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Lies about vinyl vs digital

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5 hours ago, GUTB said:

 

Okay guys, help me out. What CDs or digital albums feature powerful dynamics / transients?

 

This soundtrack album,

 

 

has probably the most extreme dynamics, in popular music, I've come across - the YouTube clips barely hint at how it actually comes across, when played from the CD.

 

I only found out about it, because friends brought a copy to try out - it sounded so terrible on their system, they wanted to know if the recording "was broken" ...

 

Another clip,

 

 


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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8 hours ago, gmgraves said:

Turns out most people don't want wide dynamic range music. It's a great idea and a high-fidelity ideal, but the truth is that people don't want to keep raising and lowering the volume of their playback to keep from blasting the family and neighbors on crescendos or to adequately hear the triple pianissimos.

 

Interesting ... I tend to run a system on the maximum level it can comfortably handle - if competent, the quiet passages work exactly as intended; and the crescendos just do what they're intended to do - provide some exclamation marks(!!!) to the moment. Raising and lowering the volume while playing ... what a strange concept ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 hours ago, PeterSt said:

 

No. I have brought it forward more often : Supertramp's Crime of The Century in "original" CD fashion. This is unplayable for it's way too wide dynamics and it doesn't even use half of the digital space (so go figure). You can't play this without changing the volume (thus you can't play this at all).

Btw, the dynamics are also NOT forceful. They are only crazily steep.

 

 

 

Like Dennis, I'm a bit surprised by you saying this, Peter. Guess what? I "missed" the Crime of The Century album when it came out, I only know the hits that were plugged mercilessly - and just had a listen to some of the other tracks ... oh dear, what I've missed out on!

 

OK, will need to acquire a copy - and will go for the original. Even on the laptop it's clear what the potential is, what it should sound like on a good rig - I want my dynamics!! :)


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 hours ago, barrows said:

Yes, but the thread is not about how much compression might be applied to given format, it is about which format is better.  What some engineers (might) do to some releases, or not, is neither here nor there.

CD has more dynamic range capability than vinyl, period, and 24 bit hi res has even more than CD, this much is just a fact.

If one's argument in favor of vinyl is that some vinyl releases use less compression than some highly compressed CDs, that is off topic and not applicable.

Take a look at Channel Classics releases, no way is the range of these recordings going to survive on vinyl without significant compression.  Again, compare apples to apples here to have a relevant discussion.

 

The format may have the dynamic range, but there's nothing stopping the playback chain doctoring what's heard to give the impression of poor DR. Historically, much CD replay simply discarded large quantities of the low level detail, because "it sounds awful!" - I've been intrigued, even amazed as how some rigs are able to do this, by 'clever' engineering of the chain - it still sounds OK, but large areas of the soundscape are completely missing. I particularly remember a CAL unit, which delivered a smooth rendition of about 1/3 of what I knew was on the CD.

 

Much better these days, the designers of the gear are more game to deliver the full story, because they don't muck up the lower level detail as much as they used to - "micro detail", if one wants a fashionable buzz word to toss around.

 


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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7 hours ago, jabbr said:


 

 

No seriously though, I think if you take over processed, heavily produced music (which is fine to listen to!) then the DR, naturalness arguments become difficult. Like its supposed to have an electronic edge ... so if it sounds edgy is that more accurate?

 

In this category, I use this album,

 

 

The natural elements in this nicely contrast with the 'electronic' content - subjectively, this should have tremendous dynamic impact; a favourite of mine ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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5 hours ago, esldude said:

I managed about 60 db below full scale.   Lawnmower running across the street or I might have gotten one more step.  Isn't out of line with similar noise added testing I've done.  Because of a stimulus closer to our peak hearing frequencies those net about 10 or 15 db lower before they aren't heard.  

 

Dithered 16 bit is enough for playback.  And few if any real recordings will actually tax that. 

 

Yes. 60dB down is a huge jump, subjectively - I have a classic Denon test CD, with the same, classical track attenuated 20, 40, 60dB, without dither - the last, at maximum gain, could only be followed as a musical piece  on the first rig that performed for me, by having one's ear hard against the speaker driver - with the lack of dithering only just audible ... 16 bits is enough ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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As I mentioned in another thread, just visited the audio mate down the road - who was gung ho about vinyl when I first met him. This attitude has progressed to the point where both forms of replay do justice to the recordings, when fully in the zone.

 

This is relevant here, because in the prior visit the vinyl setup was sounding sick - no matter what we tried, it just failed to come alive, there was an unpleasant flatness to the sound with every recording. So we moved across to digital, which gave some excellent feedback. Well, it turns out that there was a mechanical issue - the TT has been heavily modified by him, barely recognisable from its original form - and the main bearing had started to show issues some time earlier, and he had replaced that with a 'superior' arrangement. Which gave marked improvement at the time ... but he then discovered, after that last visit, that the bearing surfaces had degraded - it was one of those annoying situations where the better option doesn't have the durability of the 'lesser' parts - so the advantage is only short term.

 

Replaced that with the "normal" bearing type, so when I visited this time LPs were back in a good place - a full hit of vinyl "goodness", ^_^. Which was good enough so that the crackle and pops were "invisible" - and also good enough to make obvious the real issue of straightforward TT setups - cartridge tracking angle error. With pivoted arms, there are two sweet spots where the alignment is correct, and elsewhere, it's 'wrong'; and this becomes very obvious - and annoying, at least to me. This is the killer problem of vinyl, not surface noise - to my hearing. Only solved with parallel arm arrangements, which then opens up other problems.

 

The interesting comparison this time, between vinyl and digital, was using some classic Sinatra from the golden years, late 50's. When the vinyl rig was fully stabilised it delivered a big, rich sound, with good tonality of his voice - when we moved over to digital, the same tracks initially were a major fail, so far behind in SQ it was almost unrecognisable as the same material. Which prompted a major round of investigation, and tweaking, of the DACs - with a positive outcome: at its best, the digital source now had all the qualities of the vinyl we had heard earlier.

 

The overall point here is that vinyl in good shape, and digital in good shape both deliver the same message - if one format is lacking in SQ then it's because of some fixable issues.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Hmmm, :)^_^ ... ultimately, doesn't matter; it's whether the information is stored in the medium or not. In this case, it was a xDuoo media player talking to a very cheap headphone DAC via optical; there were two of the latter, both significantly modded inside - this one, https://www.amazon.co.uk/XCSOURCE-Conveter-Headphone-Amplifier-AH278/dp/B01N0Y4NAG.

 

Amusingly, he brought up the idea of the Chord Mojo - this had what would be key, digital volume. Two big downsides; expensive which automatically led to the next issue - do you want to modify something which is so pricey to get around the likely flaws. His feeling is that he is more comfortable pushing a cheapy which he can hack to death, which then delivers everything that matters - anything that the Mojo adds is of a lower importance.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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13 hours ago, Rexp said:

Thanks, Im guessing the unmodded units wouldn't cut it?

 

Yes, they would show similar limitations to many other units - what he has done is remove or shutdown unwanted features, and simplify, hardwire the signal path. And add better decoupling capacitors - he is highly skillful at removing microscopic parts like modern caps, and soldering in very confined spaces - I'm impressed!

 

In spite of those units being so cheap, they still use parts that are considered as being of superior quality for audio - he mentions the output chip as one that's talked about, but it has a downside of being quite noisy - classic tape hiss, which would irritate a lot of people ... so, not "perfect", but capable of delivering very satisfying sound.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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8 hours ago, semente said:

 

The problem I have with these audiophile lables is that I can't find anything worth listening to in their catalogues. In fact most music reminds me of overly-loud boring demos at hi-fi shows...

 

This reminds of having other audiophiles put on a recording, which immediately strikes me as being turgid, and as limp as wilted lettuce ... have a wander over - yep, it's an 'audiophile' effort ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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7 hours ago, Screwdriver said:

That is my point...accuracy needs a point of reference. If your trying to duplicate a sound you like...records or digital would be your reference.

 

I have been to hundreds of live shows....Arena Rock, Punk Clubs, Jazz and Classical at places like the Hollywood Bowl. I have yet to hear any system duplicate that exactly. I even got to demo the Infinity IRS's at Infinity in Northridge back in the 80's....everything colors music. Beyond sitting in front of the studio console while a record is being mixed or being at a concert that a record was recorded from....there is no way to be 100% accurate.

 

The good news is that one can get the sound to be 100% subjectively there; the bad news is that there are very few easy ways of doing this - but things are getting better.

 

Vinyl gets the 'niceness' of listening to music more easily done; digital has always had some of the precision areas under far better control - digital can get both the niceness, and the precision, but it still is not trivial to tick both boxes.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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5 hours ago, GUTB said:

My new vinyl rig crushes my digital, and I don’t know what to do in order to move forward with it.

 

Today, my vinyl of the same albums I have digital copies are much better. The key qualitative factor is dynamic performance; my vinyl displays dynamic swings of greater magnitude and speed/resolution. My digital sounds weakened, narrowed, compressed, lessened or more polite in comparison. I need to figure this out but I don’t know what to do except try other DACs. Could a DDC effect this?

 

Yep, the same ol' digital blandness bogeyman, ready to squash the vitality of one's recordings - this type of distortion seems to be always hovering at the edges, and jumps in as soon as one takes one's eye off the ball ...

 

How to fix it? Ummm, how long is a piece of string ... another DAC may fix it, or the problem may get worse - the only process that I know does the job is to work through each part of the chain, do solid investigation of what influences and weaknesses may be present - and keep doing this until full SQ is restored.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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6 hours ago, hifitommy said:

for some unknown reason, as different as phono cartridges sound different, they most always sound right when properly adjusted.

 

 

An extremely simple reason for that - when properly adjusted their mechanical characteristics and alignment have been optimised, so that the least distortion is added to the sound. You're hearing more of the record, and less of the cartridge - you're getting closer to what the microphones heard.

 

Historically, it's always been harder for digital to do "alive, vibrant, and detail rich sound" - and that's because the manufacturers of the components are slow learners :P ... we'll get there in the end ... ^_^.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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11 hours ago, PeterSt said:

 

OK. And what should we manufacturers learn (about), you reckon ?

 

You, of the ones who are pushing into the bleeding edge of things have probably got one of the best handles on the factors. dCS lately is another of the winners, by all reports.

 

Main aspect of course is that the standard spec's, measurements count for little. That listening is still the best evaluation tool,  in the face of not having better measurement methods obviously available.

 

Two factors have stood out for me: it always takes ages for digital to settle down, stabilise for best sound - days, even weeks - I used to hate having to switch off everything for a sizable period in the early experimenting, I knew it would take days to recover decent sound again; and the other is resistance to interference effects, a tiny hint of electrical activity of any type in the area can be enough to clobber the subjective SQ - for best sound I always have to shut down absolutely everything that I can control, nearby.

 

Both of these aspects are pretty irritating, and just silly; better engineering should be able to take care of both. Of course things are much better now, there is constant improvement - but until I can turn on from cold, and get close to full quality in 5 to 10 minutes, in the middle of a sea of noisy electrical activity, I wouldn't be happy with the status quo.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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9 hours ago, semente said:

 

The fact that the large majority of the immense catalogue of distortions produced by the vinyl playback system is signal/music correlated is almost certainly what makes vinyl "alive, vibrant, and detail rich sound" to some people.

 

Those signal/music correlated distortions become more intrusive when amplified and transduced by more accurate systems; but you still have to know what to listen for...and not "enjoy" it.

 

But it's definitely not more "realistic".

 

In the early days after I first got convincing sound from a digital setup I did as much listening of "other stuff" as I could, just to see where everyone else was. And visited the home of the chap who probably had the most ambitious vinyl setup in the Sydney - Goldmund Reference TT, the best Audio Research gear, classic Infinity speakers; and these components had also been significantly modded. This delivered all the qualities of competent sound, on his carefully chosen LPs - the experience matched ...

 

This is what digital at a good peak delivers also - the realism factor is overwhelming, you can "hear" the humanity of the music making - because all the cues for such are indeed captured in the recordings everyone has. All that's required is for the rig to be sufficiently sorted, and then those qualities emerge.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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7 hours ago, GUTB said:

Well I know for a really long time analog photography was considered better than digital. To me anyway the true power of photography was those huge landscapes / nature vista from those medium format cameras.

 

What triggers the specialness, as a feeling, is hugeness of the image along with detail. Say, a photograph of a scene on a large scale, and you can look at any part and see "everything that''s there" - there is no apparent point where it starts to blur ... an IMAX theatre showing, while all the opticals were still in pristine alignment generated that sensation; over a relatively short time frame the precision was lost, and then watching a movie on it was extremely irritating.

 

Hey!! That's sorta like how it works for audio ... :D, :P, ^_^.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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6 hours ago, hifitommy said:

davide....the lows in digital have a better chance of sounding superior to analog but the highs in RBCD,not, very hi-reZ much more so.  this is most obvious as systems ascend the quality ladder.

 

i am encouraged to find others than myself concerned with syntax and spelling.  

 

Redbook recordings have 'perfect' midrange and treble encoded - but historically playbacks rigs have struggled to get this right ... digititus. I undertood what was going on 30 years ago, and have kept an eye on the industry ever since, to see when they would finally get their act together - still not there yet, you have to pay major money to get the components sorted enough to do the job ... give it time ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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The problem is lack of attention to detail, and clinging to what Authority Figures state is important, and largely disregarding all else. In the airline industry people die when this phliosophy is followed; in audio, everyone just has to put up with less than fully satisfying sound - so, it takes longer ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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What is important is a continuing journey, and there are no Set Rules - and everything gets messy when Big Money plays too big a part.

 

The recent Lion Air crash is turning into one of those - Boeing could be in very, very deep poo; with huge litigation action happening: looks like Boeing changed how that model of 737 flew, without telling the pilots! Which meant that when a part of the system malfunctioned, the pilots were incapable of reacting correctly - the manual was wrong!

 

Some pilots are getting pretty pissed about this, saying that the current corporate Boeing is a sad relative of the old engineering Boeing - which plane do you want to fly on, boys and girls ... ?


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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In the case of the airline industry it's mighty easy to 'measure' what's truly important - that all the passengers get to their destination safely. Apart from that there are myriad differences in just about every other area: how smooth the ride was, how quiet, how much fuel was used, how edible the in-flight meal was, the amount of leg room, the colour of the ambient lighting, etc, etc, etc ...

 

In audio I also concern myself with the primary need - is the sound competent, in that I can't detect any audible anomaly that allows me to be aware of the playback system as the source of the sound. All differences after that are way down in the pecking order ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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22 minutes ago, hifitommy said:

i could follow any one instrument in the orchestra with full clarity and extension.  something that RBCD is not capable of.  

 

...hifitommy

 

Not a MASSIVE upgrade, but a sorting out of the rig is required - very typical of below par digital is that it's hard for human hearing to separate the often present interference hash injected via the playback chain, from the actual recording content. If the procedure is properly done, then all that detail lost from our awareness emerges, and it's trivially easy to follow any of the musical lines in the whole - of any track of a CD.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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5 hours ago, hifitommy said:

I know what I hear and it's in agreement with other veteran listeners with a litany of high end components.  RBCD has it's distinct limits and LP allows us to settle into the Music at hand and is more convincing  and satisfying just as is live music.  

 

Go back to DBT while I go LIE to myself.  Arguing the point is superfluous.  

 

Tom savage, I believe you made the choice for a good reason and I know how rattling it is to snag off a stylus on a prized cartridge.

 

It's a shame, that you're depriving yourself of the chance of experiencing what CDs can deliver. "Litanies of high end components" mean nothing, unless the person who assembled the rig really understood what care and attention is needed to get Redbook sounding as it should.

 

Over 30 years ago I heard probably the best vinyl setup in Sydney - and his CD player. The LPs at their best hit a very good peak, but his CD replay fell well short - loss of low level detail was shocking. But I had not the slightest interest after that in pursing LP ... :).

 

The "limits" of RBCD you hear are the 'standard' distortion characteristics of the medium when playback is not well implemented - they are the "snap, crackle, pop" of that method of music storage - and are just as hard to completely eliminate, as is vinyl "noise".

 


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Such encoding may be on the CD, but a sorted out rig won't present problems in the presentation of such. I listened regularly to a Howard Jones CD back in the 80's, and it came across very well. Also have an original release CD of the first ABBA album, and this is superb to listen to - demonstration quality in terms of the sound scape thrown up.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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16 hours ago, Rexp said:

Can anyone explain why in this comparison of vinyl v cd (Anne Bisson, 3rd track demo) the vinyl is vastly superior to the cd? Even on youtube the difference is clear. 

 

 

It's the same problem that has been around forever  - that's the signature of normal digital distortion, that deadness and lack of sparkle - that's the generic snap, crackle, pop of CD playback :P.

 

And like vinyl noises, digital 'noise' is quite difficult to completely eliminate - it's so not there, that it's hard to see, well, that it is there - most of the efforts I go to, address that factor; the kneecapping of the life and subjective impact of the SQ.

 

So, it is a type of distortion - once you can wrap your head, completely, around that thought, then you have a chance of doing something constructive about it - if you want to claim that the sound of the CD is actually like that, well, the ostrich on the beach has a much better chance of finding its way home ... ^_^.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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13 hours ago, Taz777 said:

Vinyl has always sounded better to me. In fact, my aim with my digital audio systems is to make them sound like vinyl one day, as I imagine many other audiophiles also seek to do.

 

 

Has always been possible, even in the earliest days - vinyl has no interest for me, because digital can always match it, without any of the extra lifting that's necessary in the LP world ...

 

The downside is that you have to work just as hard to get digital 'right', perhaps even more so - if one doesn't expend that effort, then it's likely to always just be a hi-fi version of Muzak; it just never really hits the spot.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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