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"the vinyl has been replaced by the CD, largely inferior in quality" - Page 10

post #136 of 437

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

Q: Does anyone know of a good reference for finding out which vinyl pressings of a given LP album are the best pressings, and which are to be avoided? I was excited to get a Columbia "half-speed master" of Born To Run, and the SQ ended up being cr@p 



The Steve Hoffman Forums are a good place for that sort of info on various pressings and masterings.  I wonder what the Steve Hoffman forum folks have to say about the half speed master version of Born To Run?

 

Would be nice if sites like discogs and rateyourmusic had reliable reviews of individual releases/masterings/pressings.  They're good sites for finding what versions of an album have been released and when, but they don't do a good job of having reliable reviews of which version is actually better.

post #137 of 437

Thank you Ham Sandwich, I will definitely check that forum out 


Edited by grokit - 11/4/10 at 1:52pm
post #138 of 437

For me, analog is hands-down the winner in terms of overall SQ.

Why are we even discussing CD? It's 16 bit 44.1 after all... nowadays SACD is a much more promising premise...and I do have a small collection of 2 channel SACDs although my Sony SACD deck recently died so I'm searching out a replacement. But it is a very good format, and can give high-quality analog a definite run for its money. But like I said, CD is (should be) a thing of the past for audiophiles.

 

In the end however, all digital formats are a mere sample of the original performance, which is analog. The fact that the sound waves have been permanently captured 'in the wax' says it all. I can live with its limitations.

 

Just make sure you get a very(very) quiet phono preamp and a fine line stylus to take vinyl seriously, and to not destroy the grooves.

post #139 of 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunseeker888 View Post

For me, analog is hands-down the winner in terms of overall SQ.

 

That is of course your preference and inarguable, others including myself prefer CD partly due to the lack of noise that inevitably plagues LP playback at so many levels.

 

Why are we even discussing CD? It's 16 bit 44.1 after all... nowadays SACD is a much more promising premise...and I do have a small collection of 2 channel SACDs although my Sony SACD deck recently died so I'm searching out a replacement. But it is a very good format, and can give high-quality analog a definite run for its money. But like I said, CD is (should be) a thing of the past for audiophiles.

 

In the end however, all digital formats are a mere sample of the original performance, which is analog. The fact that the sound waves have been permanently captured 'in the wax' says it all. I can live with its limitations.

 

...and an analog recording is a perfect facsimile of the original source ?, sorry, incorrect. It is an approximation. If the process of analog sound recording/pressing captures a perfect facsimile of the original signal how come it has neither infinite bandwidth nor an infinitely high SNR, how can the SNR of this analog capture be decidedly inferior to the SNR of a competent 16 bit digital system ? Here is a clue, continuous is not the same as infinite or perfect. 

 

Just make sure you get a very(very) quiet phono preamp and a fine line stylus to take vinyl seriously, and to not destroy the grooves.

 

Given the job that a phono premp has to do (massive gain and outrageous EQing of the FR) it is pretty hard to get one that is quiet by even lowly 16 bit standards, you'll be lucky to get SNR of 85db to 90db, but then there are so many other sources of noise from LP you'll barely notice the phono stage noise. An iPod is quieter than LP playback.

post #140 of 437

SQ, interesting. I think it also depends on your vinyl set up and how clean you vinyl set up is. Recently I was with my dad and he has a cheap plastic turntable and tuner in one with a small headphone out. He did not keep it dust free and even the needle had dust on it. After dusting it, it sounded much better. It sounded nice but I could not help wondering if a better set up or even better and more stable turntable would improve the sound dramatically. 

 

Even if the SQ of vinyl is no better than the SQ of CDs - I will find out in time - there is music which is only to be found on vinyl which I still want to listen to. 

post #141 of 437
Thread Starter 

 

Originally Posted by sunseeker888 View Post

 

CD is (should be) a thing of the past for audiophiles.


Ouuuh, that's quite a statement. I can only repeat myself at this point, but have you tried to listen to well mastered CD's off a proper DAC? Most ppl seem to compare a cheapo CD/DVD player against a vintage vynil deck, and make peremptory judgments from there. It takes money, time and effort to properly extract the data that's been encoded on a CD...but once you do, the CD format itself has everything you need. When properly mastered/dithered and decoded, The CDDA redbook format isn't a bottleneck per se IMO.


Edited by leeperry - 11/7/10 at 1:55am
post #142 of 437

People with the pops and clicks, learn to clean a record...  I would like to see measurements done to the limitations of the vinyl format that are current, not propaganda to support the new CD format in 1980.  Hardware on both fronts have gotten more advanced since 1980.  I don't see the need to spend big bucks to make a CD sound good.  This is what a computer is for and there are plenty of DBs to make sure you have a proper rip.  You don't need to spend thousands on power and signal cables, either.  Obviously a PSU in a computer is going to do just fine, because it is supplying power to things that are oscillating in the order of gigahertz.  If there are no errors there, then what makes people think they need some crazy insane power feed to get accurate in the realm of 44.1-192 kilohertz?  I don't see how cables in the digital feed affect the signal.  If the signal gets from point A to B without losing data, then how can it sound different?  Placebo.  Jitter is the only thing that comes to mind.  When it comes to new music being released on CD versus their vinyl counterpart, the vinyl wins hands down, except Metallica.  Every album I have on CD that I also have on vinyl are clearly mastered differently.  Had the CD realm never have gotten the loudness war, and they would have designed DRC into hardware rather than the format, I would say vinyl would not be around anymore.  People are getting sick of crappy sounding CD masters, so they are paying more for vinyl.  People are buying a butt load of both, so the record companies will keep making vinyl because people will pay for it.  I don't get why DVD-Audio and SACD crapped out so bad.  It once was a nice format for classic rock, then real record companies backed out, and now it is restricted to classical music and other off-the-wall jazzy stuff.  Nothing that's good or popular (to me.)

post #143 of 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

People with the pops and clicks, learn to clean a record...  I would like to see measurements done to the limitations of the vinyl format that are current, not propaganda to support the new CD format in 1980.

 

LP playback has not fundamentally advanced since 1970, the mechanical systems are absolutely the same and the peak of cartridge design was a long time ago, arms are a little bit better but the principles are unchanged, sadly the laws of physics are in play and the noise sources in LP playback remain, the gain and EQ required at playback, the physical movement of a bearing, the tracking of a precious stone in a rough canyon especially as it moves away from it's optimum position, acoustic feedback, even on a $50K TT you are fighting a losing battle and that assumes the vinyl is clean and pristine. I grew up with vinyl in the 60s and 70s and even my first 14 bit CD player (1984) was so much quieter than my 1984 Rega, CD player noise performance has improved a lot since then.

 

But I agree newer measurements would be interesting, but they are very hard to find. Many manufacturers of TTs don't even bother listing specs any more. They used to back in the 1970s regularly list rumble figures !

 

Christine Tam did some iffy measurements of LP , where she conveniently ignores all the noise below 400hz thus concluding that LP is in fact quieter, but this has been comprehensively rubbished by rational commentators. Most LP noise is at low frequencies.

 

Jitter is the only thing that comes to mind.  

Jitter is one of these audiophile scare stories that has never been supported by controlled listening tests, not a cause of worry with half decent digital kit.

 

post #144 of 437

Yeah, jitter kind of makes no sense to me.  If the signal reaches its destination then it should decode properly whether it's off by a few picoseconds.  I could understand missing entire chunks of samples.  I think the machinery to create vinyl has most likely evolved since the 70s.  To me it is like CNC.  They didn't have that kind of stuff in the 70s, now we have machines available to the public that can fabricate a piece of material from a computer model.  We can also now manipulate single atoms.  I think an atom-perfect pressing could be achieved, although it could be ruined after the first pressing.  Maybe it's just my luck with my setup because I don't mind the slight noise in silence, but vinyl sounds more detailed to me than the CD counterpart.  Even recordings not subject to DRC.  Running through the same speaker setup I use to plug my headphones into.  I can turn the volume up louder with the vinyl.  I just wish this nonsense of Redbook being enough anyone needs would end.  We have more storage and bandwidth than ever, why not take advantage of better resolution?  Why not have a waveform that is more shaped to what it should be analog rather than rely on a device to somehow make a lower resolution digital sample into a perfect analog wave?  With blu-ray we could probably store something so close to being analog that DACs could become simpler.

post #145 of 437

Ah, well now we enter the realm of human discriminatory powers. The proponents of SACD, DVD-A and other high res media talk about the technical abilities of the media and can use technical and mathematical models to boost their arguments. What these proponents have singly failed to do is PROVE that humans can easily and reliably detect the difference between High res and red book. Bearing in mind we stand in a Science forum, where the burden of proof is more substantial , and where DBT debate is allowed (lucky us !)  none of the manufacturers have ever provided any controlled listening tests to show that where the only difference is between 16/44.1 and 2.3mhz DSD or 24/96 PCM that listeners can hear the difference.

 

Only one peer reviewed controlled study has tested the ability of listeners to hear the difference between high res and red book. With over 500 trials and 60 trained listeners it was found that on coding scheme alone (high res vs red book) not one listener could reliably detect the difference. This paper predictably caused a knee-jerk pooh-poohing from the subjectivist audiophile press and subjectivist hifi forums, but none have yet provided strong counter-evidence i.e controlled listening tests to show that listeners can hear the difference in coding scheme alone.

 

The criticisms of the paper (Meyer and Moran, 2007) fall into two categories,

 

1) The kit was not good enough, i.e it is not enough to have a SACD or DVD-A player it must be a really good one or you will not detect a difference, actually one of the players was really good technically, what the critics mean was expensive enough. Think about this, they are saying there is nothing fundamental about these formats that is superior only when you get really good examples of them will there be a difference, some CD players can hit SNR of 120db !

 

 

2) Some of the software was not truly high res being taken from older sources. Okay this is partly true, some titles used were from older sources so not truly DSD or 24/96 from inception, however some were high res born and these were still not detected.

 

Add these two together and you get "High res is cleary audibly superior, oh but only on some selected examples and on really expensive kit" , this looks like an awfully familiar argument wink.gif

 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

  I just wish this nonsense of Redbook being enough anyone needs would end.  We have more storage and bandwidth than ever, why not take advantage of better resolution?  

post #146 of 437

Eventually CD will die, though.  With video they needed a storage format and came up with DVD.  Then Blu-ray.  We have storage cards that are like 1 cm x 1 cm that can store many times a CD's capacity.  The CD is useless as a storage format for data anymore.  So why do we need to keep it around for audio?  Seeing as how solid state storage is getting better and better and delivering music by downloading it is taking over everything, why not just raise the bit rate?  Keep raising the file sizes to make downloading less convenient.  This would be kick ass for the record companies.  People encoded DVDs with Divx or Xvid for the internet, then came full ISO images.  People encoded HD movies to DVD5 and 9 with x264 and lower bitrate audio, now full BD rips are available more often.  Music came as mp3 because Napster came along before broadband was cheap, now an average broadband user can download a full EAC rip in less than 10 minutes.  I don't like DB tests, but I took a vinyl rip I had recorded at 24/96 and downsampled it to Redbook and did the test.  The first 10 tests I was able to tell the difference.  After that I just got bored with it and so did my ears and positive results started dipping off, which is psychological.  I don't even have expensive equipment.  I hold the DBTs to be a psychological tool just as much as people in certain communities based every argument around math.  Sound quality is personal taste.

 

I joined here because I was displeased with the people at HydrogenAudio.  I wanted to get a DAC setup and they wanted me to prove how I believe my setup isn't that great and sounds like poo to me.  That makes no sense.  I hope this place isn't like there.  I have a SB X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty, and they claim I won't find anything to give me any better of sound and that a card like that will drive high-impedance headphones (which I don't have but am planning on buying in the future.)

 

I'd like to add that so much consumer equipment has been volume adjusted for all of the loud albums that come out.  If I put an album on my iPhone that is older and mastered properly and not loud, I can't get a good listening volume out of it.  That pisses me off.  So if they start mastering CDs better again everyone will have quiet equipment.  This would be a huge fiasco and to me it would make more sense to go to a whole new format and start over, with very stringent standards on volume and DRC stuff.  Any modern pop music would probably not do very well without being loud.  There is no musical instruments anymore in music and it's meant to be loud.


Edited by ramicio - 11/17/10 at 9:19am
post #147 of 437

Quote:

Originally Posted by ramicio View Post
I'd like to add that so much consumer equipment has been volume adjusted for all of the loud albums that come out.  If I put an album on my iPhone that is older and mastered properly and not loud, I can't get a good listening volume out of it.  That pisses me off.  So if they start mastering CDs better again everyone will have quiet equipment.

It was originally called "hot mastering", and started when record companies noticed that louder 45's got more play on the jukebox than quieter ones.
 

post #148 of 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

I joined here because I was displeased with the people at HydrogenAudio.  I wanted to get a DAC setup and they wanted me to prove how I believe my setup isn't that great and sounds like poo to me.  That makes no sense.  I hope this place isn't like there.  I have a SB X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty, and they claim I won't find anything to give me any better of sound and that a card like that will drive high-impedance headphones (which I don't have but am planning on buying in the future.)


If you're looking at pure specs (as a DAC) then and X-Fi is likely to be near the top of what you can get if you want objective neutrality.  If you're looking for euphony though, then the sky's the limit.

 

I have an external DAC for my headphones because it makes it easier to switch between my speakers (SB Audigy w/ kX drivers) and my headphones (Maverick D1 DAC/amp combo).  I have a tube amp (Bottlehead Crack) but I don't have any illusions about it being more accurate or 'lifelike'.  It adds its own distortion and I happen to think it sounds good the vast majority of the time.

 

I can't say I have any idea if your X-Fi is up to driving high Z phones.  It's very dependent on the individual headphone rather than just the impedance measurement.  My DT770/600s sound just fine from my low voltage Bithead but my HD650s with 300 ohm impedance sound rather 'rough' in comparison to the SS amp in my D1.  If you don't already have a dedicated headphone amp I think its best to buy the 'phones first and see how they sound from what you do have.  You can always try them on another amp at a meet or something and see if you think the money is worth it.  In general the basic character of a headphone doesn't change from amp to amp.  Better amps may yield subtle improvements and the built-in amp from your source may just suck but usually if you don't like a 'phone on cheap but decent amp A you won't like on super expensive and universally praised amp B either.  The only headphones I've heard that changed drastically from amp to amp were the AKG K340s because they have high impedance and very low efficiency so they need lots and lots of power.  They'd probably sound similar from two different amps that had the same power.  I'd expect the same from 'phones with similarly high power requirements.

 

/OT

post #149 of 437

hmmm quite an interesting information :)

post #150 of 437

I prefer the sound of vinyl over the sound of CD, generally speaking.  I have never had anyone listen to vinyl and CD on my stereo who did not think that the Vinyl sounded better.  Not a single person.

 

Now, I am not arguing that vinyl playback is technically superior to CD.  And I am not saying that every turntable sounds better than every CD player.  But *MY* vinyl front end sounds better than my CD front end, on my stereo, to me (and at least several dozen or so other people).

 

And for people who like to point to the "hassle of playing records", for every one of you there is probably one of me, who truly enjoys the process of playing a record.  For me it's not a hassle at all - it's actually a pleasure.

 

I listen to far more digital music than vinyl - since I listen a lot in places other than where my records and TT are.  But when I actually do have the choice - it's always vinyl.

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