New stylus and three new LPs on the way.

Discussion in 'Music' started by Philip Hamm, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The "Loudness Wars" make me so sad. The other day I tried to listen to Paul McCartney's "Memory Almost Full", all I could hear was a distorted mess. Just for grins I decided to bring up Sound Forge with rips of a couple of songs from Metallica's "ReLoad" which I have as a CD recorded from my vinyl compared to a couple CD singles I have from that record. The results were depressing.

    I really like CD - it sounds better than vinyl when it is mastered well. It's very unfortunate that mastering is such a disaster. I give up. Since I have a turntable I guess I can take advantage of it. I ordered the new McCartney record, the new U2 record, and the new EZ Star All Stars record and a new stylus.

    I am NOT a golden eared audiophile who insists that vinyl sounds better than CD, but the practical matter is that with modern CD mastering standards, LPs sound not only better, but WAY WAY better. If you can't beat 'em join 'em I guess.
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    LP do sound WAY better Philip.

    I really enjoy spinning the black circle. I'm rocking a VPI Scoutmaster with a Grado Sonata now. [​IMG]

    I have found that a cleaning machine like a VPI 16.5 or a Nitty Gritty makes a major improvement on playback.
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    My old D4 Discwasher's going to have to do the trick for now.

    My only question now is - is it worth it to me to record to 96/24 then let Sony CD Architect (I use the SoundForge suite) dither down to CD standard. I wish there was a mass-market CD burning program that did HDCD! I could write DVD-Audio up to full 192/24 (the sound card came with software for this) but given my experiment with DSOTM above I don't think it would be worth it.
     
  4. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    As for the new LPs:
    I dont care if they are pressed on 180 POUNDS of vinyl if they dont:

    1. use pure HQ virgin vinyl-or the equivalent grade of 'recycled vinyl'-
    where they cut out and dispose of the center label and then carefully filter out all foreign substances-
    otherwise you get a buildup of micro ground-up label paper in the mix-which tends to clump-and not allow uniform spread and layering

    2. allow for the LPs to cool properly-this makes a big difference-and dont try to crank 'em out as fast as possible-

    3. thoroughly clean the stampers after each press run of micro and larger bits of residue-and create fresh new stampers from the master a little more often that once a year-or becoming flat and near grooveless-whichever came first

    If the above steps are not rigidly adhered to, then why waste our time?
    And money-the cost of some of these LPs are ridiculous

    Prior to the end of the LP in the late 1980s-Japanese and EU LPs by law, adhered to the above steps as a matter of course-
    and I think 150 grams of vinyl was the norm, right out of the box-no huge deal; adding to that-often hi grade covers of finely finished clay based-or textured/embossed paper with fine inks were used. I have quite a few of them-some almost seem like handmade works of art-here they just chopped the LP covers out on low grade cardboard

    as for CDs-I am at a loss why they are not being mastered at least at 48khz and 32 bit sampling (perhaps the medium wont allow for it? though I though a battle was fought over this and 44khz was a compromise);
    Better yet-put all "CDs" out in the DVD format, for even higher quality-the CD is now the "low rent" medium and should be obsoleted ASAP
    Im thinking those little 4" DVDs would be perfect, without wasting the space of a 4.7Gb disc-unless needed
     
  5. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Unusually the MFSL of Dark Side is actually very mediocre. The German LPs are the way to go there. They keep up with the SACD and all the best CD masterings. I have the black triangles, the silverfaces, and everything. For digital, the SACD is the best.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Damn stylus doesn't fit. [​IMG] Every database online including Needle Doctor lists the stylus replacement the same so they all must be wrong. Oh, well. $20 down the drain - fresh perfect stylus goes to the trash. Small loss - I was very suspicious of putting such a cheap stylus on such a nice cart anyway. Guess the old cart goes out to pasture. I'll have to settle for the Audio Technica 311EP which is a pretty good cart also.

    The Easy Stars All Stars record sounds fantastic! I'm sure it probably sounds better than the CD. Great mastering, great pressing! Also, there's bonus tracks on an included 45 that are not available on the CD! Whoopie!
     
  7. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Philip,

    If you don't want a record cleaning machine, you can get some one step cleaner from Mofi via their parent MusicDirect for $25. It is geared to hand cleaning so it evaporates quickly:

    MUSICDIRECT - MOBILE FIDELITY - MFSL ONE RECORD CLEANING FLUID (16 Oz)

    Call up the NeedleDoctor and see what they can do. They seem to have a lot of stylus knowledge there.
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I'm happy with the old D4 Discwasher. Needle Doctor lists the wrong stylus for my old cart.

    Paul McCartney "Memory Almost Full" sounds like dog-ess on record. The recording is horrendous. It reminds me of the Hugh Padgham produced "Press to Play" - who knows if the songs are any good you can't get past the heavy handed dated production. This thing is dated as soon as it came out.
     
  9. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Philip,

    Buy one of the MusicMatters Blue Note jazz reissues. That will ignite a love of vinyl for you. [​IMG]
     
  10. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Like the LP of John Coltrane's "Blue Train" and of Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Collossus" that I bought at Tower Records a few years ago? Nice stuff.

    Upon further listening to the CD of my needle drop of the "Memory Almost Full" I'm a happy boy.
     
  11. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  12. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Philip,

    As good as those Stantons were, you should try another cartridge (at reasonable money of course) at some point. The technology has really advanced and some of the vinyl bugaboos you are describing is likely related to the cartridge. I like the Grado line (I use the Grado Sonata on my VPI Scoutmaster) but there are a variety of budget carts that sound great.
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    The AT 311EP cart is fairly well regarded; I picked it up at my local hifi shop a few years back, it'll do.
     
  14. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Yes that's true...My bad, I missed the new comments on the AT later in the thread. More cleaning process will eliminate a lot of the noise in any event. [​IMG]
     
  15. CraigF

    CraigF Cinematographer

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    Lee Scoggins: totally irrelevant to the thread, but I figgered you'd know. [​IMG] What's the best current version of Astral Weeks I can buy these days? My original LP sounds worn with my newish TT/cart, which is much "better" than my old one. Word is the CD isn't great. I ordered the newest Rhino LP on spec as I vaguely recall reading it was fairly well done and decently manufactured (as compared to most reissues I've bought...). Did I do good or should I keep on looking? Though I will be able to judge for myself soon enough... I am kinda picky so used original vinyl is too much of a crapshoot for me. Thanks.
     
  16. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    *sigh*
    I still have all the records I bought during the late 70's until sometime in the early 90's.
    not many about 500 maybe.

    A couple of years ago I bought a turntable to listen to the records and
    sadly they all sounded terrible, static and pops, just awful.

    I returned the table and put all my records back in the closet.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I like the new Warner's reissue although it is just a shade soft in the highs. Overall though Kevin Gray did a nice job on this mastering.

    The best remain the original green label Warners but finding one mint is all but impossible in my experience. I have a clean Side 1 with a small scratch on Side 2 affecting one song. Sounds terrific other than the scratch.
     
  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Just talked to my local hifi guy about replacing the stylus in my AT (he sold me the sylus originally and doesn't think it needs it).

    So, Lee, how do you like the Rega P1... [​IMG] He's got them for a little under $400, I'm going to give it a listen I think.
     
  19. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I like them a lot - I spent a couple of hours listening to one at our local Rega dealer Audio Alternative. Great value for the money. They have also refined the Rega tables over and over. Good brand.
     
  20. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    So here's my experience from yesterday.

    My "No Line On The Horizon" record has really bad sibilance distortion on some songs when played back on my Denon DP-7f. Now, for reference, my DP-7f was about $300 without cart in 1994/5 when I bought it, so my LP rig should be respectable. Not great, but not crap either.

    So I brought the record to the local hifi shop where I got the AT311EP some years ago. The shop is Gifted Listener in Centreville, VA - very highly recommended to any HTF members in the DC area - well worth the trip. I know at least one other member here is a regular with them.

    Anyway, I talked to the proprieter about my problem with the record. I was expecting to find out one of two things: (1) My tt / cart is crap and needs to be replaced, or (2) The record is defective. The first stop was a table in his big room, just to find if the record is the problem. I had one song where there is the most annoying sibilance distortion, first song on side 2 "Moment of Surrender".

    Put the record on - it sounded perfect, absolutely goregeous.

    I didin't ask how much that table cost. So the next stop was the Rega P1. We put that table on the floor and pulled out the P1. The P1 sounded almost exactly like my Denon at home, sibilance distortion out the yin yang. We tried another Rega - the P5. Same problem, less distinct. Went back to a third table, a cheaper version of the first one we tried, it was almost as clean as the first one.

    So the moral of the story? The reason I embraced CD in the 80s. In order to get really clean sound on vinyl you need to spend a fortune. The table that sounded best is a Linn that goes for over $6K.

    Gifted Listener is going to get some P-Mount carts in, the "Grado Green" cart. Would this be a substantial upgrade from my AT 311EP? After what I heard I'm not sure that it's going to help. I do not have the budget to buy the turntable I want, but I'd be willing to drop $90 on a cart if it meant a substantial upgrade for me. The proprieter of GL said he'd be happy to sell me a grado green, but is conderned that I'm spending $90 on something that won't really help.

    One more thing I'm going to do is mount a wall shelf above my stereo stand for the table. In my experience getting a turntable off the floor and onto a wall mounted shelf is a worthwile upgrade.

    In any case, he is going to order a few anyway because he likes to have at least one P-mount cart in stock. Probably a wise thing.

    Another thing I learned last night - the very modest speakers (mirage 290is bookshelves and an optimus sub) and receiver (old Pioneer 606S home theater reciever) I have in my office where I listen to most music sound very, very nice to my ear; even compared to very high end gear my little system holds up surprisingly well.
     

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