Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why Vinyl Records Sound Best - The Analog Vs Digital Debate

Here is another great article from my vinyl friend Alan Bayer:

Records Sound Best - The Analog Vs Digital Debate

By Alan Bayer

Analog vs. Digital:

An analog format such as vinyl records are said to be more accurate to the source of the music than digital formats, which convert the music into a digital format, before being converted back to analog for reproduction.

Vinyl records provide a more rich, warm tone than digital formats. The reason for this better tone is because the grooves on records provide more musical data to your amplifier. When the stylus (needle) fits into the groove of the record, it vibrates in such a way that is reminiscent of the soundwaves present when the artists performed the song. When amplified, you get a reproduction of the original performance.

When the musical data is converted into a digital format, there are various "resolutions". To use photos as an example, it would be the difference between a 100x100 pixel picture, and a 1000x1000 pixel picture. For CDs, it is 16-bit. For DVD Audio up to 24-bit. Then, there is a sample rate, which is how often these photos are taken. For CDs, they happen 44,100 times per second. DVD Audio, up to 192,000 times per second. For SACDs, an amazing 2,000,000+ samples per second. You can see how the more advanced digital formats would sound better than CDs, which is how most people listen to digital music.

In the case of digital formats like MP3 and AAC, some of the higher frequencies get pulled out to save space, in addition, these formats are taken from a CD, and compressed, so they could never approach the sound quality of a CD. I expect digital music formats to continue to gain in popularity, and I also expect even better formats to come out, with new digital format remasters, which could sound much better than a CD (Or even DVD-A or SACD), have more customization options, and of course, undisputed portability. Are you listening, record companies?

How specifically vinyl sounds better:

Vinyl seems to reproduce the higher frequencies much better. On digital, high frequencies (voices, cymbals, drums, etc.) sound thinner, harsher, "swishy", simply not as good. On vinyl, these high frequencies sound more natural, less harsh, more "real". Also, very small high-pitched nuances shine through better, like for example when a bass player plucks a string.

Bass seems to sound fuller on vinyl as well. It sounds thicker, richer, more natural, more nuanced. It's nice. When listening to bass on vinyl, you'll know why so many DJs still use vinyl to this day. On digital, bass seems to be muddier, thinner...it has less impact.

It's true that vinyl does have some weaknesses, such as pops and hiss, but these are eliminated if the record is clean. The pops and hiss also add a nostalgic charm to the sound of the music. Some artists, especially hip hop, have incorporated this sound into their music.

If you love the sound of music, and want to hear something that has a better sound than CDs and MP3s, you should give vinyl a listen. Once you hear it, you'll become a fan too!

Alan Bayer is a music enthusiast and entrepreneur. Visit his website [http://www.vinylrevinyl.com]Vinyl Revinyl for much more about vinyl, as well as a wide selection of records for sale.

Alan says: "Join the return to vinyl."

Classic Rock Awards Given in London

Britain's Classic Rock magazine gave out their annual awards on Monday night at London's Park Lane Hotel in celebration of their 10th anniversary as a publication.

The big award of the night, which had been previously announced, went to Ozzy Osbourne as the Living Legend. The award, given by Slash, had previously been presented to Alice Cooper, Lemmy of Motorhead and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

One of the night's most touching moments came when Syd Barrett's sister, Rosemary, accepted the Tommy Vance Inspiration Award in his name.

The magazine's editor, Scott Rowley, said “Ten years ago people said a magazine like Classic Rock couldn’t last. A decade later, we outsell the NME and Kerrang! – as well as men’s magazines like Esquire and Arena. Ozzy’s a household name and bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses are getting more headlines and front covers than ever, breaking box office records and topping the charts. The Roll Of Honour is a celebration of rock music as the most vital and vibrant genre of music.”

The full list of winners:

Album Of The Year: Good To Be Bad - Whitesnake
Band Of The Year: Foo Fighters
Reissue Of The Year:1st Three Albums: Vinyl Reissues - Metallica
DVD Of The Year: Plug Me In - AC/DC
Event Of The Year: Led Zeppelin @ The 02 Arena
Best New Band: Airbourne
Classic Songwriter: Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac)
Showman Award: Paul Stanley (Kiss)
The Armand de Brignac VIP Award: Harvey Goldsmith
The Tommy Vance Inspiration Award: Syd Barrett
Classic Album: Disraeli Gears - Cream
Metal Guru: Wayne Kramer (MC5)
Classic Rock/Childline Award: Bryan Adams
Outstanding Contribution: Jeff Beck
Marshall ‘11’ Award: Slash
Living Legend: Ozzy Osbourne

SOURCE: http://winkscollectibles.blogspot.com

Belle And Sebastian's BBC Sessions

Matador Records has assembled 14 songs Belle And Sebastian recorded for Britain's BBC Radio from 1996 to 2001 and will release them as The BBC Sessions on Nov. 18.

A limited-edition double-disc version of the album will include a Dec. 21, 2001 concert recorded in Belfast, Ireland. The BBC Sessions will also be released as a double-vinyl album.

The 14 BBC songs include alternate versions of tracks from Belle And Sebastian's first three albums and associated EPs, and four bootlegged songs recorded for John Peel that have never before appeared on CD or vinyl: "The Magic Of A Kind Word," "Nothing In The Silence," "Shoot The Sexual Athlete" and "(My Girl’s Got) Miraculous Technique." Those four songs are the band's last recordings with Isobel Campbell before she left the group to pursue a solo career.

You can preview "The State I Am In" and "Like Dylan In The Movies" on Belle And Sebastian's website.

The Dublin gig features bassist/guitarist Bob Kildea, who replaced Stuart David, and includes covers of The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun," Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" and The Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man."

Belle And Sebastian released their Tigermilk debut album in 1996. The Scottish band followed that with If You're Feeling Sinister, The Boy With The Arab Strap, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant and Dear Catastrophe Waitress. The band are now on hiatus and have announced no plans to record a follow-up to their last studio album, 2006's The Life Pursuit.

Here are the songs on The BBC Sessions:

Disc one — Radio Sessions:

"The State I Am In"
"Like Dylan In The Movies"
"Judy And The Dream Of Horses"
"The Stars Of Track And Field"
"I Could Be Dreaming"
"Seymour Stein"
"Lazy Line Painter Jane"
"Sleep The Clock Around"
"Slow Graffiti"
"Wrong Love" (later recorded as "The Wrong Girl")
"Shoot The Sexual Athlete"
"The Magic Of A Kind Word"
"Nothing In The Silence"
"(My Girl's Got) Miraculous Technique"

Disc two — Live In Belfast:

"Here Comes The Sun"
"There's Too Much Love"
"The Magic Of A Kind Word"
"Me And The Major"
"Wandering Alone"
"The Model"
"I'm Waiting For The Man"
"The Boy With The Arab Strap"
"The Wrong Girl"
"Dirty Dream #2"
"The Boys Are Back In Town"
"Legal Man"

SOURCE: http://www.chartattack.com

Universal Revives Essential Blues Vinyl

It's an odd, ironic turn of events. As the major record labels attempt to make up for the loss of sales of their one-time cash cow – the compact disc – they're returning to the format that made them famous in the first time…vinyl records! Although this isn’t the time or place to discuss the merits of vinyl vs. CD, the move certainly bodes well for blues fans who have kept their turntables ready to roll.

Universal Music, the biggest dog in the major label junkyard, has announced its plans to reissue a number of essential blues and blues-rock albums on vinyl in the coming weeks. Just a few days ago the label dipped its toe in the water with reissues of two classic Jimi Hendrix Experience albums from 1967: Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, both fine examples of psych-drenched electric-blues rock by the master guitarist.

In a couple of weeks, they'll go back to the well to reissue Eric Clapton's 1977 album Slowhand, a subtle but hard-hitting collection of blues, blues-rock, pop, and even a touch of country; and the classic 1966 John Mayall collection, Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, a powerful showcase for the talents of a young "Slowhand."

Only time will tell if this "back to vinyl" strategy works out for Universal and the major labels, and I hope that it does…if only because the Reverend would love to see Universal dig a little deeper in the vaults and reissue some of the classic Chess label albums they have stored away from folks like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, and other stalwarts of the modern blues era.

SOURCE: Keith's Blues Blog

Classic Rock Videos

The Byrds - Mr Tambourine Man

Album Cover Art

Let's continue our look at the Gigwise.com list of the dirtiest and sexiest album covers (as put together by their crack staff):

49. Ween: ‘Chocolate & Cheese’ - was Ween's fourth studio album, originally released by Elektra Records in 1994. It was the first Ween album to eschew the four-track recordings of their first three albums and utilize a professional recording studio. However, most of the instruments were still played by Dean and Gene Ween, including their drum machine.

The album is dedicated to comedian John Candy, who died while Ween was putting the album together. "A Tear for Eddie" was dedicated to the funk/psychedelic guitar pioneer Eddie Hazel, who died December 23, 1992. Ween originally wanted the cover to have a "gay sailor theme" but the studio thought it politically incorrect (possibly because of the "HIV Song" which is ironically cheery and upbeat), so they opted for the woman's body on the cover. Ween say they never got to meet the attractive cover model, Ashley Savage. (not that's a bummer!)