Lot of people have challenged my analysis of the vinyl release of Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories”, where I concluded that if the vinyl was genuinely more dynamic, the effect was subtle at best.
And let’s get this straight – sometimes vinyl is deliberately mastered with better dynamics than CD and other digital formats.
But more often, it’s not.
To try and figure out the difference, many people look at the waveforms of vinyl they’ve ripped, and measure the files using the TT ‘Dynamic Range’ Meter.
They see “spikier” waveforms, and often the TT Meter gives higher DR readings for vinyl, so they conclude – the vinyl is more dynamic, and must sound better, right ?
It’s not that simple – in fact, as the video above shows, you can’t use the TT Meter to compare vinyl and digital – and looking at waveforms can be very misleading, too.
Personally, I believe you can master a record to sound superb on both vinyl and CD, with only minor differences, and I think the video above supports that.
Take a listen, and see what you think !
I’m sure some people are watching this video and shouting something like
“You’ve completely missed the point ! To get the full benefit of vinyl it’s essential to master 100% analogue – this vinyl was cut from digital so of course it doesn’t sound any better !”
Well, that may or may not be true – I’ve never had the chance to test it. Personally I’m sceptical, since the idea seems to come from the idea that analogue must always sound better than digital, which certainly isn’t true.
In fact, I’m not sure how it would be possible to test this in a fully scientific way. Certainly in this case, the album was recorded and mixed in digital, so the idea is a red herring.
In fact this point doesn’t affect my overall conclusion in the video, either. The waveforms and TT Meter measurements seem better on the vinyl version, even though it was cut from an identical digital file. So they can’t be reliable. If they don’t match in this case, introducing the variable of a 100% analogue vinyl cut means they really can’t be compared.
If you want to find out if the vinyl will sound better, your best bet is to listen.