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#231472 - 11/24/08 07:51 PM I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt
Worfzara Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/25/05
Posts: 734
Loc: London area, Ont, Canada
So here is the story.

Last week my wife, who is a nursery school teacher, and is also very technologically inept, comes to me and asks me if there is any way I can put educational cassettes from the 70ís or possibly before, onto CD. I start thinking to myself, probably, first thing I need is a device to play these ancient things called cassettes. I sold my Nakamichi cassette deck on Ebay about 5 years ago and hadnít really missed it until now.

The next thing I need is a computer with a CD burner, check; I got one of those, the computer must also have a sound card with a ďline InĒ option, again, check; and some software to record the analogue data to a wav, MP3, wma, etc. OK, well 2 out of 4 ainít bad. So I tell her to give me a few weeks to figure something out.

Now I wake up a few days ago and remember that my dad gave me a unit for Christmas from a company called ADS Tech and the product is called, Instant Music. Still in the package, I take a 2nd look, and yup, it has the required software, Nero. Cool, now I just need a dinosaur thingy called a cassette deck. So I call up my dad and of coarse, he has one in his basement that still works. I am ready to rock and roll!

Now here is where the story gets interesting. At the top of my audio stand sits a Thorens MKII turntable with a Stanton EEE cartridge. I bought this unit back in 1988, because even if you could afford a CD player in 1988, the costs of CDís were more than double that of vinyl. It got al lot of use for about 5 years, until about the mid 90ís when CDís pretty much took over. Since that time to about 2002 I did on occasion throw a record on until I bought my Rotel processor which doesnít have a phono stage. No biggie, the world is moving to MP3, and SACD, and DVDAudio, etc. So I pack up my records and put them in long term storage. On occasion I hear the odd rumbling how vinyl sounds so much better than todayís technology, but really donít pay much attention to it.

Now I have this Christmas present from last year, I hooked up my Thorens and started playing some records. I have had my M80ís for a few years now, but have never heard vinyl through them. I was quite pleased. I canít say the sound was better than CD, just different. It didnít have the same dynamic range and ďpunchĒ as my digital sources; however, it did have a warmth, and mellowness that was most apparent and might be missing from some of my CDís.

Having said this, there are the obvious issues with records. The size is one thing, they are just too big, next; the constant care required for these dinner plates is just annoying, look at them the wrong way and they snap crackle and pop, cleaning is a must, not to mention the logistical issues of playing them in your car, or taking them to the beach.

I like my CDís, I think many of them sound awesome trough the M80ís, I love that fact that I donít have to clean them every time I use them, I sure donít miss the added noise (hiss) that vinyl brings (especially during quiet passages). I donít mind lending them to friends and worry about how they are being taken care of. My Thorens TT was over $500 in 1988. Itís probably worth a fraction of that on Ebay today.

So now I am going to copy all my favorite vinyl songs to CD and use the software to eliminate as many of pops as I can using the Nero software, without degrading the sound quality.

BTW, my wife found in the craft store; Micheals, nice elegant wood frames for your record albums. So you can hang them on the wall. Letís face it, whether you are a big fan of todayís music or not, the album art work of todayís CDís leaves much to be desired compared to that of the days of the 33 LP.

Did I forget to mention that the frames cost more than records of yester year did?
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paul

Axiom M80, VP180, Qs8, EP500
Epson 3020 (Evaluating)
AudioTrak AT-6100
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#231479 - 11/24/08 08:48 PM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: Worfzara]
Shane White Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 144
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
A Thorens MKII and a Stanton 681EEE would sound very nice indeed. I just discovered a Stanton 980HZS for sale on Aussie Ebay, along with a Shure V15, and an SME 3009 series III tonearm - all from the same dealer. Talk about blasts from the past.

I agree about the artwork, especially those 70s prog rock album covers from the likes of Roger Dean etc.

I'm also digitising my vinyl at the moment - vinyl ripping they call it. Be careful removing the pops and clicks. Some filters rip the guts out ofthe music as well \:\)

Shane
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#231497 - 11/25/08 12:03 AM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: Shane White]
schizm42 Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 10/30/08
Posts: 24
heya, I have some experience with converting vinyl to digital, and I agree, a lot of the filters do rip the soul out of the sound.

Also the sound quality is dropped significantly even with a good converter. Even if you have a lot of old vinyl, but it might be better (sound quality-wise and time-wise) to just re-buy the old albums as used on ebay as a CD and then rip them.

I too appreciate the sound of vinyl as vinyl, but trying to export that same sound is really tough even with very high-end equipment

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#231512 - 11/25/08 06:57 AM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: schizm42]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
I've started popping into my local record store and picking up cheap vinyl here and there to Rip/Convert to CD. I'll rip it to a cd recorder in my rack, then import it into Adobe Audition (usually, or sometimes SoundForge or CD Architect) to clean it up and split it into tracks. I haven't had any issues with the sound quality deteriorating after removing surface noise, and I get new music at (typically) $1.99 a pop...
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#231560 - 11/25/08 04:39 PM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: Shane White]
Worfzara Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/25/05
Posts: 734
Loc: London area, Ont, Canada
I am impressed, you know your analogue equipment. I forgot to mention the the Stanon was a 681, just put the EEE, and you new that. Very cool!!!

I remember when I bought that turntable, there were two high end stores in my town both sellng the Thorens. The one told me the Stanton was the best cartridge for the money to put in that table, the other told me it was the ablolute worst, I think they wanted to sell me an Ortophan.

And since I have never done a side by side comparison, there was always a small amount of doubt whether I had the better cartridge. However, it alway sounded good to me. I am glad to see other people agree with my choice, even if it is 20 years later.

pn
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paul

Axiom M80, VP180, Qs8, EP500
Epson 3020 (Evaluating)
AudioTrak AT-6100
Denon AVR-990

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#231588 - 11/25/08 08:58 PM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: Worfzara]
Shane White Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 144
Loc: Perth, Western Australia
IIRC, there used to be two schools - the "Mellow" school that liked Stanton, and the "clinical" school that liked stuff like the Shure V15. I don't know where Ortophon filled into that \:\)

Just to muddy the waters, different cartridges are supposed to be happier on different tonearms. This is before they had digital jitter to argue about.

Shane
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#231844 - 11/27/08 04:07 PM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: Shane White]
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3256
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hello Shane and all,

Given my long participation as a stereo mag editor, then AV magazine editor and reviewer, I can shed some light here on phono cartridge designs. Basically, Stanton, Shure and Grado, all American companies, produced "linear" moving-magnet cartridges; the design goal, as with Axiom speakers, was wide, smooth frequency responses, with no peculiar peaks or dips or oddities like a built-in high-frequency boost around 10 kHz to 15 kHz, to give the sound added "air" as some of the tweako magazines called it.
These cartridges, especially the Stantons were quite robust, which is why Stantons became a favorite of most radio stations and DJs, because they weren't fragile and easily damaged. Likewise some models from Shure had those qualities.

Ortofon, a German brand, and some other European cartridges, seldom had the wide smooth frequency response of their US competitors, and they often had fragile stylus assemblies. In our tests of tracking abilities, Ortofon never did very well; they'd go into distortion when the grooves got highly modulated, whereas the Shures and Stantons would sail through difficult-to-track passages with ease.

As to compatibility with separate custom tonearms, Shure, Grado and some other brands produced high-end models (the V15s, Grado Signatures, etc) with very high-compliance stylus assemblies that demanded a custom tonearm if you were to get optimal performance--really excellent tracking ability at very low stylus pressures (1.25 gram or less).

Moving-coil cartridges developed a big following in the tweak community, partly because they rarely had linear frequency response, so each brand had its own "sound", often a high treble peak that exaggerated the upper octaves. Some of these were said to be built by elderly Japanese gentlemen who hand-wound the coils in some Tokyo basement. There was all sorts of mysticism and exotica surrounding these cartridges, which the tweak magazines (Absolute Sound, STereophile) adored, and they sold at preposterous prices despite the fact they didn't track very well or have smooth frequency responses. (An exception was a moving-coil cartridge I tested from Fidelity Research.) It's not all that different now in the vinyl/cartridge community. Some of the "warmth" attributed to "the vinyl sound" is actually a product of non-smooth frequency response and excessive distortion from some cartridges that lend a coloration to the cartridge's output.

Regards,
Alan
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#231884 - 11/27/08 09:46 PM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: Worfzara]
LT61 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 845
Loc: Illinois.
Great post.....that's the best summation of the analog/digital cd/vinyl debate I've read.

I had the Shure V15 cartridge on my turntable, and I still do.
It's ok to rip the Cassettes/LPs on to a CD to have a OOP recording copy, or whatever, but......the things that made analog great, will be missing off the digital copy.
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#231889 - 11/27/08 10:27 PM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: LT61]
80'sMan Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/10/08
Posts: 139
Loc: Killam, AB
I think this is my favourite post so far. Reading this has brought back a lot of memories. I remember being involved in the monster receiver wars in the late '70's/early 80's. Even though I was only a teen then and couldn't afford one myself, many of our fathers back then had them. A lucky friend of mine's dad had the massive Pioneer SX-1980 putting out close to around 300w/p/c!!! We'd go and party there when his parents weren't home. I actually feel a little sorry for the records we played. The turntable was a decent Dual with a Shure cartridge (M111HE if I recall), but after a few drinks and overdriving the old set of Sansui speakers pounding the air and our eardrums with their 16" woofers, the old vinyl disks saw some hard times. Because they were getting handled over and over again by a bunch of crazy teens who can't decide what to listen to (Jethro Tull or Iron Maiden?)! They got dropped on the floor, cigarette ashes on them by guys who had a "smoke" in their mouth while they flipped the album with both hands, sat on when left on the couch, etc, etc. Sad, but boy did we have fun!

With the sound of Judas Priest "British Steel" still ringing in my ears, I continue to listen to my records from time to time. Although today I cherish them as treasures from my past. Ironically, it's funny that even today when I here on old Peter Frampton tune on the radio, I'm a little disappointed when that record pop doesn't happen half way through the song "Do You Feel Like We Do"!!!!!
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#231912 - 11/28/08 04:50 AM Re: I have rediscovered vinyl, what a pain in the butt [Re: 80'sMan]
Worfzara Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/25/05
Posts: 734
Loc: London area, Ont, Canada
Yes, I can relate, I have my AC/DC Back in Black album that I bought back in 1980, long before I had real hi fi equipment. Anyways, I got so used to a major pop in Hells Bells, it just sounds wrong today when I listen to the CD.
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paul

Axiom M80, VP180, Qs8, EP500
Epson 3020 (Evaluating)
AudioTrak AT-6100
Denon AVR-990

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