back to article Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape

Today, Saturday 18 April, is Record Store Day. Partly a celebration of vinyl, and partly a keen marketing drive to remind people that there are still places to buy music that don't involve massive offshore companies. No doubt there will be busy queues outside venues like Rough Trade East in London, and, alas, speculators buying …

  1. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    It's a shame it's so hard (almost impossible) to buy lossless digital audio but I've given up the battle. Frankly the way most modern music is engineered I'm probably better off not being able to hear the finer nuances that MP3 hides. If/when fidelity re-enters the engineer's and marketing dictionaries I might give a damn, Unfortunately I just don't think most people care so I'm going with the flow. MP3 is fine for a car and fine for outside listening on the cheap Bluetooth headphones I use.

    Meh.

    1. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      Beatles USB...

      A USB stick with all the Beatles albums remastered by Maccer and the 5th Beatles , in FLAC and MP3 in a very cute metal Apple.

      Available from Amazon and other fine online sales marketplaces...

      P.

    2. x 7

      Not totally impossible to purchase lossless audio.......one example where you can is DGM Live where its possible to download hundreds of recordings of King Crimson and allied bands using FLAC

      OK if you like King Crimson (I do but I realise others may have a different view.....)

      https://www.dgmlive.com/archive.htm

    3. flokie

      Have you really tried?

      Indeed, it's not widespread yet, but there are many bands/websites/record companies out there that do provide lossless audio.

      I really like Bandcamp - a lot of indie and alternatives bands and independent record labels on there. You can buy digital only from the website, or buy the physical release, and once you've done so can immediately download the digital versions in a variety of formats - including FLAC, I can't remember whether they do WAV files. I usually download a FLAC copy from the home setup and OGG for phone/portable. I've also bought a few LPs in shops to find a Bandcamp voucher inside to get the digital copy - once again meaning a wide choice of formats for download.

      Some record labels still provide CD copies with LPs rather than digital vouchers. I recall buying Shellac's"1000 Hurts" back in 2000 and that's the first LP I bought that also included the CD. I don't think I even hard a turntable at the time! And then the no-vinyl 00s happened and it was a while since I saw that again. Electronic music label Kompakt are amongst several that still do so (or did last time I purchased an LP from one of their artists).

      Domino Records LPs include digital vouchers - letting you pick between HQ MP3 or WAV. They're one of the biggest indies.

      On a case by case basis, My Bloody Valentine fully embraced all formats with their third album - the LP came with the CD and a digital voucher - download formats included 24bit 96K WAV. Once I got a download voucher and found 192kbps MP3s. I expressed my disappointment to the (very small) indie label, and got a copy in WAV.

      But really most LPs I buy nowadays come either with a CD and/or a voucher allowing me to download a lossless copy.

      So I'm not sure how come you've never encountered lossless audio out there? I'll admit I'm not well versed in major labels digital releases, but if that's all you ever listen to, then I would question your commitment to music to start with. I'm guessing either that or you haven't tried and yet use the argument as a reason why not to purchase music.

    4. Nigel Whitfield.

      As others have indicated, it varies a lot between labels. Some are better than others.

      Linn has a label of their own, primarily Jazz and classical stuff, and offers FLAC at a range of qualities, detailed here

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually...

      "It's a shame it's so hard (almost impossible) to buy lossless digital audio"

      Umm.

      Lossless digital audio is what you get on CDs. If you want lossless digital audio computer files on your handy portable device (or whatever), it's not so hard to buy the CD and rip it.

      I don't know if it's legal to do so, but it ought to be.

      One big advantage of CDs over, e.g., iTunes Store "purchases" of music files is that when you buy a CD, you actually own the copy of the music you've bought. Spending money on music via Apple just gets you a non-transferable limited licence to play the music you've paid for.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Actually...

        Lossless digital audio is what you get on CDs. If you want lossless digital audio computer files on your handy portable device (or whatever), it's not so hard to buy the CD and rip it.

        Okay, I'll give you that. I should have phrased it differently. I should have written '..download digital audio..'. I agree that a CD is lossless audio but it's a bit of a waste of plastic as far as I'm concerned. For collector's editions I can see the point but 99% of what I buy is just 'music wot I like' and there's nothing special enough about it or the artist to warrant getting a physical copy.

    6. phuzz Silver badge
      Happy

      As others have said, BancdCamp generally give you the option of a FLAC download. The Erased Tapes label do WAV downloads (which they lable 24BIT MASTER so I assume that's good). All the Beggers Banquet group do FLAC for everything they release as MP3.

      Those are all places I've used in the last year.

      To be fair though, I can't hear any difference between FLAC and an mp3 with a bit rate higher than about 128kbps, which my wallet is very happy for.

  2. Ralphe Neill

    Have I missed something?

    "CDs have the great advantage over vinyl, of course, that they can be quickly and easily converted to digital."

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Have I missed something?

      Sorry. Of course, I meant digital formats like MP3 or FLAC

      1. Hairy Scary
        Boffin

        Re: Have I missed something?

        Often you don't need to rip CDs, quite a lot have wav, flac, ogg and mp3 folders already on the CD (look at the CD in file manager and you will see), all you have to do is copy the folder with the format you want.

        Looking at Sultans Of Swing album just now, all folders are there including one called full CD, it has the entire album in a single file in each format.

        Dug out an old Hits Of The 70s one, same thing -- all formats there in folders.

        I don't remember seeing this when I used Windows but certainly works using Linux, I use this often for copying talking books to my mp3 player, a lot quicker than ripping them.

        1. photobod

          Re: Have I missed something?

          That's not actually a feature of the CD but rather an ease-of-use add on provided by KDE (possibly also Gnome and others, but I'm not sure about that.) The wav/flac/ogg/mp3 folders are virtual folders provided by the file manager and don't actually exist on the CD, but do make it very easy to save those versions as you say. It's just another of those great features Linux users value but isn't usually mentioned. Another is ftp connections within a regular file browser, allowing synchronisation of a remote web site with a local development copy to be as painless as managing local files.

          1. phuzz Silver badge
            Gimp

            Re: Have I missed something?

            (Windows Explorer has had built in ftp support since winXP at least)

        2. jeffdyer

          Re: Have I missed something?

          Yes.

          A CD contains about 700MB of data.

          Do you seriously think there's enough room to store a traditional CD's worth as well as lossless copies in multiple formats?

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Have I missed something?

      CDs can also be converted to vinyl.

      Which is exactly how many vinyl LPs get started these days...

  3. Anomalous Cowturd
    Holmes

    @Nigel Whitfield

    What is the sound like compared to your LP12?

    Shit, I expect...

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: @Nigel Whitfield

      Well, the Linn is certainly much better - but the TEAC isn't bad, and I would perhaps put it in a similar class to one of the lower end Rega models (I still have a P3, which is mostly used for 45s, the Linn being an old one with Valhalla PSU and so needing the adaptor ring to be fitted.to change speed).

      With the TEAC, you could of course upgrade the cartridge too.

      One of the most startling things was in the surface noise, especially from a slightly (but not much) warped single, on the Audio Technica. There was a clear and very noticeable effect, which almost overwhelmed the start if the track (The Visitors, b side of One of Use). I suspect that could be helped.by adjusting tracking weight, but you can't do that on the LP60. That noise is substantially lessened on the TEAC, and I've never noticed it on the Linn or Rega.

      The other thing is the mechanical isolation - taken to extremes on the Linn, and that avoids pick-up from the lid. Eagerly grab the lid on the TEAC when the record gets towards the end, and you risk a thump on your recording.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: @Nigel Whitfield

        Hi Nigel,

        Worth thinking about one of these for your Linn;

        click here I fitted one to my LP12 in 2008; after 7 years it's still going strong and has not had to be adjusted for speed at all in that time. Personally I think it was a major improvement over the original Linn motor and PSU, and at a fraction of the cost of a Lingo.

        My reasons for doing it were twofold - firstly to play 45s, and secondly because the Valhalla was, frankly, starting to scare me. Apart from chucking out enough heat to cook bacon sarnies, and the huge "thud" the switch emitted every time you powered it on or off, I'd heard horror stories about them failing too, so didn't want to wait until that happened. Certainly the circuit board, on removal, showed considerable signs of heating.

        I got my local hifi shop to fit mine, which they did with ease (so much ease that the owner didn't charge me for it as he considered it a valuable addition to his range; he has subsequently fitted several more when people have asked about PSU/motor upgrades for turntables but baulk at paying the price some manufacturers ask,,,).

        1. Nigel Whitfield.

          Re: @Nigel Whitfield

          I have toyed with switching to a Hercules board, and almost did, as the power switch for the Valhalla failed. In the end, I bought a second hand one on eBay from someone who'd upgraded and just used the switch from that. The board does look a little cooked, but at least I now have a spare.

  4. Suricou Raven

    Digitise vinyl? It's easier to just download it off a torrent site.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Pirate

      This ^

      If you can digitise your own LP legally, is downloading it from someone else illegal?

      Assuming you own the same album.

      1. Cameron Colley

        Torrenting is mainly illegal because you're sharing the music not because you're downloading it. I'm sure there probably is an offence of "obtaining illegally made recordings" but as I understand it most people sent legal notices for torrenting are sent them because they are making the recordings available.

        So, downloading from newsgroups and and fileshare sites may be less legally risky?

        Does the new UK fair use law proscribe who carries out the "format shift" you're entitled to, I wonder?

      2. Mike Flugennock

        Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

        I'll go with an obvious example, at least for my generation: Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon.

        I went through three vinyl copies of Dark Side -- the copy I bought in high school and wore out, the copy I bought when I went off to college and wore out, and the Mobile Fidelity Labs "half-speed mastered" reissue which I bought in the early '80s and dubbed onto a cassette to listen to in the car -- and wore out.

        A few years ago, on one of the collectors' blogs I hang out on, I found a copy of the Dark Side 40th Anniversary re-issue, which was released both on CD and virgin vinyl. The copy posted there was a 320kb FLAC rip of the vinyl version which, of course, I downloaded immediately. I burned a copy to CD to listen to in the car, ripped a copy to mp3 to listen to in iTunes on my home stereo, and saved the FLAC files to a DVD ROM for archival backup.

        I had no personal issue with this, having spent a total of about $30 on the three vinyl copies of Dark Side I bought between 1973 and '82. Gilmour, Waters and co. already have my thirty bucks, and I have a copy of Dark Side Of The Moon, so I don't feel as if I've robbed anybody.

        1. bill 27

          Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

          Done exactly the same thing. Mine were usually good, but obscure, LP's that went from issue to the cutout bin in 3 weeks.

          My method of cutting LP's to MP3's was a lot more complicated that the article methods. Mainly because there wasn't such a thing as a USB turntable, so I had to convert phono output to input for Audacity using stuff I had laying around.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

            Mainly because there wasn't such a thing as a USB turntable, so I had to convert phono output to input for Audacity using stuff I had laying around.

            Which is just a matter of hooking up your PC soundcard to the Tape Record output on your amp.

            1. bill 27

              Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

              YahBut...I didn't have a cord that long! :-) Computer was in the spare bedroom and the amp was in the livingroom. Probably 30' apart, as the crow flies.

              1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

                @bill 27 - Isn't a corvid in a domestic environment murder on the upholstery?

                The one with the dictionary of collective nouns in the pocket, please.

                1. bill 27

                  Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

                  Probably. Closest I've come is watching a Raven, with outstretched wings, herd the cat up onto the porch. Critter had "lunch" in it's eyes, it was considerably larger than the adult cat.

        2. x 7

          Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

          "so I don't feel as if I've robbed anybody."

          Of course you have....the download was a new remastered newly tweaked version with different mixing by different engineers and so establishes a new copyright commencement. So you've done them by not contributing to the costs of the "new" version. Its an increasingly common trick - new versions every 10 years or so, remixed, establishing a new copyright commencement for existing works.

          In the UK, music copyright expires after 50 years - so anything before 1964 is now "free" unless reprotected. Over the next few years all the classic recordings of the 1960's and 1970's become free of copyright unless someone recreates the copyright - hence all these "40 year anniversary" re-engineered versions coming onto the market

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

            "In the UK, music copyright expires after 50 years - so anything before 1964 is now "free" unless reprotected. Over the next few years all the classic recordings of the 1960's and 1970's become free of copyright unless someone recreates the copyright - hence all these "40 year anniversary" re-engineered versions coming onto the market"

            IANAL, but isn't copyright 60 years since the great EU copyright harmonisation process when all copyrights where extended to meet the maximum current level already in use, none were reduced to "harmonise" the settings. Also, stll IANAL, but if you rip the original out of copyright recording then you are fine. The "new work" created by re-mastering/re-engineering would be covered as a derivative work.

            This is why you can take, for example, an old copy of Jane Ayre and do what you like with it, but you can't photocopy or scan the more recent penguin publications, which no doubt are "watermarked" in some way, eg with deliberate mis-spellings or slightly changed words so they can tell if you "ripped" the copyright version. Penguin pay no royalties because the book is not in copyright, but their published version is.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

              Absolutely right, there is copyright on "typographical arrangements". I think it's 20 years from publication. The most common example of use is by classical music publishers. Anyone who has been in a classical orchestra knows how fiendishly expensive it can be to hire a set of scores for a piece that was originally written 200 years ago. The copyright on the music may have expired, but laying it out on the page in a new way starts the clock for the publisher again.

              (And performing it starts the clock on copyright for the performance, so no recording it surreptitiously and then bunging it on Youtube for you, sonny!)

          2. Pristine Audio

            Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

            >In the UK, music copyright expires after 50 years - so anything before 1964 is now "free" unless reprotected. Over the next few years all the classic recordings of the 1960's and 1970's become free of copyright unless someone recreates the copyright

            Incorrect. It's being gradually ramped up to 70 years. Everything from 1963 onwards remains in copyright until 2034 thanks to hard lobbying by the music industry of the EU. Funnily enough that keeps everything recorded by The Beatles in copyright with the exception of their first single.

            Expect to see a push to extend copyright to 90 years in the early 2030s...

        3. jeffdyer

          Re: Legality of torrent downloading vs ripping old vinyl?

          You should find yourself a copy of the 30th anniversary SACD in 5.1 surround. Sweet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Digitise vinyl? It's easier to just download it off a torrent site.

      OK - except when for example you want a digital copy of an EP by an obscure Hamilton band from the 80's called Knightshade (I think. The EP's buried in a cupboard somewhere). Not everything is torrented.

      I reckon this post is win-win. Either I get to disprove your claim, or someone will tell me how to find it ;-)

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Digitise vinyl? It's easier to just download it off a torrent site.

        and not everything will be released on any form of Digital medium including CD.

        I bought a couple of really good Mid1960's Blues Albums from Rough Trade Records (just off Portobello Rd) the other weekend. Neither of them have been released on CD let alone be of any interest to streaming services like Spotify.

        One is a little scratched. Well, the record was released in 1964!

  5. Christian Berger Silver badge

    You know back in the olden days...

    ... even very non technical people didn't have to be explained how you would copy a record to some other format like tape. People just did it.

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: You know back in the olden days...

      And now technology has advanced to the point where perfectly sensible people become utterly bewildered by it.

      Isn't progress marvellous.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Re: You know back in the olden days...

      Actually, I think what we have in these reviews is a case of something being easier to do than to explain... but, then, I have a fair amount of experience ripping tape, having spent the better part of a year ripping all of my old Grateful Dead concert bootlegs, a bunch of my old radio tapes, and obscure cassette-only releases by local/regional alt/punk bands.

      You get a "Y" adapter for the mini-plug stereo audio input on the computer, plug the leads at the other end into the cassette deck output, do a test rip or two to set the levels, click "start" on the sampling software and press "play" on the cassette deck. I'm betting that ripping LPs is probably also simpler than the description makes it out to be.

      1. Nigel Whitfield.

        Re: You know back in the olden days...

        As long as you don't get into things like click and noise removal, yes it's pretty straightforward. The biggest issue people may suffer is either not having a suitable line in, especially on modern laptops, or not realising about the need for a phono pre - amp, because most kit "just works."

        A fair bit of new AV kit doesn't have a phono stage these days.

        So, I thought it worth looking at these turntables that solve both those problems.

        1. Ole Juul

          Re: You know back in the olden days...

          As long as you don't get into things like click and noise removal, yes it's pretty straightforward.

          Actually, click removal and track splitting is automatic in the little program called GramoFile.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: You know back in the olden days...

            "Actually, click removal and track splitting is automatic in the little program called GramoFile."

            Oooh, thanks for that! It's also in the FreeBSD ports tree :-)

          2. bobblestiltskin

            Re: You know back in the olden days...

            Sorry if I am blowing my own trumpet - but there is also http://search.cpan.org/dist/Audio-Gramofile/ which perhaps makes it easier to process a lot of files.

  6. Nigel Whitfield.

    A modest haul

    The record shop I went to in Dublin, while a touch chaotic, was at leas far less busy than the London ones. So I treated myself to a Kinks EP, a gold Adam and the Ants single, and Greetings from Asbury Park.

    Anyone else a) been shopping and b) bold enough to hold their choices up for ridicule?

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Thumb Up

      Re: A modest haul

      Wow... The Kinks, Adam & The Ants, early Springsteen?

      Nothing worthy of ridicule there, man.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A modest haul

        "Nothing worthy of ridicule there, man."

        Well maybe Adam and the Ants.....

        Not that i still have my original copy of Kings of Wild Frontier in a box somewhere, from when I was just a snip of a lad... Maybe I'll dig it out this weekend and give it a spin under the diamond stylus.

    2. phil dude
      Gimp

      Re: A modest haul

      Britney Spears - Toxic.

      Anything by Jay-Z.

      P.

      1. x 7

        Re: A modest haul

        "Britney Spears - Toxic."

        That girl's powers of self-analysis are remarkable

    3. Sir Gaz of Laz

      Re: A modest haul

      Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A modest haul

      Re-mastered version (2010) of Tractor - the LP. Released on John Peel's Dandelion Records label.

      Found at a car boot sale this morning. Snapped up for 3.5GBP.

      18 quid on Amazon.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re:Re-mastered version (2010) of Tractor - the LP

        Oh dear. Couple of years ago I transferred my original vinyl of that to digital. NOW I feel old!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Kinks

      No records, but an upvote for the Kinks, stlll listening after all these years...

    6. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: A modest haul

      Donovan Mellow Yellow both cover and vinyl in mint condition for $AU20 from R&R in Hobart, Tasmania. Replacement for one of the first five albums I purchased back in the late 60s. Also Portishead Dummy on CD. I first heard the latter at a MS tech briefing in Hobart many long years ago...

    7. Fihart

      Re: A modest haul

      The entire works of Iron Butterfly (60's proto-heavy band). Five or so albums including the most awful hammy vocals on screechy Atlantic recordings . However, proving the joy of ripping, I've selected a good CD's worth of tracks that are actually rather enjoyable.

      Equipment: Thorens TD125/Mission arm/ADC XLM cartridge via Quad 34 pre-amp to Sony CD Recorder.

    8. uncle sjohie

      Re: A modest haul

      I was tempted to buy all the Bruce Springsteen reissues for my collection, but I already have the CD boxset, and don't even own a turntable, so I decided against it. Last year I did get the American Beauty EP, and it sounded pretty good on the Rega RP6 of my neighbor.

  7. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

    Lust.....

    "and have always lusted after the Technics SL1200, then Audio-Technica's other offerings may appeal to you too"

    Nope, one has always lusted after an LP12 Sondek - been on my "to do" list for best part of 20 years, so Kudos for including the photo and mention. Shame I wasn't aware of record store day before hand otherwise I might have gone out and found a record store rather than tile the bathroom....

    1. Sarah Balfour

      Re: Lust.....

      My very first 'table was a Technics, still got it in the loft somewhere I think; forget the model number, but I do recall it being one of the first with a double cassette deck attached, and I do believe you could record from vinyl onto tape. Not got much of a vinyl,collection to speak of these days, though, feck knows where that's all gone, last time I was up there all I could find was my sister's Kylie & Jason shite.

      Bit miffed, coz I had some decent stuff: Killing Joke, Bauhaus, The Damned, Sex Pistols, B.A.D., The Cure, Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb, Soft Cell, Pet Shop Boys, The Specials, The Beat, Poppies, Jesus Jones, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, The Wonder Stuff, The Shamen, Love & Rockets, Shriekback, XTC, Legendary Pink Dots, JAMC, The Beloved, The Church, Modern English, Psychedelic Furs, The Chameleons, The Farm, Alien Sex Fiend, PiL, Throbbing Gristle, Coil, Psychic TV, Sheep on Drugs, Dreadzone, KMFDM, Ministry, Skinny Puppy (didn't discover them until much later, though, ditto FLA), I MAY even have had some Portion Control, Test Dept, and Clock DVA.

      Probably a fair bit I've forgotten about, I've never really done mainstream, and my tastes have become even more left-field (forgot about them, but they were a lot later, obviously), the older I've got, and bands such as TG and Psychic TV were later acquisitions as I'm not QUITE old enough to have appreciated 'em first time round as it were.

      Started listening to The Sisters of Mercy and The Mission to get round the music ban at school. Nuns are VERY easily duped. Bizarrely we were able to get away with watching TOTP, until Sister Mags learnt the truth about Boy George (we'd played along with her naïveté and told her that George was short for Georgina. She never questioned the 'Boy' bit, weirdly). We never found out how she found out. Thank fuck she never knew of the existence of FYC, she'd probably have thought they were, well cannibals. She was a few wafers short of the full host, let's put it that way… but she WAS my dorm mistress, hence being able to get away with the SoM.

      Spend much of my time listening to underground stations on TuneIn and Live365 these days, sadly nothing in Blighty: Technical Difficulties is run by a guy in Baltimore, and he plays, well he refers to it as "the mixtape from the monster under your bed" - it's VERY weird. Rant plays out of Delta, BC, and is primarily industrial, aggrotech, darkwave, coldwave and EBM, Dark Bites is German (and has the cutest logo of any radio station, ever) and is primarily dark synth-pop, future-pop, goth and EBM.

      G'night fellow humanoids. I'm just about asleep.

      1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

        Re: Lust.....

        "Bizarrely we were able to get away with watching TOTP, until Sister Mags learnt the truth about Boy George (we'd played along with her naïveté and told her that George was short for Georgina. She never questioned the 'Boy' bit, weirdly)."

        Thanks for that - you've got my lovely sunny Sunday morning to a happy start with a room full of laughter. :o) And that was in an age of Marc Almond, Frankie, etc.

  8. Identity
    Boffin

    Some additiponal info

    First, I'm amazed and gratified that Record Store Day has spread across the pond (and who knows where else) after having been started by my local retailer, Bull Moose Music.

    Second, if you're so old (like me) as to have a system from back in the day (mine includes a Thorens TD 160), there are devices like iRecord that are analog-to-digital converters that can be used to put digital files on computers, iThings and flash drives from anything with RCA plugs, including video as well.

  9. jason 7

    Can't be bothered will all that s*it anymore.

    Spotify Premium.

    The CD collection gathers dust. The Meridian/Monitor Audio hi-fi given on perma loan to my dad and brother.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't be bothered will all that s*it anymore.

      so you are paying again and again for music that you probably have on CD?

      I guess you never venture into a Not-spot then?

      Oh, and don't forget your listening habits are being fed to the marketing/ad people.

      IMHO, Spotify and the like are services for people who can't create their own playlists.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Can't be bothered will all that s*it anymore.

        1. I mainly listen to classic rock and new rock/blues which Spotify gives in droves. Hunting out unlistened stuff I don't have on CD. I stopped buying CDs around 10 years ago so my collection isn't 'my life'.

        2. I live in 2015/The first world so Not Spots..not often. Plus I mainly listen at home. I don't listen on the move.

        3. I enjoy the music now, not the hardware.

        4. I'm not a music snob it seems.

        1. jeffdyer

          Re: Can't be bothered will all that s*it anymore.

          I completely agree.

          The tenner a month (less VAT) I've spent on Spotify has brought me many more listening pleasures for the last few years than rummaging around HMV looking for CDs that only get listened to once or twice.

          People should remember that music is for listening to, boxes full of discs hard disks of MP3s not being listened to are useless.

          I used to be quite finicky about HiFi but Spotify at best quality sounds fine to me, certainly better than old records (of which I have loads).

          I am partial to hunting down SACD multichannel disks though just for those times when everyone else is out of the house and I can get onto the surround system.

          1. jason 7

            Re: Can't be bothered will all that s*it anymore.

            Yeah used to love wandering around all the mega and independent record/CD shops back in the 90's during my lunchtime. But about 10 years ago it just got too depressing with so many closed down or the selection dwindling to pure top 40 pop.

            The fact my local HMV decided to turn itself into a ersatz Apple Store for some reason was the final straw.

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re the record players.

    My 50 year old valve powered Dansette had a dual stylus. Flip the lever on the cartridge 180o between LP and 78 modes. It also had a tall spindle to "drop" the record. Default was to auto drop the arm for a 7" single. A 12" LP would trip a lever which told the arm to drop in the right place for an album. Put a mixed stack of albums and singles on and it "just worked" (until the fourth record dropped then it might "slip" over the ones below and play at variable speed :-)

    It even had a line out socket for an optional second amplifier to make it play in stereo and a 16rpm setting for speech records such as language lessons etc. (Damn, who was that company again? Dad had a couple of Greek and Norwegian ones for when he worked there, ah yeah Linguaphone)

    It's quite amazing how we lose such simple technology in the march for perfection.

    1. Jan 0

      Re: Re the record players.

      Somewhere in my singles store I've got a 9" single (from Nine Inch Nails, of course) that would fool it. I've only got a few 12" singles that are 33 rpm.

      I'm fairly sure I've got an 8" 45 as well, but I really can't summon the energy to go on a dedicated search at this hour*.

      Anyway, I jealously salute your Dansette!

      * I'd like an automated disc library that would pop out and return any 7, 8, 9, 10 or 12 inch record and index them using OCR. Bonus if it could handle flexi-singles and handle the record sleeves!

  11. Captain DaFt

    Skrssh-skrssh-skrssh...

    [crackle]Yes[pop]vin[hrss]nyl[pop]cer[sh]tainly[hrss]had[hrssh]a[crackle]certain[sshsshssh]some[pop]thing[crackle]that's[shhshhshh] mis[shshsh]sing[pop]in[pop]today's[shshshs]musi[crack]musi[crack]musi[crack]musi[crack]musi...

    Can't quite put my finger on what, though.

    1. x 7

      Re: Skrssh-skrssh-skrssh...

      Sounds like you had a copy of that record by The Residents comprised of eskimo throat singing.....I can't remember its name. Was it just "Eskimo"?

  12. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    No mention of the external sound cards you can get with dedicated phono in.

    I managed to pick a soundblaster x-fi HD for my pc and was really impressed with the phono in and out on this little wonder (complete with ground wire connector too). Admittedly not that I needed it since I've got a numark ttx with onboard phono amp and digital out.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. tony2heads

    "Who wouldn't want a Boyzone cassette?"

    ME

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: "Who wouldn't want a Boyzone cassette?"

      Still holding out for the complete set, eh? :-)

  15. Adam Hartfield

    I buy current music on CD but I'm all about buying Command/Project3 and London Phase 4 LPs, with the odd Living Stereo release thrown in. I have a Music Hall turntable with USB out and built-in pre-amp; I used to use my Sony CD recorder in my stereo to record to CD but it had a rather unfortunate mechanical malfunction (I shoved the tray shut one day and broke it) so have switched to recording via the turntable's USB output. All was well and good until I got a new USB 3.0-only laptop in which the USB microphone screeched and screeched at any sampling rate other than the lowest possible 1-channel setting. Putting a USB 2.0 hub between the turntable and the laptop solved that problem. Those Command and Phase 4 LPs sound so good. I convert the CDs to MP3 for the car and FLAC for computer and phone use.

    I bought Linn's FLACs of Handel's Messiah and it's one of the best recordings I have - truly breathtaking.

    1. A Ghost
      Boffin

      ------------

      I bought Linn's FLACs of Handel's Messiah and it's one of the best recordings I have - truly breathtaking.

      ---------------

      I'm happy for you. But you wouldn't have been able to tell the difference between the FLAC and the MP3 in a double blind test. Scientific FACT.

      You maybe already know this, and I'm certainly not having a go at you, but just stating what is obvious to the few of us rational scientists left in this world.

      I may be sceptical about such 'out there' subjects as ESP and the paranormal, but there is a time and a place for that. Science works. It is the foundation of our society, the groundbase of our reality.

      I just wanted to say this. If you had said:

      ------------

      I bought Linn's MP3s of Handel's Messiah and it's one of the best recordings I have - truly breathtaking.

      ---------------

      then I probably wouldn't have been so argumentative. But that's all this is, an argument. It's not war. Like data to a certain parameter for a function or method, it's important.

      You were possibly just talking about the music alone, and that is even better, if so, then I apologize for my mini rant. I can listen to the most hiss ridden cassette tape and derive as much pleasure from that as any other media (when it doesn't exist on any other media) - you can take higher resolutions and make them lower with various forms of compression, but it is not physically possible to interpolate information to make things better quality.

      1. Adam Hartfield

        Yes, I was just talking about the music alone. It's a great recording. Go here and listen: http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-messiah-dublin-version-1742.aspx

  16. Annihilator
    Coat

    "Warmth"

    I wonder, do vinyl fans believe in ripping to a digital format though? Does the "warmth" of vinyl get transferred over to the FLAC version?...

    1. jeffdyer

      Re: "Warmth"

      Of course it does.

      The "warmth" starts at the needle and ends at the pre-amp output after the RIAA equalisation, so recording to FLAC would keep that colouration. All good.

  17. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    To quote "The LP60 is an automatic turntable, which means it lifts and returns the arm itself. Push buttons on the front select speed, start, stop and raise or lower the arm, while a lever on the top selects seven or twelve inch."

    Isn't that actually a re-cased Dansette?

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Well, not quite.

      Typically a Dansette (or any of the other numerous 'luggable' record players of the time, like the Hacker Cavalier which we had) was a little more than just the turntable.

      While the LP60 is an automatic, the Dansette and its ilk would have an autochanger, which allowed for a stack of records to be played one after another, in a sort of mechanical playlist arrangement (can you tell I'm practising explaining things to young folk? ;-)) The mechanisms mostly seemed to come from either BSR or Garrard, as far as I can recall.

      Plus, they also had an amplifier (usually valve). And a wooden case that was portable in the same sort of way as the Osborne 1. And some sort of leatherette material, that helped create that particularly evocative smell once the whole thing warmed up.

      In the photos linked above, the Garrard SP25 is shown in its single play version; it more commonly had the usual stabilising arm to hold the stack, a longer spindle (you could pull it out and swap it for the single disc one), and a second sensing arm which worked out the size of the discs, so it could play a mixed size stack, whereas cheaper models (and many BSR ones) would have a lever to select disc size.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Ah yes, the SP25 Autochanger

        Apropos of very little, pride of place in my small collection of turntables is reserved for my ADC Accutrac +6 6 disc autochanger.

        Produced as a last gasp attempt to compete with CDs, it has a tall centre spindle but no stabilizing arm, just 4 offset sliding pins on the spindle itself. When it comes to selecting another disc, the centre of the platter rises up to the stack of discs, the pins retract and then pop out in the appropriate position to support the discs above the one being played, and the center support gently lowers the remaining disc(s) to the platter. The arm sweeps over the disc and records the position of each track by reading the gaps between them.

        It's audio engineering at its most elegant!

  18. montyburns56

    DJ MB in da house!

    If you want to connect an old turntable to a PC you can buy DJ mixers which have a USB output such as the Numark M101 USB Mixer which at £80 is much cheaper than the Pro-Ject Phono Box USB V that you mentioned.

  19. A Ghost
    Megaphone

    For the love of sweet baby jesus

    ---------------------------------

    It's a shame it's so hard (almost impossible) to buy lossless digital audio but I've given up the battle. Frankly the way most modern music is engineered I'm probably better off not being able to hear the finer nuances that MP3 hides. If/when fidelity re-enters the engineer's and marketing dictionaries I might give a damn, Unfortunately I just don't think most people care so I'm going with the flow. MP3 is fine for a car and fine for outside listening on the cheap Bluetooth headphones I use.

    --------------------------------------

    I'm about at the end of my tether with this. And so are lots of my learned friends it would seem. So many hours spent over the years. This shit is not going away. Congratulations OP you just added to it. 11 upvotes and not one down. I guess we don't have anyone who reads el Reg who knows the first thing about the transcoding of audio.

    Oh the hours I have spent. Arguing with 'professional' mastering engineers. 'Award winning' international producers. And 'audio engineers'. To be fair, the true professional mastering engineers do get this. So any time you hear one proclaiming to be such, in an argument as idiotic as this, you know they are not at all. Not professional. And not a mastering engineer either.

    Mp3 does not hide any nuances. Not at its highest quality. That's like arguing that C++ is a crap language coz people can't code in it properly. The full range of Mp3 is beyond the limits of human hearing. That is a scientific fact, backed up by years of research and peer reviewed testimony. But it's ok. You've just bought into the 'received wisdom', propagated by 'audio engineers' etc. etc.

    Unfortunately, most people do care. They care about piss poor 128K lower bandwidth transcoding at variable rate or wtf. They don't realise that on soundcloud they downcode all files to 128K which is not what most people uploaded.

    Stop spreading bullshit. Mp3 is not just fine for the car etc. It is fine for the finest classical recordings you have in your possession whether it is on vinyl or cd, because it is physically impossible for any human being to hear the difference between 16bit - 44.1KHz transcoded audio and a full on Mp3 file. FACT.

    Scientific fact.

    Mp3 became a standard for a reason. Not coz it was crap, but because it was the first DIGITAL format that could represent CD quality at the limits of human hearing. Yes, most of the transcoding is piss poor, with other artifacts introduced along the way as well, but let's not get into bit correction here.

    Flac - a lossless format that you will pay dearly for, whilst providing no real world advantage over the best Mp3, is not exactly a scam, but let's get things in perspective hear. Digital is a clone copy. So many people do not understand this. Computer programmers, Audio engineers, Record producers, fuckwits.

    All flac does is give you a clone of the original. So does best quality Mp3.

    The days, weeks, even, I have spent trying to educate the masses on this. I just give up. Meanwhile, what remains the dominant format? Mp3.

    There are certain programs you use for ripping, bit for bit. And others that you use for transcoding. No human alive will be able to tell the difference in a double blind test, from the analog masters in the control room of a 500 quid a day recording studio coming out of not just NS-10s, but Quad soffit mounted monitors.At a 100dB plus! Totally indistinguishable. That's digital for you.

    Mp3 is 'good enough'. And that's all it takes. Yes it is cutting it fine, but it works. Fact. This is for playback resolutions of course. The arguments for higher resolutions when recording are well known and hold much merit. Only a fool would 'record' at 16bit these days. 24bit is the standard for your DAW, even though the internal calculations for the 'summing' are done at 64bit. Even that is arguable overkill, but let's not go there now.

    Cd is the gold standard. 16bit 44.1KHz is beyond the limits of any human hearing. Just. Mp3 replicates that, at its best highest quality settings. Fact. Verifiable fact. Many resources on this to back this up.

    Sweet baby jesus, this is supposed to be a 'technical' journal. It shows how much this subject is so poorly understood, and how much so many of you need schooling. It's not even a matter of opinion, where some people 'prefer' the sound of vinyl with its different frequency response characteristics. This is about digital cloning of an audio source. Something that Mp3 does to perfection when held against the limitations of human hearing.

    1. jeffdyer

      Re: For the love of sweet baby jesus

      What you're forgetting is that MP3 *does* lose something in the encoding/decoding process. Whether that's audible is a moot point, but for many people, shelling out money on a compromised version when a perfectly good CD is available isn't going to sell.

      There's little of no *need* to use MP3 these days as storage capacities have exploded and download speeds increased - the space saving part of the compromise is no longer any real benefit.

      I'm quite happy to listen to 320K MP3 and I recognise that my old ears probably wouldn't hear the difference between that and FLAC but if was going to spend hours ripping my CD collection (and I have done a fair few disks) then it would be to FLAC and not MP3 because there's no point it deliberately throwing out some of the information forever.

    2. Annihilator

      Re: For the love of sweet baby jesus

      "Cd is the gold standard. 16bit 44.1KHz is beyond the limits of any human hearing. Just. Mp3 replicates that, at its best highest quality settings. Fact. Verifiable fact. Many resources on this to back this up."

      You're conflating two arguments. You can argue that 16bit 44KHz is at the edge of human hearing (although there are arguments that show >22KHz sounds can influence how the human ear hears sub-22KHz sounds which we'll leave alone as I'm dubious). But if we agree that a digital, 44KHz sampled sound with a 16bit resolution is 'perfect', MP3 can never ever EVER replicate that signal within those parameters, even at its highest 320Kbps encoding setting. By design, it gets rid of things, and things from within the human range of hearing.

      The reason MP3 became popular was because it hit the sweet spot of quality vs size vs storage (and bandwidth) at the time.

  20. TkH11

    Doh!

    "CDs have the great advantage over vinyl, of course, that they can be quickly and easily converted to digital." That's because they ARE digital. Who writes this nonsense?

    1. Nigel Whitfield.

      Re: Doh!

      That would be me; the name's at the top of the article, but I guess you missed that in your rush to comment.

      You also missed where someone pointed that out earlier, and I responded; simply mentally insert the word "formats" at the end of the sentence, and you'll get exactly what was meant, and what most people correctly inferred too.

  21. groMMitt

    It's easy - you ever tried to roll a decent spliff on a cd case? Gotta be vinyl, every time!

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