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Music Hardware

Not All iPods — Vinyl and Turntables Gain Sales 405

Says the New York Times: "With the curious resurgence of vinyl, a parallel revival has emerged: The turntable, once thought to have taken up obsolescence with eight-track tape players, has been reborn."
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Not All iPods — Vinyl and Turntables Gain Sales

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  • by merauder ( 518514 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:03AM (#30350578)
    I recently ordered a copy of 'Them Crooked Vultures' on Vinyl, sounds fantastic! With the Loudness Wars [ [] ] going on for the last while, music is becoming harder to listen to with all the compression, you lose the dynamics of the recording. I've recently gotten back into vinyl because of this. My ears have been thanking me ever since!
  • Re:Vinyl... (Score:5, Informative)

    by hazem ( 472289 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:18AM (#30350662) Journal

    back when I was young (early 2k's) I used to listen to a lot of dance music and go to the occasional rave. When I first started going to these gigs, I asked one of my friends why the DJ's used vinyl instead of CD's.

    Many years ago I worked at a radio station with mostly records and "carts" (like 8-track tapes); digital music was just becoming available. One thing I noticed was that it was much easier to mix songs and get the beats to mix using the record players. Being able to touch the media as it turned and subtly slow or speed up the records made it really easy to sync the beats. It was really fun to watch the DJs who were particularly good at it.

  • Re:Vinyl... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @05:25AM (#30350704)

    I've always thought that people buy vinyl because it's just a bit more romantic. Or they're fucking idiots.

    DJs buy vinyl because it's a better user interface for mixing. "Scratching" on a CD player is just not the same. Also, many rare tracks come out on vinyl that don't come out on CD (well, this used to be the case).

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:30AM (#30351006)

    The compression on CDs is not manditory, and indeed you find some CDs without it. However if high quality sound is your goal, well then DVD-A and SACD are the places to look. Like records, they are not produced for everything, but they tend to be extremely well mastered for what they are done with. Nice wide dynamic range. They also have the advantage of being all digital, and extremely high resolution: 96-192kHz 24-bit for DVD-A, 2.8MHz 1-bit for SACD (equivalent to about 20-bit 100kHz). You are also usually going to spend less on hardware (a cheap SACD/DVD-A player can be had for less than $200) and your recordings don't degrade every time they are played.

    That's the problem I have with the audiophile record crowd: There ARE digital technologies better than CD, much better, and measurably so. Thus, if your goal is highest fidelity sound, then that is probalby what you should be getting. Goes double since most recordings these days are produced digitally, so you are getting "digital sound" like it or not.

    I'm fine with people who like records for nostalgic reasons, but I don't get the "Oh records sound so much better crowd." No, not so much really. Sure, compare a $5000 turntable to a $10 CD player where the CD is limited all to hell, the record player sounds better (unless the record is scratched). However compares that same record player to a $200 DVD-A player and the DVD-A will be better.

  • by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @06:48AM (#30351070) Homepage
    Final Scratch is still missing something. When DJing with Vinyl records, you can get an instant impression of where the breakdowns and build-ups are on the track, just by looking at the density of the grooves. It's possible to do that on a computer screen, but it's _much_ quicker generally to just look at the track, and quicker to pull the needle on and off the record and listen through the headphones to find the right spot. Scratch DJs even put stickers on the record surface to indicate where interesting sounds are.
  • Re:Pfft... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:22AM (#30352562) Homepage Journal

    What did you think of this sentence, Grandpa?

    The turntable, once thought to have taken up obsolescence with eight-track tape players

    These kids today, eight track tapes sucked and always did. And they don't listen, do they? I tolds these punks about eight tracks almost five years ago in Good Riddance to Bad Tech : []

    The 8-track tape
    This sorry piece of crap is proof positive of American stupidity. The cassette - the (now obsolete) four track, two-spindle, 1/8th inch, 1 /78 IPS shirt pocket sized tape cassette was produced before the 8-track. The four track cassette was originally made as a dictation device, but advances in tape manufacture and head design soon gave them a frequency response that came close to human hearing's limit, signal to noise ratio low enough that you had to turn it up very loud to hear the hiss, and inaudible harmonic distortion which made them ideal for music.

    Nevertheless, the 8-track was born anyway. With its transport speed at twice the 4-track cassette's speed, it should have been audibly superior. However, the "powers that be" decided that 8-tracks were going to be for automobiles, which at the time were not as well insulated from outside sounds and wind as today's cars, and with the auto's horrible acoustics, it was OK for a car's music to sound like effluent.

    But the deliberately bad sound wasn't bad enough. The eight track tape had a single spindle, a very clever design where the tape fed from the center of the spindle, around a capstain roller inside the housing and back to the outside of the roll of tape. This made for an expensive setup, and one that was prone to wow and flutter, as well as having the tape get "eaten" by the tape player. And unlike a cassette, if your 8-track got ate, you might as well throw it in the trash.

    But wait, there's more! This thing was deemed to be for the car, while cassettes were going to be (by about 1970 or so) for the home.

    This made no sense whatever, since the "portable" eight track took up as much space as four cassettes, without being able to play any longer than a cassette. In fact, you could buy a longer playing cassette than 8-track.

    But the one thing more than anything else that made 8-tracks suck like a Hoover was the fact that it had to change tracks four times during an album. This usually necessitated at least one song and usually more being interrupted in the middle!

    Folks finally, after about ten years, started figuring this stuff out for themselves and replaced their 8-track cartriges with 4 track cassettes. Me? I never had an 8-track, although all my friends did. I, the geek, used the far more logical cassettes since about 1966 or 7. Hah! The geek gets the last laugh again!

    They don't understand vinyl, either. Led Zeppelin's Presence album sounds far better than the equivalent CD; it has more, well, presence. It has sharper highs and deeper lows than the CD version (that is, if you have a good turntable). But the CD of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit will sound better than the vinyl.

    Zeppelin was mastered in analog, Nirvana was mastered in digital. If you make an analog recording from a digital source, or a digital recording for an analog source, you get the worst aspects of both mediums and the advantages of neither.

    If your digital master for you LP is sampled at higher sampling rates than CD's 44.1, the LP may possibly sound better than the CD, but I'd guess it would take more than just twice the sampling rate to make an appreciable difference. Make the sampling rate ten times that of current CDs and the digital file would blow the LP away.

    But taking a 44.1 master and putting it on LP is just silly. doubling that is less silly but still silly.

  • by Xacid ( 560407 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:33AM (#30352714) Journal
    There's actually a way you can see - it's almost like the lines look "denser" where the music really kicks in. Start it in the lesser "dense" areas and you're in the transition spot for that track. That's why there's that funky little light on a lot of the turntables built for djing aimed right at the record.
  • Re:Audiophiles (Score:2, Informative)

    by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @10:42AM (#30352818)

    so you actually have some dynamic range

    you might want to read this []

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @11:25AM (#30353360)

    What did you expect would happen, people would start buying vinyl records, but just look at them instead of playing them?

    No, I'd expect people would buy vinyl records and scan them []

  • Re:Betamax (Score:3, Informative)

    by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Monday December 07, 2009 @12:16PM (#30354064)
    Let me assure that old Cat Stevens LP's are far better than trying to go see him live now. I was one of the victims of his recent musical outing at the O2 in Dublin...that was a bait and switch if I ever saw one.
  • by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Monday December 07, 2009 @01:26PM (#30355108)

    PlayStation 3 is a SACD player ... And many DVD players are DVD-A players.

    And most big music releases are available on one of the two formats. Why anyone still buys CDs, I'm unable to fathom.

    PS3 WAS an SACD player. After the 2nd gen models, they dropped SACD playback, and the slim does not have it either.

    As for DVD players, all of them are DVD-A players in the sense they will play back the low rez compressed surround mix, but very few of them will play back the hi resolution MLP versions of the music that are actually better than redbook CD.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @04:22PM (#30380338) Homepage Journal

    Any time you see the word "perfect" you have to doubt. If a 20 kHz modulated tone is "perfect" in a CD than if you doubled the sampling rate you would have twice perfect. Kind of like "twice infinity". There is no such thing as perfect.

    You are entirely correct about "anti aliasing filters"; they only filter. It's similar to antialiasing in digital photos, in that you don't get less real aliasing, it just makes the aliasing less apparent. Ending the transition band at the Nyquist limit (or just below) rids you of the garbage noise trying to sample above the limit gives you.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors