Modern vinyl as good as in the past?

July 19, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

5 comments on “Modern vinyl as good as in the past?”

  1. Old vinyl was done by masters of that medium, many, many years of experience from producing to cutting the mother master for stamping, and their goal was to get as close as possible to the sound they heard in the studio. Today, compression is used, many recordings are overlays and folks are not even in the same studio but tracks laid down and then mixed together by the producer to what he feels he wants it to sound like. Not even close today and that includes all the $30-$40.00 LPs remixed today to sound current. You want how a group sounded then look for used 1st pressing LPs and save yourself some money.

  2. Given that most recordings are digital (PCM, or occasionally DSD), are they mastered differently for vinyl and digital media? That would be understandable. Why should we limit the dynamic range and bass content of the digital product just to comply with the limitations of vinyl? In this case, it’s very difficult to make a direct digital/vinyl comparison.

  3. Good afternoon Paul!
    What you said in your video, confirms what I have already told people in the hifi family.
    I had one guy to question me about my analog set up.
    I told him truthfully, that I heard this from other people that I heard talking about it.
    But what you and Gus do, is the exception to the rule.
    I haven’t heard a vinyl disc that was cut dirrectly from DSD as of yet.
    But I am willing to bet that, it would sound just as good as an SACD!

  4. I try a different perspective for the answer than PCM vs. DSD vs. analog.

    What was definitely better in the past (for the good ones)?
    Vinyl quality (80’s/90’s), pressing quality (80’s/90’s), care and time taken for the musical part of recordings themselves (50’s/60’s), no use of harmful digital gimmicks during mastering (50’s to 70’s)

    What’s better today (for the good ones)?
    Overall quality of the best all analog reissues (since the 90’s).

    What depends?
    Sound quality of the rest, past and today. Independent of analog or digital recording format, there were and are great, average and bad ones in each era. You had to find out what to aim for in each era and in each era the mass was average to bad and the minority great.

    If you buy vinyl today without care for its production background, you’ll mostly get very average performance only.

    If you bought vinyl in the past without care for its production background, you mostly got very average performance only.

    So unless you ask for a specific criteria, I don’t see a general preference for past or modern vinyl.

  5. I was lucky to experience good direct disc recordings at an early time in my audio-quest.
    Sheffield Labs, some Telarc and a few others.
    The process fascinated me early on.
    Take a very early pressing of Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues and play “America” – just wow.
    Many followed, few compared…

    Denon did masterful digital recordings in simple 2 or 3 mic setups, and made many demo CDs for audio salespersons. We had pretty cool reps for Denon in the mid-80s.

    And, as of now, I have most of Octave Records releases – only on SACD/DSD. I missed the
    vinyl era.

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