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post #151 of 296

Recording percussion is a matter of mike placement and dynamic shaping through limiting, not the ability of digital audio to reproduce. Redbook sound has a dynamic range broad enough to reproduce any peak. Again, knowing how to use the tools makes more of a difference than the tools themselves.

 

Drums are notoriously difficult to mike properly. Good engineers have a hatful of tricks for capturing the presence and attack of drums. It takes a good engineer to do a good job of this.


Edited by bigshot - 11/9/13 at 2:23pm
post #152 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tus-Chan View Post
 

 

This is exactly what I meant. Too many people approach audio (not music, audio) as an art, when it really is a science. Rationalization is not good enough; you must have true reasoning if you want to find reality.

Audio definitely is science. I regard musical recording as measurements of time. 

 

What is art is to find the right "modulators", to position them and mikes in the right spot in any given venue, so that science can be applied. 

 

I try to capture the event best I can - without any interventions on my part if possible. Art stays always firmly in hands of the performers.

post #153 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

Recording percussion is a matter of mike placement and dynamic shaping through limiting, not the ability of digital audio to reproduce. Redbook sound has a dynamic range broad enough to reproduce any peak. Again, knowing how to use the tools makes more of a difference than the tools themselves.

 

Drums are notoriously difficult to mike properly. Good engineers have a hatful of tricks for capturing the presence and attack of drums. It takes a good engineer to do a good job of this.

Please download Earthworks Demo CD. http://www.earthworksaudio.com/support/downloads/audio/

 

They show how different can basically similar microphone(s) with frequency response to respectively 30, 40 and 50 kHz sound compared among themselves and other makes that generally cover response up to approx 20 kHz. Even on redbook CD.

 

Of course there are other mics that meet or exceed HF extension of Earthworks'.

 

Disclaimer: I am no way connected with Earthworks and do not use their equipment. I posted that link simply because it is the only one I am aware of to compare the microphones with varying HF extension positioned exactly the same for each case and amplified/recorded exactly the same way for all cases.

 

Now - how on earth can recording engineer compensate for lacking HF extension without resorting to some fake illusion in order to try to match the sound of the faster mike with the slower model is beyond me. 


Edited by analogsurviver - 11/9/13 at 3:46pm
post #154 of 296
Seems this thread has gone in a different direction.... Back to OP's original question, usually when people rip vinyls to digital they do so at 24/96 or 24/192. A CD is only 16/44.1 so the idea is that the (hopefully) better mastered vinyl can be made into a digital form of higher resolution than its CD counterpart. I have heard vinyls ripped at 24/96 and they do sound better than CDs if done right
post #155 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by skinnygamer12 View Post

Seems this thread has gone in a different direction.... Back to OP's original question, usually when people rip vinyls to digital they do so at 24/96 or 24/192. A CD is only 16/44.1 so the idea is that the (hopefully) better mastered vinyl can be made into a digital form of higher resolution than its CD counterpart. I have heard vinyls ripped at 24/96 and they do sound better than CDs if done right

I did not intend to derail the thread - but what I wrote and vinyl vs 44.1/16 is basically the same problem .

 

Vynil can be ripped in PCM - up to DXD at 352.8kHz / 24bit and DSD128 - with yet better results than at 96/24. 

 

I simply chose to present the most severe test for each and every resolution of digital - live music, not a recording that is in its very essence limited with technical means at the time. Analog record, no matter how I like it, is at least one step removed from the quality of music live.

 

It can still be used to make digital copy better than its CD counterpart.

post #156 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

I did not intend to derail the thread - but what I wrote and vinyl vs 44.1/16 is basically the same problem .

Vynil can be ripped in PCM - up to DXD at 352.8kHz / 24bit and DSD128 - with yet better results than at 96/24. 

I simply chose to present the most severe test for each and every resolution of digital - live music, not a recording that is in its very essence limited with technical means at the time. Analog record, no matter how I like it, is at least one step removed from the quality of music live.

It can still be used to make digital copy better than its CD counterpart.
No worries, I wasn't pointing fingers at anyone for changing the topic of discussion. I'm not going to argue the quality of vinyl vs CD as I do not have a vinyl setup sadly. I was simply answering the original question of why people would rip vinyl to digital, which is to (hopefully) produce a digital copy that sounds better than the CD.
In theory, vinyl should sound better because sound is analog, so an analog capture method should retain more quality than digital. When ripping to 24/96 (or really anything higher than redbook CD) the idea is that this higher resolution digital copy will have more of the original analog details than the lower bitrate CD. Of course this is theory, and in practice it may or may not hold true depending on countless variables; but I will say that a 24/96 rip of a 180g vinyl Rage Against The Machine album is the best source material I have personally heard
post #157 of 296

Great points all around by everyone. One thing i do find more often than not, is that greater care has been taken in the mastering of vinyl compared to CD counterparts. Sometimes they're indistinguishable, sometimes the CD is better. To make matters more complicated, some of the very best masters of older music is held captive only in vinyl. One basic rule I have found though is that if the record isn't properly cleaned, you're not even in the game.

post #158 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by skinnygamer12 View Post

Seems this thread has gone in a different direction.... Back to OP's original question, usually when people rip vinyls to digital they do so at 24/96 or 24/192. A CD is only 16/44.1 so the idea is that the (hopefully) better mastered vinyl can be made into a digital form of higher resolution than its CD counterpart. I have heard vinyls ripped at 24/96 and they do sound better than CDs if done right

 

Vinyl LPs may have better mastering depending on who does it but ripping at 24/96 is pointless unless you are going to do post-processing. The dynamic range of LP is at best 75 - 80 db if you are lucky - an AD capture at 16/44.1 gives you at least 93db of dynamic range i.e more than enough to capture everything audible on the LP. Under no definition is LP high resolution. The only concrete advantage LP has is a theoretically higher high end but actually getting that down on LP is far from trivial as when it is played back high amplitude high frequencies make life very difficult for the cartridge so frequencies above 20k are rare on LP and when they are there are typically at low amplitudes. In fact almost all content on a modern (non-quad) LP above 20K will just be noise !

post #159 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
 

 

Vinyl LPs may have better mastering depending on who does it but ripping at 24/96 is pointless unless you are going to do post-processing. The dynamic range of LP is at best 75 - 80 db if you are lucky - an AD capture at 16/44.1 gives you at least 93db of dynamic range i.e more than enough to capture everything audible on the LP. Under no definition is LP high resolution. The only concrete advantage LP has is a theoretically higher high end but actually getting that down on LP is far from trivial as when it is played back high amplitude high frequencies make life very difficult for the cartridge so frequencies above 20k are rare on LP and when they are there are typically at low amplitudes. In fact almost all content on a modern (non-quad) LP above 20K will just be noise !

The whole point of vinyl vs CD lies in the vynil's advantage in high frequency response. You have extremely accurately described vynil dynamic range - it is

signal to noise ratio in reference to 0 dB VU level specified by RIAA - PLUS the level which can be cut above that. If we assume reasonable best case scenario, which is sadly very seldom achieved in practice, this means 60 dB signal to noise ratio ref 0 dB plus + 18 dB @ 300 Hz or 90 micrometers of amplitude, which is the maximum level that is normally being cut . Cutterhead is capable of excursions exceeding 120 micrometers, but that is beyond playback capabilities of all but a handful of cartridges that ever existed and are generally no longer readily available. Cutterhead is limited to approx 27 kHz essentially flat response at real time cutting. Half speed mastering doubles that - to over 50 kHz essentially flat response. This is the limit for analog, not cartridge capabilities - best cartridges achieve(ed) response exceeding 100 kHz.

 

It is fair to say I am describing Ben Johnsons of analog world here. Anything exceeding 10 kHz at anything but fairly low level amplitude ( cartridge/stylus performance in high frequency region usually gets described for trackability performance not in amplitude but in the velocity in the groove a stylus can still track at a given vertical tracking force ) is tough indeed and specially distortion levels , particularly in most MC cartridges, can go trough the roof. It is anything but pretty sight - or listen, when it does happen. However, those Ben Johnsons that do suceed, will run rings around redbook CD. 

 

Catch 22 of vinyl superiority over CD is one aspect of performance that is only very seldom mentioned , generally overlooked or misunderstood : rate of change of sound pressure level per amount of time. It has been to my knowledge first mentioned  by A.J. Van den Hul, most noted for his contribution of the stylus tip geometry that was the first to achieve practical limit in approaching the geometry of the cutting stylus and therefore best possible reproduction off vinyl. Any sharper than that and the stylus would tend to re-cut the groove, an abvious non desirable result. This stylus was first being made available on modified EMT TXD/XSD 15 cartidges, followed by a myriad of VdH's own designs,right to the present day - plus numerous other manufacturers'.

 

Although CD redbook has 98.XY dB of dynamic range, it is SLOW - its rise time is approx 14 microseconds, consummerate with its brick wall filtered frequency response to 22050 Hz, half the sampling rate of 44.1 khz. That means its rate of change of SPL per amount of time is

 

98 dB divided by 14 microsec = 7 dB/microsec 

 

An average high quality phono cartridge, either decent MM or MC, has rise time of 10 microseconds or less

 

78 dB divided by 10 microsec = 7.8 dB/microsec

78 dB divided by   6 microsec =  13 dB/microsec

 

The best cartridge I had the pleasure to measure and audition, had a rise time of 3 ( in a word : three ) microseconds. Sound - out of this world...

 

Do you know where this speed is best, or to be precise, NOT audible ( as lag slower formats impart to the sound as heard live ) ?

 

Solo acoustic bass. You can make your subwoofer exceeding the size of the Planet Earth, if it is driven by a slow source - fuggetaboutit.

 

This figure clearly shows why and how analog afficionados achieve superiority over redbook CD - admittedly, at a price, cartridges with 6 microsecond rise time are rare and burn a large hole in the pocket.

 

In my "prevoius life", I used to work in CD retail. I dreaded mondays - because there was a fair chance that I will have to demonstrate (in order to make a sale ) a digital counterpart of the analog record just enjoyed over weekend. THAT was the hardest thing to stromach during those days.

 

I will present one of the recordings, available (once upon a time) both as CD and limited edition LP, 

 

http://www.discogs.com/Dusko-Goykovich-Soul-Connection/release/3317584

 

Here my autographed copy:   AAA LP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that due to the particular playing technique and superb originally analog Enja  recording demonstrates above described to the fullest. Those "bursts" of Mr. Dusko Gojkovich's trumpet are on LP long over - before CD even starts to build them up, never achieving the full loudness. The first sounds like he is in your room, the other is flat dead. Needless to say, a copy of this AAA record is a collector's item - to the point it is not even listed in Discogs... - with the price to match.

post #160 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

The whole point of vinyl vs CD lies in the vynil's advantage in high frequency response. You have extremely accurately described vynil dynamic range - it is

signal to noise ratio in reference to 0 dB VU level specified by RIAA - PLUS the level which can be cut above that. If we assume reasonable best case scenario, which is sadly very seldom achieved in practice, this means 60 dB signal to noise ratio ref 0 dB plus + 18 dB @ 300 Hz or 90 micrometers of amplitude, which is the maximum level that is normally being cut . Cutterhead is capable of excursions exceeding 120 micrometers, but that is beyond playback capabilities of all but a handful of cartridges that ever existed and are generally no longer readily available. Cutterhead is limited to approx 27 kHz essentially flat response at real time cutting. Half speed mastering doubles that - to over 50 kHz essentially flat response. This is the limit for analog, not cartridge capabilities - best cartridges achieve(ed) response exceeding 100 kHz.

 

Exactly right. At the end of day though people will just pick out the bits of 'science' or 'stats' that suit their opinion. Vinyl bashers will be vinyl bashers. Let them keep their CDs I say. I'm relatively happy in the knowledge that these people are reduced to listening to 16/44.1, because it's their choice, but much less happy to know that the general public is paying their hard earned money to buy and listen to low quality audio. Not to mention Mp3. Most people know nothing about recording, mixing, mastering, bit rates, sample rates etc (after all, why should they?) and they have to unknowingly put up flat sounding records. It's not even a case of 'ignorance is bliss' because they get listening fatigue, get bored with music more quickly than they otherwise would, as well as other negative effects that occur with prolonged exposure to low quality audio. So the end result is that they listen to less music.

 

The beauty of vinyl rips is that some people have spent thousands and thousands on turntable, tracking arm, cartridge, pre-amp, AD converter etc, and have made available those expensive front end rips to people like myself who don't have the money to rival such a set-up.

 

Going back to Metallica (as an example), when I was a kid I had to save up all of my pocket money to be able to buy each Metallica album on cassette tape, which I could play with my cheap walkman at the time. When my parents first bought a CD player, I was able to buy all those albums a second time, on CD.

So I'd bought their first 5 albums on cassette, re-bought them on CD, and bought the following 5 albums on CD also, as well as a few singles, a DVD (of which I had previously bought a VHS version). I've had a couple on vinyl, which sounded great on my fathers turntable, but at the time I was loathe to buy all of my favourite albums for a third time. Obviously, Metallica isn't the only band I listen to. ;-) So if I had to buy every album that I like 3 times, it would get a bit expensive.

 

Uploading/downloading copyrighted material is illegal. But in future if hi res releases (24/96 or 24/192) could be more readily available, & downloadable for a price, it would solve a lot of issues, and vinyl rips would be less useful and sought after.

 

The best we have today is the ability to buy a vinyl pack, and with it you receive a code to enable the download of a hi res file of the album. That is a really cool idea, but not many artists do that yet, they're usually remasters of classic albums. But Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead have done it I think.

 

To resume, it's the music industry's responsibility to provide the best sounding records that they can, but ultimately all they're after is profit. So selling Mp3's at $0.99 apiece for something that costs $0.00 to make is massively profitable. They don't care how sh*t it sounds because the general public is unaware that there is better quality available.

A similar transition occurred early 80's when Sony and Phillips decided to make and sell CDs. They cost much less to make, but they were sold more expensively than LPs. More profit, less quality.


Edited by ploppy666 - 11/10/13 at 5:12am
post #161 of 296

Arguing with someone else who refuses to analyze any of your evidence or question themselves, and is only interested in condescendingly beating you over the head with their unsubstantiated opinion over and over again until you stop talking, is a complete and utter waste of time.

 

We seem to have completely different goals in this thread; I want to share information and even be proven wrong if I am so; you only seem to be interested in crushing and insulting me.

 

You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it. (Thomas Paine)

 

If you want to play that game, fine; I am a lot better at it than you are.

 

Also, just to be clear, nobody needs or wants you to spam the thread with pictures so you can show off how worldly and cool you are.


Edited by Tus-Chan - 11/10/13 at 11:31am
post #162 of 296

LPs don't contain super audible frequencies, except as noise. The much tauted "warm" sound of vinyl is because of a high end rolloff. Frequencies above 17kHz make for very delicate modulations, especially in inner grooves, so they are filtered off in vinyl mastering to prevent premature record wear.

 

Frequencies above 20kHz add nothing to music anyway, because other than upper harmonics in cymbals and triangles, there isn't anything up there. And even in cymbals and triangles, those upper harmonics are masked by much louder lower frequencies.

 

Audio fidelity is first and foremost faithful reproduction of the core fundamental frequencies... 100Hz to 6kHz. The last octave or so (10kHz and up) are the least important, because there's very little up in that range. It's a great frequency band to boost if you want to induce listening fatigue and headaches though.

 

I'm not a vinyl basher. I probably have more records than all of you... but I admit my Dusko Voysyovich collection of Lithuanian soul is sadly lacking. All I have are Sheffield Lab records.


Edited by bigshot - 11/10/13 at 11:04am
post #163 of 296

Just to reinforce some of the conversation for those observing:

post #164 of 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tus-Chan View Post
 

I can't even be bothered to respond to either of you anymore.

 

Arguing with someone else who refuses to analyze any of your evidence or question themselves, and is only interested in condescendingly beating you over the head with their unsubstantiated opinion over and over again until you stop talking, is a complete and utter waste of time. I'm here to change opinions and educate, but the two of you seem to only be here to "win".

 

Thanks for wasting my time.

I am not here to "win" - at least , winning is not my intention.

 

I can understand that you say what you hear and see the topic that way. I do not have magic ears, I have average hearing capability for my age. 

 

Much of the perception of the difference between vynil and CD lies also in the equipment one uses. If the frequency response is not extended, by for CD criteria ludicrous amount, if there is basically filter after filter after...... filter - it does not matter in the slightest. I know people that are perfectly satisfied with CD, even after being demoed top analog. Not that they could not afford it - the difference is simply not important to them. If one does feel that way after the proper demonstration - fine with me. 

 

What I object to is praying the mantra that redbook CD is "enough" - for everyone. It is not and never will be, as long as it will still adhere to 44.1 kHz sampling. The amount of information above the limit of CD is small - perhaps below 1% of the total sound - but it is the same as with salt. You can have no matter how good ingredients in that soup, if there is not a tiny bit of salt - it will not taste right. The amount of that salt is also below 1%, yet it is important.

 

There is one very unfortunate possibility why you can not hear the difference. Quality of the equipment you are using can be to low. Regardless of cost - there are relatively inexpensive "analog friendly" systems, there are super expensive systems that simply do not warrant the use of a quality analog front end. It basically boils down to the use of quality capacitors in electronics and/or avoiding them whenever possible. What is cruel is the fact that conventional measurements will hardly tell any differences in specs - for the on average tenfold increase in price of components used. What is even more bothersome is that the entire chain, from the source to the final transducer to sound, has to be up to the about same standard - one single capacitor is capable of creating enough trouble to let the whole system down.

 

This bussines of quality caps or avoiding them altogether goes as far as creating audio devices that eschew caps in the audio path altogether - trough the use of inductors instead, if necessary. Now that is something I do not dare to wish to hear - because it is good but burns larger hole in the pocket than I can possibly afford. 

 

If you think that capacitors are snake oil, please Google results from IC manufacturer Maxxim - for portable devices. This is the first non capacitor manufacturer that is pointing out the importance of capacitors in the audio chain - saying that they have been able to make their ICs so that they can use lower value capacitors for the same bandwidth - meaning that in the same volume of space they can now squeeze better quality capacitor which usually is physically larger. With the sole intention -  to improve the sound of portable devices (besides gaining bigger market share).

 

Basically, "we analog/hi-rez" and "you CD" can both come up with pros and cons in either direction. I merely want the listener to know what is available and decide with his/hers own ears and wallet.

 

Since you mentioned you use Stax headphones - believe it or not, no Stax model as available on the market can do treble anything like right. I use Stax among others - and only recently decided to modify the thing well above what everybody else accepts as "enough"- because improvements in everything that preceeded it demanded so, it became the bottleneck.

 

To make matters more interesting & confusing - CD with its limited HF extension is de facto helpful for Stax if left as they came from the Land of the Rising Sun.

post #165 of 296

I'm a record collector. I'm also a recording supervisor and know a lot about how digital audio works.

 

I have a certain little habit I picked up along the way... I listen to people who know more about a subject than I do, and I ask questions. Then I go away and test to see if I can verify what they tell me.

 

I have a very good Thorens turntable and a moving coil Ortofon cartridge. I also have a pristine copy of Sheffield Labs' direct to disk LP "Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues Vol 2". If you know about audiophile records, I'm sure you've heard about it. It's often called the best sounding LP ever made.

 

I was interested in digitizing my records, but I wanted to make sure the equipment I bought would be transparent. No loss in audio quality. I asked friends and decided on an outboard digitizing box that they recommended. The first thing I did when I got it set up was to digitize a side of the Lincoln Mayorga record. I listened to it and it sounded good, but good wasn't good enough. I wanted perfect. So I hooked up a preamp, put the original LP into one input and the output from my Mac into the aux input, balanced the volume levels and did direct A/B comparisons.

 

I listened carefully using my best headphones and my speaker rig. I tried my hardest to discern a difference. I couldn't. They both sounded fantastic. They both sounded identical. If my digital copy of the LP can contain all of the sound contained on the best LP ever made, it can contain all of the sound on any LP. Simple logic.

 

I haven't just done this with LPs. I've compared redbook to SACD and to high bitrate audio coming out of a professional pro tools work station. I've compared iPods to standalone CD players. Every piece of equipment I buy gets a line level matched listening test before I start using it.

 

There is a point in audio where it becomes transparent. Human hearing has finite thresholds. Maybe bats can hear more, but why do we care about that for our home stereo? LPs sound pretty darn good if the mastering and pressing is good. CDs can sound a bit better than that. But beyond that, it is transparent.

 

KNOWING from doing the legwork removes all of the doubt about things like, "maybe I'm losing some quality" or "perhaps I need a little more just in case". It frees me to focus on the things that REALLY matter because I'm not wasting my time on things that don't matter any more.

 

I'll share with you what I've learned...

 

All high fidelity formats can sound good. Whether they do or not depends primarily on the engineering of the music, not the format itself. If an LP sounds better, it's because the mastering engineer was more careful, not because of some magical property involved with grooves in plastic. In fact, the mechanical aspect of LP records is its main Achilles Heel. The quality of manufacture of the record itself makes a huge difference. Poor quality vinyl, badly engineered cutting, record wear can all take a toll. And the capabilities of vinyl are limited because of its mechanical nature... narrower frequency response, narrower dynamic range, higher distortion. But that doesn't mean it's bad. It just means CDs are a little bit better.

 

LPs can sound good or bad. CDs can sound good or bad. SACDs can sound good or bad. But if the engineering is identical, digital audio will always sound the best. And adding more numbers to redbook is pointless because it enters the realm where human ears can't hear the difference any more.

 

But don't take my word for it. DO WHAT I DID. Carefully test for yourself under controlled conditions. I would recommend that everyone do TESTING to determine for themselves where true audio quality lies. Don't take anyone's word. Learn to control the variables in your test and learn for yourself. That's how you become more experienced in the hobby.


Edited by bigshot - 11/10/13 at 12:43pm
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