vinyl tunefulness

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Charlie1
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vinyl tunefulness

Post by Charlie1 »

Is there any era or record label or pressing plant etc that members think particularly tuneful out of all the decades of vinyl?

I have been told that the early blue note first pressings have an amazing live sound but what do folks think has been most tuneful?

Obviously we are talking gross generalisations as you can't compare two totally different albums but perhaps there has been enough output throughout the many years to form some consistent patterns.
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Post by springwood64 »

My vinyl ranges from early 70s pressings to the present day but at around 300 is probably too small a sample. I don't have any exotic pressings - most of it is second-hand standard issue.

On the whole, I've not noticed a consistent pattern in tunefulness. But, I have noticed an irritating tendency of new 180g pressings to suffer excess surface noise. Quite often if a vinyl version of a new album is available it will be a 180g pressing. I can't say that I've noticed any benefit in terms of tunefulness of 180g and tend to view it as a bit of pain. Anyone else experienced the same?
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Post by monkeydevil »

It is the quality of the vinyl itself that is important. Virgin vinyl vs recycled vinyl. The latter sounds bad.
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Post by Lego »

Any album by Augustus Pablo sounds very tuneful even old crackly pressings..
I know that tune
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Tony Tune-age
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

As for the newer albums being sold today, they can sound very nice and many of them sound much nicer than the older original albums from years past. I have albums weighing 125 grams, 180 grams and 200 grams from various record labels, and there hasn't been much difference between them in terms of sound quality.

However, nearly half of the newer albums I buy have some type of flaw such as scratches, chips, or an unremoveable spot like melted plastic or paper. In some instances, I have been able to exchange the album for another just like it, or for a different album. But there have been a few situations when I've had to keep the album, without any replacement.

In spite of improved sound performance over the older albums, there seems to be less quality control with the newer heavy vinyl albums.
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Post by Charlie1 »

Yes, I've found the quality to be poorer with up to date releases too. Less so with the audiopile stuff, but certainly with the mainstream music. Warped LPs seems very common now.

I also like the sound of the audiophile re-issues although don't find them as musical and engageing. I find Classic Records to be worse but Speakers Corner, Cisco and Rhino have all been less tuneful in my experience. Even thin floppy 80s 'Nice Price' reissues have been more tuneful.
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Post by Efraim roots »

Lego wrote:
Any album by Augustus Pablo sounds very tuneful even old crackly pressings..
That's probably because the music itself has such incredible vibes 8)

If you want to so see a nice video with Augustus Pablo on guitar and melodica togheter with 'the blessed youth' Hugh Mundell in the hills in Jamaica late 70's, follow the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KSak7spluY
This is the kind of vibes I'm talking about, breaks every barrier (including youtube quality and vinylpressings..)

Sorry for OT but I had to comment as I love roots reggae and was very happy to see A Pablo name on this forum.

Regarding vinyl tunefullness I feel that it's mostly up to the master. But some of the thick original 70's Jamaican pressings has stunning musicality I must say.
the players of instruments shall be there..
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Post by lejonklou »

Great link, roots man!

I had to search ebay for Augustus Pablo records right away... Any special recommendations?
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Post by Per A »

Efraim roots wrote: Sorry for OT but I had to comment as I love roots reggae and was very happy to see A Pablo name on this forum.

Am listening to Wingless Angels. Not sure it's roots but reggae on drums. And good :D
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Post by Efraim roots »

Thanks Lejonklou, glad you liked it! I think you should get 'King Tubbys meets Rockers uptown' wich is a essential dub album. Pablos killer rythms and state of art mixing by King Tubby. Keep in mind that the record is from early 70's in a devoloping country and King Tubbys studio equipment was mostly build by himself. He started his career as a talented radio repairman 8)
Other good albums with Augustus Pablo is 'East of the river Nile' and 'Original rockers'. I highly rate Augustus Pablo as a producer and I must also recommend 'Hugh Mundell - Time and place' wich is a vocal album with the youth from the videoclip. Jacob Miller - Who say Jah no dread' wich is vocal+dub album. There is also a real good collection of his productions with various artists named 'Rockers International'.

Per A,
I have heard about that album but never heard it myself. I would definatley buy it if I find it. I heard that it was produced by Keith Richards or if it was released on his label or something like that. The style of the album is supposed to be Nyahbingi drumming wich is the original rastafarian music from the hills of Jamaica.
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Tony Tune-age
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

As a result of this thread, I've been listening to a few older original albums and the newer audiphile versions for comparison. Although I'm still conducting comparisons, I have noticed some differneces. Not all of the audiophile records sound better, or even as good as the older original records. It will be awhile before I know if this applies to just a few of the newer albums, or most of them.

In any case, it was my understanding that audiophile albums were created from the original master recordings. If this is true, I'm not sure why there's a problem.
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Post by Efraim roots »

I guess all those audiophile pressings also often include a re-master from the original tapes and the musicality often suffers from that. They often just want to make it 'soundwise' better. I have heard a few horrible remasters 'tunewize', especially on those real old recordings where the engineer tried to eliminate cracks and background hiss. Makes me super disapointed as these recordings are just impossible to find original copies of. I always seem to prefer the original pressings but there is no audiophile pressings in my taste of music, but alot of new pressings of old albums and singles.
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Post by ThomasOK »

Efraim roots is definitely on the right track. The problem with Audiophile Records is that they are generally made by "Audiophiles". And as any of us who has heard typical "Audiophile" systems can attest they have much to do with "great sound" (soundstage, detail, clear highs, powerful bass, etc.) and little to do with music. Even if they are made from the original master tapes (which is not always the case) they are still re-mastered. In most cases you will find that the tape is fed from a customized tape machine through a customized mixing desk using some kind of fancy cables into a customized cutting lathe. As you can imagine, when all this "customization" is done by those trying to make the sound spectacular rather than the music enjoyable the results can be pretty bad. If you go to any of the sites of the companies who put these records out you will generally find the story of all the things they have done to the equipment to get the sound they produce. It often isn't pretty!

In addition they don't always have the original master tapes. I was recently lent the Mobile Fidelity "Original Master Recording" of "In the Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson. Mobile Fidelity claimed that all their records were from the original master tapes but it was definitely not true in this case. It is well known by King Crimson fans that the original master tapes for In the Court were lost for decades after the record was originally mastered in the UK. They were only found a few years ago and were first used to make the 2004 CD release and again, with a total remix, on the new 2009 40th Anniversary CD/DVD release (sadly no new vinyl). Also most pressings are not made from the master but a second generation copy and records in other countries than the original country are often off copies of the copy so third generation or worse. There are other MoFi records that are reported to have not been made from the original masters as well but I don't remember which right now. Also remember that even if they use the original master tapes those tapes are getting pretty old and may have lost a fair bit of the music. They also are likely to have been recorded on a totally different tape machine than what the remastering people are now using which will also change the sound somewhat.

I have generally never been fond of the Audiophile records, a feeling reaffirmed when I read that the first Norah Jones sounded far better on the stock Blue Note LP than on the Classic Records 200 gram version. I bought a new Blue Note a year ago and found it was definitely true. It was also demonstrated again recently by the King Crimson record. Even though I've never been happy with MoFi records one of my coworkers tempted me by pointing out that a fair number of posts on Pink Fish said that they didn't like MoFis either except for the King Crimson which they felt was really good. I checked online and found that these MoFi records tend to go for at least $150US and sealed copies often go over $400! But another coworker said he had a very clean copy he would lend me and he just recently did. I haven't done a full comparison yet but a few quick A/Bs don't look good for the MoFi. It definitely sounds somewhat "Audiophile" in that it has soft highs, a fuller bass and very quiet surfaces, but there is more emotion in Greg Lake's voice, better intelligibility in the playing of instruments, better flow to the music and just a more enjoyable experience from my 40 year old US pressing even though it has been played so much there is certainly wear on it. So far I don't find the MoFi as enjoyable as the US pressing. And the US pressing is a substantial step behind an early UK pressing another friend lent me recently!
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

I have been able to compare the original Quadrophenia album, which was recorded by MCA Records, with the newer 200 gram version from Classic Records. On my system, the original does sound more musical or tuneful. A few other "Who" albums do follow the same trend (i.e., original better than audiophile version).

The Doors' seven LP set is recorded by DMC - Rhino Vinyl, and is a very nice album collection. All seven of these albums sound at least as musical or tuneful as the original records, and some of these newer albums do sound better than the originals. A few of the original Door's albums were recorded by Elektra Enterainment Group. Not sure if other record label companies were used by the Door's.

The original Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" album doesn't sound nearly as musical or tuneful, as the newer two album set of Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms." Both albums are by Warner Brothers Record Incorporated.

Although my listening tests are on-going, not all of my audiophile albums sound less musical or tuneful...which is a good thing :) .
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

I just completed another listening test with an original album by Simon and Garfunkel, called "Bridge Over troubled Water" and a 200 gram audiophile version from Classic Records. They both have Columbia Record labels, and sound very similar. Each album sounds musical and tuneful. However, the 200 gram record does sound a little more musical than the original.

There doesn't seem to be any particular pattern, as it pertains to the tunefulness of 200 gram records. But I will continue this research project 8) .
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Post by lejonklou »

I haven't heard any Classic Records LP's. But in the past I tried several MoFi vinyls and found them all very disappointing musically.
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Post by Lego »

lejonklou wrote:Great link, roots man!

I had to search ebay for Augustus Pablo records right away... Any special recommendations?
'This is Augustus Pablo' I'm sure its his first album,shame he is no longer with us..great album very melodic...oops sorry

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/AUGUSTUS-PABLO-TH ... 1798wt_922
I know that tune
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Just received the Led-Zeppelin "Mothership" album box set, produced by Jimmy Page. Although it's a collection of their best songs, I can compare these with the same songs from the original albums.

Thus far, all songs from the box set sound better (i.e., more musical) than the original records. The research continues...
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Just compared the original Boz Scaggs "Silk Degrees" album, with the 180 gram version made by Pure Pleasure Records Limited. (Note: both albums have the Columbia Record label)

Each of these albums are very musical, but the newer version provides a little more substance overall. However, the 180 gram version costs several times more than the original album.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Compared the original Santana Abraxas album, which is on Columbia record label, with the newer version, which is on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label - by Columbia. This is a very interesting comparison, because both are essentially musically equal. But the newer version is more clear and detailed, perhaps due to the quality of vinyl. Good stuff indeed 8) .
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Post by lejonklou »

I am surprised by this report, Tony, as every Mobile Fidelity LP that I've heard has been musically far worse than the original. In some cases I haven't had any original to compare with, but even a thin later copy from a different country than the original has been better than the MF.
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Original albums are generally hard to find, especially in good condition. But I have several original albums in my collection, which I've been slowly replacing with the newer versions. However, I keep all of my original albums for many reasons :) .

What I find interesting is, the difference of sound between original and newer vinyl isn't always predictable :wink: . My newer "Who" albums are not as musical as the originals :!:
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Post by Charlie1 »

Thanks for feeding back your findings Tony. I've kind of given up with audiophile vinyl after no success (musically), but I never bought that many LPs in truth - approx 10 I'd guess. Glad you're having better luck :)
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Post by Tony Tune-age »

Charlie1, in many aspects, vinyl playback is a little more involved than disk playback. Turntables need a good plinth, have to be properly adjusted, isolated and level, tonearms have to be properly matched with cartridges (i.e., tonearm mass and cartridge compliance). And a solid performing power supply is essential to musical play back. Even with all of these variables being properly addressed, some turntables still perform better than other turntables. In my world, that's where the challenge really begins :!:
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Post by lejonklou »

Charlie's deep into vinyl, Tony. An LP12 is currently his only HiFi source. He meant that he's never bought more than approx 10 audiophile LP's.

Personally, I tend to avoid almost everything that's labelled 'audiophile'... To me it appears to be a label that indicates that the focus has not been on musical parameters.
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