in integration of transient, core projection and decay, nor does digital replicate space in a dimensional sense, nor does digital properly replicate symmetrical projection of soundwave, all vis-a-vis analog, and so on.

I use digital and analog, each quite alot, but it would never occur to me to say that there is not a hierarchy of performance because the above factors are "subjective", or because such an adopted position has that warm mushy feel of politically correct egalitarianism. There ARE some truths that we can say are superior, there are some ideas which are better, there are some actions which give rise to greater knowledge, and discounting this dynamic to all of evolution simply because you want to stay with digital, or defend all digital users - as if that needs to be done - is, well, missing the point, to be kind.

The above factors are important to replicating music (not just sound), they are not relegated in importance by radical subjective arguments that ignore that some truths are more true than others, and...

Analog is still superior to digital as a means of replicating the musical experience at home, which in no way negates the use of digital for that same, albeit less capable, purpose.
I know at least one person who still uses open reel as a main source of music. The tapes are old, but so is the revox, but neither can be replaced.
I wouldn't mind getting a revox myself some day.
Asa, well said. I agree completely.
OH MY GOD, Unsound, we've met in the middle! I saw your post and thought I was in for a real drumming (which, sometimes, I am...). Thanks though.

Gosh, really thought I had trolled good on that one...Hmmm, maybe I'll switch to a Mister Twister, or a Rebel floater, or maybe a spoon. I must be losing my touch...

No one gonna give me crap for big word "egalitarianism", or for polemic as not-nice-and-warm-and-fuzzy enough? Jeeeez, you guys, come on!

Muralman, 6ch, detlof, please, hit me!

Oh well...

Oh yea, the digital rig sounded very nice last night...
I am eating peanuts, don't bother me! Oh, you want some? ;-)
Hi William!

Yes, I can see that, like Elmucy, that if ticks and pops just happened to drive you crazy that going analog would not be for you. I would say that, yes, I don't like them either, but I've also found that as my analog rig has gotten better, and I've used a record cleaning machine, and taken care of my records in that context, that such distractions have lessened significantly.

I know that there are some people that will never get past the ticks, but with the above progression, I think, if you allowed yourself to go that way, many of those people might find that the remaining ticks become, for listening purposes, insignificant.

Tape: ends up running through your fingers like sand...

On analog vs. CD, its an old topic, and I keep up with it, like many do, because every once in a while someone gets a TT and gets terrifically juiced about our 'lil mutual quest. How can that be bad?
I like vinyl for the "cheapness". Just today I bought a stack of 45's and a couple LP's at Goodwill for four dollars. Last week, I was in the next town north of where I live picking up some VW parts I bought off of E bay; I casually mentioned that I had fixed a turntable I got off of E bay. He said, You listen to records??? and then went inside and got a stack of records - mostly rock from the sixties an early seventies and asked, Is Fifteen dollars fair??? I said yes!
Even in High School in the eighties, I bought new records for eight or nine dollars each instead of a CD for fifteen. The sound was great to me then, and I had one of those "linear tracking", "P-mount" turntables. I'd record those records on a cassette and after buying the blank cassette, it was still less than the price of a new CD. I still play those cassettes, and they still sound good to me.
All of those records I bought new in the eighties are still at my mom's house, mostly unplayed for the past fifteen years. I finally got myself a "good" turntable, and records sound better than ever - from old Beach Boys and Temptations, to Virgil Fox and E. Power Biggs on the Organ, to some new 2002, unopend, hip hop records I bought the last time I was in the City...
I do buy CDs now, but most of my CD's are bought directly from "small-time", independent musicians and bands that I hear live. I always buy the CD when the musician or band sells them after the show. Never does the CD sound as good as the live performance.
I did buy the Alan Parsons project CD that was released around 1992. I thought the sound was harsh (on a late eighties Kyocera CD player) I recorded it onto a cassette, and that smoothed out the sound, to my ears. But that is a different issue, the variances from cassette deck to cassette deck and variances between brands and types of casette tapes. -JB
no one loves vinyl more than me...but its about the music..not the software..how can anyone say that compact discs are a bad thing if they get the masses to spend more time playing music.
I agree with that too jrd, wholeheartedly. But it would be nice if they could hear analog too - good analog - and make their decision from that point of reference, if they are so inclined. Good point to remember though.
It is about two years ago, that I started experimenting with open reel tapes again, comparing Studer and Otari machines and finally settling for an Otari, where good ICs and PCs made the biggest difference. I built up a small collection of r2r tapes through Ebay and found the sound of big bands like Hampton's, Basie's and Ellington of course simply stunning. Tape hiss was minimal. The same experience with classical music tapes, even most of the DGGs were excellent. Well recorded tapes have a better presence and immediacy than the LPs of the same performance, so I must say, that Elmuncy really does raise a good question. Comparing CDs to tapes, especially with classical music makes me want to get rid of my CD-rig and buying more old tapes for the money even more than I would, when comparing those silver things to vinyl. Listening to a well set up r2r frontend really drives home the bitter thought, how much has been lost and how music lovers all over the world have been misled and cheated by those perpetrators of "perfect sound forever".
Heres my 2 cents worth 1st pops and clicks, pops are dirt and clicks are scratches you can clean you lp's and get rid of most of the pops. If you have some lp's with some hairline scratches, you could use a low output moving coil Cartridge. 2 that I have used, the Audio Technica AT-OC9 moving coil cartridge, shelter 501 MKII these 2 are very quiet unlike my vandenhull frog I also think a lot of MM cartridges are noisier too, well what I am saying is some cartridges are quieter than others and a cartridge that is not set up right will also be noisier.

This noise problem is also dependent upon the lp and where and how it was made. The audiophile lp's, Japan imports, etc. are better, are always quieter. I rarely ever clean my lp's and I don't have any problems with pops or clicks. I always when I get a new lp (this most times means new used lp) I put it in a brand new audiophile inner sleeve and a Japanese outer sleeve. I have had about 1500 LP's for about 10 years now. Seams to stay at that number even though I buy and sell a lot. I also believe in Last record perservative this stuff works I have a few LP's that I use when testing or setting up a cartridge and those lp's still sound like new. I have played them over a hundred times, sometimes the same track over and over again.

I have just read a post about disc doctor cleaning system and I think I will get me one so when I get a new lp I can clean it before I put it in its new sleeve then this should be it as far as cleaning the lp goes.

I will admit sometimes I get frustrated when I am setting up a new cartridge and I say "man this is to much work maybe I should go the cd route" but you know I won't because CD just does not (to put it simply} contain as much of the music as lp, most times not nearly as much.

All LP's are not equal either, a first pressing will always have more information than a reissue and the halfspeeds,Japan,holland,GDR,UK,DCC,CLASSIC,Blue note DMM audiophile pressings,MFSL,etc. If you can get these they are better than a USA reissue pressing and sometimes better that a first press. That is why guys go for promos and test pressings they are the first generation pressings.

I have many usa first press lp's over 30 years old that will kick the crap out of any new cd or sacd or dvd audio. These old lp's look like new are almost noise free and sound better than a new reissue, (but the DCC and CLASSIC records reissues I have are great and the best lp's made period.)

I also agree with the comment that this is a great time for analog. The technology is getting better and better and the price is coming down. Some new players on the market are using dc motors ect.

I have said it before HI FI is about the pursuit of the best sound not convenience.

Ya I have some cd's but they stay in my car.