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Testing audiophile claims and myths

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by prog rock man, May 3, 2010.
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  1. KeithEmo
    That's what I would expect based on their description.

    According to what they say, their process burns the same data onto the disc, but does so using a slightly more "conservative" physical format.
    As with most specs, the Red Book CD standard sets a minimum and maxiumum range for pit and gap length.
    (I'm not quite clear if Yamaha is actually going outside the spec - or simply locking the drive down so it always chooses the absolute most conservative setting within the spec.)
    Either way, their claim seems to be that their process will make it easier for the drive to read the disc properly and without errors.
    However, ASSUMING THAT THERE ARE NO UNCORRECTABLE ERRORS, then it should result in exactly the same data being written and read.
    (The benefit would be that it would write discs that could be reliably read by a wider variety of players without errors.)

    Note:

    CD-Rs are actually recorded using a very different process than pressed discs.
    On pressed discs, actual pits are pressed into the surface, and then the surface is plated with aluminum or gold.
    CD-R discs store data on a layer of dye, which sits above a flat mirrored layer, and which is blistered or otherwise altered by the write LASER.
    Because of the different process involved, the contrast in reflectivity of the data pattern written onto CD-R discs is much lower than on pressed discs.
    Because of this they actually require somewhat different settings on the LASER mechanism in the drive you use to read them.
    To make life even more interesting, there are several different types of dyes, and each is different (although they're supposed to be interchangeable).
    The original dye used on low-speed discs was green; Verbatim had their own exclusive dye which was deep blue; and modern high speed discs are usually silver or slightly golden.
    Modern drives are designed to easily cover this entire range - but early ones were not (especially those sold before CD-Rs even existed.)
    Many early CD players were designed for pressed discs and wouldn't play CD-R discs at all.
    Many early CD-R writers would only accept CD-Rs that used the original green dye, and many early players would only play that type.
    Many early players would also only work, or would work better, with discs written at certain speeds (and many writers had stated "preferred" write speeds).
    That's one reason why most CD writing software still offers the option of choosing a write speed rather than always using the fastest speed available.
    (Presumably, some early drives wrote significantly off-spec pits at certain speeds, and certain players were more tolerant of off-spec pits than other.)

    Yamaha also claims that their AMQR process results in less jitter on the recovered data.
    Since the data is re-clocked by the player, this should have no effect on the jitter present on the output digital audio signal.
    However, because jitter is one cause of data errors, reducing the jitter at the read interface could actually reduce the overall number of various types of read errors.

    My point here is that, in the early days of CD-R recording, there were serious compatibility issues, and not all CD-R discs would read reliably on all players, or even close.
    This was a legitimate and serious issue in the early days of audio CD-Rs.
    For example, in those days, it was quite common to see lists of which specific brands of CD-R blanks would work best with specific writers or players.
    Therefore, it's not unreasonable that Yamaha, and some other manufacturers, looked for ways to tweak the standard to produce more reliably readable discs....
    And that they would be bragging about various attempts at solving the problem....
    (And so we shouldn't rule out the possibility that their special discs might actually read more reliably in drives that are borderline or have substandard error correction.)

    However, again, assuming a perfect read, with no uncorrectable errors, on one of their discs, and on a "normal" disc, the data delivered should be exactly the same.

     
  2. 71 dB
    Normal white toothpaste is best. I use Pepsodent Super Fluor. The toothpaste "dry up" and gets hard in 10-15 minutes and then I wash it away rubbing with my thumb. I believe the toothpaste is able to round hard edges of the scratch making it easier for the laser to read.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  3. old tech
    Nonsense. According to the RIAA, new CD sales are still at least 4 to 1 in the USA and much higher everywhere else. For example, it is around 8 to 1 here in Australia and about 10 to 1 in Japan. Over here we still have CD commercials on TV (mainly for compilations) but never LPs. Most of the music stores here still stock CDs while it takes quite a bit of effort and driving around to find a place that sells LP records.

    The growth in LP sales is also grossly overstated. It is off a very low base and the growth has tapered in recent years. It is, and always will be a niche format. Having said that, the day will come when new LP sales will overtake CDs but not because there has been a huge shift to vinyl (as myth would have it) but rather because physical media is dying out and the days of the CD were numbered when digital audio no longer relied on a physical product for distribution. To put it another way, CD (as a digital format) has evolved to digital formats that can be downloaded, saved or streamed. Analog, on the other hand is stuck with a physical format which had its last hurrah with the hi fi VCR. Vinyl is the last man standing and the tragedy for analog lovers is of course that the better fidelity analog formats lost out. Even a professional cassette deck using high bias tapes had better fidelity than vinyl by the time we got to mid 1980s.
     
    bfreedma, Hooster and PhonoPhi like this.
  4. Hooster
    Nope, CD is a dinosaur. Today's de facto standard is streaming audio.
     
    PhonoPhi likes this.
  5. 71 dB
    I don't want to wake up one morning to realize my favorite music is gone from streaming services because of some stupid licencing issue. My favorite music on safely on my bookshelf as CDs. No copyright bull****!
     
  6. PhonoPhi
    A major development prior to streaming was SD cards (hard drive backed-up). All my hundreds of CDs are now conveniently accessible as .flac files in one tiny 256 Gb card :)

    P. S. The last time I used CDs after - can't recall :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    Hooster likes this.
  7. bigshot
    You're supposed to scrub in a circular motion with a soft cloth to buff out the scratch.

    Physical media is essential for people with broad musical interests. Probably a third of my collection is of music not available on streaming. That amounts to thousands of CDs. If you are interested in mainstream music, streaming is perfect because it covers that completely. But there's a lot of music that never made the transition from 78 to LP, a lot that never made the transition from LP to CD, and a lot that didn't make the transition from CD to streaming. The only way to hear that music is with physical media.

    But once I get a CD, I rip it and put it on my media server, so it works the same as streaming.

    Everything you need to know about media sales is in this chart...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  8. megabigeye
    @bigshot, is that US sales only? If so, sales have changed in the last few years, with vinyl sales poised to surpass CD sales by the end of 2019, at least according to RIAA via CNBC. It's also interesting to look at Discogs' figures and see that for them CD sales have grown 23% (it's also fun to see which albums were the best sellers). I'm assuming that's because brick-and-mortar sales (and new production?) has gone down, so people are looking for (used?) physical formats online. Around here, anyway, it's slim pickings if you're looking for CDs, as most of the record stores either don't carry them at all or have greatly reduced their inventory.
    And here are Nielsen's numbers for comparison. Somewhat interesting that they're quite different.

    I tried to find worldwide sales figures, but wasn't having any luck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  9. taffy2207
    megabigeye likes this.
  10. bigshot
    It depends on how the figures are spun, but the outcome is pretty clear... According to Billboard, Vinyl LP sales accounted for 11.9 percent of all album sales in 2018 (16.8 million of 141 million). I think the figure you are thinking of is that LP sales are growing faster than CD sales are falling. (In 2017 LP sales accounted for 6.5 percent, one year later 11.9 percent.) Download and streaming dwarf physical media. Streaming accounts for 75% of the market right now. Digital downloads account for another 12% and physical media of all types is just 10%. What this means is that CDs are headed towards being a niche market like LPs are, not that LPs are becoming mainstream.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    megabigeye and old tech like this.
  11. old tech
    Highly unlikely that vinyl sales in the USA will surpass CDs by the end of the year. According to RIAA data, revenue from LP sales may surpass CD revenue by the end of the year but not quantity of units. That's understandable given the much higher revenue (and profit) is made made from each LP.
     
    megabigeye likes this.
  12. Mark74
    Key point made.
    Can be argued that, if you wait long enough, say another decade or two, more and more of the non-mainstream, esoteric and historical recordings will become available online. But then, who wants to defer their musical enjoyment for years ? May not be around then.
     
    analogsurviver and old tech like this.
  13. KeithEmo
    INTERESTING STATISTICS ABOUT MUSIC SALES.....

    https://www.statista.com/chart/17244/us-music-revenue-by-format/

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/188822/lp-album-sales-in-the-united-states-since-2009/

    https://www.statista.com/chart/13578/vinyl-resurgance-style-over-substance/

    https://www.statista.com/chart/12950/cd-sales-in-the-us/

    https://www.statista.com/chart/13407/music-streaming_-who-pays-best/


    Note that some are in number sold, while some are in $$$ sold, and some are in %.

    Also note that, if you search, you can find some interesting statistics "per item".
    For example, last year somewhere between 15 and 20 million vinyl albums were sold.
    However, the SINGLE MOST STREAMED OR DOWNLOADED SONG topped several hundred million copies.

    A few people have pointed out that the main flaw of streaming music is that, since you don't own a physical copy, you have no assurance that it won't someday cease to be available.
    I have always personally considered this to be a significant concern - although, at least so far, only a very few albums have ever been "pulled from availability" (generally due to licensing issues).
    However, while a given album could suffer this fate, it seems extremely unlikely that this will ever happen to a significant number of albums...
    There are many steaming services and, while one or another may eventually fail, it seems obvious that streaming services in general are here to stay.
    (The only thing I worry about is that, because many are currently losing money, streaming services may begin to compartmentalize - by dividing subscriptions into separate plans....
    If this happens, some of us may lose access to certain albums, the same way we lose access to some cable channels when our cable company starts only offering certain channels under certain plans.)
    HOWEVER, the obvious solution, which provides the best of both otpions, is actual album downloads.

    I still occasionally purchase CDs - for albums that I really want to make sure I will always have access to.
    However, if the option is available, I will ALWAYS choose to download the album directly; and, if I purchase the CD, I look at it as "a hardware download mechanism".
    (As soon as it arrives, I rip it onto a hard drive, and the "plastic backup" goes into a box in the closet.)

    And, while the plastic of a CD seems to offer an assurance of stability and permanence....
    My entire collection of CDs fits on a single hard drive, which makes it simple to keep a backup copy of the entire collection, which is then easily updated and even stored offsite.
    (Many people foolishly fail to do this... but the benefit still exists for those who take advantage of it.)

     
  14. bigshot
    I remember when cable TV started. They said there were going to be over 100 channels, and each one would be different. One would show crime movies from the 30s, another would have 70s TV sitcoms, another would have classic cartoons... with over 100 channels, that should cover everything, right? Well it turned out that there's over 100 channels of basically the same thing. There are three or four channels that air legacy titles. Even the classic cartoon channel started airing modern live action shows. Streaming won't reach down that far ever. At some point the CDs that contain the music that streaming doesn't cover will be as rare and sought after as the LPs that Japanese collectors snap up, and the pre-war blues 78s that go for hundreds of dollars. If your tastes extend beyond the average consumer, you will either have to buy obsolete media or do without. If you're a normal consumer, the market will give you all you want.

    In the meantime, I have a huge collection that I am digitizing and will have the best of both worlds. It isn't about format. It's about availability of the music.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
  15. KeithEmo
    To a degree you are correct.... however there are major differences between video and audio.... and, in the end, I expect them to make a significant difference there.
    What you have described about "what we all expected cable to become" is actually largely what it has become.
    My cable service does offer one channel for old westerns, and another for old evening sitcoms, and yet another for very old horror movies.
    I could have over a thousand channels if I signed up for the big package... and they have a LOT of movies on demand as well.
    Some of the main reasons so many shows still remain unavailable is a combination of lack of interest, licensing costs, and simple space.
    The other is that we currently lack an in-place way to effectively "commercialize and monetize" those old movies for which there is little interest.
    Someone has that old cartoon you want to watch... and they would cheerfully sell it to you for $1... but they have no way to actually do so.
    Even though DVDs have become cheap, there is still effectively nobody who has come around to offering video DOWNLOADS, and no standard for doing so... yet.

    I recently purchased a rather obscure (recent) album from Amazon.
    I purchased it as a commercial CD but, when it arrived, what I got was a CD-R with an obviously ink-jet printed lable.
    It looked like a bootleg copy, but an enclosd slip reassured me that it was legitimate.
    "Since there is so little demand for that album it has not been issued as a commercial CD disc. Instead, Amazon has been licensed to print copies directly, when they are purchased."

    We have also in fact had a recent attempt to do something similar for DVDs.
    Some time ago Walmart offered an option that, if you owned any DVD disc, you could turn in the plastic, and they would....
    "Exchange it for a digital copy that you could play on any of your electronic devices via your favorite streaming service".
    What this meant was that they would accept your physical disc, destroy it, and trade it for a license to stream the movie.
    (I don't know if this still exists or not - or if it was a commercial flop.)
    My point is that, if the trend away from PHYSICAL digital media continues, this is the obvious direction in which things will eventually go.
    However, the physical CD-R disc that Amazon sent me will disappear from the process.
    Someday, instead of buying a used CD for $2, what you'll receive is either a copy of it as a digital audio file you can download, or a license to listen to it on your favorite streaming service.
    And, if you sell that old CD, instead of being piled somewhere on a shelf, each disc will be carefully shredded, and "the licence it embodies" will be added to a server somewhere.

    The technology to do this has been around for years...
    The ONLY current sticking point is licensing.
    Our current laws have simply failed miserably to keep up with the technology.

    The music industry has traditionally had a seriously flawed idea about ownership.
    The "official part of the music industry" will tell you that, if you purchase a music CD for $15, the plastic disc costs about $1, and the remaining $14 is being paid for the license.
    Yet, by that logic, if you were to accidentally damage that disc, you should be able to purchase a new piece of plastic for $1, and transfer your license to it.
    Likewise, if you long ago purchased a vinyl disc with that music on it, you should be able to purchase a CD style disc, and transfer your license to it.
    Yet, instead, they now claim that the license is NOT separate from the plastic, and cannot be moved to a new piece of plastic.
    (Now, magically, with the loss of that $1 piece of plastic, the license you paid $14 for has mysteriously vanished.)
    And this outdated concept - that the license and the actual physical plastic are one and the same - is what is locking us into the current situation.

    If I have an old album I don't want, and you DO want it, I can sell you the plastic vinyl album or CD, in exchange for some money.
    The law allows me to do so... and this has been accepted reality for so long that nobody questions it.
    Yet there is no OTHER WAY in which I can simply transfer ownership of that album to you in return for money WITHOUT THE PIECE OF PLASTIC.
    (In essence, at this point, the CD itself is merely "the token which holds the license".)
    What's missing is an alternate LEGALLY SANCTIONED MECHANISM whereby I can transfer ownership of the license.
    However, because the current combination of music streaming and music piracy is well along the path towards destroying this outdated system...
    We can reasonably expect that it will eventually be replaced by a newer and more practical one.

    For example, instead of selling my old CDs to "ye olde CD shoppe" I'll be able to go into a shop and sell them my old pieces of plastic and their attached licenses.
    They will then immediately RIP and shred the plastic discs.
    They will then have digital copies of the music itself...
    And the "licenses", each of which entitles one person to own and play the music from one of those discs, which they have 'recovered" or "extracted" from the discs themselves...
    You will then be able to purchase a copy of that file, and the license that entitles you to play it, from your local shop.
    Once this happens, every CD ever made will eventually end up in a worldwide database somewhere, where it can be easily downloaded by anybody.
    And, once this occurs, you can bet that SOMEBODY will work out the details of a new licensing protocol to go with it.
    (It would be foolish to delete the file after one download. There must be SOME way to sell more copies, collect the licensing fee for them, and distribute it "fairly".)

    Of course, the music industry would prefer to prevent this, so there is no way for the owner to "recover his license form the plastic and has to buy a new one".
    However, the obvious ancillary point to all this is that the practical aspects of the market and the technology will force this to happen, and sooner rather than later.

    In the real world....
    If you, or somebody you know, has "the last copy of that rare CD available on the planet".....
    They're going to rip that disc and make copies for their friends.....
    And, while many people might feel a touch of guilt about "stealing an album they should have bought".....
    Very few people feel any guilt whatsoever about "acquiring a bootleg copy of an album that is otherwise unavailable"....
    Therefore, in a sense, the music industry is essentially "racing against the clock" to find a legal way to sell that music before it becomes available for free....
    (They basically need to find a way for you to sell that copy, and get their "fair share", before you get tired of waiting and simply start giving it away.)
    And, yes, if you have or want some album that's really obscure, it may never "find its way into the system".....
    However, as such a system becomes more ubiquitous, and more readily accessible, that barrier will be lowered.....

    I can literally envision a day when EVERYONE has a streaming account somewhere...
    And we are each offered a $1 credit for every CD we send in that they don't already have in their database.
    (And every song, on every disc that's sent in, shows up on everybody's streaming service the next day....)

    This will happen the day the music industry is forced to remove their collective thumb from their collective ass....
    And that day is coming soon.... as the current business models for selling discs continue to become progressively less able to support the industry.
    (We may, quite literally, see a day when physical discs simply become unsalable, and the streaming services become the ONLY customers who actually purchase music.)

    We are already approaching this point with video....
    Netflix, with their production of exlcusive content, has now become one of the top few remaining major studios....
    And many stores have alreadys topped selling DVDs and Blu-Ray discs, or are discussing doing so....
    And, if you try to actually purchase CDs, you will find that the list of places that carry them are dwindling rapidly.
    (My local "vintage music shop" also no longer buys or accepts them for trade-in.)

    Considering how rapidly streaming has risen from a novelty to dominate the market....
    It seems clear that this is what the majority of customers actually want....

     
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