Records are better. I actually heard it

Just went to a friend's house whose dad has a (somewhat low end) audiophile system. He had on a couple CD's in the background, but once we started talking audio stuff, he plopped on a record.

And I actually heard with my own ears how much better records sound than CD's! Granted, maybe his CD player was crappy, but really so was his record player. He bought the table at the swap meet for like $50 (supposedly great for bargain tables and records as well), and added a $200 MC cartridge.

But the music, oh the music. I had always just assumed it was going to take a ridiculously expensive system for me to be able to hear the difference. But no. The music was alive. Like it was right there, that's the only way to describe it. And it flowed. The highs seemed effortless and non-fatiguing. The record even had some scratches or whatever in it so that it crackled and popped a bit, but even with this I still preferred it.

I need to find a way to make room, but I don't think I'm going to be able to hold off on getting a turntable for very long. Is there anyone who thinks it would be a big mistake to follow in my friend's dad's footsteps and buy an old table at the swap meet for $50 and add a nice $200 MC cartridge to it? He's picking up records at the swap meet for $1-$2 apiece. That's an entry cost of like $300 for sound that appears to kill CD sound.
Actually we knew it for 20+ years already....
Welcome to the land of vinyl and turntable.....
I'd start at a minimum with a Rega P-3 and cheap MC benz or Rega MM cart.. you can always upgrade this in various ways.. if you buy a cheap turntable now, in a year or two you'll be asking yourself why you didn't start off with something better. But if you buy used and cheap, buy an old Dual and put a new Grado on it. Plug that into an old Marantz 2000 series receiver from the 70's, a pair of old Epicure or original Advents and you're ready to roll.
You mean I'm really not crazy after all? :^)

Actually, I think you are doing just fine, and let your ears be the judge. There have been alot of recommendations on this board over the months and years, and you can do a search of the archives for many suggestions.
I second that Twl!
My epiphany was verified when my own non-audiophile wife commented after a record side ended one evening: "that sounded better than any CD I've ever heard. Now I understand". Friends think I'm crazy when I tell them vinyl really does sound better than digits. It only takes one listen for them to see the light. Welcome aboard! Rest assured that a very satisfying vinyl setup can be had without a massive cash infusion.
Well, yes you are, Tom, but that is the subject for another thread! :-) Seriously, though, it is good to see younger blood bitten by the analog bug. Do me a favor, Matt, SPREAD THE WORD to your compadres as my son is doing. Just don't frequent my used LP haunts! ;-)
Digital ? CD ? What the hell is that ?
I only knew about needle and big 12"CD's.

Buy that analog set up and welcome to real music !
There is a beautiful Acoustic Research AR ES-1 with a Sumiko arm and Ortofon cartridge with extras for sale here right now for $500.
So much to choose little time!
Welcome aboard Matt8268! Give us a total budget and a description of your setup and we'll go to work for you.
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Welcome to the world of analogue, Matt. Not only does vinyl sound better (make sure you get a good record cleaning machine), but I go to used record stores and buy albums for $3-$7, and they're usually in excellent condition.
Way to go Matt, and welcome indeed!

I had a similar experience to yours not too long ago. I borrowed a friends vintage Thorens rig a while back and was amazed to find that certain thing that flows from those black grooves. That "rightness" about the way analog sounds ... and I can't get enough of it.

I bought and sold three tables in rapid succession (I was too anxious that way) and although I've hardly "arrived" at my "final" system (and it's a modest system by absolute standards) I get a thrill every time a spin an ellpee. I totally agree with the record cleaner thing too -- I just bought one and now understand all the hooplah folks were making over a good vacuum machine.

The folks around here have helped me a lot, just diggin' though the posts and learning all about this side of the audio addiction. I spend my lunch breaks down at the local ellpee fishing grounds buying 4/1$ tunes (I'm not telling) and loving life!
well,i have some negative thing to say about vinyl, you ll try to go to every single flea market around your area every weekend and soon your listening room will smell like a flea market.welcome to the vinyl world matt..
I buy from 'flea markets', garage sales,thrift shops,used LP shops, etc,etc..My LP's dont stink.
I smell something here though,the smell of a Troll!
I always thought that the smell of flea market albums was a status symbol. It means you got a killer vinyl collection for a fraction of its original cost. I like that smell.
I can verify the smell thing, for sure! I actually bought some old Beatles albums that had been in a flood. The covers and jackets were a mess (the records, too... but the water hadn't reached the labels) Well, the guy thought I was nuts for buying them ($1 apiece, off the cuff pricing). Hooray for VPI 16.5!!!!
They are now perfect! I don't know if we like the music better, or just getting these bargains.

One addendum, my latest 'take' of old albums included these long but benign bugs (silverfish?)

Can a cockroack live in an album?
Of course LP's are better, but I need both because the world did not end in 1989 when they stopped making LP's.

Just make sure the alignment of the cartridge is proper, and check your tracking force.

Since LP's actually have something physical going on (the stylus vibrating in a record groove, and the "moving" magnet or coil) they really come alive. There are some records where the stylus can jump off the record, the music is so violent (Some recordings of the 1812 Overture come to mind.)

CD players need some help; mainly interconnect cables and power cables to take the glare and edge off. But they still can be a little flat, since nothing physical is going on.
Another "Man finds religion" story". This goes with all the others such as "my ten year old daughter was astounded by the sound of vinyl" etc. Whatever sounds like music to your ears, go for it. Some still claim that 78s have it all over 33 1/3s, go figure. Does any of this prove or disprove sanity or insanity, I doubt it.
TWL is right about new LP's. I've bought 19 new releases in the last two months. These are new artists and new releases (not reissue of old material).
Vinyl is truly a superior medium to Redbook standard digital, but there are still tremendous gains to be had. The heavy handed RIAA EQ radically strips vinyl of transparency and palpability. As a result the modern electronic based phono amp circuit is a serious impediment to quality sound reproduction. Fortunately, there is an effective, relatively low cost solution to this problem. If you're serious about vinyl reproduction you will need to abandon your flawed, overly complex electronics and go with a Direct Acoustic Megaphone Non-Electronic Device. The DAMNED takes the acoustic output of the vibrating stylus and via an acoustically coupled megaphones amplifies the soundwave until it reaches a usable decibel level.

There are two major drawbacks to the DAMNED. First is the size of the required megaphone. Fortunately, the size can be reduced by using a folded horn type configuration and DAMNED systems capable of producing 65dB in room sound levels can be had in cabinets smaller than 16' x 11' x 7' (containing 1.618 miles of megaphone length). If less output is required, the DAMNED is scalable to smaller sizes. Second, a DAMNED cannot be used with standard turntables. Because the megaphone position has to be fixed, the phono cartridge has to be stationary and the record platter has to be movable.

What the DAMNED does is take music reproduction to new heights. Without the problems of electronic circuitry you will be able to hear far further into the recorded performance. Be prepared for unheard of levels of inner detail, inter-transient silence, low level transparency, seamless continuousness, musicality, and dynamics. The illusion of being able to reach out and touch the performers has never been more real. It's reach out and caress. Once you experience this level a palbable pabability you will never be able to go back to the hazy, unnatural, electronically clouded world of normal vinyl playback.

Please e-mail if you're interested. I can provided detailed DIY plans for DAMNs. They can be constructed out of wood (baltic birch preferred) or synthetic polymer resins with a simple CNC router. There's a rumour that a man in Athens is building his from a solid billet of titanium. Sound reproduction doesn't get any better than the DAMNED thing (bad pun intended).
Of course I know they still make LP's, TWL; but what about the 200+ CD's I have that came out since 1989 that they don't have LP's for; that would have been on LP if that was still the standard format?

I still remember the day BMG forced me to switch to the CD club. The only good thing was they gave me a list of their remaining LP inventory, and let me buy as many as I wanted for next to nothing (basically the shipping charge).

I am currently waiting for a used LP I bought that's coming from Germany. But I wonder if I really would have bothered going to all the trouble, except there is no CD for it.

I feel sort of that way about SACD. I'm not going to buy an SACD player to listen to the one SACD I might consider owning, and then only if it totally kills the redbook issue.

There was a time when the wealthy had their own live-in orchestras and musicians.
This is still better sounding than even LP's, but...........

My box seats overlooking the stage at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is still something that I would keep, if I had to make a choice of either giving them up, or my LP's. Tonight, Yuri Temirkanov conducts Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev. and Shchedrin. Can't wait!
Yes, I understand. The LP selection is not as wide as CD, for the new releases. Regrettable, but true.
OK, Onhwy61..... I'll say it.

"That was just too DAMNED funny!"

Laughed out loud long and hard.

Are we really regressing?
I'd say that I listen to music and not listen to my system. I'll buy a 1955 recording released on CD. If I later find the LP great. But I won't deny myself the enjoyment of listening to that performance, when it could take me years to locate an LP in good condition.
My CD player is fairly nice (ARC CD_2)and my phono section is pretty low end (CJ walker table, linn arm and cart, B&O phono stage). both run through VTL. For convenience, ease of finding new material, and not having to tippy toe around the room i have no problems with the CDs. But everytime i venture into the LP collection i enjoy the increased sence of space and life the music takes on compared with CD. Can't imagine what a real analog front end would sound like and probably never will spend the bucks to find out but analog is the superior medium imho.
Don't know why this thread was resurrected, but here's my angle.

I'm 22. I come from the digital generation--all those ones and zeros shoved down our throats, you'd better believe it!

There's a vast wasteland of people my age slogging through their days with MP3s buzzing through their gangrenous heads, and, whether consciously or not, they're wondering where the music went.

Me personally, I found it eminating from the grooves of the first record I spun on the AR ES-1 that I rescued from a basment only a year and a half ago. It had been pretty badly beaten, but it had a Linn Basik tonearm and working suspension...and so I took it in like an orphaned kitten. I fed it a saucerful of TLC and even gave it a Shure M97x to help lift its spirits (later they'd be lifted further with the appearance of a Clearaudio cart).

Flash forward a year and a half. I now have a Michell Gyrodec gracing my living room--amped by the warm regards of glowing vacuum tubes--and my LP collection--as well as my friends' collections--have swelled undeniably. Our digital collections? Notsomaaaach ;) In fact, in some of my friends living rooms, you'll find a big ol' box with an arm and spinning platter filling space once occupied by a spaghetti mess of cheap zip cords attatching all kinds of beeping, shiny doo-dads and digi-whatsits.

Hey, we may have been branded the digital generation, but we still have ears...and some of us know how to use 'em! Our numbers are small but growing all the time :)
amen Ragmuffin

let your ears do the walking

so are your musical tastes more pre 1989?
or have you found a lot of newer vinyl?
Hey Audiotomb,

You know, to be really honest, a significant chunk of my collection is post-1989, though my tastes are all over the place. I do have my share of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Primus, Tool, Tori Amos records and so on--even a some punk and metal! It's the music I grew up with so I'm partial to it, even if it's not the most brilliant stuff in the world. In fact, in the pics of my virtual system, the record sitting on the Gyrodec is an AIC record ;) I'll say that most of the new vinyl I buy is modern music--I'm suprised at how much is available these days!

However, I do have my share of 50's to early 80's music as well and love that too. Some gems are my original Tommy and early pressing DSOTM (I also have the newest 30th edition Dark Side and it sounds incredible), an old Pink Floyd 3-LP bootleg set that may be a Dark Side-era German bootleg, Miles Davis Quiex pressing, Janis, Lou Reed, Sabbath and so-on. I have my eyes out for some good quality Joni Mitchells and early Santanas lately, and more Lou Reed/Velvet stuff too.

I've noticed that alot of my friends' collections are mostly older, pre 80's vinyl. They have some gems, original Led Zep, Floyd and Beatles records and so-on. Cliche but good nonetheless...especially for us "digital" kids ;)
I did something similar, got an old Thorens TD-110 and put on
a decent cartridge (Shure something 97 something). It sounds
fairly good, but you are definitely taking a risk with old
equipment. If I could do it again I would at least have held
out for a TD-125.

However, even a couple of $50 mistakes isn't too bad if you
find a good one.
And don't neglect those new 200g pressings from Classic Records....They're expensive, but they DO sound better!

Norah Jones' record is unbelievable on LP. Lush!

I just ordered Santana's Supernatural (for fifty bucks!) They got me, man...I need the fix!! The CD is killer. I can't wait for the LP.

Don't misunderstand...I've got a ton of bargain records, too... but these 200g pressings are really special. I reserve them for impressing non-stereophiles and for special nights with the grills off the speakers and the lights down low.

BTW, my system is kinda top-end (not braggin', just happy :) maybe that's why these make a difference.

On Christmas, I was laughing as I first played Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song" on CD then on 35 year old record. Even a deaf person would be able to hear that the record sounded so much better.

However, the public has been brainwashed that CDs are better. The "Perfect Sound" I guess wasn't perfect as we now have DVD-A and SACD. The more I read about the latter two, the less inclined I am to pursue them.
Well, I guess I'll trot it out again: No one could accuse me of having a digital bias, since my vinyl collection positively dwarfs my CD collection. But the fact is, of the material I own in both formats, some recordings sound better on LP, some on CD. This includes vintage as well as new vinyl pressings, although I own relatively few new pressings by comparison. And in certain areas of sonic performance, such as transient definition or background quietness (otherwise known as signal-to-noise ratio), CD always has an advantage.

I'll be the first to admit that neither my analog nor my digital rigs are state-of-the-art, but IMO it's a lot like real estate, where they say the three most important things are location, location, and location. With recording formats, the three most important things are mastering, mastering, and mastering (plus pressing, especially for the vinyl record). If your vinyl record is better mastered than your CD of the same material, then it will sound better on a decent rig, and the same thing is true in reverse if your CD contains the better mastering job. If both formats are very well mastered, then in my experience it doesn't make a whole damn lot of difference which format you listen to as long the playback gear is of roughly comparable quality.

With that in mind, CD's are more convenient for their potential of extended, uninterrupted playing times, programmable/remote track access, and less needy care requirements, so for new issues, if the price is equivalent I generally buy the CD where both formats are offered, and always if the CD contains more bonus tracks (or the LP if it contains more bonus tracks). Of course, there are still many CD's out there where the mastering is of questionable quality, but the same is true for LP's (pressing quality too), so oftentimes you really have to buy and listen to know which format is best for any individual recording, unless someone can tell you in advance.

Anyone who's interested can click on my 'Threads' and go to the one entitled "Upsampling Put to the Test", to read about a test I did where the signal from my analog rig was digitized into Redbook format, then decoded by my DAC and instantaneously compared in a level-matched A-B test to the original unprocessed analog feed. The upshot was that there was very little difference to be heard between the straight analog signal and that same signal as encoded/decoded by my digital rig, and part of what small differences there were in favor of the pure analog feed must be chalked up to the extra cabling involved in transmitting the digitally processed signal. These test results surprised even me, as I had always thought my digital front end did have some sort of slight but identifiably 'digital' character to it that I didn't hear from my analog front end, but the test revealed that the losses were both smaller and of a different sort than I had always assumed, despite the test construction unavoidably favoring the analog a slight bit by default. It forced me to conclude that the vast majority of what I had thought were 'digital'-sounding flaws present in regular CD playback were actually the fault of the software (the mastering and/or the manufacturing) or the disk-reading process, but not the Redbook format itself or my decoder's digital-to-analog conversion process.

Bottom line: If your gear's not handicapping the race too much one way or the other, then the quality of the software (meaning how well it was mastered and manufactured) - rather than its type, LP or CD - will be the most important determinant of the resulting sound quality, IMO.
those 200 gram lps are wonderful

I have Peter Gabriel's 1 (car) and Up

Up is a whole new experience on vinyl
much more emotional and engaging

also Lucinda Williams World Without Tears, Love - Forever Changes and Steely Dan Everything Must Go

I also have a lot of Japanese pressings from the early 80's of 70's stuff I taped once and put away, nice to bring those back out.

My Nottingham Spacedeck kills my digital system which is no slouch, so glad I took the plunge, it was quite a leap of faith having no demo from my dealer, only hearing one in a poor setup at the only other person in New Orleans house. Thanks to audiogon, you guys helped me off the cliff and back into true audio nirvana.