Vinyl v digital

There’s a load of very marginal gains hyped up with 180 or 200g…‘It’s self damping, sits better on the TT etc’. I will agree they are more sturdy and less prone to buckling. The thing that I believe makes equal or higher quality gains in terms of sound is the actual quality of the vinyl.

Presumably compared to each other rather than, say, music?


Is there the same argument, for film vs digital cameras?

Did Sara come out of the kitchen area to tell you that she couldn’t tell the difference?

I’m pretty sure someone will make the case


Well, you are a well experienced and quality photographer, with experience of both.
Do you think there a benifit of one over the other, akin to the music argument?

No, it’s completely a different discussion IMO

The owner of a second hand record shop in Brighton showed me his ‘Audiophile Shit’ section.

He had a 180gm ‘Audiophile Edition’ ‘Special Heavyweight Vinyl’ Rare Captain Beefheart live concert’ LP up for sale for £30.00

I asked him what it was a like, he said ‘A badly recorded bootleg probably done on a handheld walkman’

‘But some twat will buy it’


In his opinion.

Well he had listened to it, which is more than I did :grinning:
There are quite a few bootlegs out there masquerading as ‘live’ albums that have been issued on vinyl in recent years.
I have a John Martyn one and a Bert Jansch one, both show the limitations of the source material and should probably have been left as a CD or download,


Here’s a short film many may have seen on ERC’s all valve tape to cut equipment

Here is EMI’s quality control room

You may note the extent EMI were prepared to go to during the golden era to ensure quality of their pressing. No record company today has a facility staffed or equipped like this. Their rejection rate was at the time 10+%

Pallas, considered one of the better ‘Audiophile’ pressing plants in the EU has one man on quality control of the stampers

I have a little first hand experience of this. DM-S (Disk manuffacturing serveces, misspelled for a reason) is one of the UK’s largest pressing agents and were until a few years ago shared the same building as my little office. If they had a test pressing returned, they would bring it in to me to clean and play. This was quality control - I doubt there is much more than a 1210 and some bodged MM on duty in many of the plants today.

Add to this the digital recording aspect and the vinyl boom is in some ways a ‘fetish’. It could be so much more, true analog well pressed recordings are wonderful things. As are true analog very clean condition originals.

The look on some younger peoples faces when they hear a 1500 series bluenote played with a Mono cartridge for the first time says it all. How many of the average ‘record store day’ new to vinyl buyers will ever even hear the real potential of vinyl?


But they always existed. If I remember correctly, the was a Yes bootleg CD called Brighton Khatrou floating about :wink:
Difference is only timing. Back in the 70s bootlegs were only available on LP or Cassette.
Bootleg’s recording quality was always poor but some wanted all there was available and could live with that.
How is that different now ?

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Marketing I suppose, re rinsing in a new format and suggesting that it will be better,
‘Audiophile quality 180gm Vinyl’ It says on the label.
That only specifies the medium, but it implies that the content is going to be decent quality.

What was the old adage ? Caveat Emptor ?

At the end of the day, completists nor enthusiasts are automatically “Twats”.

Interesting to see this topic bubble-up again. I got back into vinyl very, very late, having foolishly culled most of my youthful collection when vinyl was pronounced dead… I then bought everything on CD for many years, until switching to software-based for a bit - which was a dead-end, I just don’t enjoy the interface and high-res is even more of a dead-end, way too limiting in scope, and patchy quality - much as with modern vinyl: it’s too often not the format that’s limiting, but the way the music’s been processed…

Since I spent more on vinyl replay, it sounded better than digital, but at the cost of surface noise, inconvenience, wear & tear, and higher cost.

Lately I’ve improved the digital side of replay to the point it’s not embarrassed by vinyl any more… So it’s full circle. Now I’m listening to mainly CDs again - the vinyl I have is mostly modern, digitally processed, and/or poorly mastered/produced/pressed, so it’s not really worth the effort unless I don’t have it in another format…

It all seems a bit pointless. I’ve heard the sort of thing Matt mentioned - the astounding mono pressings from 60 years ago, and indeed some even-more astounding reel-reel recordings that seemed as close to real, live music as I think it’s feasible to get…

Nothing I can realistically ever own - and most especially not most of the music I actually want to listen to - will ever sound this way, and that’s fine. So now I just buy whatever’s the most convenient and most affordable.


I like records.




Me too.

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I ran into this issue again with someone this weekend. He has a nice CD based system with SJS pre power & Harbeth speakers & wanted to hear a good tt/phono the reason being that some of the music he likes (quite avant gard electronica/modern classical) just isn’t released on CD now but is on vinyl & he wanted to be able to play that at a similar level. He’d listened to a couple of tt’s (Rega10, SME12) when out but hadn’t had any at home. He’d also been down the streaming rabbit hole to a fairly advanced level but had abandoned that…

We had a fairly wide ranging discussion which took in the fact that most recordings now, even if only released on vinyl, have likely been digitised at some point in their production. The question for me was, could I, in all honesty, encourage someone to shell out >10K on vinyl playback to start buying & playing new records. It’s one thing if someone already has a collection & wants to hear it better but another altogether to be starting from scratch. Of course it’s not my decision. All I can do is say “here’s this gear that’ll play these records with some competence’” and leave it to the customer. He did enjoy the chance to hear some vinyl at home and had actually ordered in a few albums to try on it. I guess for me, the surprise was that some material is now only put out as vinyl or as a download.

One of the records was this.

Sounded ok, not brilliant nor terrible. Hard to judge it with regard to fidelity as not sure what it was trying to be faithful to.

It did bring home to me that I don’t even know how such re-mixes are done. Do the re-mixers obtain all the composite parts of the track in question from the original artist(s) and then play around with them, adding & subtracting stuff? I presume so but I’m not sure.

Personally for many new releases I like the downloads made more engaging by putting them onto tape. I think I prefer that to stepping through the minefield that is trying to buy consistent high quality, new vinyl. Of course I’ll still buy nice samples of older records when I come across them.


The Vinyl Vs digital discussion here has mostly been kept to ‘sound’ so far. When you speak with a new collector or someone who sold up and got back into it, often sound is only part of the allure.

Logically if records sound better some people will be drawn to them but there is an emotive element here too. The feel, even the smell, the ritual of cleaning and playing. The physical artifact, viewing and enjoying the sound expression of another as a piece of art. Pride of ownership. The authenticity of it… This adds up in some minds as ‘pleasure’.
Pop along to record store days and see ‘fans’ buying records when they don’t even have a turntable -They want the ‘Thing’.

Fetishistic as this is, the same argument is raging with NFT’s vs prints or canvasses. Art touches people, it is mostly illogical (Unless you are buying for investment) there are 100 more ego tickling reasons why vinyl is surging (artists revenue etc) along with the notion of ‘cool’ which many an ego can’t resist. Can a boy impress a girl with his Spotify play list?