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Thread: Listening to digital/analogue and then mono

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 1,845
    I'm Alex.

    Default Listening to digital/analogue and then mono

    A friend came over for a listening session couple of days ago, and after listening to some of my recent vinyl acquisitions, he started wondering if digital might sound as nice as LPs. So we said why don't we do a quick side-by-side comparison, for a lark?

    So I played Sgt. Pepper's opening track (streaming AIFF stereo file from Mac Mini via ethernet cable into modded Logitech Squeezebox Touch digital transport and then into Beresford Bushmaster DAC connected via digital coax cable). Sounded great, with awesome deep bass and everything super clean and legible. No distortions, just perfectly clean (almost clinically clean) sound.

    Immediately after the song finished, I switched over to playing the same track on my turntable (Systemdek IIX with Denon DL-103 cartridge mounted on Rega RB300 tonearm, into hand-made SUT into Emotiva XPS-1 MM phono stage). I was spinning the original Sgt. Pepper's stereo pressing. The difference? Staggering!

    The music simply came to life on the turntable. The guitars leapt out from the speakers, the bass felt like molten lava, Paul's voice was really shouting with excitement. Gone were the clinically clean glossy sounds, to be replaced with impolite, nasty, raunchy gutbucket rock and/or roll sounds.

    But most importantly, the music coming out from the turntable was SWINGING! So much so that we couldn't help ourselves and remained glued to our seats for the remainder of the side one. It was captivating, mesmerizing, magical. Once side one was over, we both had to exclaim how, indeed, Sgt. Pepper's IS the best album ever made!

    And then the weird thing happened. My friend said that, if the stereo LP sounds so amazing, imagine how incredible would the mono, the Holy Grail Pepper sound?!? Do I have a mono copy? Well, sure I do, I have the squeaky clean 2012 all analogue 180 gram vinyl remastered release of the mono Pepper. The release that everyone is hailing as being the absolute best sounding ever.

    So we put the mono LP on, expecting to hear nothing short of a miracle. Alas, nothing like that happened. Compared to the stereo LP, the mono LP sounded dull, muffled, crowded, congested. The swinging was gone, the palpable life-like presence wasn't there anymore.

    That made me wonder -- could it be that the magic was missing from the mono LP due to the fact that I was playing it using the stereo cartridge? Many people claim that the only way to really hear mono LPs is to use the mono cartridge.

    Opinions?
    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 2013

    Location: N London

    Posts: 524
    I'm Steven.

    Default

    Curiously, I have an original Sgt Petter stereo and the mono remaster, with dual arm turntable with mono and stereo cartridges. I understand that far more effort was put into mastering the mono versions. I think I shall give them a compare, together with the digital mono remaster.
    Aries - Devialet 250 Pro - Harbeth SHL5+ 40th LE with a REL S/2
    Aries Mini - Audiolab M-One - Harbeth P3ESR

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2011

    Location: Preston

    Posts: 183
    I'm Paul.

    Default

    2 things I'd say. 1, your tt setup sounds a bit more high end than the sbt/beresford combo. But 2/ I expect the lp is simply a far better recording.

    I have ultra by Depeche mode on both cd and 180g vinyl and even on my basic planar 2 through basic phono stage it's a fair bit better than the cd.
    SBT/Chromecast/TEAC T1 into TEAC D-T1 DAC or olde-worlde Rega Planar 2 controlled by Rotel RC850 into HH S500D or DACT Passive Pre into Mullard 5-20 monos. Then into Tannoy Cheviots and a Wharfdale sub. All connected by colourful cables.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London, UK

    Posts: 897
    I'm Lawrence.

    Default

    I think some people give absolute tonal sound quality and instrument/voice separation over stereo placement/ imaging and soundstage, so they would think a slightly better quality mono recording was best whereas those who valued the latter would struggle to listen to the former.

    Sent from my NEM-L51 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Dunfermline, Scotland, UK

    Posts: 12,238
    I'm inthescottishmafia.

    Default

    Yes have discussed this elsewhere, we thought that some are more sensitive to phase changes, these people zeroing in on imaging and soundstaging(I include myself in this). The other less sensitive folk would zero in on timbre and tonal shading etc.
    There are times when you canít do the sensible thing, when you canít act like a responsible adult at all; you just have to do whatever insane thing comes into your head. When bad people do it they end up murderers, when good people do it they end up heroes, and when the rest of us do it we end up looking like total idiots. But whenís that ever stopped us?

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 72,135
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    All are important for realism, but it's tone & timbre/'boogie factor' for me every time. If a system (or component) fails miserably in that department, and merely majors on imaging/soundstaging, then it'll leave me cold, as it simply won't engage me in the music.

    And in my book, that's an EPIC FAIL, for any hi-fi component or system!

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,596
    I'm Shaun.

    Default

    Very interesting as I almost bought 'Ultra' on vinyl a month or so back. I've had the CD copy since it first came out but I may have to get the vinyl version now just for completeness.
    Marantz CD6005 into Audiolab MDAC
    Nottingham Analogue Interspace turntable with Origin Live Onyx tonearm/Denon DL103/Dynavector P75 MkIII phono stage

    Prima Luna Prologue preamp
    Prima Luna Dialogue Premium power amp/EL34

    B&W CM8 S2 loudspeakers

    Atlas Hyper interconnects
    Van Den Hul Teatrack biwired cables

    Anything Ozric Tentacles based

  8. #8
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 36,350
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Was it from the latest 2017 cd the copy was made
    Regards,
    Grant ....

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
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  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2011

    Location: Preston

    Posts: 183
    I'm Paul.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Haselsh1 View Post
    Very interesting as I almost bought 'Ultra' on vinyl a month or so back. I've had the CD copy since it first came out but I may have to get the vinyl version now just for completeness.
    Mine is warped, the seller sent me another LP as compensation. But it plays fine (cue jokes about rega speed stability being so bad you can't tell...) and it's just more dynamic and musical than the cd.
    SBT/Chromecast/TEAC T1 into TEAC D-T1 DAC or olde-worlde Rega Planar 2 controlled by Rotel RC850 into HH S500D or DACT Passive Pre into Mullard 5-20 monos. Then into Tannoy Cheviots and a Wharfdale sub. All connected by colourful cables.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,596
    I'm Shaun.

    Default

    Yeah, just planning out today so maybe a visit to HMV is called for. Rega owners need not worry when it comes to speed stability. It seems to apply to anything powered by an elastic band. Maybe we should all upgrade to a DJ deck
    Marantz CD6005 into Audiolab MDAC
    Nottingham Analogue Interspace turntable with Origin Live Onyx tonearm/Denon DL103/Dynavector P75 MkIII phono stage

    Prima Luna Prologue preamp
    Prima Luna Dialogue Premium power amp/EL34

    B&W CM8 S2 loudspeakers

    Atlas Hyper interconnects
    Van Den Hul Teatrack biwired cables

    Anything Ozric Tentacles based

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