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Are modern CDs still lossless?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Since now a days the majority of people don't care about audio quality (iphone + apple earbuds :)) I am wondering if modern songs are still lossless, or do they just put an mp3 on it?

 

If anyone could help me out that would be great. Thanks!

post #2 of 30

They do not put mp3s on CDs you buy in a store, because this would not play on most CD players - most CD players are not mp3 players ;) 

 

You will, however, often find CDs loaded with mp3s when you buy a pirated disc in Chinatown (not joking)

post #3 of 30

CDs are by definition lossless and are 16 bit word length and 44.1 KHz sampling rate.  This is the Redbook CD specification.  

 

Does that mean new CDs sound good.......not necessarily.  Dynamic range compression and louder mastering ruins the sound quality of many new CDs.

post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BmWr75 View Post

CDs are by definition lossless and are 16 bit word length and 44.1 KHz sampling rate.  This is the Redbook CD specification.  

 

Does that mean new CDs sound good.......not necessarily.  Dynamic range compression and louder mastering ruins the sound quality of many new CDs.


+1.

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BmWr75 View Post

CDs are by definition lossless and are 16 bit word length and 44.1 KHz sampling rate.  This is the Redbook CD specification.  

 

Does that mean new CDs sound good.......not necessarily.  Dynamic range compression and louder mastering ruins the sound quality of many new CDs.

 

 

Exactly, that's what I was asking. The quality does decrease...

post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willanhanyard View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by BmWr75 View Post

CDs are by definition lossless and are 16 bit word length and 44.1 KHz sampling rate.  This is the Redbook CD specification.  

Does that mean new CDs sound good.......not necessarily.  Dynamic range compression and louder mastering ruins the sound quality of many new CDs.


Exactly, that's what I was asking. The quality does decrease...

Note that compressed dynamic range is not the same as file compression. Transcoding a WAV file from a CD to 128 kbps lossy mp3 will compress the file, but it will not affect the dynamic range. Modern CDs like one would buy in a store are all lossless, but many of them have a highly compressed dynamic range.
Edited by Jaywalk3r - 11/28/12 at 6:24pm
post #7 of 30

I always thought CD's were worse when it came to quality...feel stupid

post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willanhanyard View Post

 

 

Exactly, that's what I was asking. The quality does decrease...


Depends on what you call 'quality'.

 

Modern CDs are more suited to the modern mediums like music players, phones etc. because thats how most ppl listen to their music anyways.

 A dynamically compressed song won't have to be turned up as loud as a non compressed one, and did I mention, louder music is better 'heard' ? As some ppl say, modern music is made for restaurants and McDonalds.

post #9 of 30

I don't understand why they have not upgraded Cd's at all. I mean sacd is not much of an upgrade.  I wish they would extend the life with laments like they do blu ray.  Also going to 24 bit would be great.  The frequency upgrade well I am not sure if that will make a difference.  But for sure they should make them more durable.  They could go entirely against discs and go straight to microsd which would be great.  Sadly, cover art and additional add ons might suffer if they do that.  But for sure that would make me happy.  

 

I know this off topic a little bit.  But I don't understand the continued music song formatting for digital audio.  When rock and roll came out tracks were made to fit on vinyl designed for singles.  But now songs can be any length even exceed CD lengths since they can just be downloaded.  But still tracks tend to be fitting 2-4 minutes.  

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BmWr75 View Post

CDs are by definition lossless and are 16 bit word length and 44.1 KHz sampling rate.  This is the Redbook CD specification.  

 

Does that mean new CDs sound good.......not necessarily.  Dynamic range compression and louder mastering ruins the sound quality of many new CDs.

You know most of the bands I listen to don't have that normalizing that you are referring to.  But you are dead on most mainstream audio does that.  It is believe that by normalizing audio to the same level gives it quicker recognition and makes people more likely to buy it.  The sound is horrible but to them it is about sales.  

 

Some cool cds to try:

1. Peter Adams (Anything by him)

2. The Faint - Danse-Macabre (Remastered)

3. Purity Ring - Shrines

4. Cloud Nothing - Attack on Memory

 

Bandcamp.com I absolutely love that site.  They let you listen to whole albums before you buy them.  So you get to see what they did with the mastering.  Plus when you buy as you wait for your cd they give you the choice of many formats including flac and alac for you apple people.

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold1986 View Post

I don't understand why they have not upgraded Cd's at all. I mean sacd is not much of an upgrade.  I wish they would extend the life with laments like they do blu ray.  Also going to 24 bit would be great.  The frequency upgrade well I am not sure if that will make a difference.  But for sure they should make them more durable.  They could go entirely against discs and go straight to microsd which would be great.  Sadly, cover art and additional add ons might suffer if they do that.  But for sure that would make me happy.  

 

I know this off topic a little bit.  But I don't understand the continued music song formatting for digital audio.  When rock and roll came out tracks were made to fit on vinyl designed for singles.  But now songs can be any length even exceed CD lengths since they can just be downloaded.  But still tracks tend to be fitting 2-4 minutes.  

I'd say in what little experience I've had with sacd, it comes down to the effort put into the mastering. Sacd's usually have excellent masters, which is where I believe most of the sparkle comes from. And I don't think 24 bit has a place with all the normalizing/hard-limiting/not-classical. Cd's today also sound much cleaner (when done right) compared to before, due to advances in digital audio voodoo.

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzxgene View Post

I'd say in what little experience I've had with sacd, it comes down to the effort put into the mastering. Sacd's usually have excellent masters, which is where I believe most of the sparkle comes from. And I don't think 24 bit has a place with all the normalizing/hard-limiting/not-classical. Cd's today also sound much cleaner (when done right) compared to before, due to advances in digital audio voodoo.

I am not an expert but I don't think the mastering is better.  From my basic understanding SACD is either stereophonic or surround.  It is really about the compression for some SACD and for some it is their surround sound capabilities.  The mastering difference for some of them is multiple streams but the mastering should not be much different.  Like if you took the streams from a surround with the same compression it should be the same.  But like I said surround might be what you are referring to.  Please do share or elaborate further if you could.  I could be wrong.  

post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold1986 View Post

I am not an expert but I don't think the mastering is better.  From my basic understanding SACD is either stereophonic or surround.  It is really about the compression for some SACD and for some it is their surround sound capabilities.  The mastering difference for some of them is multiple streams but the mastering should not be much different.  Like if you took the streams from a surround with the same compression it should be the same.  But like I said surround might be what you are referring to.  Please do share or elaborate further if you could.  I could be wrong.  

What I'm referring to is how the cd master for a specific album is handled differently from the sacd master. Meaning the cd master might not be as well put together with the same attention to detail and quality as the sacd version. Same album, same recording, but different takes when undergoing the mastering process.

 

Sacd seems to use the premise of 24/176.4 as the greatest thing, a necessary step for increasing the qualities of a recording beyond the redbook standard. The average person can't hear over 20Khz, so what good does hearing up to 88.2Khz do for us? I've heard some say the higher frequencies can positively interact with those that are audible, emphasising little things that can add up to increase perception of realism. Ignoring that, what about bit depth? Bit depth has some actual usage, but not for a large majority of music. It increases the number of audible steps or levels of volume in a recording, meaning more shades of softness or increased degrees of loudness. Yet much modern music is so horribly handled that an increased bit depth would be impossible to distinguish.

 

That pretty much leaves the mastering process as the culprit for increased quality, if it can be found. In my opinion. 

 

(I'm strictly speaking from a stereo only implementation of sacd. I've yet to desire more then that.)

post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold1986 View Post

I don't understand why they have not upgraded Cd's at all. I mean sacd is not much of an upgrade.  I wish they would extend the life with laments like they do blu ray.  Also going to 24 bit would be great.  The frequency upgrade well I am not sure if that will make a difference.  ..

 

Read this and you will know you don't need anything better than 16/44.1 for music playback, but better mastering practice from the recording studio instead.

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

 

Read this and you will know you don't need anything better than 16/44.1 for music playback, but better mastering practice from the recording studio instead.


ClieOS.

 

This may be the best post on Head-fi.

 

Thank you

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