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Forgotten Technology

Indiana Jones would be proud of me.

I'm using long lost technology at the moment. It's been with me for years but has largely been ignored for the best part of ten years or so. Partially because NuTech is just a lot easier and more compact and then because it stood unloved in a communual area that I rarely played music in and then because it was ravaged by marauding beasts (the cats ate through the speaker wires...).

Yes, I am listening to an LP on my Record Player.

I'm sure some of you younglings have never heard of such a relic!!!

But believe me the sound quality of a good record player is pretty much second to none and I refused to move to CDs for years until many of the things I wanted stopped being released on vinyl and CD was pretty much the only choice. Plus, to be fair, CDs are a lot easier to use - and iTunes is even easier than CDs so I can take a wild stab in the dark that some of you will be making a post similiar to this one in about 10-15 years time after dusting off your old CD Player :p

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
ffutures
May. 29th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oldtech does sometimes have the edge. e.g. I've never yet had a laserdisc show more than a slight bobble in the picture if scratched or dirty, many DVDs just stop working.
malakh_abaddon
May. 29th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
I am not that old, I came around near the end of the vinyl record era. Most of everything I listened to was on casettee tape. But I had a few records from my uncle. There is nothing better than listening to Pink Floyd in a dark room on vinyl. Something about todays music is to perfect sounding. It is not something I can explain, but music on a vinyl had a voice of its own, each one was different. Listen to the Eagles on an old vinyl record, then the same songs on a CD, then as a MP3. They lose something. But the original poster knows this. It is a shame people cannot buy new music on vinyl. Maybe in time the CD's will age and start getting their own voice. However MP3's and digital audio will always be the same, and that is a shame.
spangle_kitten
May. 29th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
Oh a gramaphone indeed...what ho!

I'm a vinyl geek, can't stand MP3s as you loose so much sound quality. You just can't beat vinyl.

Though I got rid of my 80s one a few months back, I liked that one because I have this idea that 80s records should be played on 80s equipment to get the authentic sound...but it was just far too big. I've got a really lovely new one now though, and it will convert the vinyl tracks into WAV files (or MP3) on my computer, so that will calm both my fetish for geeky sound equipment and geeky B-sides that you can only get on ancient discs that came free with Melody Maker that need preserving ;p

*shuts up before she starts to sound too scary*
kostika
May. 29th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
MP3s only lose sound quality if they are ripped below 128 kbps. And they don't need to be ripped higher than 128kbps unless you're playing them on a professional sound system. Anything else and you won't hear the difference. Lower than 128kbps and you will lose quality in a very noticeable way.

I do agree with Malakh though. Sometimes CDs and MP3s sound too clean. Which is a good and bad thing.

And Angus, I grew up on vinyl and 8tracks.
cyber_child
May. 29th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
I really shouldn't partake in this, as I can REALLY get my geek on, however......

ANY MP3 will be of a lesser quality than a CD, simply as it is a compressed audio format. It reduces the file size by removing what supposedly you can't hear (spectral masking, go google it!).

A well mastered CD is a very high quality playback medium. However, many of the early CD's were pressed from some very un-sympathetic masters. Couple this to that fact that early consumer CD players had less than great D/A converters and that's where the whole stigma of CD's sounding bad comes from.

Now then, Vinyl is a contensious format. In theory it is hopelessly outclassed by CD in every single way. It has a dreadful signal to noise ratio, and can never compete in terms of transparency with a good high end digital format.

However, and this is the big however......a well pressed LP, well looked after and played on a high end turntable with a god tone arm and pre-amp can sound fantastic. This is compounded with a lot of back catalogue material as it was often an analogue to analogue transfer between master tape to vinyl.

Modern CD re-issues have really come on though. The recent re-issue of 'The Scream' for example sounded incredible!

Goes off to hide in his sound engineer corner.......
kostika
May. 29th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
I agree. But unless played on a truly kick ass system, a person won't notice the quality difference if the MP3 is ripped at 128kbps or higher quality. Even with an iPod and kick ass headphones, most people will not be able to hear the minor degradation that occurs when ripping a CD to an MP3 unless the kbps is too low.

I'm of course talking current quality CDs. Agreed that early CDs did often lack that clean quality sometimes. But new media meant growing pains.

I couldn't have put the vinyl stuff better myself. I adore it even though I don't have a turntable anymore. I refuse to give up my records. I grew up listening to vinyl and 8tracks and I was very slow to migrate from cassette to CD. Although that was mostly because portable CD players are crap. I didn't move to CDs really until MP3s were created.
cyber_child
May. 29th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
I'll be hideously pretensious here and say that I can guarantee that I'd be able to pick out a 128kbps MP3 anyday of the week. It's the unmistakeable 'sloshyness' of the high end and the way transients are softened that always gives it away.

All the MP3's on my iPod are ripped at 320kbps (unless I could only find a copy in a lower bit-rate). All my classical music is ripped as uncompressed wavs.

Sadly however, I think your observation about howe the masses percieve audio quality is probably correct. Consumers will always choose the 'convenient' format. History has proven that!
kostika
May. 29th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
I should have said the average person. Geeks like yourself (and me to some lesser extent since I'm no sound engineer :o) ) will hear differences because you know how and what to listen for.

As technology moves forward convenience is one of the biggest selling points.
spangle_kitten
May. 29th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
I can tell the difference...and proved it many a time to people who say I can't...it's in the way the treble sounds so raw and tinny and the bass is non existent...

Though I guess a lot can't tell the difference - I'm a soundy who will happily spend hours perfecting a second of a piece I'm working on - (and generaly still want to change it later ;) but then studies showed that many people actually can't tell the difference between butter spreads -and not just research by said butter spread manufacturers!- and actual butter so it probably works on the same logic.
spangle_kitten
May. 29th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
I have misex feelings about re-issues - I quite like the rawness of the originals, stuff like the Led Zepplin remasters I didn't lke, but then I guess that was because I grew up listening to it on worn vinyl and it sounds wrong all clean!

I think tapes were the lowest point of music...fine for the car but otherwise horrible. I've been putting a lot of tapes onto CD recently (then faffing with them to make them sound less awful - this is where remasters are not a bad thing!) and I can't believe I used to listen to them without gritting my teeth.

*Looks around my bedroom at all the sound geek stuff and hides in sound tech corner as well ;p *
sack_boy
May. 30th, 2008 09:16 am (UTC)
Ahh, the glories of a 78, or even an Edison Cylinder ...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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