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TheEldestBoy
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Which provides better bass (at low volumes): Vinyl or Digital?

 

Hi All,

 

Right now I'm listening to lossless digital files through my Peachtree Musicbox.  Even at VERY low levels the bass is present, audible, and in good balacne with the rest of the recording.  

 

My question is, will the bass be as present and audible when I play vinyl through the system at the same (low) volume?  Or will I have to listen to the vinyl at a louder volume to start to hear the bass?  In general, do you have to listen to vinyl at a louder volume to get the same bass you'd be getting with digital?

 

My listening volume is 60-65db.

 

Here's my set-up:

  • Peachtree Musicbox (which is a 20 watt per channel combo of pre-amp [with a tube], amp, dac, pure digital ipod doc)
  • PSB Alpha B1 speakers (at the moment I'm using the Peachtre MB3 speakers, but plan to upgrade to the PSBs eventually)
  • Pro-Ject Debut III turntable (I'll be adding this soon)
  • Pro-Ject Phono Box II pre-amp  (I'll be adding this soon)

Thanks!

JohnnyR
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Well

Vinyl requires a larger groove width as frequency decreases. That's just the nature of the groove and stylus. A well recorded record should have no problem with low frequencies IF the person cutting the master took that into consideration. CD or digital will never have a low frequency level limitation like vinyl does. For really low bass, digital will always do better than vinyl.

TheEldestBoy
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Thanks for the reply

Thanks for the reply Johnny.

I guess I'm just wondering if inyl needs to be listened to at a louder volume than digital if the listener wants the bass to be well represented in the mix...?

jgossman
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Not my experience

"For really low bass, digital will always do better than vinyl" .. Johnny

My experience has ALWAYS been that in a system where the tonal balance of both the digital and analog are similar, analog always delivers a fuller more naturally textured low frequency.  A perfect set of examples example are the CD/Analog versions of Fleetwood Mac's mid and late 70's output as well as Norah Jones last few releases.  On a little bit heavier example, SOD's "Steal This Record" has remarkably better detail and low frequency ambiance (read to mean rock and roll ass kicking) on vinyl than digital. 

While many digiphiles hate to admit this, all but the highest quality digital formats, SACD/DVD Audio (forgotten but fantastic, BTW)/High Res AAIF, simply don't have the resolution to reproduce frequencies less than 50hz or over 12-15kHz at the same level as analog.  I know this is going to drive Johnny crazy, but were talking SUBJECTIVELY more natural, open, and detailed up top end and texturally more complete bottom end.  I have several different albums on multiple formats that bear this out.  And don't give us that "but that's not what the testing says crap".  Texture and tone are how you know the difference in Joni Mitchell singing "All I Want" and a Suzy come lately remake.  And texture and tone and timbre REALLY make the difference in the lower frequencies.

For that matter a well recorded commercial cassette will usually sound subjectively better in the lower octaves, while losing out to CD's in the higher octaves on some CD players, while some Nakamichi, Teac, NAD, Yamaha, etc. cassette decks are just simply better at playing music than most digital players.

JIMV
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Isn't the answer to the

Isn't the answer to the question more a reflection on the speakers than the media front end?

JohnnyR
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Just a Lot of Rumble
jgossman wrote:

While many digiphiles hate to admit this, all but the highest quality digital formats, SACD/DVD Audio (forgotten but fantastic, BTW)/High Res AAIF, simply don't have the resolution to reproduce frequencies less than 50hz or over 12-15kHz at the same level as analog.  I know this is going to drive Johnny crazy, but were talking SUBJECTIVELY more natural, open, and detailed up top end and texturally more complete bottom end.  I have several different albums on multiple formats that bear this out.  And don't give us that "but that's not what the testing says crap".  Texture and tone are how you know the difference in Joni Mitchell singing "All I Want" and a Suzy come lately remake.  And texture and tone and timbre REALLY make the difference in the lower frequencies.

For that matter a well recorded commercial cassette will usually sound subjectively better in the lower octaves, while losing out to CD's in the higher octaves on some CD players, while some Nakamichi, Teac, NAD, Yamaha, etc. cassette decks are just simply better at playing music than most digital players.

 

Wow, that's a lot of rubbish but then again it is SUBJECTIVE like you admitted to yourself. No proof just " I know what I heard". It's like a broken record on here with that quote over and over. Show me where vinyl can outperfrom digital in the low frequencies below 50 Hz. You CAN'T. The physical limitations of the cutting stylus will always, ALWAYS be a factor. Yeah sure you COULD produce 20Hz on vinyl AT THE EXPENSE of having less recording time left due to the grooves being so extreme. Sorry but your "say so" doesn't cut it. Digital can and does reproduce VERY low frequencies down into single digits easily. That's why recording studios heating and cooling systems are baffled to prevent such frequencies polluting the recording. Next time do more reading before you give an "opinion" please.

jgossman
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Wow

Just wow.

I wonder how many friends you have.  Seriously.

JohnnyR
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Awwwwwwwww

I didn't know that showing how you are wrong involved me being your friend. Actually I have quite a few. I just don't like people talking wrong info online and refusing to even TRY simple experiments, "I know what I heard!" seems to be the rallying cry on here when anyone even suggests a simple SBT. People can spend hours swapping out cables or fuses , yet can't "find the time" to do a SBT while doing so? Lame.

dbowker
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What JIMV said is mostly what

What JIMV said is mostly what will determine it anyway. After that, it will all depend of what the digital player is and what the analogue player is.

But, ignoring the arguement already started of which format is the best, (disclosure I tend to prefer LPs) a CD or digital file might appear to play deeper bass a bit louder for a couple of reasons. And I say appear, because in reality they should be pretty much the same. Part of it's the output on an analogue system will usually be lower than a digital one. When I'm listening to a CD my amp volume is set generally from 10-20 (out of 99 I think), but for the same album on vinyl I'll be playing it from 40-65. So it kind of throws you as to what is playing "louder" or deeper as well.

But then we have the whole pop music, digital file "loudness" compression factor. This won't apply to all, or even most albums. But I can say I have quite a few recent LPs that have credits for Mastering in the notes that have a digital and an analogue mastering session, with different engineers too. In some cases I have the CD and LP, and sure enough, the CD is actually compressed/clipped to be overall "louder" no matter what the volume you set.

Bottom line it should be your equipment that determines dynamic range and fidelity, and not the format in itself.

soulful.terrain
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ZERO
jgossman wrote:

Just wow.

I wonder how many friends you have.  Seriously.

 

Well, over in the Open Bar section, JohnnyR pretty much pissed off 300 million Americans with his anti-Thanksgiving posts. He's on a downward spiral at like,... light speed.

JohnnyR
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Lying much?
soulful.terrain wrote:
jgossman wrote:

Just wow.

I wonder how many friends you have.  Seriously.

 

Well, over in the Open Bar section, JohnnyR pretty much pissed off 300 million Americans with his anti-Thanksgiving posts. He's on a downward spiral at like,... light speed.

 You seem to be on a Trolling mission all over the forum. How about staying on topic or just piss off? That was asking nicely.

So I pissed off 300 million Americans?  I haven't seen them respond that I have. Quit your outright lying already.The only person with their panties in a wad is yourself. Get over it Tweedle Dee

jgossman
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Well,
JohnnyR wrote:
soulful.terrain wrote:
jgossman wrote:

Just wow.

I wonder how many friends you have.  Seriously.

 

Well, over in the Open Bar section, JohnnyR pretty much pissed off 300 million Americans with his anti-Thanksgiving posts. He's on a downward spiral at like,... light speed.

 You seem to be on a Trolling mission all over the forum. How about staying on topic or just piss off? That was asking nicely.

So I pissed off 300 million Americans?  I haven't seen them respond that I have. Quit your outright lying already.The only person with their panties in a wad is yourself. Get over it Tweedle Dee

In his defense, only about 20% of Americans call themselves liberal, and most of my liberal friends say, 80% are pretty reasonable people and quite patriotic, actually.  So if he pissed off everyone who doesn't think like him, it's only about 288 million people, give or take.  Given most the people who are of his ilk are far too busy not doing anything with their lives anyway, I doubt their income is requisite to even the entry-level audiophile habit.  So, we're stuck - you guessed it - with him.

soulful.terrain
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friends?
JohnnyR wrote:

I didn't know that showing how you are wrong involved me being your friend. Actually I have quite a few.

 

Friends? These guys don't count JohnnyR.

 

Ariel Bitran
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OP

k guys....

get back to the Original Post or just stop it.

XLR8R22
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Back to the original post...

I have one CD that I use to test very low frequency response: Underground Bass Masters' album "Trancend".  It has a LOT of information in the 20-30hz range, in fact I believe some of it dips subsonic.  I have played it with many CD players, preamps, amps, crossovers, etc, and I can tell you for sure that there is no problem with digital reproducing low frequencies.  I have also ripped the CD lossless to my PC, and played back through a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, there is still no lack of low frequencies whatsoever. Most of my vinyls, on the other hand, don't even really contain much information below 30hz.

jgossman
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Hmm..
XLR8R22 wrote:

I have one CD that I use to test very low frequency response: Underground Bass Masters' album "Trancend".  It has a LOT of information in the 20-30hz range, in fact I believe some of it dips subsonic.  I have played it with many CD players, preamps, amps, crossovers, etc, and I can tell you for sure that there is no problem with digital reproducing low frequencies.  I have also ripped the CD lossless to my PC, and played back through a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, there is still no lack of low frequencies whatsoever. Most of my vinyls, on the other hand, don't even really contain much information below 30hz.

 

That's not a limitation of the format, per say, it's a limitation of the recordings.  It's also a very technical answer, it's just not the answer to the question.  The limitation of digital is the ability to reproduce the music, not the notes.  That's why you have to listen.  Also, most people don't hear well past 40 hz.  So if a format does the timbre and texture and tone, THAT'S THE TICKET!  It's not an accident that so many DJ's use vinyl.  It's about the mojo, man.

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