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Anxiety
Anxiety
Price: $17.63
29 used & new from $11.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl review -- worth the extra money over the digital copy, December 21, 2012
This review is from: Anxiety (Vinyl)
This is a review of the vinyl LP only - I assume the reader already knows the songs and is just considering a vinyl purchase.

Imo, it's worth getting. The digital copy I have (iTunes, in this case) is heavily compressed to the point of fatigue, so I had risked the vinyl LP in the hopes that there was some relief, and I'm happy to report that there is. The LP is still a bit distorted and fuzzy at points, but that's likely intentional. But the LOUDness is reduced to point that I'm not getting the ear fatigue that I was getting with the digital copy.

It's one LP but a gatefold with a small booklet with lyrics and some short liner notes. The Amazon price is currently $22 USD which is a bit higher than some other etailers, so if you can find it a bit cheaper and have a turntable, I say go for it. I'll also have dynamic range results up on the Dynamic Range Database, very soon - it's significantly different which is no surprise given what I'm hearing. LP was pressed by GZ, btw. No digital download code, if that's important to you.

The only con so far is that my cart (an AT440Mla) is bright and I think this is cut a little bright already - so I actually had to turn down my treble a bit + it I almost had some sibilance at points. I might re-listen with a different cartridge later on, but even so it's still an improvement over my digital copy.


Welcome To Mali [2 LP Vinyl w/ bonus CD]
Welcome To Mali [2 LP Vinyl w/ bonus CD]
Price: $25.53
22 used & new from $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl review - expensive, but worth buying if you want better dynamics, November 25, 2012
I've had this LP on my wish list for awhile now and managed to snag it at decent price. I've had the CD for a few years now and, although I love the music, the compression (LOUDness) always bothered me. I had hoped that the LP would improve on that.

I'm happy to report that it does.

2LP album, probably 150g and pressed in Pallas, DMM as per the sticker, and a fairly quiet pressing likely due to that. Heavy stock paper for the jacket, which is a gatefold. Plus an insert with liner notes for each track, but no lyrics. It also comes with a physical CD copy - no jewel box, just a slipcase. So if you don't have the CD for this and want a digital copy, you get both in this package.

As for the sound quality, it was readily apparent right from the get-go that the dynamic range was improved over my CD copy. And I also added the dynamic range database entry for both as those numbers back this up (the CD has an average rating of "6", whereas the LP had an average rating of "12" on my rig). The only cons I could make out as that I did have some minor sibilance at points, but the pros far outweighed the cons imo. Also, I believe that the LP is likely 44khz sourced, but the engineers must have avoided any limiting on the mastering so it's still superior imo to the CD.

So the LP is expensive - BUT, if you really love this album and want to squeak out better dynamic range, I believe it's worth the extra price. Overall a very handsome looking album and very good sound too!


The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set
The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set
36 used & new from $277.10

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SQ good, but the vinyl pressing itself has quality control issues, November 13, 2012
Re-doing my review as I now have a full US boxed set (not from Amazon - I actually purchased from Walmart.com). I have listened to most of the albums now, and can give a more detailed SQ review.

Cosmetics: It's a very nice looking set. A flip-up box (be careful taking the slip cover off, however), and the LPs are all sealed in plastic and look to be the same as the individual LPs being sold, sans the big sticker. Packaging is imo acceptable - not the 60's thick stock paper, but not the 1980's flimsy stock paper either. Basically, if you've bought a modern vinyl LP, it's very similar packaging. The jackets are replicas of the UK pressings, for the most part. And the vinyl is 180g and also replicates the UK labels from the 1960's. The book is quite nice, heavy, and well made. Overall a very handsome set.

Sound quality: I'll break this up into two sections. First and foremost is "how do these sound?". I'm very pleased with what the Abbey Road engineers have done, with what they had. From a technical standpoint, it's been said that these are 24/44.1k digital source - very similar to the USB stick but with no limiting (means less LOUD). I've compared most of these LP's with 1987 CD's, a BC13 (Blue Box), and 2009 CD's. Imo these LP's are significantly better than the CD's. Comparing them with the 2009 CD's specifically, they are less loud, more engaging, less cold and clinical. This obviously depends on your turntable setup, of course.

Comparing it with a BC13 is harder. The BC13 generally is brighter (higher treble), but also has weaker bass. For the remasters, it's generally the reverse. So they sound different but generally neither one beats the other imo. If you have a BC13, these new LP's won't replace them, they just compliment them.

The big issue I have right now, and the reason for three stars, is the problems I'm having with the actual vinyl pressings themselves. More than half of my LPs have "non-fill" issues - it's a pressing defect that shows up visually as a stitching pattern, or "a string of pearls", in bright light. Audibly, you hear it as a ripping sound in one channel, almost like your stylus is going over a brush. Some of these defects are barely audible, but on some songs it's very distracting. For example, on my copy of Revolver, "Here There and Everywhere" has quite a few non-fill defects and it basically ruins that particular song.

Again, I did not buy it at Amazon, but so far it sounds like US pressings in general are affected by this - I guess as time goes on and more reviews are put up, we might know more.

12/2/2012 update: After doing a deep dive on all my LP's, I ended up with 8 LP's with issues - 7 being non-fill (that tearing sound in the left channel) and one being heavily noisy, even after a wet cleaning. Of the 7 with non-fill, I can live with 2 of them as they are minor / in places not very noticeable. But the other 5 are imo unacceptable, so overall 6 LP's that I need to somehow exchange or else I need to return my boxed set.


Never
Never
Price: $17.56
34 used & new from $11.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl review - is it worth the premium price?, September 21, 2012
This review is from: Never (Vinyl)
I buy modern vinyl and have a budget but acceptable Technics vintage turntable, with a few carts. So I believe my setup, although not high-end, is at least acceptable enough to do a vinyl review. My four stars are strictly for the music itself, which I found enjoyable and unique enough to risk a vinyl purchase.

Cosmetics: 1LP release (no gatefold) with heavy stock inner sleeve with art on one side and lyrics on the other. Also a free digital download with my copy. Standard black vinyl.

Sonics: Here's the concern....it's audibly not too different from a lossy download imo, and on some tracks (ie. the first track) there's actually a "crackly" sound like the LP was cut too hot (and it wasn't my stylus). I also check spectrograms to see if a vinyl release is possibly 96khz sourced, and imo this LP was probably cut from a 44khz source. My cart (an AT440Mla) does have a tendency to be very detailed, so I'm guessing it's more the colorization of my cart than an actual difference between the CD and LP masterings themselves.

So even though the packaging is nice enough, imo I'm not convinced it's worth paying an extra $13+ (as of this writing) for the LP versus just buying the CD version.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2012 11:47 AM PDT


Big Green Lawn
Big Green Lawn
Price: $6.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great new EP, but any plans on a CD or vinyl release?, April 20, 2012
This review is from: Big Green Lawn (MP3 Music)
Four solid stars to the music - enjoying this on Rhapsody right now and very much that "Translator" sound I knew and loved back in the 1980's.

But my question to the band, if they happen to read this review -- any plans for a vinyl/CD/lossless release? MP3's are fine for on-the-go, but I'd personally prefer another format if I'm going to buy/own the EP. I cannot find an email on your web portal to ask, so I figured this would be the next best venue.

I definitely want to support your effort so please follow up if you happen to read this -- thanks!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2012 1:16 PM PST


Bellybutton
Bellybutton
10 used & new from $11.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2012 vinyl re-issue review, February 10, 2012
This review is from: Bellybutton (Vinyl)
My equipment: AT-LP120-USB TT, AT440MLa cart, Furutech GT40 ADC / phono stage.

I've owned my original CD for over 20 years now, but I never had a vinyl copy. So here I am with the Omnivore 2012 blue vinyl reissue, A/B testing to see if this was worth getting. First off, the packaging : a unique flip open package where the album art expands out a bit, without the need of a gatefold. Allegedly any new pressings will be standard black vinyl, so be aware of that. And no digital download, if you are wondering about that.

As for the sonics, the original CD always sounded very pleasing to me so I knew that it would be hard to beat. But I do believe the vinyl beats it out, if only slightly. In particular, some instruments like the tambourine seem to be more noticeable than before. One issue I did find however, was about 23 seconds into "I Wanna Stay Home" which sound like a tape defect -- I actually emailed Omnivore and they confirmed this to be a problem on the master itself - so if you hear it on your vinyl too then it's not just your copy. I think the CD actually has a defect at the same point, but it's not as audible (more of a "twwwipp" sound that could easily be thought of as intentional). But the tape must have degraded over time. :(

Overall I'm happy with my vinyl purchase.


Gloss Drop
Gloss Drop

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl review - still distorted, but the dynamics are better than the CD / digital version, January 29, 2012
This review is from: Gloss Drop (Vinyl)
Too few vinyl reviews here on Amazon, so adding my two cents in case you are considering a purchase.

First, my hardware: AT-LP120-USB TT, AT120e cart, Furutech GT40 phono stage and ADC.

The vinyl is a gatefold 2LP, with a free MP3 download card as well as a small poster. The few liner notes are inside the gatefold itself.

With that in mind, I've compared my LP with my digital copy (from iTunes, in this case). What I usually do is take both the needle drop and digital copy of a song and drop them into a sound editor like Audacity, and then drop the volume levels on the digital track to something closer to my needle drop (as loudness can taint the results). The vinyl, imo, has better dynamics - I can hear it on my DAC, but unfortunately it's not a major difference. The distortion on some of the louder tracks, in particular, are still there so I assume it was mastered that way. But the digital copy is definitely louder and less dynamic, so I feel the vinyl purchase was still worth it.

I'll have a report on the "Dynamic Range Database" soon, but so far the vinyl is clocking in at around a DR10 whereas the CD (which was already added by someone else) clocks in at DR6.


Farm [Vinyl]
Farm [Vinyl]
Price: $19.35
20 used & new from $16.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The vinyl is superior, if you are considering it over the CD, July 5, 2011
This review is from: Farm [Vinyl] (Vinyl)
(This review is on the vinyl sound quality -- the music itself gets a solid five stars from me as well, regardless of the medium).

I've had the CD for some time, and although I've enjoyed it, it was definitely too LOUD (if you know anything about the loudness wars, you know what I mean). Granted, this is a Dinosuar Jr. album so you expect distortion, but a brickwalled CD is just noise and not much else.

The vinyl doesn't seem to be as badly affected, I'm happy to report (purchased it at their last East Coast tour). Distorted as expected, but not as ear fatiguing as the CD imo. A dynamic range check between the two seems to confirm that -- the CD comes in at a "6" (which is bad) but the vinyl comes in at "11" (which is much better).

So, if you have a decent turntable I would recommend the vinyl over the CD.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2013 1:20 PM PDT


Re:Generations
Re:Generations
48 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly a miss, June 27, 2011
This review is from: Re:Generations (Audio CD)
First off, I have a pretty wide variety of musical tastes - and I'm not a purist. So I gave this album a chance, and an open mind.

Didn't like it.

Two main reasons:

1- Sloppy technical execution. What I mean by that is that the blend of old and new did not always fit, from a technical standpoint (ie. Nat sometimes is off-key or not quite with the beat). The whole idea of doing this was to blend the old and new in such a way that you wouldn't perceive the difference. An example of when it worked was "Straighten Up and Fly Right", where it seemed to gel. Other songs, on the other hand, didn't fare as well.

2- Nat was not always in the forefront. A perfect example of this was "Lush Life", which actually had a nice beat to it. So much so that Nat's entire performance was shoved into the background. You could have extracted his vocals and it wouldn't have even been missed, and that's just disturbing. "Nature Boy" is another example of this. I kept thinking of the Billie Holiday remixes, where the new music seemed to fit itself around her voice. But on this album, I felt that the exact opposite was going on - the producers were trying to fit Nat's voice into the music.

I also didn't think that the different mix of genres worked all that well as a cohesive whole -the artists went into too many different directions. Not enough of detriment to give it its own bullet, but again it broke the whole "Nat was in the studio" imaginary scenario, imo.


Rook [Vinyl]
Rook [Vinyl]
12 used & new from $29.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl Review, June 5, 2011
This review is from: Rook [Vinyl] (Vinyl)
I am not reviewing the album itself, as it's a 4/5 star for the content - I'm just reviewing the vinyl release, as those a few and far between on Amazon. I've owned the CD for a long time, and just recently gotten the vinyl.

First off, you get one additional track on the vinyl, although it's not immediately noticeable - I won't spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that it's there. It's one LP, but has a digital download code for MP3, if you'd like to use it.

As for the actual sonics, the CD is digitally clipped and is very noticeable in a tool like Audacity. When looking at the waveform, you can actually see where the sound is clipped off. However, whether or not the vinyl has the same issues is hard to say - the waveform LOOKS different, but it could just as easily have come from a digitally clipped source to begin with and the analog transfer is just hiding it.

I used "Century Eyes" as a good A/B test as it's fairly loud versus some of the other tracks. I ran the A/B test back and forth on two different players, and I honestly could not tell a difference - maybe the vinyl's "high" were slightly better, but that's about it. If there really is a sonic difference, my ears are not picking it up, at least not yet.

So, if you're looking for different sonics in the vinyl, I don't think you'll see a major difference with it versus the CD - but you do get one extra track and the nice vinyl packaging.

EDIT: Found a great tool for analyzing dynamic range called "Dynamic Range Meter". Ran it against my needle drop, and got an overall DR score of "11" (that's not too bad).


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