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Possible source of "digital harshness"

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by bigshot, Dec 6, 2018.
  1. bigshot
    I've never run across this myself, but I was reading in another forum about a person who bought a FLAC download of a classical album by BIS that sounded like it had a frequency boost in the treble and upper mids. He ordered the CD and it played fine in his player, but when he tried to rip it, his ripping software indicated that the CD had been encoded with pre-emphasis. He ripped it with and without correction and it turns out that the rip without correction sounded exactly the same as the sizzley download. Apparently some ripping software handles pre-emphasis perfectly transparently (iTunes) and others make it an option that is easily overlooked. Pre-emphasis isn't common, but it's something to look out for when ripping discs or buying downloads.
    Philimon and colonelkernel8 like this.
  2. RRod
    I had the same thing happen with BIS on a few of their early digital releases. They fixed the files on eclassical.com and sent me new downloads. This was a while back, so I guess this shows that they didn't go through and check this in all their releases yet.
  3. Arpiben
  4. bigshot
    I'd like to see how he compared the rip of The Wall to determine that iTunes degraded soundstage.
  5. Steve999
    I'm just jumping in without having read the rest of the thread. Windows and Itunes don't always play nice together. If the individual is using Itunes in Windows it could be a complex problem, not related to the AAC (or FLAC?) files at all. I fixed mine, but I'm not sure how, but it took a lot of effort.
    The same files had no problem at all on a Mac. This was last weekend with all up-to-date software and drivers on the Itunes side and the Windows side. Edit: as the thread is about four posts long I just read the whole thing.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  6. old tech
    I've de-emphasised many CD rips, mainly early Japan CDs.

    It is quite straight forward and nowhere near as tricky as vinyl's RIAA curve which varies across LPs and pre amps.
  7. tansand
    This is what it is. The tags are unreliable, sometimes they're not there. I think some studios were incompetent in the late 80's and still had pre emphasis left in, in their recording process in various places. They just called it their 'sound' I guess. I've gotten so I can hear it. I use waveEmph for windows xp etc because it sounds better than the mac one based on sox. Don't boost the levels back up, just roll off the highs. Bosting the levels back up sounds worse.

    The best "The Wall" is the 'Fat' two disc columbia, not the slim. It sounds great.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  8. Slaphead
    Wow - what CD was that. To this day I've never come across a CD with pre-emphasis, and I've been buying CDs since 1986. I'd like to buy it just to have it light up the the pre-emphasis warnings :wink:
  9. bigshot
    Look for very early CDs on the BIS label. They kept pre-emphasis longer than any other label.

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