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Are modern CDs still lossless? - Page 2

post #16 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.


This x 100000.

post #17 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.

Thanks for the article very interesting.  In response to the person that said the average person can hear 20 Khz that is not true.  At 26 you are supposed to be able to hear most likely 16 khz and then it just goes down.  When you hear 20 Khz that is when you are a baby.  Thanks again great informative article.     

post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold1986 View Post

Thanks for the article very interesting.  In response to the person that said the average person can hear 20 Khz that is not true.  At 26 you are supposed to be able to hear most likely 16 khz and then it just goes down.  When you hear 20 Khz that is when you are a baby.  Thanks again great informative article.     

I'd say you are mostly right, but two of my (young) college professors in audio design could hear at 20Khz and 21Khz. I was just stating the average person cannot hear above 20Khz. I can still hear around 17Khz as a straight tone, but anything above that is lost on me.

post #19 of 30
SACD nor any other higher definition didn't catch on for several reasons. Probably the biggest reason was marketing. For the average person an SACD is not better than a CD. The usability is exactly the same (the disc is the same size and playing them is literally the same). For example CD won over vinyl back in the day because it was much more convenient to use even though some of the early CDs sounded worse than vinyl. Popular artists and labels didn't really adopt SACD at all, just look at what kind of music you can get on SACD, it's mostly just jazz and classical. The sound quality increase is a tough one to market also. First of all not many people have high quality gear to even hear the difference. And like others mentioned a well mastered CD can sound almost as good anyway and the reason CDs sound so bad these days is because of bad mastering, not because of the formats limitations.
post #20 of 30

The music marketing industry is continuously devising ways to re-sell us our existing music collections for ever increasing cost!

post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsgold1986 View Post

Also going to 24 bit would be great.

 

Try these files to find out what reducing a 24-bit sample to 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, or even 8 bits sounds like. Of course, it depends on the dynamic range of the music, and how loud you are listening, but it is not unlikely that you will not even be able to hear the difference at less than 16 bits.

post #22 of 30

To term CD's lossless is kinda missing the point a bit.

 

The bottom line comes down to the mastering and proper encoding of the file.

 

WAV is nothing more but a container. Think of WAV like a bottle of water. A bottle is 16/44.1 and when you look at it, it looks full - you can see frequencies from 1Hz to around 22kHz. You can put a lossy file and encode it at 16/44.1 but it will still be lossy. It's like filling up a bottle of water half full. It still a bottle (16/44.1) but contains less.  I have seen a few modern CD's that do this. When you analyze the WAV file, you can see that some frequencies are completely non-existent. This leads me to believe that some of these artists record in MP3 format and then over-dub on their samples. Either that or there must be some down-sampling/lossy conversion going on.

 

Thankfully, the majority of releases ARE lossless even they are mastered with limited dynamic range and horrible EQ work.

post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

To term CD's lossless is kinda missing the point a bit.

 

The bottom line comes down to the mastering and proper encoding of the file.

 

WAV is nothing more but a container. Think of WAV like a bottle of water. A bottle is 16/44.1 and when you look at it, it looks full - you can see frequencies from 1Hz to around 22kHz. You can put a lossy file and encode it at 16/44.1 but it will still be lossy. It's like filling up a bottle of water half full. It still a bottle (16/44.1) but contains less.  I have seen a few modern CD's that do this. When you analyze the WAV file, you can see that some frequencies are completely non-existent. This leads me to believe that some of these artists record in MP3 format and then over-dub on their samples. Either that or there must be some down-sampling/lossy conversion going on.

 

Thankfully, the majority of releases ARE lossless even they are mastered with limited dynamic range and horrible EQ work.

I don't understand why a producer would compress their songs before putting them on a CD, that's ridiculous.

 

Not saying I don't believe you, I just don't understand their logic in doing so. It would be one thing if it's just them being lazy, but that requires additional effort to do(if only a tiny bit).


Edited by chewy4 - 1/16/13 at 1:01pm
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post

To term CD's lossless is kinda missing the point a bit.

 

The bottom line comes down to the mastering and proper encoding of the file.

 

WAV is nothing more but a container. Think of WAV like a bottle of water. A bottle is 16/44.1 and when you look at it, it looks full - you can see frequencies from 1Hz to around 22kHz. You can put a lossy file and encode it at 16/44.1 but it will still be lossy. It's like filling up a bottle of water half full. It still a bottle (16/44.1) but contains less.  I have seen a few modern CD's that do this. When you analyze the WAV file, you can see that some frequencies are completely non-existent. This leads me to believe that some of these artists record in MP3 format and then over-dub on their samples. Either that or there must be some down-sampling/lossy conversion going on.

 

Thankfully, the majority of releases ARE lossless even they are mastered with limited dynamic range and horrible EQ work.

 

I don't think they are recording in mp3 version.  Recording artists have their preferences of how to record.  Some still use tape.  Some use 8 track.  Some going full out studio.  Some do direct digital recording.  I don't know how the originals sound I only record in digital.  I imagine it might be the quality of the recording and the mastering used to reduce noise.  That is just speculation though.  Maybe, the mastering saw the added frequencies as detrimental to the sound...poor quality or something...lots of static.  Don't know the reason for sure though just speculation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzxgene View Post

I'd say you are mostly right, but two of my (young) college professors in audio design could hear at 20Khz and 21Khz. I was just stating the average person cannot hear above 20Khz. I can still hear around 17Khz as a straight tone, but anything above that is lost on me.


Sorry if I misunderstood.  Wow, I did not know that was possible.  Just think if that is what they hear now what could they hear when they were younger.  Yeah I am only 16 sadly.  But then again who cares since the sound of 16 khz is still really annoying.  

post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

I don't understand why a producer would compress their songs before putting them on a CD, that's ridiculous.

 

Not saying I don't believe you, I just don't understand their logic in doing so. It would be one thing if it's just them being lazy, but that requires additional effort to do(if only a tiny bit).


Well, 'compression' during mastering is referring to the compression of the dynamic range, so the difference between the softest and loudest parts of the song is reduced. 

 

Its not the same as file compression, but sounds much worse. 

 

Just to give an idea, our hearing has a *safe* dynamic range of about 20-80dB.  Thats 60dB of difference.  CDs are capable of 96dB (theoretically), so it should be more than enough to cover our hearing range.

However, most of the modern songs you'll hear don't have a dynamic range beyond 15dB, the most common is <10dB.  You can try it out yourself with the dynamic range meter extension in Foobar.

 

And here we're thinking why our music doesn't sound 'realistic'.

 

The most common use of dynamic range compression is to even out the louder (drums) and softer sounds (vocals), because there's only two tracks to put everything on, but sometimes its too much.

post #26 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.

There is nothing in the definition of CD that implies that it is lossless. Quite the opposite, if a recording starts life as a high-res (say 24 bit 96kHz) recording, then about 75% of the recorded information must necessarily be discarded just to fit within the 700 Meg data limit of the CD format (amongst other constraints). What the poster presumably means is that:  If the recording happened to start life as a 16 bit 44.1 kHz recording ... then the resulting CD will be a lossless representation of the original recording. 

 

That might have been OK for the music world in 1980, but it is out of date today. Most quality modern recordings post-2000 (if not earlier) are made as 24 bit 96Hz files or higher (such as DXD or pure DSD), which is also why many labels now produce hi-res stereo SACDs that not only contain the lossy CD layer, but also the hi-res SACD layer with the full recording resolution.


Edited by rapunzel - 3/26/13 at 6:39am
post #27 of 30

Within the context of how the terms Lossless vs. Lossy are used most often when referring to commercially available mass market media, CDs are lossless.  

 

I do however agree that in a broader context there is information missing from a CD that exists on the master tapes that were used to make the CDs.

post #28 of 30

I ordered a copy of Vangelis's 'Spiral' from Amazon, without understanding that it was manufactured on demand by Amazon. That is, a CD-R. And not a high quality one either. This miffed me a bit - CDs haven't proven to be the best archival medium, CD-Rs are far worse. But that was, largely, my fault for not thoroughly reading the product description and spotting the tiny disclaimer that it was MoD. Acknowledging my responsibility in the matter, I was fully willing to keep the disc - at worst, I figured, it was just a horribly inefficient delivery method for ALAC.

 

Then I ripped it. There was all sorts of audible popping, and bizarre noise that I would best describe as digital artifacts. Buying this from Amazon also got me the 'Auto-Rip' copy, so a free MP3 download/stream from Amazon's Cloud Player. The MP3s sounded great after hearing the CD. I opened both up in Audacity. Where the MP3 had smooth curves, the CD flattened into squares. I don't really know what terrible mastering mistake would cause this - some sort of quantizing gone awry? 

 

 

 

 

Both images have the CD up top and the MP3 down below. The first is two separate pieces of the same track - I should not have used the same color as the waveform to separate them, but I did. The first image shows this 'squaring off' of waves, while the second one shows just some seemingly random pops that should not be in the track.

 

This has nothing to do with CDs, per se, nor even (necessarily) Amazon's MoD process. But I don't like the increasing lack of attention and care that seems to be going into masters, etc. these days. Amazon claims the info is 'lossless,' from studio masters, from the label. But something, somewhere went horribly wrong and nobody caught it. The above disc should never have been sold to a consumer. I did return it (with no issues), and bought an original used copy instead. 

post #29 of 30
Quote:

Originally Posted by brhfl View Post

 

I don't really know what terrible mastering mistake would cause this - some sort of quantizing gone awry? 

 

It is because the data read from the CD-R is corrupt. The disk is either faulty, or for some reason incompatible with your drive. This can happen with bad quality CD-Rs.


Edited by stv014 - 3/28/13 at 11:59am
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

It is because the data read from the CD-R is corrupt. The disk is either faulty, or for some reason incompatible with your drive. This can happen with bad quality CD-Rs.

Poor disk then. Tried on six or seven devices, wondering the same thing. But I've never experienced this in years and years of burning CD-Rs either, even with burners that were clearly failing.

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