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GUTB

Lies about vinyl vs digital

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Time for some real talk.

 

My digital source is better than most members' of CA. Just being real. Most of you guys are running el-cheapo streamers, junk-berry servers with consumer NAS units, laptops, mac minis, etc.

 

I have a custom PC running an I7-7700K with a large passive cooler, no fans anywhere. Paul Pang V3 USB card powered by dedicated battery. SSD on a separate dedicated battery to completely isolate the entire system from SSD noise. Linear ATX PSU. Windows 10 running Fidelizer Pro, Roon and HQPlayer for DSD512 up-sampling (the reason for the powerful CPU). Single RAM stick to minimize noise. It's not perfect because of switching-mode voltage regulators, but very decent.

 

All audio components are on a dedicated circuit and plugged into a Panamax 5400 filter with the exception of the PC and amp (I felt the Panamax is current-starving my power amps). There isn't a single SMPS on the circuit. All components are using audiophile-grade AC cables, except the PC which I feel doesn't make a difference.

 

There are probably less than 20 people on CA with better digital source systems than what I have.

 

I have two DACs in the system currently: a MHZS CD88J CDP which has a tubed power supply and output stage, and the Holo Cyan DSD which is a native DSD-only resistor ladder design. This gives me the ability to listen to two very different digital architectures and compare it with my analog.

 

One of my favorite LPs is Belafonte at Carnegie Hall (200g Analogue Productions)

220px-Belafonte_at_Carnegie_Hall.jpg

 

The same album on Tidal:

https://tidal.com/browse/album/45182945

 

Long story short, the LP crushes the streaming version. The main issue? The digital version seems severely hampered in terms of dynamic force / power, but there are other factors which aren't as easy to pin down, but nevertheless do something in the LP which adds to sense of realism which is missing from the digital version.

 

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19 minutes ago, The_K-Man said:

Not "lies" so much as simple misunderstanding.

 

Ever hear of something called the 'loudness war'?

 

Well, there's been a loudness race going almost back to wax cylinders, but when digital audio and the CD debuted closing in on 40 years ago, the loudness war in recorded music went NUCLEAR.

 

Digital was metered in peaks, not average, or RMS.  About 10 years into the life of the CD, music producers and engineers discovered they could peak normalize albums.  Peak normalization led to peak limiting, which when combined with increasing doses of dynamics compression and make-up gain, could produce an album 10-15dB louder average listening level, than one released at any point in the 1980s.  The penalty: Decline and loss of realistic transients and openness that gave the recording depth.

 

To summarize, it is the MASTERING, in the digital domain, not any digital format itself(Redbook CD, 24bit high res, lossy MP3, etc) that slowly lent the impression that digital audio was 'lifeless' or 'dull' next to a vinyl equivalent of the same album release.

 

This is what the general public is slowly being made aware of, one thread at a time, in forums such as this one.

 

So basically you weren't an adult in the 70's when POP albums were being compressed to avoid AM radio frequency bleeding issues?


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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10 minutes ago, davide256 said:

 

 

So basically you weren't an adult in the 70's when POP albums were being compressed to avoid AM radio frequency bleeding issues?

 

The level of DRC(dynamic range comp) used 40+ years ago can neither compare nor justify the aforementioned 'nuclear' level of compression I referred to.

 

This is the same attitude I get on Head-Fi, GearSlutz, or any other audio forum I participate: people assume that I think DRC is 'some new thing'.  Well I hate to disppoint you but I don't think that, one bit.  What is relatively more recent is the abuse and misapplication of DRC tools made possible in the digital audio editing domain.

 

Mark my words though: This new thing called 'loudness normalization' is taking over on internet radio streaming platforms, such as iTunes radio and Spotify.  Metering plugins more closely calibrated(even than good old RMS) to how we hear and perceive loudness is steadily replacing peak-based metering in DAWs and digital recorders.  

 

If you submit a master to iTunes Radio with an average level of +1.5dBfs - YES, it has been done - that service will politely apply -17.5dB of gain to make it as loud, within +-1dB, as all other submissions have been adjusted, to iTunes Radio's -16dBfs loudness standard.

 

The Loudness War is DEAD - Long live the Content War!  ?

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3 hours ago, GUTB said:

The digital version seems severely hampered in terms of dynamic force / power,

 

In part due to the markedly reduced channel separation of vinyl, with more sound concentrated in the centre of the image, instead of perhaps a pin point localisation.

 


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

 

PROFILE UPDATED 26-12-2019

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2 hours ago, The_K-Man said:

If you submit a master to iTunes Radio with an average level of +1.5dBfs - YES, it has been done - that service will politely apply -17.5dB of gain to make it as loud, within +-1dB, as all other submissions have been adjusted, to iTunes Radio's -16dBfs loudness standard.

youtube shows the level of applied normalization in "stats for nerds":

yt_vol_norm.thumb.png.fb8f898e795aa61a17db6f03b406d669.png

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23 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 

In part due to the markedly reduced channel separation of vinyl, with more sound concentrated in the centre of the image, instead of perhaps a pin point localisation.

 

 

The imaging on the LP is significantly better. Part of that is the result of the tubed phono stage I'm using but still.

 

You touch on another lie, regarding the effect on stereo separation on imaging. Obviously stereo seperation has an impact but the reality is more complex. My Triangle Art Zeus (LOMC MSRP $4k) has pretty strong channel separation specs of 30 dB but even that is nothing compared to digital audio. And yet imaging -- depth, solidity and position -- is massively superior on this LP versus either of my DACs with the Holo Cyan being the worst. 

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13 hours ago, firedog said:

In the early 80's, if you had a typical entry level vinyl rig for people who cared about audio (say Shure or Ortofon cartridge and Dual Turntable), you may have been very favorably impressed by the sound of CD: no surface noise, lots of dynamics (louder than vinyl!), no clicks and pops.

 

I can still remember my vinyl system consisted of Harman Kardon turntable (belt drive), Shure Mark IV MM cartridge, NAD 3020 integrated amp and AR bookshelf speakers.  It was better than my mom's all in one gear (turntable, radio, amp, speaker) but ...


MetalNuts

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GUTB, I think the hearing/SQ problem here is really with the batteries in your system.  I hate to say it but your batteries suck - at least for digital.  Don't try to cheap out on the batteries.  Get yourself some vanadium salt flow batteries and run the digital system on them.

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4 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

GUTB, I think the hearing/SQ problem here is really with the batteries in your system.  I hate to say it but your batteries suck - at least for digital.  Don't try to cheap out on the batteries.  Get yourself some vanadium salt flow batteries and run the digital system on them.

Actually, I was left wondering why not just purchase a top flight, dedicated file player/streamer? Seems like a s#*t ton work to me to have a quiet PC. 


 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

So then that only leaves.....your ears suck ?

(sorry couldn't resist)

 

There are humble persons like me and there are arrogant persons around me.


MetalNuts

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Found another deficiency :

 

4 hours ago, GUTB said:

The Windows mixer must be bypassed for optimal SQ. Set your music playback software to use exclusive mode access to the sound card. If you can chose the device driver, you are looking for WASAPI, possibly Kernel mode, and if all else fails there's always ASIO. The only thing to bear in mind is that SPDIF / toslink WASAPI drivers may not let you pass 176/192 kHz streams, in which case you'll have to use ASIO if you want to play those. JRiver has a way to deal with that; you can set one zone with specific settings for playing back 96 kHz and less using WASAPI, and another zone to play back 176 kHz and higher using ASIO.

 

From a settings perspective, that's pretty much all you can do. Further SQ gains will require better hardware.

 

You don't know what you're dealing with ...

So you also can't control it.


Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

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