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Steve Albini



Joined: 18/08/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Chicago IL USA
Vinyl is better than anything else.
      #169257 - 18/08/05 11:51 AM
Hello fellas.

In my recent interview with Sound On Sound magazine I ( actually No, you're an impostor ! ) said that for critical listening, or for music that means a lot to me, digital formats aren't good enough. A well-made vinyl record still sounds infinitely better than anything else.

Now, I would like to hear your opinion.
What do you fellas think about that?

C’mon, don’t be shy. Everyone's opinion counts.


MODERATOR NOTE CONCERNING ORIGIN

THIS WAS POSTED BY
Digital Emotions. former member, now banned.

Pretending to be Steve Albini.

Which I might add is a dumb ass thing to do... and should not be seen as clever, funny, or something to be repeated....

unless of course you hate it here so much you're absolutely desperate to be banned.

in which case... what are you here for in the first place?


okay so the notice is a bit belated... but better late than never

Edited by Max The Mac (19/08/05 09:32 PM)


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


Joined: 24/01/02
Posts: 2682
Loc: The King's Height
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169263 - 18/08/05 11:57 AM
You're talking b*llocks.

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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djangodeadman
member


Joined: 18/02/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Brighton
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169266 - 18/08/05 12:00 PM
Vinyl does sound better, no doubt about it. However, most people's listening isn't critical and cd's are damned convenient and don't damage so easily!

It's odd that, as technology makes better and better quality sound recording available (at least in theory), what most people want is something which actually sounds worse than cd (ie MP3), because it's convenient.

You also said in your interview that (and I paraphrase here), if I ask you to record my band's next album, but can't really afford it, you'll do it for nothing. Can I have your phone number?


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Steve Albini



Joined: 18/08/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Chicago IL USA
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: djangodeadman]
      #169268 - 18/08/05 12:05 PM
(773) 539-2555
www.electrical.com

I can waive my fee.
But you still have to pay for studio time.
Business is business, you know.

Edited by Steve Albini (18/08/05 12:11 PM)


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Mash



Joined: 31/08/04
Posts: 804
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169269 - 18/08/05 12:06 PM
Hi Steve!

I was discussing this with a friend (also a keen engineer) and we both aggreed that vinyl was far superior to any other commercial music format, probably because of the lack of the 20Hz-20kHz aliasing, the format possibly only let down slightly by crackle/pops etc. One of my major gripes with technological progressions in media formats is the promotion of inferior sound quality (hello mp3/aac ipod generation). I know the majority of the consumer market may not notice the difference between 44.1 and 96 kHz recording, but who cares, in the days of 60GB hard drives in your pocket and HD space in general in abundance shouldn't accurate reproduction be priororitised over efficiency?

Mash

--------------------
www.matthewcracknell.com


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giles
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169271 - 18/08/05 12:07 PM
I'm currently looking at relative costs for vinyl & cd as I am seriously considering a switch to vinyl. If cost wasn't an issue I would do it now. Any good links for pressing would be appreciated.
Giles www.bateaulavoir.org


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Steve Albini



Joined: 18/08/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Chicago IL USA
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: giles]
      #169277 - 18/08/05 12:16 PM
I am not connected with pressing plants.
I do final mix to 2 track analog tape and I stop there.


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The Byre



Joined: 27/03/05
Posts: 1674
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169284 - 18/08/05 12:28 PM
This topic will run and run . . . (I hope!)

In a nutshell, I agree (I think!) but we should broaden the discussion out to analogue v. digital technology in general.

Having just finished reading 'The Record Men' by Cohen - the story of Chess Records and Leonard Chess in particular and having re-listened to the first ever R&R record, Maybellene, I grasp just what we have lost over the last few years.

We have all the usual digital clap-trap here at the studio, but all my efforts go into vintage kit (Vintage Kitt, Gadd how I loved that woman!)

You can have all the Mickey Mouse plugins and dufuss boxes on this planet, but we are all keyed to the sound of tape and the sound of a record. You can have all the Korg/Yamaha/bla, bla, bla keyboards, but only a piano sounds like a piano and only a Hammond sounds like a Hammond and only a Fender Rhodes sounds like a . . . well, you get the picture!

(If I ever have a problem with mastering a recording, nine times out of ten, it is because the original recording contained samples.)

We have three things in the studio that 'pull' and they are a good concert grand, a good reel-to-reel and a good Hammond. Nobody asks me what plugins we have or even if we have PT or Nuendo, Soundscape or Radar. They look for a good desk and good mics, but that is about it.

As for vinyl, hmmm, getting a recording right to sound good on vinyl was tricky and definately a skill that took time to learn. Definately vinyl sounds far better on the radio.

--------------------
www.the-byre.com No longer Forum Member


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gofodwr



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 330
Loc: Dinas Caerdydd
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169287 - 18/08/05 12:30 PM
Quote:

A well-made vinyl record still sounds infinitely better than anything else.




I think "well-made" is key. Old records I've bought from the 60s/70s feel and even look different to the rubbish that was being produced in the 80s/90s, most of which have developed serious pops and scratches after a few plays.

Slightly different comparison I know, but Weld sounds a hundred times better on vinyl than my iTunes copy.


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


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Loc: The King's Height
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Mash]
      #169292 - 18/08/05 12:34 PM
Joe Public will always get inferior sound & visual quality for mass production runs.
It's all driven my money.
I would agree that vinyl is spoiled by crackles and pops and no matter how careful I was, my records still made noises apart from the music.
I do believe that overall, CD is far better for commercial releases.
The sound difference in my opinion is marginal - in an A/B test, yes there is a difference, but let's not get too carried away. The CD doesn't get spoiled until you abuse it. LPs get wasted very easily.
A good recording released on CD is excellent. Remember that music is an art form and it's not just about which format sounds good. You'll never know that until you record the same piece twice at the same time, one to analogue and one to digital and double up the processes all the way through.
It would be an interesting experiment, but what would it achieve really?

When you weigh up all aspects, my vote is still for CD for mass production.

I often wonder if it's the same in the visual world. There's nothing to beat seeing a film on the big screen, yet many have surround sound etc... and their 32" wide TV. Are these people not kidding themselves on?
With projectors it's much better but it is inferior to the real thing.

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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The Byre



Joined: 27/03/05
Posts: 1674
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169294 - 18/08/05 12:35 PM
And another thing . . .

I REALLY miss having 12" by 12" front and back and a sleave to let my creative graphic side run riot.

I have just finished a CD cover and that is such a fiddley, stupid little format. It is very difficult to make a statement on a 15cm square.

--------------------
www.the-byre.com No longer Forum Member


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John Willett
Sound-Link ProAudio


Joined: 07/03/00
Posts: 12390
Loc: Oxfordshire UK
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169300 - 18/08/05 12:42 PM
Absolutely not.

Vinyl has far too many distortions - loads in the pressing process.

Just comparing the lacquer master with the pressed version tells you this.

Yes, you may like the distortions, but they are still a distortion of the original.

I go for digital every time - but it must be well recorded, with the right mics in the right position in the correct acoustic, etc.

And - of course - a superb performance.

That's the best

--------------------
John - Sound-Link ProAudio
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons


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narcoman
active member


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Posts: 8516
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169301 - 18/08/05 12:43 PM
Hi Steve,

Nice to see you here....

I think in some ways you're right, and in others you could not be more wrong. It is very much music dependant. For example - i spend most of my time recording and mixing classical based music for movie/tv/other use. Classical music - particularly brass, does not reproduce well on Vinyl. Its very UNdynamic. The best media for us classic types is really high sample high bit digital. DSD one day, i'm sure, but for now 96/24 digi using no tape apart from for effect. We just dont dig that tape sound !!! However, for good old R+R (of which you've done some of my favourite records) I couldnt agree more. Vinyl IS the sound of rock n roll.....

there ya go - my love and hate all in one !!

nice

Cheers

--------------------
Battenburg to the power of 20 - said by Richie Royale in a moment of genius. 4pm. Wed 16th Nov 2011. Remember where you were....


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Bagpuss



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 32
Loc: London
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169302 - 18/08/05 12:44 PM
Steve

Up until about 5 years ago, I was a real digital boy, but since then I've been bitten by the analogue bug big style. Nothing sounds as sweet as an analogue eq, or as smooth as analogue compressor. I couldn't get by without my SADiE for editing but for actually manipulating sound, it's analogue all the way.

With regards to vinyl sounding better, I'm not sure, but it certainly sounds more pleasing to the ear, if that makes any sense. We've got a lathe here and stuff coming back from the cut just has more presence than that coming off the hard-disc.

Byre: I'm with you here. Digital processors and plug-ins seem to be a given - no-one asks what we have. What sets you apart these days does seem to be your analogue outboard.

Just my opinion...

--------------------
Can we give it a bit more "tssss" and a bit less "ooooph"?


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djangodeadman
member


Joined: 18/02/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Brighton
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169308 - 18/08/05 12:52 PM
Quote Steve Albini:

(773) 539-2555
www.electrical.com

I can waive my fee.
But you still have to pay for studio time.
Business is business, you know.



That's understood.

Might be a bit of a treck from Brighton, anyway.


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Ultimate Fish
posting's fun


Joined: 06/12/02
Posts: 1910
Loc: York, UK
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Bagpuss]
      #169310 - 18/08/05 12:53 PM
The small amounts of vinyl I own are pretty poor and compared to the same recording on CD the vinyl just doesn't have anything going for it.

My dad owns large amounts of jazz on vinyl and some of it sounds great... then again you're sometimes dealing with recordings that are 50+ years old and mixed and mastered with vinyl in mind.

--------------------
need to get rid of this stupid sig...


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Paws
Blouse Wearing Nancy


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Posts: 1274
Loc: Denmark
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: The Byre]
      #169311 - 18/08/05 12:54 PM
Quote The Byre:

You can have all the Mickey Mouse plugins and dufuss boxes on this planet, but we are all keyed to the sound of tape and the sound of a record. You can have all the Korg/Yamaha/bla, bla, bla keyboards, but only a piano sounds like a piano and only a Hammond sounds like a Hammond and only a Fender Rhodes sounds like a . . . well, you get the picture!




Aaah, might be so, might be so.. But nothing sounds quite like my copy of the Amen Brother loop with the MP3-compression artifacts sped up by Ableton Live version 3 either... Add SupaTrigga AU set to 16ths and moderate amount of repeats/slow downs/reverse and about 3% chance of silence and you're there.. I could listen to that for hours and hours. It's unique.

(And anyways, Andrew, you can take your Hammonds and shove 'em up your jacksie... it is one of the most annoying sounds on this planet, closely followed by the guitar sound on that stupid "I can't get no... (crappy guitar lick)... satisfaction..." track by that second rate 60's rock band... what are they called again?)

Did any of you listen to Bassdrive.com last night, BTW? It was [ ****** ] mental. The mixing was a bit dodgy but the tunes mate, the tunes, I swear to god, nothing could touch that. Pure d'n'b bliss, mad enough to make even dead people feel alive.

--------------------
Signature (up to 200 characters). You may use UBBCode in your signature


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Rob C



Joined: 10/02/03
Posts: 8434
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169312 - 18/08/05 12:54 PM
One thing about vinyl... by the end of a side it's doing less than 10 ips (it starts a side at 21 ips).

Or my calculator's broken.

So you should always put your most sonically demanding material on the earlier tracks and finish each side with your grunge.


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


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Posts: 2682
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: The Byre]
      #169318 - 18/08/05 12:59 PM
The synth made to sound like a piano is quite pathetic at times, but it is very convenient for the home studio due to obvious cost savings.
The thing is for commercial music, which is generally cr*p and poorly produced, you don't need a real grand piano.
For a nice classical or acoustuc recording with a real piano - now that's when the Korg or Yamaha can sound completely false.
What gets me is the folk who want nice mic's and preamps (as if purists), then start using plug-ins for 'real' sounds. What's the point?

On the other hand, a Korg which sounds similar to a Rhodes - well so what if it's not a Rhodes. Music is all about notes and arrangements. Does it matter what plays them?
Whether a 'real' instrument or sythesised one, they can all be used effectively in good arragements, regardless of their physical makeup.

I think your train of thought (and probably many of us) is based on a set of rules that maybe we do not want to change.
If someone plays a certain part 'as a piano' then we can't see past a real piano playing it (and we're probably right most of the time).
But maybe it needs some thought 'out the box'. Any musically percussive instrument could play it whether real or sythesised and if it's well played and it's a nice piece, the quality will still shine through.

Digital technology is gettign better all the time and to be honest, for a recordist to ignore it completely would be foolish in my opinion.
Maybe a pure analogue set-up did sound better - not necessarily a better reporoduction, but better to the ears.
We can still capture performances to a really high standard and it sounds a bit different.
You take many recordings from every decade in the 20th century and they all sound different due to technology, equipment and fads.

Using a pure digital set-up isn't as bad as many say it is.

Byre,
Congratulations - you're luddite of the week.

Or as the boy at the Glasgow studio said when the songwriter phones to asked about what type of gear he has:-

"It's pure digital by the way".

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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PWGLE



Joined: 04/05/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: UK - Cardiff/Bath
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Bagpuss]
      #169320 - 18/08/05 01:01 PM
Vinyl can sound really good, providing its a really good press, the deck is high class, well setup, etc...

But the same can be said for CD Audio, if you've got a decent cd player, amp, DA convertor, speakers you can get a stunning sound.

The problem with any digital media is it is flawed from step one, audio isn't digital and in encoding it you lose some quality. Infomation about the waveforms is literally thrown away.

For some systems this is fine and acceptable, take for instance the Telephone system thats a digital system. I think it runs in a varible style so at 'normal' volumes you get more infomation, but if you shout more infomation is lost. This because people rarely shout on the phone so theres no need to waste bandwith on a area which isn't as important.

Anyway back to the CD's... They are fundlementally flawed! Ah but then we get into how its been recorded, has it been digital recorded?

When your digital audio systems hit around 96khz it starts to get harder to tell the differences, but they are still there...

Laurence

--------------------
P.I.G.L.E.T - where is polly?


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__
Who's never been here


Joined: 28/11/02
Posts: 6263
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169321 - 18/08/05 01:01 PM
Well I wanted to lay hands on The Tubes first album. Had the choice between s/h vinyl and CD. That album means a lot to me and I lost all my vinyl some years ago. I went for the vinyl copy in the end. Sentimental reasons and because it was produced for vinyl so i think that was the whole intended package. The band probably approved the master listening on a record deck. I wanted the original cover and stuff.

I dont have a great record deck but yes it sounds better. It sounds more REAL, and I have some identical tracks that ive been listening to from a Tubes comp for months. I find myself not having to try and listen. Vinyl just sort of fills the room. Digital is at ya.

I think my own recordings made on tape sound way better than the digital recordings I make now. I struggle to get a sound when it used to be easy. Its like trying to paint on glass. Im in the market for a tape machine. Ive given this digital thing a good crack of the whip now i reckon. Thought i liked being able to leave the piece and work on something else, but theres too much to think about. Tape and a desk always made me absorb and finish things.

I think the most stupid thing the record industry ever did was to go digital. They took an album with its cover and slip and its lush arty smell. And replaced it with something thats disposable rippable, its cheapened the form. We had the best canvas format for this lark and we dumped it, doh.


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Dave B



Joined: 03/04/03
Posts: 5617
Loc: Maidenhead
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: The Byre]
      #169322 - 18/08/05 01:02 PM
Quote The Byre:

And another thing . . .

I REALLY miss having 12" by 12" front and back and a sleave to let my creative graphic side run riot.




TBH, Andy just hit the nail on the head as to why there is such a vinyl nostalgia - we loved the tactile feel of the medium rather than it's technical specs. For the average listener, a CD-based system was a huge leap up in fidelity. I mean, how many people actually had separates, and of those, how many had other 'domestic' systems like tape players around their home ? Hi Fi was, is and always will be a minority issue.

But the actual record itself - especially the 12" size was a beatiful thing. It was a chance to read the the lyrics without a magnifying glass, look at exquisite artwork, marvel at the translucent disks and the record shops had a different, homey feel to them - not just endless (soulless) plastic racks. (sighs)

On most domestic audio systems, CD rules. But when it comes to the elusive 'feel' of the product, we all adore records....


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Scottdru
Cool Dude


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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: BigAl]
      #169325 - 18/08/05 01:05 PM
Quote BigAl:


On the other hand, a Korg which sounds similar to a Rhodes - well so what if it's not a Rhodes.



I've yet to hear a Korg or any other box that's not a Rhodes sound as good as a properly tuned and maintained Rhodes.

--------------------
Scott
--Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?


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Brian Moynihan
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169340 - 18/08/05 01:21 PM
The Byre,
I think that goes hand in hand with todays "lifestyle" people don't seem to care for the awesome vinyl collection any more. It's enough to have a CD rack next to the miniature Denon stereo, or ditch that altogether and plug their iPod straight into the stereo. Of course it's not so much what people "want" as what they've been convinced to want over a period of time now, by the marketing forces driving the sale of CDs and now portable mp3 players. I say this because people (yes, average human beings) of the 70s and early 80s used to all love browsing vinyl record sleeves and then purchasing said record&artwork to add to their home collection. I don't think the gene pool suddenly changed and people no longer appreciated the art that went into vinyl records. It's more like the means to peruse and sample vinyl records were slowly taken away from us to pave the way for the "digital revolution". I've heard claims that it's all about choice, and the public have voted for convenience over quality, but when the shops simply no longer stock a product, you cannot claim that choice is involved. It's like Dixons just last week announcing they will no longer sell non-digital film cameras any more. This is not because they are selling none, it's because they make a bit more margin on the digital cameras, and like any huge business, it simplifies the operation when you only sell carrots, not carrots and onions.

I have heard of bands writing, mixing and producing their work entirely inside a PC or Mac then making a big deal about the final thing being on Vinyl as opposed to CD but I don't really see the point in that, you've already lost anything truly analog in the music. When people listen now to the incredible engineering that made vinyl like ELO's or Stevie Wonder's records in the seventies, they oft forget that apart from the awesome musicianship, these recordings were purely analog from beginning to end. No virtual instruments, no plugins, not even cheap 80s digital effects units. So putting current work onto vinyl to restore some magic is probably foolish if the entire opus was recorded and mixed in Pro Tools.

Which brings me back to the point earlier about supposed choice, musical equipment has never been cheaper than it is currently. You can buy a mic, guitar, 24 tracks of 24bit recording and as many virtual synths as you want for under £1000. The trouble is, many professional musicians have gone down the path of downgrading their gear to the cheap prosumer stuff, for the simple fact that it is so much cheaper and compact. But this has had an effect on the sound and quality of music out there. People complain that tape machines and tape are no longer viable because the cost of machine, maintenance and finding tape has become prohibitive. It's nonsense, it's only really prohibitive if you're comparing to the cost of a cheap PC and Cubase SX and you're trying to keep the studio budget under £1000. Great bands of the 70s and 80s weren't applying those rules, they just bought tape machines and used them, while budding musicians settled for 4 and 8 track reel to reels and portastudios. The great levelling of the playing field that has occurred since the computer revolution has not all been a great thing, the overall standard of released music has dropped signicantly, and coupled with new formats and technology that serve only the vast media corporations like Sony, what joe public is listening to is even more degraded.

Sony are in the process of rolling out Blu-Ray discs, with a 50gb capacity on one DVD-sized optical disk. Am I the only one who thinks that hard disk and flash based storage is only a sideways step? Why are there not in the pipeline, new "Sony Walkmans", that use Blu-Ray for storage? With 50gb per disk, you could store 200 albums in CD quality with lossless compression, or alternatively 50 albums with greatly improved fidelity like 24/96. As the storage capacity increases, the argument for utterly shitty formats like MP3 becomes weaker and weaker, and we begin to see that it's got more to do with
a) Restricting the end user's take-home product so as to protect the corporations intellectual property via poor quality and DRM or similar technologies and
b) Increasing the profits of the same companies by allowing them to sell a low bandwidth equivalent minus artwork, minus CD, minus vinyl etc etc. You can't get much a much cheaper way to sell music than the minimum-quality-bandwidth mp3 download model.

Bob


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Back_AndToTheLeft



Joined: 17/09/04
Posts: 176
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Scottdru]
      #169341 - 18/08/05 01:21 PM
Quote Scottdru:

Quote BigAl:


On the other hand, a Korg which sounds similar to a Rhodes - well so what if it's not a Rhodes.



I've yet to hear a Korg or any other box that's not a Rhodes sound as good as a properly tuned and maintained Rhodes.




Funnily enough, my biggest problem with all the virtual Rhodes emulators is that they don't sound like my f**ked old Rhodes, which is improperly tuned and maintained but sounds unique


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BigAl
Just The Bass Player


Joined: 24/01/02
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Scottdru]
      #169345 - 18/08/05 01:26 PM
I don't dispute that and I was actually saying that in my point, although maybe it wasn't clear.

What I meant was - you get a Korg which has a similar sound, but it's not an actual Rhodes.
So what?
It's still a useable sound to play your music with.
It may not sound as good as a Rhodes but you can't compare apples and pears.

What if the Korg sythesiser had its sound first, then the Rhodes came along. What would be best?

Neither, they're both still useable.

--------------------
Jack of all trades, master of some.


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Back_AndToTheLeft



Joined: 17/09/04
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: BigAl]
      #169348 - 18/08/05 01:28 PM
Quote BigAl:

What if the Korg sythesiser had its sound first, then the Rhodes came along. What would be best?





You have obviously never owned a Fender Rhodes.


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PWGLE



Joined: 04/05/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: UK - Cardiff/Bath
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Scottdru]
      #169351 - 18/08/05 01:34 PM
Quote Scottdru:

Quote BigAl:


On the other hand, a Korg which sounds similar to a Rhodes - well so what if it's not a Rhodes.



I've yet to hear a Korg or any other box that's not a Rhodes sound as good as a properly tuned and maintained Rhodes.




I'll second that, nothing sounds like a Rhodes!

nothing sounds like a badly maintained rhodes either!
part of play a rhodes is that action! I ain't seen a controller keyboard like it!

and they never get the tine sound right...

Those's Logic Virtual Instruments EVP88 are a bit of a joke!

--------------------
P.I.G.L.E.T - where is polly?

Edited by Pirate Giant with Laser Eyes (PGWLE) (18/08/05 01:37 PM)


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Who's never been here


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Posts: 6263
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169352 - 18/08/05 01:35 PM
If they could digitise women would you prefer a real one or the holohooker with the real love plugin.


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Brian Moynihan
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Joined: 14/11/02
Posts: 677
Loc: Boston
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169355 - 18/08/05 01:37 PM
Before anyone murders me for my anti-digital comments in the last post, I should make clear I'm not criticizing digital per se. What I feel is that if the end medium was quality enough, like DSD/SACD upwards, and if the recording and mixing had all been done in that domain, the resulting product would be fantastic sounding. But what's often the case now is that records are coming out recorded in 16bit 44.1 (yes many people are still recording at 16bit), and then due to lack of skill they overuse digital plugins, especially the hellish Ultramaximizer type. The final CD then rarely gets listened to "as a CD" by the end user. More often than not, it's going to be heard as a 160kbps VBR MP3 on their iPod, or even worse, people download it from peer to peer and it's been ripped in burst mode complete with wonderful CD skipping noises, encoded at 80kbps with the crappest MP3 software available, snipping seconds of the start and end off for good measure, and probably mistitled to boot.

The techological means will exist very soon for most musicians to be recording high fidelity all the way to the final product, which could be released high fidelity. While the marketing people will tell us that the public are choosing low fidelity for convenience, the truth is, it's the marketing people and their accountants who will make the decision about what product is actually for sale, and my point is that it is in their interest to "cripple" the end product somewhat. Why sell some people a Ferrari when you could sell millions a sketch of a Ferrari on a piece of paper?

This argument could go on and on, but just think for a second, compare this to the very similar question in photography...Has anyone seen a digital photograph as stunning as the most stunning from a real, chemicals-based camera? Really?

Bob


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PWGLE



Joined: 04/05/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: UK - Cardiff/Bath
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Brian Moynihan]
      #169356 - 18/08/05 01:40 PM
I've seen some lovely digital shots!

With somthing like a photography digital has meant its avalible to them, but only 1 in a million accualy takes that breath taking photo.

--------------------
P.I.G.L.E.T - where is polly?


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Brian Moynihan
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Joined: 14/11/02
Posts: 677
Loc: Boston
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169360 - 18/08/05 01:42 PM
And I agree with the comments above about the tactile nature of the vinyl sleeve. It almost seems pointless going to all the work making beautiful artwork for a CD jewel case when..
a) it's so small
b) through the plastic they often don't look that endearing
c) when the CD inevitably ends up in a 240-CD folder, only the CD's on body image matters.
d) when the CD inevitably ends up inside an mp3 player, none of the images matter.
e) they don't *feel* half as good as the big 12 inch inky sleeve


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Brian Moynihan
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Designnotes]
      #169364 - 18/08/05 01:49 PM
Quote Pirate Giant with Laser Eyes (PGWLE):

I've seen some lovely digital shots!

With somthing like a photography digital has meant its avalible to them, but only 1 in a million accualy takes that breath taking photo.




Not meaning the actual artistic shot as much as how it looks. Try scanning a measly Polaroid at 2400dpi and then print it professionally up to A1 poster size. Do the same with a digital photograph and you get this ugly, RGB mess reminiscent of ZX81 sprite graphics.

People also talk about how much cheaper going digital is, yeah for sure, the camera, the PC, the Epson/Canon Photo Printer, the £25 colour ink cartridge that lasts 30 photos, the £20 black ink cartridge that lasts the same, the £1-a sheet paper that your printer likes to chew every second sheet of, the memory cards, the memory card reader, the NiMH batteries that last 15 minutes, the NiMH charger, the new lenses you had to buy for the camera because they made the fittings incompatible with previous lenses of the same brand.


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__
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169365 - 18/08/05 01:50 PM
Slightly off, but something else about daws. Theres a lot of food in the kitchen. Lots of choices available. However focused you are on getting what you want. The distractions are infinite. With more traditional recording setups, you got your sound and recorded that. Almost now like im recording 'to it' as opposed to it recording 'from me'. Nurse


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Brian Moynihan
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169367 - 18/08/05 01:51 PM
/rant off


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Stephen Bennett
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169368 - 18/08/05 01:53 PM
Quote Steve Albini:

Hello fellas.

In my recent interview with Sound On Sound magazine I said that for critical listening, or for music that means a lot to me, digital formats aren't good enough. A well-made vinyl record still sounds infinitely better than anything else.

Steve Albini.
Electrical Audio.




I have both a pretty good CD and Record player (and cleaner!) and I've always preferred vinyl.

I've been in the happy position to be able to listen to a CD and vinyl version of a record I recently played on - I also did some of the recording, so I know what the 'raw' product sounded like. Even though it was recorded totally on digital systems it still sounds better to me on the 180g white vinyl version.

I think it's something to do with the 'friendly' distortion but also the skill of the cutting engineer - proper 'mastering' . The vinyl version's bass is much more controlled - yet just as deep, the highs sweeter.

The thing is, a inexpensive CD player usually sounds pretty good to me. An inexpensive turntable invariably (IMHO) does not. But when you approach the 'high-end' the record player overtakes the CD in listening pleasure. All IMHO of course!

I love CD for convenience, but I would never sell my vinyl!

Stephen

--------------------
New Henry Fool album (Feat: Phil Manzenera and Jarrod Gosling of iMonster.)
New Tim Bowness album (Feat: Steven Wilson, Pat Mastelotto.)


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Chickenjohn
Not a chicken


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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169369 - 18/08/05 01:54 PM
I have to agree absolutely with Steve Albini on this- a well pressed good quality vinyl sounds far far better than CD. For instance my original copy of Highway to Hell (AC/DC) sounds superb, the drums at the start have so much more depth and air than anything I've ever heard from CD and the guitar riff, has real crunch, and when the vocals come in, phew...its like Bonn Scott is still alive and in the room.

and I only have a Rega Planar 3 with the elyse cartridge through a midrange/budget UK hifi system and it sound much better than any CD system I've ever heard. Its like the life is back in the music, you can hear the air and the space around the instruments.

CD's suck and computer based/digital recording sucks- well done to Steve for also staying all analogue, fantastic stuff, best SOS interview in years!

keep up the good work (even though its not really Steve Albini there, is it???) I know that because the real Steve Albini WOULD take an interest in pressing the master from which vinyl is made- Frank Zappa is reknowned for getting up to 20 test pressings done of some albums before he was satisfied in the mastering quality, and FZ vinyl sounds great...

--------------------
Chaas
cJ na


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Scottdru
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Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Steve Albini]
      #169370 - 18/08/05 01:58 PM
Hi Steve, and welcome to the SOS Forums! I always enjoy hearing your views, and find myself agreeing with many of them.

To be honest, I haven't had the opportunity to do any proper A/B comparison of the same recording between vinyl and digital since probably the late '80s, at which point I was able to do the comparison on a comparably high end audiophile turntable and CD player, with records that were well maintained and regularly cleaned on a VPI machine.

I would wonder how many people here even have access to that kind of gear.

Back then, I definitely felt that vinyl sounded better. But then again, CDs were quite new, the quality of digital gear we had available wasn't up to what we have available to us now, and the digital remastering was often poor. I also always found that CDs that were recorded/mastered from beginning to end (DDD) most often did not sound as good or musical as CDs that had at least one analogue step in there somewhere (AAD, ADD or DAD).

I held out to the bitter end, until I found I could no longer get new releases that I really wanted on vinyl, before I broke down and bought a CD player.

I still do have some vinyl, but off hand I think I only have one duplicate with vinyl/CD, which is Fagen's "The Nightfly" -- the CD of which, to my ears, sounds like it wasn't particularly well remastered for digital. Perhaps this was one of the ones that was remastered early on? I haven't had a chance to do an A/B of these yet on decent gear (I've got a Thorens turntable, but have never been particularly happy with the tone arm/cartridge combination on it -- relatively a bit thin and scratchy sounding for my liking). But in that case, I do feel that the sound of the vinyl version (mostly from memory, listening on high quality turntables, etc.) sounds better to me than the CD . . . but would it if it was better remastered and recorded at, say, 24/96? I'm not sure.

I do sometimes find that vinyl records don't have the dynamic range that a good digital recording does.

I while I realise that in the end it is the ears that matter, I would actually be curious to understand what technical reasons you feel cause vinyl to sound better than any digital recording. Or is it just the pleasing/musical artifacts of the analogue gear or process?

If the latter is the case, would inserting an analogue step (perhaps with the requiste skill and intent ) before the final pressing to digital add the necessary euphonic improvements to make the two forms more equivalent? Or would the final digital step somehow not manage to transmit the subtleties of the effects? And, if not, why?

Also, as I understand it, when a record is cut/pressed, the highs and lows are rolled off and then "reconstituted" using RIAA equalisation. Does this not add its own artifacts that may or may not have as much effect as any potential aliasing in high quality AD and/or DA conversion, particularly at higher sampling rates?

Hehe . . . I have more questions, but perhaps I'll save those for later.

I too must admit missing the tactile experience of the full size LP jackets . . . at least when listening at home. Records and a turntable were a bitch to try to carry around in your backpack, though.

--------------------
Scott
--Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?


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PWGLE



Joined: 04/05/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: UK - Cardiff/Bath
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Brian Moynihan]
      #169372 - 18/08/05 02:03 PM
Bob it rather depends on the camera, etc in question...

A scanner for instance is accually a digital device.

If you have a decent SLR Digital Camera you can get some amazing results with great quality, at 100% digital camera resolution tends to be good enough, but you drop it to 50% and you in effect double the D.P.I making the photo's look at lot better...

Printers do suck harshly! I get any photos i take printed professional, and have laser printers in the office for everything else, they are so much cheaper to run!

Anyway!

--------------------
P.I.G.L.E.T - where is polly?


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PWGLE



Joined: 04/05/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: UK - Cardiff/Bath
Re: Vinyl is better than anything else. new [Re: Designnotes]
      #169377 - 18/08/05 02:06 PM
What makes me really angry is when they remaster classics, and they sound worse!

I got one the other day, recorded a 10s piece of the record, and then the same 10s from the CD...

They had re'eq'ed it, and the compression was unbelivable!

Its worth noting that when CD's first came out they where mastered to sound very crisp at the top end, to try and make the listener apperciate the 'crisp clear sound of digital'

--------------------
P.I.G.L.E.T - where is polly?


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