Tag Archives: audiophile

Fricken’ Vinyl!! A Rega Planar II but is it a return to the true Audiophile Playground?!

Image result for planar 11 rega

I caved… I admit it. But cut me some slack I’m old eh? and Canadian. I just picked up a British built circa 2016 Rega Planar II… and I love this thing – BUT…. it’s a pure luxury.

In point of fact, CD sound for me and many others is “technically” superior. However, CD’s simply lack the “snap’ crackle and pop” that defined a stylus on vinyl. In fact, that was a big “Whoa!” moment for those of us old enough to remember the big switch-over circa 1983. CD’s offer cleaner sound – no doubt.

BUT…. We missed that sonic needle “snap” and never realized it until the return…. AND… LP’s are indeed much warmer sounding… due in large part to the lower fidelity! Say wha????

Lower fidelity my friend and that’s all very cool and absolutely okay. But the science has been done and beyond question:

 Dynamic range. The difference between the loudest and softest sounds an LP can play is about 70 decibels (dB). CDs can handle over 90 dB. In practical terms, this means that CDs have more than 10 times the  of LPs.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-07-music-vinyl-cds.html#jCp

10 x the dynamic range???? In other words … Hi-Fidelity, kids.

That’s why the industry and the population of the day switched over en masse shortly after the new format was introduced.

I owned a beautiful Dutch made Philips Turntable back then… powered by a Yamaha amplifier and expressed through a gorgeous pair of Boston Acoustic A150s. Man! I was proud of that system. No. It certainly wasn’t the best money could buy  but it challenged my pocket book and I was genuinely proud of it. Queen: The Works, The Police: Synchronicity were just two of the final LP’s I owned… Oh, yes…. You can throw in, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, too.

But then compact Discs arrived… Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms! A revelation… the fidelity! Wow! And no – not vinyl…. CD, man! compact disc!

I remember George Harrison coming out saying that he hated CDs. He also hated OASIS. But I love Noel Gallagher and CD’s ain’t bad either… in fact, Sgt. Pepper’s on vinyl just ended and now I am thoroughly enjoying “The Essential Lou Reed on CD” It sounds amazing!

So what’s the vinyl buzz all about?

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My first two vinyl rebirth purchases -Sgt Pepper 2017 and T.Rex Electric Warrior 180 gram vinyl

Well, first and foremost – it’s an absolute blast! Paradoxically, that old and flawed hiss of the needle and those big ass album covers never could be matched by the CD let alone Mp3 etc… formats.   I was born in 1958; I can’t remember the last time I could read the liner notes off a CD. On LP… no worries. The medium immediately transports me back to our family room of the 1970s. Heck, there’s no way we had anything close to the fidelity offered by a 21st century turntable…. and this Rega Planar II is a sweet machine. It retails at $800.00 Cdn., which again is scratching the top tier of my disposable income. Want the next step up in a Planar III?? – be prepared to fork over roughly $1,500 Cdn!!!

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My new Rega Planar II joins my Marantz 6006 twins 

So what a 21st century turntable and remastered-remixed classic albums equal is a near perfect balance of old and new. The nostalgia kick is in but the records sound better than anything we had back in the day… at least better than anything I had.

CD’s will remain my main go-to audio choice. Their ease of use and load and forget appeal make for an irresistible draw. My advice is read the reviews, watch the debates and don’t be swayed by anything other than your own ear and desire.

And vinyl? Swing that tone-arm over baby and let er’ spin. It’s nostalgic, warm, and fun. CD’s were never designed to match LP’s in that regard.

Bonus material: The Youtube video that lead me to the Planar II over the Pro-Ject Carbon Debut (I still dig that yellow though) 🙂

HiViNyws channel’s

Other Vinyl and Music loving faves:

Larry Graves: The Canadian Studmuffin! (This guy has a huge heart)

https://www.youtube.com/user/canadianstudmuffin

Mean Mr. Mayo (Hello New York!)

https://www.youtube.com/user/MeanMrMayo

Fit to be Tie-Dyed (Canadian low key delivery- but straight up)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY_k-X9om8OXCMEAzRuuxuQ

Vinyl Eyezz (love this young guy’s moxy)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2oq8RM-S7dBk_cwF-Vvv5g

Ron Beaudry (He’s been inactive for a while but his catalogue and reviews are top notch)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzl5SwJssxP-4GPAOTHrjlA/feed

Hey VC! leave a comment (but be sorta kinda nice)  🙂

 

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Everything OLD is NEW again – A return to the venerable COMPACT DISC

stereo

Neither expansive nor exhaustive a review I simply wanted to acknowledge a renewed interest in collecting CDs for my listening pleasure. With a resurgence of vinyl and the now mainstream accessibility of digital downloads the poor old Compact Disk seems destined for the historic trash heap. Nonetheless, the CD medium seems perfectly suited for my own needs.

In the 1980s I first caught the audiophile bug and pushed (as far as my limited budget would allow) for a quality music system, the cornerstone of which were my Boston Acoustic A150 floor speakers.

A divorce at the millennium’s turn and many years later the desire for a return to some quality sound prompted me to purchase a pair of Book Shelf Speakers; the speaker size dependent upon and dictated by a smaller room setting.

I settled upon a pair of ELAC B6 Debut Series 6.5″ Bookshelf Speakers by Andrew Jones. To power them I purchased a Marantz PM6006 amplifier. Finally, in lieu of a dedicated CD player I just hooked up my Sony Blue-Ray player circa 2002. I bought a pair of Sony MDR-RF985 Wireless Stereo Headphones. However, I was a bit underwhelmed by them. Back in the day I owned a pair of Koss HV/1’s that I loved and so searching about the net I stumbled upon Grado’s line of headphones and purchased a pair of SR125e’s.

Check out each of these components as there is lots of information on the net and the reviews are generally quite favorable.

Being an old timey classic rock gal my first new CD purchase was the Beatles CD remasters box set in stereo. Wow! This set represents the crown jewel in my growing music collection. The sound quality is phenomenal and the packaging quality of the overall product irreproachable. Some may question my choice of Stereo over Mono since the Beatles’ catalog was initially released in Mono with the Stereo recordings considered a mere after-thought. But for me the versions of the Albums I am most familiar with are the stereo recordings and so I am eminently satisfied with my purchase. I have never heard the Beatles sound as good as they do in this collection.

beatles-box

After the Beatles I began picking up the 2014 Jimmy Page remasters of the Zeppelin studio releases. Audiophile, Ron Beaudry has panned them mercilessly. Ron is a vinyl guy and has a number of fun and informative reviews of youtube. He is definitely worth checking out. However, I am very satisfied with the 2014 remasters and the sound quality is great. Of course, all of this is subjective so you may find yourself strongly disagreeing with me; No worries, for as the old saying goes “your mileage may vary.”

led-zeppelin-albums

The last CD collection I wanted to mention is YES – The Studio Albums 1969-1987 Remastered & Expanded CD BOX SET. This collection arrived at my door today via Amazon and it prompted me to do a review; initially just about the Yes collection, but then I thought it more useful to discuss CD’s in general and a return to collecting music in this format.

yes-box1

The Yes set presents the Rhino remasters from 2003 and I am “very” happy with the sound quality here. The packaging is “okayyyy” but not great. It comes in a nifty little box that looks good (Roger Dean good) but hampers my access to the CD’s. So I keep the box out and displayed for aesthetic purposes but I have removed the CD’s and have them stored for easy access guaranteeing that they’ll be played more; which undeniably is what it’s all about.

Clearly, digital access to music is the most efficient when it comes to muss and fuss. Most of us can get a quick musical fix by logging onto YouTube and hearing essentially anything we want (Bob Dylan being a notable exception). Vinyl is great and the ultimate nostalgic fix for an aging baby boomer. But in all honesty, I’ve been spoiled by the easy access afforded by the digital age. Admittedly, LP’s are one of the greatest OCD experiences you could possibly hope for — cleaning the record’s surface with a lint free brush or cloth —swinging the tonearm over and gently lowering the stylus to your song of choice really can’t be matched by any other medium.

However, CD’s still afford the collector the ability to hold in his or her hands old familiar Albums (albeit in reduced scale) and see Marc Bolan and David Bowie looking eternally young in top hat and Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt. Compact Discs afford the consumer the reward of physical ownership of a property they can actually call their own — and there is something nicely cathartic in all that.

bowie-marc

 

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