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Digital or vinyl for classical?

Digital or vinyl for classical music?  

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Which is your preferred format when sound quality is the only consideration?

My contention is that because classical recordings don't suffer the same ham fisted approach of pop CDs, the technical advantages of digital carry the day.

Another Wammer has suggested that they still prefer vinyl for classical, citing a "correctness" especially on strings that they cannot achieve on digital.

I appreciate you may have individual excellent recordings on both formats that highlight the superiority of one over another, but try to make a balanced overall judgement based on your experience.

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Absolutely Mark that the mastering with classical will invariably be better and because I have built my classical collection later in life and for the most part during the CD age by far the greater part is on CD. But the few vinyl pressings I have are superb. The Clearaudio DG re-releases look excellent.

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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.

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Classical is the only genre that scores well on digital for me. Full dynamic range is far more important on some classical recordings.

ANY ticks, pops and surface noise really does spoil the classical vinyl experience, and makes buying secondhand a complete lottery.

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Apart from the surface noise issue much classical music needs spot on speed stability from a turntable - the slightest fluctuation seems easy to hear - especially on piano & some woodwind I find.

This is sometimes simply due to a very slightly off-centre spindle hole!

When it's right though, classical vinyl sings - massed strings possibly in particular.

Of course many CDs sound very very good.

Hard to call indeed!

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Guest

Doh! I meant to vote for digital but voted vinyl, it must be a subconscious thing:doh:.

:)

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Digital classical music is fine.

Whether or not, strings sound as good as on vinyl depends on quality of the playback equipment.

I started my classical collection the same time that CD came out. My very first classical cd is Karajan BPO recording of Bizet's L'arlesienne Suites. I've played this CD through every system upgrades and with each step up the rung, the string tone sounds more and more realistic. Reckoned I've reached near perfect realism this year.

So I'm keeping my classical collection to the CD and digital download formats. Lovers of vinyl pop and hiss are welcome to snatch up all those old LPs I have no intention of competing for.:P

SS

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I mainly listen to classical music and have loads of both LPs and CDs. Whilst I have a few LPs which I prefer to the CD equivalent it is overwhelmingly CD which wins on sound quality grounds.

There are a few LPs which I really enjoy because of the extra bass reverb produced in a turntable, but that is a question of fun rather than fidelity.

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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.

Seconded completely, apart from the fact that I've never heard this richer string tone.

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It is me who is the vinyl man from previous thread :)

Interesting that some of you guys cite the string richness too. Maybe my classical vinyl is just well recorded? Most of it is 60s stuff passed to me from dad and collecting.

- - - Updated - - -

Not sure whether any of you guys attended whittlebury past weekend - the mike valentine recordings both sounded better on the tt IMHO. Mind you the nagra dac also sounded fabulous. The direct cut four seasons was stunning.

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Obviously we can talk about the amount that is released on digital (loads) versus vinyl (almost none), and how that is potentially offset by buying second hand (chances of great condition though?), but:

- I find the surface noise of vinyl intrusive

- I find the mistracking and end of side distortion annoying

- I have to get up every 20 minutes? What if I want to listen to Mahler or Bruckner?

So if you have classical music with no quiet bits, no loud bits, only short pieces and nothing happening at the end of a movement, then vinyl might be OK. If you can find what you want, in perfect condition.

Hmm, I feel I'm sitting on the fence a bit here :)

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I have not tried the kl audio or audio systeme ultrasonic cleaners yet but I heard they are revelatory. Mind you, a good clean on my vpi 16.5 is effective.

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Obviously we can talk about the amount that is released on digital (loads) versus vinyl (almost none), and how that is potentially offset by buying second hand (chances of great condition though?), but:

- I find the surface noise of vinyl intrusive

- I find the mistracking and end of side distortion annoying

- I have to get up every 20 minutes? What if I want to listen to Mahler or Bruckner?

So if you have classical music with no quiet bits, no loud bits, only short pieces and nothing happening at the end of a movement, then vinyl might be OK. If you can find what you want, in perfect condition.

Hmm, I feel I'm sitting on the fence a bit here :)

You make a good point regarding long orchestral stuff or opera (Wagner!!!). To be fair I listen to the Solti Mahler on digital mainly so I agree on that. Violin concertos, chamber music, and shorter orchestral stuff on vinyl. If I am honest though, it is particularly Decca sxl that I like the most. Not such a DG fan even though I own a shed load of it.

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I still find vinyl more satisfying and engaging. Only a very small percentage of my records have any pops and clicks and when they do it is no different to people coughing during a concert performance. If the performance is really engaging you emotionally then you don't notice them. If you are getting end of side distortion then your set up needs adjusting and you can't blame the medium for that.

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