Tag Archives: hi fidelity

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

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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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Another Piece in the Audio Puzzle: The Marantz CD6006

maratntzCD6006

While being very happy with the sound of my recently purchased stereo system there was an obvious weak link in the chain; It centered on my old and reliable Sony Blu-ray player. There was nothing overtly bad about it and since I was unaware of the difference a good DAC can make I’d have been content to leave things as they were.

However, following a look at various YouTube videos (sadly, very little “real” content on the Marantz CD6006) and researching various reviews of a number of systems I thought I’d “gamble” on the Marantz. It was a logical choice to pair it with the Marantz PM6006 amplifier I had bought. To my mind, I thought it only logical that the Marantz engineers would have built the two units with the idea of joining them in concert as it were (pardon the obvious pun).

So to the question, does a dedicated CD player provide better sound than a Blu-ray player? Well, in the case of my older Sony Blu-ray and the 2016 Marantz CD6006 the answer is an unqualified yes!

It’s quite surprising the difference in quality – but it’s there and you can definitely tell. Many years ago when DVD’s began replacing VHS tapes a skeptical friend came over and asked to see the new technology I had purchased. Basically, he expected to be underwhelmed and ready with a “I knew it was all snake oil”. But, he was genuinely impressed. He could see the improvement himself.

While admittedly less dramatic than the jump from VHS to DVD video quality the audio equivalent is apropos.  You can hear the difference! Now, I am the first to admit that my system is far removed from the crème de la crème of high-end fidelity BUT it certainly qualifies as a solid entry level system to the world of high-fidelity. I am more than satisfied.

whathifi

Highest marks earned from What HI-FI? and a 2016 Award winning product

Head over to What Hi-Fi? for a more technical and detailed review of the CD6006

The first CD baptised in the new system was the 2017 Mono mix that came as part of the 50th Anniversary Sgt. Pepper Deluxe Edition. I always play the Beatles first whenever I am about to break in a new sound system… and it’s always the Beatles (or a John Lennon solo tune) that I like to play as the first song I hear to greet a new year.

The bass and overall audio presence was raised more than a few notches with the improved performance brought in by the CD6006. I followed up the Beatles with Klaatu’s 3:47 E.S.T. 40th Anniversary Edition, The Cure’s Greatest Hits, The Yes Album (remastered), Who’s Next, and Abbey Road. My age places me comfortably in the Classic Rock period and it is that genre of music that most frequently finds its way onto my CD player.

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Two ends of the production spectrum – the lovingly (reverently) remixed Sgt. Pepper (2017) and 1989’s The Ventures All-Time Greatest Hits. The Marantz CD6006 serves them both well. 

For fun, I threw on a cheap discount CD just to see if the Marantz could make something of it. I chose for this purpose The Ventures All-Time Greatest Hits (released on CD in 1989).  Even here, I could hear the separation of the instruments and enjoy the straightforward production afforded their 1960s recordings.

My son is purchasing the Fleet Foxes new album,  “Crack-Up” released yesterday so later today I’ll reluctantly turn control of my system over to him for a few hours.

Finally, I should add that I purchased all the components and wires for my setup from Victoria, BC’s venerable Sound Hounds. I have bought all my very best gear from them since the 1980s. Their customer service and product line is first-rate. I recommend them as Vancouver Island’s “go-to” hi-fidelity source.

Thanks as always, Sound Hounds team 🙂

soundhounds

Sound Hounds @ 1532 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8R 1A8 (courtesy of Google Streetview)

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