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Vinyl Record Gooves and Needle

And now we edit the bits:

 

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audiokid Tue, 04/02/2013 - 12:34

Hey Kapt, thanks for sharing that! OMG, that's crazy. And look at the price! I guess it preserves the vinyl. Audio-files have no limit.

Personally I think vinyl sounds like crap compared to what we are doing today but I love my old music, just not the sound.

I wonder how a mix would translate on vinyl? I love my analog system and think it brings a very special ingredient to music but I can never see going back to vinyl for its sound quality. I see it as a fad or just one more way to store music. I would love to be able to make vinyl recordings again, what a cool business add-on. I love the whole social aspect of vinyl too. I love reading the covers. But none of my old recordings come close to the sound quality I get now.

Does anyone know what the sample/bit comparison vinyl would be at? Does it actually capture the magical space we analog geeks seem to hear more?

audiokid Tue, 04/02/2013 - 13:59

I used to be a DJ in the 80's. We subscribed to the Euro charts and bought long play 45's on vinyl ( thick vinyl) and the mixes sounded incredible compared to the standards we see here. So I know what you mean. The grooves were far apart and the bass/ clarity was night and day. But I still don't think they would sound as good as what I have here.
Good point though, I think I have a few of those in my collection. I'll dig through them and confirm this.

What do you mean here:

it takes a lot of dead whales to make good records

. ?

Kurt Foster Tue, 04/02/2013 - 14:06

whale oil .... the best vinyl has a lot of whale oil in it.

it's the quality of the vinyl that has a lot to do with the quality of imported records being of a higher standard, not just thickness or groove width. if you feel these records and wiggle them in your hands you will notice they are more flexible, supple to the touch .... that's whale oil.

i have all the Beatles on Parliphone pressings ... and the difference is not subtle.

audiokid Tue, 04/02/2013 - 14:32

Not to turn this thread into a vinyl vs 21 century debate but I don't get why so many people rave over how great the Beatles sounded either. I love the Beatles but the sound back then wasn't anything like today. I can hardly believe people keep pushing this one and using the Beatles as a sonic reference. The band was sensational and the engineering was complimentary to the great band, their ability to blend so well together translated well to the record, but it still sounded dated and inferior to anything in the 21 century. I think performance and personal taste is being confused with sound quality all the time.

I listen to music two ways.
1.) I hear past the sound and simply enjoy the music and era. = Beatles, Stones, etc
2.) Critical listening that has nothing to do with the song (personal taste) but has everything to do with the mix transferring well onto the playback device.

Performance, tonalities, pitch, timing, musical attitude, dynamics etc. All these things contribute to music blending in a musical, harmonic or natural way.
Whether I like it or not shouldn't have anything to do with my opinion on sound quality. I think this is why the Beatles actually sounded so good. They were great mixed together.

But, maybe those masters sound amazing back then. All I know is the vinyl I have is far from what comes OTB today. Records didn't even produce the exact low freq because they had to roll that off in order to record on vinyl. Thus, the bass boost on turntable amps.

anonymous Tue, 04/02/2013 - 14:53

I think that The Beatles vinyl records do show the technological limitations of their era, although those records were the best mass-produced technology that was available at the time. And, as someone mentioned, European-made records by and large seemed better than American-made vinyl (although there were always specialty manufacturers that made quality American records - and Capitol wasn't one of them!). But if you ever get to listen to some of The Beatles outtakes, or better yet individual tracks from a song, you might have a better opinion of their recording technology. Specifically, I've heard some Beatle vocal tracks that are amazingly clear and full, that sound like I'm monitoring one of The Fabs mic's live in the studio. By the time the albums were mixed and mass-produced, there was certainly some degradation, but some of the tracks were recorded with clean gear and mics that we still consider the Holy Grail.

Having said that, I'm not one of those that holds up The Beatles' recordings as the optimum recorded sound, just wanted to point out that some of the equipment they used was quite good, even compared to today's equipment. I'm sure most of their mics beat the pants off my Australian LCD. :)

audiokid Tue, 04/02/2013 - 15:05

Agree.

I think quality mics are the one thing that has been steady. A great microphone seems to be timeless. But electronics , I think we've done a great job improving most of everything else. Well up to the downfall of loosing some of the great boutique companies that were in business are now gone. Consoles , Mastering and the capture devices have improved massively.

Davedog Tue, 04/02/2013 - 18:41

I remember the first time I got to listen to a stereo I had assembled for my house. It was my epitome that I had traded and upgraded to for a couple of years until it reached what I hoped was the nadir of stereos. I know it was for me. An ancient pair of Klipsch Cornerhorns (replaced my Heresy's) A pair of Crown DC300(no 'A') amps run in mono-bloc bridged, a Luxman Preamp, a silver era Pioneer tuner, and my Empire table with an Empire cartridge. I had a few Japanese vinyls including With The Beatles, Rubber Soul and a couple Royal Philharmonic pieces. I even had a nice slab of granite to sit the table on! I dropped the needle and 'It Wont Be Long' nearly dropped me to my knees.

Say what you want about new technology and the 'better sound' but the depth and immediacy and the warmth of that through a system able to deliver the goods makes it hard to believe. But its also been 35 years since I heard it like that. So who knows. You could certainly hear the incredible mics though. And those recordings were a lot rawer than you might realize. We are just beginning to get a peek into the depth of it with the re-release of the masters without enhancements.

That being said, I find this following info very interesting. Go to:

http://www.plangent… and also http://tapeop.com/i…

anonymous Wed, 04/03/2013 - 06:42

but it still sounded dated and inferior to anything in the 21 century.

Well of course it does. We're talking almost 50 years ago. A lot has changed.

You have to take these accomplishments within the proper context of the time in which these remarkable things were happening.

The Apollo command capsules that sent our guys to the moon were, in many cases, not much bigger than a phone booth, using a computer that pales in comparison in processing, power-wise, to what most people have in their homes now. But it still got them to the moon. ;)

Travelling from the east coast to the west coast in a covered wagon is dated. And no one would want to attempt that again. But it doesn't make what those pioneers did any less amazing. In fact, in my opinion, it makes what they did under the circumstances even more amazing... and I guess I look at those old Beatles, Buddy Holly and Nat King Cole records the same way. Considering what they accomplished with what they had, makes it even more amazing to me. No pro tools, no automation, no pitch correction, no sampled drums, and if you wanted a string section you couldn't just add a Garritan Orchestral vsti... you had to hire in the LSO to play the parts.

I don't think that it's fair to compare Beatles' recordings to today's standards, but I think that what they accomplished with what they had available to them at the time was truly amazing.

Considering that Sgt Pepper was recorded using two 4 track machines - and bouncing tracks back and forth to free up tracks to add parts to - is a perfect example of the engineers making the absolute most of what they had to work with at that time, and that those mixes still sound pretty damned good... it's a testament to the talent and knowledge of the engineering and production staff.

Of course, having great songs didn't hurt either.

IMHO of course.
-d.

rmburrow Wed, 04/03/2013 - 18:19

Listen to the old Frank Sinatra recordings. Mr. Sinatra used the best composers, musicians, studios, and equipment. The mastering was excellent and not overdriven. Same thing with some of the old Columbia masterworks recordings. Despite the limitations of RIAA preemphasis and hot stylus disk recording, good quality still made it to the groove.

pan60 Wed, 04/03/2013 - 18:56

I remember liking CDs over vinyl when I visited my mom once. She had a techins or some cheap turn table and all one stereo and a couple speakers designed for look I think.
But at home, the CD's did not seem to sound that great compared to vinyl on my belt drive table with a nice needle and my old Mcintosh mono blocks heating some nice Klipsch speakers.
Big difference. And not all vinyl or created equal for sure. I have some stuff that is great and some not so much.

Not that I don't think we have made improvements I sound reproduction quality.

audiokid Wed, 04/03/2013 - 19:52

http://www.popsci.c… Are Records Really Better?

Popular Science

http://wiki.hydroge… Myths (Vinyl) - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase

  • Vinyl always sounds better than CD http://wiki.hydroge…
  • Vinyl requires a better-sounding master because it is physically incapable of reproducing the hypercompressed sound mastered to CD http://wiki.hydroge…"]2
  • The vinyl surface is heated to several hundred degrees on playback, and repeat play of the same track should wait at least several hours until the vinyl has cooled http://wiki.hydroge…"]3
  • Proper vinyl playback is click-free http://wiki.hydroge…"]4 Proper vinyl playback is click-free[/]
  • Vinyl is better than CD because it reproduces higher frequencies than CD and avoids anti-aliasing filter issues at the frequencies CDs can reproduce http://wiki.hydroge…
  • Vinyl is better than digital because the analog signal on the vinyl tracks the analog signal exactly, while digital is quantized into steps http://wiki.hydroge…"]6
  • Vinyl has greater resolution than CD because its dynamic range is higher than for CD at the most audible frequencies http://wiki.hydroge…"]7
  • Adding a penny to the headshell improves tracking/sound http://wiki.hydroge…
  • A cartridge is permanently damaged and should be replaced if the stylus appears even slightly bent http://wiki.hydroge…"]9
  • Belt-driven turntables are better than direct-drive turntables http://wiki.hydroge…

pan60 Wed, 04/03/2013 - 21:45

not arguing the merits of vinyl verses CD's, just saying a crap turntable equipped with a crystal type needle through a cheap system vinyl has no chance to shine given a nice system there is a lot of detail on vinyl and the difference is not that great. i have a couple belt drive table a a direct drive the direct i use the most i like it the best but a nice belt drive with a good plater is pretty darn nice IMHO.

But I will add the only reason I ever started collecting CDs was the issue of convenience and perceived durability.

audiokid Wed, 04/03/2013 - 22:00

Agree.

I just bought an adequate direct drive and two different cartridges, one for mastering and the other for listening , Well I actually have a third for the rough stuff. I added the Orpheus conversion for its direct connection re : RIAA Equalization can be selected in the controller applet on channels 1 & 2 so that turntables can be connected for archiving or sampling applications.

This is what I was mentioning a while back regarding bass.
http://en.wikipedia… RIAA equalization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Do people actually think vinyl captures and plays back audio more accurately than a CD or DVD? I think the added flavor in vinyl is microphonic stuff filling in the gaps that the needle is skipping. I think we all get accustomed to a sound and vinyl s one of them. I love it to but it isn't better, its just different. It becomes a comfort area, something that we identify with. And that, just like a song, is often misinterpreted as quality or talent.
I agree, I love my Steely Dan playing right now, it sounds great but it isn't full bandwidth like what we have today. Never will be.

Kurt Foster Thu, 04/04/2013 - 03:57

i don't know why you would think it's not full bandwidth. it is. actually vinyl has a wider bandwidth than 44.1 digital. there's all kinds of stuff going on at 25K or higher .. even if we don't hear it, the harmonics and sound pressure contribute to the listening experience. l. it is also analog ...remember the lollipop graph ... all those spots in between each instance of sampling where information is lost? not so with vinyl. is process. it's an analogous process.

no one says vinyl is perfect .. yes there is a pre emphasis and a de- emphasis process but that is really no better or worse / different than n/r schemes like dolby or dbx or dithering and other brick wall filters employed in digital.

none of it is perfect. it's just different. i prefer the sound of analog but i live in a digital world. so i use digital gear when i have to but at home if i have the choice of an LP or a CD i'll go with the record.

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2013 - 07:59

pan60, post: 403123 wrote: I remember liking CDs over vinyl when I visited my mom once. She had a techins or some cheap turn table and all one stereo and a couple speakers designed for look I think.
But at home, the CD's did not seem to sound that great compared to vinyl on my belt drive table with a nice needle and my old Mcintosh mono blocks heating some nice Klipsch speakers.
Big difference. And not all vinyl or created equal for sure. I have some stuff that is great and some not so much.

Not that I don't think we have made improvements I sound reproduction quality.

Well I think you've made a valid point. You weren't going to get the same fideltiy out of a Monkey Wards turn table and speakers as you would if you were using higher caliber stuff made by companies like Alpine, Rockford Fostgate, etc.

I remember my room mate in college had an Alpine TT with a Macintosh Amp and Blaupunkt speakers. I think he paid more for the stylus on that TT than his first semester's tuition. LOL

We dropped the needle on Revolver and it sounded fantastic. A few years later, I heard Revolver on CD and there were people screaming about how great it sounded. To my ears, it didn't come close to sounding as good as it did when I heard it on that nice TT back in my dorm room at Kent State. Yeah, it was "clean"... but there was no warmth, no silk.

So yeah, you do have to compare apples to apples.

fwiw
-d.

audiokid Thu, 04/04/2013 - 08:04

Well it sure would be fun to have the ability to make vinyl recordings regardless!
I'm with you and I agree, its different sounding and that's what we miss. Its all part of why I got into music in the first place. I cherish my albums and have dragged them along with me and will most likely to my grave. I don't think one of us would deny the fond memories surrounding our friends and personal vinyl collection.

You've got to love the passion shining through in this thread!

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2013 - 08:30

Found this on Ebay...

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.ebay.com…"]The Beatles Rubber Soul 1965 LP Record Parlophone England Pressing NMINT RARE | eBay[/]="http://www.ebay.com…"]The Beatles Rubber Soul 1965 LP Record Parlophone England Pressing NMINT RARE | eBay[/]

Although why someone would pull a record out and set it down without its dust jacket is beyond me. Rookie.

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2013 - 09:08

Additionally, that Rubber Soul record is not an original release - it's a re-issue from the 70s or later.

I've been scanning eBay for an original British vinyl pressing of Revolver - I have a bid in on one right now. But I also made the mistake of buying one of the new re-mastered vinyl re-issues of Revolver. It looked like a good idea, but I didn't do my research - the latest vinyl re-issues of The Beatles catalog are mastered from digital masters of the original master tapes. It was disappointing to realize that what I essentially purchased was a record made from a CD! facepalm

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2013 - 10:38

I found this interesting in the wiki article you linked to...

" Many Telarc classical LP's began the music near the end of the lead-in groove to avoid pre-echo (caused by wide groove modulations following a number of closely spaced silent grooves)..."

I didn't know that. Hah! Some friggin' audiophile I am.

And Telarc was from my home town, btw. I rented them a DAT machine in 198? - I was the first in the area to own one, they didn't have one, so I rented them mine once. Think I charged them $50. LOL

I was always under the impression that pre-echo was caused by storing tapes improperly - "heads out" - which could cause "print through" on the adjacent layers of tape over time, which is why we always fast forwarded the tape to the take up reel for storage, to avoid this audio anomaly.

Yes friends and neighbors, the kid is still learning new things everyday. Even about old stuff. ;)

vttom Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:14

I never quite understood how 2 signals were fit into 1 groove. So I went looking and found this, which is very enlightening...

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.vinylrec…"]How to pack a stereo signal in one record groove[/]="http://www.vinylrec…"]How to pack a stereo signal in one record groove[/]

I was surprised to see it's a strict L/R thing. I'd assumed it was a sum/difference sort of encoding.

Boswell Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:27

DonnyThompson, post: 403151 wrote: I was always under the impression that pre-echo was caused by storing tapes improperly - "heads out" - which could cause "print through" on the adjacent layers of tape over time, which is why we always fast forwarded the tape to the take up reel for storage, to avoid this audio anomaly.

It's a different cause. On a disc, the pre-echo is caused by the ridges between the grooves being mechanically distorted slightly by what's in the next track, a bit like hearing neighbours through the walls. With a tape, as you know, it's the adjacent layers of tape magnetizing the next.

Boswell Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:41

vttom, post: 403155 wrote: I was surprised to see it's a strict L/R thing. I'd assumed it was a sum/difference sort of encoding.

It's either, depending on your reference axes. If you are viewing it as horizontal-vertical, the horizontal component is the sum of the signals (the mono component) and the vertical is the difference, similar to mid-side microphone encoding. That's how stereo discs could be played (and wrecked) using a mono pickup cartridge. If you view the groove by tilting your head to a 45 degree angle, what you see as the horizontal is either the L or the R stereo signal and the vertical is the other, depending on your direction of view.

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2013 - 12:02

Boswell, post: 403157 wrote: It's a different cause. On a disc, the pre-echo is caused by the ridges between the grooves being mechanically distorted slightly by what's in the next track, a bit like hearing neighbours through the walls. With a tape, as you know, it's the adjacent layers of tape magnetizing the next.

Thanks for the clarification, Bos. :)

Brother Junk Fri, 12/23/2016 - 03:45

This is actually the "tech" that I find most intriguing. I'm a little young for it, but I have vinyl, and I have turntables. I started off messing around as a DJ and fell in love with it, the vinyl especially. And I like sampling them etc. I have pretty much all of Led Z's stuff, Aerosmith's younger days, all stuff inherited from my father.

But CD's...I understand how they work. MP3, Wav, tapes, 8 tracks...I'm not saying I could make them...but I understand how they work.

But how we can put a very fine needle, that rides these very small grooves, connect that needle to an amplifying cone (horn) and I can hear a band, that someone else recorded, from those few rudimentary elements...it blows my mind. I even know the evolution of the record player....and it still blows my mind.

From what I understand, the bandwidth argument is kind of just an idle topic for discussion. The bandwidth can be higher, but the noise floor is also much higher. I'd rather stick with a noise-less 20-20k for fidelity. But I love me some vinyl.

That photo in interesting to me, because I use scratch needles a fair bit. After a while, you wear both the needle out, and the vinyl....but now I can visualize why that's happening, even with such a delicate needle and light balance the degradation is fairly quick.

One of the most fun musical tools (imo) to come out in my life time was Final Scratch, Traktor, etc type programs. I don't care who you are, if someone shows you how to use it....it's a blast.

Incidentally, this guy is a legend in the scratch game. Beyond a legend at this point. Imo, the best to ever do it, and he's.........CANADIAN!

Scratch Bastid Doobie Brothers mix (They make this look SO easy....this is very difficult)

rmburrow Fri, 12/23/2016 - 07:59

Boswell, post: 403157, member: 29034 wrote: It's a different cause. On a disc, the pre-echo is caused by the ridges between the grooves being mechanically distorted slightly by what's in the next track, a bit like hearing neighbours through the walls. With a tape, as you know, it's the adjacent layers of tape magnetizing the next.

If you were mastering using a variable-pitch lathe and a good cutter such as a Westrex 3D or a Neumann, the maximum LPI (lines per inch) would be set to minimize adjacent groove distortion...typically this max was around 250 to 300 lpi depending on the material being mastered. Note that the cutting amplifiers could deliver around 75 watts (or more) to each channel of the cutter head...one can actually hear the cutter head "singing" as the master is being made. The probability is higher that groove distortion occurs during the plating and pressing processes...and most likely the pressing process. It was important to get a master plated as soon as it came off the lathe since the lacquer starts drying immediately....

When you think about the precision process involving the mastering, plating, and pressing, quality control is needed all through these processes. RCA tried to "cheapen up" the vinyl with the "floppy" dynaflex LP's...filler added to some vinyl affected the signal to noise of finished LP's, etc. A good hot stylus master should get around 60 db signal to noise if not somewhat better, but certainly not 96 db like 16 bit digital.

Boswell Fri, 12/23/2016 - 09:26

Good to have that detail. The original point of the post was that pre-echo on vinyl discs happened mostly in the production process, whereas with tape it occured over time as the reels were being stored.

You can sometimes hear two different types of pre-echo when playing a vinyl disc re-issue where an old master tape was used to make a new disc master.

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