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High Definition Vinyl is Coming - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by David A, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. David A

    David A Active Member Thread Starter

    Any thoughts on this from our audiophiles? If I read this correctly, the process transfers from high def digital; curious to hear what others think of this.

    If this really is a significant change in the vinyl listening experience, and assuming it catches on, the mind boggles at how many releases/re-releases there will be, in this format.

    “High Definition Vinyl” Is Happening, Possibly as Early as Next Year | Pitchfork
  2. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I thought the whole idea of vinyl is to get away from the "coldness" of digital. Now they're going to transfer to vinyl from high def digital? Does transferring it to vinyl "warm" it back up? I'm skeptical of it sounding any better than a well-made CD.

    Even if it's a worthwhile thing, if they can't get the vinyl manufacturing standards up any higher than they (apparently) are today, it'll be a non-starter for all but the most die-hard completists.
    S.J. Hoover likes this.
  3. David A

    David A Active Member Thread Starter

    My thoughts exactly.


    I agree with the posts above. the quality is there already, as we`ve heard with the 180g vinyl`s, but if they can`t get the quality of the pressings sorted out, then it`s a waste of time!
    the Japanese seem to have it sorted, so where are we going wrong :)
  5. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    HD Vinyl? No thanks. Universal couldn't even get the Box Set right, so imagine how this would sound? :laugh:

    Also, it's just another excuse for record labels to absolutely rinse the fans of their hard earned cash. Stick to the originals and save yourselves a ton of money.
  6. The Japanese will probably come up with SHM-Vinyl!


    but the issue wasn't the sound quality, the issue was the poor vinyl :)
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    I've also got to think that, sure the first pressings will sound really good, but just like nowadays and in the past, the stamper could only be used so many times before it wore out, so the sound quality is going to fade as the stamper gets used more and more.

    If VHS could go HD, I guess vinyl LP can also go HD.
    Jeff likes this.
  9. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The poor quality vinyl in turn rendered many of the sets unlistenable. It wasn’t just how they looked cosmetically but how bad the surface noise, scratches and pops were.


    That`s what I mean ......... poor vinyl, not poor sound quality :)
    so if they are going to continue pressing and selling vinyl`, then they clearly need to do something to replace or `modify` the machinery that does it, because it dos`nt matter how good the sound is, if the vinyl` rubbish, your flogging a dead horse.
    I still have to throw the argument, that the Japanese seem to get it right, so why can`t others, because their pressing equipment must age just as much. listen, I don`t know how the process works, but if we can go to mars during the next 10 years, surely we can make a good vinyl record :rolleyes:
  11. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    A couple of things to clarify what this actually is.

    First, this "HD Vinyl" was announced last year as a concept, and now it seems as though they are taking it past the idea stage into development. This concept is some dubious idea of cutting the masters using lasers, not a traditional cutting lathe. It's not "digital" in the source used, but is digital in that it is creating a digital map of what the vinyl surface should look like, and then using the lasers to cut the master disc to that profile.

    I'm wary of them being able to fit more music onto each side of a record--there is only physically so much room for the grooves, and then they still have to be made on a press like other vinyl. Too close together, there will be pre- and post-echo of sound from adjoining grooves, especially if they are still being pressed on traditional record presses. (I've also recently read about someone using 3D printers to make records with, but they would have to perfect 3D printing down to the molecular level to keep the vinyl free of imperfections...and unless it were very fast, I doubt it could match the speed of traditional vinyl presses. Or, just charge a lot more and find willing suckers to buy them.)

    To be honest, the "cure" today to fit more onto a side of a record is...don't. If there's too much music, split it up into two records. When that happens, it keeps the music more towards the outer edge of the record, which is lower in distortion due to making it easier for the stylus to track. That's where this HD Vinyl idea also seems sketchy--they are going to be cramming more music onto a side, and that'll make the inner grooves sound a lot more pinched unless someone is willing to spend over $1k for a cartridge with a "line contact" stylus and ultra low mass cantilever (often made of boron) that can track it.

    Records have been cut and pressed for over 100 years now. There is nothing wrong with the old way--it's proven, and it works. In the days of acoustically-recorded 78s, prior to 1925, the originals were actually cut on wax-coated discs, live, into a horn! Yet the cutting, plating and stamping process hasn't changed in all these decades.

    Second, many records today are digitally sourced but still sound good--the process of cutting the record is where the "magic" happens. Some records use poor quality masters (such as CD-resolution masters, poor quality analog tapes or, like some of those knockoffs from overseas, could have been sourced from a needle drop for all we know) and sound like it.

    Finally, as for pressing quality, let's not start dumping on all of vinyl here. That crappy Carpenters set was a rare outlier among millions pressed and sold, resulting from poor quality control and/or cost cutting. Most new 180g records I buy are flat, dead quiet and sound wonderful, and many exceed any digital version that has been released. (I have posted a few clips on YouTube, in fact.)
  12. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Incidentally, the use of "HD" as "high definition" is completely bogus. A record cut directly from an analog master is a higher resolution than any digital format that has ever come along, or will come along. Digital is where high-definition needs to be, not with records.
    DeeInKY likes this.
  13. David A

    David A Active Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for the detail on what this is (and if you moved the thread, thanks for that as well - I wasn't sure where to start this one).

    I think it's fair to say that if/when they produce vinyl this way, the proof will be in the listen, one way or the other.

    And although the Carpenters boxed set get's a routine thrashing on this forum, mine sounds great - nary a pop, no skips that I have found. Quality control is the likely villain, as you suggest.
  14. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with you about CD-resolution masters being poor quality for vinyl LP's. I've got a few records from the 80's that were recorded on digital media that could only handle 16-bit 44.1 kHz audio (i.e. The Beach Boys 1985 self-title album, I just looked at the liner notes, it was "Recorded digitally using Sony PCM 3324" and "Mixed digitally using Sony PCM 1610", both of which worked at 16-bit 44.1) and they sound really great, whereas I've heard more recent albums (i.e. The Beach Boys 2012 That's Why God Made The Radio) that sound terrible. Really its' the mastering stage that seems to be getting screwed up on most modern vinyl.
  15. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    Yep, it was nearly a year ago this "news" was announced...

    Is HD Vinyl In Your Record Playing Future?

    That's the problem, right there! :thumbsup:

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