Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

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Zen
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by Zen » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:18 am

Whoever wrote that its easier to get quality sound on a budget from digital vs vinyl was spot on. That said, the cost of decent vinyl playback is not that high if you know what to buy and how to set it up. e - b a y is your friend n this pursuit. As to vinyl degredation, that’s a function of improper play. As previously mentioned, many of my best sounding records are from the 1950s, and have been played lots of times with no sound degradation.
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ddray
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by ddray » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:38 am

Zen wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:18 am
...As previously mentioned, many of my best sounding records are from the 1950s, and have been played lots of times with no sound degradation.
Which illustrates how heavily nostalgia and historical interest figures into this. Most examples that pop up are great jazz and pop albums from the 50s and 60s. How many are actually eagerly awaiting new classical releases on vinyl? And how many honestly would prefer a vinyl LP of such recordings to streaming, CDs etc? Is it a case of "I prefer vinyl to all other possible media" or "hey, vinyl's not really THAT bad"?
By the way,
Zen wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:18 am
Whoever wrote that its easier to get quality sound on a budget from digital vs vinyl was spot on. ...
Bingo. Thus the current situation. There are more people on a budget than audiophiles with cash.

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Carl
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by Carl » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:32 am

The debate on records & digital - which is better - will no doubt continue until the UFO armada arrives to decimate the planet.

In the meantime I wonder if those vinyl reissues are being sourced from digital masters? The Neil Young discography is available to stream free with the digital ability to hear the master recording quality (claimed by Neil). This is an example of how, in the digital domain, fidelity will continue to get better with enhancements to coding, but the phonograph is limited and frozen.

I have been listening to 256k Mp3 music played through a battery powered bluetooth speaker which has a Class D amp and it sounds great to me. Somewhere I read a quote about "the highest fidelity system ever created is right between your two ears".

larryguitar
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by larryguitar » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:54 am

Carl wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:32 am
The debate on records & digital - which is better - will no doubt continue until the UFO armada arrives to decimate the planet.

In the meantime I wonder if those vinyl reissues are being sourced from digital masters? The Neil Young discography is available to stream free with the digital ability to hear the master recording quality (claimed by Neil). This is an example of how, in the digital domain, fidelity will continue to get better with enhancements to coding, but the phonograph is limited and frozen.

I have been listening to 256k Mp3 music played through a battery powered bluetooth speaker which has a Class D amp and it sounds great to me. Somewhere I read a quote about "the highest fidelity system ever created is right between your two ears".
There have been huge advances in all areas of vinyl playback. Better turntables, phono preamps, and cartridges are being built now than have ever been built in the past. That, plus advances in record cleaning means that you can pull an amazing amount of music out of those grooves.

Part of the reason for this new golden age of turntables is that the low end turntable market has gone to digital so that companies who produce turntables don’t produce junk anymore, they have to concentrate on building a quality product or they won’t survive.

Nothing against your system but I think a halfway decent class AB integrated amp, a pair of wired bookshelf speakers, and a pretty good DAC will produce better sound than a class D Bluetooth speaker.

CliffK
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by CliffK » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:45 am

Some data on the vinyl market which speaks to the question of anyone buying.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/13/vinyl-i ... -form.html

The picture of young people going through the bins brings back memories of my teen years. And I still go through bins once in a while but Internet is convenient too.

So yes, the public is buying, young people are buying, and analog vinyl continues. Why? is a related question. The sound aspect and the hobby aspect are two factors. The hobby aspect takes in the music itself, physical not virtual album collecting, plus the fascinating aspect of technology and engineering in various systems.

Of course digital is convenient and can sound pretty darned good depending on the system and the quality of the cd and its production. I use both digital and vinyl not to mention FM radio. I stream some things into my Ipad and use B&O earbuds and that sounds ok to me for what it is, compressed etc. In my current living room set up, I have a Rega Apollo CD player as well as a Thorens TD320/Ortophon cartridge, not to mention a Revox 215B cassette player. Both quality digital and various analog sound just fine to me as a hobbyist not a professional sound engineer or musician. The preamp is a Perreaux with an excellent phono stage the amp is an Electrocompaniet. All the equipment I collect is preowned so say 30- 40 percent or less of price when new. It is also interesting to collect equipment made in different countries say UK, Norway, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, and so on...again the hobby aspect.

There is a lot of excellent preowned gear out there. Agree entirely that a good quality integrated amp and speakers with a good turntable or cd player/transport-DAC can sound great.

On the Indie scene, some bands only release on vinyl. This is quite appealing to young people it seems.

For different reasons, folks are buying vinyl, there is a market, tech and engineering advance. It sounds great and its fun.
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ddray
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by ddray » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:38 am

Well, if someone loves vinyl and turntables, that's great. I have nothing against using the medium that you like. I just don't see it coming back the way it was, when you could go to the neighborhood Record Bar and flip through rows of newly-released LPs and 45s. And 8-track tapes :D Times change.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:30 am

ddray wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:38 am
I just don't see it coming back the way it was...Times change.
It will never come back the way it was, since there would have to be massive investment in pressing plants, and that in the days of streaming?
larryguitar wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:42 am
looking at the prices of vinyl records over the last few years, I have seen them get more expensive, so demand is strong.
Demand is strong relative to supply. The future, I guess, is huge speculation in rare original vinyl. Prices have been high, but nowhere near as high as they will get.

You needed to spend a lot to get good sound out of vinyl. Then there was audiophilia which was a near-psychotic extension of that.
You get good sound out of cheap digital equipment. I have no idea what sound you get out of good digital equipment.
Vinyl freaks will insist on the totally different sound, but then it may just be their psychology kicking in. Once you have spent 10,000 on a record player, you're not going to say it's rubbish even if it is.
Or it may just be that the "warmth" they perceive is the sound of the stylus rubbing against the bare unmodulated vinyl.
That theory could easily and interestingly be tested by feeding in some similar noise to a digital signal in or after the DAC.

If you heat the vinyl, as some did/do, then that makes it slightly more viscous and/or pliant? Are you just introducing thereby random distortions that you've paid thousands to eliminate in your amplifier? Is everything purest accident?

When the vinyl starts getting more expensive per record than good digital equipment, then what will happen?
Will it be a bubble? Will the emperor be seen to be starkers?

If we could predict the future, we'd have bought as much vinyl as we could in the 70s for investment purposes only. Or better still, we'd have bought lots of houses and a winning Lotto ticket.
But we can't, and some of us just like to listen to music.
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ddray
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by ddray » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:03 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:30 am
ddray wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:38 am
I just don't see it coming back the way it was...Times change.
It will never come back the way it was, since there would have to be massive investment in pressing plants, and that in the days of streaming?
Well if the demand were there -- or were to come back --you'd see the pressing plants. Another factor though is the whole musical landscape, especially pop music. In the 90s you actually still had something called the "hit single" from bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and STP and I remember there were jukeboxes at that time churning out hit singles on vinyl. The pop music scene doesn't seem to be quite that vital anymore.

chiral3
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by chiral3 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:08 pm

Streaming isn't going anywhere. That being said, vinyl sales are the highest they've been in 30 years, and climbing YoY without slowing down. That's new album sales and doesn't represent NOS and the secondary market. Pressing plants are coming back. There's been three large ones built (actually, refurbished), that I am aware of, in the last few years in the US, more internationally. If you go to the consumer shows (Newport, CES, RMAF, etc. which I try to make from time-to-time), next to head-fi and streaming, vinyl is the biggest area in terms of product and buzz.

My theory is that vinyl is canibalizing some of the potential digital listeners because they've done a horrible job converging to a small number of codecs that don't have undesirable traits (compression, lossyness) and aren't hardware dependent.
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CliffK
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by CliffK » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:45 pm

More data. Wiki says under “Vinyl Revival”:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl_revival

In terms of fabricating the vinyl, I guess there are a few factories left who have the old equipment and personnel with experience. US? Europe? Asia? Wiki article says Sony is setting up a vinyl production unit in Tokyo ready by March 2018. Perhaps they have created new machinery? Using legacy machinery?

Another question would be the recording process itself. Is one inch mastering tape even made anymore? Half inch? Would be very expensive to record this way. The old analog studio equipment does come up for sale here and there. So modern digital recording process in studio or on location, digital mastering, and then output to the cutting machines for the vinyl master?


Maybe some CG from the vaults will come out in vinyl? Maybe even some material not presently available on CD?
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chiral3
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by chiral3 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:08 pm

There's news releases out there where you can find out about the old pressing machines that are being refurbished for use. TMI to list here. Needless to say, I know a few people that are doing this. There are varying degrees of quality depending on the type of machine. As an example, check out what Chad Kaseem from Analogue Productions / Acoustic Sounds is doing with QPR if interested (he is who I implicitly referenced wrt to Andrew York earlier).

Yes to your second question, although it is rare. I've gotten new (30ips) tape direct to disc recording over the last few years. An example of a new all analog production from mic to cutter head, if you're interested, would be Applewood Road. Most pressing are from digital master, and then it's just a matter of how good the master was
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larryguitar
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by larryguitar » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:36 pm

Look at what Newvelle records is doing in producing vinyl records for subscribers, as a way for artists to get paid a decent wage for their efforts. Can you blame them? The streaming services pay a few pennies per play, it's a crime. Roseanne Cash testified to Congress that, in

"an 18 month period, there were nearly 600,000 streams of my songs on a popular subscription site. I was paid $114.00 for those streams."

Where does this leave artists who can't command anywhere near 600,000 streams? They have to find some other way to make money.

We may lose Tidal because they're losing too much money, which would be a pity, because Tidal streams music in a high quality format. Most of the other services provide only low quality formats. I suppose it is hard to pry $20 a month out of subscribers when poor quality music is available for "free".

If paying too much for audio components is a psychosis so is paying too little. ;-) People destroy their hearing with those cheap ear buds from Apple because they came for "free" in the package. An excellent pair of in-ear monitors can be had for $150 or so and, with passive attenuation using foam, you can reduce the background noise, and turn the volume down to save your hearing. The sound of my Etymotic earphones is amazing compared to the stock Apple ones.

CliffK
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by CliffK » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:47 pm

chiral3, thank you for these very helpful insights. Most interesting out there in Salina and the production equipment...just so cool. Also the recording studio in Woodstock. Last time I was in that area was for the Festival. I had a stage pass but was not a performing artist. Had met the sound engineer, Eddie Kramer, in NYC the year before at a recording session. During a break at the session, he sat down at a piano and played some Chopin. When I commented he said he had had classical training in South Africa where he was from originally. At the Festival, I briefly paid my respects to him in the soundbooth below and behind the stage. A black guitarist came into to discuss sound issues and I appropriately said hello and left the booth. It was Hendrix.

larryguitar, thx for your insights and pointer to Newvelle. Agree completely about artists being ripped off. The young musicians on the Indie scene are into vinyl and there was a business in South Carolina I think turning out Indie music on cassettes of all things. I hope that some foundations or wealthy patrons can help young CG artists. Kickstarter has helped some independent artists.
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hoppy
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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by hoppy » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:48 pm

Seems that there is a sound factor, a tactile factor and reaction to the 'everything on tap' digital age. I don't listen to vinyl but I do still tend to album listen rather than playlists. I find the instant access to all songs overwhelming and I think the different consumption is important to music appreciation as you aren't just playing the 'best bits' of everything - particularly important with classical music - it's like having ice cream for three courses with all three courses on the table at the same time. But there are obvious upsides of having everything on tap so I've never viewed these things as stark choices. I expect people who listen to vinyl at home still listen to digital while driving/commuting. Also nice that the vinyl is being recycled for new generations to enjoy rather than ending up as landfill!

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Re: Anyone started to buy vinyl again?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:46 pm

CliffK wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:45 pm
... The old analog studio equipment does come up for sale here and there. So modern digital recording process in studio or on location, digital mastering, and then output to the cutting machines for the vinyl master? ...
Some of the older recordings, like from the 60's and 70's, are really solid. It blows me away what they could accomplish with the "old tech".

Look at the Beatles 2017 remix of Sgt Pepper's and the 2009 digital remix of Abbey Road. Since they had the old master tapes, with all the independent tracks, they could do a digital remix without all the noise from the analog mix down process. The sound is astonishing, which bespeaks the quality of the original master.

In keeping with the theme of this thread, now that we have a modern mix downs devoid of mix down related tape hiss and transitor-itis, are we going to press it to vinyl? I apologize to the vinyl fans reading this, but those recordings sound utterly great in their digital form. I do not miss vinyl at all. The popping sound when the needle first lands on the LP is awfully nostalgic though. :D
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