The value of each vinyl disc first of all depends on its condition which can be confidently assessed by listening to the whole record. Mechanical wear is a serious disadvantage of the vinyl disc, as its condition slightly deteriorates with each playing, even on the best turntables.
Given that a lot of vinyl records are in use for thirty years and more, the question of how their at least current state can be preserved arises. Fortunately, the digital technique, which at first was intended to completely replace the analogue records, now helps to popularize them by saving their content in digital format.
In the nineties, I was very skeptical about digital conversion in audio, because a simple listening comparison of the same recordings made on vinyl and CD demonstrated an obvious superiority of the analogue sound. Later, when computer appeared in my home, I started experimenting with digital recording and was greatly surprised that the obtained digital copies of my favorite LPs produce the same familiar live sounds I enjoy from vinyl.
Of course, the main credit for that should be given to a special original phono preamplifier which impeccably serves me over fifteen years. In general, the whole analogue circuitry preceded the A-to-D converter in most degree defines how the obtained vinyl rip will sound.
Digital conversion itself is performed within the computer soundcard with the help of an audio editing program (Sound Forge, for example). The properly made settings guarantee faithful digital replication of an analogue signal in all its details. I prefer to do that in a 24bit/96kHz format, but a 16bit/44kHz conversion is quite acceptable too.
Again, post-conversion processing, along with bringing the desired positive effect, can negatively influence some delicate aspects of the final sound. Various noise and clicks removing software should be avoided or used with great care and under rigorous listening control. Manual clicks elimination is the best solution, but it requires much time and patience and becomes impracticable in the case of multiple small clicks, yet audibly annoying.
Recently, I've completed, at last, a hard work of transferring all my vinyl collection (several hundred LPs) to computer wav-files. Most of the records are in near mint condition, at least half of them feature the clearly notable live sound content.
There is music of various genres - rock, pop, jazz, classics, vocal. I am a big fan of the golden period of pop and rock, my favorite groups are Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Bee Gees, Beach Boys, Deep Purple and many others. In the last few years, a lot of vinyl discs have been bought on eBay, among the acquired are the whole LP sets of Handel, Bach, Telemann, Vivaldi, Pergolesi and Albinoni music.
An excerpt from the marvelous vinyl record "Handel - Concerti Grossi Op.3" can be downloaded from this site, along with piano masterpiece "Schumann - Funeral March".
Jazz on good vinyl sounds impressively too, because it is performed on acoustical instruments, each of them having a specific rich timbre which depends even on the manner of playing (listen to Tony Scott sample). The rest of the represented here vinyl rips demonstrate the beauty of a human voice, particularly if it appears in all its naturalness. This concerns the rock singing as well and it's pity that web space limitations don't allow me to upload more.
Here's the list of vinyl rip files available for downloading:
1. Handel - Concerti Grossi Op3 No1,2,3,4bis
Concerto Grosso No.1
Concerto Grosso No.2
Concerto Grosso No.3
Concerto Grosso No.4bis
2. Schumann - Funeral March
3. Tony Scott & Traditional Jazz Studio
Love In Davos
Life Is The Matter Of Chance
Blues For Charlie Parker
4. Linha Singers - Concerto Grosso For Voices
Tempo Di Minuetto
5. Trio Meridian
Sonnet About Lost Love
6. Bichevskaya - The Carriage Stood At Church
7. Tuhmanov - How Beautiful Is This World
I prefer to reproduce the full album vinyl rips by opening the corresponding files in the Sound Forge program. This provides the best sound quality and convenience of orientation in the album content.
For better signal purity, the soundcard output is directly connected to a power amplifier capable of driving the acoustic system at sufficient power. The higher the quality of these two components, the more full is release of the natural sound potential contained in vinyl rip files.
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