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ATP Discusses "Is Vinyl Really Better Than...

Posted by: Jason Tate (04/12/14)
One of my favorite tech podcasts, ATP, dove into a little cross over terroitory this week: discussing the myth that vinyl sounds better than CDs. If you're up for the very nerdy discussion, it starts around the one hour and fifty-one mark of this episode.
  
 
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12:26 PM on 04/12/14
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TJ Wells
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I always looked at the vinyl/cd debate the same way I think about comedies. It's all subjective when it comes to personal taste.
12:34 PM on 04/12/14
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Jason Tate
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I always looked at the vinyl/cd debate the same way I think about comedies. It's all subjective when it comes to personal taste.
Totally worth listening -- cause that argument, in its simplicity, is destroyed. Really good discussion.
01:03 PM on 04/12/14
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if you have an ideal setup, theres no debating vinyl can provide superior audio provided that the album's production is handled in a way that it can benefit from the medium
01:03 PM on 04/12/14
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surgerone
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Super interesting discussion. I have always been hesitant with the "vinyl sounds better" argument - I usually just say that I prefer the sound of vinyl for specific albums. The little nuances that separate vinyl from CD jump out with certain albums for me.
01:07 PM on 04/12/14
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Jason Tate
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if you have an ideal setup, theres no debating vinyl can provide superior audio provided that the album's production is handled in a way that it can benefit from the medium
Given both equals ("production is handled in a way that it can benefit from the medium") -- that's incorrect given the limits to the spectrum vinyl can reproduce. The science is super nerdy -- and goes against what the prevailing narrative is.
01:13 PM on 04/12/14
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Jason Tate
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Super interesting discussion. I have always been hesitant with the "vinyl sounds better" argument - I usually just say that I prefer the sound of vinyl for specific albums. The little nuances that separate vinyl from CD jump out with certain albums for me.
Bingo. Same. Especially those specifically mastered for the format.

And I do, also, really love the ritual of vinyl -- that connection makes me happy.
01:15 PM on 04/12/14
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Given both equals ("production is handled in a way that it can benefit from the medium") -- that's incorrect given the limits to the spectrum vinyl can reproduce. The science is super nerdy -- and goes against what the prevailing narrative is.
hmm Ive actually had a class that talks about these concepts in a way thats unrelated to audio engineering, it was more electrical engineering. Couldnt an album full of tape recordings that never was converted digitally benefit from the medium given that the analog frequencies could be reproduced? Ive only skimmed what you linked but plan to read it all later
01:49 PM on 04/12/14
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Ban4HayleysTits
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This is a clear cut case of depending on the recording.
01:58 PM on 04/12/14
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hmm Ive actually had a class that talks about these concepts in a way thats unrelated to audio engineering, it was more electrical engineering. Couldnt an album full of tape recordings that never was converted digitally benefit from the medium given that the analog frequencies could be reproduced? Ive only skimmed what you linked but plan to read it all later
First off thanks so much for posting this Jason, I think this argument is super relevant with the vinyl resurgence, and I think its interesting to hear the debate between what people perceive as "better". If the analog tapes were never converted digitally, then yes, more of the original waveform that was recorded will convert to the vinyl cut. Most people these days however, do not record to analog tape, and even labels with back catalog are having their albums archived digitally, since analog tapes dont hold up well with time. The problem is that an analog recording, be it tape or vinyl, can only reproduce around 75 db of dynamic range. This is much lower than the 96 or 144 db we get from a digital source (6db per bit of bit depth). Most(actually all that I know of) places that cut vinyl these days, cut lacquers from a digital file, meaning the analog waveform has to go through two d/a a/d conversions before the waveform will be replicated again. This of course loses some fidelity in the process.
02:24 PM on 04/12/14
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First off thanks so much for posting this Jason, I think this argument is super relevant with the vinyl resurgence, and I think its interesting to hear the debate between what people perceive as "better". If the analog tapes were never converted digitally, then yes, more of the original waveform that was recorded will convert to the vinyl cut. Most people these days however, do not record to analog tape, and even labels with back catalog are having their albums archived digitally, since analog tapes dont hold up well with time. The problem is that an analog recording, be it tape or vinyl, can only reproduce around 75 db of dynamic range. This is much lower than the 96 or 144 db we get from a digital source (6db per bit of bit depth). Most(actually all that I know of) places that cut vinyl these days, cut lacquers from a digital file, meaning the analog waveform has to go through two d/a a/d conversions before the waveform will be replicated again. This of course loses some fidelity in the process.
yes, exactly.

but what were actually interested in is frequency range (Hz) and whether or not its sampled at a high enough bit rate. not decibal range. unless Im missing something.
02:26 PM on 04/12/14
randys950
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we should pepsi challenge this shit
03:57 PM on 04/12/14
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yes, exactly.

but what were actually interested in is frequency range (Hz) and whether or not its sampled at a high enough bit rate. not decibal range. unless Im missing something.

Speaking about strictly frequency range anything above a 44.1k sampling rate will be able to replicate the frequencies we can hear. The frequency response is half the sampling rate so a 44.1k sampling rate can replicate 0-22.05khz which is still above what we can hear. Vinyl has been proven to replicate up to around 50khz... Which digital can do with a 96k sampling rate or higher, however we can't hear past 20khz.
04:23 PM on 04/12/14
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I've always maintained that I prefer vinyl. Nothing against CDs, though. I still buy both sometimes (or buy music digitally through iTunes to go on my iPod), but mainly I go for vinyl now. Personally, I love vinyl.
04:39 PM on 04/12/14
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Super interesting discussion. I have always been hesitant with the "vinyl sounds better" argument - I usually just say that I prefer the sound of vinyl for specific albums. The little nuances that separate vinyl from CD jump out with certain albums for me.

Can you give me a few examples? I have a very small collection because I only want to buy these types of albums. The ones that actually sound better on vinyl. Just would like to know your opinion on several

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