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tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/18/21 1:21 p.m.
Beer Baron said:

In reply to tuna55 :

Website that sells music.

Neat. Will look into it. Blocked at work.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/18/21 3:40 p.m.

In reply to Beer Baron :

I don't disagree, but you're probably reading too much into my comment.  Even decent cables aren't cheap when you're used to buying generic 2-wire cable on a roll from a home center.

flat4_5spd
flat4_5spd New Reader
11/18/21 7:00 p.m.

I just spotted something on your crossover assembly. The inductors should be installed at 90 deg to the other to avoid magnetic coupling. 
(so one should be resting flat against the the wood, and the other should be standing on end like a tire that's mounted on a car resting on the road) They don't really spell this out in the instructions, but if you look at the pictorial diagram of the crossover diagram, you can see that one of the inductors is illustrated like an "O" and the other is illustrated like a rectangle, which is how a 2-D top view of a hoop appears. 

It will definitely work if you do it the "wrong" way, worst case is a bit of bleed through of the signal that's supposed to go to the woofer into the tweeter or vice versa- whether that's audible or even measureable depends. But, I'd do it the right way if you have the opportunity. 

(The two inductors basically form an air-core transformer--- the current going into one creates a magnetic field which then induces current in the other one.) My apologies in advance if you have a EE degree or something and this is totally patronizing. 

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/18/21 8:06 p.m.
flat4_5spd said:

I just spotted something on your crossover assembly. The inductors should be installed at 90 deg to the other to avoid magnetic coupling. 
(so one should be resting flat against the the wood, and the other should be standing on end like a tire that's mounted on a car resting on the road) They don't really spell this out in the instructions, but if you look at the pictorial diagram of the crossover diagram, you can see that one of the inductors is illustrated like an "O" and the other is illustrated like a rectangle, which is how a 2-D top view of a hoop appears. 

It will definitely work if you do it the "wrong" way, worst case is a bit of bleed through of the signal that's supposed to go to the woofer into the tweeter or vice versa- whether that's audible or even measureable depends. But, I'd do it the right way if you have the opportunity. 

(The two inductors basically form an air-core transformer--- the current going into one creates a magnetic field which then induces current in the other one.) My apologies in advance if you have a EE degree or something and this is totally patronizing. 

 

It's not patronizing! I did take a few EE courses but I just followed the instructions without thinking. Thanks for the feedback, I'll rotate one on each crossover. I appreciate it!

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/20/21 6:47 p.m.

The turntable has arrived. I'm using an old speaker, as I have not learned how to use veneer before (and may punt and paint it) and the C note speakers are not done. 

 

It sounds lovely. 

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/22/21 7:38 a.m.

ok, so as an engineer who understands the basics of acoustics, I understand what digitization does to music. I also understand that most methods of doing so are so good that your ear cannot tell the difference.

 

So why is there a difference? I have just the one old speaker on there now, the C note ones are not yet painted, and yet Bill Withers and Carole King sound better than I have ever heard them. It can't really be true, but yet my ears are telling me that it is.

flat4_5spd
flat4_5spd New Reader
11/22/21 8:12 a.m.

One of the factors is that CD/digital releases are often mastered differently from LP releases. (Old recordings were engineered to sound good when played back with the tech of the era-LPs) Also, some of the "analog warmth" is just euphonic distortion- much like some of the various "sound sweetening" boxes in the recording studio add trace amounts of controlled distortion. Distortion in trace doses can add harmonics and make things sound richer and fuller.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/22/21 8:47 a.m.
tuna55 said:

So why is there a difference? I have just the one old speaker on there now, the C note ones are not yet painted, and yet Bill Withers and Carole King sound better than I have ever heard them. It can't really be true, but yet my ears are telling me that it is.

It depends. There are a lot of factors on the state of that digital file. A CD or lossless digital file natively on a computer will be different animals from a lossy compression file (e.g. MP3) on a computer, or streaming a file. Heck, I can tell a drastic difference in quality between streaming on Amazon music and Spotify (even the lowest quality on Amazon is higher than the highest quality on Spotify).

As mentioned, the mastering quality is HUGE, and whether it was mastered for the medium it ends up getting stored on. A lot of older music was also crafted with the intention of being stored primarily on vinyl, and so was originally created to show well on that medium.

The digital recording can also play a big factor based on how it was mixed for CD. There is a lot more ability to adjust the equalizing in digital. This became a HUGE problem in the 90's and early 00's with the rise of the "loudness wars". Basically, producers were cranking up the noise floor on digital recordings to make them play as LOUD as possible. To the point where they would regularly hit the ceiling of the maximum volume of the medium, and washing out any dynamic range (difference between loudest and quitest notes). This same sin was done to many digital masterings. Even though vinyl technically doesn't support as much dynamic range, you can't just max it out because you'll end up with the needle just bouncing out of the groove on all but the best equipment.

For reference of what that looks like, compare the waveform (height is volume) of 'Stairway to Heaven' vs Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends' (which isn't even the worst offender of this).

Stairway to Heaven - Sound Wave Art Print Metal Print by Bespoken Art

Green Day Wake Me Up When September Ends waveform art Digital Art by  Timothy Fehling

People often describe vinyl as sounding "warmer", but a lot of that is that the limitations of the medium make it emphasize midrange frequencies - human vocal range. Recordings that are vocally focused on Bill Withers baritone and Carole King's alto with primarily accoustic backing are going to play well to the strengths of vinyl. The vinyl will really showcase the warmth of those vocal performances. Psychologically, us humans really the sound of humans vocalizing. We tend to prefer performances that bring that forward.

Now, if you take classical music or modern electronica that have really high highs and really deep lows, those styles of music are more likely to sound better on good digital recordings.

Digital is actually a lot better at translating a digital map of a waveform into analog than most people realize. It may recorded it in sort of stair steps, but that is always converted into a smooth analog wave before sending it to your speakers.

Where I find both vinyl and lower quality digital really fall on their faces is with higher frequency sibilances (the sounds of 'esses'). I especially notice this with the sound of cymbals and high hats. On lower quality digital, a high hat or cymbal just sounds like a single frequency white noise "tsshhh". When you listen to it on higher quality recording, you actually hear multiple frequencies as the surface oscillates. When vinyl struggles with those noises, I find it more just sounds muted or muddied. Like the drummer is muting it with their hand, or there's a thick blanket between me and the high hat. It's not what it's supposed to sound like, but it's a sound my brain still registers as "organic", where the digitized "tsshh" sounds artificial.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/22/21 10:00 a.m.

When CD players were new they did studies on which sounded better.  Take the same recording (to remove all of the master/etc questions), put it on both formats and use a brand-new vinyl record (to avoid wear concerns) and high quality components.  Conduct a double-blind study where neither the person doing the listening/evaluation nor the person conducting the study know which playback is which, it's just "button A" and "button B".  The result?  People couldn't tell the difference.

 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/22/21 10:28 a.m.
Beer Baron said:
tuna55 said:

So why is there a difference? I have just the one old speaker on there now, the C note ones are not yet painted, and yet Bill Withers and Carole King sound better than I have ever heard them. It can't really be true, but yet my ears are telling me that it is.

It depends. There are a lot of factors on the state of that digital file. A CD or lossless digital file natively on a computer will be different animals from a lossy compression file (e.g. MP3) on a computer, or streaming a file. Heck, I can tell a drastic difference in quality between streaming on Amazon music and Spotify (even the lowest quality on Amazon is higher than the highest quality on Spotify).

As mentioned, the mastering quality is HUGE, and whether it was mastered for the medium it ends up getting stored on. A lot of older music was also crafted with the intention of being stored primarily on vinyl, and so was originally created to show well on that medium.

The digital recording can also play a big factor based on how it was mixed for CD. There is a lot more ability to adjust the equalizing in digital. This became a HUGE problem in the 90's and early 00's with the rise of the "loudness wars". Basically, producers were cranking up the noise floor on digital recordings to make them play as LOUD as possible. To the point where they would regularly hit the ceiling of the maximum volume of the medium, and washing out any dynamic range (difference between loudest and quitest notes). This same sin was done to many digital masterings. Even though vinyl technically doesn't support as much dynamic range, you can't just max it out because you'll end up with the needle just bouncing out of the groove on all but the best equipment.

For reference of what that looks like, compare the waveform (height is volume) of 'Stairway to Heaven' vs Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends' (which isn't even the worst offender of this).

Stairway to Heaven - Sound Wave Art Print Metal Print by Bespoken Art

Green Day Wake Me Up When September Ends waveform art Digital Art by  Timothy Fehling

People often describe vinyl as sounding "warmer", but a lot of that is that the limitations of the medium make it emphasize midrange frequencies - human vocal range. Recordings that are vocally focused on Bill Withers baritone and Carole King's alto with primarily accoustic backing are going to play well to the strengths of vinyl. The vinyl will really showcase the warmth of those vocal performances. Psychologically, us humans really the sound of humans vocalizing. We tend to prefer performances that bring that forward.

Now, if you take classical music or modern electronica that have really high highs and really deep lows, those styles of music are more likely to sound better on good digital recordings.

Digital is actually a lot better at translating a digital map of a waveform into analog than most people realize. It may recorded it in sort of stair steps, but that is always converted into a smooth analog wave before sending it to your speakers.

Where I find both vinyl and lower quality digital really fall on their faces is with higher frequency sibilances (the sounds of 'esses'). I especially notice this with the sound of cymbals and high hats. On lower quality digital, a high hat or cymbal just sounds like a single frequency white noise "tsshhh". When you listen to it on higher quality recording, you actually hear multiple frequencies as the surface oscillates. When vinyl struggles with those noises, I find it more just sounds muted or muddied. Like the drummer is muting it with their hand, or there's a thick blanket between me and the high hat. It's not what it's supposed to sound like, but it's a sound my brain still registers as "organic", where the digitized "tsshh" sounds artificial.

This is fascinating. I will read up on it a bit more. I'm not surprised, but pretty amazed that producers would do this on purpose in the name of loud.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/22/21 10:30 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

When CD players were new they did studies on which sounded better.  Take the same recording (to remove all of the master/etc questions), put it on both formats and use a brand-new vinyl record (to avoid wear concerns) and high quality components.  Conduct a double-blind study where neither the person doing the listening/evaluation nor the person conducting the study know which playback is which, it's just "button A" and "button B".  The result?  People couldn't tell the difference.

 

I've heard this study. I went into turntable ownership knowing this, that both were good enough that your ear couldn't hear the digitizing. Then I listened and all was gone. Full disclosure, I don't own a Bill Withers or Carole King CD. I've only heard radio or streaming. Maybe I have to buy a record which I also own a CD of and try back to back.

 

Either way, this sounds amazing. I found myself oh-ing and ah-ing over songs I have heard dozens of times, just because of how good they sounded.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/22/21 10:35 a.m.
tuna55 said:

Maybe I have to buy a record which I also own a CD of and try back to back.

Ideally you want to use a CD that was produced before the "loudness wars" that Beer Baron mentioned.  A lot of popular recordings were remastered in the 90s and 2000s and have the same dynamic range issues as more modern recordings.

 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/22/21 10:48 a.m.
tuna55 said:

This is fascinating. I will read up on it a bit more. I'm not surprised, but pretty amazed that producers would do this on purpose in the name of loud.

Ever noticed how commercials are louder than everything else on TV or Radio? Exact same thing.

When you're flipping stations, they wanted the songs to jump out compared to everything else. Except that then everyone started doing that with everything.

Metallica's Death Magnetic album is actually a pretty funny example of the phenomena. Remember when the album came out and it got panned HARD for how much it sucked? Well, later some of those songs got put into a Guitar Hero game, and they were actually quite good. Turned out, they brick walled the hell out of the CD version, but actually properly equalized them for the game.

Loudness war - HDPhonic

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/22/21 10:59 a.m.
tuna55 said:

Full disclosure, I don't own a Bill Withers or Carole King CD. I've only heard radio or streaming. Maybe I have to buy a record which I also own a CD of and try back to back.

There's your answer. It's not really digital vs analog. It's crudely mastered lossy vs well mastered lossless. Streaming services use very lossy compression on files that frequently aren't that well mastered.

Either way, this sounds amazing. I found myself oh-ing and ah-ing over songs I have heard dozens of times, just because of how good they sounded.

Yup. Absolutely. Just wait until you get those nice speakers up. Or if you upgrade the system with a sub or something. Those moments of like, "Holy crap, I can hear the sound the DRUM STICK makes when it contacts the cymbal!" Was listening to a HD recording of Houses of the Holy last night, and HOLY E36 M3 there are vocal parts in 'The Ocean' that I NEVER KNEW WHERE THERE. Literally. There are people singing in the last third that you have never heard before. "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor is one of my favorite songs. There's a cello in it. A berkeleyING CELLO! A whole other instrument just THERE.

I've been enjoying analog lately. I'm aware that most of what I prefer about analog is purely psychological effects based on presentation. But I also run a bar/taproom, and I know that presentation matters. You will enjoy the exact same drink more in a pretty glass with a colorful garnish.

jwagner (Forum Supporter)
jwagner (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/22/21 10:55 p.m.

Pure analog just does some things better.  I've been listening to some jazz on vinyl from the early 60's and there really hasn't been a huge advance in audio quality since.  Some of it sounds great. 

I've been a music fan/audio geek since forever.  When CDs came out I abandoned vinyl and gave my brother hundreds of records to sell to the local used record store.  I think he got about fifty cents per album.  I bought a ton of CDs on CDNow, replacing a lot of the vinyl.  Sometime later I realized that I wasn't listening nearly as much.  A couple of years later I pulled a turntable out of the basement and understood why - the vinyl just sounded better.  I think this is largely due to the sampling rate and depth being too low on CD to make it through encoding/decoding without noticable degradation.  The newer high end gear does a pretty good job of compensating for this via oversampling, but early CDs just sounded lousy because of both the hardware and the mastering/engineering that Beer Baron expounds on above.  (which also applies to re-mastered vinyl)

Since then I've added digital with a high end DAC and a de-jittered feed of high res source and the whole chain is better than my hearing - IF the engineers don't "enhance" it all to hell during production.

@tuna55 - would be interested in your comparison of CD vs vinyl if you do it.

PS:  Tidal and Amazon and both stream CD quality and better, as does radioparadise.com

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/28/21 4:39 p.m.

So we've been enjoying the system all weekend. I finished the speakers when we had company over, and we have a couple more records now. Speakers sound only mildly better than the giant ones we had from the silly '90s unit, but they're much more manageable in size. I mounted them on shelves the entertainment center I built with my wife a decade ago.

 

 

 

I have a little pull out tray there for the turntable, it's detent is a little tough on making the record skip but it's doable for now.

flat4_5spd
flat4_5spd New Reader
11/28/21 6:01 p.m.

That's a LOT of toe-in on the speakers.  They really should be facing  the listening area if at all possible- right now it looks like an imaginary line straight out the front of each one would intersect about 2-3ft in front of the TV. Glad you got the system together and are enjoying it. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/28/21 6:27 p.m.

Glad it's all set up!

I'll second that that is almost certainly waaaay too much toe-in. At least point them towards the listening area. Best results will require a bit of playing around to see what the speakers like best. Some do best pointed straight ahead, some with a bit of toe in, others a touch of toe out.

If you want some more quick-and-dirty speaker tuning tips - general rule of thumb is that you want your mains about 2/3 as far apart from each other as they are from the intended listening position and usually roughly ear level. Like with toe in/out, some like being just above or just below ear level for best results.

Although those may only be a hair better than the old speakers they're replacing, they may just lack low end punch. They may want a sub added to fill in the low end. It can make a huge difference. Although you would want to be careful to be sure you're not getting feedback into your turn table in that wooden stand.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/28/21 8:20 p.m.

Full disclosure, the design of the entertainment center dictated very narrow shelves. I have a bolt from the bottom of the shelf into a blind nut in the speaker bottom. It's toed out as much as that bolt position will allow. I plan on adding another more rearward and then can aim them better. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/28/21 9:16 p.m.

There

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
11/29/21 2:58 p.m.

All of the records have a neat spiral in the center that drags the needle over into a zone and keeps it there.

 

Is there any wear on the needle if I leave it spinning on there? Typically I go and turn it off, but not always. Is it unwise to shut it off and leave it touching the record in that spot? In a spot where the tracks are?

 

Just stuff I don't know for long term health of the needle and records.

 

Thanks!

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/29/21 3:16 p.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

Probably some googles to confirm this, but my educated hyptheses:

Is there wear on the stylus? Technically, yes. But I can't imagine it would be any more wear than it receives any other time it's running through a groove. So, I wouldn't leave it sitting there spinning around for hours on end, but I wouldn't worry if it spends several minutes spinning like that.

Having it shut off and sitting there also shouldn't be an issue in and of itself. What I'd be afraid of leaving it like that, is someone not realizing the stylus is in the groove, and jostling the turn table or trying to move the arm so the stylus slides across the record and scratches it.

I put a tiny scratch in my brand new copy of 'Wish You Were Here' because the cuing arm wasn't aligned properly and the stylus could rake across the disc near the inside of a record. Fortunately it is only at the tail end of "Welcome to the Machine" where the music has stopped and it's just the sound collage of the party and the car driving off.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
12/28/21 10:23 a.m.

I really love this setup. Thanks to everyone.

 

Incidentally I finally got a cartridge for the turntable my FIL bought for his 90stastic setup, and wow it sucks. The speakers hum (checked with known good but not-actually-good speakers), and when the turntable is started (on the record or not) a fun hiss is added from the table itself. I am so glad I did not go the vintage route.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
12/28/21 10:49 a.m.

Regarding the dynamic range, I have noticed when I used to record LPs to CD, in order to avoid hitting the ceiling on the CD's range, the CD's ended up playing quieter than commercially produced CD's.  It makes sense that these "digitally remastered" versions condensed the DR to make the CD's play "louder", especially since a lot of the time the music is being played in a car, where the ambient noise floor is much higher than, say, at home. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
12/28/21 11:43 a.m.

In reply to tuna55 :

Glad it's going well for you!

So what does your vinyl collection look like so far? Inquiring minds want to know.

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