Here we go again....

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by JoeH, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Seems like a variation of this story pops up every year or so. Here's the latest installment...
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yup, you have to be some kind of stupid to want to release in vinyl.

    If there's one thing I never cared for its what the mastering engineers have to do to put your signal on vinyl. That, coupled with the reduced high frequency response towards the label as compared to the more open sounding outside bands. And let us not forget all of the surface noise with vinyl. We don't need no stinkin' stereo below 250 hertz. Do we?

    For that matter, I don't like PCM either but that's all we use because it's convenient. If we ever get lucky enough, we might eventually all be recording with a single bit system at almost 3MHz sampling. One can only hope.

    I need to get some new cactus needles for my turntable.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Hehehe.....I'm with you 100% on this, Remy.

    Just wondering what some others might have to say. Having grown up with analog & vinyl (as I'm sure you did, too), I don't miss it at all. To me, this whole "Comeback" story is just journalists trolling for something new to write. Yes yes yes, old LPs sounded great - mostly because they were recorded with similarly "limited" gear, and the very recordings themselves were aimed at final presentation to the listenr on vinyl. They never sounded the same as the original tape playback in the studio, either! Everyone on the inside knew that.

    THe reasons that digital sounds "bad" has little to do with the capture & playback medium itself, more likely due to the abuses caused by inexperienced and incorrect users along the chain. It's all too easy, too bright, too brittle, and way too forgiving. (Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD.)

    Not so with vinyl mastering; you got it to fit into its physical limitations, or the mastering house sent it back for more re-mixing. That's a big reason why it all sounds the way it does; not the "magic" of vinyl, but moreso the LIMITS of vinyl.

    I laugh at the paradox: those (the ones with the golden ears) who claim vinyl sounds soooooooo much better have decided to selectively ignore all of the ticks, pops, mistracking, 15k rolloff from start to finish on each side, the self-destructive nature of simply PLAYING the thing, the lead-in groove noise, the pre-echos, the surface noise, the waste of paper and petroleum products, and on and on and on.

    As I always say: I love my old LPs as much as the next person. There certainly IS something about the way they sound, but it's as much a function of the era, the recording equipment of day, the artists's mindset, the mastering process itself, etc. Mostly, I try to transfer the rare stuff to CD or DVD-A for safety's sake as soon as i can, and not play them too much.

    Bigger artwork, sure, two sides to play, fine. (albiet totally subjective). Cool big disc; again - depends on what you like, but it doesn't change a thing in the long run.

    Most of the old arguments for LPs just dissolve as mere nostalgia (or in some cases today as "Novelty") instead of hard facts or tangible reality.

    But that doesn't sell magazine articles, eh?

    Flame on, if you like, but be nice. :twisted:
    audiokid likes this.
  4. Dudes, you're totally wrong on this one. I was skeptical, too, when I heard this notion a few years back until I set up my own experiment: a friend let me borrow the vinyl analogs (pardon pun) to my favorite indie cds and, one by one, in a calculated manner, I played both the record and cd versions of the albums back to back through the exact same speakers and the same phonograph. There was no comparison. You're looking at a believer.
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Oh, good! Here we go, then. The disucssion starts anew.

    That's wonderful, Patrick. I don't doubt your results at all, yes, you certiainly used the true scientific method and all that. Keep buying those things then, if it makes you happy. I don't doubt it sounds DIFFERENT. Not nec., "Better", but certainly different.

    While you can, ignore the ticks, pops, pows and blasts that will creep into the grooves the very moment it's exposed to air.

    Oh, and best you enjoy the first two or three plays of the thing, because it'll NEVER sound that good again. Just like cars and other depreciating assets, vinyl's purity goes away almost as soon as you open the wrapper.

    But don't take MY word for it, wait until you have about 1000 or so titles, only to find out the industry has abandoned you, stopped making them, and wants to sell you NEWER, BETTER versions of the same stuff, taking several tries to get it right in the process. If you like flea markets and ebay, you'll have a great time looking for original replacements 30, 40 years after they're all gone. Some of the rarer ones will even be worth a lot of $$ to other folks like yourselves.

    I lived through all of this the first time around "dude"; you'll NEVER drag me back into that tar pit. :twisted:
  6. [satire] Previous post [/satire]
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I love vinyl...but it's difficult to coax the absolute best out of it.

    I only have about $3000 invested in my vinyl source (between the table, the stylus, tone arm, phono preamp, chemicals and VPI vacuum record cleaner), but when it all works well, it sounds great. However, get about 50 spins on the record and.......well it's time for a new version of the record.

    Not to mention, some of my favorite pieces just don't work on record. I have a recording of Mahler 8....can't stand to listen to it. The ending gets so compressed and can physically see the problem in the grooves.

    Yeah...I like vinyl, but I think most of it is a nostalgia thing. I recall listening to and burning out records from Foreigner (HOT BLOODED ROCKS!), Queen, Joan Jett, Bill Cosby and many more in my youth.

    After about 5 minutes into a good, clean record, I can all but tune out the last bit of pops and hiss and really start enjoying it.

    If I want really, really good sound, I don't turn to the vinyl or the tapes, or the MDs or the CDs or the SACDs..........

    I go to a concert.

  8. jenifer

    jenifer Guest

    There is a art to vinyl but its a far cry from the final nail in cd format coffin? hello ?
    there are two kinds of (record) listeners the dj and goodwill hunter were a find is a reasonable vintage recording of paradise and sounds of bali masters christmas favorites in the sun with added beach sounds and a occasional bird chirp or the rare and seductive gomer pyle singing go tell aunt mossy on the mountain were nothing is more intriguing than low fi ticka a ticka a pop were the more dust on the needle the happier the listener or the dj were a sub woofer under the turntable will give them kids a boom dada bang with a sweaty finger given you a scratch attack to cool down the feedback or mr million dollar fancy pants who if need be will purchase his own mastering facilities to produce the one missing item from the 1000000000 dollar investment to hear cha cha galore sing Mozart's saddest revival on a ten thousand dollar motor for the ten thousand dollar platter for the ten thousand dollar tone arm for the ten thousand dollar cartridge (cactus needle) for the ten thousand dollar interconnects for the ten thousand dollar da converter after the ten thousand dollar pre amp with a 3 thousand dollar spacial weight on a billion dollar milled marble table that also has the special vacuum cleaning pop reducing arctic to the god knows expensive amp on wilson speakers is really not so bad.. you could enjoy that
  9. Holy cow. is going to have a lot of new visitors tonight with all those tags.

    ...Mega Man, Grey's Anatomy, CliffsNotes, BMW 3 Series, World Series
  10. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I have cut some acetate in my life as a mastering engineer and it is both and art and a science.

    JoeH is correct. A lot of lore surrounding the "sound" of vinyl was because it was an unforgiving medium and if you did not do things correctly you could wipe out the cutter head or break a stylus and it was a very costly mistake to make. Blanks were not cheap, cutter heads were expensive and styli were not cheap either. You HAD to know what you were doing and you had to set things up correctly and when you were doing some cutting you sat by your Sontec EQs and literally changed the EQ settings between cuts of the record and sometimes as the next groove was being cut you "freshened up" the eq.

    I did not do much of this and then things changed with the Sony's 1630 system and we could do all the EQ and compression before it was cut.

    My mentor was a real pro and knew exactly what he was doing and the first time I watched him it was poetry in motion and he seemed to be everywhere at once during the cutting process. I later learned that this was the norm for any time you were cutting.

    Today anyone with a computer, a pirated or cheap mastering program and lots of WAREZ plug-ins can hang out a sign saying "MASTERING DONE HERE" even if he or she does not know ANYTHING about what they are doing. (Believe me I see the effects of this all the time when some client brings in stuff that was shoved though a bunch of plug-ins and smashed by the "mastering engineer" and now they want it "fixed")

    So the lore of vinyl is that it was better than what can be done today and to that it say, in the immortal words of Colonel Sherman Tecumseh Potter on the TV series MASH "horse pucky".

    The problem is in many cases you are comparing professionals doing their jobs very well when it came to Mastering for vinyl to the current crop of CDs that are self produced and sound like "horse puckys" because the person doing them know just enough to be dangerous and that it is like giving a 6 year old a loaded gun.

    At least the junior mastering engineers cannot kill someone with their terrible mastering but can inflect a great deal of pain.

    I still love my vinyl and my analog tapes but would I want to go back to that era - I don't think so.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    OK, here we are all talking about the vinyl but nobody here has mentioned the method used to get to the vinyl.

    The last few years I had LP's mastered, I elected to go with the direct metal mastering process. I only dealt with Europa Disk in New York who cut directly to a copper blank instead of lacquer on a modified Neumann VMS-70 lathe. The difference between the lacquer and metal mastering was a considerable difference in overall transient response and enhanced clarity. The consistency of the lacquer was rather, well, inconsistent, consistently. So I wasn't disappointed to see the lacquer disappear. In that respect, if I were ever to consider going to vinyl again, it would be via the direct metal mastering process if anybody still does that??? Because with lacquer, we would have to get into a discussion of how soon and after mastering should you let the lacquer sit before plating begins.

    Where's Sheffield when you need them?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    The mastering engineers and QC engineers I know from the vinyl era all preferred the sound of lacquer. While DMM surely had advantages in noise figures, they all felt that it had a buzzy tonal quality that they did not like. Now this could be attributed to many factors, not just metal vs. lacs. There are different cutting heads (Neumann vs. westrex), mastering chains, engineer's skills, etc.

    You are correct about lac inconsistency. There was, and still is variation in product quality. This is why QC was such an important aspect of good record production. And not just at the mastering stage, but also the whole stamping process. QC is a very much overlooked aspect, even today with CDs. You cannot trust that a pressed CD will come out sounding perfect just because its digital.

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