Vinyl/tape wear degradation vs. digital

Not wanting to be accused of dragging the "Vinyl Bargain or ripoff" thread too far OT...

The "thing" about vinyl and tape is that there is physical contact between the storage medium and the sensors. Some tout this as an advantage for vinyl, but this means incremental wear to both the medium and the sensor (record/play/erase heads, phono stylus/cartridge), which must be replaced to maintain original fidelity. With vinyl, the intention is to minimize damage to the fragile medium, the stylus (and cartridge) being the mechanical wear items. Consumer-level tape is the opposite, where the tape is intended to wear and be replaced relatively inexpensively, with minimal wear to the heads. But both records and heads wear out eventually. Obviously higher quality vinyl pressings will last longer, but then the cost goes up.

Back in the day, my albums were bought new and played the first time to record to cassettes. The cassettes were used for day-to-day listening, with the vinyl only used when in a serious listening mood or to re-record to replace a worn-out cassette.

Plus consider all the rest of the precision/complicated mechanisms required to engage/drive the record/tape past the stylus/head and correctly align them relative to the medium. Rube Goldberg would be proud of the mechanisms/switching in hifi cassette decks. Higher performance tape oxides tend to be more abrasive, so head wear is accelerated. Vinyl fidelity requires a certain mass/anti-skate force be applied to keep the stylus tracking properly, so it is an endless battle between better fidelity and increased wear.

Digital eliminates all that, a digital file is not damaged or used up by repeated plays. Lossless digital has become increasingly practical with cheaper/large-capacity/miniaturized storage and ever-increasing cpu cycles. This trend will continue to improve digital quality and accessibility in the future. Vinyl and tape have been at their best practically possible quality/wear characteristics for decades, often employing electronic noise-reduction (NR) management (Dolby, etc.) to get the "best' from the format. Ya, a handful of well-heeled or very devoted vinyl/tape audiophiles may be able to avoid all electronic NR processing, but for the budget-conscious hobbyist it is a necessary evil. Do I dare mention digital NR or equalization for vinyl/tape?

I think one of the major benefits of buying new pre/amps and speakers over older analog-source-designed gear is that they are being designed to best accommodate the digital "sound". Just like amps/speakers were designed to get the best sound from the record/tape characteristics of the day. Now we are seeing amps/speakers that get the best out of the extended highs and lows that digital easily delivers without being harsh or oppressive. A similar design shift took place on the move from shellac to vinyl, where sonic as well as the stylus/cartridge/mass parameters significantly changed. Then from mono to stereo, it wasn't as simple as twinning the amps and placing the speakers in opposite corners of the room. I'll even stir the tube/semiconductor beehive... tube amps didn't emphasize the worst characteristics of the shellac/vinyl of the day, whereas early semiconductor amps did tend to significantly emphasize those flaws.

Digital audio will continue to improve in quality and accessibility, even the current crop is light-years ahead of the first CD and MP3 tech. Full analog vinyl and tape gear/systems may improve a bit going forward, but the wear issue will never go away unless some improved and reasonable expense materials are found to eliminate record/stylus and tape/head degradation.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
"The LP (from "long playing"[1] or "long play") is an analog sound storage medium, a vinyl record format characterized by a speed of 33 1⁄3 rpm, a 12- or 10-inch (30- or 25-cm) diameter, and use of the "microgroove" groove specification. Introduced by Columbia in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry."


In 1948, you really didn't have many choices. It was grooves cut into vinyl/shellac or nothing. And that remained true up until the invention of Digital Music in the form of the CD in 1980.

But that means there are countless millions of vinyl albums out there, representing a very substantial investment to those who have collected Vinyl over the years, in fact, even for a modest collector, we are talking thousands of Pounds. Should I throw all that away?

Yes, vinyl and tape are subject to wear, but I have albums that are decades old that still sound fine. The trick is to keep them clean and play them on decent equipment. So, the wear is not really that much in the grand scheme of things. Definitely there, but not that significant for most people.

And given that there is something of a nostalgia for vinyl and new issues are being released, for those interested, there is still justification of continue to buy and listen to vinyl.

But no one is forcing you to collect and play vinyl. Clearly CD/Digital has some advantages, and in other ways perhaps less than ideal. But equally no one is forcing anyone to play CDs or other Digital Formats. Each is allowed to choose for himself, and if I happen to choose Vinyl, your life is in not way deminished because of that choice ...so... don't worry about it.

All formats have some place in a modern Music System. I choose Vinyl because I have been buying and playing vinyl for decades, and see no reason to throw those Thousands of Pounds away, or to pay again, to have that same music on CD? But at the same time, I do have new music on CD, and on occasion I Stream music. It is absurd to think that you are only allowed one and only one format in your system. Follow your interest, and within a context, all forms and formats are valid in a modern music system.

So in my opinion, this is a pointless discussion to have - Play what you have - Play what you want - and others who make different decisions are not diminished because of your/my choices.

But then ... that's just my opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
Hi Steve.. no disagreement there at all. However, my suggestion is that if someone has a substantial investment in analogue music , they can potentially ensure its long survival by digitising it. Then when it is digitised, it is suitable for curating, the vinyl gains a much longer lifetime. The argument about limited bandwidth etc on CD, which I don't really subscribe to can be eliminated by digitising to 24 bit 96k or 24bit 192k..which is way beyond anything that MQA will claim.
 
I'm not advocating "forcing" anyone to be on either side of the analog/digital divide... a divide which is rapidly disappearing as the industry adopts digital from the studio to the living room. Finding full analog recordings will only get harder over time... does anyone do direct-to-disk master recording anymore? Time and tide wait for no human.

It IS instructive to those (re)entering the vinyl scene to understand the basic realities of contact-media, which us old-timers take for granted. The myth that vinyl always sounds "better" than digital and even is the epitome of home sound reproduction is demonstrably untrue. Those who promote this should be confronted as often as the claim is made. Certainly vinyl can be very good, even excellent, but the cost and effort to achieve that level is far greater than vinyl promoters let on.

I get that vinyl promoters are trying to increase the market, so more titles will be (re)pressed at reasonable quality/price. I remember the RSO re-presses and they SUCKED, the records were thin, easily warped/damaged and the grooves were visibly shallower. The sound suffered to the point those represses, no matter how cheap, were not good value. Hopefully modern represses are better.

I fear this latest resurgence at best will be a brief reprieve, especially as digital and the systems to record/play it through continue to improve as has been seen. Knowing that, many novice vinyl adoptees may soon look at the cash they spent getting vinyl gear/records and wish they had simply bought better amps/speakers and lossless media. A decent-quality smart phone can be the only device needed to provide a lossless source for a home stereo. I use my old iMac to feed my stereo. Wifi makes this strategy even more convenient. My nearly-30-year-old kids have TVs/game-consoles/computers but no dedicated stereo gear. They like to listen to mine when they visit, but have no plans to spend on digital-sourced stereo hifi, let alone vinyl.

Sure decades-old, meticulously cleaned/stored records might sound "fine", but at what point do they begin to lose the unprocessed, finer, warmer sonic texture that is the reported major advantage of vinyl over digital? Impossible to tell, as the changes are so slight but accumulate and accelerate with use. Newbies need to understand contact media is not a buy-once proposition in the same way as digital media usually is. CDs do eventually break down, but digital files do not in normal circumstances.

I was an early adopter for what was considered good quality vinyl listening against the overwhelming backdrop of so many crappy Gerrard record changers and ceramic cartridges. I bought new (and still have) a late 1960's Thorens TD-150 I later fitted with the 160 arm, Shure V15-III then later a MicroAcoustics 2002a cartridge. Ya, no where near the top audiophile pile even back then, but WAY better than most consumer stereo available at the time. The cost/effort to refurb/upgrade my vintage vinyl gear and then find/buy new records will get me a lot of lossless digital files. Which I purchase at a mouse-click.

So I'm not coming at this as someone who hates vinyl or even tape, but I can't see how pure analog can compete with lossless digital going forward, except as a very small sub-niche of the larger hifi stereo niche market.

To rejig an old racing aphorism, "Quality sound reproduction costs money, how much can you afford to hear?"
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
I'm not advocating "forcing" anyone to be on either side of the analog/digital divide... a divide which is rapidly disappearing as the industry adopts digital from the studio to the living room. Finding full analog recordings will only get harder over time... does anyone do direct-to-disk master recording anymore? Time and tide wait for no human.

It IS instructive to those (re)entering the vinyl scene to understand the basic realities of contact-media, which us old-timers take for granted. The myth that vinyl always sounds "better" than digital and even is the epitome of home sound reproduction is demonstrably untrue. Those who promote this should be confronted as often as the claim is made. Certainly vinyl can be very good, even excellent, but the cost and effort to achieve that level is far greater than vinyl promoters let on.

I get that vinyl promoters are trying to increase the market, so more titles will be (re)pressed at reasonable quality/price. I remember the RSO re-presses and they SUCKED, the records were thin, easily warped/damaged and the grooves were visibly shallower. The sound suffered to the point those represses, no matter how cheap, were not good value. Hopefully modern represses are better.

I fear this latest resurgence at best will be a brief reprieve, especially as digital and the systems to record/play it through continue to improve as has been seen. Knowing that, many novice vinyl adoptees may soon look at the cash they spent getting vinyl gear/records and wish they had simply bought better amps/speakers and lossless media. A decent-quality smart phone can be the only device needed to provide a lossless source for a home stereo. I use my old iMac to feed my stereo. Wifi makes this strategy even more convenient. My nearly-30-year-old kids have TVs/game-consoles/computers but no dedicated stereo gear. They like to listen to mine when they visit, but have no plans to spend on digital-sourced stereo hifi, let alone vinyl.

Sure decades-old, meticulously cleaned/stored records might sound "fine", but at what point do they begin to lose the unprocessed, finer, warmer sonic texture that is the reported major advantage of vinyl over digital? Impossible to tell, as the changes are so slight but accumulate and accelerate with use. Newbies need to understand contact media is not a buy-once proposition in the same way as digital media usually is. CDs do eventually break down, but digital files do not in normal circumstances.

I was an early adopter for what was considered good quality vinyl listening against the overwhelming backdrop of so many crappy Gerrard record changers and ceramic cartridges. I bought new (and still have) a late 1960's Thorens TD-150 I later fitted with the 160 arm, Shure V15-III then later a MicroAcoustics 2002a cartridge. Ya, no where near the top audiophile pile even back then, but WAY better than most consumer stereo available at the time. The cost/effort to refurb/upgrade my vintage vinyl gear and then find/buy new records will get me a lot of lossless digital files. Which I purchase at a mouse-click.

So I'm not coming at this as someone who hates vinyl or even tape, but I can't see how pure analog can compete with lossless digital going forward, except as a very small sub-niche of the larger hifi stereo niche market.

To rejig an old racing aphorism, "Quality sound reproduction costs money, how much can you afford to hear?"
Very well put.. my sentiments exactly. In my case the record deck in the mid 1970s was a Garrard 86. ,With some Shure cartridge . Later I played with cassettes, and earlier with the reel to reel ,but when Phillips produced a CD player, and the pristine clarity,I never went back. We had rumble filters on amplifiers for a reason.
I have absolutely no problem with anyone enjoying Vinyl or whatever .. ( that sounds kinda sleazy) , it is just the inherent dishonesty of claiming that it is the gold standard
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I had a Garrard deck as well. I feel aggrieved now. ;)

That got changed for a Technics set up, my last 'tidy' deck. Early 1990s saw me buy my first CD player, more for the wife as it was far easier for her to listen to CDs than mess around with vinyl when she was busy working from home. Pointless then buying vinyl and CDs of the same album and eventually I even ended up buying CDs to replace vinyl titles.

I'm still using CDs that I bought then. I have a couple of hundred vinyl albums locked away in the attic and they haven't seen the light of day since the last century. Now, with surround sound and all that extra power and processing that requires I simply don't have the room for a deck anymore.

Is it better than vinyl or the other way around. Does it matter as long as we all enjoy our music. I do have to agree with the OP that the simple physics of dragging a diamond tipped projectile across a large piece of plastic has to be detrimental to that bit of plastic and as such it can never be kept in pristine condition.

Digital reproduction is getting better, I'm absolutely blown away by the quality of the audio from my new Denon SACD player. Even highly compressed albums on redbook is beginning to sound better. Perhaps the biggest complaint should not be about on what type of media that we listen on but direct our ire on those artists and studios that think louder is better. Crap in, crap out.
 

musicphil

Active Member
Unless we spend a few quid on a SACD player and its expense medium, then digital (cd) is really a compressed medium. Vinyl is not compressed youll hear the lot.
Never really listened to tape at home except taping for the car - I always used the vinyl for listening at home back then..... Linn LP12 IItok arm and AT 9 MC cartridge and it did sound very nice.
For all the problems of using vinyl, there is something about the feel about it, the art work and reading lyrics etc.
Some vinyl still sounds fresh today 30 years later eg John Lee Hooker the Healer is fantastic using my vinyl, but abit dull when i play the cd version.
I use both mediums but i still have a preference.....
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
Vinyl is not compressed youll hear the lot.
Is that really true with the titles that are appearing in supermarkets. Many come from the same mix as the CDs and are victims of the loudness war. If you want the very best recordings then you are really relying on firms like MoFi and those 180g albums are just as expensive as the SACD version.
 

musicphil

Active Member
Yes that is very true regarding newer vinyl that is not produced from analogue master tapes.
i was really advocating older vinyl, hence my comment regarding the Healer album.
Those that wish to still buy new vinyl need to stay away from albums produced from digital media, or just by the CD version!
180g vinyl in the supermarkets are really just a marketing gimmick....just my opinion!
There are fantastic new albums out there but at a cost.....
 

larkone

Member
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The only thing with analogue is that even in 10 000 years, it will still be possible to play it, as it's easy to decode and work out how to play it - even if all the current playback equipment had gone. Look at the gold record nailed onto the side of the Voyager probes, they tried to pick format that would be decipherable to an alien intelligence. Can you imagine what they would have made of a CD?

Encryption presents an even bigger challenge. How do you preserve the information needed to decrypt a recording years into the future? If you have even a basic storage medium like a CD, who do you work out how to play it without a frame of reference? Add in some form of playback protection and you most probably be royally screwed!

We are just starting to see digital obsolescence causing problems in the A/V world, as many older masters in the late 80s and early 90s were made onto Betamax tapes using the Sony PCM F1 and similar and these are now getting hard to play - due to the machines wearing out and the tapes themselves suffering. DAT is not far behind and even CDs can get the dreaded rot, not to mention the finite lifespan of CD-Rs

78s from the early 20th century will still play, as will early steel wire recordings, but early tapes need careful storage. Some 70s 2" tape TV programs of great value are now stored with a set of tape heads that are known to play the tape correctly and there's loads of more recent stuff that's really suffering. We risk becoming a forgotten generation, despite the amount of media we have created.

The best compromise? Retain the analogue masters for as long as is possible, but make digital and possibly even analogue clones for future generations.
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
.... The myth that vinyl always sounds "better" than digital and even is the epitome of home sound reproduction is demonstrably untrue. ...

This is the thing though, I don't think anyone is saying that. Yes, they might utter those words (rarely) but what they mean is that they like the sound of vinyl better.

I get that vinyl promoters are trying to increase the market, so more titles will be (re)pressed at reasonable quality/price. I remember the RSO re-presses and they SUCKED, the records were thin, easily warped/damaged and the grooves were visibly shallower. The sound suffered to the point those represses, no matter how cheap, were not good value. Hopefully modern represses are better.

True there was a lot of mass market crap out there, but most new vinyl is on 180g discs.

You are right though in that, in the modern age, most vinyl is digital until it hits the grooves. But I'm not sure that that matters. We've had this discussion relative to analog vs digital, and for me it always comes down to it being the content and not the medium the content is contained in. CD can sound good when mixed right, or it can sound like crap if mixed wrong. Same with vinyl, when it is good it is good, and when it is bad, it is bad.

Many types of music use the full and considerable dynamic range of CD or Digital medium. But POP is typically not one of them. So, again, it is the content not the format.

As to digitizing Vinyl, that is happening a lot. Many people are moving to Streaming of music, either locally or from Streaming Services. Consequently those with large vinyl collections who want the convenience of local streaming will indeed digitize the vinyl so they can access it over the Network. By digitizing you own vinyl takes time but, more or less, cost nothing. To re-buy that music on CD or other digital format can get pretty expensive. So, the user weight time against money and convenience.

...So I'm not coming at this as someone who hates vinyl or even tape, but I can't see how pure analog can compete with lossless digital going forward, except as a very small sub-niche of the larger hifi stereo niche market.

To rejig an old racing aphorism, "Quality sound reproduction costs money, how much can you afford to hear?"

Actually Vinyl is the only growing segment of the Music industry. All others are falling. And that is because of Internet Streaming of Music. Internet Streaming may not be good, but for most, it is good enough and relatively speaking, dirt cheap. I fear a Day of Reckoning though. Music Artist are getting screwed, for millions (perhaps billions) of plays, Artists get pennies. And despite what the Streaming industry would claim, Streaming does become a substitute for buying. I suspect there will be an increased cost in the future for Streaming Services. My thought was to charge for Playlists. Anything you have play-listed, you have, in a sense bought. So you get an initial Playlist of 25 with the account, and if you want to archive more music in a Playlist, you have to buy extra Playlist capacity. But ... that's just me, and the Day of Reckoning is somewhere in the distance future.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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dannnielll

Well-known Member
This is the thing though, I don't think anyone is saying that. Yes, they might utter those words (rarely) but what they mean is that they like the sound of vinyl better.



True there was a lot of mass market crap out there, but move new vinyl is on 180g discs.

You are right though in that, in the modern age, most vinyl is digital until it hits the grooves. But I'm not sure that that matters. We've had this discussion relative to analog vs digital, and for me it always comes down to it being the content and not the medium the content is contained in. CD can sound good when mixed right, or it can sound like crap if mixed wrong. Same with vinyl, when it is good it is good, and when it is bad, it is bad.

Many types of music use the full and considerable dynamic range of CD or Digital medium. But POP is typically not one of them. So, again, it is the content not the format.

As to digitizing Vinyl, that is happening a lot. Many people are moving to Streaming of music, either locally or from Streaming Services. Consequently those with large vinyl collections who want the convenience of local streaming will indeed digitize the vinyl so they can access it over the Network. By digitizing you own vinyl takes time but, more or less, cost nothing. To re-buy that music on CD or other digital format can get pretty expensive. So, the user weight time against money and convenience.



Actually Vinyl is the only growing segment of the Music industry. All others are falling. And that is because of Internet Streaming of Music. Internet Streaming may not be good, but for most, it is good enough and relatively speaking, dirt cheap. I fear a Day of Reckoning though. Music Artist are getting screwed, for millions (perhaps billions) of plays, Artists get pennies. And despite what the Streaming industry would claim, Streaming does become a substitute for buying. I suspect there will be an increased cost in the future for Streaming Services. My thought was to charge for Playlists. Anything you have play-listed, you have, in a sense bought. So you get an intial Playlist of 25 with the account, and if you want to archive more music in a Playlist, you have to be extra Playlist capacity. But ... that's just me, and the Day of Reckoning is somewhere in the distance future.

Steve/bluewizard
Again Steve, you are making lots of sense... I do have difficulty with the Streaming concept, and while I have occasionally been with Spotify and Deezer, I am no longer . The concept of paying for playlists najes a lot of sense. My few shekels are mostly spent in charity shop CDs ..although a few are spent on new ones in Tower and HMV. I see the physical possession of the CD as a licence rather than the medium. Having said that, I am currently listening to an obscure folk radio station from SF on Tunein Radio, using good headphones and the Cyrus Soundkey.. and the sound is superb.. I wish I could say the same for the content, which is self indulgent.
The current "revival" in Vinyl is basically at the noise level in the music economy.
 
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dannnielll

Well-known Member
The only thing with analogue is that even in 10 000 years, it will still be possible to play it, as it's easy to decode and work out how to play it - even if all the current playback equipment had gone. Look at the gold record nailed onto the side of the Voyager probes, they tried to pick format that would be decipherable to an alien intelligence. Can you imagine what they would have made of a CD?

Encryption presents an even bigger challenge. How do you preserve the information needed to decrypt a recording years into the future? If you have even a basic storage medium like a CD, who do you work out how to play it without a frame of reference? Add in some form of playback protection and you most probably be royally screwed!

We are just starting to see digital obsolescence causing problems in the A/V world, as many older masters in the late 80s and early 90s were made onto Betamax tapes using the Sony PCM F10 and similar and these are now getting hard to play - due to the machines wearing out and the tapes themselves suffering. DAT is not far behind and even CDs can get the dreaded rot, not to mention the finite lifespan of CD-Rs

78s from the early 20th century will still play, as will early steel wire recordings, but early tapes need careful storage. Some 70s 2" tape TV programs of great value are now stored with a set of tape heads that are known to play the tape correctly and there's loads of more recent stuff that's really suffering. We risk becoming a forgotten generation, despite the amount of media we have created.

The best compromise? Retain the analogue masters for as long as is possible, but make digital and possibly even analogue clones for future generations.
I am not at all sure that the argument about archives holds water. It depends whether we get bombed back to the dark ages or not, but assuming we are not, then standard Binary coding is extremely robust... The examples you picked in Betamax were analogue!.
If one assumes that we have microscopy and computers, any CD or Blu-ray would be readable. I have made an entry in the DAC digital formats thread on this.
The problem with Analogue Masters is that they also degrade and the Noise to Signal increases. Now there is a concern and archivists would be looking at digital metal on glass substrate.
My recommendation would be to digitise at the highest resolution currently possible and of course retain the masters
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The Sony F1 PCM system encoded 16Bit 44.05KHz onto the video segment of the Betamax tape. Very similar to DAT I understand.

It was designed as a consumer format, but was soon adopted by studios as a cost effective way to make digital masters.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
in 10 000 years
Hope it's waterproof.:(

It's only a century ago that everything known to man was committed to paper with recordings of any type being cutting edge technology.

One good thing though. 10,000 years. Brexit may have been settled by then.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Artists get pennies. And despite what the Streaming industry would claim, Streaming does become a substitute for buying

Depends who you ask - for consumer it maybe a substitute for buying, but for artists some consider it a substitute from piracy in that the end result seems about the same - no beer money :)
 
In no particular order:
- Few "discussions" I have ever seen on digital vs. vinyl were presented as it being a pure matter of preference... there almost invariably a (pseudo?)technical aspect attributed as a "good" for vinyl (all that "warmth", maybe code for softer leading-edge response?) while digital was generally portrayed as having some inherent artificial and harshness qualities. When digital has been around for about 100 years like records have, it will also be as nearly perfect as it can be, and it is already ahead of vinyl in most aspects. It stands repeating that vinyl has no where to improve without heavy electronic, probably including digital, processing... which is the antithesis of the purist/minimalist standing that analog/vinyl somehow is better by dint of being a continuous, minimally processed signal.

- The artist's cut from music sales and unfairness in distribution has always been an issue, especially for those who don't have the general popularity to demand fair pay or a good lawyer. But that is a different issue to whether vinyl or digital has superior sound potential. I say "potential" because there is a lot of electronics between the needle or digital device output which has a significant effect on the end listening result. The best vinyl record or digital file is only as good as the stereo it gets played through.

- Archive? Sometimes that is best accomplished by the sheer number of copies that exist, regardless of media format. Besides, after nuclear WW3 few analog music copies would survive as they reside primarily in cities... there's more than enough warheads to destroy virtually every population centre on Earth. How far down the dystopian scale do you want to go? No elecricity at all?... good luck rigging up an Edison-style gramaphone to play a 180 gram microgroove record... and it will still sound as crappy as the the Amberolas. I somehow think Mad Max types won't be audiophiles.

-Yes, CDs and particularly MP3s are compressed. But a quality modern record still does not have the POTENTIAL dynamic range of a standard quality CD. Just becasue the artists/engineers don't take full advantage of the available range doesn't mean the media format is at fault. But digital gets slagged hard for compressed modern music, but those same titles would have no more dynamic range if the exact same mix/mastering was used to commit it to vinyl.

- I see CDs eventually going the same route as vinyl, it will just take longer because CDs will give more use cycles than vinyl and are less likely to get warped/damaged by poor storage as quickly as records. Plus the kids still "get" what those shiny plastic discs are about. Scraping a needle over some plastic, and it skips when the cat jumps to the floor off the chair next to the stereo stand? How last century!

- Digital streaming is better compared to analog AM/FM broadcasting, even though the source media is digital or analog. I don't stream music or listen to it on analog radio anymore, so have no opinion on the quality issues raised there.

-Vinyl gear may be growing market share at the moment... but I will be surprised if that continues for long. Especially once everyone's grandad's vinyl stash has been rediscovered and relegated to the charity stores or car-boot sale circuit.

- Not surprising that cartoon features the quintessential audiophile stereotype, two middle-aged, balding men. Maybe could be redrawn with a couple hipsters, but unlikely with young-adult nerds or jocks. Seldom with females from any demographic. Good thing we can laugh at ourselves!

-Analog tape, unless specifically designed for long life, few plays, is not a good archival medium. For most consumer-grade tape, the magnetic fields fade, bleed-through to adjacent layers, the base material breaks down with age and becomes less flexible, to name a few issues. The Betamax tapes were consumer-grade tape, there's yer problem.

Got other things to do, TTFN.
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
Like your posting oldcoot.. just one minor point. Vinyl was unable to allow the levels of loudness that Digital can effortlessly provide. .In digital it just means more binary 1 s not 0s in the msb placeholders. In Vinyl it would have meant wider transverse excursions, and punching into the next groove. So the Engineers had more freedom which they exploited in the loudness wars.
 
Thanks dannnielll, that's what I meant when I said vinyl has no where to improve. The groove/stylus physical limitations and operating dynamics are as you describe. Unless some new cost-effective materials are found to change the physics and heat/wear characteristics of the groove/stylus interface, vinyl is now at it's peak potential performance. And that is only if the record/stylus are pristine and the turntable/arm is very complex (read expensive, finicky) and fully isolated from any extraneous vibration.

As my college Applied Mechanics instructor used to say, "You can't fool Physics."
 

musicphil

Active Member
Just to throw something out there...
Looking possibly replace my Marantz cd6006 player with a SACD player as some of my early cd's sound dull and also very quiet mainly those from the 80's (eg brothers in arms cd) and also some of the early 90's discs.
Reading up on the reviews of SACD versus CD, it seems there is a listenable difference between both mediums when playing classical music, but not so much when playing anything a bit rocky.
Never had the chance to listen to a very expensive SACD unit to see if there is a difference between it and CD.
Once had a Linn CD player that played HDCD's, now there was a difference there between normal CD's and HDCD's. But unfortunately not many HDCD disc available at the time.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Just to throw something out there...
Looking possibly replace my Marantz cd6006 player with a SACD player as some of my early cd's sound dull and also very quiet mainly those from the 80's (eg brothers in arms cd) and also some of the early 90's discs.
Reading up on the reviews of SACD versus CD, it seems there is a listenable difference between both mediums when playing classical music, but not so much when playing anything a bit rocky.
Never had the chance to listen to a very expensive SACD unit to see if there is a difference between it and CD.
Once had a Linn CD player that played HDCD's, now there was a difference there between normal CD's and HDCD's. But unfortunately not many HDCD disc available at the time.
I think Denon has the entry point for quality SACD playback with the DCD 1600NE, followed by it's bigger brother the DCD 2500NE. Marantz have dropped the entry for SACD from the 8XXX range and their cheapest unit starts around £3000, which is a disappointment.

There is a considerable difference in redbooks on the cd6006 and the likes of the Denon players and I speak from experience having owned a 6006 and now owning a Denon 2500. It will breath new life into those redbooks and even make a good fist of today's highly compressed offerings.

I have very few classics and only one on SACD, the Enigma Variations, but have yet to give it a serious listen. The Planets on CD along with many film soundtracks do sound extremely good with a much wider soundstage and better instrument separation when being played by SACD players.
 

musicphil

Active Member
I forgot to mention this in an earlier thread....i have a CD which was replaced free by Polydor about 10 years ago.
Van Morrison 'Hymns To The Silence' double cd purchased circa 91- What happened was the disc started to discolour and looked like the surface it was separating. They changed it without a problem. I do would how many more have had an issues with cd's?
I have around 1000 cd's and haven't come across any more which have deteriorated, hopefully it was a one off?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I forgot to mention this in an earlier thread....i have a CD which was replaced free by Polydor about 10 years ago.
Van Morrison 'Hymns To The Silence' double cd purchased circa 91- What happened was the disc started to discolour and looked like the surface it was separating. They changed it without a problem. I do would how many more have had an issues with cd's?
I have around 1000 cd's and haven't come across any more which have deteriorated, hopefully it was a one off?
Commonly known as disc rot. I've got discs going back to the early 90s and haven't noticed it any of mine. I've also bought quite a few old titles from Discogs or my local market stall dealer again with no signs of the infamous rot. I have one disc, an old Beach Boys title, that will simply not play track one after 45 seconds and that looks to have a black dot on it that stops the play. Not too sure I didn't do that one time being a bit careless. That's my one and only problem disc.
 
The problem with disc rot is it can be present but not visible. If you have the hardware it is a good idea to scan you old CD's for errors. Here is an example of a CD from 1991 with rot but looks brand new to the naked eye, below is the same disc without the rot, again from 1991....

Both discs are within Redbook specs but the disc with the rot sounds dull and lifeless.

Degraded CD:-
dr.jpg

Normal CD:-
Capture.jpg
 
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