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Digital or vinyl for classical?

Digital or vinyl for classical music?  

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The variety of tonal colour and the definition of articulation is still better on vinyl for me. Can't say I have any problems with end of side distortion...

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Super Wammer

Whilst a vinyl fan, the classical repertoire that I enjoy is very restricted on that medium, so my classical music collection is predominantly on CD. Having said that, to my ears, modern CD sound is generally of a high quality, especially from labels like Hyperion, Chandos, Dutton Epoch that I buy regularly.

k

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Trouble is with this debate that it is never discussed fairly. I still have over 9000 LPs even after major selling and culling, and love my vinyl collection. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for the medium. So what I am going to say might surprise some people.

IMO there is little contest between digital and analogue. The digital at the highest level wins out. Having said that the very finest vinyl recordings are superb also, the analogue Decca SXLs being an example already mentioned. I love my best vinyl records, but my BEST CDs are better, simple as that. (I have 4000 CDs BTW)

Then we come to another problem - now that I have, as a vinyl lover, dared to admit that my very best digital offerings are my best overall, my analogue setup will be critised as not being good enough to bring out the best of my vinyl. Quite frankly that is a load of Michael Ballacks, and an insult to the intelligence of all digital advocates. Apart from the fact that at least two of my turntables are considerably better than any reasonable average, I have many classical (and other) CD transcriptions of excellent early analogue - read originally released on vinyl - recordings. The vast majority of these CD re-releases are indistinguishable or sometimes even better than the superb analogue originals. If these transcriptions are being appreciably compressed then it isn't audible to my ears.

I will even be prepared here to go a little further. Many of my best sounding LPs were recorded and mastered digitally.

So there, chew on that, which you all no doubt will. :)

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It's pretty much all been said above, but CD (and streaming) all the way for me, especially for new music. I fell out of love with vinyl when I spent a fortune as a student on the Decca Britten War Requiem, only to have the quiet ethereal ending ruined by wowing and an annoying click. That was it.

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I have voted Digital, but that is not the full story. If Digital is CD quality then I would prefer analogue. I also prefer chamber music on vinyl. But a symphony or concerto in hi-rez: now we're talking!

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Trouble is with this debate that it is never discussed fairly. I still have over 9000 LPs even after major selling and culling, and love my vinyl collection. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for the medium. So what I am going to say might surprise some people.

IMO there is little contest between digital and analogue. The digital at the highest level wins out. Having said that the very finest vinyl recordings are superb also, the analogue Decca SXLs being an example already mentioned. I love my best vinyl records, but my BEST CDs are better, simple as that. (I have 4000 CDs BTW)

Then we come to another problem - now that I have, as a vinyl lover, dared to admit that my very best digital offerings are my best overall, my analogue setup will be critised as not being good enough to bring out the best of my vinyl. Quite frankly that is a load of Michael Ballacks, and an insult to the intelligence of all digital advocates. Apart from the fact that at least two of my turntables are considerably better than any reasonable average, I have many classical (and other) CD transcriptions of excellent early analogue - read originally released on vinyl - recordings. The vast majority of these CD re-releases are indistinguishable or sometimes even better than the superb analogue originals. If these transcriptions are being appreciably compressed then it isn't audible to my ears.

I will even be prepared here to go a little further. Many of my best sounding LPs were recorded and mastered digitally.

So there, chew on that, which you all no doubt will. :)

John - I agree for the most part. I too am a great vinyl enthusiast but would say that I think if everything else is = which of course it rarely is at any price level vinyl wins out for realism, enjoyment.......subjective of course. I rarely if ever directly compare a recording - classical or otherwise - in the vinyl or CD form but one such example Kleiber's amazing version of Beethoven V is to my ears more absorbing on my TT. CD is amazing as well though.

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Kleiber's amazing version of Beethoven V

But do try the, to my ears, equally amazing Karajan/BPO 1962 recording. IMHO, nothing matches the Karajan for the whisper-quiet 3rd movement end and then the relentless tension building to the great roar of the 4th movement.

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Digital for 2 reasons -

1 - surface noise and scratches can kill stone dead any enjoyment of quieter passages in classical music. Yes vinyl might sometimes produce richer string tone but its swings and roundabouts I find.

2 - Ok not strictly a sound quality consideration but...There is a hugely greater range of repertoire available in digital recordings for classical than you can find available on 2nd hand vinyl. You can fill your boots with vinyl records of as many versions of the standard repertoire as you care for, but its almost impossible to find quality LPs of anything outside the mainstream. Whereas on digital the world is your oyster. The advent of CD and digital files enabled many more small recording labels to proliferate and specialise in non-mainstream repertoire whereas before this was limited by needing access to expensive pressing plants. Releases of contemporary classical music on vinyl were always very rare, now its commonplace on digital formats.

Unk.

I never thought I'd say it, but I agree almost* completely with that post by musicbox :dunno: - I'm gonna have to go and have a lie down for while, I must be coming down with flu or something. :sick:

It's OK, Alan, I luvs ya really. ;-)

* almost, because you can get great string tone on digital, imo.

Yep, dare I say that for a "serious" classical collection, one that explores beyond the old war-horses (wonderful though they are), then digital is the only way to go.

I was listening to Stanley Bate's 3rd symphony last night on a Dutton CD - great piece, but try finding that on vinyl. :nup:

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I can get similar sonic results from both formats cd/vinyl at my level of financial commitment but the good cd gets my vote

there is something about the crackles and noise on vinyl that makes me understand and love the classic better on vinyl tho- is it that I have to listen harder with vinyl?

I just re read this and it makes no sense yet I feel it to be right

maybe it's a mood thing - I mean that it's a bit a trouble/ commitment to use the vinyl so ur more attentive.

M mm still makes no reasonable sense.

Well nothing for it- I'll put on Shostakovich 5 and just let it take me

On vinyl

of course!

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It's pretty much all been said above, but CD (and streaming) all the way for me, especially for new music. I fell out of love with vinyl when I spent a fortune as a student on the Decca Britten War Requiem, only to have the quiet ethereal ending ruined by wowing and an annoying click. That was it.

Oh, that brings back memories. EMG in Soho Square became so tired of me returning faulty copies of the War Requiem that they eventually took me up to their room above the shop so that I could sample their stock and choose the best, or least worse. I listened in a large room to an enormous pair of Radford speakers spellbound at how good the recording was, apart from the tape hiss, and how good hifi equipment could be. Way over my student budget at the time.

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Oh, that brings back memories. EMG in Soho Square became so tired of me returning faulty copies of the War Requiem that they eventually took me up to their room above the shop so that I could sample their stock and choose the best, or least worse. I listened in a large room to an enormous pair of Radford speakers spellbound at how good the recording was, apart from the tape hiss, and how good hifi equipment could be. Way over my student budget at the time.

Malcolm, it is lovely to find a person who remembers EMG as a shop! I too was a major nuisance returning faulty pressings. Having said that, I have a collection of the Monthly Letter which spans over 40 years, and still use their sometimes ascerbic reviews as a starting point for my purchasing of early classical vinyl.

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I had forgotten about their reviews and acerbic could be a good description for some of their staff. It was them that introduced me to Mravinsky conducting Shostakovich, diverting me from purchasing a symphony conducted by Previn. Just around a couple of corners was Imhofs (?) with a few floors of unaffordable hifi but a decent record shop on the ground floor. Bumped into Bernard Haitink one day browsing through the LPs.

Back on topic though. Much as it is nice to reminisce it does remind me of just how frustrating vinyl was and what an answer to a prayer the arrival of CD was and still is. Now they are all ripped the former dream is realised; an effective way to search and browse a decent size collection which includes "odd" purchases which were getting forgotten on the shelves.

My turntable is likely to remain banished to the loft.

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I'd say digital beats vinyl for classical music. As a previous poster said, the quiet passages of classical can be ruined by LP noise. Also, the end of a classical piece is often a lot louder and more explosive than the start, yet inner grooves sound less good than the outer grooves, so maybe they should start records in the middle and go outwards. I know one company that's done this, so the grooves run in the other direction and the powerful crescendos at the end are reportedly much better!

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I refuse to vote.

Buy-enjoy what for you is the real magic.

It IS possible to convert analogue to inferior digital, for archiving-sharing X 3+ ...

My best 'CLASSICAL' menories are real, or analogue, before digital archiving ...

I agree of course that mank vinyl noise can at times seem to distract - bit like modernish films with shite 'music' soundtrack, when reality-relevant sounds are best ... e.g. fantastic 2011 film 'The Warhorse' beginning-end ...

Time will surely soon come when best analogue sound (despite vinyl-noise ...) will forever be lost, and we are left with inferior bit-rate digital.

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