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Thread: Memories of vinyl

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polyphemus View Post
    You are describing the second hand market, go into a record store and buy a 'new' L P and prepare to be appalled.

    Yes, I certainly do not have any interest in the new LPs. They cost too much to make compared to CDs and I don't have much confidence in how good they'd be, given the low quality of LPs in the 80s after CDs came out.

    In the pre-CD era, I had to work for a day to afford a full priced LP. Older members probably had to work for longer, so it has always been an issue with vinyl unfortunately.

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    Senior Member Polyphemus's Avatar
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    The 80's were a particularly bad period for the L P, in their 'wisdom' it was decided to reduce the amount of vinyl used for L P production. This resulted in wafer thin L P's and the distortion of the disc.
    Noli Illegitimi Carborundum

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    Senior Member Bill H.'s Avatar
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    I'm one of those who still plays LPs, but entirely to digitize them. Have collected some releases which were NEVER reissued on CD, such as the original Cleveland Quartet albums on RCA from the 70s-80s (my son studies with the CQ's former first violin, Don Weilerstein, hence the motivation). For others, I inherited LPs such as operas that have been released in digital format, but I'm not necessarily taken with the newer digital release versions, especially when I have the recording in hand already! CD remasterings are not always improvements. A classic example is the Wagner Ring Cycle done by Furtwängler in Rome, 1953--the acknowledged best source material for that epic recording are the original Seraphim LPs, which even a master restorer such as Andrew Rose used for his version. The long-issued EMI CD release is measurably poorer in sound quality. I've got the LPs and have been slowly working on them for my own version--it won't be as good as the Pristine release, but for me it's a whole lot more affordable, and fun because I generated it.

    In all these cases the condition of the records may be less than perfect, but I purchased an editing program that takes the raw transfer files and does a credible job of removing the clicks, pops and much of the surface noise from the LPs that can't be cleaned away, as well as provides a means to adjust the equalization, and split and tag the LP sides into proper tracks for listening and even CD burning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polyphemus View Post
    The 80's were a particularly bad period for the L P, in their 'wisdom' it was decided to reduce the amount of vinyl used for L P production. This resulted in wafer thin L P's and the distortion of the disc.
    Is it just the thinness of the vinyl? Could be. But I recently bought a 12-LP set from 1971 and was surprised how thin the records are. But they sound just fine. (Perhaps the record company just wanted to keep the size of the box down rather than simply saving money on vinyl.) I also have a 16-LP Benny Goodman set issued in the 1980s (and several other records from the 1980s) and the vinyl is normal thickness (and they also sound first rate). I'm wondering if it's the quality of the vinyl and/or the underlying transfer process rather than the thickness of the vinyl. I've heard some horror stories about underlying noise on modern 180g releases. No skimping on the black stuff there.
    Last edited by PMarlowe; Feb-03-2016 at 18:48.

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  9. #20
    Senior Member Bill H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMarlowe View Post
    Is it just the thinness of the vinyl? Could be. But I recently bought a 12-LP set from 1971 and was surprised how thin the records are. But they sound just fine. (Perhaps the record company just wanted to keep the size of the box down rather than simply saving money on vinyl.) I also have a 16-LP Benny Goodman set issued in the 1980s (and several other records from the 1980s) and the vinyl is normal thickness (and they also sound first rate). I'm wondering if it's the quality of the vinyl and/or the underlying transfer process rather than the thickness of the vinyl. I've heard some horror stories about underlying noise on modern 180g releases. No skimping on the black stuff there.
    One supposes that it's how much care was taken in the molding cycle (e.g., proper cooldown times before removing from the stampers) that helped to determine how much distortion (warpage) would occur in each record. If not done properly, you might not only get warpage, but even cases where (at least I believe) adjacent grooves would not retain separation, resulting in a sort of "ripping" sound when played.

    Quality of the vinyl made a difference too. Just as in the war years when shellac 78s often sounded worse because of substandard material, oil price shocks in the 70s and 80s were thought to have contributed to poorer record quality. If the vinyl formulations themselves didn't suffer, there were plenty of anecdotal stories back then of re-ground scrap vinyl (including labels) being remelted into feedstock for the stampers.

    There were some pretty disastrous attempts back in those days with changing the way LPs were cut and/or molded, whether to save money or not I don't recall. But just mention those dreaded names from RCA Victor releases--Dynagroove and Dynaflex

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    I have lots of memories of 'vinyl':

    -having to buy inner sleeves
    -the huge footprint of a sizeable collection and the problems of placement in the home
    -the crackling and static after only a couple of plays
    -everpresent dust, no matter how meticulous one was, and fingerprints
    -the various solutions and cloths and gear to try to reduce the former
    -the warping
    -the scratches and skips
    -the constant returning and exchanging, due to defective recordings
    -the short life of the product, despite fastidious care
    -the dull and scuffed shelf-worn covers
    -the sheer weight of hauling around a small selection for play
    -the various needles—ceramic and magnetic, was it?—and the need for a preamplifier with one type, but not the other
    -the need to adjust the weight of the counterbalance correctly, so as not to grind down the vinyl too quickly
    -the difference between fine European vinyl and the crude North American vinyl and the astronomical difference in price (I had loads of European records and frequented the specialty shops for them)

    ...and so many other joys I have happily forgotten
    Last edited by brotagonist; Feb-03-2016 at 19:26.

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  12. #22
    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Aside from the endless fiddling with turntables, there was the insoluble problem of clicks and pops from dust, and of scratches arising from nowhere, no matter how carefully you handled the things. And of course the dread inner-groove distortion. Why oh why did so many composers have to put the loud parts at the end? I won't go into rumble and wow or a host of other issues, none of which have been (to my knowledge) conquered now any more than they were years ago. And I won't mention dynamic range compression, high frequency rolloff, and so forth.
    One big one you forgot is the inability to do sub-bass for any length of time because of space required. Any fans of organ music with really deep notes (sub-32Hz, say) will tell you what a blessing it is to have a format like digital audio that has no problem delivering those frequencies uncut (and that we're also in an age where subwoofers are plentiful and capable of reproducing them). You really haven't heard a work like, say, Saint-Saens Organ Symphony until you've heard it on digital through a great subwoofer. The bass becomes almost like a cloud on which the mids and treble notes dance like angels.

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  14. #23
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    If you get one of those old Garrard changers, you get plenty of sub-bass... sub bass rumble from the noisy turntable!
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
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    Senior Member Eva Yojimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    If you get one of those old Garrard changers, you get plenty of sub-bass... sub bass rumble from the noisy turntable!
    All I can do is count myself lucky I grew up primarily in the age of digital audio, though I am unlucky enough to remember cassettes!

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  17. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotagonist View Post
    I have lots of memories of 'vinyl':

    -having to buy inner sleeves
    -the huge footprint of a sizeable collection and the problems of placement in the home
    -the crackling and static after only a couple of plays
    -everpresent dust, no matter how meticulous one was, and fingerprints
    -the various solutions and cloths and gear to try to reduce the former
    -the warping
    -the scratches and skips
    -the constant returning and exchanging, due to defective recordings
    -the short life of the product, despite fastidious care
    -the dull and scuffed shelf-worn covers
    -the sheer weight of hauling around a small selection for play
    -the various needles—ceramic and magnetic, was it?—and the need for a preamplifier with one type, but not the other
    -the need to adjust the weight of the counterbalance correctly, so as not to grind down the vinyl too quickly
    -the difference between fine European vinyl and the crude North American vinyl and the astronomical difference in price (I had loads of European records and frequented the specialty shops for them)

    ...and so many other joys I have happily forgotten
    Apart from working on the above, exactly what else was there to do in the 1970s?

  18. #26
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotagonist View Post
    I have lots of memories of 'vinyl':

    -having to buy inner sleeves
    -the huge footprint of a sizeable collection and the problems of placement in the home
    -the crackling and static after only a couple of plays
    -everpresent dust, no matter how meticulous one was, and fingerprints
    -the various solutions and cloths and gear to try to reduce the former
    -the warping
    -the scratches and skips
    -the constant returning and exchanging, due to defective recordings
    -the short life of the product, despite fastidious care
    -the dull and scuffed shelf-worn covers
    -the sheer weight of hauling around a small selection for play
    -the various needles—ceramic and magnetic, was it?—and the need for a preamplifier with one type, but not the other
    -the need to adjust the weight of the counterbalance correctly, so as not to grind down the vinyl too quickly
    -the difference between fine European vinyl and the crude North American vinyl and the astronomical difference in price (I had loads of European records and frequented the specialty shops for them)

    ...and so many other joys I have happily forgotten
    Couldn't agree more. Despite being a bit of a Johnny-come-lately when it came to acquainting myself with CDs I was an instant convert and I have absolutely no rose-tinted nostalgia for vinyl at all. After years of having about 500 albums in cases taking up too much room in a built-in cupboard which I wanted to use for something else I was more than pleased to sell the bulk of my collection to an ex-colleague 20 albums at a time. Still got about 100-150 of the buggers left but at least most of them are gone for ever. I replaced virtually all of my favourite rock albums with CDs (mostly re-masters) and bought many more besides which were often unavailable in the vinyl era due to the Stalinist deletion policy of many of the major record companies. I'm also glad that by the time I got into classical the vinyl era was a thing of the past.

    It might sound as if I'm being ungracious seeing vinyl was part of my life for nearly 20 years but even the most dependable and loyal Shire horses end up at the glue factory eventually. Good riddance.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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  20. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Couldn't agree more. Despite being a bit of a Johnny-come-lately when it came to acquainting myself with CDs I was an instant convert and I have absolutely no rose-tinted nostalgia for vinyl at all. After years of having about 500 albums in cases taking up too much room in a built-in cupboard which I wanted to use for something else I was more than pleased to sell the bulk of my collection to an ex-colleague 20 albums at a time. Still got about 100-150 of the buggers left but at least most of them are gone for ever. I replaced virtually all of my favourite rock albums with CDs (mostly re-masters) and bought many more besides which were often unavailable in the vinyl era due to the Stalinist deletion policy of many of the major record companies. I'm also glad that by the time I got into classical the vinyl era was a thing of the past.

    It might sound as if I'm being ungracious seeing vinyl was part of my life for nearly 20 years but even the most dependable and loyal Shire horses end up at the glue factory eventually. Good riddance.
    Maybe we'll need them again before long:

    Heavy Horses (I. Anderson) from Heavy Horses LP

    "And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
    and the nights are seen to draw colder
    They'll beg for your strength, your gentle power
    your noble grace and your bearing
    And you'll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
    in the wake of the deep plough, sharing."

    There is always a lot of satisfaction in using old technology, if that is your bag, whether it is records, vintage vehicles, lathes, scythes or whatever. Efficiency and productivity isn't everything, soft pleasures count too.

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  22. #28
    Senior Member ShropshireMoose's Avatar
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    I initially saw CDs when they came out - and when there was a player that I could afford - as an extension to my record collection, not a replacement for it. For one thing, expensive as LPs were (and they were expensive), CDs cost even more. I started work in 1980, a full price LP was £5.50. The basis of my collection were mid-price issues on HMV Concert Classics/Ace of Diamonds etc. which were £3.25. I got the princely sum of £25 a week for 40 and a half hours! When CDs first came out in 1983 I think they were £9.95 each, with LPs being £5.75 or £3.50 by then. The first CD players were nearly £1000. Ferguson and Philips brought out the first "cheap" players within a month of each other, in early 1986, and that's when I finally bought one, £325 it was (Philips), but much was not then available on CD. To be honest, other than some of the appalling pressings that EMI released in the late 1970s, I never had much bother with clicks or pops. I have LPs that are over 60 years old and still play beautifully. BUT I would not now buy a new LP when CDs are so much cheaper and, by and large, less prone to damage. On the other hand anyone starting out collecting can now get some amazing bargains 2nd hand wise with LPs and build up a first class collection for little or no money, and with a decent turntable there are hours of pleasure to be had. (I saw the HMV LP box set of Beethoven Symphonies Philharmonia/Klemperer in my local Oxfam in immaculate condition just before Christmas for £1.99!!) I also have many recordings that have not yet made it onto CD, so I exist very happily with LPs, CDs and mini-discs (a very good format for accessing all my 78s easily, not to mention transferring cassettes of live recitals recorded over the radio). If I do feel nostalgic over certain of my records, then it's more to do with the length of time I've had some of them and the people, many of whom are no longer with us, who gave them me as presents when I was a child, not the format itself. I've always looked after my records, so even ones I've had since the age of 5 still play immaculately! The fact is that they were expensive and we didn't have a lot of money, so records came at Christmas and birthdays and were valued and prized the more because of it. I value them still.
    "The only absolute in music is that there are no absolutes." Jorge Bolet (1914-1990)

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    I find vinyl to be excellent for play via speakers. Using a decent system - which I have (and perhaps not much more) - I hear static on only the most aged and/or abused records (unless I put my ear right up to the speaker). Obviously "noisy" records (jazz and rock) hide static better, but I find static not to be a problem even on classical recordings. Besides, I think one only gets the benefits of vinyl using a good system with speakers. When using headphones, I definitely need the quiet of a CD.

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  25. #30
    Senior Member Badinerie's Avatar
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    I have lots of memories of 'vinyl':

    having to buy inner sleeves
    Not always necessary

    the huge footprint of a sizeable collection and the problems of placement in the home

    Move the Children out.

    the crackling and static after only a couple of plays
    Take it out of the sleeve first.


    everpresent dust, no matter how meticulous one was, and fingerprints
    Dust your room occasionally.

    the various solutions and cloths and gear to try to reduce the former
    Ditto

    the warping
    Use only Impulse drive turntables.

    the scratches and skips
    They're properly referred to as "Analog Pinholes"


    the constant returning and exchanging, due to defective recordings
    Were you ever rude to the sales staff?

    the short life of the product, despite fastidious care

    Use only Slowstidious (TM) care products.

    the dull and scuffed shelf-worn covers
    Take it out of the sleeve first.

    the sheer weight of hauling around a small selection for play
    Never lend your records out and only borrow your friends records that you hate, so they cant play them while your at their house!


    the various needles—ceramic and magnetic, was it?—and the need for a preamplifier with one type, but not the other
    Yeah , but you get to talk about using needles in public in a loud voice...

    the need to adjust the weight of the counterbalance correctly, so as not to grind down the vinyl too quickly
    Oops! was that your lp I borrowed?


    the difference between fine European vinyl and the crude North American vinyl and the astronomical difference in price (I had loads of European records and frequented the specialty shops for them)
    Same sales staff?

    Did I miss something already?

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