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  • Classical Recordings - Lp vs CD

    I've been listening to stereo classical Lps for quite some time to great satisfaction. But recently I revisited about a dozen CDs of similar music for the first time in a long time and was quite impressed by the overall dynamic range. No, classical CDs don't have the resolution of classical Lps, and I think I still prefer Lps. But if one is objective, one must admit the average classical CD has more dynamic range than the average Lp. There are exceptions of course, I'm talking typically.
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

  • #2
    ..actually, I don't agree JC..... The overall presentation of vinyl is always better than the CD's. One must have similar quality CD player as Vinyl player, but to ME....its always vinyl. CD's have a closed in flat quality compared to LP's (in my system....Ayre C5xemp, Superscoutmaster rim drive, 3D dual point, Ortofon Winfield cartridge) Differences are revealed in ABing the piece.

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    • JCOConnell
      JCOConnell commented
      Editing a comment
      I never stated that the overall presentation of vinyl wasn't superior to CD

  • #3
    my opinion used to be different.

    i'm listening to the Tilson Thomas-SF Symphony Mahler 5th on the big rig right now, in 24-96 PCM off my hard drive through the MSB Select II/SGM server right now. on the 5th Movement. had the lights down and was kicking back for the first 4 movements. I'm no Mahler expert or even Classical expert.

    it's been involving and a satisfying musical experience and kept my attention.

    nothing flat or lacking nuance or micro-dynamics about this. lots of action and great separation, space, realism and authority. I listen to lots of classical on the Select II.

    last night I had a few serious analog focused guys over and we listened to quite a bit of digital; mostly string quartets, and classical piano. they were quite amazed at the natural, spacious and focused presentation. one of them is a classical composer and professor. he was especially taken with a redbook Haydn String Quartet and the sound staging and natural tone.

    can Lps still be better? sure they can but not by as much as you might think.......but don't blame the digital format for the apparent significant difference between cd and lp, it's the particular digital playback systems that are lacking. my vinyl playback is up there in the higher realm too......but still the digital gets closer.
    https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/615

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    • #4
      First a confession: while I understand I'm missing some music, I no longer have a reason to play CDs.

      An objectivist will likely provide numbers about the inherent dynamic range of whichever format. I can't hear numbers.

      I think of it in terms of the equipment - that actualizes whatever dynamic and dynamic range potential is held by any particular CD or LP. Better systems for either format will produce better results. Guess I'm agreeing with MikeL. :-)

      Forgive me - I know I keep prattling on about it - but ever since using the new Monaco 'table my grasp of both the dynamic range and general dynamics capabilities of vinyl has undergone a dramatic revision.

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      • JCOConnell
        JCOConnell commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not saying todays vinyl Lps and Playback gear isn't capable of extreme dynamic range, what I'm saying is a typical 60's and 70's classical Lp simply doesn't have the dynamic range of 80's classical CDs.

    • #5
      I wasn't trying to say classical CDs sound better than classical Lps, I don't think they do, its just they typically have more dynamic range. I think its due to mastering.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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      • #6
        I think it's about one's sonic priorities and audio system. Either digital or analog can sound exceptional, IMHO, and both can miss badly depending on any number of factors.
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        • #7
          Originally posted by rbbert View Post
          I think it's about one's sonic priorities and audio system. Either digital or analog can sound exceptional, IMHO, and both can miss badly depending on any number of factors.
          at the top of the food chain I see convergence of presentation with digital and analog (with differences in degrees). but possibly that is due to my particular analog is more toward the truth/linear side of the things. maybe a vinyl set-up which has a 'big bloom' or on the warm sort of presentation might be then more a matter of taste.....and fundamentally different than top level digital. or one would need to match the vinyl viewpoint with appropriate digital.
          https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/615

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          • #8
            I'm a pro violinist....when I was in music school, the professors used mainly Webcor portable players for their records. I (a budding newbie audiophile) asked them how they heard the 2nd violins.....they said they "fill in" what's missing.

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            • #9
              Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
              I wasn't trying to say classical CDs sound better than classical Lps, I don't think they do, its just they typically have more dynamic range. I think its due to mastering.
              There we go. LPs in the 70s and 80s were often compressed to reduce mastering time spent on them, which was (and still is) expensive. Oddly, today the situation seems reversed: CDs seem more compressed, but mostly just because there is an expectation they may be played in a car. There is no such expectation for LPs and for the most part this was not on the radar of CD mastering in the 80s.

              Are there any new classical releases on LP that are not reissues??

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              • #10
                Originally posted by atmasphere View Post

                There we go. LPs in the 70s and 80s were often compressed to reduce mastering time spent on them, which was (and still is) expensive. Oddly, today the situation seems reversed: CDs seem more compressed, but mostly just because there is an expectation they may be played in a car. There is no such expectation for LPs and for the most part this was not on the radar of CD mastering in the 80s.

                Are there any new classical releases on LP that are not reissues??
                Sure, for example one I reviewed a couple months ago:
                http://www.theaudiobeat.com/music/sa...phony_3_lp.htm

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                • #11
                  I suppose modern recorded classical done digitally would sound best kept in that format. Golden age recordings from the late 50's to early 60's (analog/tubes) will sound more natural, realistic in vinyl or tape form.
                  Christian
                  System Gear

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                  • #12
                    I'm hardly in a position to speak with knowledge about CDs, but my impression was that when the format was first introduced, much was in the classical realm. (There could be a number of reasons for this, but I won't speculate). Obviously, popular music began to be released on CD while LPs were still available, but the latter became scarce pretty fast, once adoption of the format became widespread. (I remember all the empty record bins in Tower in downtown Manhattan, before the vinyl got moved over to the Annex).
                    I haven't really followed CD production and mastering techniques, but got the impression that the loudness wars, at least in pop/rock, made earlier CD issues more desirable.
                    Do you guys hunt particular CD pressings of the same recorded performance the way we do on vinyl?
                    One thing I'm continually surprised about is the quality of some LPs that are derived from digital files- mostly newer stuff that started life in the digital domain, but some that are reissues of old records. (I buy these when the original is in the 3-4 figure range as a place holder). Blast Furnace, which Ken turned me onto, was reissued by Uni-Polydor in the last year or so as a Danish RSD job. It is a very good sounding record, apart from being a very cool piece of period psych, mixed with almost show-tune stuff- very melodic. I bought it as a placeholder, but doubt I'll spring for an original on vinyl at this point unless I find a really clean copy (and those usually cost).

                    PS: I actually unpacked several hundred old CDs to use in the vintage system. I bought a cheap used CD player, mainly to make sure all inputs on the restored preamp worked (I used one of those line to RIAA converters to test the phono inputs). Just for kicks, I plugged the CD player into the main system, and put on a copy of the soundtrack to The Pianist, which I figured ought to sound good. It did. You could tell that reverb was added to give the piano more depth, but the overall result- using little better than a Goodwill type CD player- actually impressed me. (It was an old Cambridge Audio unit). I'm now starting to buy some select CDs for records that are too difficult or too expensive to find. At some point, I will undoubtedly upgrade the digital, but I'm not there yet. Having fun, nonetheless, and I'm pretty much a hair-shirt vinyl guy.

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                    • #13
                      Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                      I've been listening to stereo classical Lps for quite some time to great satisfaction. But recently I revisited about a dozen CDs of similar music for the first time in a long time and was quite impressed by the overall dynamic range. No, classical CDs don't have the resolution of classical Lps, and I think I still prefer Lps. But if one is objective, one must admit the average classical CD has more dynamic range than the average Lp. There are exceptions of course, I'm talking typically.
                      That hypothesis can certainly can be objectively tested nowadays.

                      Of course, this depends upon the label we are talking about.

                      Also are you simply hearing a limitation in your analog front end? Are you just saying the turntable and phono section doesn't have the dynamics of your CD player?
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

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                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
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                      Comment


                      • JCOConnell
                        JCOConnell commented
                        Editing a comment
                        No, my analog front end is capable of tremendous dynamics ( just needs well mastered Lps) . All I was trying to say was, after listening to a whole bunch of 60's and mostly early 70's classical Lps ( that sounded good, don't get me wrong ), when I switched to 1980's CDs two things
                        struck me. One, there wasn't the resolution and two, there was more dynamic range (less compression).

                    • #14
                      Originally posted by rbbert View Post
                      I think it's about one's sonic priorities and audio system. Either digital or analog can sound exceptional, IMHO, and both can miss badly depending on any number of factors.
                      But would you say digital sounds best on solo instruments or small ensembles as opposed to full scale orchestra? And vice versa for analog?
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 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 Mk. 2, 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. 6, 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 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                      Comment


                      • 1morerecord2clean
                        1morerecord2clean commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I would say results are very much software dependent Myles. Not so much a soloist vs an orchestra. I have digital and vinyl classical which sound very good. I particularly like string quartets on record. Vinyl seems to pick up the grit of the hairs on the bow against the strings in a way digital does not. These parameters are "absolute" in nature and don't prevent me from enjoying music on either format even though as you know, my preference is always plastic spinning round and round.

                      • Mike Lavigne
                        Mike Lavigne commented
                        Editing a comment
                        one 'special thing' about the MSB Select II is how it separates large orchestral, string quartets, big band, etc. etc.. and not only separates but lots of depth and width and the images are tonally complete and organic. been listening to lots of digital Mahler lately and it's all there.

                        it does not go as far as the best vinyl but it's 'like it'.

                        the Trinity dac (PCM only) went down this road to a degree, but the MSB Select goes farther, and does it on both PCM and dsd with it's 'hybrid' dac.
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