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Islander

Why we need audiophiles

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46 minutes ago, kevinmi said:

If all the vinyl naysayers would spend as much time and money on an analog system, you might find that today's vinyl isn't full of clicks and pops, just music reproduced the way it's supposed to be.

  Funny how Best Buy quit selling CD's and is selling Vinyl. More and more music is being remastered on vinyl everyday. Sure, digital can be more convenient, but you lose the whole tactile interface that flipping a vinyl lp over has to offer. And liner notes, posters, etc that come with a vinyl lp. I feel sorry for the digital crowd.

 

Vinyl is awesome.  ..And for precisely the reasons you mention: Posters, liner notes, cover art, etc..  Plus, because it's a pain to advance to the next song, you tend to listen to a whole album side thus getting the sense of the thematic flow and connectedness of the songs.  ..Not so with digital files.  Nowadays, with iTunes and Spotify, etc..  if you don't like a song right away... vroom! ..Off to the next.  ..Which has given younger generations a type of musical ADD.  ..If the song doesn't immediately grab them, they'll never hear it again.

 

That said, I don't think vinyl sounds better.  ...I think that's just our romanticized attachment to the format influencing what we hear.   ..But at it's best it sounds damn good.  ..It's incredible to think you're hearing a tiny chip of stone dragging across a plastic disc.  Simply amazing.

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6 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

You can look at it this way:  playing a CD is like cooking with a microwave, while playing an LP is like cooking with a barbecue.  The whole vinyl "tea ceremony" can add to the experience.  You don't generally put on an LP for background music.  You set up the record, play it, and listen to it.  No multi-tasking.  LPs are for mono-tasking and really listening to the music.  You don't do it every day, but it's fun when you take the time to do it and enjoy it.

I can assure you I have sunk even lower than that. I use a Roncomatic Computer Folder for my instapop popcorn maker. Seriously I don't need anything other than listening to my music and the idea that I am missing a vinyl tea ceremony is kind of strange. 

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27 minutes ago, Islander said:

You don't generally put on an LP for background music.

 

I did just that all the time before I went digital.

 

53 minutes ago, Islander said:

Modern turntables and cartridges don't damage records the way the cheap ones that some of us had 30 or 40 years ago would do, so they don't add permanent surface noises every time you play them.

 

Cheap ones of today ought to be able to inflict damage just as well.  As I recall, even with the best-shaped styli of decades ago (which certainly aren't bettered today?), set up properly with a good tonearm, it was a complete mystery how the records survived even a single play.  The contact area and tracking weight combine to well more than the PSI the vinyl is supposed to be able to withstand; like tons per square inch!

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4 minutes ago, Dave A said:

I can assure you I have sunk even lower than that. I use a Roncomatic Computer Folder for my instapop popcorn maker. Seriously I don't need anything other than listening to my music and the idea that I am missing a vinyl tea ceremony is kind of strange. 

 

Whatever works for you makes you happy, but for me, just choosing songs off a server or streaming service seems like I'm missing something, and not just the liner notes.  As well, I tend to think that with physical media, you're hearing the real thing, as clearly as possible, and not a copy of it that may not be quite as good.  Yes, some bands don't even release their music on any physical media, but that seems like cheaping out to me.

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1 hour ago, Islander said:

A couple of months ago, I found a really great deal on some used Cardas Clear Beyond power cables and bought two, one for each power amp.  The improvements were immediately obvious.  The bass was a bit more full and solid, as you would expect, plus there seemed to be a bit more detail that could be heard.  The improved detail retrieval would be due to the improved shielding and inline toroidal filters.  The difference was not day and night, but it was clear enough that you wouldn't miss it

Yup great cables DO make a difference. I really like the way my 100' roll of Monoprice 12g sounds. I have noticed that things are far crisper now and the definition has become super well defined. You can tell what side of the fret the Bass player has his fingers on and I had never realized how many subtle but noticeable sounds I had been missing. I whip off another twenty feet of this stuff when I need it and the resultant immersive audio experience just blows me away.

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2 minutes ago, Dave A said:

Yup great cables DO make a difference. I really like the way my 100' roll of 12g sounds. I have noticed that things are far crisper now and the definition has become super well defined. You can tell what side of the fret the Bass player has his fingers on and I had never realized how many subtle but noticeable sounds I had been missing. I whip off another twenty feet of this stuff when I need it and the resultant immersive audio experience just blows me away.

 

Okay, are you pulling my leg?

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1 minute ago, Islander said:

 

Whatever works for you makes you happy, but for me, just choosing songs off a server or streaming service seems like I'm missing something, and not just the liner notes.  As well, I tend to think that with physical media, you're hearing the real thing, as clearly as possible, and not a copy of it that may not be quite as good.  Yes, some bands don't even release their music on any physical media, but that seems like cheaping out to me.

OK that I can buy into. This is just not important to me but if you like doing it for yourself that is all part of it. Finding high quality recordings is a challenge but it was that way to with records if i remember right.  Only a select few were top quality and they were extra and not common back in the days when they were king.

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2 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

Okay, are you pulling my leg?

Absolutely and with great vigor.

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23 minutes ago, Islander said:

The whole vinyl "tea ceremony" can add to the experience.  You don't generally put on an LP for background music.  You set up the record, play it, and listen to it.  No multi-tasking.  LPs are for mono-tasking and really listening to the music.  You don't do it every day, but it's fun when you take the time to do it and enjoy it.

 

Likening listening to vinyl to a tea ceremony is an awesome comparison.  ..I couldn't agree more.  And my wife would certainly agree.  ..And hanging vinyl on the wall is way more fun than accumulating 1000's of digital files.

 

vinylwall.thumb.jpg.02befa692237709a0f1233ca844f842a.jpg

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10 minutes ago, glens said:

 

I did just that all the time before I went digital.

 

 

Cheap ones of today ought to be able to inflict damage just as well.  As I recall, even with the best-shaped styli of decades ago (which certainly aren't bettered today?), set up properly with a good tonearm, it was a complete mystery how the records survived even a single play.  The contact area and tracking weight combine to well more than the PSI the vinyl is supposed to be able to withstand.

 

Yeah, back when records were all there was , we'd put them on and go do whatever while they played, but nowadays vinyl is seen differently, because CDs are so much better for background listening, and downloads or Net Radio are even better.  In a similar way, a horse used to be basic transport, but now it's a hobby for rich people.

 

I agree that cheap turntables are bad news for records, just as much today as long ago, but long ago I had lower end gear, like a BIC 960 turntable with a Shure M95ED cartridge, and the surface noise got worse with each play.  My much newer and better Technics turntable and M97xE cartridge don't seem to cause any damage to my records, which really makes me happy.

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ODS123, those LP jackets really take me back.  Last year, I was at London Drugs (which has a vinyl section and sells Sony and Dual turntables, as well as a fair quantity of Klipsch speakers) and had a bit of a flashback when I saw a new copy of the original Santana album, the one with the lion's face and the hidden ladies.  Those were the days, but the stereos are so much better today.

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2 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

Yeah, back when records were all there was , we'd put them on and go do whatever while they played, but nowadays vinyl is seen differently, because CDs are so much better for background listening, and downloads or Net Radio are even better.  In a similar way, a horse used to be basic transport, but now it's a hobby for rich people.

 

I agree that cheap turntables are bad news for records, just as much today as long ago, but long ago I had lower end gear, like a BIC 960 turntable with a Shure M95ED cartridge, and the surface noise got worse with each play.  My much newer and better Technics turntable and M97xE cartridge don't seem to cause any damage to my records, which really makes me happy.

I have a question for you. To preserve your music at it's highest level why are you not recording the first time play of the record and using that file from then on? Maybe the degradation is much slower with the newer gear but it still has to be there. I am asking strictly in regards to the quality of the music and not the fun you have with how you play it and what you play it on.

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1 minute ago, Dave A said:

I have a question for you. To preserve your music at it's highest level why are you not recording the first time play of the record and using that file from then on? Maybe the degradation is much slower with the newer gear but it still has to be there. I am asking strictly in regards to the quality of the music and not the fun you have with how you play it and what you play it on.

 

I did that back in the day, playing records just once to record them onto cassettes, which then became the primary music source, but today the M97 seems to do no harm to the records, which don't get played that often per LP, because I have many more than I used to.  I was happy when I realized that I had a stack of LPs from the '70s and '80s that had only been played once and sounded fine.  Quite a few others had to be replaced, because the party years had not been kind to them.  As a result, most of my records are low-milers and are pretty quiet.  Luckily, Victoria has about half a dozen used record stores in the downtown area, so it's easy to find old LPs in great shape, as well as new ones.

 

As well as being more careful these days, I use a Zerostat gun to remove static from the records before and after playing them, plus I have an Onzow Zerodust stylus cleaner, which gets regular use, and the records are carefully brushed before the needle is lowered.  It really is some kind of tea ceremony, but it keeps the records in top shape.  The Shure M97xE cartridge literature states that it is a very low wear design, which helps.  The stylus seems to run at a different depth in the groove from where most damaged spots would be, because old records that were noisy sound somewhat less noisy with that cartridge.

 

As you might guess from all that, the records don't get played every day, and sometimes not every week, so they should have a very long service life.

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44 minutes ago, Islander said:

I'll admit that I was a bit surprised that power cords could make such a difference, since they're not in the signal path, but there it was.

 

 

Since the audio output signal from an amplifier stage for example is the result of modulating the power supply of the amplifier the amplifier can only be as good as the power supply itself and if any noise interference  contaminates the power supply it can affect the quality of the audio output signal of the amplifier.

 

miketn 

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2 hours ago, ODS123 said:

How is it that your electricity travels dozens, maybe hundreds of miles through countless line splices, noisy transformers, etc.. then dozens, maybe hundreds of feet of ordinary Romex through your house, yet the choice of cord for those last six feet of wire b/w the wall and your component somehow makes an audible difference?  

 

One possible reason is if an introduction of noise interference is of a local origin in which case a cord with a well designed shield and winding method that best suppress noise interference could offer an audible improvement over a cord of lesser noise interference suppression design.

 

miketn

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I think it's sad that so many people don't enjoy music the way it's supposed to be enjoyed, and don't care about how it sounds. I've been striving for 50 years to get the best sound I possibly can out of my system. People who brush off others opinions of how components and even cables can affect the sound usually don't have a system good enough to hear the difference, or maybe their ears aren't trained to pick up subtle differences. I may not agree with a lot of snake oil products out there, but if you can demonstrate that it does make a difference, I'd be glad to give it a listen. I've learned that keeping an open mind to such things can open doors to better sounding music sometimes.

  I am grateful for the Mikey Fremers of the world who get a chance to experience many things that I would never be able to audition, and report back to what they hear, even though I know my hearing isn't on par with theirs.

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2 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

Since the audio output signal from an amplifier stage for example is the result of modulating the power supply of the amplifier the amplifier can only be as good as the power supply itself and if any noise interference  contaminates the power supply it can affect the quality of the audio output signal of the amplifier.

 

In theory.

 

At the risk of being too simplistic, I'd like to say that any interference the power cord picks up will be AC in nature, it will get transformed to a lower voltage, then at a minimum be rectified and smoothed with capacitors.  Whatever was AC is now DC (i.e. 0 Hz) so how is it going to affect anything?

 

I'd think that even if it were possible for electrical interference strong enough to piss in the DC pool because an unshielded power cord picked it up would mess with any nearby low-level signal cables to a much greater extent.

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5 hours ago, ODS123 said:

How is it that your electricity travels dozens, maybe hundreds of miles through countless line splices, noisy transformers, etc.. then dozens, maybe hundreds of feet of ordinary Romex through your house, yet the choice of cord for those last six feet of wire b/w the wall and your component somehow makes an audible difference?

 

I'm currently working in the powerline communications industry. Oh, my; if you all knew just how much trash is on the powerline, you'd power everything off of batteries and never plug your audio equipment in to the electrical network again. That said, the additional trash added by six feet of line cord, if any, isn't likely to have much effect.

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6 hours ago, glens said:

 

In theory.

 

At the risk of being too simplistic, I'd like to say that any interference the power cord picks up will be AC in nature, it will get transformed to a lower voltage, then at a minimum be rectified and smoothed with capacitors.  Whatever was AC is now DC (i.e. 0 Hz) so how is it going to affect anything?

 

I'd think that even if it were possible for electrical interference strong enough to piss in the DC pool because an unshielded power cord picked it up would mess with any nearby low-level signal cables to a much greater extent.

 

If you have any knowledge of basic electronics you will see many areas where an ac signal rides on dc potentials. Also RF leakage interference can be capacitively coupled into circuits including power supplies and across rectification circuits. That is why better equipment will use components/circuits to suppress RF Interference at any port entrance whether AC Power or Signal Inputs/Outputs points.

 

We live in a sea of electrical garbage being generated by equipment inside and outside of our homes so the possibility of signal interference/contamination is a real possibility.  Things as common as light dimmers and microwave ovens can generate interference that can be picked up in some situations. Heck I can just flip a light switch in the house and have had the sound mute for a split second on the TV.

 

miketn

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1 hour ago, Edgar said:

 

I'm currently working in the powerline communications industry. Oh, my; if you all knew just how much trash is on the powerline, you'd power everything off of batteries and never plug your audio equipment in to the electrical network again. 

 

So If we aren't noticing these countless powerline abuses taking place over the hundreds of miles leading to our house,  just how plausible is it we'll hear problems over the six feet of cable between our outlets and components??  What would PWK think, I wonder??  After all, we all celebrate his scientific rigor.

 

IMHO,  expensive cabling is the pinnacle of audio snake oil.

 

As an aside.  ..I'm not trying to be disrespectful to those who believe in upgraded power cords.  People can believe what they want.  ..But those of us who feel this, and other aspects of audio, are complete BS have a right to express our opinions too.   I"m definitely opinionated, but I'll always stop well short of being abusive.

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