Are vinyl records mastered differently to cds and digital downloads? ?

Ive seen people rip there vinyl records to digital and i wonder why did they spend there time ripping a record when you can just buy a digital or a CD copy. Do the 3 formats sound any different to each other in mixing and quality because im interested in ripping vinyl to digital. 

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Yes, vinyls do not have the dynamic range or frequency response of digital music, because the needle can only move so fast and so much distance safely without jumping off the groove during playback. To limit movement of the needle, vinyl records are mastered and pressed using RIAA equalization. When it is played back,  the signal picked up by the stylus is  processed using the reverse RIAA equalization in the pre-amplifier section of your receiver or amplifier before it is amplified for the loudspeakers.

    When record engineers put together a master tape for LPs, they also have to be mindful of the limitations of the LP medium, so they may tone down the treble or the bass and they may compress the music to reduce dynamic range and noise. For some reason, some people like the way the music has been altered for the vinyl format, calling the LP music "warm."  When they record the LP to digital media, they are capturing that "warmth" which they cannot get from buying a CD, especially a remastered one that take full advantage of the frequency response and dynamic range of the original recording.  In the early days of the CD, they used the same master tape as the vinyl records and the two formats did not sound different back then, except for the lack of clicks and pops when CDs are played.  LP listeners may not hear as much bass or as much high frequency or as much a difference in the loudness between the loudest and softest passages as they would on CD, but that is the way they like it. Of course they are free to prefer the way their music sounds. It is similar to turning down the bass or treble knobs on their amplifiers. Some people do it but some don't. Some people even use add on equalizers at home to tailor their music to their taste. Unless you like the way vinyl records sound better than the way they sound on CD, you may not want to go through the hassle to do the same.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Ignorant "purists" believe that analog has a more natural sound while digital is cleaner and better sounding.  It is not uncommon to see old analog material be remastered and cleaned up for digital.  Frankly I don't miss the hissing, clicking, and popping from vinyl and have repurchased many of my albums in CD format.

  • 5 months ago

    they are mastered differently, the mechanism of manipulating these things are different and thus the quality and performance are also different

  • Tony B
    Lv 4
    5 months ago

    Yes they're mastered differently. They have to be because the process of producing the thing you're going to listen to is different. Producing a record from a master, and playing it, is a mechanical process.

    The only sensible reason for making a CD copy of a record is to have a version of it that can be played on a CD player - I've done that with some of my own records as it's more convenient.

    It would be really silly to choose to buy a record with the intention of copying it to CD (assuming the CD was readily available). It would, as you suggest be FAR morse sensible just to buy the CD.

    A record certainly does sound different to a CD because the record produces surface noise, wow and flutter and, probably, cracks and pops. The supposed advantage of analogue versus digital doesn't exist in most cases as the record is produced from a digital source.

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  • 6 months ago

    Records have to be mastered with less dynamic range than CDs 

    in order to prevent mistracking (failure of the stylus to properly follow the groove). 


    However, there are an awful lot of records that contain desirable material 

    that has never been available in any other format (such as CD) 

    and will never be available to download. 



    When you think up an idea like the one in your question, 

    it is good to second-guess yourself,  

    and even better to make sure you didn't miss anything. 

    In this case, you blew it big time. 


  • 6 months ago

    That depends on the exact LP and CD versions.

    Digital downloads using compressed formats such as MP3 or AAC etc. are a totally different thing and not high quality. Likewise anything involving Bluetooth audio, as that also uses lossy compression,

    For information:

    All the claims that "vinyl is better" are based on misunderstandings and belief that digitisation introduces distortion that would not present in an analog vinyl record.

    There are several problems with this.

    Most studios switched over to digital recording sometime through the late 70s to mid 80s.

    The frequency response of CD audio is restricted to about 20KHz, while LPs can (with the correct equipment) manage rather higher frequencies.

    But, that relies on such frequencies being recorded in the first place - and something other than a human being listening, as our hearing response is also limited to around 20KZ and often rather less than that as mature adults.

    And, the digitisation noise added to CD audio is at something below -100dB While the mechanical reproduction system used with albums has a maximum possible signal-to-noise level of around 70dB and most gear is lucky to reach 60dB signal to noise.

    So, CD audio gives you something around 30dB better signal to noise than vinyl.

    Another technical point is that analog recordings degrade with each stage of copying and any form of transfer, while digital recordings can be copied innumerable times with no loss of quality or increase in noise.

    Lps (vinyl recordings) also have RIAA equalisation, as another answer mentions.

    That is a treble boost/bass cut before the master discs are cut, to equalise the stylus movement throughout the frequency range.

    During playback, and "Phono" preamp applies the reverse frequency adjustment, to hopefully get the sound back as it originally was.

    However different studios often used different versions of equalisation, so the end result is not guaranteed.

    The only practical reason to ever copy any album recording to digital is if there is no CD version of it.

    Other than that, the original CD will be significantly better audio quality.

    Later reissues, compilations and cheap multi-album sets may be remastered or have been compressed / frequency adjusted - both CD and vinyl.

    I'm referring to original releases, as you can buy on such as Discogs. 

    Some reissues / remastered versions are the same as the originals or better; others can be abysmal.

    [Professional electronics designer and audio fanatic for over 50 years - I lived through the "vinyl era" and was glad to see the back of it, though I still have a lot of original albums and singles for sentimental value - and a very high-end turntable].

  • JJ
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    A vinyl record is an analog recording, which is inherently different than digital.

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