Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Some Personal Reflections on the Analog Medium

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Some Personal Reflections on the Analog Medium


    No, I don’t expect everyone to agree on this topic but here are some observations that I’ve made about the current state-of-the-art of analog playback. Specifically, is the problem with the analog medium itself and the recording process or in the playback aspect? The answer is—and maybe shockingly so even to me—is in the playback of the LP. The analog medium is far better than anyone realized and there’s a whole lot more information on those discs than people ever realized. The newest generation of turntables, arm, catridges—and in my estimation especially phono sections—have really narrowed the gap between LPs and tape. Sure tape still rules the roost but LPs are capturing aspects of the recordings once solely the domain of tape until now. Have we now captured all there is to recover from those grooves now? Not even close in my estimation either!

    Now, one of the main reasons I acquired a tape deck years ago was to have a reference source for doing analog equipment reviews (yes I’m aware of the issues but the LP playback system should have the “qualities” heard on the tape). The million dollar question? Does using the best examples of both analog mediums, the LP come close—and how close at that—to the sound of the tape? And there are many good examples/pairing with which to compare such as Arnold Overtures on Reference Recordings, Bill Evans Waltz for Debby on Riverside, Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder on Bluenote, Garcia-Grisman on Acoustic Discs, Suite Espanola on Decca, various Opus 3 discs, etc. (and I’m not counting the Yarlung examples as I still have to order some of their LPs; yes, I know shame on me!) So there’s no shortage of discs and averaging out the vast number of recordings available mitigates the possibility of drawing an erroneous conclusion.

    While there have been significant improvements in turntable, cartridge and especially arm design (yes let’s not forget turntable isolation either), there’s been no bigger improvement in analog playback than in the area of phonostages. Old timers will remember the noisy phonostages with inadequate gain to amplify those low output MCs. Sure there were SUTs but again, they weren’t without their own issues. The newest phonostages sporting higher gain numbers while at the same time being ever so much quieter have allowed more information than ever to be revealed from records. Better parts, far better power supplies, better circuit design, less susceptibility to overload (Bill’s blog about how hard it is to properly design a phono section that basically has to amplify a signal just above the noise floor is recommended reading!) are just a few of the improvements that are seen in modern day phonostages.

    The end result has been quite significant. If I were to rank the various cartridges vs. tape, the Atlas would come in at about 80-85% of the tape. The biggest areas of breakthough include the ability to capture ever so much more of the sense of ease and low frequency dynamics of tape, more sense of space and most significantly, a better sense of instrumental timbre. No it’s not there yet, and may never be, but the improvements are nothing short of extraordinary.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Some would argue that we never realized how good some of the tonearms, cartridges, and tables were from yesteryear and that may be due to better phono stages that are much more quiet than phono stages of yesteryear. And not just more quiet, but more music emerging from them as well.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mep View Post
      Some would argue that we never realized how good some of the tonearms, cartridges, and tables were from yesteryear and that may be due to better phono stages that are much more quiet than phono stages of yesteryear. And not just more quiet, but more music emerging from them as well.
      That's right up David's alley! But I could see that argument.

      But I would argue that today's arms because of attention to resonances, energy storage, bearing quality, geometry, simplicity and less part, etc. are better today too.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a slightly different take on this than you. Comparing the best & better sounding, tables, arms and cartridges dating from the 80's and earlier to their modern day counterparts I really don't see any progress sonically, if anything I still have to hear any modern day SOTA table/arm/cartridge match vintage SOTA of that period. The same goes for R2R machines, SOTA was and still is vintage players of the same 80's and earlier era, have you found anything modern to match? Look at the recordings, what comes even close to to 50's-60's SOTA? IMO analog was already a very mature technology and had reached its pinnacle by the time digital rolled into town.

        Regarding the electronics, I agree that they're quieter and even better sounding in some cases today and given the medium I'm regularly blown away by the amount of information hidden in the grooves that the best vinyl playback systems, modern and vintage can mine. Not quite R2R but the best come damn close. A wonderful thing given the variety, abundance & availability of good vinyl...

        david
        Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
        Distribution: NEODIO

        Special Sales: van den Hul
        Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

        Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

        Comment


        • #5
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          Every day...
          **************************************************
          Every day is a good day to play analog.
          - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
          - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
          **************************************************
          Every day is a good day for live music.
          **************************************************

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

            That's right up David's alley! But I could see that argument.

            But I would argue that today's arms because of attention to resonances, energy storage, bearing quality, geometry, simplicity and less part, etc. are better today too.
            Complex engineering doesn't equate into better sound! I don't see where you get the less parts or simplicity from Myles, today's arms claiming SOTA come with tons of bells & whistles and wild claims the regarding materials they use, even the glorified chopsticks are much more complex and more parts that what we had.

            david
            Last edited by david k; 02-23-2016, 04:56 PM. Reason: inserted equate
            Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
            Distribution: NEODIO

            Special Sales: van den Hul
            Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

            Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by david k View Post

              Complex engineering doesn't into better sound! I don't see where you get the less parts or simplicity from Myles, today's arms claiming SOTA come with tons of bells & whistles and wild claims the regarding materials they use, even the glorified chopsticks are much more complex and more parts that what we had.

              david
              No there has to be good rationale. And of course the proof is in the listening. I do think sometimes we are just changing colorations.

              The way I look at things:

              Less connections = better energy transfer paths

              Stripped down arms with less parts to resonate. Won't mention the arm that sounds better as you remove parts.

              But I do think there is something to be said when you look at the ringing of some older arms with multiple resonance points vs. today's arms where there is one resonance peak that can be damped and get rid of out of phase reflections. I remember some really bad older arms that were some reviewer's darlings too. I think the thing to look at is the best of older arms vs newer arms. That's not to say either that there weren't some older arms that stand the test of time either.

              David, what are your favorite vintage arms?
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                No there has to be good rationale. And of course the proof is in the listening. I do think sometimes we are just changing colorations.

                The way I look at things:

                Less connections = better energy transfer paths

                Stripped down arms with less parts to resonate. Won't mention the arm that sounds better as you remove parts.

                But I do think there is something to be said when you look at the ringing of some older arms with multiple resonance points vs. today's arms where there is one resonance peak that can be damped. I remember some really bad older arms that were some reviewer's darlings too. I think the thing to look at is the best of older arms vs newer arms. That's not to say either that there weren't some older arms that stand the test of time either.
                We're both avoiding naming brands but beginning to wonder if we'll get anywhere without getting specific ! One thing for sure; most of the today's mediocre products might suffer different ills but are no better than yesterday's mediocre and the best are still fewer than a dozen so like they've always been..

                david
                Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                Distribution: NEODIO

                Special Sales: van den Hul
                Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                Comment


                • #9
                  So when are we going to see a review of the A95? Talking about linearity elsewhere, as well as with my A90. Does it get past 85% of the tape?
                  Analog: VPI Aries 3, custom suspension/Magnetically stabilized JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90/Modded & shielded Pass XP-25 Digital: Spectral 3000SL/Heavily modded Alpha DAC & Yggy2 Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-500AR Speakers: Heavily modded MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods)/Modded REL Cabling: Shielded MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strips, Magnum Z-Traps; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ack View Post
                    So when are we going to see a review of the A95? Talking about linearity elsewhere, as well as with my A90. Does it get past 85% of the tape?

                    Soon come. One other review to finish and then it's the A95. Now if I can just tear myself away from the forum for a little bit.

                    But yes, it does bring up the topic of disappearing that I was going to talk about. And I'm not talking about money!
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by david k View Post

                      Complex engineering doesn't equate into better sound! (...)
                      Very true. Although the reverse is not true - I am not a partisan of minimalist designs - but I feel that sometimes we get lost in the complexity of the technology and forget about the sound.
                      My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                        David, what are your favorite vintage arms?
                        SME 3012, all versions
                        Dynavector 505
                        Ortofon, early 12" models
                        EMT 997
                        Micro Seiki MAX-282

                        Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                        Distribution: NEODIO

                        Special Sales: van den Hul
                        Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                        Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by david k View Post

                          SME 3012, all versions
                          Dynavector 505
                          Ortofon, early 12" models
                          EMT 997
                          Micro Seiki MAX-282

                          What about the Micro Seiki 505?
                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post


                            What about the Micro Seiki 505?
                            That's in the 2nd tier category for me, if you noticed all my favorites are all bayonet mount and aside from the Dnya are 12" arms. These are what I consider 2nd tier, even then I find them preferable to many of the current mega dollar arms I've had here.

                            SME 3009/3010
                            MS 505 mk3
                            FR 64 & 66
                            SAEC WE 308L
                            Audio Technica 12T

                            david
                            Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                            Distribution: NEODIO

                            Special Sales: van den Hul
                            Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                            Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mep View Post
                              Some would argue that we never realized how good some of the tonearms, cartridges, and tables were from yesteryear and that may be due to better phono stages that are much more quiet than phono stages of yesteryear. And not just more quiet, but more music emerging from them as well.
                              I guess that's part of it Mark but I think mostly its because 20-30 years later we're more experienced and knowledgeable. I remember that way back then the seasoned audiophiles where already aware of the special qualities of these tables/arms/cartridges, I didn't get it back then nor did I have the skill to setup these tables properly back then. You should hear these tables in all vintage systems, they shine just as much and even more in some cases...

                              david
                              Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                              Distribution: NEODIO

                              Special Sales: van den Hul
                              Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                              Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                              http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                              http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X