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I don't  think that the backwards step was BECAUSE of digital alone, but instead the worst damage occurred at the same time as digital.  Instead of starting to sell CDs with the full-quality family jewels, the distributors decided to add a kind of 'distortion' or 'encryption' that produces PLAUSIBLE recordings, but not the 'real thing'.   The Beatles examples that I am listening to now have both the FA encoding and some of the damage from the original DA noise reduction REMOVED.  The results are not perfect, but are much  more clear/clean than any other normally available version of the recordings.

The lower quality of most available CDs even nowadays has NOT been due to digital, but has been due to some choices made by the distributors.

The snippets are from 'Yesterday' -- the intent was to show that mp3 encoding can be just barely heard in very limited circumstances.  (compare the vocal undulations on the word 'Away' approx 12 seconds in.)    However, the examples shows the extreme clarity.  The FA source material has DolbyA Fog from the source tape and the woody sound of FA encoding with HF compression veil around the voice.).  The original of this (Yesterday)  is actually pretty good as FA goes, and FA gets worse as the material gets more complex.

 

Most of the audible damage has been in the mastering (or mismastering), not so much digitlal per se.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8yauhjbg3970jw8/AAAa6WPW-lwE2HXzNbPEgRE3a?dl=0

 

 

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Technicalities aside, I wonder how important some of those things are if someone would play cds like that on equipment that truly adds nothing objectionable of its own to the sound. Or those who go to the effort of a pre-play ritual like audiophiles, before they actually lower the stylus onto a piece of vinyl. Years ago it used to be that it was rare when I liked the sound of a CD; now its rare when I don't like the sound of a CD. At least fairly rare. There's a couple handfuls of things that improve the sound between 6 to 8% each. It adds up to a new listening experience. In the end, distortion of some sort usualay turns out to be the culprit.

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I can think of a guy who wouldn't even think of having his CD payer in the same room as vibration producing loudspeakers. He has a  long interconnect carefully going from his amplifier, out his window to his CD player situated and isolated on his porch. Whenever he wants to put on a new CD, he comes out his door and walks across his porch to his CD player and puts another selection on. 

 

 Right before he had a company install an iron gate, he had an UN-Welcome mat at the foot of his porch steps which read "Make like a tree and leave." I think it glowed in the dark too. Worst conditions: wind gusts; especially from the NW. Thinking outside the box (a house is sort of a box).  TDTS stands for total dedication to sound.

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All the craziness one can think of, may squeeze some more quality out of CD, digital playback - I used to do many rituals, less so these days ... I haven't the desire or patience to the same degree that I used to have - I'm getting more demanding for the gear to intrinsically "get it right"; be more robust, to be able to handle me jumping up and down right next to where it's happening, so to speak, 😁. ... This might take time to work out, fully - but I believe it's very worthwhile going this route ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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3 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

Technicalities aside, I wonder how important some of those things are if someone would play cds like that on equipment that truly adds nothing objectionable of its own to the sound. Or those who go to the effort of a pre-play ritual like audiophiles, before they actually lower the stylus onto a piece of vinyl. Years ago it used to be that it was rare when I liked the sound of a CD; now its rare when I don't like the sound of a CD. At least fairly rare. There's a couple handfuls of things that improve the sound between 6 to 8% each. It adds up to a new listening experience. In the end, distortion of some sort usualay turns out to be the culprit.

First, we all become accomodated to a certain style of sound.   I tend to prefer less processing than more, and really do not like the sound of fast compression (causes things like a veil/fuzz around vocals, emphasized ambiance, modulation distortions, etc.)   Admittedly the worst modulation distortions on compression become more apparent with the loudness wars type processing, but tends to be apparent after poor quality expansion on lesser compressed stuff (like the reversable DolbyA).   The compression creates a veil that isn't necessarily ugly -- it is something that people get used to, but the reveal of the actual high quality recordings helps us to remember something closer to the original mix.   Perhaps this is similar to everyone being used to a 10kHz limit frequency response (analoguous to the purposefully messed up CDs), vs the improved 15kHz response that is analogous to decoding the material.  There was similar resistance early on when music was first available in wider band than AM radio or worse, Victrola.   The better quality isn't always immediately recognized.

 

Early on, there was a groundswell about the bad 'digital sound' -- and I was taken in by that claim also, until I actually realized in 2012 about EXACTLY what was causing most of the damage.   Most of the damage was probably intentional or the result of lazy skipping of a decoding step (EQ is a LOT faster than decoding on electronics hardware.)

 

From an artistic standpoint, just in my opinion, the 'creativity' is mostly by the music artist and their intimate recording/mixing engineers.   Processing after that mixdown should only be for repairs, not frustrated creative mastering.   Also, processing intending to hide the 'family jewels' is more of a cheat than a protection of IP.

 

Most importantly It is all about personal preferences, but after all of these years of my excess compression polluted hearing, I couldn't forget the more clean sound of the relatively less compressed material.   No matter what, I will NOT say 'sounds better' other than 'sounds better to me'.  But, I will certainly say:  "more clean", "better ambience", "more natural stereo image"...   On the other hand, the correction DOES require about 4 different choices in most cases.  One is a choice of two (general EQ), another is a choice of two(stereo image), one is the calibration level (almost always the same), perhaps a small amount of post-EQ tone control (within 1dB.)   It isn't like it used to be -- I automated the mechnanism so that there are no longer 30 different choices.   The decoding process runs anywhere from 3X faster than realtime to about 2X slower than real time, depending on ultimate desired quality.

 

John

 

*NOTE: when I talk about the latent compression in CD releases, it doesn't quite act the same as a normal compressor in your equipment rack.  It is special purpose, very very fast attack and release, and actually DOES distort the sound to some extent, NEVER intended to be listened to even with EQ.  The super fast attack release is stealthy, but eventually you can hear the weird effects. There was similar resistance early on when music was first available in wider band than AM radio or worse, Victrola.   The better quality isn't always recognized.   They aren't the sound of 'pretty' compression, and DA specific comopression with EQ tends to make the midrange more WOODY sounding, distorts the lows, damages the stereo image, and creates veils around the sound of material (creating a fuzziness in the sound.)  Also, on older recordings, they REALLY needed the noise reduction side of DolbyA noise reduction, but without proper expansion the resulting recordings will be more hissy than they should be.  The Nat King Cole, Carpenters, Herb Alpert and others (simon and garfunkel) -- no need for them to be hissy, but they usually are.

 

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6 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

I can think of a guy who wouldn't even think of having his CD payer in the same room as vibration producing loudspeakers. He has a  long interconnect carefully going from his amplifier, out his window to his CD player situated and isolated on his porch. Whenever he wants to put on a new CD, he comes out his door and walks across his porch to his CD player and puts another selection on. 

 

 Right before he had a company install an iron gate, he had an UN-Welcome mat at the foot of his porch steps which read "Make like a tree and leave." I think it glowed in the dark too. Worst conditions: wind gusts; especially from the NW. Thinking outside the box (a house is sort of a box).  TDTS stands for total dedication to sound.

I would think that anyone who had a "total dedication to sound" would have got rid of the CD player some time ago. 

 

I went through that whole "Oh, this one is better" because while so many manufacturers had the same digital components (and still do), the analog stage was something you could tweak to really make something special.  The Bryston CDP comes to mind.

 

And then, when people were getting rid of their audiophile transports I went that route - digital out right to the DAC. 

 

I still buy CDs. But, I think like most people they get ripped and added to the music server for playback through whatever digital chain you prefer.  

 

There's nothing wrong with CD playback, but it's just the first step on the digital journey.

 

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Digital is digital. There are just various forms of storage of the "data", and electronic processes are needed to retrieve this information, and transfer it to the DAC, on the fly. All one needs is for that electronic chattering to be completely isolated from the analogue side of the ship - the hard bit, pun intended, is that fulfilling the "completely" adjective just turns out to be mighty hard ... at the moment. Of course, one could line up millions of trained monkeys on the digital side of the DAC, each pushing a simple switch down at exactly the right moment; and so get get rid of the electronic warbling - but that could take some time to organise 😉.

 

I like CDs. Magnetic storage in my mind is highly subject to Murphy's Law - if there is something dumb that can be done to wipe out lots of such data, then it's certain to happen, one day.

 

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 minute ago, fas42 said:

Digital is digital. There are just various forms of storage of the "data", and electronic processes are needed to retrieve this information, and transfer it to the DAC, on the fly. All one needs is for that electronic chattering to be completely isolated from the analogue side of the ship - the hard bit, pun intended, is that fulfilling the "completely" adjective just turns out to be mighty hard ... at the moment. Of course, one could line up millions of trained monkeys on the digital side of the DAC, each pushing a simple switch down at exactly the right moment; and so get get rid of the electronic warbling - but that could take some time to organise 😉.

 

I like CDs. Magnetic storage in my mind is highly subject to Murphy's Law - if there is something dumb that can be done to wipe out lots of such data, then it's certain to happen, one day.

 

I'm not sure what your point is, and would appreciate if you could elaborate.

 

You seem to be OK with CDs as a digital music medium but not as a digital file stored on a computer because of it's fragility?

 

Did I read that right?  

 

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Would be happy to have the data read from magnetic storage at the time of playback, if that turned out to be the best way for a particular system to achieve high SQ. But I would be uncomfortable if CDs weren't around, as a completely distinct form of backup, if the worst happened. Yes, CDs can be stolen, lost in a fire, etc - but then other copies can be bought, traded, as necessary ... I like it that vast numbers of instances of the data are out there, in a very physical form - the hardcopy nature of it appeals.

 

It's just engineering to extract data from some storage form, and make it available for audio playback in a completely transparent manner - any shortcuts, compromises in doing that, to "make it easy for the manufacturers", could cause issues ... one needs to be aware of that; the consumer can assemble the best value for money solution, or go for a super blingy variant if that appeals - just, "get the engineering right!"

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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17 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

 

I have two physical backups (one offsite) and a backup to the cloud.

 

If I lose all four copies simultaneously, I suspect that music will be the last thing on my mind.

I also have most of my favourite higher quality 16/44.1 Audio albums burned to Blu Ray discs, which perhaps due to the precision needed for the BluRay format can sound better than the original CD when played with my Oppo 103. Less Jitter perhaps ?

 

 

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.

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4 hours ago, SJK said:

I would think that anyone who had a "total dedication to sound" would have got rid of the CD player some time ago. 

 

I went through that whole "Oh, this one is better" because while so many manufacturers had the same digital components (and still do), the analog stage was something you could tweak to really make something special.  The Bryston CDP comes to mind.

 

And then, when people were getting rid of their audiophile transports I went that route - digital out right to the DAC. 

 

I still buy CDs. But, I think like most people they get ripped and added to the music server for playback through whatever digital chain you prefer.  

 

There's nothing wrong with CD playback, but it's just the first step on the digital journey.

 

The phrase 'you can't be a little bit pregnant' comes to mind. Either the source (lets say hardware for now) delivers music or it doesn't. Do most peoples digital sources deliver music? 

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1 hour ago, Rexp said:

The phrase 'you can't be a little bit pregnant' comes to mind. Either the source (lets say hardware for now) delivers music or it doesn't. Do most peoples digital sources deliver music? 

 

Yes, a person is either pregnant, or not - all going well, a baby is always delivered ...what matters at that time is whether the baby is in the best of health, or otherwise. And what the mother does in her pregnancy can have a huge bearing on that ...

 

Simplistic thinking, by designers, has guaranteed that many consumer units are not good enough - it only takes hearing some setup done properly, to understand what's possible - and appreciate how badly the shortcomings of below par, digital, gear degrade the sound ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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PART 2 OF INTERVIEW WITH RETIRED CLOWN AUDIOPHILE.

 

 This all happened yesterday and I am going from my notes. Will have to space this out because of time demands.

 

DIGI:  As I recall the song is the last track on side one. There's a line where he sings "God save the human cannonball."

 

LARRY:  That's really fitting. That's nice. Maybe he's looking down on us right now.

 

DIGI:  Your sound is really very realistic. I think it was reallysmart to let your speakers hang down so that they aren't too close to the ceiling, as they could pick up coloration and earl reflections from there too. You are only the third audiophile whose system I have been impressed with out of all the systems I've heard. 95% of the time its like "I can't believe they have such supposedly great equipment and the sound is so ordinary." I didn't know such highly touted equipment could sound so ordinary. Like a joke, really. 

 

Larry:  Yeah, they don't know how to set up or isolate or synergize or acousticize. Is that a word?

 

DIGI:  I think you're right. I know there might be the word Acousticity. There is a David Grisman album by that name. He's a great Jazz mandolin player. Do you practice social distancing?

 

LARRY: It's mostly my CD player on the porch that's social distancing and isolating. I wear a mask when I think its needed though.

 

DIGI:  I think a lot of people just put some cones or something under their equipment and figure that'll do er. They don't bother to try anything extreme to see how much their missing. Or sorbothene, some people think that stuff is God and problem solved.

 

LARRY:  Doing things that way is like walking into an alligator swamp with spray repellent or defending yourself against a wild ape with a popsicle stick. 

 

DIGI:  Between circus shows was there much music going on amongst performers in their spare time?

 

LARRY:  Some. A lot of people had harmonicas, one guy had a kazoo. One big shoe thought it was funny to go into a quiet library and all of a sudden make sounds with his slide whistle undercover behind the stacks.

 

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2 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

Re: SJK. I guess according to your thoughts no one on here has CD sound as good as your sound. Lets bow to the king. You have proven many times foolishly that you are not the logic king.

Personal attacks aren’t allowed here. This is your warning. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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I still like listening to LP's from time to time, and am always astonished when I do....

ATC's mid dome hasn't changed much in MANY years, and they still make some of the best sounding speakers imho.

Vintage JBL's refurbished by kendrick are absolutely STUNNING!!

LS3/5A still carry their weight in gold.

I am sure there are many other gems out there still today.

I would say of ALL engineering, audio engineering has progressed the least.

Computing power has been dramatic.

Hell, I remember telling my boss to get into the internet and I set up one of the first small company internet access in San Diego, and that seemed like just yesterday.

I still have a sealed blank cd with a $15 price tag, and bought my first cd recorder for $2K....that would probably be like $20K by today's terms, and the cd's would fail during recordings at $15/pop 50% of the time.

We have come a long way in most engineering fields...but ho hum audio....still unimpressed.

You can put together a great sounding system for a lot less money today, but as far as actual SQ, there hasn't really been any really "wow" moments imho.

 

Check out all of kendrick JBL videos...amazing...although i do notice this system is using a chord dave (smile)

 

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53 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Personal attacks aren’t allowed here. This is your warning. 

Depends on who is doing the attacking...I have seen a lot go on here by regular users.

You have a great site, but I see bias regularly.

I only wish you would be more unbiased in personal attacks you allow...but i must admit, it's been a couple years since i have been on, and it does seem much more quiet now than i remember...so maybe you have cleaned up the act a little...I certainly hope you don't allow personal attacks anymore...i certainly remember seeing many a day against many different people regularly in the past.

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i changed the video above..no dave in that one....I also misspelled...it's kenrick not kendrick.

If you haven't checked out what that guy does with vintage speakers, you ought to check them out...amazing....

 

Here is video with restored ALTEC's...

 

I could still kill myself for selling a pair of Vintage JBL's that went through my hands, all for a quick $300 flip...  When I heard them, I thought to myself, wow, these sound really good for their age,and off to my next flip....my biggest mistake in audio.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

Depends on who is doing the attacking...I have seen a lot go on here by regular users.

You have a great site, but I see bias regularly.

I only wish you would be more unbiased in personal attacks you allow...but i must admit, it's been a couple years since i have been on, and it does seem much more quiet now than i remember...so maybe you have cleaned up the act a little...I certainly hope you don't allow personal attacks anymore...i certainly remember seeing many a day against many different people regularly in the past.

No attacks are allowed. Please use the report post function if you see one. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Maybe it was a slight sarcasm to say "bow to the king" after he first suggested that I and everyone else on here throw our CD players out the window if we are truly dedicated to sound and the only way to listen is the way he listens. I do respect that the forum tries to be non combative. You can hardly look at a thread on Audiogon without someone at someone else's throat. 

 

 The thing I like about CD players is that I know that however good my sound is now, its the greatest bet in the world that my sound will be even better next month, and the month after that, and the month after that etc. because there's never a month goes by without me getting some creative ideas how to make it sound better. Would that happen with files etc?

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