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Vinyl and You - An Introductory Guide to Vinyl Records and Record Players

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Posted · Original PosterOP

An alternate title was Getting into the Groove.

This might end up being a long journey, so I will recommend you to get comfortable.

Comb your ironic beard, adjust your tattoo sleaves, put on your favorit playlist of bands no one has heard of, and grap your favorite drink from Starbucks.

Let's do this shit!

 

Given the fact that people keep asking about vinyl records on a near weekly basis, I decided (as the least qualified person to frequent this board) to make a general introductory topic about vinyl records and record players. 

I hope this will help at least a couple of people before it disappears into the ether in a couple of days, maybe it will create a huge discussion or maybe it will be ignored and forgotten forever. Either one is fine by me.

It also helps to boost my hipster cred, so I guess that's cool. 

 

This topic will be split into four parts

  1. An introduction to records and why you might want to use an almost 150 year old format.
  2. An overview of the record player and all the stuff that goes into a player producing sound. 
  3. A short guide on how to get the sound from your record player into your ears.
  4. Ripping your vinyl onto your computer

1. Records

 

1.1 Terminology

There's a lot of terms that are used about records. I will try to break down some of them:

  • LP: LP stands for Long Play. It's usually used to refer to 12" records, which contain around 20 minutes of music on each side of the disc.
  • EP: EP stands for Extended Play. EPs can be released on pretty much every standard size of record. Usually an EP is defined as a record that contains less than 23 minutes, but more than 5 minuts, of music. An EP can also be defined as a record that has 3 or 4 tracks.
  • Single: A single is a record that contains one or two tracks. Singles usually refere to 7" records, but 12" maxi singles do also exist. 
  • Gramophone: This is technically speaking the correct term for a record.
  • A 45. A slang term for a single.
  • Vinyl: A general term usually used to describe all types of records. 
  • Grooves: A term used to describe the edgings on the record.


1.2 What is a record anyway? 

Most records that have been released since the 1960's have been flat, grooved discs made out of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Hence the popular name vinyl.
Before 8 tracks, cassette tapes, CDs and iTunes this was the most convenient way of buying and playing back music. 
Go ask your parents.

Although, most records made before the early 1960's were made out of shellac, which is a compound made from excretions from the lac bug. 
These records were heavy, thick and fragile. A 10" shellac record could also only contain 1 or 2 songs on each side for roughly 5 min. of playtime.

Old shellac records also need a special 3mm stylus to be played properly. They can be played with a regular LP stylus, but it will sound noisy and distorted and it can protentially ruin the record, stylus or both.

You can also get records made of or covered in different metals. 
Most famously the record that Jack White recently send up and played in space.

1.3 How does a record even work?

To put it simply, a record store sound by having a bunch of small variations in the grooves.
Those variations then, with the help of the mechanism in the cartridge create stereo sound.

And this is what it looks like

1434637963-electron-microscope-2.gif 
Gif taken from Applied Science's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuCdsyCWmt8

1.4 The different types of records

Records comes in all different sizes and weights, and play at different speeds. Here's a brief overview.
Sizes

  • 12": This is probably the most common type of record out there. Most albums will be pressed on 12" records.
  • 10": 10" are bit of a weird size and it isn't that commonly used. It's usually used for EPs or long singles.
  • 7": Usually used for singles, but can also be used for EPs. 

You can also find records that are larger and smaller than those three sizes. Although, they are very uncommon. They are either made for novelty reasons or was used in professional applications.
Transcription records (also referred to as transcription discs) were 16" and were a common way to play radio programs in the 1950s. They require a special turntable and stylus to be played and they play from the inside out as opposed to outside in. 
You can also buy novelty 5" record (about the size of a CD) , but they have a limited real world use.
A last mention should go to flexi discs, which is pretty much a dead format apart from a few novelty releases They used to be released as free album promos and they sounded terrible. 

Weight
Records having a higher weight is theoretically preferable, since the thicker the vinyl is the less prone to warping and the heavier it is the more securely it's laying on the turntable's platter. Atleast in theory. 

  • 200g: Usually reserved for very limited niché releases, since producing 200g vinyl is expensive
  • 180g: Way more common that 200g. Usually reserved for limited releases marketed at audiophiles and/or collectors (so make of that what you want)
  • 140g: The most common weight for a record. The vast majority of old records will be 140g and most modern releases will also be 140g. 

It is possible to get both heavier and lighter records, but those are somewhat uncommon. I have seen examples of records getting as heavy as 300g and as light as 60g.


Speeds
It should be said that the sound quality of a record is theoretically better the faster the record is spinning. The actual, real life gain is up to the listener to decide.

  • 78 RPM: Used by old shellac records and a lot of modern turntables don't even support this speed. 
  • 45 RPM: Usually used by singles, but it can also be used by EPs and LPs. Most flexi discs were also played at 45 RPM. 
  • 33⅓ RPM: This is the most common types of records. The vast majority of EPs and LPs will be played at 33⅓ RPM.
  • 16 RPM: A very uncommon speed. Due to the low speed, and resulting lower sound quality, this was usually used for prerecorded radio messages and audio books. 

There are also some shellac records that were cut to run at 80 RPM, but those are somewhat uncommon and were mostly sold on the European markets. 

You can also find Pathé records which plays at 90 RPM. 


1.5 Why go with vinyl?

Since the modern vinyl resurgence a lot of people have probably wondered this. Why use a format that takes up almost 4 times as much space as a CD and takes up an infinite amount space when compared to digital files?
The answers are usually a great mixture of truth, half-truths, snake oil and personal preferences. 
While I can't promise that I won't be filled with the same bullshit, I will at least try.

Sound quality or the argument from analog
This is one of the most common arguments used by vinyl enthusiasts. According to the vinyl apologists, records will just sound better since it's an analog format and human hearing is inherently analog. 
This means that records don't need converting into analog and records won't be limited by the same factors as digital files.
Or as said by Flood: "With a computer you cannot draw a wave".

Now, this is actually correct. In theory, the sound fidelity of a record is unlimited.
However, reality is a little bit more complicated than that. 

While records aren't limited to a certain bit-depth, like digital files, they are still limited by the physical properties of the record itself. 
There's simply a limit to just how small a groove can be made. 

Mastering or the loudness war: An overview
This is also a very common argument and it's an argument with some truth to it. 

To understand this argument you have to first understand dynamic range and dynamic compression. 

Basically put, the dynamic range of an audio track is the volume difference between the loudest and the quietest part of a song. 
For example, Bruce Dickinson's beginning scream in Number of the Beast should be a lot louder than the intro whisper. 
However, with dynamic compression all the audio levels equalized to be the same level. All of this done in the name of making the audio track as loud as possible (hence the name "loudness war").
This, in turn, can create problems with clipping and distortion. 
To read more: http://dynamicrangeday.co.uk/about/

Now, this way of mastering a track fits extremely well into the digital era of music, but it doesn't go will with records. 
The physical limitations of records means that audio can't be loudly mastered and put onto a record. This then means that there isn't an incentive to dynamically compress the audio. 
In theory this should translate into the vinyl masters having a better dynamic range than the digital masters of the same songs. 

Again this does also mostly come down to a theoretical discussion. 
You can get incredibly well mastered digital music and you can get dynamically compressed vinyl masters (see Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones and Highway to Hell by AC/DC for examples).

However, one thing that will always be different is that vinyl records all have mono bass (everything from 60Hz and under), which is different from the vast majority of digital music.

Aesthetical reasons
This is a purely subjective argument, but it's an argument non the less. 
A lot of people do like to have the huge 31cm x 31cm album artwork compared to the 12cm x 12xm artwork found on CDs.
Most people also will prefer having the larger lyric sheets compared to the books in CDs.

Some people will also like the fact that records can come in variety of different coloured pressings. Records are not limited to the well known black discs.
Playing a record coloured like the Jamaican flag on a vertical turntable is a good conversation starter. 

The playback experience
This is again a very subjective argument. 
A lot of the proponents of records will usually argue that playing a record is a better experience than playing a CD and especially a better experience than playing an MP3. 
Playing a record is arguably a more committed act since there's no pause button and skipping tracks is an art on to itself. 
Most people will therefor start a record and actually listen to it from beginning to end instead of just picking out select tracks. 
This then creates a more focused listing session. 

 

1.6 Lathe cut records vs. pressed records?

 

A debate you might run by is the debate between lathe cut records and pressed records. 

 

Both are referring to the way the record is made.

A lathe cut records is, as the name implies, cut out. The run time of a lathe cut vinyl is therefor usually shorter than the run time of a pressed vinyl.

The grooves on a lathe cut record is simply cut out of an already formed disc with a diamond, sapphire or ruby stylus.

Proponents of lathe cuts will argue that cutting the record allows for more precis grooves and therefor better sound. Proponents will also argue that cutting the record will minimize the risk of manufacturing errors. 

Since a lathe cutter doesn't require the record to be any give size, lathe cut records can also come in a variety of shape and sizes. 

 

A pressed vinyl is, strangely enough, pressed. 

The PVC mass is poured into a mold, heated and then the grooves are pressed into the record. 

 

1.7 Coloured vs. Black vs. Picture discs

 

Since PVC records became the standard pressing plants have tried their hands at making records in different colours from the standard black.

And since then the debate on whether or not coloured records make a difference has been going on.

The main argument against any vinyl that isn't black, is that it contains less carbon than black pigmented records and therefor they are more prone to surface noise and has less durability when compared to black records. 

 

However, I have not been able to find any sources that test whether or not there is an actual difference, 

There are only a lot of people shouting left and right, for and against. 

 

A last mention should go to picture discs. A picture disc is a vinyl record that has a picture on the record itself instead if it just being a black disc. 
This would be how one looks like
PictDisc-BuddyHolly-Blue-1.JPG

(Behold the gaze of Buddy Holly)

 

A picture disc is made by creating a blank black record then covering that in printed paper or foil, and then covering that in a clear PVC or foil coating. This means that the grooves can't be carved as deep as on a normal record. This then translates into picture discs being very prone to pops, clicks and surface noise.

Although, those problems are more common on picture discs that cut the grooves into foil rather than stamp them into PVC. The foil used is actually more akin to flexi discs than it is to "real" records. 


1.8 Sounds like you're selling a religion. What are the downsides to vinyl records?

There are quite a few downsides to records when compared to digital music. 

Since records work by having a needle work its way through a groove, any and all types of dust, grime, and even the oil from your fingers will create problems with the sound.
Those problems will usually manifest themselves as pops, clicks and just general noise. 
In some cases it can also cause the record to skip or lock.  
This then mean that you have to clean your records every so often to avoid unwanted popping sounds.

The playback of records is also inherently noisy and distorted. This is down to a variety of factors, but the two most prevalent are the small flaws in the record pressing itself and a build up of static. 
Flaws in the pressing can't really be helped, but people will usually recommend a variety of ways to combat build up of static. 
But no matter how much you combat static it will always be there. It's just a question about how much. 

As said preciously, a downside could also be that it's as easy to listen to select tracks as it is with a digital file. 
It's also not currently possible to listen records while on the go (but our hipster scientists are hard at work).

Another issue is space. Records do take up a lot of space when compared to CDs and especially when compared to digital files. 

Lastly, there's the price. Records are (and probably will remain) a niché product and will therefor be more expensive than CDs. 
For example, the CD version of Pink Floyd's The Wall can be had for $15.99 on Amazon while the vinyl release goes for $39.99. 
Although, a lot of older records can still be had for cheap at local thrift stores or Goodwill stores. 

1.8 Taking care of your records

 

If you decide to spend money on a record you should also take care of your investment. It would be a shame if your record only lasts for a couple of plays. 
Personally, I have found that the old fashioned way works the best. I just use a carbon fiber brush to gather the dust particles and then I pick up the dust with a silicone roller.
The silicone roller is pretty much a less sticky Schticky.

If you don't want to spend money on a silicon roller, then it's absolutely doable without. 
Just use the carbon fibre brush to slowly brush the dust over the edge of the record. Don't go too fast, since that can damage the record. 

People will also recommend wet washing your records. In theory, this is a good idea, since liquid will remove dust and grime that a brush can't catch. 
Personally, I have never tried wet washing a record, but if a record is having issues I guess it's worth a try. 
There's also a lot of disagreement on what solution to wash the record in. Some will swear by expensive record cleaning fluids (most of which are just dish soap and water), some will swear by regular tap water,  some will swear by demineralized water and some will swear by isopropyl alcohol.
While I haven't tried any solution, I will have to at least mention that regular tap water can introduce grime instead of removing it. 
Tap water does contain traces of metal and minerals both of which can be caught in the grooves of the record. But try at your own risk, I guess. 

Lastly, for those that want to go completely overkill, there's ultrasonic cleaner. The cheapest I have been able to find was $1595. Supposedly it cleans your records and gets rid of static, but I have no personal experience with them.

 

Of course, the best way to get clean records are to avoid getting them dirty in the first place. 

I would recommend keeping the records in their sleeves when they're not being played and you should only ever handle a record by its edges and the label.

The oils and dirt on your fingers can easily work its way into the grooves and cause problems. Further more, the oils on you fingers is slightly acidic, so prolonged exposure can permanently damage your records. 

 

Every now and then your should also clean the stylus on your turntable. You can get specialized stylus brushes, but the record brush can also be used if nothing else is at hand.

Some people also swear by the Zerodust Onzow, but I have no experiences with it. 

 

When it comes to storage you should store your records in as dry a place as possible. 

Records shouldn't be exposed to too much heat or direct sunlight, since that can cause the records to warp.

 

Records should also be stored in a vertical position. Stacking records on top of one another can also cause the records to warp. 

2. Turntables

 

2.1 Terminology

I would again like to break down a bit of the common words used when referring to parts of the turntable or the turntable itself.

  • Phonograph: Technically, the correct term for a turntable. Can also be called a record player.
  • Stylus: Different term for the needle that reads the grooves on the record
  • Cartridge: The housing for the needle
  • Tone arm: The arm that balances the stylus unto the record.
  • Counter weight: The counter weight is found on most turntables. It's used to balance the needle so it doesn't put unnecessary pressure on the record.
  • Anti-skip weight: A mechanism that's used to counter the centrifugal force and thereby stop the tonearm from skipping over the record. 
  • Platter: The platter is the round part you place your records on. 
  • Slip mat: A slip mat is a piece of material that goes between the platter and the record. The slip mat's purpose is to minimize the risk of scratching the record. 
  • Belt: A band of rubber (usually) that's used to connect the motor and the platter on a belt driven turntable. 

 
2.2 The cartridge

The cartridge's main job is to translate the grooves of the record into an electrical signal that can be understood by an amplifier. 
There are two main types of cartridges. Moving coil (MC) cartridges and moving magnet (MM) cartridges. 
Of the two the MM cartridges are the most common. 

A MM cartridge works by having the stylus and cantilever, which has a small magnet at the end, move between two metal coils. The movement of the stylus then creates an electrical current, thereby translating the grooves of the record into an electrical signal.

A MC cartridge work in a similar manner, but the the stylus carries the coil and the magnets are fixed on the cartridge.
This means that the coil is really small and it can therefor not create as high of a current as a MM cartridge. MC cartridges therefore needs a specialized pre-amp to be audible.

The debate on which type of cartridgeis better is as long as the history of records and turntables and will probably never come to an end 
Further reading on the debate can be found here: http://www.needledoctor.com/core/media/media.nl?id=2701&c=ACCT106601&h=192e59a68f2e49fdd1f8&_xt=.html

 

On cheaper turntables, especially the modern retro-styled ones and all-in-one systems from the '80s and '90s, you will encounter ceramic cartridges (also referred to as crystal cartridges).

These cartridges are generally much cheaper to produce than magnetic cartridges, and they also don't require a pre-amp nor a RIAA equalizer before being feed to the speaker or headphone amp.

The trade off being that ceramic cartridges needs a lot more tracking force than a magnetic cartridge, usually in the 4,5 gram to 6 gram range. 

Due to the way a ceramic cartridge work they are also not that great a reproducing higher frequencies, leading to the records having a warmer, more bass heavy sound. 

Another problem is that ceramic cartridges have a much higher output impedance than magnetic cartridges, meaning that they have to be matched with an amplifier with a high input impedance. 

Failing that, which a lot of modern systems do, you'll end up with a sound that's woefully lacking in bass. 

The cartridge (or at least the stylus) do need to be changed once in a while. 
Prices on cartridges can go anywhere from $2 to way over $2.000
Whether or not that's worth it depends on the person. Personally, I have always stuck with Grado or Ortofon cartridges in the $100 range. They sound just fine to me. 

2.3 Tone arm

The main purpose of the tone arm is to balance the cartridge so it doesn't scratch the records. 
However, the tone arm can also determine the sound you get of of the records. If the tone arm is prone to vibrating that can distort the sound by making the stylus move in the groove. 
That's the reason most tone arms are made of either metal or carbon fiber. I would advice against buying turntables that uses a plastic tone arm. 

A good tone arm will also have an adjustable counter weight on its end. 

That way you can adjust the pressure exerted by the stylus to the specified pressure that the stylus should put onto the record. 

Some cheaper turntables will use a spring mechanism to create tension that lowers the tracking force of the cartridge. 

While such a solution doesn't have to be bad, it does carry the disadvantage of being much more difficult to adjust. And that makes it a pain to switch to a different cartridge. 


2.4 The platter
 
The platter plays an important role in how your record is going to sound (at least in theory). 
Platter material can help with everything from speed consistency to minimizing vibrations.
Most platters these days will be made either from wood (usually MDF), plastics (usually acrylic or a rubber look-a-like), glass or metal.  

Although, some very cheap turntables will use a hard plastic platter. 

In theory you want the heaviest and least rigid material possible, since the weight will help maintain speed and a low rigidity will help with vibrations.
I have never had prolonged use with turntables that doesn't use a glass platter, so I can't speak about the differences, but I speculate that they will be negligible. 

2.5 Slip mats

Some people will put a slip mat between the platter and the record. This serves two main purposes.
One is to minimize the risk of scratches by using a slip mat that's made of a softer material than the platter. The usual materials are felt, carbon fibre, rubber, leather or cork. A combination of the material can also be used.
The other purpose is change the sound of the record. The density and grip can help with speed consistency and to minimize vibrations.

Other uses can be to stylize your turntable, since slipmats can be had in a variety of designs. 
A different use is to help with the build up of static. 
Personally, I have always used rubber/cork blend mats to help with static build up. Whether or not it made a difference in the sound I can't say.
But this guy seems think it makes a difference.

If your purpose is DJ'ing, then a slip mat will make a difference, since DJ mats will be made to make scratching easier and less damaging to the drive motor. 

2.6 Drive type or direct drive (DD) vs. belt drive vs. wheel drive (idler drive) 

This is, again, a debate as old as turntables themselves. 
The difference pretty much looks like this

Turntable-Guide-2-P.2-1800x1391.jpg
A direct drive turntable works by having the drive motor directly drive the platter. 
This means that the platter will get up to the correct speed faster and the speed will be more consistent than a belt driven turntable. 

A direct drive turntable is also essential for DJ'ing, since the motor can be forced backwards and the direct drive will allow for finer speed control. 

 

Direct drive turntables also tend to be more durable than belt driven turntables. So if you're looking for used turntables, getting a direct drive turntable will usually be the best bet for a working turntable. 

On the downside, having the motor directly beneath the platter will make the platter more susceptible to vibrations from the motor and therefor the sound can suffer. 
The vibrations from the motor can also affect the tone arm. 

Belt drive turntables are less susceptible to vibrations from the motor and to vibrations in general. 
But the belts do parish over time and will need changing with time. The speed on a belt driven turntable can also be more inconsistent than a direct drive turntable. 

 

On some turntables (especially from the '70s) you will also encounter turntables where the platter is driven by a rubber wheel that's held against the motor. 

These turntables often suffers from the same issue as belt driven turntables, meaning the rubber will dry out and no longer be able to grip to the motor, leading to the platter not moving properly or not at all. 

2.7 Automatic vs. manual

Overly simplified, there are two different types of turntables: Automatic turntables and manual turntables.

Automatic turntables are able to be set to record size and speed via button presses and the tone arm will move itself to record. Usually, the tone arm will also put itself back when it reaches the end of the record. 
The main problem with automatic turntables is that they're prone to breaking. The more things that are automatic, the more things can break.

With a manual turntable you need to place the tone arm yourself and the speed is set by the user moving the belt to bigger ring on the motor or adjusting the speed on a button.  

 

Record enthusiasts tend to favor manual turntables, due to the finer control the user can exert over the player and thereby the playback experience. 

2.8 What's the small metal wire that's coming out of my turntable?

That wire is meant for grounding the turntable. Having a lot of spinning parts will create a lot of static electricity and that wire is getting rid of most of it.
Usually, it can be connected directly to the amp you're using. If it can't, then any ground will do.  

2.9 Where do I put it?

People will debate about where to place a turntable. As turntables are susceptible to vibration, the placement can affect how the records will sound. 
Don't place your record player on top of a dryer is pretty sound advice. 

But some people will go as far as mounting a granite block on a supporting wall to avoid vibrations. 
I would argue that no one needs to go that far. If possible, I would place the turntable on a shelf or a piece of heavy furniture. 
This will help minimize vibration but it won't break the bank.

 

One important aspect of placing a turntable is that it should be placed as horizontal as possible.

If the turntable isn't horizontal your records could end up scratched or damaged from playing.

The centrifugal force will force the record to become horizontal, and if that causes the record to misaligned with the tone arm that could lead to the stylus scratching the record.

This is why most turntables comes with a leveling tool and adjustable feet. 

2.10 This will cost a fortune won't it?

Not necessarily. A lot of good turntable can be had for relatively cheap. 
My recommendation would be:

My recommendation would also be to look used. Craigslist, eBay and thrift stores will be your friend in this endevour. 

I will, however, highly advice against the Crosley (and all the look-al-iike) turntables you can buy on Amazon or in places like Wal-mart, Target or Urban Outfitters.
They are build out of terrible materials and generally sounds awful.

Don't buy a turntable the same place you buy cheap khaki shorts.

3. Getting the Sound Out

 

One of the main differences between a turntable and any other audio source, is that a turntable require a phono pre-amp to make an audible signal.
The reasons for this is that the current that can be produced by the cartridge is pretty low, so it's far from the standard 2 volts.
Fear not as a phono pre-amp (some times also referred to as a RIAA pre-amp or a phono stage) is build into a lot of modern speaker amps and will be build into the vast majority of amps from the '70s and '80s.

Some modern turntables also do come with a build in pre-amp. 

Phono pre-amps can also be bought as external units ranging from a around $20 in price to over $300.

Also, if the cartridge on your turntable is a moving coil cartridge you'll need a specialized phono pre-amp.

4. Ripping Your Records

 

According to some, ripping your records to a digital file will amount ot nothing less than heresy. How dare you enjoy an analog format on your iPod? 

For those of you that don't care it's actually quite easy to do do. 
You'll only need a couple of things:

  • A record
  • A turntable
  • A phono pre-amp
  • A computer with a line-in
  • Audacity (or any recording program of your choice)
  • An encoder of our choice (I prefer FLAC)

Some turntables also come with a USB connector. This way the turntable can be directly connected to a computer without the need of a pre-amp or a line-in.
All you need is a free USB port.

The basic steps then are

  1. Connect the phono pre-amp to your PC's line-in. This can be done with a RCA-to-3.5mm TRS connector. It can either be done directly from the pre-amp or from a recorder (or line-out) output on your amplifier. 
  2. Audacity is then set to record from the line-in
  3. You then play side A of the record on the turntable. 
  4. Then you can cut the recording into tracks by highlighting the tracks between the blank spots and saving them as individual tracks. 
  5. The setting you use is up to you. I usually use 24/96 FLAC files. I don't know why. 16/44 FLAC files or 320kbps MP3 files would also suffice. 
  6. Repeat 3, 4  and 5 with side B.

Now, the sound you get out of this will be pretty quiet, so you might want to digitally amplify the tracks. There will be calculation errors involved in this process, which means a lowering of overall sound quality.

But this quality loss will be negligible.

You should be able to amplify the signal within the software you have chosen to record in. Most of these software will also analyze the track, so that it can amplify without causing clipping issues. 

5 The end

 

So, we have both reached the end. I hope this have been helpful. And if it haven't I hope you'll tell me, hopefully, by using all caps. 

At least, I hope it has been entertaining. 

 

Turn in next week when I will tell the world of the joys of the 8-track and the glorious world of VHS tape.


Nova doctrina terribilis sit perdere

Audio format guides: Vinyl records | Cassette tapes

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Ohh, fuck. 

 

Why can't the formatting just work for once. 

Fixing now.

 

Edit: Giving up for now. If I delete the spoiler the edits don't save. I'll have look at it in the morning. 

 

Edit 2: 7 hours later and the formating is fixed. 

If you ever want to fix your shit you apperantly have to use FireFox.  


Nova doctrina terribilis sit perdere

Audio format guides: Vinyl records | Cassette tapes

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Really good. Only read part 1 so far, but really clears a lot of stuff up that people ask about.


n0ah1897, on 05 Mar 2014 - 2:08 PM, said:  "Computers are like girls. It's whats in the inside that matters.  I don't know about you, but I like my girls like I like my cases. Just as beautiful on the inside as the outside."

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oh damn, really good. How long did this just take you?


Before you buy amp and dac.  My thoughts on the M50x  Ultimate Ears Reference monitor review I might have a thing for audio...

My main Headphones and IEMs:  K612 pro, HD 25 and Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor, HD 580 with HD 600 grills

DAC and AMP: RME ADI 2 DAC

Speakers: Genelec 8040, System Audio SA205

Receiver: Denon AVR-1612

Desktop: R7 1700, GTX 1080  RX 580 8GB and other stuff

Laptop: ThinkPad P50: i7 6820HQ, M2000M. ThinkPad T420s: i7 2640M, NVS 4200M

Feel free to pm me if you have a question for me or quote me. If you want to hear what I have to say about something just tag me.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, Dackzy said:

oh damn, really good. How long did this just take you?

Writting it took a couple of hours. That includes finding the pictures and the sources.

Fixing everything up took maybe 1½ hours. 

 

Although, I very much consider it a work in progress. 

I might go ahead and add and reword some stuff.

I would love to add a section about tube vs. solid state when seen in the context of the pure analog chain.

But that would demand a bit of research, so...

 

At the very least I need to correct wording and spelling errors. 


Nova doctrina terribilis sit perdere

Audio format guides: Vinyl records | Cassette tapes

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9 hours ago, Volbet said:

And always be sceptical of the people that will directly compare the bit-depth of a digital file to the variation in the groove of a record. 
"Listning to a record is like listning to a 700 bit audio file" is an inherently flawed comparison, since it's basically comparing apples to oranges. 

 

First, great write-up. Good to see the analog side of things get some informational representation on the forums.

 

However, I love to nitpick so I have to call you out on this statement.

 

You should review exactly what bit rate is to understand why talking about the "bit rate of vinyl" is perfectly valid. But the gist is that vinyl has a certain, finite dynamic range and a certain, finite bandwidth; therefore, the EFFECTIVE bit rate of the medium can be expressed, even though the information is not actually encoded digitally (i.e. in bits).

 

See: Shannon–Hartley theorem

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 9/12/2016 at 8:43 AM, SSL said:

 

First, great write-up. Good to see the analog side of things get some informational representation on the forums.

 

However, I love to nitpick so I have to call you out on this statement.

 

You should review exactly what bit rate is to understand why talking about the "bit rate of vinyl" is perfectly valid. But the gist is that vinyl has a certain, finite dynamic range and a certain, finite bandwidth; therefore, the EFFECTIVE bit rate of the medium can be expressed, even though the information is not actually encoded digitally (i.e. in bits).

 

See: Shannon–Hartley theorem

You should always nictpick everything. I tend to be more wrong than right, so getting corrected is fantastic. 

 

I'll have a readthrough when I get home from works and make appropriate changes. 

And thank you for the source. 

 

Edit:

Well, I will have to admit to be wrong in this case. I never thought about in that way.

 

So, if we assume we have a mint condition record which is capable of a 70db dynamic range and has a sample rate of 22-25KHz pr. channel, we would end up with a "bit depth" of around 12?

This would, of course assume we use a near perfect record


Nova doctrina terribilis sit perdere

Audio format guides: Vinyl records | Cassette tapes

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Unless you're willing to research each vinyl purchase in advance, it's hard to know how the 'all-analogue' argument stacks up on average. Modern releases are most likely to be produced from digital masters, and it's not unheard of for a vinyl to be be based off a CD-quality master rather than 24-bit. Of course, you're still benefiting from analogue playback, and any track playing via turntable will sound more like vinyl regardless of the master, but it's likely to be a DDD production at the business end.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
20 hours ago, Quinnbeast said:

Unless you're willing to research each vinyl purchase in advance, it's hard to know how the 'all-analogue' argument stacks up on average. Modern releases are most likely to be produced from digital masters, and it's not unheard of for a vinyl to be be based off a CD-quality master rather than 24-bit. Of course, you're still benefiting from analogue playback, and any track playing via turntable will sound more like vinyl regardless of the master, but it's likely to be a DDD production at the business end.

Unfortuantly, that is very true. I have seen many a vinyl master that's just the CD master at a lower volume. 

This is one of my major grips with the current rereleases of the Pink Floyd discography. 

All the pressings are based on the 2011 remaster, which is just digital version of the old master tape with less dynamic range. 


Nova doctrina terribilis sit perdere

Audio format guides: Vinyl records | Cassette tapes

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