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Results: Vinyl Vs Download: Which has the best balance of sound quality vs bank balance?

Vinyl

56.00% • 14 votes

Download

44.00% • 11 votes

You may not vote on this poll

25 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Andrea
    • By MSE Andrea 13th Jan 17, 11:57 AM
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    MSE Andrea
    0 WOW
    Vinyl Vs Download
    • #1
    • 13th Jan 17, 11:57 AM
    0 WOW
    Vinyl Vs Download 13th Jan 17 at 11:57 AM
    Vinyl vs download?

    Which is the best balance of value for money vs sound quality?

    We've just been discussing this in MSE Towers and thought we'd get your specialist thoughts!


    Related guides:

    Free Music Online
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 13-01-2017 at 12:31 PM.
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Page 1
    • jamesperrett
    • By jamesperrett 13th Jan 17, 5:04 PM
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    jamesperrett
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 17, 5:04 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Jan 17, 5:04 PM
    For best sound quality buy the CD (or an uncompressed download). Vinyl distorts the sound - but in a way that some people find pleasant.
    • dlusman
    • By dlusman 13th Jan 17, 6:22 PM
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    dlusman
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 17, 6:22 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Jan 17, 6:22 PM
    Sound quality will depend very much on what you play it on , rather than the format
    • pogofish
    • By pogofish 13th Jan 17, 9:03 PM
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    pogofish
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 17, 9:03 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Jan 17, 9:03 PM
    You could buy yourself a disc cutter and transfer all your downloads to vinyl.

    That way you have the best of both worlds.

    I think a decent quality cutter can be had for £15-18K
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 14th Jan 17, 12:49 AM
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    esuhl
    • #5
    • 14th Jan 17, 12:49 AM
    • #5
    • 14th Jan 17, 12:49 AM
    I'd prefer to buy my music on CD. It has much better audio quality than either vinyl or a compressed audio file, but you still get the artwork and can rip the tracks to a lossless audio file. Of course, the law sensibly determines that to be illegal now, which means you're better off pirating music since that's no more illegal and cheaper.

    It's an absolute joke.

    I find it incredible that TVs have moved from SD to HD to 4K in a few years -- a dramatic increase in resolution... while music has moved from CD to MP3... a horrible retrograde step that offends anyone with ears.

    Why aren't FLAC files the industry standard by now? Why do downloadable files often cost the same as the CD version?
    • parking_question_chap
    • By parking_question_chap 14th Jan 17, 7:42 PM
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    parking_question_chap
    • #6
    • 14th Jan 17, 7:42 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Jan 17, 7:42 PM
    Sound quality will depend very much on what you play it on , rather than the format
    Originally posted by dlusman
    Not totally accurate.

    A good copy played through a rubbish system will sound rubbish.

    A bad copy played through the best system in the would will also sound rubbish.

    A good system doesnt necesarily make music sound better. It just more accurately reproduces the source.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 16th Jan 17, 6:11 PM
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    Voyager2002
    • #7
    • 16th Jan 17, 6:11 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Jan 17, 6:11 PM
    Sound quality will depend on two things: the quality of the source (essentially the volume of information per second and the absence of defects) and the quality of the system on which it is played. Thus, the highest sound quality available to those of us who are not particularly wealthy is a combination of vinyl (which stores far more information than any digital format) with a decent system: at a minimum a Linn Sonndek an Naim pre- and power-amplifier. Attempting to use vinyl with a significantly lower-spec system than this will produce poor results, while most digital formats (including CD) do not convey sufficient information to provide satisfying music.

    High-quality vinyl is often very affordable from charity shops, but obviously not for modern music.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 16th Jan 17, 6:22 PM
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    esuhl
    • #8
    • 16th Jan 17, 6:22 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Jan 17, 6:22 PM
    Thus, the highest sound quality available to those of us who are not particularly wealthy is a combination of vinyl (which stores far more information than any digital format) with a decent system...
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    I'm not sure how you'd measure the amount of information in an analogue system. What kind of metric could you use? It's not really comparable to digital encoding.
    • MSE Matt
    • By MSE Matt 16th Jan 17, 9:08 PM
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    MSE Matt
    • #9
    • 16th Jan 17, 9:08 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Jan 17, 9:08 PM
    Not totally accurate.

    A good copy played through a rubbish system will sound rubbish.

    A bad copy played through the best system in the would will also sound rubbish.

    A good system doesnt necesarily make music sound better. It just more accurately reproduces the source.
    Originally posted by parking_question_chap
    Agree - this is golden advice.

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    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 16th Jan 17, 10:09 PM
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    Voyager2002
    I'm not sure how you'd measure the amount of information in an analogue system. What kind of metric could you use? It's not really comparable to digital encoding.
    Originally posted by esuhl
    See this discussion, particularly the sixth post:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/27zksf/theoretically_what_is_the_data_capacity_of_a/
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 17th Jan 17, 9:08 AM
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    esuhl
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    But... that's about storing digital information on an analogue medium. When you play a record, none of the information is digitised so there will always be noise in the signal. It's just not comparable.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 19th Jan 17, 6:21 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    For best sound quality buy the CD (or an uncompressed download). Vinyl distorts the sound - but in a way that some people find pleasant.
    Originally posted by jamesperrett
    I think you may have that the wrong way around. The sound recorded on a CD is clipped to reduce the bandwidth. It isn't on a vinyl record.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • ThemeOne
    • By ThemeOne 19th Jan 17, 6:42 PM
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    ThemeOne
    It's such an individual thing - some people really don't care much about audio quality in music, so are quite happy with a low rate MP3 played on some cheap equipment.

    I never heard about vinyl distorting the sound, I thought that was the various digital formats.

    Having said that my vinyl from the 70s doesn't sound great even on a decent system, and never did. Someone told me it was because there was a vinyl shortage in the 70s but don't know if that's an old wives' tale.
    • jamesperrett
    • By jamesperrett 27th Jan 17, 4:55 PM
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    jamesperrett
    I think you may have that the wrong way around. The sound recorded on a CD is clipped to reduce the bandwidth. It isn't on a vinyl record.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom
    The bandwidth that can be accommodated on vinyl is much the same as on a CD unless you happen to have a special cutting stylus and a Shibata playback stylus that were developed for JVC's CD-4 quadraphonic system in the 70's. The lowest usable frequency is determined by the available area on the disc - if you try to put too much low end on a disc you will either end up with a short disc that is unplayable on many players or a quiet disc. In addition, if your vinyl playing system has an extended low frequency bandwidth you end up trying to reproduce all sorts of rubbish like turntable rumble and any warping on the disc.

    The dynamic range of the disc (the difference between the loudest sound and the quietest) is also limited by surface noise and turntable rumble. A decent turntable should give around 70dB dynamic range while a cheap turntable may only give 30-40dB of dynamic range. CD's give you 96dB of dynamic range.

    If you want better than CD sound quality then you're looking at audiophile DVD's which have been encoded at 96kHz sampling rate with 24 bit resolution. However, you should make sure that the whole signal chain from mic to DVD has used the higher resolution - plenty of these discs are just for pure marketing with no improvement on the equivalent CD.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 28th Jan 17, 1:16 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    ^^^^ Well that told me. I have to admit that I switched to CD almost as soon as they came out. I prefer the sound.

    I have Systemdek turntable somewhere that the current interest in vinyl prompted me to resurrect. Vinyl is/was such a faff though.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • Monika333
    • By Monika333 15th Sep 17, 7:20 PM
    • 21 Posts
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    Monika333
    I should say, I have the same quantity of CDs like Vinyl. Maybe CDs have a high quality, but like the idea of Vinyl.
    • almillar
    • By almillar 3rd Nov 17, 2:58 PM
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    almillar
    You could buy yourself a disc cutter and transfer all your downloads to vinyl.
    Apart from the big cost, this would, of course, still be the lower quality format, recorded onto the higher quality one, you can't improve it, so it's even more pointless than you thought!

    Of course, the law sensibly determines that to be illegal now, which means you're better off pirating music since that's no more illegal and cheaper.
    I rip all my CDs for my own personal use and consider it much less illegal than downloading without paying. Haven't heard of any rippers that still own the CDs being prosecuted either.

    I find it incredible that TVs have moved from SD to HD to 4K in a few years -- a dramatic increase in resolution... while music has moved from CD to MP3... a horrible retrograde step that offends anyone with ears.
    Yes, CD took a backward step to MP3, but in a very similar way to SD to HD, codecs have moved on. AAC (let's call it MP4 for simplicity) has, or should have, replaced MP3 by now and, whilst still lossy, is a vast improvement over MP3 in terms of quality per kbps.
    Generally, MP3 codec is in DVD, SD TV, DAB, MP4 is in HD, DAB+, iTunes.
    Why aren't FLAC files the industry standard by now? Why do downloadable files often cost the same as the CD version?
    There are places you can buy FLAC, but they charge a premium. People seem happy to pay for the convenience of downloading, companies are happy to charge them for it!

    I'm not sure how you'd measure the amount of information in an analogue system. What kind of metric could you use? It's not really comparable to digital encoding.
    That's the whole problem, it's difficult to measure, and put a number on. It's also subjective, so just because you like the sound, doesn't mean I will.
    • David Aston
    • By David Aston 3rd Nov 17, 3:15 PM
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    David Aston
    Nice reply to an oldish thread almillar.
    I rather like voyagers slightly snobbish mention of the blessed Naim.
    Discovering popular music on a very dodgy medium wave radio Luxembourg, all those years ago, any music reproduction since has been, just wonderful!
    • 20aday
    • By 20aday 7th Nov 17, 2:43 PM
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    20aday
    Places like Amazon offer you digital downloads when you purchase vinyl items; granted there are many factors which will affect sound quality etc but when it comes to vinyl itself there are some great 12" extended mixes out there which you don't get with the likes of MP3s.
    It's not your credit score that counts, it's your credit history. Any replies are my own personal opinion and not a representation of my employer.
    • Broadwood
    • By Broadwood 8th Nov 17, 5:27 PM
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    Broadwood
    .......... while most digital formats (including CD) do not convey sufficient information to provide satisfying music.
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    That's absolute rubbish.
    Studying at The University of Life.
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