Originally Posted by krismusic
I'm very surprised to read people being so enthusiastic about the sound of CD.
It's the lack of a particular CDish sound really that everyone was enthusiastic about, 30 years ago. 44.1/16 PCM doesn't add distortion, frequency response deviations in the audible range, clearly audible amounts of noise, time-based errors, click and pops etc.
My interest coincided with the change from vinyl to CD. At the time it was marketed as "perfect sound forever". Turned out to be false on both counts!
Yes, marketing. 2.0 channel sound may be enough for headphone listening, but not for a home theater for example.
At the time there was huge controversy within the Hi Fi community and even the wider public. People who swore that there was much to love about vinyl and derided digital as sounding sterile and emotionless.
I have read that there is some justification for this view. CD having a brickwall filter at 20Khz and vinyl theoretically having a limitless frequency range.
There indeed were many problems in the beginnings, but those have been fixed years ago. Now all we need is to convince the industry not to compress the sh*t out of records.
"Sterile", see above: 44.1/16 PCM doesn't add stuff that was not recorded. "Emotionless": well, causing emotional reactions by the listener is the job of the artist, isn't it? Even if I listen on a kitchen radio, I can get the shivers when listening to the right track.
If the music is crap however no medium, no component, no tweak is going to make it great music.
The brickwall filter has, in the over 30 years, not shown to cause audible problems since it is usually over 20 kHz outside the range of human hearing. Additionally, there's forward masking of higher frequencies and in music there's natural roll-off of the spectrum with increasing frequency.
So even if you could hear effects of the filter under laboratory conditions with special test signals you'd fail with real music.
Snake oil merchants have thrived marketing any number of products supposedly addressing this "deficiency" in digital reproduction.
It is very common on Headfi and elsewhere for people to talk approvingly of a piece of hardware's ability to sound "analogue" or even "tube like".
The question is how much of it is marketing babble, baseless claims etc. and how much of it is established fact, supported by evidence.
But those snake oil merchants would fail tests so it is actually in their interest to hide any (negative) evidence and there seem to be enough people that buy into their baseless claims anyway...
May I suggest you read: http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
Edited by xnor - 11/4/13 at 9:16am