vinyl tunefulness

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Tony Tune-age
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Thanks for the translation Lejonklou :) . Audiophile albums have been a mixed bag of results. I do enjoy comparing original albums with newer albums 8) . But many times an audiophile album is the only available record, and in those cases I can't compare.
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Post by David Neel »

One recent purchase has really opened my eyes to the importance of precision in LP manufacture - Keith Jarrett Trio/Yesterdays on ECM, which is a new 180g release. I bought this, played it a couple of times. It didn't impress itself on me as one of their best. After getting a Radikal, I played it again, and still it didn't do much for me, but the Radikal made me very conscious that on an inner track, the piano pitch wavered a little. Close inspection showed the arm rocking slightly in and out - the pressing was marginally off centre. I emailed ECM, who sent a replacement by return, no quibbles. When I played it, the piano pitch was steady.

But the whole album sounded much better, and suddenly I was really enjoying it. Obviously, the pitch variation (that I had been aware of only on one track) was present throughout, and eliminating it was a huge change for the better - rather like that of installing the Radikal, the music snapped into really clear focus. So tunefulness is not just old vs new releases, but the pressing accuracy as well.

New vinyl is very frustrating - I have to buy mail order, so I cannot inspect them first, and any problems mean paying to return them. Today I've had a three record set plus a double and a single delivered. One of the double is warped so badly it should never have been packaged at the factory, and one of the box set has a surface flaw an inch square. Both were factory sealed, so my retailer couldn't inspect them before posting. On the upside, the single album is perfect.

Aarrgh!
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Post by lejonklou »

Just like you, David, I've seen quite a few strange pressing defects on new vinyl. It seems some are made in a haste and not properly inspected.

Last year I found some interesting new albums in a shop where I could visually inspect the vinyl before purchase. Many of them had dents or strange "craters" in the playing area. Most probably they would have been playable, but I'm certain that the sound quality would have suffered, so I didn't buy them.

I'm sure that someone who really knows the art of making vinyl records would easily identify what mistakes had been made during the manufacturing process.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Tony Tune-age wrote:Nearly half of the newer albums I buy have some type of flaw such as scratches, chips, or an unremoveable spot like melted plastic or paper. In some instances, I have been able to exchange the album for another just like it, or for a different album. But there have been a few situations when I've had to keep the album, without any replacement.
I have sent a few e-mail messages to various record label companies, explaining the type of flaws experienced with the newer albums. It'll be interesting if any of these organizations reply :!:
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Post by ThomasOK »

I have also seen a number of these problems. Bad warps, poor vinyl fill and patches of discolored and noisy vinyl do pop up too frequently. It is especially sad to note that I find these problems more often in "Audiophile" vinyl than in standard pressings. When you pay more for a 180 or 200 gram pressing by a specialty company you expect a higher quality product but this is sometimes (often?) not the case, even just on a vinyl quality level. On a tunefulness level the story is often even worse.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

ThomasOK wrote:I have also seen a number of these problems. Bad warps, poor vinyl fill and patches of discolored and noisy vinyl do pop up too frequently. It is especially sad to note that I find these problems more often in "Audiophile" vinyl than in standard pressings. When you pay more for a 180 or 200 gram pressing by a specialty company you expect a higher quality product but this is sometimes (often?) not the case, even just on a vinyl quality level. On a tunefulness level the story is often even worse.
Perhaps with enough customer feedback regarding lack of quality (in various aspects), record companies will improve the manufacturing process, along with quality assurance and quality control :?:
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Tony Tune-age wrote:
ThomasOK wrote:I have also seen a number of these problems. Bad warps, poor vinyl fill and patches of discolored and noisy vinyl do pop up too frequently. It is especially sad to note that I find these problems more often in "Audiophile" vinyl than in standard pressings. When you pay more for a 180 or 200 gram pressing by a specialty company you expect a higher quality product but this is sometimes (often?) not the case, even just on a vinyl quality level. On a tunefulness level the story is often even worse.
Perhaps with enough customer feedback regarding lack of quality (in various aspects), record companies will improve the manufacturing process, along with quality assurance and quality control :?:
Still no response from any of the companies, but will follow-up at a later date.
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Post by Charlie1 »

Related to poor vinyl - I recently read that following the resurgance of vinyl, a German company has developed a laser guided system for cutting the stamper, designed to reduce the errors that can occur in the existing process. The website stated in the article is incorrect (www.laserlp.de) and I can't find anything on Google, but I was pleased to hear that a company is trying to improve vinyl manufacturing. Anyone heard anything about this?
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Charlie1 wrote:Related to poor vinyl - I recently read that following the resurgance of vinyl, a German company has developed a laser guided system for cutting the stamper, designed to reduce the errors that can occur in the existing process. The website stated in the article is incorrect (www.laserlp.de) and I can't find anything on Google, but I was pleased to hear that a company is trying to improve vinyl manufacturing. Anyone heard anything about this?
I haven't heard anythng about a new method of manufacturing vinyl, but will keep my eyes open :) .
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Post by hcl »

lejonklou wrote:Personally, I tend to avoid almost everything that's labelled 'audiophile'... To me it appears to be a label that indicates that the focus has not been on musical parameters.
Been some time since i poste now. I have to agree with Charlie and Fredrik here. On the records i have compared the standard version to the audiophile version i have allmost allways come to the conclusion that i prefer the standard version. Most audiophile versions sound less involving, kind of like watching a poster compared to an original painting.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Just placed an order for the new Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street deluxe album box set. Apparently the deluxe set will have two 180 gr. albums, two CD's and two DVD's, along with a book. Not sure if the book is a hard cover or soft cover.

Accoring to preliminary reports, the 180 gr. albums sound better than the original album set. However, I'll compare both sets after the new box set arrives, to see if the claim is true.
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Post by Charlie1 »

Tony Tune-age wrote:Accoring to preliminary reports, the 180 gr. albums sound better than the original album set. However, I'll compare both sets after the new box set arrives, to see if the claim is true.
That's some challange as the original LP is a tough act to follow letting all the great music spill out with ease - it really rocks and swings big time. I've heard it referred to as 'dirty rock 'n roll' which fits perfectly. One of the those LPs that I'm always compelled to turn up loud :shock: :D
Good luck with it.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Charlie1 wrote:
Tony Tune-age wrote:Accoring to preliminary reports, the 180 gr. albums sound better than the original album set. However, I'll compare both sets after the new box set arrives, to see if the claim is true.
That's some challange as the original LP is a tough act to follow letting all the great music spill out with ease - it really rocks and swings big time. I've heard it referred to as 'dirty rock 'n roll' which fits perfectly. One of the those LPs that I'm always compelled to turn up loud :shock: :D
Good luck with it.
Thanks, once I've had a chance to compare both versions for awhile, I'll post my findings. Ultimatley, as long as the newer version doesn't sound worse - I'll be happy :wink: . Plus the book sounds really interesting, and hopefully it'll have some good historical information :!:
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

In addition, I will evaluate the two Rolling Stones DVD's which are included in the box set. It will be interesting to see if these DVD's are videos of their older concerts, or videos of their newer concerts or a career documentary... 8) .
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Finally received my copy of the Rolling Stones: "Exile On Main Street," Limited Edition box set. I'm scheduling a series of listening sessions with several friends to evaluate the original vinyl recording against the newer 180 gram version.

In the meantime, I have been reading the book which is a well made hardback copy and very well written (at least in my opinion). It's certainy not boring, but written in a fairly easy format that never caused me to lose interest. Essentially, the book provides various historical aspects of the band during the political tensions of that era, and their challenges with recoding "Excile On Main Street." In addition, it contains several black and white pictures, and a few color pictures from the 1968 through 1972 era.

The audio & video DVD is basically similar to the book in many aspects, but contains some music perfomances as well. However, it isn't as entertaining or as long as the Rolling Stones "Shine a Light" DVD. Haven't had time to listen to the CD's but that will happen after auditioning the vinyl 8) .
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Just completed a series of listening sessions with an original Exile on Main Street album, and the newly released version. We had four different copies of the original album to evaluate, and used one that had been played very few times (much to my surprise 8) ).

Ultimately, both albums sounded great and few of us could hear much difference between them. In my opinion, the newer album might have less surface noise. But in any case, if a person had an original copy in good shape, they may not feel the need to purchase the newer version. The new two album only set costs around $38.00 U.S. dollars, and the deluxe box set costs around $175.00 U.S. dollars including shipping. Based on what I've seen, prices for these items don't vary much within the United States, but it will be interesting to see if prices go down eventually.
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Post by monkeydevil »

My father bought the deluxe version, and much to my surprise I found engraved in the inner groove that the vinyls were pressed at GZ Vinyl in Czech Republic. From my experience they manufacture extreme low quality vinyl, so it really surprised me that the stones didn't care more for quality... The Abco albums were pressed by Pallas in Germany and they make very good vinyl. Tony, any comments on that? :)
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Post by Charlie1 »

Another option would be an original UK pressing rather than US pressing. I've heard that vinyl pressed in the native country to the master is best. Doesn't that Linn magazine mention something about it or did I read that elsewhere? :? I think it said it was common practice for the stampers (or whatever they call them) to be incorrectly stored (i.e. not temperature controlled) when transported to the various overseas pressing plants.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

monkeydevil wrote:My father bought the deluxe version, and much to my surprise I found engraved in the inner groove that the vinyls were pressed at GZ Vinyl in Czech Republic. From my experience they manufacture extreme low quality vinyl, so it really surprised me that the stones didn't care more for quality... The Abco albums were pressed by Pallas in Germany and they make very good vinyl. Tony, any comments on that? :)
Fortunately, there weren't any flaws, scratches or skips with the newer albums. And the newer albums sound very good as well. If I had an original copy of the "Exile on Main Street" album, I wouldn't have purchased the new set. Although the book is interesting, and as such, might be worth purchasing the new box set release.

Maybe the Rolling Stones do care for quality, but needed a large profit margin with this new release 8) .
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Post by Lego »

Charlie1 wrote:Another option would be an original UK pressing rather than US pressing. I've heard that vinyl pressed in the native country to the master is best. Doesn't that Linn magazine mention something about it or did I read that elsewhere? :? I think it said it was common practice for the stampers (or whatever they call them) to be incorrectly stored (i.e. not temperature controlled) when transported to the various overseas pressing plants.
Yes I read that somewhere;I'm not sure but I think the original country has the master tape and the ones pressed abroad are from a copy of the master.That's what I read so it must be true :wink:
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Just picked-up the new "Soldier of Love" album, by Sade. The record label is by Epic and Sony Music Entertainment. Since this particular album is her newest release, there isn't an older copy to compare. But I have no complaints in terms of pace, rhythm and timing (PRAT).

In addition, I picked-up a new copy of her second album, "Sade Loves Rock." It is a 180 gram pressing and made by "Music On Vinyl." I should be able to find an original copy for comparison, since this was her second album release. But in the meantime, this particular copy has a very good sound quality.

In the process of finding a new copy of her first album release, "Diamond Life." 8)
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Recently picked-up a new copy of "Days of Future Passed, by the Moody Blues" with the London Festival Orchestra. The label company is "Dream Records; The Decca Record Company Limited." It's a 180 gram virgin vinyl pressing, and pure analogue mastering.

This is one of the best sounding albums in my collection, and the overall quaility is top notch. I'll look around for an original copy (if any still exists), and conduct a comparison.
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Post by Robert Lake »

Tony Tune-age wrote:Just picked-up the new "Soldier of Love" album, by Sade. The record label is by Epic and Sony Music Entertainment. Since this particular album is her newest release, there isn't an older copy to compare. But I have no complaints in terms of pace, rhythm and timing (PRAT).

In addition, I picked-up a new copy of her second album, "Sade Loves Rock." It is a 180 gram pressing and made by "Music On Vinyl." I should be able to find an original copy for comparison, since this was her second album release. But in the meantime, this particular copy has a very good sound quality.

In the process of finding a new copy of her first album release, "Diamond Life." 8)
Have you compared the LP and the CD versions of Sade's Soldier of Love? I got the LP, but before that I downloded the CD and found it to more intersting to listen to on my laptop due to the drive and tunefulness from the bass instruments. I got the impression that my LP12, cirkus, silver kables, ekos, klyde, lingo II, Linto, had a bit of a problem getting the rythm right.
As I got familiar with this great album I am not that disturbed any more.
However, I suspect that this record could be good for evaluating the setup of the LP12 and compare Lingo with Radikal. Has anyone made this type of listing tests?
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Robert Lake wrote:
Tony Tune-age wrote:Just picked-up the new "Soldier of Love" album, by Sade. The record label is by Epic and Sony Music Entertainment. Since this particular album is her newest release, there isn't an older copy to compare. But I have no complaints in terms of pace, rhythm and timing (PRAT).

In addition, I picked-up a new copy of her second album, "Sade Loves Rock." It is a 180 gram pressing and made by "Music On Vinyl." I should be able to find an original copy for comparison, since this was her second album release. But in the meantime, this particular copy has a very good sound quality.

In the process of finding a new copy of her first album release, "Diamond Life." 8)
Have you compared the LP and the CD versions of Sade's Soldier of Love? I got the LP, but before that I downloded the CD and found it to more intersting to listen to on my laptop due to the drive and tunefulness from the bass instruments. I got the impression that my LP12, cirkus, silver kables, ekos, klyde, lingo II, Linto, had a bit of a problem getting the rythm right.
As I got familiar with this great album I am not that disturbed any more.
However, I suspect that this record could be good for evaluating the setup of the LP12 and compare Lingo with Radikal. Has anyone made this type of listing tests?
Good questions indeed. I never compared the compact disk vesion with the album. But from what I can tell, the mixing is a little heavy on the bass notes with that particular album. However, the Radikal combined with the Keel has done an excellent job of cleaning-up the bass notes, and the overall sound. But the new Movingui plinth and Trampolin II might be helping as well. I have noticed another layer improvement recently, when I replaced my old Akiva cartridge with a new version. Everytime my Sondek is adjusted by ThomasOK, the turntable continues to make my albums sound better.

You are correct, the Sondek is an excellent source for evaluating the "Soldier of Love" album. But then again, it's an excellent source for evaluating all vinyl... 8)
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Post by Charlie1 »

Picked up a load of LPs at the weekend 50p each :) Some I already had but not in such good condition. I also picked up a copy of Paul Simon's 'Still Crazy After All These Years'. My existing copy is from the Columbia 'Half Speed Mastered' Audiophile series from around 1980. The one I got for 50p must have been from around the time of UK release cos it has a sticker on the cover stating the singles from the album. Anyway, the 50p one is obviously more tuneful so pleased with that and another nail in the coffin of audiophile LPs.
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