CD vs. Vinyl

funding anyone?

OK so my brain has boiled over and I thought of something:

Anybody already done this???

We do an experiment to match vinyl against digital.
Hypothesis: diehards will be able to tell the difference between vinyl and digital music.

Controlled variables: We find a pristine copy of a vinyl recording of say, Thomas Dolby’s, She blinded me with science and the remastered digital CD of the same song.
We play it through the same amp and speakers in the same room and subjects (that’s you) sit in a chair with your back to the speakers.
Half the subjects will hear the vinyl first and half will hear the CD first. The subjects will hear both versions of the same song and they have to tell which was vinyl and which was digital.

Idenpendent variables: CD vs. Vinyl

Dependent : Since the likelihood of responses being pure chance would be 50/50 it would take a correct response rate of more than 70% with more than 40 subjects to conclude that the results were beyond the realm of chance.

So now I need the funding to conduct this grand experiment…

Or maybe just watch this:

Way back when…CDs first hit the shelves I bought a copy of Bruce Cockburns Stealing Fire…Now I already had this in LP form. A couple of buddies and I did a critical listen to the CD vs the LP…what a difference. The LP captured more sound, like fingers squeeking on strings, and had a rounder warmer sound the CD did not.

Now 20+ years later digital audio is a mature technology. Faster AD-DA conversion, wider Hz response, over sampling in players is down to 1 bit, if any at all. Recording Engineers now have a better understanding of the digital domain…


Oh yeah…I dont have any funds to donate to a comparison project, BUT I will offer the use of my turntable, cd player, back porch, 1 bottle of 3 Olives vodka, 1 bottle of Wild Turkey, and a case of beer…just to get things rolling…


Quote: (duffman @ Oct. 14 2008, 4:30 AM)

BUT I will offer the use of my turntable, cd player, back porch, 1 bottle of 3 Olives vodka, 1 bottle of Wild Turkey, and a case of beer....just to get things rolling....



nothing to smoke???!!! :whistle:

Now I know why my cd’s have been screwing my needle up! :laugh:

No wonder everything was sounding the same. :cool:

Vynil Rules !
I hated when they went to CD and re-mastered everything.
They changed the levels of the mix. (Seems to me, anyway)
If you want to hear the ‘real’ mix and the ‘real’ levels,
than go vynil.

BTW - there was a guy several years ago who was working

on photographing a vynil record, and converting it

to digital from the 3-d photogragh And it did work

in a demo, so start xeroxing your old records.

I digs me some good vinyl… but do I want to go back to that technology? NO WAY MAN! :(


Hey Wozz and Duffman! We need to research this further! :laugh:
I have this record of Argentine Tango music from 1957, I can’t get to it right now but I remember this note on the back of the jacket ( remember how they had all that space to write on there?) It said something like, " In producing this record we have chosen to include frequencies outside the range of human hearing because we feel that to exclude them would result in a certain loss of tone that can be sensed rather than heard(!!)"That was 30 years before the CD, could that be it??? Did they really know something??


" In producing this record we have chosen to include frequencies outside the range of human hearing because we feel that to exclude them would result in a certain loss of tone that can be sensed rather than heard(!!)"

I find this claim a bit dubious. (Heh-heh... imagine that!) They may have been able to throw some "extra" high frequency content in there... but that's usually not "sensed", other than being annoying as heck...

Lower frequencies? Kind of doubtful. You have to remember that "Mastering" back then also included the all important step of making DARN SURE you didn't have so much low end in your recording that you'd cause the turntable stylus to jump completely out of the groove! It didn't take much either. There was kind of a "speed limit" if you will, where mastering engineers knew they'd "fly off the track".

Anyway... the analog versus digital war will rage on I'm sure... but keep this in mind; with today's technology, the dynamic range is there, the SNR stomps ALL OVER the best pure analog systems, wow and flutter are virtually non-existent... so WHY do the wars rage on? Is analog somehow "better" than digital? I don't think so. Sure, you could get smoother, more "pleasing" distortion out of analog gear... but isn't that what you want to avoid? Distortion? That's a negative term. (Oy... this from a guitar wanker... :p )

In my own, very humble opinion, the whole debate at first was justified by the fairly primitive, early digital technology. Now it is completely justified due to the morons who INSIST on smashing the living CRAP out of the material for the sake of "loudness".

So, again IMO... I love digital. Phooey on tape, vinyl, wax cylinders, wire recorders and that noisy, wow-y, flutter-y crap. Pristine and clean while LEAVING the dynamic range intact!!! That's for me... YMMV etc... (and probably will... LOL...)



RIAA EQ was adpoted in 1954 as a world wide standard…That does not mean your Tango LP was not recorded outside of this standard.

A cool little test would be to run your turn table into your sound card with no preamp & digitize a Tango song at the highest bit depth and Hz your card will allow. Then do the same with a more modern LP recording. Pull them into a spectral Hz analysis program and compare. Allowing for pops, scrathes, and hiss you might be able to see what is above or below RIAA standards. Of course as results will be anecdotal at best, they will be viewed as DUBIOUS.



they will be viewed as DUBIOUS.



A good friend of mine has a high end audio system with a nice turntable, we listened to, e.g., “Born to Run” on each, and the 1/2 speed mastered vinyl kicked arse. Did the same with some Les Paul records on really heavy mid 50s vinyl and CDs. Same result. I love the sound of a good bit of vinyl. I know that the CDs have all been remastered, and the latest Born to Run especially was pretty bad, IMHO, and it was done by a very big name - and I’m sure no one could do better.


I also love the sound of wax recordings. And wire. And crappy tape. All have a sound. The one I like least: the digital recordings that come from my basement.

I posted this link before:

You have to plug a turn-table into a phono-pre.
A phono-pre has a set time-constant of (what 75 msec) something like that.
If you use a regular pre - you will lose a lot of musical info.

Depends on your cartridge, MM or MC.

The phono-pre recovers the RIAA curve. Nothing to do with magnetic
or ceramic. (I think)

[/QUOTE]RIAA equalization is not a simple low-pass filter. It carefully defines transition points in three places - 75
µs, 318
µs and 3180
µs, which correspond to 2122 Hz, 500 Hz and 50 Hz. Implementing this characteristic is not especially difficult, but more involved than a simple linear amplifier. The phono input of most hi-fi amplifiers have this characteristic built in, though it is omitted in many modern designs, due to the gradual obsolescence of vinyl records. A solution in this case is to buy a special preamplifier which will adapt a magnetic cartridge to a standard line-level input, and implement the RIAA equalization curve separately. Some modern turntables feature built-in preamplification to the RIAA standard. Special preamplifiers are also available for the various equalization curves used on pre-1954 records.