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FLAC vs. 320 Mp3

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by icedup, Sep 7, 2011.
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  1. Clarkmc2
    I believe you when you say you hear diferences. The question is why. I see no sense in rehashing all the reasons why we might hear differences when there might not be any. I can bypass that discussion for now.

    When there are differences between the sound of DACS, it could only be in the analogue section. I have, for instance, a CD player with a tube analogue section, and it certainly does sound colored. That is what to look for if one can actualy, for the sake of argument, hear differences between DACS. There should be a lot that sound the same and a few that don't.

    The ones that sound the same are OK. The others are not transparent; they are colored. That is something a DAC should never be, so avoid them. These would be either dreadfully designed cheap models or high end models that suffer from attempts to improve - or over improve to be precise - the basic, already perfect DAC. That is, perfect in that its distortions are inaudible, easy to achieve. It brings to mind the individuals (and companies) who look at a good design and decide the op amps are not good enough in a piece of gear. They substitute better thought of op amps and mess everything up, yielding a worse sounding unit.

    In their arrogance, they forget that the designers of integrated circuits know better than anyone else how to use them. Op amps in particular are very application specific, even more than most ICs. Audio history is full of very over priced electronics that are great sounding designs right out of the manufacture's application books. I guess the fancy casework was worth the extra zero or two on the price tag. But not for me. I'm buying sound, not furniture, but that is another topic in sound science.

    Another thing about op amps. Other than varying in noise level - from inaudible to even less I might add - they tend to be nearly perfect. This is partially because of ideally integrated layout and partially because they are so compact. It is highly unlikely that their audio performance will ever be equalled by discrete, non chip op amps. It is an uninformed prejudice that ICs can't sound as good or better than discrete component circuits. A visually clued observation that the little chip could not possibly be as good as all those big, expensive parts. A dual jfet input op amp is thing of wonder; do not underestimate it.

    Bear in mind that I am not immune from liking my particular taste in distortion. I use a FirstWatt F2Jfet that is single ended, single stage, feedback free and class A. Nelson Pass, the designer, gladly reveals where and how much it strays from distortion free. But both he and I love the way it plays music. A similar situation, some tube amp users love the sound of their transformers. The point is, none of this thinking belongs in a DAC. If it is not transparent the benchmark for your system is lost. Get everything to be transparent and flat, then alter to taste. To not do so will indeed result in a never ending quest all right. Never knowing where you are or exactly where you have been.
  2. ktm
    I normally go from CD to FLAC. Us old geezers can find our music at garage sales for 50 cents a CD. I don't have any music at lower bit rates.
    I find that most new releases are so poorly mastered they are hard to listen to. Thanks loudness wars.
    There are some artists that take pride in their work and they seem to avoid the trap of recording for for top 40 style sound. .
    As far as DACs go, the DAC chip isn't as important as the analog stuff after is. Most modern DAC chips are more than up to the task.
    I am amused by DACs with tubes in them. Better a good set of opamps than the cheap tube designs.
    Eee Pee likes this.
  3. bigshot
    My iTunes libraries are divided up by genre... Country, classical, r&b, rock, etc. if I feel like a particular type of music, I can random shuffle it all by itself. I have recordings going back nearly a century in some of the libraries, but the music I have the biggest problem with sound quality is 60s and 70s rock. The frequency response is often muffled and dull. The music is hyper compressed, and there's boatloads of tape hiss. I don't often put that library on shuffle because I keep getting mad. 1940s Ernest Tubb countery 78s sound better than some of that stuff.
  4. Clarkmc2

    Ditto everything, another geezer here, standing up for old school. I am actually bypassing the tube output of the CD player. The headphone jack out (1/4 inch) has a volume control and seems very hifi, so I made an adapter to RCA and go direct to the power amp. That jack is fed by a lowly :D op amp, which of course is better than the expensive tube analogue section. This poor guy has to offer whatever sells. As good a designer as he is, he was not aware of the specs for the headphone op amps and had to ask the manufacturers!

    Op amps are the Rodney Dangerfield of the electronics World. No respect!

    The reason I bought this CD player - JoLida - was because its build and design quality is outstanding. The Phillips pro transport may outlast me. The dual triodes run at twelve volts and should go twenty years, whether I use them or not.
  5. bigshot
    I used to have an expensive CD player. But it balked at CD-Rs. So I got a fancy DVD /SACD player, which eventually did the same with DVD-Rs. I got mad and replaced it with a $40 Coby DVD player which served me flawlessly playing everything I threw at it until I went bluray. Now I have a $150 Sony bluray and it does great.

    I swear by inexpensive CD players. They sound the same and I won't cry if technology leaves them behind and I have to replace them.
    peskypesky likes this.
  6. Clarkmc2
    Bigshot, despite the great reputation Mercury had for classical music vinyl a late 1960s rock disk I have sounds like it was recorded underwater. Red Weather by Leigh Stevens.

    I still like newer compressed discs and early "direct from RIAA compensated tapes" CDs even less. A new field for endless, useless debate. Bad recording vs butchered post production.

    I know that "home" studios can be very good - Cowboy Junkies sound great, better than when they were with RCA or Geffin - so the real problem is egomanical stars who are hamfisted, clueless, drug addled or all the above. Need I add tasteless?

    As far as I can tell, Sony Blu-ray players are the best sources on the planet. Now if only Neil Young's initiative will catch on.
  7. ktm
    When cd's first came out, there was a rush to get music out in the new format. There was a big push resulting
    in a lot of very crappy remasters. Take a 10+ year old tape master, and either just put it to cd, or worse yet, roll off
    the highs and lows to get rid of noise. This is why so many bailed on cd's and stuck with vinyl. I was at a quiet small
    Stereo shop in Milwaukee about 8 years ago. A guy came in with cd's and vinyl of some of his favorite artists.
    The shop owner set up and volume matched the cdp and turntable. In every case but one, we preferred vinyl.
    There was on of the eight that did sound better on cd. IT wasn't that the cd wasn't up to the task. It was a case
    of the people putting the 60's and 70's rock on cd did a lousy job. I have since heard some of the same albums
    done correctly on cd or sacd and was pleased with the sound.
  8. bigshot
    The funny thing is, it seems to be just 60s-70s rock. I have country music CDs from the same era and they sound fantastic. The same for Jazz, Classical, Soul... it's just that AOR stuff that sounds like it's packed in mothballs. It's probably like with records... when a record was in the catalog for decades, they would replace the master with a submaster to avoid wearing out the master, or use dubbed metal parts, or worn ones. First pressings usually sound much better than ten years down the road.
    When something has been out of the catalog for a while, like country or jazz albums, they might be more likely to pull the original master and work from that rather than the old beat dupes.
    Thankfully, the pickin's in the 70s was getting pretty slim what with all the mutton chops and stupids, so I'm not missing out on a lot.
  9. OJNeg
    Blasphemy! 60s and 70s rock sounds great on vinyl! Maybe not audiophile in terms of dynamic range, but still above and beyond modern brickwalled stuff. You must be listening to some dirty grooves bigshot [​IMG]
  10. bigshot
    I'm talking about CDs. I have CDs of 40s stuff that sounds better than some 70s remasters.

    But a lot of stuff sounded crappy on vinyl too (Bowie)
  11. codeninja
    I also used to have an expensive fancy CD player.  It DID reproduced the sound better.  Having said that, the difference was small enough for me to get rid of it when I downgraded my system to make more room.  My ears are not trained and I'm mostly based on how I "feel" the music.  Probably, this is the reason why audiophiles are often made fun of sometimes.  Still, I believe there is more to what we feel than those others are willing to give credits.
  12. Eee Pee
    Which one?
  13. bigshot
    It doesn't really matter which one. They all have the same stuff inside. The only difference is features.
  14. OJNeg

    I think most of Sony's BR players have SACD capability, and can read every other disk on the planet. You can get them new for pretty damn cheap too. It's unfortunate that they're extremely ugly IMO. I picked up a (used) universal Marantz player and it sounds fine.
  15. Eee Pee
    Cool, thanks guys.  I've been using a Sony DVP-S9000 SACD/CD player for years, eleven actually, and was just wondering.  The DVP-9000 is so sensitive to any scratches on discs, or whatever, and doesn't read some of my seemingly perfect CDs, so I'm looking for a replacement.
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