Half-Speed Masters - are they worth double dipping?


I have pretty much read all that being said online, what is your personal experiences with half-speed mastered records. I see a growing trend in lot of re-issues now being sold with half-speed mastering.

The two records I am interested in are,

Ed Sheeran’s X -10 Anniversary and Police - 30th Anniversary Greatest Hits. 

One good thing is, they are reasonably priced and under $50 :-)

128x128lalitk

I don't buy them, I just want to add a related comment:

180 gram: many I bought had warps, replacements, better still not flat like most 'stnd' thickness (new and old) I won't buy the heavy vinyl any more.

45 rpm. fun to try, can definitely be better, yet I now stick with 33 rpm, the words, ideas, musical content can be lost when concentrating on 'better' frequencies

Are those made from digital files? If so, you might just as well buy the CD's.

If you check the Dynamic Range DB, you'll find that the LP version of an album often has a much wider dynamic range. And of course the HF on an LP can extend way beyond that of CD. Those are two reasons some people still by CDs.

@elliottbnewcombjr

I try to stick with 45’s pressings as they are generally sound better than 33’s. Having said that, I found some phenomenal sounding records on 33’s. Anything with wraps, noisy pressing went back to retailers either for refund or replacement.

The idea behind this thread is to get some sort of consensus of what others have experienced with half-speed masters.

@cleeds

Agreed on records having much wider dynamic range. However in a right setup, streaming, CD’s and Vinyl are equally enjoyable. For me, the main reason to buy CD’s or records is to enjoy the very best recordings on these formats.

Wow, my coffee hadn't kicked in when I wrote this:

... the LP version of an album often has a much wider dynamic range. And of course the HF on an LP can extend way beyond that of CD. Those are two reasons some people still by CDs.

What I meant was that's why some people still buy LPs.

 

 

Half speed mastering is somewhat controversial. While it can provide some benefit in higher frequencies, some mastering engineers and audiophile producers find it does so at the cost of lower frequencies. The "best" engineers (Bernie Grundman for one) now opt for regular speed mastering.

 

I am not impressed at all with 1/2 speed mastering. Like 180 gm records some of it is still garbage pressing. I really enjoy 45 RPM records, they are definitely better as long as you do not mind getting up every two or three songs to flip sides. I have the recently released Joe Walsh the Smoker You Are Analog Productions 45 and it is killer. I have not had a bad 45 rpm pressing yet. 

I have some half-speed mastered vinyl from the 70’s. It was truly amazing. But, that was then… don’t think I have any recent.

Ditto @ghdprentice. Mostly Japanese from the 70s. Pressing was good and they still sound wow to me on the rare occasions when played. 

I need to recheck my half speed LPs, like CBS mastersound Pink floyd: Wish you were here and Joe Jackson Night and day (mofi). My comments are in the "yes, but..." direction. A mixed bunch. On the other hand, I have generally been very satisfied with 45 rpm LPs.

To your original question

in earlier days half speed mastering did have

some loss in the bass frequencies but now that can be 

manipulated by cutting from a digital file and modern mastering technology

i have the Police Greatest Hits your speaking of and it is very balanced and dynamic . It would be a great choice if your looking for an all in one type record

Good luck Willy-T

 

 

Save your money. Buy a nicely restored open RTR. Record your original vinyl. Your recording will sound better than the original album, because of a greater dynamic range with tape.

Record your original vinyl. Your recording will sound better than the original album, because of a greater dynamic range with tape.

The dynamic range of the tape recording can't possibly be greater than the LP from which the recording was made.

It is if you are near a radar tower while doing these R2R recordings. I love the R2R crowd. Yep the sound is fire. But every single other aspect is nerds. Unless you are in the music biz, these things are giant hassles. So many moving parts. Never again. But to all the R2R heads—keep fighting the good fight. I’m moving on to hires streaming and still loving my vinyl. I don’t love most modern 1/2 speed redos. Not worse, just not better for another $50. That said, always open to hear one that someone else thinks really shines, so I’ll monitor the thread like the music ones. I agree with the 45s rhetoric as well. Punchy. But not a ton pressed in 45 anymore. I tend to trust the original engineers so if they are involved I’ll take a look. Cool topic! 

@cleeds I believe you posted a similar comment in a previous thread about vinyl having a wider dynamic range. I've checked the DR Database and I cannot substantiate that claim. Can you provide a few examples of viny releases of the same title having wider dynamic range than the CD?

My research indicates that at best there is not a good correlation between dynamic range and format. Generally, however, it looks to me like a later remastering typically has a wider dynamic range on the CD than the vinyl.

First, and foremost - EVERYTHING matters.

By reducing the rotational speed of the disc by 2x, you double the amount of time that the cutterhead has to remove the material.  Consequently, there is an inherent increase in cutting accuracy.  When a stylus traces the same groove, it is more often exactly where it should be to reproduce the given frequency/sound - again, more accurate. 

This principle applies to the entire recorded spectrum - highs, mids, and lows.  In the attached article (below), an Abbey Road recording engineer states that cutting at half-speed is 'mind-numbingly dull ', but the process results in a much better sounding LP. (> @bdp24 - perhaps Bernie Grundman has concluded the boredom is not worth the time it takes for the improvement in SQ ;-).

That being said, if a crappy recording (say, compressed, dull microphone, cheap wires) is re-cut at half-speed, you may be disappointed in the result.  Remember, EVERYTHING matters. I have both fantastic -sounding and crappy-sounding half-speed LPs.

Yes, there are many other techniques to improve LP SQ, including direct-to-disc, 45 rpm, better quality vinyl, etc. and each can be independently employed.  In theory, you could have a half-speed mastered LP, pressed on uber-vinyl, that plays at 45-rpm.  

Regarding the digital vs. analogue issue, I find the transducer plays a prominent role in the SQ. 

For example: I have the same recording in both formats - simultaneously recorded on Analogue tape and Digital tape. I find a very good TT cartridge (my Hanna ML) can transform the soundwave-medium (mechanical to electronic) better than an average CD player (my OPPO, digital to electronic).  Consequently, the LP sounds better than the CD every time I compare the two. (of course, I am also hearing differences in tape-heads, etc.)

As an aside, my main system has a pretty good CD player as well (Ayre), and the SQ is closer to that of the LP.

Now the aforementioned link (begin reading at "What exactly is half-speed mastering?" 

All You Need To Know about Half Speed Mastering | uDiscover (udiscovermusic.com)

Best,

I've added a few of these over the years; I found them in the used bin at Amoeba or the local record store. The 1/2 speed versions were a duplicate to standard pressings I already had.  After a good inspection and cleaning the results are mostly mixed. Steely Dan Aja was worth the $45 used; very clean and vibrant compared to standard recording.  Doobie Bros Captain and Me also very clean, but no real sonic difference from the standard issue. Seals and Crofts Hummingbird just a slight improvement from the standard; mostly with the vocal harmonies.

Contrast 1/2 speed versions to BetterRecords.com premium selections of standard pressings. The two I bought from BR; Steely Dan Katy Lied and CSNY 4 Way Street, were very clean and sounded very detailed compared compared to record store versions I had. BR is very pricey, but offers the ability to send it back if you're not pleased.

As for 45rpm LPs; I have a few that I unknowingly bought (nothing on the cover said 45!)  these too have a nice detailed sound, but I don't have a standard version to compare them to.

Thank you for the feedback. I guess, it would come down to each recording so I will order the Police - Greatest Hits (thanks @willy-t ). 

As far as R2R, I don’t see much sense in copying Vinyl on to R2R. Both R2R and TT offer very different and unique tactile playback experience.

Whether "half-speed" or "45 rpm", the answer is the same. "It depends." I have some "45s" that sound like you are in the recording studio with the musicians. I have others that are inferior to or at least no better than their "33" counterpart. Ditto "half-speed." I will say the best "45's" are superior to the best "half-speeds", at least in my experience. But you have to listen to each in order to know what is worth buying. Much of this is gimmickry and marketing, as you find with the current trend of "180-gram" vinyl. A crappy recording cheaply stamped on a thicker piece of plastic just a thicker piece of crap. Until you listen, you don't know if you are getting the wonderful quality of vinyl or a cheap copy of somebody's CD. 

The half-speed-mastered LPs I have from the '80s (MFSL and CBS Mastersound) do sound better than the conventional LPs.  Of course, the MFSL were also pressed with virgin JVC vinyl and made from the original master tapes, so that also helped.  If anything, I thought the bass was fuller on the MFSL than on the conventional LPs, so I'm surprised at the comments that bass is negatively affected.  I wonder if this is just a relative perception because higher frequencies are enhanced, which may result in weaker-sounding bass.

8th-note

... you posted a similar comment in a previous thread about vinyl having a wider dynamic range. I've checked the DR Database and I cannot substantiate that claim. Can you provide a few examples of viny releases of the same title having wider dynamic range than the CD?

I don't like being assigned homework, but you could check two of my favorites - Boston's first and S&G's Bookends.

But that's not the best way to read the database, because when a CD does show as having better DR, it's often a special Japanese pressing, SBM or some other release that got extra attention over the common CD you'll get from Amazon. Even then, when compared to a similarly special LP pressing (such as from MFSL or Abbey Road) or an original pressing, the CD often doesn't compare favorably.

My research indicates that at best there is not a good correlation between dynamic range and format.

The best research is work you've done yourself. You can measure dynamic range yourself using your favorite recordings. If you do, you'll probably be surprised.

Generally, however, it looks to me like a later remastering typically has a wider dynamic range on the CD than the vinyl.

I couldn't disagree more. Remasterings are almost always lower DR. Loudness wars.

+1 @8th-note 

 

i don’t know where the ridiculous notion started that vinyl has a greater dynamic range than digital.  Numerous studies show otherwise.  And how in the world would vinyl extend the dynamic range of a digital file when it is embedded in a slab of petroleum?

mahler123

i don’t know where the ridiculous notion started that vinyl has a greater dynamic range than digital. Numerous studies show otherwise.

Actually, the data show that - in practice - an LP often has wider DR than its comparable CD counterpart. See the Dynamic Range Database and examples in my previous post. Better yet, make your own measurements.

In absolute terms, the Compact Disc can have a much wider DR than even the best LP. There’s no debating that.

@mahler123 

Perhaps the answer lies in the mastering process for the intended audience.

For example, 'Redbook' CDs reportedly have a dynamic range of 96dB.  While I own hundreds of them, only a few of them come close to the dynamic range of a decent LP.  Why... compression.  Like cassette tapes, CDs were strongly marketed for use in cars, where significant compression is required.

Of course, other digital formats may lessen this constraint.

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These things are always going to come down to individual releases, individual tastes and individual systems and on a macro level, it is hard to come to a consensus on the matter for those reasons. Still, in my experience there’s been no single half-speed master that I’ve ever heard or owned that I didn’t find was bested, often handily, by a well-regarded analog pressing from pre-1985. Some I have found sound really amazing until or unless you put them up against a vintage pressing. Then not so much.

With two exceptions, I’ve sold all the half-speed master version and kept the OG pressing. Not because these two--both 80s CBS Half Speed Master series releases of Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom and Barabra Striesand’s Guilty--were better than original pressings, but because I can demonstrate to someone "Sounds incredible, right? Well this one, the original, sounds way better."

 

Buy a few, see what you think. I decided it wasn’t for me. I especially find the Abbey Road HSM jobs to be not good at all. They just sound like digitally-sourced vinyl to my ears. No thank you.

@inagroove 

 

I listen primarily to classical.  There may be compression used on some recordings but I haven’t encountered it.

  CDs will always beat LPs for dynamic range because they eliminate the noise floor.  This isn’t just opinion, it’s been validated constantly.

  Dynamic Range is only one variable in audio appreciation and it is perfectly valid to appreciate listening to vinyl for other reasons but if compression isn’t used there simply is no comparison re digital vs. analog for that parameter

CDs will always beat LPs for dynamic range because they eliminate the noise floor.

CDs have a noise floor too, and most are compressed. Some are compressed more than an LP counterpart and I offered two documented examples of that earlier in this thread.

mahler123

While your logic is correct-CDs have a very low 'noise floor', your premise may not be correct. 

Please consider that if a CDs 'sound ceiling' is dramatically lowered - via compression (even more than the noise floor) - the Dynamic Range will be smaller on CDs, often much smaller.  Afterall, we are discussing a Range, and not just the noise floor value.

Best,

P.S. - going full circle, many Half-Speed Mastered, uber-vinyl pressed LPs have a noise-floor that is below (my) hearing at elevated SP levels.  This could/should also be considered when comparing CDs to LPs.

Best,

I repeat, at least in Classical, I don’t know of any compression in my several thousand CD collection.  I’ve had some recordings bump up against the ceiling of the filter on a DAC, but that hasn’t been an issue for a couple of decades.

  And isn’t the RIAA curve the ultimate example of compression?

mahler123

I don’t know of any compression in my several thousand CD collection.

That's because the compression was well applied. What labels do you prefer for classical? It is the exceptionally rare commercial recording that does not have at least some compression or limiting applied.

... isn’t the RIAA curve the ultimate example of compression?

The RIAA curve is EQ, not compression. And it's complementary, so whatever is applied at the input is compensated at the output. That's not the case with compression or limiting, which deliberately alter DR.

Excellent thread! 

Lots of detailed comments!

I've enjoyed the learning experience.

Amy Winehouse-back to black. I had it in standard and it sounded terrible. I got the half-speed master from Abbey Road and wow, incredible. I then got the half-speed of Frank and AB to regular, it was far better at half-speed. 

Interesting thread but I think a few things need clarification.

Half-Speed Mastering by itself does not increase the dynamic range (DR) of a vinyl record. It slows down the cutting lathe which results in greater micro detail. The DR of the vinyl record can be improved by putting less minutes of music on a side or by speeding up the playback to 45 rpm but those options have nothing to do with half speed mastering.

The mastering process for a vinyl record can be more complicated than for a CD. The engineer making the master disc may use EQ to reduce the bass for loud passages or compression to fit more music on a vinyl record. There is a famous story of the first Led Zeppelin release where the record company executive gave the album to his daughter who had a "kiddie record player." Due to the heavy bass the tonearm wouldn't track and it skipped. They immediately remastered the record to reduce the bass so it would play on all turntables. If you are lucky enough to have one of the few original pressings you are a rich audiophile because collectors would sacrifice their grandmother to get one. Michael Fremer has a video about this. The original master was used for all subsequent releases until Led Zepellin decided to issue a remastered series on CD that restored the original bass EQ.

I have never seen one shred of evidence that vinyl inherently has greater DR than CD. I have also never seen any evidence that CDs are generally more compressed than LPs. There may be some cases of this but it is phenomenon that only applies to individual titles. There is no reason why a mastering engineer would compress an album more for CD than for LP.

Compression relating to the "Loudness Wars" is a completely different issue. Some time around the mid 80's the record industry asked mastering engineers to use heavy limiting to make music sound louder for the radio. The techique was also used for remasters of older titles to make them sound more punchy. If you compare a heavily limited remaster with the original vinyl release (pre loudness wars) then the original vinyl will have a greater DR than the remastered CD. However, I can find no evidence that a current title that is released on CD and vinyl has a greater DR on the vinyl version. If someone wishes to make that claim then they need to provide evidence. I looked up several titles on the DR Database and could not find a single example of the vinyl having a greater DR than the CD if both were released at roughly the same time with the original mastering.

Lastly, there are a whole bunch of factors that go into an audiophile reissue. Half Speed Mastering is only one factor. The mastering engineer may have changed the EQ and compression, the electronics in the mastering chain may be better, the quality of the master disc may have been better, they may have pressed fewer discs from each stamper, and the quality of the vinyl may be better.

Half-Speed Mastering by itself does not increase the dynamic range (DR) of a vinyl record.

Of course not. It’s just a manufacturing process. The same is true of CD - a CD itself is no guarantee of dynamic range.

I have never seen one shred of evidence that vinyl inherently has greater DR than CD.

I’ve never seen one shred of evidence that anyone has ever suggested such a thing. Red herring.

I have also never seen any evidence that CDs are generally more compressed than LPs.

I provided you some references and suggested you measure some of your own. As I suggested, you might be be surprised that it is not uncommon.

There is no reason why a mastering engineer would compress an album more for CD than for LP.

Well there’s the Loudness Wars. And as @inagroove pointed out, CDs were often intended for use in cars, where lower DR could actually be beneficial. On the other hand LPs today are often marketed towards audiophiles through places like Acoustic Sounds and Music Direct. So whether you acknowledge it or not, there are "logical" reasons why LPs often have better DR than comparable CDs.

I can find no evidence that a current title that is released on CD and vinyl has a greater DR on the vinyl version. If someone wishes to make that claim then they need to provide evidence.

No one here needs to provide evidence to your satisfaction. You’ve been offered specific examples and guidance for how to learn more.

I'm 72 and walk 6 to 8 miles a day.After that I,don't need to get up every 10 to 2 mins to turn over an Album.I need to put on a cd and relax....the end.

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mahler123

Vinyl adoration is a religion. Like all religions its worshippers are impervious to reason.

I'm not seeing any "vinyl adoration" going on here. There do seem to be some who are troubled by the LP's resilience, though.

As for religion: It is a mistake to conclude that religion is inherently inconsistent with reason. To suggest otherwise is simple prejudice.

IME 45's always sound better than their 33 versions, all things being equal. They are not equal however. There is more care taken in the production of the 45s as they are more expensive and typically use better vinyl. my 45s are the best sounding records I own.

Unless you can't get up easily (my sympathies) movement is good. When I am listening during a long session especially, I can use the exercise. 

It is important to have a tru-lift or a cheaper imitation of it to lift the arm at the end of a record on a manual table, especially if you play a lot of 45's. For a vinyl only guy, it was huge. Can't think of having a manual table without it.

@mahler123

I have a pretty extensive music collection. About 4000 vinyl records, about 75% of which are in NM condition and about 5000 CDs dating back from about 1984 forwards. My system is high-end and all of the music plays through a set of Genesis III’s with dual Genesis 12" subs. I have good hearing. My "religion" is sound quality, not media format. I suspect that is true for many if not most of the posters here.

The arguments against CDs when compared to the vinyl version have nothing to do with 1’s and 0’s and "holes". People like myself would often buy a CD copy of something they already had on vinyl, especially early on, because the promise of CDs was superior sound quality and no surface noise or warps. So I have been able to compare many albums in these two formats -- on quality gear.

An aside; I had migrated from vinyl to CD’s decades ago and it wasn’t until about 2010, when the vinyl revival was just getting going that I decided to buy a few records just for the hell of it. My wife wondered why, and so did I. I usually bought about 8-10 CDs a month prior. I had no plans of returning to vinyl when I decided to compare a CD and original vinyl pressing side by side just to see if I could discern much of a difference between the formats. I had a REGA Planet CD player and a SOTA Star Sapphire turntable with a Clearaudio Veritas cartridge running through a Musical Fidelity phone preamp. I got the levels matched and played a track off the CD (Daft Punk, Random Access Memories) which was/is an exceptional sounding recording. The CD track sounded fantastic, as usual. Then I dropped the needle on the vinyl track. What I heard in seconds was overwhelming and profound. More real, more visceral, more 3D, more everything. It brought me to tears. I had never realized what I’d lost. I changed on that day back to buying 100% vinyl, and I have never looked back. I’ve since upgraded my analog chain and things only improved from there. I cannot imagine going back. Was that a religious experience?

As so many have already mentioned on this thread, whether it be CD or vinyl, the end product is the result of a chain of steps, and if any of those steps along the way were botched, the end product ALWAYS reflected that in the sound quality.

So here are a few thoughts from someone who has done a lot of listening to both formats:

  • Since the early 2000’s CD sound quality has improved massively over what you could get prior. This is not an absolute rule, but is mostly true.
  • Most CD’s, primarily because of the way they’re mastered and not because of the medium, are overly compressed, and when compared to an original vinyl version of the same, sound worse to my ears. In many cases, MUCH worse.
  • The quality control problems inherent with vinyl records has never been resolved, except for the occasional release where everything in the chain was done right, or because of a special process like "one step" recordings, or limited editions pressed on special vinyl compounds. CD’s almost never suffer from QC problems on scale.
  • Half speed masters are not, just by virtue of being cut that way, guaranteed to sound better than the original pressing. They sometimes do and often do not. I have hundreds of them.
  • Regarding 45rpm cuts of a record-- if all in the chain was done right, will sound better than 33rpm records, IF the original recording has the air and dynamics. Many do, and many do not. I personally almost never find the bump in SQ worth it when listening to albums as I prefer listening to an album in its original sequence. I’m not listening for qualitative differences, I’m listening for the overall musical experience. Good gear is necessary, but listening is not about the gear, at least for me it isn’t.
  • A great sounding CD is still a beautiful thing, but when I hear a great sounding vinyl LP, to my ears, it just sounds significantly better. More "there", more organic, more musical. So playing a record vs a CD is just a more satisfying experience for me personally. I have friends that choose convenience over sound quality and are satisfied. I have other friends that simply can’t hear any difference and that may be because they just don’t really care that much.
  • Vinyl is more work to deal with for some-- but not for me. If it’s more work, it’s work that I love, so I enjoy every second.
  • The LP format in a better artifact than a CD, by miles, for me. I love the artwork, the inserts, the whole process of spinning a disc on a good turntable -- it’s just a fuller more satisfying experience.
  • It does not matter what the technical virtues of one medium over another are, in the end for me, it’s how the music feels, and vinyl just kills CDs in this regard most of the time.
  • Vinyl is for sure, a bigger commitment than digital, but it’s worth it to me. WAY WORTH IT.

So it’s not about woo-woo religion or anything like that for me (a science guy BTW), it’s about sound and feeling. It’s not about what I think I know or want to believe, it’s about experience, and I have a lot.

We all have limited time on this earth and some of us get to choose how we spend some or all of it. I have lived on both sides of this digital vs vinyl divide for quite a while. I continue to choose vinyl, and I have zero regrets. To each, his own.

@ mahler123

"Vinyl adoration is a religion.  Like all religions its worshippers are impervious to reason."

Sadly, it seems that you have exhausted the facts of your assertion (that CDs have, in practice, a higher DR than LPs) and retreated to ridicule. 

This generally happens only when logical arguments fail.

I hope all readers of this have the same reaction that I do.

 

Yet the question remains, are Half-Speed Masters worth the extra cost? 

Yes, most of mine are worth the extra cost, and no, some are still low SQ (because of what happened upstream).

I have no opinion about half speed masters.

With contemporary recordings vinyl is a bit of a crapshoot. I would say over 50% of the time the vinyl is about the same as CD and just very slightly better than streaming. 10% of the time it is worse. The magic lies in the 15-25% of recordings that are clearly better. The fact that the music was digitally mastered is different from how the vinyl is mastered. And old vinyl is almost always better than streaming.

And while the assertion the vinyl has a lower possible dynamic range than streaming is true, the simple fact is many LPs do in reality have more realized dynamic range and sound better.

This guy does an amazing job measuring the dynamic range of a bunch of different media and you can see how widely it can vary between different releases of the same album. One interesting takeaway is how much less compressed most Atmos mixes are. My personal experience is that finding and streaming the Dolby Atmos version from Tidal over Roon is often quite a bit better than the normal version. That is particularly odd given that Roon doesn’t support Atmos so some conversion is occurring.

https://magicvinyldigital.net/

One final note, I was a true believer that vinyl couldn’t be better than streaming three years ago, but hearing other people’s vinyl setups and then building my own convinced me that some minority of the time vinyl was clearly better. The frustration is with all the recordings that sound exactly the same as streaming. Just as an example, forget about buying a Taylor Swift album on vinyl, it is a waste of money. But get Billie Eilish or Lorde’s first albums and the vinyl is a revelation. Side one of the recent vinyl reissue of Kronos Quartet "Black Angels" album is startlingly better than streaming. Of course, all of these differences do require a certain level of system to hear.

 

 

I just compared my MFSL of Grateful Dead's American Beauty with the 24bit/192kHz version on Qobuz.  Cartridge is a Benz Ruby 2 in an Eminent Technology ET-2 linear-tracking tonearm; streaming via my Bluesound Node 130 upgraded with the Teddy Pardo linear power supply.  I carefully matched the volume with the smartphone BluOS app while playing both sources simultaneously and switching from one to the other

The most noteable (and only significant) difference I heard is the higher bass levels on the LP, which is consistent with what I've heard on the '80s MFSL LPs using various playback setups. 

Tangentially, this says something for the quality of the Node 130's streamer and DAC that it can match the sound quality of a $7000 (in 1990s prices) analog rig.  (BTW, the Ruby 2 is one I've recently acquired from a collector/dealer of high-end cartridges, and it has less than 100 hrs. play.)

I plan to do more comparisons, perhaps with my MFSL LP of Karajan conducting La Mer and Bolero (which is the later EMI/Angel version, not his beloved 1964 DGG recordings).

Lots of good posts since I last visited. I am not going get into never ending ‘format’ debate as there are too many variables when you start to compare the two.

IMHO, it should be all about how a piece of music invokes emotions when you press play and/or when the needle touches the grooves.

@sokogear thanks for the tip on tru-lift.

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@drmuso I have also compared the MFSL American Beauty to Qobuz streaming but I found the vinyl to be better and easily differentiated. I’m open to the possibility that it was a psycho acoustic delusion, but generally I trust my ears in this situation. Vinyl side is a VPI Super Scoutmaster with JMW 10.5" tonearm with a Skyanalog Ref cartridge and Allnic H-3000 preamp. Streaming side is Qobuz/Roon from Eversolo A8 to Holo May KTE DAC. Both sides level matched by Roon’s LossLess Headroom adjustments and switched from an Audio Research 5SE. Personally, I wish I didn’t hear these differences since it would save me thousands of dollars a year.

@pindac

If the versions are the same, then the differences in sound quality are likely to be between the Skyanalog Cartridge, JMW tone arm, Allnic phono stage and the Eversolo A8 / May KTE DAC. You should be able to confirm by lining up a series of the same recordings in vinyl and streaming and verify a largely systematic difference in character.

 

My analog and digital ends sound the same. I chose them that way. I chose the DAC and phonostage from the same company (Audio Research) hence they are voiced the same and I chose the cartridge for its sonic character. While on the average they sound exactly the same, there remains a notable variation on the vinyl side, which I attribute to the mechanical wearing on masters used for pressing as the best pressings occur early and the poorest last before the brief life of a master is over.

“My analog and digital ends sound the same.”

@ghdprentice

That’s one of the reason I sold off my all ARC system - pre, dac and amp. Every source I’d tried, sounded the same and after a while listening became a chore! My current system (much credit goes to my Integrated) allows me to enjoy the distinct characteristics of upstream components and digital/analog cables.