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How to get more Hi-Rez files beyond available downloads--ripping vinyl?


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Dillema. I have an interest in Hi Resolution music, or playing CD's with a high quality DAC to improve their quality. I was looking at getting the Linn Akkurate DS streamer, but I have a few questions.


Given the paucity of music titles and artists that exist on SACD and the superior DSD recording, I have little interest in investing into that area. Therefore, the LINN DS seemed a good way to go due to my abundance of CDs.


However, the fact that there are so few available hi-rez titles to download and most are classical (which I like, but i prefer electronic or experiemental rock styles), I am wondering what is a good way to improve the quality of audio that I buy beyond the CD level and to utilize the HI=REZ features of the DAC?


Is it worth buying future music, both recent and past releases, in vinyl instead of CD's and renting a hi-end setup to record vinyl using a KORG DSD recorder and converting into a high-rez PCM file to play on the LINN (or other DAC)? Does the Vinyl give me a better result due to the fact that it was mastered into analog from a hi-rez digital source or direct from the analog? Will that give me a better result that just using a ripped CD into the Linn? How much better are Vinyl rips in the area of music that most interests to the CD master? Most music I listen to is recent, but I do like many 70's and 80's electronic albums such as Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield, and Vangelis. I would also be interested in some soundtracks and some select classical such as Rachmanninov, etc..






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Comparing vinyl or open reel tape to digital and assigning a resolution number to it, as if that's the end of the story certainly has it's own pitfalls.


The reality of digital performance is that while we've had 16/44.1 in the home a long time, how has it actually stacked up against vinyl, particularly in regards to the retrieval of low level information (imaging cues and microdynamics) in the presence of other large scale signals?


For myself, I have to admit that though I've been using digital since 1983 and spent a bodacious amount of money on it since then, only in the last six months has digital in my home system approached the performance in some of these key areas of what my vinyl rig in the late 70's would do- particularly with regards to imaging and the afore mentioned qualities. Vinyl hasn't stayed still since then, either.


There are various theories about why digital has fallen short in reproduction in that regard, including jitter, limitations in fixed point math built into the digital filters and ASRC chips used in most DACs, etc- that would be a long thread in and of itself.


The reality is that only with the introduction of products like the Berkeley Alpha DAC and the Metric Halo ULN8 have some hard core vinyl fans that are friends of mine found digital that they would listen to as something other than just background music.


Bit's aren't always bits when it comes to how they get translated into the final output- if the usual/typical way of doing it mangles the low level data, then it can be all for naught, whether 16 or 24 (even the best DAC's measured by Stereophile struggle to get more than 18 bit of real resolution on simple signals- sine waves).


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Dear Watchnerd:


Perhaps you can share with me what is more important to achieve better sounding digital playback:


A. bit depth >16

B. sample rate >44.1k/48k


Also, what is the sample rate of vinyl? Please help me understand your definition of hi-rez digital audio.


Best regards,






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Very good question.


I don't think one can easily define which is more important, bit depth or sample rate.


However, since 'standard rez' (or maybe 'old school' is a better term) digital audio is 16bit/44.1, hi rez should be, well, higher than that.


If vinyl has a 90 db dynamic range, that's about 15 bits.


Sample rate is a bit trickier, but let's start with the upper frequency range of vinyl.


The RIAA defines acceptable frequency losses for LPs as down to 20 kHz after 1 play, 18 kHz after 3, 17 kHz after 5, 16 kHz after 8, 14 kHz after 15, 13 kHz after 25, 10 kHz after 35, and 8 kHz after 80 plays.


Let's be generous and say you played the LP in question only 3 times, so you still have an 18 kHz top end. Rough Nyquist theorem, that's about 36kHz.


I think digitizing vinyl is a great idea. But let's not pretend it's hi rez, regardless of the bit/sample rate, because it's bounded by the limitations of the original source.



MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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Talking about theoretical dynamic ranges is all well and good but in your post you said you listened to rock and electronic. Trust me, you won't find much electronic or rock music that approaches the dynamic range of CD, let alone high-rez. Hell, much of that electronic music was made on 16-bit equipment!


This is why most high-rez music is classical. Classical music can have a far higher dynamic range and some can make use of high-rez capabilities.


That's not to say that there's no point ripping vinyl. Vinyl can sound better (not to my taste admittedly, but some prefer it) and some vinyl is mastered better than the equivalent CD, however, if you do go down that route, you won't be taking advantage of the dynamic range offered by high-rez




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Dear Watchnerd:


Please allow me to understand your perspective:


If one were to capture a first release direct-to-disk recording issued by Sheffield Labs of "James Newton Howard and Friends" and capture the recording using an excellent A/D and proper clocking methods @ 24-bit / 176.4k using either a Pyramix or SoundBlade work station or:


If one applied the same capturing procedure as suggested above but replaced the direct-to-disk using the 1", 1/2, 15/30ips master tape from the vault, how would one define the transfers?


Perhaps one can define the above procedures as either music archiving and format changing. In the world of digital, may such captures be regarded as hi-rez or into hi-rez?


Best regards,





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I don't consider remasterings of pre-hi-rez sources to be true hi rez. They're partial.


Just like I don't consider SACDs that use an original source that isn't DSD (and there are a lot of these recordings) to be true SACDs.


If someone were to sell Blu Ray disks that were a 24/96 remasterings of vinyl records (which isn't the same as master tapes), people would rightly claim that something was a bit fishy about that.


Again, it doesn't mean it's not worth doing.


But if we say that anything re-mastered/re-recorded at high sample/bit rates is high rez, we open a pretty ridiculous can of worms.


Can I digitize 8-track tapes and cassettes to 24/96 and call it hi rez? 78 rpm phonograph records?


There has to be some consideration of the source.




MacBook Pro -> AppleTV ->Rotel RSP-1570 -> Martin Logan Electromotion[br]MacBook Pro -> Icon HDP -> AKG K701[br]Apple Lossless all the way

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Dear Watchbird:


Thank you for taking time out to respond to my last post. If one were to disseminate the production aspects of the format change from the native master copy of a 1", 1/2-track, 15ips/30ips to 24-bit high sample rate, I would define the end product as a form of hi-rez. digital source material.


In the same manner, I would even define a good vinyl-to-digital format change into 24-bit, high sample rate digital as another form of hi-rez. source material. Naturally, as aforementioned, full disclosure of the process of the format change must be clearly noted.


Best regards,


Tim Marutani






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