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LP sound variations (Read 5560 times)
Rraymond
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LP sound variations
04/29/16 at 16:32:33
 
I'm probably almost 100 hours into breakin with my Tori Jr and ERRx speakers and have been playing a lot of vinyl lately. It seems as though there's some Lp's that sound very full and rich and others that sound "weak". I can still hear all the details on the weak ones but was wondering why this is. I know I still have some weak links in the chain (cheap phono pre and possible cable and i.c.'s that need upgrading). But with my current setup you would think there would be more consistency. A lot of the Lp's were picked up at second hand stores but we bought a record cleaner that we make sure to clean the Lp's before we play them. Do albums wear out over time or are there just that much variation in the original recordings or is there something else contributing to this?
Rick
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Audion Silver Night Special Edition 300b integrated, Zu Soul Superfly speakers, Acoustic Solid TT with Denon 103 MC cart, PS Audio NuWave phono, Zu Event MKII speaker cables with BU3 connectors.
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Lon
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #1 - 04/29/16 at 17:01:56
 
Personally I think it's that you are hearing the differences in mastering and pressing from title to title. These Decware components are "revealing" in ways you likely haven't heard components before. . . .
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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #2 - 04/29/16 at 18:03:45
 
Lon,
I was thinking you are right. It seems a lot of systems mask a lot so most stuff sounds the same. With Decware it seems the recordings are truly what they are. Unfortunately I'm still using the cheap phono pre which isn't helping things. Zp3, please hurry!...lol
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Audion Silver Night Special Edition 300b integrated, Zu Soul Superfly speakers, Acoustic Solid TT with Denon 103 MC cart, PS Audio NuWave phono, Zu Event MKII speaker cables with BU3 connectors.
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Syd
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #3 - 04/29/16 at 19:50:21
 
Sometimes even the `good` recordings aren`t that wide. It`s puzzled me a lot Raymond. I have stereo recordings that are close together, inside the speakers, just a little stage right. Always food for thought
Wow, the very special ones can be awesome when anything can happen.
Lacklustre recordings I dont have many of, in fact I never think `No I wont play this `cause it`s poor quality` Perhaps because I cant remember them.  :)
The ZP3 oozes class. When I got rid of my Project tube box for the ZP3 the music just expanded into something my other, then amps, couldn`t keep up with.
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« Last Edit: 04/29/16 at 19:51:49 by Syd »  

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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #4 - 04/29/16 at 20:07:37
 
Thanks Sid but now your really killing me. I don't know just yet when my ZP3 will be built as I have not gotten any notifications yet. But yeah I agree, there are so many bad LP's that it seems like the only reason I'm playing them is to help break in my system all the way. Do you think the ZP3 will help these less than par LP's sound better so I might even want to give them a second listen?
Rick
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Audion Silver Night Special Edition 300b integrated, Zu Soul Superfly speakers, Acoustic Solid TT with Denon 103 MC cart, PS Audio NuWave phono, Zu Event MKII speaker cables with BU3 connectors.
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hdrider
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #5 - 04/30/16 at 22:38:32
 
You are just hearing the differences in the recording/mastering process. If it is music you like, just enjoy the music and try to ignore the recording. Sometimes I have to take off my ''audiophile'' hat and just remember to wear my ''music lover'' hat. But I always wear my Decware Tee shirt because it always makes the music better….One  of my favorite records is King Crimson's first album: In the Court of The Crimson King, and really the recording is pretty crappy but the music is just magical. Wait until you get the ZP3, you are gonna flip out. Happy listening, Chris.
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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #6 - 04/30/16 at 23:17:52
 
Yeah Chris, I love The Court of the Crimson King song. I'm planning on picking that album up. I think there's some new ones you can get on Amazon and I hope they are remastered so they sound better. I know the ZP3 is going to be a big improvement. I've also ordered Morrow ic's and speaker cables that should be in about the same time so hopefully it will all come together then. I know the Tori Jr is a great amp, I've gotten a small taste of what it can do with my current "weak links" so I'm certain you are correct that I will "flip out" once it all comes together.... Until then....
Rick
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Audion Silver Night Special Edition 300b integrated, Zu Soul Superfly speakers, Acoustic Solid TT with Denon 103 MC cart, PS Audio NuWave phono, Zu Event MKII speaker cables with BU3 connectors.
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jorgen
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #7 - 05/04/16 at 11:31:33
 
Rraymond:
Im pretty much in same boat as you are. I too have a Project phono pre, but not the expensive tube box version, but the cheapo entry level, and i have ordered a ZP3. So when reading this i get even more eager to get to june when the ZP3 is ready.. I have a good combo with my decware and Omega gear and hopefully the ZP3 will enter the system and make my 2m black sing!
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hdrider
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #8 - 05/04/16 at 12:05:33
 
Jorgen- it will, it really will. Follow Steve's advice on break in (5 on / 5 off/ 5 times) and the use it as much as possible and after a few weeks of picking your jaw up off the ground, you will be amazed. Happy listening, Chris.
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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #9 - 05/04/16 at 15:58:52
 
Chris,
I'm sure Jorgen and I are certainly looking forward to picking our jaws up off the ground when we get our ZP3...lol. I gotta say, it's just pure misery listening right now knowing things can sound way better. I do hear a lot more than ever from recordings like little things I've never knew existed in recordings but everything sounds like the band was told to play very quietly "so we don't wake up little junior"...lol. So..... I'm really looking forward to being hit extremely hard and just leaving my jaw on the floor for a while until the drool forms a puddle at my feet!
Rick
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Audion Silver Night Special Edition 300b integrated, Zu Soul Superfly speakers, Acoustic Solid TT with Denon 103 MC cart, PS Audio NuWave phono, Zu Event MKII speaker cables with BU3 connectors.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #10 - 05/08/16 at 13:30:35
 
rick
you'll love a zp3 in that system.
hint: the 2m blue is one hell of a cart and mates perfectly with rega arm and zp3.  i loved my blue and then bought a black.  not that much difference between the 2 for the cost delta.

we all have our favorite 20 lps that we love the sound of and play them much.  you'll find that certain labels are more consistent than others.
for example grusin, sheffield, bluenote, liberty, ....

you'll start listening to new types of music just cause it sounds great (nothing wrong with that).  that's how i ended up liking jazz so much... because the recording/mastering is usually much better than 70-80's rock recording.
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« Last Edit: 05/08/16 at 16:39:29 by Tripwr1964 »  

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atacgene
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #11 - 08/29/16 at 04:55:23
 
Hi Rick,

For some reason I always find you whenever I am looking at a topic that interests me ! Maybe because you are now trying to fine tune your TT system.
Regarding variation of vinyl sound, this can be a topic that lasts many pages! Yes, the pressing quality can make a lot of difference, and probably account for the quality difference that you hear. I know this because I often buy same copies multiple times but with different pressings, different production year/record company even. We can tell this really makes a big difference because you know the recording and often the remastering is the same, so the only difference is the vinyl pressing itself. The thicker vinyl almost always sound much fuller with weight and solid sound stage, no wonder the audiophile pressings are always 180 - 200g. The floppy thin records sound really thin and not focused, even if brand new. Poor pressings often have lots of pops cracks, and maybe even distortion even brand new (e.g. RCA made in the 70s are often aweful),  The early CBS and Decca thick vinyls often sound quite amazing if in great condition, so is RCA (180g in the 60s) but for some reason I often find them rather worn, not sure if they are not that durable.  I think that may be the reason why I find very old Lps in the 50s-60s sound quite amazing despite the age because they are quite thick and heavy. Also the number of tracks/playing time on each side of the LP matters. if there are too many tracks put on the same side, the sound suffers, as tracking becomes more difficult. The newer pressings tend to squeeze more tracks in (I suppose the technique becomes available then) and when it gets to the inner grooves you can hear distortions, even with fine stylus.  Again, older pressings may sound better because there are less tracks on each side.

(I listen to mainly classical and jazz and they often reissue the same thing again and again in all sorts of different reincarnations, thus allowing me to compare different pressings often. Not sure about other types of music though.)  

Another very influential one is of course the quality of the LP itself, the same pressing can sound great with a well kept great condition LP but crappy with one that is totally worn (even without scratch or pops etc)

The 3rd one is the recording quality - there is really no escape. If the recording sucks there is nothing much you can do about it. I find some cheap pop music especially irritating with superb stereo systems as it basically expose all their flaws. The fake synthesizer sounds more fake etc.  Acoustic instruments sound much better on Vinly. Vocals can be so amazing on vinyl but if the singer cannot sing, it mercilessly expose his/her flaws.
I don't deal with much remastering since most vinyl I get are old but I do get few digitally remastered ones which in general sound cleaner but more sterile. I think the original analogue without remastering usually sound better,  more organic, unless the recording is not that great, then remastering may help clean up the sound more, like those old 1940s-50s recordings.  That is probably why many audiophile LP releases are made from original analogue take without digital remastering, though I have recently bought some analogue remastered LPs that does not state digital mastering, which sound amazing. A common one is DMM - direct metal mastering

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_metal_mastering

That really can sound amazing, with the clarity of CD but not the sterile digital sound, retaining the airiness of LPs!


I am not sure which one is the most influential, probably plays about equal role on the overall sound quality

Unfortunately, the better your stereo the more likely you will hear the flaws of your LPS, but for the most part, even mediocre  LPs sound better than before with an improved system. Some people claim a cheap cartridge works better on poorer quality LPs, perhaps because it is not as revealing? That can be true. A better cartridge, i find, tend to give an expanded less forward soundstage, something more realistic but may actually make a poor recording or quality LP sound weaker, less involved. Therefore a cheap punchy forward sounding cartridge often works better in such situation (e.g. The denon 101/103 MC cartridge ). You might want to try an inexpensive punchy sounding cartridge for these inferior LPs.

Adrian
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« Last Edit: 08/29/16 at 05:05:59 by atacgene »  
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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #12 - 08/29/16 at 18:14:33
 
Adrian,
You really have a wealth of knowledge that I can relate to. I am beginning to understand what goes into our system is what's gonna get amplified and then come out whether it's good or bad. Good will sound better, bad will sound worse. Seems to be a constant battle to search out the best to listen to but can also be considered a fun thing to find those little gems out there that just sound amazing. I am still tweaking my system and am considering a different TT but will not make the dive until I feel it's really worth it. I should have more refinement in the upcoming weeks or so. Hopefully this doesn't come at too much of a cost and I can just kick back and enjoy hearing musical bliss...
Rick
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Audion Silver Night Special Edition 300b integrated, Zu Soul Superfly speakers, Acoustic Solid TT with Denon 103 MC cart, PS Audio NuWave phono, Zu Event MKII speaker cables with BU3 connectors.
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atacgene
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #13 - 08/31/16 at 03:47:56
 
HI Rick,

Thanks again for your complement. I see your frustration, but before you jump to switching to another TT entirely, do consider upgrading your current Rega first. Looking at the REga 3 it does not look bad at all, probably similar to mine or even better. And not that cheap, (600-700) so you may need to spend at least $1300-1500 to make a major difference. It should give you a decent sound for a while at least. The Rega is actually one of the most upgradable TT around. There are many platters, tonearm mod for it etc... I will talk more about this in the original thread about your stereo issue.
But back again to the same emphasis on how important the source is. (Steve's Decware site has some good articles on that.) The vinyl, the very source of the music, is actually the most important factor in determining the sound of your TT system. As you know unlike CDs, the vinyl's sound quality can vary so much. Not sure if you are already doing this but a very thorough cleaning of LPs are essential if you are really into Hi-Fi superb sound quality.  You actually will need some sort of great cleaning strategies: a vacuum record cleaner with enzyme based treatment is essential in my opinion which opens up the sound immensely, not to mention the ability to create CD-like quiet background. You basically hear everything. The best upgrade I have ever had is a record cleaning machine with great cleaning solutions. U may be already doing this so I won't dwell in this. I am actually thinking of upgrading my record cleaning machine now, and also investigating the use of ultrasonic cleaning method.  I saw a bunch of DIY ultrasonic cleaning machine which looks really promising!

Adrian  
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« Last Edit: 08/31/16 at 03:49:23 by atacgene »  
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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #14 - 08/31/16 at 17:48:37
 
Adrian,
Yes I do have a VPI LP cleaner. It's the one that you manually squirt the cleaner onto the record then hold the brush for a couple turns then swing over the suction tube and turn the vacuum on. I've cleaned every record I have so at least I should be getting the best I can from the lp's. I do recognize some lp's sound not so good and others sound very good so I'm sure either the original recording of the actual pressing is the factor for that. As far as upgrading the Rega, I've thought about it and talked to the guy at the store where I purchased it from and he was not in favor of that. I know he would like to sell me another TT but he definitely wasn't pushing it at all. I'm just thinking that I don't really know what the result would be with upgrading the Rega vs switching over to the Linn. I do know that I can tell a significant difference with the Linn over the Rega when listening to them side by side so there's no gamble there. Too bad he doesn't have an upgraded Rega that I can listen to and compare with the Linn.
Rick
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Lon
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #15 - 08/31/16 at 17:54:31
 
I have upgraded my RP3 with the white belt, an Exact2 cartridge, the Groovetracer Reference sub-platter, Delrin platter and counterweight. It's a different table than it was before, still keeping the PRAT of the Rega sound and the ease of use that Rega offers. I've never heard a Linn turntable. I am very happy with the upgrades (that I did in several affordable waves) and love the sound I'm getting. . . I don't lust for another turntable. That is a course that definitely can yield positive results Rick. Just offering my own experience.

I also have my turntable on the VooDoo Cable Iso-Pods, and all that sitting on a PS Audio PowerBase. These too were positive changes in resolution and tonal accuracy.

The two upgrades that made the biggest impact was the cartridge and the sub-platter. And the PowerBase is a great addition.
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« Last Edit: 08/31/16 at 18:11:10 by Lon »  

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atacgene
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #16 - 08/31/16 at 18:55:54
 
yah, I have talked to Rega dealers, and they almost always never recommend upgrades because they want to sell. I upgraded my cheap Rega merely by changing tonearm weight/endpin which has made sound much more focused. Also changed the platter mat and use a record clamp. You can also change the entire platter to acrylic and etc. Is it cost effective? Debatable, but likely cheaper than getting a new one (unless you can trade in the old TT for a good price with an upgrade ) When I get a chance I will post more info on Rega upgrade on the other link. These upgrades are more fun somehow, at least for me.

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Rraymond
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #17 - 09/05/16 at 19:37:20
 
Well I guess I'm going to have to do some more research on things. The dealer said he would give me $750 trade in on the Rega P3 toward the $4350 Linn so that brings the price down to $3600. If I start the upgrade process on the Rega P3 by adding the external power supply at $400, new cartridge at $600 and then change out the platter, sub platter, etc for maybe another $5-800 I will be approaching $3 grand including the initial cost of the Rega. So if I'm that close to the Linn in price, I'd almost rather go with a sure bet on a TT that's already assembled that I can listen to.
Rick
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atacgene
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Re: LP sound variations
Reply #18 - 09/06/16 at 03:37:59
 
I don't think u need to spend that much for upgrade for improvement and I don't think u necessarily need spend so much just to make the sound greater.  As u may know the groove tracer upgrades, which if u max out would be $500-600 for platter etc, and u just need a cartridge of $300 to sound pretty damn good i think.  Maybe upgrading the tonearm counterweight,  so about $1000 max. Or add phono cable upgrade to $1300. I would not think u need more than that.
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