Daily Blog- Ross Jones – April 24, 2008: VINYL VS. CD; THIS SHOULD BE INTERESTING.

Our fearless publisher, JJ, is embarking on a quest to determine whether indeed vinyl sounds better than CD (or SACD, for that matter). Being that this is SECRETS, and JJ being JJ, expect large helpings of objective, verifiable observations backed by solid technical data.

Of course, none of it will make a whit of difference to those who have already reached their own conclusions. This particular debate doesn’t quite rank up there with evolution vs. intelligent design, but I suspect that most folks who have an opinion on the matter would not be classified as having an open mind.

I grew up with vinyl (because there were no other options in those days), and still vividly remember my first A/B comparison between an LP and CD. It was a decidedly unscientific experiment conducted in 1987, shortly after the introduction of CD. I used my Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, purchased when it first came out in 1967 and with 20 years of wear on the grooves, against the brand new (in 1987) CD of the same album on a first generation Aiwa CD player.

I focused on the fade-out at the end of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, followed by several seconds of blank leader, then the jolting guitar intro to “Getting Better All The Time”. Two things struck me. The first was that, after a lifetime of hearing pops, crackles, and rumble in the spaces between LP tracks, on the CD there was an eerie silence. The second thing was how tinny and compressed the CD sounded compared to vinyl. I immediately thought, “that’s an interesting trade-off.” So I am really looking forward to JJ’s saga.

Who knows, I may be in the market for another pressing of Sgt. Peppers.

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