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Thread: Comparing vinyl sound to hi-res digital remaster

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,639
    I'm Alex.

    Default Comparing vinyl sound to hi-res digital remaster

    I bumped into used vinyl record (Paul McCartney "Band on the Run") at a yard sale yesterday. The LP was in pretty bad shape, didn't even have inner sleeve, but I got it for one dollar. I then remembered that few years back I bought the "Uncompressed Audiophile 96kHz/24bit" hi-res download of the remastered album (http://www.hdtracks.com/band-on-the-...d-uncompressed), so I decided to compare the LP with the hi-res remaster.

    I was sure that the hi-res remaster is going to destroy the old vinyl (I had strong expectation bias). I was stunned when I played both formats side-by-side to hear how LP sounded much, much better than digital remaster. Especially knowing that the LP is old, abused, warped, not in the best overall shape.

    Previously I wasn't surprised when I was comparing CDs to LPs and when I heard that vinyl beats the red book format. But I always thought that hi-res digital must have an upper hand compared to vinyl. Listening to both formats on "Band on the Run", I couldn't help but conclude that remastered hi-res digital sounds like a joke compared to the old school vinyl. I'm still in the state of disbelief...
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 2,194
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    I bumped into used vinyl record (Paul McCartney "Band on the Run") at a yard sale yesterday. The LP was in pretty bad shape, didn't even have inner sleeve, but I got it for one dollar. I then remembered that few years back I bought the "Uncompressed Audiophile 96kHz/24bit" hi-res download of the remastered album (http://www.hdtracks.com/band-on-the-...d-uncompressed), so I decided to compare the LP with the hi-res remaster.

    I was sure that the hi-res remaster is going to destroy the old vinyl (I had strong expectation bias). I was stunned when I played both formats side-by-side to hear how LP sounded much, much better than digital remaster. Especially knowing that the LP is old, abused, warped, not in the best overall shape.

    Previously I wasn't surprised when I was comparing CDs to LPs and when I heard that vinyl beats the red book format. But I always thought that hi-res digital must have an upper hand compared to vinyl. Listening to both formats on "Band on the Run", I couldn't help but conclude that remastered hi-res digital sounds like a joke compared to the old school vinyl. I'm still in the state of disbelief...
    Even though I completely agree that Vinyl is the best format, you've open a huge can of worms now 😂

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Mission 774 OG Tonearm > Toshiba SR 370 Turntable > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Firebottle OTP Phono Stage > Firebottle Monoblocks > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Solihull, UK

    Posts: 235
    I'm Bob.

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    Here we go then and I'll keep it short (ish). As a general principle you may be correct.

    But the overriding factor is how the original was recorded, mastered, produced and pressed. I have some vinyl that sounds deep and sparkly and just wants to be played over and over again it's so absorbing: likewise I have some that deserves to be turned into plant pots.

    Play me again, Sam:

    Cream: Live at the Royal Albert Hall.
    Fleetwood Mac: Tango in the Night
    The Beatles: 1962-1966 (Red Album)
    David Gilmore: Rattle That Lock
    Dire Straits: On Every Street
    Roger Waters: Amused to Death


    Pass me a Geranium:

    Free: Live (even the CD sounds better)
    Genesis: Seconds Out
    Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
    The Who: Quadrophenia
    ELO: All Over The World

    and sadly quite a lot of the more recent AC/DC stuff!

    This is no reflection on the bands themselves, just the clowns in charge of the production process and those who think compressing the hell out of the music is something the public will welcome.

    I have bought albums from HDTracks (expensive site in the UK, there are cheaper alternatives), but I've had a lot of success using DVD Audio Extractor to get the hi-res soundtrack off a DVD. Tubular Bells II and III Live are outstanding. You have to pay for the programme (about USD $30) but it works every time and you have the DVD of the performance as well.

    Yes, you may be correct, but I think it's a qualified Correct.
    Source: Orbe SE / SME IV / AT33 PTG II

    Amplification: Icon Audio PS 3 Sig Phono + Audio Research LS27 + Musical Fidelity A5cr Power Amp
    Loudspeakers: ProAc Response D28
    Cables/stands: Mark Grant G1500HD + Linn K20
    Other bits: Okki Nokki keeping things clean

  4. #4
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 3,378
    I'm Alan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob4333 View Post
    ...... just the clowns in charge of the production process ....
    Isn't that always the problem with 're-mastered'

  5. #5
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 2,194
    I'm Oliver.

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    My Free live LP (original release) sounds great!

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Mission 774 OG Tonearm > Toshiba SR 370 Turntable > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Firebottle OTP Phono Stage > Firebottle Monoblocks > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Solihull, UK

    Posts: 235
    I'm Bob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    My Free live LP (original release) sounds great!
    Best way to describe my copy (also from way back when) is it just sounds "thin" (and painful). And having seen them live on many occasions they were never that!

    But doesn't this just epitomise the frustration of buying and listening to vinyl.........?
    Source: Orbe SE / SME IV / AT33 PTG II

    Amplification: Icon Audio PS 3 Sig Phono + Audio Research LS27 + Musical Fidelity A5cr Power Amp
    Loudspeakers: ProAc Response D28
    Cables/stands: Mark Grant G1500HD + Linn K20
    Other bits: Okki Nokki keeping things clean

  7. #7
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 2,194
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob4333 View Post
    Best way to describe my copy (also from way back when) is it just sounds "thin" (and painful). And having seen them live on many occasions they were never that!

    But doesn't this just epitomise the frustration of buying and listening to vinyl.........?
    Haha, yes it does. Mine is fuller but a bit muddy I suppose when up against real hi-quality recordings.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Mission 774 OG Tonearm > Toshiba SR 370 Turntable > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Firebottle OTP Phono Stage > Firebottle Monoblocks > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  8. #8
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 16,216
    I'm Martin.

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    Starting to conclude there is something wrong with Magic's digital set up

    It's all personal preference at the end of the day. Weird re-mastering doesn't help either, of course.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,639
    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob4333 View Post
    The Beatles: 1962-1966 (Red Album)
    Are you referring to the recent remastered reissue, or to the original Red Album from the 1970s?
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,639
    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    Starting to conclude there is something wrong with Magic's digital set up

    It's all personal preference at the end of the day. Weird re-mastering doesn't help either, of course.
    I was probably naive to assume that remastering meant taking the original master tapes and carefully transferring them to digital. All along doing everything possible to reverently retain the closeness to the sonic fidelity. Apparently, nothing could be farther from the truth, as it now appears that artists and engineers are taking this remastering reissue project as an opportunity to revise history. To which I say: why bother? I like the way McCartney did the job originally, I am not interested in his revisions, not am I interested in the revisions some hot shot sound engineer superstar might want to shove down our throats.

    I am doubtful that someone's digital setup could skew the impressions that much. Same goes for the turntable setup. Most of the mid-brow equipment available on the market today is sufficiently resolving to reveal such discrepancies, as I've described them in the original post.
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

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