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Analog Audio’s Comeback
October 08, 2010 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
With soaring record sales and interest in tube-based amplification products, we take a closer look at how old-school is sounding new again.
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7 Comments (displaying chronologically) Post a comment
Posted by bryan catmull  on  10/08  at  11:26 PM

whats next, a return to analogue tv?  come on mr Archer.  there is no
amplified sound method that comes close to a direct comparison
with a live performance,  this fascination with analogue sound   verses
digital is a non event from my personal perspective,  why there are even people who prefer shellac 78,s sound to vinyl, can you believe that!,  there will always be that small group of people who want to cling to
the past,  thats fair enough, but don’t promote the fiction its a boom,

Posted by bob archer  on  10/09  at  06:15 AM

Hi Bryan, vinyl sales are up according to the RIAA, and if you go to the record shows, you’ll see them busy with younger and older consumers. These sales won’t even show up in any sales statistics, but attend a show and you’ll see.

Many dealers are also reporting that their two-channel sales are up and their turntable sales are up.

While it is hard to replicate the live sound experience of going to a show, there are those who believe that analog technologies offer a better means of recreating that experience.

Here’s some final food for thought: When you go to a show the odds are unbelievably high that the guitar players will be using tube amps. It’s the guitar community that’s kept tubes alive all these years. The reason guitar players prefer tubes is that they are richer harmonically than solid-state amps.

So look in the back of those Marshall, Fender, Mesa Boogie and other amps to see what those guys are using, and then listen to a tube amp at a dealer, you’ll see why guitar players prefer tubes.

Posted by Vinyl Rules  on  10/11  at  01:05 PM

Most LPs sound better than digitized music - though a lot also depends on the quality of the recording.

But audio nuts like Fremer do the public a disservice with arcane minutiae like footfall feedback. They turn what most people want - a simple, pleasant listening experience - into a sick, audioholic obsession that makes it much more complicated and expensive than it need be.

It’s no wonder that most will prefer to simply switch on their iPods rather than worrying about whether they should be grounding a rack to a wall with a turnbuckle and wedge.

Posted by Cliff Cordes  on  10/11  at  01:25 PM

This throwback to scratchy vinyl and microphonic tube amps has nothing to do with audio quality.  Today’s “highly compressed music” is not the fault of CD-ROM technology. The more then 90 dB dynamic range of a CD-ROM can take a set of properly amplified speakers from a barely perceptible flute solo to an orchestra crescendo that can chase you out of the room.  But looking at the wavefile of modern music it looks like a flatop haircut from the 50’s.  It seems the artists and audio engineers are competing for the top 2 dB. “Make mine sound louder then his”.

This compressed trend will swing back to music and material with rich dynamic range. I’ll just avoid the boom-boom until then.

Posted by Jim Weir  on  10/11  at  03:16 PM

Don’t turn off the modern surround processing even on vinyl. The surroundmodes do a quite reasonable job in adding ambience to make playback a more realistic experience.  Many modern pop recording do make a mockery of the 80+ dB dynamic range available in digital recording and reproduction. But choose classical, blue grass and a range of origional recordings and the experience of imagining a performance in you home theater room is something to hold on to.

Posted by Jason  on  10/14  at  12:40 PM

@ Cliff:

I’m not so sure it will swing back to a rich dynamic range, for the very reason that the trend went to compressed audio range in the first place.  Most people don’t sit and listen to music as a primary activity very much.  Music is background.  When you’re not actually paying attention to the music, it needs to all be compressed at the top end or else you lose it altogether.  It would have been better (albeit more expensive, especially 20-30 years ago) to put those controls in the amplifier, but that’s not what happened.

Vinyl doesn’t (necessarily) suffer from that trend simply because these days it’s made pretty much exclusively for people who actually want to sit down and listen to the music.  As Jim Weir points out, the same can be true of classical (among others) on CD.

Posted by Mabe  on  10/14  at  03:23 PM

Unless that article was written for installers, I tend to agree with VinylRules.

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