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Sound difference between CD's and vinyl

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Thulsa, Apr 23, 2002.

  1. I just got around to replacing my cartridge of my turntable. Been quite a while since I played any vinyl, since well before I started playing bass. Is it just me, or does vinyl have much better sounding lows compared to cd's? I find it much easier to hear the bass line on albums.
  2. PJR


    Jun 20, 2001
    N.E. PA
    That's been the focal point of debate among Audiophile purists since the advent of CD technology .

    Early CD's tended to sound 'cold & Sterile' as compared to the vinyl......part due to the mastering , and part due to inferior playback systems......(I'm oversimplifying a ton here)

    CD technology , both mastering and reproduction have come a far way these days.....

    Yes......you may find it easier to hear the bass on some records.

    Bass Player/Audiophile
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Interestingly, the amount of low end you put on a typical LP is much LESS than what a CD can have.

    This is because the physics of how the stylus rides in the grooves makes loud low frequencies a problem. Too much bass and the stylus will jump the groove.

    Many reissued CDs have "restored" bass content compared to LP masters which rolled it off.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I must say that I found the exact opposite when CDs first came in - but only really on classical/orchestral recordings.

    So I used to find on vinyl that really low bass would distort or just not be reproduced - so if you take the lowest organ pedal notes : on recordings of Holst's Planet Suite for example, before CD I didn't really hear the organ at all.

    But the first decent CD of this piece, I got, with Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony - the organ bass notes in Saturn and Uranus were shaking the floor - the whole house was vibrating!!!
  5. Don't forget that not all CD players or turntables are created equal either.

    There can be big differences in frequency response from one CD player to another, especially in lower priced units (same goes for turntables). So in a way you may be comparing apples and oranges in some cases - you may have an extremely 'coloured' sounding CD player and maybe an extremely 'flat' sounding turntable or vice versa.

    Also some albums are simply mastered better than others - both in CD and LP formats. There are some really badly mastered CDs out there and there sure are some really well mastered LPs.

    I don't think there is a simple answer - some CDs sound great and some LPs sound great...others don't.
  6. guac mole

    guac mole

    Jun 6, 2001
    San Diego, Ca
    well it looks like our good friends at sony are closing the gap between vinyl and cd's. It's supposed to do for music what HDTV did for television.


    they're probably available to sample at any hi-fi audio boutique.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree that in the pop/rock field there has been some pretty poor mastering going on so it's pretty difficult to make comparisons !

    The classical releases (after a dodgy start!) have concentrated on very high quality digital recordings and you also have the comparison of "how does it sound compared to in the concert hall".

    My view is that CD/Vinyl makes little difference for pop/rock, but that a top-quality digital recording sounds best on a digital means of sound reproduction.

    The huge dynamic range of a large orchestra has only really been captured on CD - so I have heard distortion/compression on recordings of things like Mahler's 8th through the best Hi Fi turntables in shop demonstrations, but can hear everything perfectly on CD - as it was in the concert hall!
  8. I have a real nice Denon turntable that I am listening to these albums on, but the Sony cd player is a bit inferior, this could account for some of it. I also swapped out my preamp, I may try with the other one and see if this is playing a part in it. Granted I have a pretty high quality stereo system, but I am totally impressed with the low end coming out of it.
  9. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Remember that digital sound is nothing but 0 or 1 - meaning a square sound wave. Analog sound is true waves, which account for the vastly better sound quality (warmth, subtleties, etc.) at the source of the sound. Digital sound has had to compensate by developing advanced technology in order to come close to true audio sound - so high-end digital sound does indeed sound great on high-end digital players.
    I still prefer my vinyl, but it really isn't convenient in the car - unless I make cassettes to play, and they tend to lose a little in the translation.
  10. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'd like to share my somewhat limited knowledge on the subject. cd's have a sampling rate of 44.1khz. The highest frequency humans can hear is 20khz (and most people have lost that range anyway). So the nyquist frequency of audio is 40khz, which means the sampling rate of cd's is high enough so that aliasing does not occur.

    The bit rate of cd's is 16bits. While they are all 0's or 1's, each digit is a small enough part of the sound so that the quantization error of cd's is less than what humans can discern.

    Conclusion: cd's don't produce square sound waves as far as human ears can tell.

    Of course I could be wrong about all this:)
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