back to article VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Vinyl has been the music format that wouldn’t die for the best part of three decades. Not since Kenneth Williams quipped “Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!” has a death scene seemed so protracted. Now, however, it seems the format is officially in remission. Pioneer PL-510 and PL-117D turntables The song remains …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

    Too bloody right! I love my vinyl but for example I have an early Dire Straits LP on which the groove is not properly centred. The music does not benefit from what sounds like a doppler effect as the needle veers half an inch this way and that each time the record goes round.

    And on Jon Lord's Gemini Suite (original issue) I have never been able to get rid of what sounds like the second violins having a nice fry-up in the middle of the orchestra.

    1. Bigbird3141
      Pint

      Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

      Have an internet washed down with a beer for referencing Jon Lord's Gemini Suite.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

      I get the impression that CD was introduced for the classical world, having no crackle during the quieter parts of the music.

      But the 16-bit 44.1Khz sample resolution is archaic.

      44.1 was chosen due to the mastering hardware using some video timing or something. 16-bit was obviously the best they could do at the time.

      So while many question why you need to go beyond 16-bit for music, I'd say we can easily put to rest the audiophile arguments about lost harmonics with CD if we have higher resolution audio.

      Even the soundtrack of your blu-ray films are recorded at a higher resolution (although with lossy compression doh).

      1. Richard Scratcher
        Boffin

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        I found this video very informative. I think I stumbled across a link to it in the comments pages of this site a few months ago.

        D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell

        1. Infernoz Bronze badge
          WTF?

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          Agreed.

          I really don't understand this Vinyl nostalgia, I had records (audible quirks and damage), then tapes (quirks and noise), then CDs (wow!). I find that properly recorded digital audio on CDs, Digital video, Flacs and MP3s, without stupid compression (too common for signed bands), sloppy clipping or poor sample rates, sounds far better than any Vinyl I heard, and doesn't need stupid expensive equipment to play it at best quality, including archaic Valve or Class A amplifiers (class D is excellent now); even tablets and phones often have quality audio chipsets now, and high quality PC sound cards sound even better.

          Frankly, quality digital audio played through decent DACs (e.g. Burr Brown), with quality amplification stages or direct to Class D, and a smooth power supply blows away Vinyl and other obsolete analogue tech. much like the even older wax cylinders I've also heard played.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

            Some of the nostalgia comes from listening to records that never got released on CD at all. Heck, I bought plenty of close-out records in the early 1980's, and so they were already "out-of-print" at that point. Then again, I was also surprised to find a super-clean downloadable copy of "Hi-Fi Sounds for Hounds", and that was out of print since the mid 1960's.

            1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

              Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

              jelabarre,

              but now we can go to pirate bay!

              Its OK, all my tracks were written, recorded and produced by macaques.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        44.1KHz isn't a problem. Actually today with oversampling and then DSP you can extend the response of real analogue content closer to the 22.05KHz limit. Almost no-one can hear the difference between 192kHz sampling where content is limited to 16kHz and limited to 24kHz on 48K playback.

        The 44.1 and 48k chosen to make life easier for analogue anti-aliasing filters. But now with 192KHz sampling only a simpler filter is need and DSP can raise the limit from 12khHz / 14kHz (analogue anti-aliasing) to close half the storage/broadcast sample rate. Then the playback DAC interpolates and uses higher rate play back to allow simpler and better low pass analogue filters on analogue out.

      3. M_W

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        I'm not sure that Blu-Ray is even Lossy any more, it's only lossy if you use a legacy decoder.

        DTS-MA, for example, is a Lossless encode, but it's clever in that it's a lossy encode (DTS) with a Diff from the lossless added, so a normal DTS decoder sees the lossy DTS stream, but a DTS-MA decoder sees the whole lossless piece.

        Dolby TrueHD is also Lossless - it uses the properly good Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) which used to be used on DVD-Audio but only at 9.6Mbits/s. MLP on Blu-Ray via the TrueHD stream is 18Mbits/s

        The given reason for the Red-Book standard being as it was, was partially as you say due to the PCM encoding of video also being 44.1Khz (the masters of CD's used to be stored on Videotapes) and the length was due to the VP of Sony arbritarily setting the length of a CD to 74 minutes because that was the length of a specific version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - although Philips seem to imply that may be urban legend :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          The given reason for the Red-Book standard being as it was, was partially as you say due to the PCM encoding of video also being 44.1Khz (the masters of CD's used to be stored on Videotapes)

          Nonsense. CDs were originally mastered on high-quality analogue tapes, and then on digital systems. There was some equipment that could record digital audio onto videotape, which was used by some people for portable work and by some small studios, but it was developed long after CDs became common.

          44.1 was chosen because human hearing goes up to 20kHz, and so you have to sample at twice that (the Nyquist rate) at least to ensure that you get accurate reproduction. An analogue filter with a perfect (brick wall) cutoff at 20khz would be complex and expensive, so they settled for a more practical filter which rolled off less steeply at 20kHz, and then sampled at 44.1. That gave them the best compromise between filter cost, CD length, and anti-aliasing performance.

          1. M_W

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

            "Nonsense. CDs were originally mastered on high-quality analogue tapes, and then on digital systems. There was some equipment that could record digital audio onto videotape, which was used by some people for portable work and by some small studios, but it was developed long after CDs became common."

            Really? I always was told 44.1Khz was chosen because it fitted U-Matic's horizontal sync rate. It could quite easily have been they chose U-Matic because it was convenient.

            For AAD discs, very true about Analogue. You'd bounce down from your Multi-Track Analogue (In our case a 48-track Otari) to a 2-track analogue tape (Tascam) and bung it out via courier. But not when people started to insist on DDD mastering.

            Initially we used to send masters to DADC Austria on U-Matic tapes. There was a PCM unit linked to a U-Matic video which recorded the PCM mixdown output the mastering team did from the Sony DASH multi-track.

            The U-Matic was soon replaced by DAT tapes, and the Sony replaced by Alesis ADAT and ultimately by Hard Disk storage when it was reliable enough.

          2. wolfmeister

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

            actually studios used to use sony video decks as a cheap dig' second backup to the tape version master, but the sony's recorded at 48k, HHB in london started modding the sonys to 44.1 for studios. studio dat's were initially 48k, like my denon i had imported from japan, again it took time until 44.1 dats appeared. This was long before people commonly had consumer cd players and when vinyl was still king.

            From John Watkinson, The Art of Digital Audio, 2nd edition, pg. 104:

            "Video recorders... were adapted to store audio samples by creating a

            pseudo-video waveform which would convey binary as black and white

            levels. The sampling rate of such a system is constrained to relate simply

            to the field rate and field structure of the television standard used, so that

            an integer number of samples can be stored on each usable TV line in

            the field.

            Such a recording can be made on a monochrome recorder, and these

            recording are made in two standards, 525 lines at 60 Hz and 625 lines at

            50 Hz. Thus it is possible to find a frequency which is a common multiple

            of the two and is also suitable for use as a sampling rate.

            The allowable sampling rates in a pseudo-video system can be deduced

            by multiplying the field rate by the number of active lines in a field

            (blanking lines cannot be used) and again by the number of samples in a

            line. By careful choice of parameters it is possible to use either 525/60 or

            625/50 video with a sampling rate of 44.1KHz.

            In 60 Hz video, there are 35 blanked lines, leaving 490 lines per frame or

            245 lines per field, so the sampling rate is given by :

            60 X 245 X 3 = 44.1 KHz

            In 50 Hz video, there are 37 lines of blanking, leaving 588 active lines per

            frame, or 294 per field, so the same sampling rate is given by

            50 X 294 X3 = 44.1 Khz.

            The sampling rate of 44.1 KHz came to be that of the Compact Disc. Even

            though CD has no video circuitry, the equipment used to make CD

            masters is video based and determines the sampling rate.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          " the length was due to the VP of Sony arbritarily setting the length of a CD to 74 minutes because that was the length of a specific version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - although Philips seem to imply that may be urban legend"

          Well it was certainly true that Sony drove the length (CDs were to be originally 60 min) and the size "Must fit in a (Japanese) shirt pocket"

          Given that the first big market for CDs was classical music there's a lot of milage in them deciding that the longest common piece should play in its entirety without changing discs.

          The dataset could have been _much_ smaller if the samples were defined as deltas rather than absolutes but the processing technology of the time simply wasn't up to it (original preproduction demonstrations used several racks of equipment and had noticeable artifacts in the playback)

          I can still remember playing my first CD purchase in 1984 (Dire Straits "Making Movies") and nearly blowing the cones off a pair of Kef C60s when the guitar solo kicked in at the start of "Tunnel of Love" I instantly fell in love, because despite what the naysayers were putting about, the sound was clean and clear and lacking all that dust crackle + tracking distortion (no tonearm _ever_ tracks a groove tangentially from leadin to leadout) everyoine was used to. It wasn't so much listening to a recording as sitting in the studio whilst they were making it. (Many other discs since were badly made and sounded awful).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        24 bit is not higher resolution that 16bit. It potentially allows for more dynamic range of 144dB compared to the 96dB "archaic" CD format, but that's not the same as resolution.

        For playback, if anything the loudness wars have resulted in less dynamic range being needed , not more.

        If you really want to reproduce the experience of going from absolute silence to a formula 1 car at full throttle driving by, then by all means go 24bit.

        85db is where damage can start to occur to hearing, 127dB permanent damage starts. A couple of minutes at 141dB is going to make you nauseaus.

        Once your hearing starts to go, it doesn't come back. Although seen as nanny state interference, there's a reason good why the EU introduced limits to personal audio equipment headphone levels to 85dB, which takes some people permanent hearing loss to appreciate.

      5. Nigel 11

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        44.1 khz is an appropriate choice for the technology when CDs were invented. (No, I do not know why 44.1 rather than 44.8 or some other number). Today you could certainly do better. 16 bits likewise. (Perhaps if 6-bit bytes had won out in the 1970s we'd have had 18-bit CDs, with a maximum play time about 12% less)

        The relevant maths is Shannon's sampling theorem. 44.1 kHz perfect sampling allows encoding of input frequencies up to 22.05 kHz. Higher frequencies get "aliased" so input at 23kHz would get reproduced as noise at 21.10kHz (ie wrapped back along the audio spectrum from 22.05kHz). Which is fairly OK because the highest frequency you can hear is around 20KHz and the highest you can appreciate musically is half that or less. So they put a sharp analog filter in the input signal (prior to sampling) to attenuate frequencies above 20kHz.

        Contrast this with the garbage generated by lossy mp3 and similar coding, with tonal artifacts inserted across the entire audio spectrum. Music encoded onto and back from a CD remains musical. Music encoded as lossy-mp3 and decoded is horribly degraded. In my case, I can't regard the resulting noise as properly musical. So I'll stick to CDs, and hopefully before they stop making CDs they'll offer losslessly encoded downloads as standard.

        As to vinyl? Well, in basic form it introduces only musical distortion (mostly 3rd harmonic "warmth") and ignorable neutral noise (hiss, clicks from dust or damage). If you never, ever touch the recorded part of the vinyl surface, and never played your vinyl with anything except a deck and stylus of the highest quality, and don't ever play it more than a couple of dozen times, and change the stylus often enough, and provided the master was cut by an expert, and providing the sub-masters weren't used to press too many vinyl disks, and provided you've got sufficient decoupling between your deck and the loud bass from your speakers, ... vinyl can give a CD a decent run. But the price in money and convenience is higher than most are willing to pay.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          "(No, I do not know why 44.1 rather than 44.8 or some other number)"

          Simple: it's mathematically related to BOTH the PAL and NTSC linerates used by u-matic derived digital mastering recorders of the time. More detail than you ever wanted to know at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44,100_Hz

        2. phil dude
          Boffin

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          Please refer to a previous post of mine (no search function, sorry!) regarding the interpretation of the 44.1 kHz sampling, it is more complex than simple aliasing. Shannon's mathematics were for a perfect phase signal.

          I also had a link I found to a nice engineering explanation that was well explained. I seem to recall giving an empirical example too form my practical experience.

          I believe that 44.1 kHz was chosen because of the data storage limitation of the original CD format which was supposed to be able to contain the longest compositions available at the time.

          Vinyl has one MASSIVE advantage - it is a direct measurement of the sound being reproduced.

          The problem with digital is not the approximation, we know how to make it all sound perfect. The problem is, in the name of "copyright protection" some CDs are DELIBERATELY corrupted to inhibit transferring to another media. Yes that's right, if it sounds crap if might have been nobbled on purpose.

          Fortunately the same mathematics that permits us to setup perfect reproduction, also allows us to remove the shallow attempts to illegally (IMHO) ruin a purchase.

          P.

          1. Pristine Audio

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

            Vinyl has one MASSIVE advantage - it is a direct measurement of the sound being reproduced.

            It's an approximation, an analogue copy representing an electrical signal in the limited resolution of a piece of plastic. That's why it has limited dynamic range, roughly equivalent to 12-13 bit digital and various forms of harmonic distortion appear both above and below the frequencies being reproduced.

            A photocopy is an analogue copy - look at a fourth or fifth generation photocopy, or listen to a tape to tape to tape to tape copy, then consider the record manufacturing process of analogue copies of master tapes -> disc master -> father copy -> mother copy -> stampers -> vinyl. At each stage there will inevitably be some deterioration in the reproduction, albeit much less than the two examples given here. That's what happens in the analogue world as you progress from one generation to the next.

            Vinyl may offer "a direct measurement of the sound being reproduced" but it's a flawed one, and what is digital audio if not a "measurement of the sound being reproduced"?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Purple-Stater

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        "IMO the two problems with vinyl are that normal use wears it out (unlike CDs --- I know they won't last forever, but each play doesn't wear it down) and that you have to be very careful with the needle."

        I've often wondered just how much the "warmth" of vinyl would change if you used a laser "needle" to play? It would seem to placate both groups; those who want the wider audio range of vinyl, and those who prefer the crisp, clearness of digital. Then throw in the elimination of friction wearing and it seems to be a total package.

        1. M_W

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

          You can get one - it's made by a Japanese Company called ELP. (Not Emerson, Lake and Palmer) and it costs you, ahem, $16,000 plus shipping from Japan. And if you want a wood finish, then it's a bit more. And need to read 78's? Another $3k.

          http://www.elpj.com/

          It's not digital though - even though it uses a laser. It just measures the reflection angle and converts that to analogue audio. So the downside is unless your record is amazingly clean it does pick up dust and everything else on the record.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

            Yes I heard that the amount of cleaning the laser turntable needed outweighed any advantage and also ended up damaging the L.P.

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

              I put about 200 LPs on a spindle, stuckem in the bath with a 40khz transducer and some mild detergent - the shit that floated off them (along with the labels) was astonishing - as was the sound difference.

              Its amazing how much crud a few parties can deposit on your vinyl - and shellac!

              1. Andy Taylor

                Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

                So you ended up with some very clean LPs with no labels?

          2. RichUK

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

            Laser "cartridge" sounds an intruiging idea. But don't forget that the sound of a vinyl record is heavily influenced by the turntable that's spinning it (platter material, resonance, inertia, motor and transport mechanism, suspension, etc) as well as by the cartridge (compliance, tracking weight, inertia, coil mechanism etc) and arm (bearings, sonic reflectivity etc). A laser would eliminate some of these things and measure the others more accurately (perhaps). A record player is, ultimately, a record transport device and a measurement system.

            1. Frankee Llonnygog

              Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

              If you're using a laser, why spin the record? Move the laser instead

          3. War President
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

            Well, that's part of the point of vinyl, innit? You're not just hearing the artist's music in high fidelity, but also the scratches, clicks and pops generated by the needle scraping over your dead skin cells collected in the grooves of the vinyl.

          4. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

            ELP turntables are a nice idea with a lot lacking in the execution.

            A stylus melts the vinyl under it as it passes (like an ice skate melts water), resulting in high frequency bits flattening out with each play and dust being pressed into the material - but they tend to ride the same point of the groove (which is where Stereohedrons used to claim an advantage by riding a wider spot).

            An old trick for recovering decent sound off rare records was to use a different size stylus to ride a different level of the groove. The laser systems could theoretically read the entire groove and average out dust/gouges, but the ELPs don't and they don't sound particularly good.

            FWIW the contact pressure with 1 gram tracking force is several tons per square inch - and one should never leave a stylus sitting in a stationary groove as it melts a little dimple into the groove which results in a "pop" being there forevermore (although most pops are stuff like fly shit sitting on the surface and banging off the sides of the stylus as it rides by)

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          "I've often wondered just how much the "warmth" of vinyl would change if you used a laser "needle" to play? "

          A lot of the "warmth of vinyl" is acoustic feedback coupled into the tonearm. If you play a record with the lid up and the volume set high enough it can act as a sounding board and start howl-around.

          There are lasertracking turntables but the prices are extremely high and they're not particularly reliable. Some wags have scanned LPs at 1000dpi and claimed to be able to decode stereo audio from the resulting image.

          1. Fihart

            Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings @ Alan Brown

            The simplest way to demonstrate the turntable feedback issue is to place a coin on the stationary platter and rest the cartridge stylus on the coin.

            Connect a (cassette ?) recorder to your amplifier's tape output socket.

            Play a music CD (or whatever) via another amp and speakers at normal volume.

            The sound recorded via the cartridge and turntable will pretty faithfully reproduce the music you played in the background. This even works with softly suspended turntables -- though the suspension should reject sound at frequencies below that of the suspension's resonant frequency.

            It is not surprising that the first successful softly suspended turntable was built by Ed Villchur, originator of the AR infinite baffle (i.e. sealed) loudspeaker who had a greater understanding of such things than turntable makers whose origins were in making musical boxes (Thorens) or rotating window displays (Garrard).

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          " if you used a laser "needle" to play"

          There's an ELP laser turntable to do that, if you have the odd 16 grand to spare. It also tracks dirt, fluff and dust VERRRY accurately, so you'll need some sort of wet cleaning system to make sure your vinyl is squeaky clean. Not so sure about the wider audio range though. Physical cutting will be limited by how fast the cutting head can move within the medium, as well as how accurately the pressing reproduces the original cut. I have some vinyl that sounds bloody good, but is generally surpassed by the equivalent digital version.

          Unless some cloth eared engineer has 'normalized' the dynamic range to 'just a tiny bit, all at the top' of course.

          Although It's hardly ever the engineer's fault. You wouldn't believe how many acoustic and classical producers will demand that they can REALLY HEAR that triangle.

          EDT: Curses! Beaten to it on the ELP! Must try harder

      2. Psyx

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        "IMO the two problems with vinyl are that normal use wears it out (unlike CDs --- I know they won't last forever, but each play doesn't wear it down) and that you have to be very careful with the needle."

        But that's all part of the fun!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

        That might be factually accurate, but it's not going to happen in your life time. I've got thousands of 12" that have been played thousands of time, man-handled in clubs and left to rot in Attics for decades. The only deterioration is from the bad storage - a problem you're likely to suffer no matter the format.

        1. Zmodem

          Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

          not for a million years when nano crystal come along in the shops, DAC usb connections send data packets, so no frequencies are lost when travelling through cables and needing different AWG`s with different number of strands, which the RMS peak level is for so the input and output does`nt clip, because the RMS peak level is the maximum amount of evergy the standard cable will manage

    4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

      You mean like never being able to find a copy of Mary Hopkin's "Earth Song, Ocean Song" that couldn't double as a snack bowl?

    5. paulc
      Mushroom

      Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

      so why the heck didn't you take those obviously defective pressings back to exchange then?

  2. Youngdog

    Interesting to see Led Zeppelin mentioned

    In a recent talk to promote his new book Jimmy Page talked about the benefits of the digital format and how much he enjoyed doing the original 'Remasters' releases for the CD/FLAC format. According to him, back in the day, he was forced to 'dial-down' the original mixes due to limitations with the vinyl medium - the needle kept jumping straight out the groove on the test presses!

    Would be interested to know from anyone here how that technical issue has been addressed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting to see Led Zeppelin mentioned

      It's true about the limitations of the grooves on a record. But that's what the RIAA curve fixes:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization

      It's sort of hard to argue for the sound quality of vinyl when you store the audio in such a processed state.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Interesting to see Led Zeppelin mentioned

        "the needle kept jumping straight out the groove on the test presses!"

        Stick a bit of blue tack on the top of the needle?

        1. Youngdog

          Re: Interesting to see Led Zeppelin mentioned

          Considering their habit of driving the labels into apoplectic rages with their cover design requests, throwing an a small lump with every purchase wouldn't have seemed too out of character for the band!

        2. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: Interesting to see Led Zeppelin mentioned

          "Stick a bit of blue tack on the top of the needle?"

          For those records that needed it, my approach was to use a tiny amount of that to stick a penny on top.

          Although I have no way to play them, I do still have all my LPs and 12" singles - and I have bought more vinyl as recently as last year.

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Stick a bit of blu tack

          My sister used to sellotape a 2p coin to the cartridge end of the arm of her Dansette 'to make the needle last longer'.

          When I found out I started locking my record case and carrying the key around with me.

          Unfortunately I reckoned without her skills with a hairpin.

    2. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      Re: Interesting to see Led Zeppelin mentioned

      He specifically mentioned the limitations of analogue recording equipment too (in another interview). The proper music kit (>96kHz, 24 bit etc..) made a massive difference when it was introduced. If you don't believe me listen to music recorded before and after approx 1981/2. e.g. The Police (who were known for being at the cutting edge, apparently), recorded at Monseratt has a very different sound. It's why Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and all those bands have sounds that are so diverse - modern gear is really, really clean!!

      I built some effects pedals when I was at school, and from experience making noise tuneful is complex. I have some of the new LZ and Beatles (FLAC) reissues ; they are very, very good.

      P.

  3. Mondo the Magnificent
    Pint

    I have to ask....

    ...if Vinyl was ever really dead or was it just hiding in the CD boxes of cub DJs and in people's spare room cupboards?

    The resurgence of Vinyl has been in motion for some time and recently I've even seen articles on how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue!

    It's lovely to dig through a stack of albums, admiring the front cover, flipping it over and reading the track list on the rear. Record covers can often be iconic, from Pink Floyd's Storm Thorgerson designed Dark Side of the Moon design to the Beatles Heinz Edelmann designed Yellow Submarine cover, instantly recognisable by anyone over 40! Each record almost has a masterpiece value attached to it too, the detail is Santana's Abraxas album is one such example.

    It's good to see that the fragile 12" platters are making a comeback, but a decent turntable is needed to exploit the wonderful capabilities of Vinyl and it's good to see they're becoming a little easier to source too.

    I've seen many cheap and cheerful USB turntable/software bundles for converting Vinyl to USB, horrible devices with a ceramic stylus and no wow/flutter adjustment, but decent pure analogue turntables have always been available. Sure, you'll never see them in a front display, but most decent Vinyl focussed record shops also flog mid-range to high-end turntables and they don't come cheap, it's the decent digital/analogue units that have been bastards to find...

    The question is, would I want to "digitise" my Vinyls? Yes and no, there are some rarities that just cannot be sourced on CD/MP3, so these are candidates for ripping, but a majority of the music I enjoy is available digitally.

    However, I still love playing Vinyl records, removing the album from its sleeve carefully, placing it upon the turntable, lifting the tone arm over the start and lowering it...

    Listening to the static and feint scratches on the record, which are soon ignored by the ear... without having my father screaming at me to "turn that noise down"...

    1. Jan 0
      Coat

      Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

      Back in the 70s/80s I used to buy and use a commercial product that worked as described for the wood glue deep clean, but much quicker. By wood glue, they mean PVA glue*. However, unlike PVA glue, the commercial product was water soluble after drying, so if you had a problem where a piece wouldn't detach from the vinyl, you could always wash it away. I can still remember the tall black plastic bottle that it came in, but not the name. Am I paranoid to think that PVA might end up stuck in the grooves?

      *not other common wood glues like Cascamite, Titebond, etc!

      Mines the one with the Zerostat in the pocket.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

        I tried this and I now have one very thick LP.

        Evo-Stik is a wood glue, isn't it?

      2. phuzz Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

        I thought all PVA glue was water soluble?

        1. Lord Lien

          Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

          This does not work. Mate of mine tried it a few years back. Lighter fluid & a soft cloth seems to work better.

          Still got my 1210's, going strong since 1998 :)

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

            "Lighter fluid & a soft cloth seems to work better."

            Keith Monks still makes the best record cleaning machines. The only way to properly clean the grooves is to vacuum the liquid out.

        2. Jan 0

          Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

          @phuzz who thought "I thought all PVA glue was water soluble?"

          Not once it's set. It does tend to soften and weaken if left in water. Further, Ramer make wonderful PVA bath sponges and they never dissolve.

      3. Someone Else Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @ Jan 0 -- Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

        Is that the "standard" Zerostat, or the bigger, more dangerous one?

        (Anybody who knows about the Zerostat gets a thumbs-up from me....)

      4. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: how to give your Vinyl a "deep clean" using wood glue

        Yes, PVA was widely used in 70's/80's, for cases when simple airblast or washing wouldn't do. There weren't many choices back then. Some folks used cherry tree resin, but it's somewhat dubious.

        Now there are more options. Like these gentle oxygen-based foam cleaners that are good for LCD screens. They'll react quite happily with most forms of dirt, but will leave plastics intact.

  4. 45RPM Silver badge

    It's the whole aesthetic rather than the sound quality - and part of that aesthetic extends to CDs as well as Vinyl. It should start with the purchase. Buying online, whether through iTunes, Amazon or <insert preferred online vendor here> is a horribly soulless experience. I used to love the experience of dashing to Andy Cash or Swordfish records to buy the latest Hawkwind album or, if Hawkwind didn't have a new album out, just going for a good old browse, chat and listen. Clicking the mouse just doesn't have the same appeal as flipping through racks of vinyl records. Actually, HMV, OurPrice and Virgin were pretty bloody soulless too.

    And then, new album purchased, there was the journey home on the bus - quick as possible - to get my prize on the deck. And through the journey I'd be reading the sleeve notes. Every last one. Happy days.

    Will we see small, one man band, independent record shops ever again? I doubt it. Which is a huge pity. Unfortunately, they just didn't seem to have the same stickiness in the national conciousness that a small bookshop has - and even they are in decline.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "It's the whole aesthetic rather than the sound quality ...."

      Not it isn't. It's about pantomime, and the pretence of sound quality. In the article there's that giveaway "milled from exotic woods for optimum tonality". Bwaahahahahhahaa! I'll bet vinyl junkies still believe that cr@p, as they listen to the improved sound from new oxygen free silver speaker cables, suspended above the floor.

      Vinyl: Reproducing sound by dragging a scratched piece of low grade plastic past a tiny rock on the end of a tiny stick held between two magnets at the end of a longer stick. The vibrations in the small stick along with the mechanical noise of the turntable motor, and audio feedback from the speakers results in a tiny induced current that is fed into an amplifier along with all the electrical noise that leaks in. Only at this point is there any prospect of science of fidelity, because the previous stages are all penny farthing technologies.

      1. Captain Queeg

        @Ledswinger

        "It's the whole aesthetic rather than the sound quality ...."

        "Not it isn't. It's about pantomime, and the pretence of sound quality."

        I agree there's probably some confirmation bias in using Vinyl, but is that such a bad thing? If anyone derives pleasure from the process, regardless of it being aesthetic or pantomime, what's the harm?

        Personally, my Vinyl went the way of all plastic years ago and it won't be making a return. But Enjoyment of music in whatever form factor can't ever be described as objective. Fidelity is only part of the equation - one of my favourite tracks is the original pressing of "Try a little Tenderness" - mastered on to CD full of hiss, distortion and obvious loss of fidelity at the recording stage - but it adds to the atmosphere of the track immensely even on "clinical" CD.

      2. Graham Dawson

        You could say the same about people who insist on making tea in a strainer rather than just using a bag. Some people insist that the old way is obviously superior and take great pleasure in the ritual of making their drink. Whether such things are pantomime or comfortable, pleasurable experience is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          @Graham Dawson

          Damn. That's me. Tea in a pot, made with a strainer. A 50 / 50 blend of Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong.

          My car is over fifty years old too. Living in the past, and making things hard for myself no doubt, but I love it. I work with the latest tech - I guess the retro stuff is just a way of balancing it all out.

        2. Vicdavery

          Have to disagree with the tea-making comparison.

          You've only got to compare the leaves from decent loose-leaf tea to the dust that you get even in premium tea bags.

          Clearly a better quality product.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "making tea in a strainer rather than just using a bag"

          A quick check will show that the stuff in tea bags is mostly dust, a lot of twigs and bits of leaf - floor sweepings, they call it - and the stuff you buy loose in packets is actual leaves. I well remember some Russian visitors in the early 80s commenting, having tasted it, that if tea in the Soviet union was like our tea bag tea, someone would get shot.

      3. Psyx

        "Not it isn't. It's about pantomime, and the pretence of sound quality. "

        - If I may ask: Why are you wasting your time reading and commenting about something that you have no interest in and only have scorn for?

        1. Vinyl-Junkie

          "Why are you wasting your time reading and commenting about something that you have no interest in and only have scorn for?"

          Because he's a trolling muppet?

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            "Vinyl: Reproducing sound by dragging a scratched piece of low grade plastic past a tiny rock on the end of a tiny stick held between two magnets at the end of a longer stick."

            OK. Now, please describe me the components and the process of producing original sound out of, say, a violin... Something about inducing standing waves by rubbing ribbons made of horse hair against dried and twisted strings of animal intestinal fibres mounted in wooden frames varnished with cooked vegetable oil...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              a violin

              The classical instruments are, in fact, what the technology was capable of producing at the time, and as far as I'm aware, a major objective was volume (as concert halls and theatres became larger, before amplification, either more musicians were needed or instruments had to get louder.) So what gets recorded could be a very long way from what the composer imagined. Obviously composers who were brought up with the classical instruments would work to get the effect they wanted, but except for organ composers like Bach we can never be sure of how successful they were within the constraints. Goethe said in Natur und Kunst " In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister", i.e. the master shows himself through limitation, because he realised that real pigments, instruments and the like were a limitation on the vision of the composer and the painter.

              Which suggests to me that perfect reproduction of recordings is rather pointless; most of the "distortion" of what the composer imagined has happened before the sound waves reach a microphone.

              1. Nigel 11

                Re: a violin

                Obviously composers who were brought up with the classical instruments would work to get the effect they wanted, but except for organ composers like Bach we can never be sure of how successful they were within the constraints

                We can be fairly sure what they got, by playing their music on period instruments or reproductions built from the same materials to the same dimensions. An old piano is a lot less powerful than a modern one, and the balance between bass and treble notes is different. A violin or cello or oboe, on the other hand, sounds the same. (Someone with perfect absolute pitch will notice that an ancient wind-instrument "A" is a modern A-flat). An old (natural, valveless) horn sounds similar, though of course the range of notes that it can actually play is considerably lessened. A modern organ with an electric air-pump is likely to be vastly more powerful than an ancient one with a bellows pump, but every organ isand was different, and composers rarely if ever specified what organ or even what sort of organ best suited their music. I think this is because they didn't think it mattered very much. Bach sounds wonderful transposed onto anything that can convey the melody and harmony.

                As to what the composer heard inside his head ... one can never know. I'm able, with a great deal of concentration, for a piece I have heard before, with no more than four parts, to "play" it inside my head by reading the manuscript. A better musician than myself doesn't need to have heard it before. A composer imagines it, then writes it down. A deaf composer cannot revise it in the light of what a rendition sounds like in reality. Terry Pratchett probably had it spot on when he observed that the gods' idea of a joke was to make a composer go deaf. Which didn't stop the music. It only stopped the distractions.

                1. Frankee Llonnygog

                  Re: a violin

                  I'm in awe of what Beethoven achieved, before or after deafness. Imagining the harmonies, the interplay between soloists and sections of the orchestra and the orchestral timbres, then encoding that in musical notation... It's as if Caspar Freidrich had to transmit the instructions for each brushstroke of his paintings via Morse code. For me, the 5th Piano Concerto is the very essence of the sublime. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. CD or vinyl? Either will do. Live is best.

            2. Duffy Moon

              The thing is, a violin is just for making noise. A record/turntable is attempting to accurately reproduce a recording. No one can dispute that a violin makes noise - sometimes even a pleasing one, but as for accurate sound reproduction...

          2. Psyx
            Pint

            "Because he's a trolling muppet?"

            Well that's the obvious conclusion, but I was giving the benefit of the doubt, and posed the question to see if there was an alternative explanation.

      4. 45RPM Silver badge

        @Ledswinger

        I'm not going to disagree with you. However, I would say that for people who enjoy pantomime, they enjoy panto for its aesthetic. One person's art is another's unmade bed and all that. So if I want absolute purity I'll listen to a lossless high bit rate audio file or DVD-Audio. But if I just want pleasure served up with a goodly dose of nostalgia, if I want to kick back with a whisky, then I'll have my music served on the record player whilst I read the sleeve notes. I know that the music won't be as pure, just as I know that my whisky isn't as pure as ethanol - but that's okay, I derive more enjoyment that way (probably because of all the memories it stirs of my wasted, but thoroughly enjoyed, youth.)

      5. Nigel 11

        Vinyl: Reproducing sound by dragging a scratched piece of low grade plastic past a tiny rock on the end of a tiny stick held between two magnets at the end of a longer stick. The vibrations in the small stick along with the mechanical noise of the turntable motor, and audio feedback from the speakers results in a tiny induced current that is fed into an amplifier along with all the electrical noise that leaks in. Only at this point is there any prospect of science of fidelity, because the previous stages are all penny farthing technologies.

        -1. Would -100 if I could.

        Those technologies work!

        Ever thought how the dragging of horsehair anointed with gunk out of pine-trees across dried gut and wire strung tight against bits of somewhat random wood assembled by a mediaeval oik sounds so wonderful? (That's a great musician playing a Stradivarius violin, if you didn't guess)

        Ever thought about how your ears work? A bit of skin stretched across a tube, with a mechanism made of three small bones conveying the vibrations into a horn-shaped liquid-filled tube full of hairs connected to transducers which convey electrical signals to your brain ... they manage to handle a dynamic range of at least six orders of magnitude, and frequencies across three orders of magnitude. The quiet threshold of hearing is just above the level at which signals would be drowned out by the thermal noise of air molecules hitting your eardrum at random. Oh, and the same contraption also enables you to walk and run on just two feet without consciously thinking about it. Hearing and balance and inertial sensing.

      6. Jan 0

        Fidelity?

        @keadswinger

        You've left out the bit about the dubious DAC, that then feeds an analogue signal to the reasonably linear amplifiers followed by the hoplessly non-linear loudspeakers.

        Until we can sort the loudspeakers out, we're never going to get hi-fidelity no matter whhther the rest of the chain has digital elements in it or not.

    2. Spiracle

      Will we see small, one man band, independent record shops ever again? I doubt it.

      There appears to be two new ones opening in Cambridge this month.

    3. Flatlander

      Still vinyl

      We're lucky enough to have a one man band, independent record shop in Wisbech and it's a vinyl treasure trove.

  5. LJK

    Vinyl, pah! I say bring back shellac and 78rpm!!!

    1. LesB

      Pah! Wax cylinders are the only way to go!

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Pah, paying actual people to line up and play music is where it's at!

        (I think a lot of audiophiles would be horrified at the equipment used by most bands when they play live, their interconnects are just standard copper cables shielded with rubber!)

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Watch that term audiophile

          In its literal meaning its fine - we really need to find a word for people who claim to be able to hear the difference the oxygen in cables makes. I suggest gulliblefucker.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Watch that term audiophile

            I don't know, some of those oxygen atoms are awfully noisy. For best effects, you should listen in a room where all the oxygen in the air is 18O, because the extra mass of the heavier isotope improves the damping.

          2. Duffy Moon

            Re: Watch that term audiophile

            Around these parts, they are known as audiophools.

            1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

              Re: Watch that term audiophile

              And on the other side of the scale are those who claim that quality of reproduction kills music and that it can only be truly enjoyed if listened to through the built-in speaker on an iPhone.

              Those are called "audiopunks" (or "audiochavs" maybe?).

        2. Frankee Llonnygog

          It's also kind of wack, don't you think?

          That audiophiles buy expensively constructed cables terminated in RCA phono plugs. Some grat engineering has gone into making robust and good sounding connectors for studio and live sound use. But audiophile gear still has cruddy connectors that date back to the 50s. Why no XLRs for example?

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          "..audiophiles would be horrified at the equipment used by most bands when they play live.."

          Actually, they'd also be horrified to discover what happens in recording studios. No magic rocks on the speakers, no oxygen free cables transporting the signal via 100% gold interconnects (suspended from the floor by hand carved mahogany cable stilts of course), no $3,000 mains cables making sure that the incoming power is perfectly conditioned... the list goes on.

          TBH, most audioholics I've met tend to reproduction equipment capable of reproducing stuff at a detail level that could never have been captured by the original studio equipment, in addition to a whole raft of woo woo devices (magic rocks, inline signal straighteners, cosmic ray shielding, green CD rings, magic turntable mats, etc)

          And of course, they HATE the idea of double blind testing to see if any of their 'improvements' do anything other than empty their wallets more efficiently.

      2. Psyx

        "Wax cylinders are the only way to go!"

        There's still a company that makes them. However, they don't work well with new music because it's too busy and bassy.

  6. John Tserkezis

    There is at least one upside to vinyl.

    No Sony BMG copy protection scandal is even possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

      They managed to fit a chip in video recorders to stop copying. The macrovision chip.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

        "They managed to fit a chip in video recorders to stop copying. The macrovision chip."

        And then some other clever people fit yet another chip into video players - time-base corrector chip. Oh, what fun - and Macrovision couldn't do anything to stop it, just had to swallow it, unlike with modern DRMs and DMCAs.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

          Macrovision couldn't do anything to stop it

          Yes they could, and did. They started playing games with the colo(u)r signal as well. You got stable pictures with coloured stripes.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl. Phil

            Actually some VCRs (Sanyo and Sony) ignored the messed up signals and recorded as well as they could.

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Macraprovision

        Which Sony VCRs totally ignored to my amusement.

        Copied a couple of rental DVDs this way

    2. nijam

      Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

      Not true, I'm afraid. CBS (now part of Sony, of course) came up with a variety of analogue botches to prevent home taping (which as we all recall, killed music... but that's another story).

      They tried inaudible high frequency tones that they expected would interfere with the tape recorder bias frequency to produce an auible whistle on the copy - didn't work.

      They tried notching out part of the audible spectrum with a very steep filter - very audible, and I can't for the life of me remember how it was supposed to make the copy unusable (any more than it made the original unusable).

      And so on ... they kept trying various (and pretty well all entirely daft) ideas right up until the arrival of CD, then stopped because CD was so good that copies would be obviously inferior, so no-one would bother.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

      Could we PLEASE have one discussion about music reproduction without someone going on about Sony and copy protection?

      AHHHHGGGGG!!!!!!

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: There is at least one upside to vinyl.

        But CBS later Sony Music are the section which hurt the WHOLE companies reputation.

        The head office should have insisted that the root kit morons (I wonder if that was same people) commit Hari Kari.

  7. Tim99 Silver badge

    Wot - No LP12?

    My wife bought us a Linn LP12 in 1974. It became a bit of a Trigger's broom, but still had the original base, bearings, lid, suspension, and top plate until I had to sell it a few years ago after a motor accident. It is still going strong with its new owner.

    There real bugger was having to buy the Naim 250, speakers, radio, etc., to go with it...

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Wot - No LP12?

      I still have my LP12, inherited from a friend. But, as you mention, that then induced an upgrade to the amp (Nac 92/ NAP 150 in my case) and eventually speakers as well. It does sound pretty amazing.

      I don't go for the 'oxygen free cable laid along ley lines' nonsense, because that's just a load of balls. But there is indeed something about the whole tactile experience of vinyl that I love, far more than just pushing buttons.

      I tend to find that, if I want to listen to something and indulge in the whole experience, I'll play it on vinyl. If want background noise when cooking, then it'll be streamed from the media server.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Wot - No LP12?

        I don't go for the 'oxygen free cable laid along ley lines' nonsense, because that's just a load of balls.

        Quite right, as any fule kno they should be laid at right angles to the ley lines.

        1. paulc

          Re: Wot - No LP12?

          "Quite right, as any fule kno they should be laid at right angles to the ley lines."

          and don't forget elevated off the floor with speaker cable elevators!!!

          http://www.martinloganowners.com/forum/showthread.php?3536-Speaker-Cable-Elevators

          1. ericthetree

            Re: Wot - No LP12?

            paulc, you made my day. Hilarious.

          2. MJI Silver badge

            Cable elevators

            Some nonsense then total sense.

            Keeping speaker cables away from power cables is sensible, as it keeping signal cables away as well.

            But antistatic stands !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          3. pffut

            Re: Wot - No LP12?

            and don't forget to have your cables wiped down with whirled water, by a virgin, at least weekly.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Frederick Tennant

        Re: Wot - No LP12?

        Thank god for a normal person, I do the same but its a pain when you have to get up to turn the record over, alas its worth it. I do have loads of Mp3 at 320 or something which I play through my hifi via air port and yes its good background music while I have guests. thats normal or so I thought.

    2. Dave Lawton

      Re: Wot - No LP12?

      Slightly off track, has anyone heard of a source for the drive belt for the Connoisseur (SP?) BD1 ?

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Wot - No LP12?

        Slightly off track, has anyone heard of a source for the drive belt for the Connoisseur (SP?) BD1 ?

        or...for that matter, a B&O 4001?

      2. DJO Silver badge

        Re: BD1/BD2 belts

        They are out there but they cost more than the entire turntable cost when new.

        I'd also check the motor mounting as that was basically just a few rubber bands which will probably have petrified a bit by now.

  8. Frankee Llonnygog

    Thank Sonos for the resurgence of vinyl?

    Don't be so bloody daft!

    I'd give thanks if someone started making proper Lencos again. I'm sick of identikit players with anemic motors and exposed drive belts mounted on 3cm MDF slabs.

    1. M_W

      Re: Thank Sonos for the resurgence of vinyl?

      Lol. I inherited a Lenco turntable from my Grandparents - it was actually branded as Goldring, but it had the dustbug along with all the usual accoutriments.

      I sold it and ended up buying a Pink Triangle PT-TOO. Never sure it was actually any better :)

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    There's something to vinyl... Don't know what though

    Spent an evening with a mate a couple of months back going through his LP's with a fairly basic player (I think we plugged it into the TV's analogue in for lack of any better speakers.

    He had Waayyy too many 'Top of the Pops' albums though, seems he had a 'thing' for Legs Eleven.

    I think Vinyl makes you lisiten more, with digital, you can flick 'next' way to easily at the slightest glint of risng boredom, with vinyl, you've gone to all the effort of carefully getting the LP out of its sleeve and onto the plate, lining up the spindle with the hole, then carefully lining up the needle and lowering it (gently) onto the surface. I think 60% of the 'pleasure' of vinyl is relief at having managed that task.

    I kind regret giving away my old albums, but not too much, I have too much fun with Music Player Daemon.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: There's something to vinyl... Don't know what though

      I think Vinyl makes you lisiten more, with digital, you can flick 'next' way to easily at the slightest glint of risng boredom

      I think you've made an important point, Teiwaz.

      I've noticed something similar when watching films. In the cinema, I watch through to the end unless the film is unspeakably bad (and not just because I've paid). At home, I'll often stick with a broadcast film once I've started to watch. But films streamed from Netflix etc have about five minutes to capture my interest before they're off.

      1. Psyx

        Re: There's something to vinyl... Don't know what though

        "I think Vinyl makes you lisiten more, with digital, you can flick 'next' way to easily at the slightest glint of risng boredom, with vinyl, you've gone to all the effort..."

        It does. On albums, the length of a side is about the same as the average attention span. CDs are 2-3 times that length, without a break. That means they tend to become more of a background noise.

        As regards singles, those too are a great occupier of time, as one needs to consider the next track pretty much straight away, and you can't stray far from the player if you want uninterrupted music. It keeps your mind on the music and in close physical proximity to the source. 'Listening to music' on 45s is something that requires nearly all of one's attention. I believe that CDs diminished the passtime: You put them on, and all-too-easily get distracted by other things. 'Listening to music' as a hobby was a dying art.

        BUT: Youtube has rather revived the art, to my mind. I haven't sat with a mate playing 45s for years, but I do sit around on Youtube with friends, listening to music all night. You play something and then start thinking about the next track, like back in the day. I really think that the service has done a lot for 'listening to music' as a hobby, as well as reviving the occupation of finding new music via friends playing you the single.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: There's something to vinyl... Don't know what though

          > As regards singles, those too are a great occupier of time, as one needs to consider the next track

          > pretty much straight away, and you can't stray far from the player if you want uninterrupted music

          That's what spindle adapters for record changers (you know, "vinyl eaters") were for.

  10. Richard Scratcher

    Never mind the quality, feel the width.

    “In an increasingly-digitised world, it appears that music fans still crave a tangible product that gives them original artwork, high audio quality and purity of sound,”

    Surely these cravings could be satisfied by selling CDs in oversized cardboard sleeves.

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: oversized cardboard sleeves

      Bit uncomfortable for the shop staff - they might get chafed armpits.

    2. h 2

      Re: Never mind the quality, feel the width.

      They did that in the States.

      CD's came in tall boxes so that they were the same height as LP's on the racks.

  11. D@v3

    Technics SL-1210's

    I remember a few years back, a DJ friend of mine dropped one of his down some stairs. Not a scratch on it, still worked perfectly. Try finding pretty much any other hardware that would survive that kind of abuse. (especially one with moving parts)

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Technics SL-1210's

      Have they fixed the staircase yet?

    2. AbelSoul

      Re: Technics SL-1210's

      Lovely machines.

      I still have a silver 1200 (which I bought second hand in 1990) and a black 1210 taking pride of place in my living room.

      The brakes on the 1200 are wearing out a bit - press stop and it'll keep going a bit longer than it should - but otherwise both are still in excellent condition.

      Shame they don't make them (like that) anymore.

      1. Fihart

        Re: Technics SL-1210's @AbelSoul

        "The brakes on the 1200 are wearing out a bit - press stop and it'll keep going a bit longer than it should - but otherwise both are still in excellent condition."

        I think there's an adjustment for that -- the braking is dynamic, related to the motor's current. There are no physical brakes to wear out. There are lots of Technics-nut sites with maintenance tips.

      2. Dave Lawton
        FAIL

        Re: Technics SL-1210's

        Only fit for home use.

        Unless you had some rather large concrete blocks to stand them on.

        Don't think I ever came across something with such poor acoustic decoupling.

        Utterly useless for live use with a decent size PA.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Technics SL-1210's

      I fondly remember working my DJ days, working with three SL1200s. You only need two, of course, but the third was useful for overlaying a dub mix to create an on the fly remix.

      The club owner had actually installed three so we'd be covered in case of a failure, but the only time I ever needed it for that was when I was so drunk I broke a needle! So far as I know, in the several years I DJ'ed there, we never had anything serviced. Not the SL1200s, not the Numark mixing board, nor the Peavey amps. Stuff was built to last back in the old days.

      A few years after I "retired" (finished grad school and had to get a 'real job') they had a new owner, and he replaced a bunch of the gear because "vinyl was dead" and had CD players and some fancy mixing board that had built in sampling capability. I heard it would quit on them every few months, and they had no backup so 1000+ people would just leave. Penny wise pound foolish!

  12. Fihart

    Remember to turn the sound down.

    You don't actually need any of these USB type turntables if you possess a regular turntable and hifi amp with a phono input socket. Just connect the tape record output socket of the amp to the sound-in socket of computer and use a program like Audacity. Simple then to save as MP3 or burn to playable Audio CD.

    A useful tip when transcribing, especially when using one the turntables described in the article which lack suspension, is to monitor recording with headphones or with the sound turned down low. Otherwise colouration will result from the turntable acting a bit like a microphone (you'll realise that if you gently tap the deck while a record is playing and you hear a resonance through the speakers).

    I have a Technics (good for instant-start cueing when recording) but my deck of choice is an old wobbly-suspension Thorens 125. The difference in sound between the two is a revelation.

  13. Chris Miller
    WTF?

    What's the point?

    Speaking as someone still (occasionally) using a turntable and associated analogue audio gear, I can't quite see the point of buying an LP and then ripping it to digital? I enjoy the retro feel of playing LPs, but their superiority (if any) must surely lie in a analogue reproduction chain.

    1. Ian Watkinson

      Re: What's the point?

      "I can't quite see the point of buying an LP and then ripping it to digital?"

      Really?

      So you only ever listen to music at home?

      Since the 80's (thanks to some chap called Sony Walkman) music has been portable.

      Unless we can expect to see you with a portable turntable mixing it up on the 0755 to Clapham Junction?

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: What's the point?

        Well, a portable turntable for cars wasn't unknown. Though none of them seemed to been made for LPs.

        Perhaps a mash up of something like that and the Lapanese laser pick-up mentioned in another comment, and you could come up with a sort of giant Sony Discman for vinyl. Add some massive headphones with big sliding volume controls on each ear for a Cyberman effect, and the hipsters would lap it up.

        1. Deryk Barker

          Re: What's the point?

          I can still recall sitting in friend's care in 1969 listening to Fairport Convention's Si tu dois Partir on a turntable.

          Of course, the car was stationary.

      2. Marcus Aurelius
        Coffee/keyboard

        0755

        is that a train time or a set of file access rights?

    2. AbelSoul

      Re: What's the point?

      I can't quite see the point of buying an LP and then ripping it to digital

      I bought an album on the way home from work on Monday. That evening I set aside an hour or so and took great pleasure in listening to it for the first time via the record player.

      For the rest of the week I've been listening to bits of the digital version via my 'phone, whenever I have a spare ten minutes.

      If I have the time and am already at home, I'll listen to the vinyl record. If not, I can still indulge in digital snippets. Having both options is most welcome.

    3. Chris Miller

      Re: What's the point?

      Thanks for the (perfectly valid) points made, but (as I understand it, not having bought an LP for several decades) you now get download rights (and quite possibly a physical CD) bundled with your purchase. So why would I need a (somewhat inferior) turntable with a USB connection?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buckner & Garcia might temp me back

    I take your Amazing Spider-Man: A Rockomic record album and raise you Pacman Fever, which I acquired on a trip to the USA in the early 80s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN5SkwYZNKA

    my college roommate was so offended on it's first playing he punched a hole in the plaster board wall.

    Sharing your music back then was a very different, more physical experience.

  15. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Vinyl never went away

    I regularly use my Transcriptors Saturn TT. It gives the Quad Electrostatics something to do. )

    I have more than 400 Albums, some even sold to me by the bearded one himself at the Virgin store on Oxford St.(through the shoe shop and up the stairs)

    I can even be found about once a month browsing the offerings in Rough Trade Records just off Portobello Rd. From time to time, they have some really good pickings.

    sitting on the tube reading the sleve notes is usually guaranteed to get a few comments like 'those were the days' from old Dinosaurs like myself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vinyl never went away

      Things were better in the days when Richard Branson ran a record shop and lived on a boat. (I was younger, for one thing.)

  16. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Little brother + vinyl =

    Recipe for disaster. My younger brother managed to get into my vinyl, and most are scratched in some fashion. I would love to have mint condition replacements!

  17. Mage Silver badge

    Daft compared to CDs

    The biggest problem though is bad mixing. Too much compression and processing and yet decent digital formats and FM don't need it as much as vinyl.

    1. M_W

      Re: Daft compared to CDs

      The "loudness war" is becoming a nightmare. It's all down to the record companies wanting their tracks to stand out when you're scanning the radio. Listen to 'Capital' on DAB vs something like Radio 2 (even Radio 1 does it, but much less than Capital) and you'll see my point. Not only is the track pre-compressed to within an inch of it's life, but then re-compressed again on broadcast, sometimes with a BBE enhancer in the broadcast chain for good measure.

      Masterers now don't seem to know how to create masters without it being compressed to within an inch of digital distortion (and beyond in many cases on iTunes). I hanker for the sound of the old Drawmer Valve compressors vs just using a stock Alesis compressor.

      Quite a few artists now release different versions of an album if you look around - a loudness war mastered version for chavs to listen to via their iPhone 6 plus speakers on the bus, which the mastering teams push out, and a non-compressedtofuck version which appears usually on Vinyl or via a 96Khz/24bit Lossless Download.

      A few that spring to mind that have done this recently were Nine Inch Nails, Peter Gabriel and Daft Punk.

  18. M_W

    C'mon

    The technics were great but sound quality wasn't amazing with a DJ cartridge unless you put a decent cartridge in it. I seem to remember them having the Ortofon (whoretofon) concorde cartridges in them.

    When it came to Vinyl turntables, the one I always lusted after was the Michell Gyro Dec. When set up correctly, not only did it sound utterly divine (this, a decent japanese MC woodshell cartridge, a rega arm, the HC psu, a decent phono stage, a quad amp and quad electrostatic speakers was the ultimate setup in mind) it looked like a work of art. You can still buy them now for the princely sum of £1500 for the turntable,

    http://www.michell-engineering.co.uk/turntables/gyrodec/

    1. Psyx

      Re: C'mon

      "C'mon

      The technics were great but sound quality wasn't amazing with a DJ cartridge unless you put a decent cartridge in it. I seem to remember them having the Ortofon (whoretofon) concorde cartridges in them."

      1210s/1200s were never about sound quality. They're just great DJ decks, with all the things you need for the job, wrapped in a bulletproof package. The AK-47 of record players.

      Shame CD decks are nowhere near as reliable. I've had to send back a deck three times within warranty because internal wires kept a-breakin' in transit, even in proper padded cases. Eventually the manufacturer refused to do it any more because 'the CD player is not designed to be regularly transported', despite being billed as DJ decks, with all DJ-freindly facilities and being bought in the optional manufacturer-shoulder bags!

      1. Fihart

        Re: C'mon

        As per my earlier comment, you are right, the Technics doesn't sound great in standard form, I think largely due to the rubbish arm and lack of feedback isolation, despite the ingenious rubber/metal sandwich plinth.

        Friends who know about these things comment on the deck's unwavering rotation as audibly better than belt-drives, but a popular upgrade includes not only changing the arm but also upgrading the power supply and (as I recall) the speed circuitry.

    2. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: C'mon

      They're solid and reliable, and when you pair them with a nice Rega phono stage, along with an Ortofon Arkiv stylus, they're perfect for archiving your vinyl off to digital formats, because no matter how much of an event listening to vinyl is, it's most certainly not as practical ;-)

  19. EddieD

    SL1200/1210

    Easy to fix???

    Three were (iirc) 23 screws on the baseplate, all different sizes, which you had to remove all of, just to replace the wee pop-up bulb that lit up the stylus (if you used it).

    The technique I learned then, of making a template of the base with a wee blob of blu-tac to hold each screw has done me well over the years - I use the same technique when repairing laptops.

  20. Tromos

    I really miss...

    ...the click every 1.8 seconds.

  21. Scott Mckenzie

    Puzzled...

    You mention the resurgence is down to Hi-Res Audio and then cite Sonos and Amazon AutoRip as examples.... now i'm not sure of the exact process that Sonos uses (but am certain it's really rather poor as it's based on the source) but do know that Amazon AutoRip uses a 320kbps MP3. Neither of those are Hi-Res.... they are however exactly the reason why i still buy CD's and rip them myself, so until true Hi Res audio becomes available for download, i'm all for vinyl.

    Now if only the wife would let me buy one, or better still my father let me have his Transcriptors Master Reference....

  22. Lallabalalla

    That Flexson deck....

    It looks *awfully* like my ancient Rega3!! The Rega is an awesome deck, second only to an LP12 IMHO ... hot damn! I know what I want for Xmas now... but we're talking an absolute FORTUNE for all the bits.

  23. wyatt

    My dad still has one of those Pioneer turntables going strong! He has thought about streaming/digitising his music but so far hasn't had the need. A combination of tape/dab/cd and records are still working for him!

  24. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Be careful what you wish for

    A whole new generation spinning heavy metal vinyl platters backwards and falling into the arms of Satan!

  25. a well wisher

    Thank Sonos : Que ?

    Not entirely sure what we are thanking Sonos for here ?

    Link seems fairly tenuous to me

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    box size

    there is nothing to stop record company's releasing CD in full size LP packaging complete with all the artwork and notes everyone claims to love except all that costs more than the CD disc.

    Its also bizarre that such a robust product as CD was sold in a stiff plastic jewel case when the fragile LP was just in a bit of cardboard.

    Obviously the whole record industry was full of morons and they were eventually found out.

  27. Tim Almond

    Quality Sound?

    "“In an increasingly-digitised world, it appears that music fans still crave a tangible product that gives them original artwork, high audio quality and purity of sound,” she says. At least two of those points are probably true."

    Organisation that supports companies selling music bigs up format with a short shelf life shocker.

    There's a museum up in the Cotswolds full of old mechanical music, like music boxes and pianolas and they can play really old cylinders and they still play pretty nicely from decades ago. The gramophone records from even a few weeks of play sound terrible.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Quality Sound?

      With shellac gramophone records, one of the things that people often forget is that the needles wear out very quickly. I have a wind up gramophone here, and a pack of Songster needles I bought years ago at Whitwams Music in Winchester.

      The label says "use once only" but I think they were the last pack the shop had in stock, and I doubt I'll ever find another, so they get used a few times. Replacing the needle on a gramophone, even if you don't clean the records, makes a massive difference to the quality of the sound.

      I wonder how often the museum changes the needles?

      (If you want to see the pack, I tweeted a pic of it around noon today, @nigelwUK)

      1. David 18

        Re: Quality Sound?

        @Nigel Whitfield Have you thought of investing in a needle sharpener? I remember coming across one of these in the loft when I was growing up and poking through interesting looking boxes of stuff.

  28. George of the Jungle

    Deja Vu All Over Again

    The first picture of the Pioneer turntables from the '70s looks familiar as I own the model on the left. It's a PL-510 (IIRC) direct drive table and still works perfectly. (They were build like brick outhouses too!)

    A few years ago, I had to replace the cartridge when I could no longer get stylii for the Audio-Technica that I had in it, but it's been used to move my vinyl recordings to various media; currently it has a USB interface on it. It also sits on some concrete pavers as the case is a little "boomy" and the pavers seem to provide enough of an acoustic break.

  29. NogginTheNog
    Unhappy

    In my yoofff

    I was an avid vinyl listener and collector. And I had a pretty decent audiophile set up too for a relatively limited budget.

    Sadly nowadays my hearing's too buggered to make any real use of it all... I just have to turn it up in the car and sing along!

  30. Chris 171

    Underground Music

    Sonos is not to thank for the vinyl resurgence.

    Underground dance music is what has kept things going since the 90s, of course in most cases I could get a .wav but the record, one of those 300 pressed is far more valuable to me. The physical interaction being number one. DJing with CDs doesnt feel right, Traktor & Vinyl Timecode is impressive however.

    Surface noise yes, warmer sound yes, big soundsystem compatible yes.

    Ill buy all formats but a vinyl record still brings out the goosebumps better than any other medium.

    Music is more than just the waveform.

  31. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    I never gave vinyl up

    Although some of the shortcomings of my Project Debut 2 were beginning to take the edge off my enjoyment. So I found that Henley Designs offers a noise reduction kit that is supposed to eliminate the rumble that was just audible enough to annoy, and Hey Presto, so little rumble that I had to check that I'd actually put the needle on the silent track!

    OK, I said to myself. Time replace the stock OM-5e cartridge that was 'just about good enough' with my hoarded Ortofon VMS20e MKII and set it up. Oh, and dig out the Osawa OM-10 mat and the HiFi News test disk. I've been meaning to do this for a while, but the rumble and time pressures just prevented me from carrying it through.

    Well, I always liked the sound of the Project, but now it's sublime. So much so that the Wife does not see me many evenings as I revisit disks that I've not played for years.

    My biggest problem is that the glue on the sleeves of my LPs is degrading. Every time I get a disk down, the sleeve comes apart. Also, the paper inner sleeves are starting to shed wood fibres, so a deep clean is needed. Somehow, it appears that my collection has got slightly damp, but I can't work out how. It was in storage for some months during a house move, which is the most likely time.

    I am not an extreme audiophile. My setup has always been only one step above budget, but was bought as best-buy in their class. Besides the Project, it's a NAD 7020 receiver, JVC KD720 tape desk and Keesonic Kub speakers, but the combination is really quite good. There's also a Technics CD player as well, but I don't know the model off the top of my head.

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: I never gave vinyl up

      It's nearly Xmas - trade the deck and rumble filter in for a Rega3... Happy Xmas :)

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: I never gave vinyl up

        Was not a rumble filter, was modified motor mounts, a different profile belt and a pulley to match the belt profile. All hardware, no electronics.

        The motor now floats much like a Rega.

  32. Valerion

    Up The Irons!

    Iron Maiden just re-issued all of their vinyl. I really really want the set, but I don't think the wife would be approving of a fairly expensive purchase that's realistically just going to gather dust.

    1. David 18

      Re: Up The Irons!

      "Iron Maiden just re-issued all of their vinyl. I really really want the set, but I don't think the wife would be approving of a fairly expensive purchase that's realistically just going to gather dust."

      And nothing gathers dust like vinyl! Even lovingly protected and stored.

  33. splodge

    The problem with CDs is that a loss of silvering can destroy your player. At least it did for me. I've never known a scratched record ruin a record player, tho.

  34. cortland

    And now we lose the needle...

    http://www.elpj.com/about/laser-sound-quality.php

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What next?

    VHS comeback?

    Seriously, vinyl is crap and always was; I hated it when it was the only option and I despise it now that there are decent alternatives (analogue tape was not a decent alternative).

    CD could be improved a bit, but actually most of the damage is done in the mixing desk these days, resulting in output that could probably be stored in 8bits without any loss of range.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: What next?

      VHS needs to die permanently as the second worse video format ever (only CVC was worse) I detest it.

      I have used N1500 format as well!.

      I still use a VCR but it is inside my video camera and records using MPEG2 onto Mini DV tapes in HD.

      As to music I have in working condition play back for

      MiniDisc, CD, SACD, DVD-Audio, HiFi VCRs. And in now broken my turntable and my cassette deck (with Dolby B and C).

      Vinyl could sound good with decent kit.

  36. Christian Berger Silver badge

    And yet again Sonos managed to sell cheap Chinese kit...

    ...at extraordinary prices.

    I mean it's not that hard to build a decent record player, probably not even at the sub $50 price point of cheap Chinese ones, but charging £329 for one is outrageous.

    1. Paul 195

      Re: And yet again Sonos managed to sell cheap Chinese kit...

      Wrong! It is very hard to make a decent record player. To get a decent signal off a piece of vinyl requires real precision engineering.

  37. Flatlander

    Live

    Turn them all off, go outside and find a live venue (not an open mic night)

  38. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    1,2,3,4

    I hear music.

  39. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Also thank DJs

    Also thank DJs... happy hardcore, dubstep, and the like, these guys'll have stacks of vinyl and some fine turntables. In the interim between tapes and CDs taking over from recordings (early 1990s?) to recently, they probably single-handedly kept the remaining places pressing vinyl in business 8-)

    1. Psyx

      Re: Also thank DJs

      " these guys'll have stacks of vinyl "

      Bets? Even CD is on its way out; replaced with laptops and virtual mixing desks. :(

  40. Zmodem

    vinyl is dead in the dj world, its rubbish, you have controllers, that let you do everything vinyl does in battle mixing and all shops finally got around to selling wav or flac lossless because mp3`s are crap and have 80% of the low and hi hz missing so files are compressed and sound like complete shit and white noise on a club system or a seperates system with source direct or DAC enabled connections that replace RCA leads on tv`s and everything in a few years

    if you want to rip vinyl to digital you just need a cheap usb audio interface with RCA inputs or a analog to digital convertor you can get on ebay for £20

    1. Zmodem

      +you missed the stanton str8-150 that destroyed the technics 1210 mk5 and put them out of business, the 150 has more torque in its motor then a mini cooper, the 1210 has`nt been in production for many a year

  41. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Re: Thank Sonos for the resurgence of vinyl?

    I keep trying to put my inherited Goldring Lenco GL75 on ebay but each time I have to have one last listen that's that idea scotched for another 18 months.

  42. Nick Pettefar

    Swindon HiFi

    I used to own a Garrard Zero 100SB deck with a parallel arm that turned the cartridge to align with the record - ace! I currently own an SP25, from from Freecycle, for the few records I play nowadays. In the day I hated the hissing and scratches and dust pops but it is nice to occasionally listen to some of my remaining albums - Joni Mitchell Blue, Joan Baez, Bob Marley, Sade, AC/DC, etc - hisses and pops and all. The Swindon Garrard factory is long gone of course although I believe the name survives for some specialist DJ decks built in a nearby village. www.garrard501.com/history.html

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