Always the discussion about the horrible sound of MP3, very interestingly quite often from sound engineers in clubs that have unfavorably room acoustics plus a shit p.a. installed.
I heard enough terrible MP3 files in my life but I learned that it mostly is from crappy converter software, wrong adjustment of the settings or terrible original material (as rotten vinyl recorded with bad equipment or even worse like rips from ultra-compressed Youtube clips or such). With good equipment, knowledge and a bit of passion, a high quality MP3 does sound: Good!
The sound of a vinyl record is a story on it’s own. Digital always means reduced mechanical scanning (digital “stairsteps” no matter how fine), on the other hand theres so much additional disturbance sources in the vinyl audio chain: stylus, preamp, interference, feedback, dust, wow & flutter (disability to hold the correct speed that is) wich we are so used to that we actually see some of the imperfections as “warm sound”, I indeed do so.
So do you believe you can hear the difference between uncompressed high-definition audio, a 320kbps MP3 and a super-compressed 128kbps file? The american National Public Radio, NPR created a test. Turn up the volume and give it a try!
With a proper headphone plugged right in to my (totally average soundcard) laptop, I guessed 3 WAV’s out of 6, the other 3 were 320 files. And to be honest: with Neil Young it was random that i didn’t chose the 128kbps file…
My claim: MP3’s bad image seems to be much imaginantion, a lot of wannabe expert knowledge plus tons of poor converting – but not much substance.
good to your records + sounds great + sticks in the groove
There’s no ad-financed links or no other reason (as every other post on my site) but the one that I’m quite exited about the following I wanna share with you !!
The Nagaoka MP-110 is widely known as a budget top quality phono system for it’s neutral to warm sound and silky treble, plus the fact that it’s needle seems to be very generous to hide some slight scratches & worn vinylgrooves. That is why I bougght one to digitalize my records the best way my budget allowed me. It’s price isca. €130.00but check Ebay for €117,00 incl headshell at some japanese sellers likethisgentleman.
But on top of that, as I accidentially found out and tested for 2 months now: This is a perfect choice for Dj-use, esecially for those who play vintage and worthy records!
For decades now I was totally happy with the Stanton Stanton 890SA/FS model for it’s warm sound and most of all for being so protective to the records – and the extraordinary loud volume. I always apprechiated the Shure Whitelabel for the warm and detailled sound and the Grado Dj-200 for the complexity.With Grado it is a question of taste (as every thing concerning the senses certainly are) but i never liked it’s treble neither, but most important: the way it tortures records whle back-cueing is brutal! Shure M44-7 sounds hard but is one league with Stanton for low recordwear, still the most important point for me! So they are all great …. for a dj cartridge. Ortofon Concordes may have developped over the years but appart from easy installation i never liked the thin and dead sound and especially the heavy recordwear. Generally all mentioned cartridges just cannot keep up with the lovely ad detailled sound Nagaoka MP-110 produces. It is simply a different level!
Although it’s an elliptical stylus, the recordwear is absolute minimum, so to say on one level with the Shure M44-7 and Stanton 890SA/FS or better.
It’s praised in most hifi forums for being such a great sounding thing for such little money. It actually seems to share this position meanwhle with the legendary Denon DL-110 (a great sounding system wich is in no way suitable for dj’ing). It’s always ridiculous to derscibe sound, but the best way to do so: Music sounds simply more lovely than before, no matter how long you listen. A good comparisson with another reliable cartridge, the Stanton 680 (very similar to the mentioned Stanton 890) is here
With good internet connection & quality headphones you might get an impression (the details in the treble!)
When it comes to turntabelism the Shure wins by far for it’s skipping resistance, no question. The MP-110 does all cueing, backspinning and a little wicky-wicky-scratching thingy with ease. Remember it is a hifi system, so the metal that holds the diamond (cantilever) is less stff as a dj-one would be and the recommended / ideal weight adjustment is 1,5 – 2 grams. But when you’re not scratching until the needle starts smoking the system behaves just fine. To put on some extra weight for heayily warped records works but don’t forget to get back to your 2 grams for the next record since the cantilever starts to sag down at heavier weights – not good for the recordwear (especially while backspinning)
Club dj’s know the problem concerning vinyl (or better the turntables & dj booths) can produce bass feedback at loud volumes, especially since most sound engineers in clubs have lost their knowledge about turntable setup and maintenance. So, one of the most important: Nagaoka’s feedback sensitivity seems to be better than all the mentioned cartridges! Remember it is always depending on the material and built of the dj booth, the shape of the venue, where the subwoofers are placed, how worn the tonearm fixation is … and maybe a dozend other details, so it cannot be a general result, but I have used them Nagaoka’s in maybe a dozend different situations by now and it is an über-positive impression so far.
Output volume is “average” (5mV) equal as the notorious in-house Ortofon OM Pro S (6mV) but not as loud as Shure M44 (9,5 mV), Ortofon Nightclub (9,5 mV), Ortofon Q-Bert (11mV) or, the loudest, Stanton 890 (12mV). This can lead to quite different volume-levels when you combine Serato / CD or other media in your dj set but actually that does not matter at all as long as you know what a gain knob does, but actually sharing the booth along with other dj’s who set everything to the max: it might cause a problem.
Also not perfect is the fact that you don’t see the needle tip very good. This will take you maybe one or two extra revolutions of backspinning while cueing each record.
Availability: you should get replacement forever since Nagaoka’s main business is replacement needles for all kinds of discontinued cratridges.
Replacement needles are €79,00 street price (Nov 2018) that means twice as expensive as Shure and nearly hafway to the Grado (€180,00). I don’t want to put this fact down but usually you do need to replace your stylus every 500 to 1000 hours. Calculate 2 turntables = 2 cartridges = each playing out half the time, plus the nescessary cueing per record. That equals ca. 300-600 club sets of 2 hours each or 100-200 6-hour marathons. Think of your records and recordwear before you have a thought on saving some 40 bucks on styli.
I haven’t tried the Taruya models yet (and I know I should soon do so!) as well as Nagaoka’s special dj cartridges called DJ-03HD MM (they seem to be very exotic nowadays at least outside of Japan, Anybody with exerience for that? Please let me know if so!) but overall the Nagaoka is the best choice i found in my 30+ years of quite intensive searching for a perfect Dj-cartridge so far.
PLUS: – better sound than all existing dj-cartridges i ever tried (and those were a lot) – very low recordwear – very good feedback insensibillity
MINUS – not the loudest – stylus tip not well visible – costy replacement needles
Today I’d like to make a point about record grading, an essential instrument for trading records when both seller and buyer can’t make it possible to be in the same place at the same time to make their deal.
Decades ago a record-collector magazine, Goldmine, installed their Goldmine record grading system wich has become the standard language in describing the condition of (particularly used) records. Discogs.comuses the same standards as nearly every experienced record person does – more or less. Only some little differences exist (as where you have an “EX” between NM & VG+ or whether can put ++ or – behind the condition term or not) which dosen’t make it easier … but that is fine adjusting of a more advanced level i don’t feel the need to discuss here.
The term “mint” by the way is adapted from another gang of nerds, the coin collectors. For non-native english people: Mint is the place where coins are being pressed, not the herb (as i thought for a long time). The term means nothing but fresh out of the production.
A little listening lession concerning the grading system:
By the nature of capitalism the seller of a record always tends to describe his record very positive while buyers on the other hand are often quite tight. A totally unplayed record almost for free is basically the secret buyers hope on every record-hunt, be honest.
So by nature it’s often a difference of what arrived your mailbox and what you hoped to do so. The tradition of the seller up-polishing the describtion of the offered item is so old that the language of describing a record basically shifted out of space ever since. What is termed a “Good” record is hardly enjoyable if even playable, a “Very Good” piece of vinyl sounds most of the times quite bad and a “Very Good Plus” record is actually the lowest existing grade where you can expect a record that sounds: good. Record nerds are used to that language but most certainly it is nothing else but absurd.
Another factor of different grading is the listening equipment. It can be a huge difference to hear the same record on two different setups in general. According to the wear of a record it’s maybe even more drastical. With a real bad equipment you might not hear too much of the whole recording at all, now less than ever the treble (where the pops, scratches and crackles are mainy located in the frequency spectrum). We have here: worn stylusses, portable kiddie turntables and supermarket stuff of the Crosley or Silvercrest league, damaged loudspeakers or bad headphones to listen, or simply a lot of dirt on the needle-tip and in the record grooves and no $1.00 spent on a simple micro fibre cloth to clean the record at least a bit.
On top of that there is an issue with the stylus shape. A variety of different shapes exist. Every stylus type contacts more or less at another region in the record groove. So, for example: if you have some surface scratches it might sound better with a more spiky cartridge type that dips deeper into the groove wile some dust and pressing remains down there might be more evident with the same thing. (More about the styus topic in general and especially for dj concernshere)
Another piont i wanted to make: There’s an evident problem with the Goldmine / Discogs system. Sellers often do grade the visual state of the label and the record together as the condition of the record itself, especially when it comes to 45’s. Although I’m a big fan of nice labeldesign, I prefer to listen to music instead of getting exited about how “minty” a recordlabel is. Especially with 45’s it’s more and more that sellers claim records to be in a good contition because they look good. Maybe it might be much better to change the system of grading from: first record, than cover into: first sound, then cosmetic looks of the record along with cover and any poster-gadgets or whatever else you lp freaks ever may expect in your record-foldout-envelopes 😉
We all attracted by disaster stories, so here’s one! To get a picture how this record grading can get way out sometimes (actually one of my top 3 of the worst experiences in those nearly four decades of buying mail order records now)
This copy of “Jah Woosh – Love I Version” was sold on Discogs as a VG+ condition, wich claims: “Defects should be more of a cosmetic nature, not affecting the actual playback as a whole”
The pictured 45 was already cleaned with a vacuum record cleaning machine. Before It had a strange smeer in the grooves but the scratches certainly did remain. This is how it sounded freshly cleaned and played on decent equipment.
But enough sensation here. I think there’s no way at all to really 100% standartize the grade of recordwear, but I think we all should make our efforts for keeping the standards as good as we can. It is a communication tool and I am not looking forward to the point where a “Double Mint with three stars” record is the only piece of not totally rotten crap record you can buy.
A quarter of a century ago – or even more now- I ordered my first big lot of 45 inner sleeves from a small ad in Goldmine magazine (one of the very few sources to find stuff like that back then before the internet days). I soon forgot where i bought that sleeves from and with every new order of other polylined 45 sleeves from different providers in Germany, UK and USA I found out how perfect those sleeves actually are.
–pure paper sleeves do mechannically harm the records (paper scuffs !!!) and while slowly decaying, sever wood fibre dust is piling up in the recordgrooves.
–“Rice paper” or “Nagaoka style*” sleeves are High-density polyethylene (HDPE) without additional paper …and they are are too flimsy! They are antistatic, free of softeners (and other vinyl destroyers) and produce no dust, but they do wrinkle if you put the record back into the outer sleeve. Plus: due to their much thinner material too delicate to handle in time while dj’ing.
*The term “rice paper” is confusing since it’s material is not paper but plastic. I never spotted a recordsleeve made out of actual rice paper. Nagaoka is a well known producer of this kind of LP sleeves, but since they don’t do 45 ones, some sellers call’ their 45 versions “Nagaoka style”
–polylined paper sleves: Most of them are just too thin, often not antistatic wich causes audible crackles and pops while listening and keeps the record magnetic to the slipmat and every single dust particle around. The label might be hardly visibe due to the often corruated and milky plastic, typically the size is not precise and often too large to fit into standard cardboard outer sleeves, and -most important- the polylining and the glue can destroy your records! Some of them do really chemically react with the vinyl if you wait long enough. I always thought they wouldn’t use that kind of acidic material since they found out about that issue anymore. Unfortuately some budget producers still do.
–Most poly-lined inner sleeves are not suitable for professional use! If you don’t have all the time in the world but rather try to put on another tune every two or three minutes, all regular sleeves i ever experienced hardly slip back into the cover without getting stuck, warping and wrinkeling the paper thei’re made off (causing clumpy paper/plastic areas wich do press into the vinyl), ripping the paper off the plastic or just fall apart soon after you bought them.
The Sleeve City heavy duty sleeves are still fully intact. I don’t remember exactly if i bought 500 or more. About 10 sleeves all together broke by split seams, one got spilled with booze: it didn’t survive but the record perfecty did … wich is the innitial reason to have such things! and all the rest of the sleeves still perfectly do their job!
The inner lining of the discussed sleeve is thick and sturdy, made of hi-density polyethylene (HDPE). It’s feel is like cellophane as from japanese gift wrappingfoil. The paper is quite thick and dense. Neither the inner lining itself as well as the glue didn’t react in any noteabe way after all those years. Only some yellowing of the paper and that’s it. They do fit perfectly inside the UK cardboard outers. Some records I played frequently over the yeas must have slipped in and out of the sleeves many dozends of times and there’s no evident sign of wear such as paper scuffs. Try this with a paper-ony-sleeve.
I finally found them super sleeves again at Sleeve City who made them back in the days – and they still do in the same top quality!
They are costy (roughly $0.25 a piece plus shipping etc) but i promise it is a much better investment than cheap ones that bother by short life span, laborious handling and ruin your records in the end.
Post stolen & quoted from 45Live.net . Author: Pete Isaac, 14th August 2018
45s Record Storage The ‘Allnighter’ by Button Up Furniture
When it comes to storage for your records, you are well served if you collect 12″ vinyl, but for 45s the choices are not as vast unless you count all the various ‘hacks’ that people employ to store their 7″ collection, like shoe boxes, various drinks crates, wooden boxes that are almost the right size and so on. But this fact has been changing over the last year or 2 with some incredibly stylish and beautifully handcrafted pieces of furniture making it to market. Of course, these high-end pieces come with high-end price tags. You can make your own too, we recently saw what 45 Live crew DJ Woody made out of MDF, and that was a simple cabinet for card drawers, very effective and very cheap!
But if you aren’t comfortable with crafting your own, and you have a fairly decent budget then the ‘Allnighter’ by Button Up Furniture could well be a prime contender. Made in Bosse Cedar wood with a natural matt lacquer, these mid-century styled drawers look the business. Featuring soft close drawers on hidden runners and with a very cool cut out so the front facing 7″ label shows through perfectly, and all set on beautiful angled legs. Measuring 102cm wide x 80cm high x 40cm deep with 8 drawers, there is plenty of storage for a small to medium collection. Each of the 8 drawers holds approximately 160 x 45s making a solution for up to 1300 x 45s, which should be enough for many collectors/DJs.
The cabinets are made to order in roughly 3 weeks and are shipped fully assembled, no messing about with allen keys and diagrams. Costing €985 these also aren’t cheap, but they are a lot more affordable than the Plattenkreisel drawers, albeit smaller.
We think it’s pretty gorgeous, beautifully made by Maribel and Pedro in Spain and would also serve as a perfect base for a (vintage) turntable and amp. Stick a pair of vintage Tannoy speakers either side of the cabinet and it’s instantly the most important piece of furniture in your house!
Now, I wonder if my wife might buy one for me for my next birthday?
Varia Instruments, a swiss manufacturer known for their rotary mixers, just released a platter-weight that includes a slide-out 45 adapter. Interesting detail seems to be the sticky rubber texture that is claimed to let you control the records by handling the weight. Cost CHF 89.00 (aprox € 75.00 or $ 89.00) plus shipping
After years of research and endless fine adjusting efforts in his mad scientist castle, Atomic Cafe‘s Roland Schunk is about to start his line of hi-class vinyl record storage furniture soon on his website.
Expect nothing else than great looking and hyperfunctional phono furniture and accessoires, handcrafted of the finest materials.
Kaduna, Nigeria 1959. As though we thought we knew it all. Nope. Stay a student because everything has been done before, and manifested through time with different groups. All of our expressions can always be traced back to our Human ancestors. This is beyond Breakin events, Breakin competitions, competitors, sponsors, brands, contracts, promoters, sellers, buyers, merchandise of Breakin as a commodity. This is purely the #CulturalTradition side. You want to know the truth? Keep digging and reconnect. 📽 HuntleyFilmArchives#breakin #bboying #bgirling #bboy #bgirl #breakdance #culture #cultural #expression #dance #afrika
“Kaduna, Nigeria 1959. As though we thought we knew it all. Nope. Stay a student because everything has been done before, and manifested through time with different groups. All of our expressions can always be traced back to our Human ancestors. This is beyond Breakin events, Breakin competitions, competitors, sponsors, brands, contracts, promoters, sellers, buyers, merchandise of Breakin as a commodity. This is purely the #CulturalTradition side. You want to know the truth? Keep digging and reconnect. HuntleyFilmArchives”
Just bought a new set of Beyerdynamic DT770’s on te manufacturer’s website as b-stock and they attached a set of free Custom Street headphones.
Solid built, extremely good in isolating the ambience around which is essential for loud clubs since: You can mix much better when the volume of your headphone is at a low volume (after you checked the tune, just in the phase of blending two tracks). If you never experienced that: Try it, you’ll be surprised!
Anyway, Custom Street headset has a solid, durable construction, sounds loud and nicely neutral (as long as you don’t turn on that very affective bass boost) comes with a detatchable 1 m cable (changeable with any 3,5 mm cable on the market) and a gig bag (plus some nerdy things to “style” your ear cups.
Wyh am I mentioning this? Because the thing costr regularely €120.00 it seems they didn’t suceed to marked that model and now you can find it for €40.00 Which makes it the cheapest serious dj headphone around. Be quick if you wanna catch one!
Try your luck searching them since they’re sold out at the manufacturer now (Nov 2018)