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jagdriver

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Location: Now with a New York state of mind
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 17, 2010 - 9:39am

The CD-vinyl combo




DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 17, 2010 - 8:11am

 Servo wrote:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against vinyl records.  But I do have a realistic idea of the limitations of this technology.  I was very skeptical about the prospects for digital audio until I studied electrical engineering, and learned how to evaluate those things for myself.

I come from the supply side of audio and video production, so it's second nature to me that the retail product cannot be any better than the production process.  Case-in-point most "Yes" albums, which came from multitrack masters that were recorded far into distortion.  There's no way to fix them.  The vinyl records sounded pretty good, and the CD releases sound pretty rotten only because the frequency response limitations of vinyl helps take the edge off the distortion.

Back in the days when vinyl or cheap, mass-produced tapes were the only retail source of all kinds of music, I would have sold my soul to have a collection of 1/2" 30 ips grand masters of all of my favorite albums.  If I could have had that, I would have gladly given up my coveted LP12 for a nice Studer deck.  Today, a properly mastered CD (or AES/EBU standard 24/128 DVD tracks) is pretty darn close to that.

IME it's the first generation of CDs that were poorly mastered.  I've bought newer versions if and when they come out, and have found that remasters keep on sounding better and better as technology progresses.  Of course, the quality of the final product directly reflects the skill of the artist(s).  Yes, almost all of the newer artists sound like trash, but that's only because they aren't very good artists in the first place.  Back in the golden age of audio recording (circa '70s), sonic excellence was a must in most cases.  Today it's more like a needle in a haystack.

I never was a big fan of SACD.  1-bit sampling is just fine, but since it's incompatible with the rest of the production process, and mainly because it thwarts the free use of the music, I don't care for it.  Same thing regarding DVD-A, because it uses crippleware.  Give me the pure music that I paid for, and let me use it as I please.  Screw the RIAA and their paranoid fantasies about piracy.  Real music pirates don't care if they're getting a poorly-encoded 64 kbps MP3 file. {#Puke}

There, I feel better now. {#Lol}
 

Don't get me wrong as I am not against digital. I am a electronics engineer by trade with more than 30 years experience. I have been in the audio business and have worked as an engineer for a radio station and also ran my own business recording local bands. I also design and build high resolution electrostatic speakers. I also design and build balanced pre amps and precision microphone recording pre-amps. One hobby I have is restoring old recording equipment. I have a very realistic handle on the limitations of vinyl AND of Redbook CD.  I enjoy listening to both formats. There are some crappy sounding records and some crappy sounding CD's. However, I still get more listening enjoyment from vinyl overall. The following ramblings are based on my experience with analog and digital and concern primarily Redbook CD and vinyl.
Please note I am NOT at all against digital and in fact believe higher resolution formats such as 24 bit etc is better than vinyl but unfortunately there is not much music available in those formats at this time to make me considered dumping vinyl.
 
On the surface Redbook CD SHOULD sound better than vinyl in theory. In practice it doesn't always happen that way because of various reasons. First I want to clear up a misconception that seems to always be the first thing people defending CD over vinyl bring up. I highlighted the statement in bold in your response above. That statement is oft repeated but is just plain wrong. Here is a very good article showing the frequency response of actual vinyl just not some pie in the sky guess.

http://www.channld.com/vinylanalysis1.html

Also please note that for CD-4 4 channel records to work the response had to be at least 50 khz. CD's by their design are brickwall limited to 22.05 khz. Also, its the Redbook CD that has distortions at higher frequencies. At the higher frequencies because of the relatively low sampling rate there is less info captured the higher the frequency. There are also many studies showing that overtones that are above the human hearing range can subtly effect some of the music you can hear. Please see link:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question487.htm

Unlike vinyl which is an analog representation of the sound the CD playback is the output of a DAC reconstruction of the audio. Instead of a smooth sine wave it is a bunch of stair steps whos size is determined by the resolution. Then various filtering methods are used to try and smooth it out and also to remove the sampling frequency. Some methods work better than others. But all to some extent induce phase incoherency and inter-modulation distortions etc. This is what causes "digititus" which is the listening fatigue some people get from listening to CD's. I find this to be more true for me on higher resolution systems such as electrostatic speakers and headphones. MP3 can be brutal on these.

This takes me to the other part of the equation. The mastering and re-mastering. True, most early CD's were gawd-awful. They still took over because it still sounded better than what the AVERAGE person had as far as vinyl playback. Most people had mid-fi turntables and mid-fi cartridges and not everyone took good care of their records. However, the primary reasons they caught on so fast was because of convenience and portability. No more turning over records. Choosing individual songs was easier. You could play them in the car or in a Walkman. The problem now is that there is an industry wide trend to make all music as LOUD as possible just like with commercials on TV. Even though Redbook CD has more dynamic range capability than vinyl they tend to do just the opposite and compress the crap out of it. They justify it by claiming it sounds better in a car or on an iPOD because it helps mask ambient noise and you can now hear what used to be low level passages instead of it being buried by ambient noise in a car or office etc. Many are compressed to the point of clipping so there is no way to fix it.
Here is a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war

One of the big complaints of the latest stereo Beatles Box Set of remastered albums is that it has been severly compressed. Many of the older albums that have been remastered unfortunately suffer from this. I guess they feel they are giving it a more "Modern" sound. I'd rather hear it with the maximum dynamic range that can be had within the technical limits and not the least. I have Tom Petty's  Mudcrutch LP and it came with a CD of the same. The vinyl just blows it away. The CD is totally lifeless due to the over compression. From a technical standpoint it should be the opposite.

CD's can also suffer from distortions caused by transport jitter but that can be largely eliminated by ripping them to a music server purpose built for best of everything. More convenient too and you have control over what DAC to use etc.  

I also hate the RIAA and wish they hadn't gotten into messing with DVD-A as otherwise it had promise as a upgraded replacement to CD's. Same with SACD. Redbook CD came out when digital wasn't as advanced as it is now and its time for a replacement. And its also a time for the industry to actually not cripple their own music with excessive compression and other tricks. I will still listen to CD's and there are some very nice sounding ones to be sure. Redbook CD and vinyl each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. But until something higher res comes out and has the music catalog sufficient for me to replace my vinyl at a reasonable cost and isn't crippled in any way I will also continue to listen to my vinyl records.  I am however going to start digitizing more of them to 24 bit. This will give me the best of  both worlds once they are all cleaned up and ripped. On the other hand there is something therapeutic about cleaning records and being able to actually see the artwork and read the jackets and having a tangible item in your hand and not just a stream of bits on a piece of plastic.

There! Now I feel better {#Mrgreen}

P.S. There is one "rouge" remaster engineer that I like and that's Steve Hoffman. He bucks the current trend and doesn't over compress etc,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Hoffman

He also did an excellent job remastering the "Yes - Fragile" album:

http://www.stevehoffman.info/

And the "Yes -90125" remastered by him will be out in Sept on CD:

http://www.audiofidelity.net/content/yes-90125

Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 9:49pm

 DaveInVA wrote:
Vinyl is very nice in the here and now also. I also have a large CD collection and I enjoy listening to both CD and vinyl. There are some CD's that sound better than the CD counterpart but overall the vinyl still sounds better for a variety of reasons. It's a real shame that SACD and DVD-A didn't catch on because those at least truly had the ability to be better in every way. But unfortunately much new stuff is poorly mastered with egregious amounts of compression and layered mixing and editing with no regard to sound stage and phase coherency.
 
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against vinyl records.  But I do have a realistic idea of the limitations of this technology.  I was very skeptical about the prospects for digital audio until I studied electrical engineering, and learned how to evaluate those things for myself.

I come from the supply side of audio and video production, so it's second nature to me that the retail product cannot be any better than the production process.  Case-in-point most "Yes" albums, which came from multitrack masters that were recorded far into distortion.  There's no way to fix them.  The vinyl records sounded pretty good, and the CD releases sound pretty rotten only because the frequency response limitations of vinyl helps take the edge off the distortion.

Back in the days when vinyl or cheap, mass-produced tapes were the only retail source of all kinds of music, I would have sold my soul to have a collection of 1/2" 30 ips grand masters of all of my favorite albums.  If I could have had that, I would have gladly given up my coveted LP12 for a nice Studer deck.  Today, a properly mastered CD (or AES/EBU standard 24/128 DVD tracks) is pretty darn close to that.

IME it's the first generation of CDs that were poorly mastered.  I've bought newer versions if and when they come out, and have found that remasters keep on sounding better and better as technology progresses.  Of course, the quality of the final product directly reflects the skill of the artist(s).  Yes, almost all of the newer artists sound like trash, but that's only because they aren't very good artists in the first place.  Back in the golden age of audio recording (circa '70s), sonic excellence was a must in most cases.  Today it's more like a needle in a haystack.

I never was a big fan of SACD.  1-bit sampling is just fine, but since it's incompatible with the rest of the production process, and mainly because it thwarts the free use of the music, I don't care for it.  Same thing regarding DVD-A, because it uses crippleware.  Give me the pure music that I paid for, and let me use it as I please.  Screw the RIAA and their paranoid fantasies about piracy.  Real music pirates don't care if they're getting a poorly-encoded 64 kbps MP3 file. {#Puke}

There, I feel better now. {#Lol}

jagdriver

jagdriver Avatar

Location: Now with a New York state of mind
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 10:25am

 oldviolin wrote:

You missed out if you never sat in your bedroom cueing up a Steppenwolf record or Tommy on a rudimentary stereo turntable, all the time knowing your father was in the other room hating every note...
 
E tu? I used to blast Jimi and the Doors for the enjoyment of my stepfather, who sat in the living room doing his FOMOCO homework.

DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 9:51am



Pink Floyd - UmmaGumma
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 9:49am



Dubious Brothers - Toulouse Street
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 9:47am



Billy Joel - The Nylon Curtain
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 9:45am



Joni Mitchell - Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 9:43am



Richard Thompson - Hand of Kindness
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 6:35am

 Servo wrote:

Vinyl was nice in its day, but you're really missing out if you don't have the 2006 digital remastered CD version of "David Gilmour".  Seems that Gilmour did all of his and PF albums that year.  Too bad that Richard Wright's "Wet Dream" wasn't done as well; it's been out of print for some time now.

 


Vinyl is very nice in the here and now also. I also have a large CD collection and I enjoy listening to both CD and vinyl. There are some CD's that sound better than the CD counterpart but overall the vinyl still sounds better for a variety of reasons. It's a real shame that SACD and DVD-A didn't catch on because those at least truly had the ability to be better in every way. But unfortunately much new stuff is poorly mastered with egregious amounts of compression and layered mixing and editing with no regard to sound stage and phase coherency. 

oldviolin

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Location: esse quam videri
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 6:24am

 Servo wrote:

Vinyl was nice in its day, but you're really missing out if you don't have the 2006 digital remastered CD version of "David Gilmour".  Seems that Gilmour did all of his and PF albums that year.  Too bad that Richard Wright's "Wet Dream" wasn't done as well; it's been out of print for some time now.

 
You missed out if you never sat in your bedroom cueing up a Steppenwolf record or Tommy on a rudimentary stereo turntable, all the time knowing your father was in the other room hating every note...

Servo

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Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 16, 2010 - 1:34am

 DaveInVA wrote:


David Gilmour - S/T

 
Vinyl was nice in its day, but you're really missing out if you don't have the 2006 digital remastered CD version of "David Gilmour".  Seems that Gilmour did all of his and PF albums that year.  Too bad that Richard Wright's "Wet Dream" wasn't done as well; it's been out of print for some time now.


jagdriver

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Location: Now with a New York state of mind
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 4:11pm

 Hairfarmer wrote:

Yeah I'm a freak. I love all that Canterbury stuff.

phineas

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Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 4:01pm

 DaveInVA wrote:


David Gilmour - S/T

 
Love that one.

DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 3:06pm



Kinks - The File Series - Promo 2 lp set of rare Kinks songs


DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 3:04pm



Black Sabbath - Paranoid - Clear vinyl
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 3:02pm



Yardturds - Shapes of Things - German pressing
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 3:00pm



Pink Floyd - The Final Cut
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 15, 2010 - 2:58pm



Roger Waters - Radio Kaos
DaveInVA

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Location: In a hovel in effluent Damnville, VA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 14, 2010 - 12:25pm



R.E.M. Orange Crush on orange vinyl....
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