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What happened to the dedicated CD transport ? - Page 3

post #31 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Dave, I hope you arent going to get me into another argument over the value of 16/44.1 vs so-called hi-rez for folk with average hearing.  For me, 16/44,1 is just fine as long as EAC tells me there were no problems with the rip - I still like to be able to store the CDs. Whether I can actually hear the difference between redbook and LAME VBR for a lot of modern pop is less important to me than knowing I have the WAV files - you cant recreate all of that PCM goodness from a download. 


   

 

 

 

I'm not entirely convinced about 16 vs 24 one way or the other. Do we need the dynamic range of high-res? No. 96dB of dynamic range is about 90dB more than is used in the typical recording released in 2012. Where I'm less convinced is the 44.1Khz part. This is the "good enough" part, where it was decided that 22Khz was high enough, and that 44,100 snapshots of the analog waveform was enough. I'm not convinced that it is. There's also the issue of filtering. Linear phase, minimum phase, apodising filters etc are all a series of compromises. If you fix pre-ringing you get more post-ringing. With high-res that's less of an issue, and it may be worth it for that alone.

 

You can't recreate the PCM goodness from an MP3 download yes. I would never pay anyone to download MP3s. Paying for flaws, and files that are instantly worthless literally the second you pay for them just makes no sense to me. You CAN recreate the PCM goodness from a FLAC download though, which cuts your 700mb download down to about 350mb. FLAC is no different from a .zip file. Everything is still there, just in a compressed container. Uncompress the FLAC file back into WAV, and you've got 100% of that PCM goodness, hence the "lossless" part.

post #32 of 95
Thread Starter 

I am happy with LAME VBR for throwaway pop, but that's hardly 'critical listening' material. 

post #33 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

The "physical copy" argument just doesn't work for me. Booklets can be scanned and appreciated without having to actually hold them (do you print out every picture you ever take so you can hold it in your hands?) and ultimately physical copies just take up space. A basic 1TB hard drive can hold some 1500 completely uncompressed albums within the space of a few inches. How much space does 1500 CDs take up? Most people have some type of broadband. My phone can download 700mb in less than 4 hours. Further, even if it does take 4 hours, so what? Most people buying CDs will be ordering them online, and while have to wait at least 24 hours, or maybe days if they don't want to pay more for shipping than the price of the CD itself.

What does the supposed declining quality of entry level and mid-price electronics have to do with the CD? Portable CD players started out as precision machines and became plastic commodity junk, yes. Nobody uses portable CD players anymore. They are inconvenient for the exact same reason that CDs are inconvenient at home, just more so. Otherwise I don't buy that argument. $1K or $2K buys you a lot more today than it did 15 years ago.

The loudness war and crappy pop music production has nothing to do with the CD being alive or dead. As I said, the CD is just a 700mb delivery mechanism for PCM digital audio files. It's no different than a USB thumb drive, or 350 floppy disks.

The best sounding album I have is the Bill Evans Trio - Waltz For Debby on the Analogue Productions Limited Edition 24K Gold CD. This was released in 2002. It's WAY better than the 1992 Original Jazz Classics 20-bit remaster CD release (OJC releases with rare exceptions tend to be lazily produced and sound mediocre). It also beats the Riverside 20-bit K2 and JVC XRCD from 2000. Further, it beats Analogue Production's own SACD from the same year. How is that possible? Isn't SACD supposed to sound better? It's possible because both the CD and SACD are just delivery mechanisms. There's nothing inherently good or bad about them, they are just containers. It's production and mastering that wins out, and the Doug Sax "mastered on tube equipment" master on the AP Limited Edition disc is incredible. The other discs don't have that master on them, therefore they don't sound as good.

Doug Sax also did a vinyl release for AP in 2008, which I haven't heard. It could be better than the LE gold CD, or not. The problem with vinyl is that the sound is as interpreted by your cartridge and table. You're not really hearing what the engineers heard in the studio, you're hearing what your cartridge is telling you. That being said, there are plenty of cases where the vinyl master stomps all over anything that was ever released digitally, so the vinyl wins out pretty much no matter what, even on tables that cost a couple hundred bucks.

Waltz was recently released again, this time for HDTracks. The quality of HDTracks releases is all over the map, but that has nothing to do with them not being physical objects. The only thing that matters is where'd the tape or digital recording come from, and whether the engineers did their jobs properly or not. I haven't heard the HDTracks version yet, but I am curious if Paul Stubblebine's transfer from the original tapes and his mastering job beats Doug's.

I suppose I'm not going to be convincing anyone since it's more of a personal thing, but music is a major part of my life. Looking at booklets on a screen is just not the same, plus I can hardly find cover artwork online for some of the stuff I listen to let alone booklets. CDs may be a hassle, but it's a hassle worth putting up with IMO. Physical copies are a must for me, I don't like the idea of having an album I really enjoy, that all traces of it would be gone with the click of a delete button. Having the physical copy shows more 'dedication' if you will, but that's probably me just being a metalhead. tongue.gif It kinda goes back to the old 'music vs. ideals' argument in the metal scene. I honestly can't enjoy music if it's preaching ideals I don't agree with, and when I'm listening to an album I don't have a physical copy of it bugs me. Though I'm a bit of a music collector as well, music has gotten me through some ruff times and is a big part of my life. I relate to the music as well as the artist, I'm not just in it for good sound.

I don't know how good high rez music sounds because I don't listen to audiophile grade recordings or productions. Cassette and vinyl in general sound better in my experience because of the mastering. You can't just crank up the volume without consequence. Unfortunately some of my cassettes have taken this to the opposite level. The things are recorded so low the needles on my deck don't move and I have to crank the music and the static to hear it. Cassette could have really gone somewhere if it wasn't for tape his, you can fit a good 180mins on the high capacity tapes, and with an auto reverse deck it's even less hassle than a CD as it takes up less space. CDs max out something around 75 minutes I believe. Still there aren't many albums that would go on that long even if it were an option. Long cassettes like that usually have a full album each side. Tape decks have dolby B and C to reduce the hiss, but it saturates and adds artificial warmth to the sound in the process, so it's a no go for me. I'm not a tube guy as you might be able to tell. I don't like anything that overly smooths or warms the sound. And honestly on most audiophile headphones I can't hear the difference between VBR LAME and FLAC. Lower quality MP3s sound abyssal though.

I'm going to have to call you out on the argument that 1K today buys more than 15 years ago. The cost of my whole rig right now is $500. Stax SR-5 and transformer box $400, Sherwood amp $40, and let's say I didn't get my CD player free, $60. If we were going based on the new prices of this gear, the CD player and headphones were probably about $400 a piece in 86' while the amp was about $220 in 74'
Compared to my last system with Ultrasone PRO2900($550 now, you can get them for $400 if you're patient.) and Burson 160DS $850 my vintage system walks all over it. It's not even close. Considering that my Sherwood is still running on it's original, near 50 year old caps that are acting up and probably about dead it sounds great. 1-2K of vintage gear will get you TOTL and fully restored gear, considering I have an entry level amp from the 70s and it's this good, I'd assume that the best value is probably found in vintage gear up until you start hitting the really high end stuff.

And just because I've gone on so long, I just want to point out that I don't mean any of this as an attack on anyone. Right now, music pretty much is my life despite the fact I couldn't play an instrument to save my life. I tend to get passionate about it. I get that CDs can get in the way, I've got stacks scattered all around the place and they can get a bit annoying(especially when a good 25% of them arrive with damaged cases).
post #34 of 95
Thread Starter 

$800 wasn't a trivial number in 1986 - not high-end, granted, but significantly more than $800 today, and you could still buy a used car for a little more than $220 in 1974. As someone pointed out on AK, a $750 stereo receiver in the 70s was a high-end component - no comparison with mid-fi today. 

post #35 of 95

I'm also a huge music lover, and a metalhead as well. I just don't really care what format it's in. Booklets are something I look at once, and if I buy a CD, the first thing I do is rip it with EAC and then put the physical copy in storage.

 

As estreeter stated, you need to adjust for inflation. When I think of a value packed entry-level system today, I think of something like a $1K/pr Tekton Lore paired with a $500 entry-level Rega or Music Hall integrated. I don't think you could match this system with the equivalent $1,000 in your pocket in 1996. Comparing Stax to Ultrasone also isn't exactly apples to apples. The SR-009 is by most accounts at least one of, if not the best headphone ever produced. The Edition 10 is a joke, and what experience I have with Ultrasone suggests that most of their headphones are actually terrible.

 

lorewithgrills.jpg


Edited by DaveBSC - 6/7/12 at 5:06am
post #36 of 95

Sounds pretty much like me. It's always been a huge part of my life and I want to actually go back to school for theory but can't play to save my life. I'm much more passionate about the time that goes into writing it than playing it...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MohawkUS View Post

And just because I've gone on so long, I just want to point out that I don't mean any of this as an attack on anyone. Right now, music pretty much is my life despite the fact I couldn't play an instrument to save my life. I tend to get passionate about it. I get that CDs can get in the way, I've got stacks scattered all around the place and they can get a bit annoying(especially when a good 25% of them arrive with damaged cases).
post #37 of 95
Thread Starter 

Rega RP1 / Rega DAC -> Rega Brio-R (onboard phono stage) -> Rega RS1 bookshelves

 

If Rega made a headphone amp. you would only ever have to keep one phone number for warranty. wink.gif

post #38 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Rega RP1 / Rega DAC -> Rega Brio-R (onboard phono stage) -> Rega RS1 bookshelves

If Rega made a headphone amp. you would only ever have to keep one phone number for warranty. wink.gif
They do (or did) and nobody liked it. Look up the Rega Ear.
post #39 of 95
Thread Starter 

Good point, but I've moved on since reading the reviews on the Lore / M-Lore. Incredibly sensitive floorstanders - forget 50W SS amps when these seem tailormade for fleawatt amps. Did I hear you say Bottlehead S.E.X ? Even if you get the Bottlehead janitor (!) to build yours and factor in the usual freight abomination, that amp is still under 1K BUT it drives both speakers and headphones, the proviso being that it reportedly does a better job with older-style high impedance dynamic headphones - if your cans need a lot of current, you may be happier with something else. Steve Deckert has preamp/headamp combinations, but I dont think he has a speaker amp with headphone output - happy to hear otherwise. 

 

I aplologise for getting OT on this, but its all Dave's fault. Its always Dave's fault.   biggrin.gif

 

(just jokes, Dave. Appreciate the Lore recommendation)


Edited by estreeter - 6/7/12 at 1:55pm
post #40 of 95

I buy CDs because I like to be able to hold the media in my hands, see the cover art and read the liner notes. I enjoy perusing my collection and maintaining a database, Collectorz’s Music collector, that allows me to peruse, search and re-sequence in any order I want, search for tracks…etc. Most of my Cds were bought used on Amazon, the cost is low compared to digital downloads and sound quality is frequently better. I also tend to buy music that isn’t available digitally. My collection totals 1058 albums, I display them on a shelve unit I built. It measures 4ft. X 6ft. high and will hold an additional 200 CDs. It takes some wall space but it's in my room/cave and it looks really cool. Another wall in my room is all books, but that's another whole debate. 

post #41 of 95

I still remember the vinyl vs CD debate in the early days. Album art and liner notes came up a lot as  the reasons people like to buy vinyl. How ironic that now we see that as part of CD's trade mark.

I still buy CDs but have to realize that the media WILL die one day, just like DVD. It is inevitable. 

post #42 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

How so? The compact disc is just a plastic container and a read surface for a 16-bit, 44.1Khz PCM digital audio file. It's absolutely no different if it's in WAV or AIFF format on a computer. It's a relic, left over from the days when people used to drive to places called music stores. An album worth of completely uncompressed WAV files is about 700MB, which you can download via most broadband connections in 5-10 minutes.

The CD makes as much sense today as Blockbuster stores in the age of Netflix. It's horribly inefficient when a BR disc can fit 25GB in the same space, or more with multiple layers, and its limitations are left over from 30 years ago's "good enough" engineering, when little was understood about digital playback.

Couldn't the same be said of vinyl? Hell, it's even worse. You have more dedicated equipment to maintain, the vinyl discs warp, get scratched, die out. Then, unless you want further damage or pops & clicks & hiss you have to clean the records and align the VTF, azimuth, etc.. And you have to pay 2-3 times the CD price. Oh, and you have to get up and flip sides in the middle of the damn album!
Edited by anetode - 6/7/12 at 7:39pm
post #43 of 95
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anetode View Post


Couldn't the same be said of vinyl? Hell, it's even worse. You have more dedicated equipment to maintain, the vinyl discs warp, get scratched, die out. Then, unless you want further damage or pops & clicks & hiss you have to clean the records and align the VTF, azimuth, etc.. And you have to pay 2-3 times the CD price. Oh, and you have to get up and flip sides in the middle of the damn album!

 

 

697879_burn-the-heretic.jpg

post #44 of 95
Sorry, venting also. Going to have to take a turntable out of storage and get everything back up to par soon, so there's some fore-spite.

As for CD transports, I've recently seen high end companies use simple PC drives in some show pics. I don't think there's reason to waiver from the cheapo DVD player recommendation of yore.

Although I do have the Stello stack with the CDT, HP & DA 100 sig . They comprise a listening nook in the living room. No noticeable difference in fidelity, but the multiple boxes and the top-loading tray do look nice.
post #45 of 95
Thread Starter 

Relax - I couldnt start a chainsaw if my life depended on it .....  rolleyes.gif

 

The reason I mentioned the old 'cheap DVD player into expensive DAC' recommendation was that SPDIF was the previous whipping boy when it came to jitter debates - clearly, those concerned by all that nasty jitter have a readymade solution at Empiricical/Halide/Audiophilleo etc, Convenient ..... 

 

Havent seen too many complaints re the SQ of the Oppo universal players - maybe they got something right without needing another 500-2500 dollar box. 

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