[ ]   [ ]   [ ]                        [ ]      [ ]   [ ]

Today in History - Red_Dragon - Jul 5, 2022 - 1:49pm
 
Wordle - daily game - Manbird - Jul 5, 2022 - 1:46pm
 
Guns - rgio - Jul 5, 2022 - 1:43pm
 
Today, I learned... - ScottFromWyoming - Jul 5, 2022 - 10:17am
 
RP Metadata and Album Art - kurtster - Jul 5, 2022 - 9:18am
 
Radio Paradise Comments - islander - Jul 5, 2022 - 8:49am
 
Favorite Quotes - NoEnzLefttoSplit - Jul 5, 2022 - 7:32am
 
seriously? - oldviolin - Jul 4, 2022 - 9:03pm
 
Dialing 1-800-Manbird - oldviolin - Jul 4, 2022 - 9:00pm
 
Name My Band - Manbird - Jul 4, 2022 - 8:44pm
 
• • • The Once-a-Day • • •  - haresfur - Jul 4, 2022 - 7:13pm
 
Things You Thought Today - steeler - Jul 4, 2022 - 9:51am
 
Radio Paradise for Android Automotive - jens547 - Jul 4, 2022 - 7:42am
 
Poetry Forum - Antigone - Jul 4, 2022 - 7:38am
 
Porcupine Tree to tour in late 2022 - kurtster - Jul 3, 2022 - 9:37pm
 
What is the meaning of this? - KurtfromLaQuinta - Jul 3, 2022 - 5:54pm
 
• • •  What's For Dinner ? • • •  - Antigone - Jul 3, 2022 - 5:46pm
 
The Grateful Dead - Steely_D - Jul 3, 2022 - 6:30am
 
Gentle Giant - Steely_D - Jul 3, 2022 - 6:26am
 
Photography Forum - Your Own Photos - Alchemist - Jul 2, 2022 - 3:42pm
 
US Empire - R_P - Jul 2, 2022 - 2:56pm
 
Mind Control - Manbird - Jul 2, 2022 - 2:39pm
 
Tech & Science - GeneP59 - Jul 2, 2022 - 1:29pm
 
Trump - ScottFromWyoming - Jul 2, 2022 - 12:03pm
 
Living in America - Red_Dragon - Jul 2, 2022 - 8:14am
 
Counting with Pictures - ScottN - Jul 2, 2022 - 6:54am
 
Supreme Court Rulings - kurtster - Jul 1, 2022 - 10:42pm
 
Religion - Red_Dragon - Jul 1, 2022 - 8:15pm
 
Joe Biden - Bill_J - Jul 1, 2022 - 4:49pm
 
Derplahoma! - Red_Dragon - Jul 1, 2022 - 3:06pm
 
Climate Change - R_P - Jul 1, 2022 - 1:51pm
 
Ratings - ScottFromWyoming - Jul 1, 2022 - 1:10pm
 
Baseball, anyone? - ScottFromWyoming - Jul 1, 2022 - 9:24am
 
Things for which you would sell ManBird's soul - islander - Jul 1, 2022 - 8:57am
 
Lyrics that strike a chord today... - ColdMiser - Jul 1, 2022 - 8:52am
 
d'oh! or what I would've said if I'd had a half hour to t... - ScottFromWyoming - Jun 30, 2022 - 8:44pm
 
Cryptic Posts - Leave Them Guessing - oldviolin - Jun 30, 2022 - 8:30pm
 
Ukraine - R_P - Jun 30, 2022 - 8:12pm
 
Procrastinators Anonymous - oldviolin - Jun 30, 2022 - 3:36pm
 
New Song Submissions system - ScottFromWyoming - Jun 30, 2022 - 3:21pm
 
Hockey + Fantasy Hockey - black321 - Jun 30, 2022 - 12:48pm
 
The Obituary Page - kurtster - Jun 30, 2022 - 12:18pm
 
The Abortion Wars - R_P - Jun 30, 2022 - 11:31am
 
True Confessions - oldviolin - Jun 29, 2022 - 10:19pm
 
Pernicious Pious Proclivities Particularized Prodigiously - Red_Dragon - Jun 29, 2022 - 3:54pm
 
Beer - ScottFromWyoming - Jun 29, 2022 - 3:08pm
 
Education - Isabeau - Jun 29, 2022 - 2:47pm
 
Android 11 lock screen widget - jkforde - Jun 29, 2022 - 1:58pm
 
Marijuana: Baked News. - oldviolin - Jun 29, 2022 - 12:38pm
 
China - R_P - Jun 29, 2022 - 12:32pm
 
Mixtape Culture Club - KurtfromLaQuinta - Jun 29, 2022 - 11:35am
 
Breaking News - R_P - Jun 29, 2022 - 11:20am
 
Chemosabe, the further adventures of ... - kurtster - Jun 29, 2022 - 9:04am
 
Art Show - oldviolin - Jun 28, 2022 - 9:52pm
 
RightWingNutZ - Steely_D - Jun 28, 2022 - 8:47pm
 
Highly stylized photos that you've taken - KurtfromLaQuinta - Jun 28, 2022 - 2:54pm
 
Russia - miamizsun - Jun 28, 2022 - 1:00pm
 
Nuclear power - saviour or scourge? - miamizsun - Jun 28, 2022 - 11:58am
 
Fiverr Anyone? - ScottFromWyoming - Jun 28, 2022 - 11:27am
 
Love is... - Steely_D - Jun 28, 2022 - 9:55am
 
You might be getting old if...... - kurtster - Jun 28, 2022 - 7:31am
 
Fascism American-style - R_P - Jun 27, 2022 - 11:09pm
 
YouTube: Music-Videos - Steely_D - Jun 27, 2022 - 9:56pm
 
I am Thinking of: - maryte - Jun 27, 2022 - 2:14pm
 
Vinyl Only Spin List - kurtster - Jun 27, 2022 - 1:27pm
 
Talk Behind Their Backs Forum - GeneP59 - Jun 27, 2022 - 10:39am
 
Economix - R_P - Jun 27, 2022 - 10:14am
 
M.A.G.A. - R_P - Jun 27, 2022 - 9:43am
 
Using Words to Frame a Political Issue - oldviolin - Jun 27, 2022 - 8:52am
 
Britain - Red_Dragon - Jun 27, 2022 - 8:40am
 
Words, acronyms, whatever, that changed meaning - Proclivities - Jun 27, 2022 - 7:43am
 
Would you drive this car for dating with ur girl? - KurtfromLaQuinta - Jun 26, 2022 - 3:55pm
 
What Did You Do Today? - KurtfromLaQuinta - Jun 26, 2022 - 3:43pm
 
Positive Thoughts and Prayer Requests - Antigone - Jun 25, 2022 - 4:48pm
 
Terrorist Watch! - Red_Dragon - Jun 25, 2022 - 2:58pm
 
Index » Radio Paradise/General » About RP » Vinyl vs CD Page: Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Post to this Topic
kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: where fear is not a virtue
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 6:01am

 Servo wrote:

It might be helpful to define terms here.  The traditional meaning of "master(ing)" in the context of audio post production is to take the final mixdown tape (the grand master), and process it for the distribution media (LP, EP, 45, CD, 8-track, Compact Cassette, Mini-Disc etc.) that gets mass-produced and sold to the consumers.  In that context, remastering is done using the same grand master (in reality, several copies are made of the grand master, and it is never touched again unless absolutely necessary) source, which is something most of us cannot do.  But because new(er) digital audio formats that use CD or DVD media are far closer to the capabilities of the recording equipment that makes and plays the grand master recording, it's less of a stretch to compare the final product to the grand master.  That doesn't mean that mastering is unnecessary for pressed CDs, though.

A more extreme, and more effective technique that is often confused with remastering is remixing.  Most people are familiar with the modern use of the remix, most often to create a disco or "extended" version of a single.  The less well known use is to use remixing to go back and fix errors made during the original mixdown process, and to extract more sonic information from the multi-track tapes.  This can be done using equipment that was unavailable at the time of the original mixing session, and is most often done to make albums that were produced before the advent of the CD sound better on digital media.

If this remixing is done with the consent (and usually the involvement) of the original artist, and involves the same producer, engineer(s) and technicians (when available) to produce a remix that is as faithful to the original album concept as possible (as opposed to the remix that is intended to be radically different), it might be called a "remaster" to distinguish it from the disco remix genre.  Ever since Rupert Neve invented the first practical automated studio mixing console ("look, moving faders!"), it has been possible to recreate the mixing process with the same precision as the recording process itself.  In the last decade, original multi-track tapes have been given the same kind of restoration treatment as museum quality relics.  So the little "remastered in..." phrase can represent a massive effort to preserve the original tapes that are literally falling to pieces.

I do my stuff on my home computer in 16 bit stereo wav files.

That's weak.  Unless you can't afford a more powerful CPU and/or disk space, you should be doing all your work in float32.  Inside your computer, instead of using physical devices, you are using mathematics to do the things that the physical devices used to do.  Certain mathematical operations will produce results that don't fit neatly into the 16-bit slot, and must be rounded-off, just like the math you did in school.  This rounding off might be done hundreds or even millions of times.  If you do it in 16-bit integer notation every time, the rounding errors will start making your least significant bit worthless.  And the track that started out with 16-bit precision can end up with quite a few bits that either must be discarded, or will cause unwanted distortion to the final product.  To combat this, serious audio processing software will work in/save as float32 (so far I haven't seen much software capable of working with 64-bit precision) so that you have 16 bits that you can toss out when you're done.

I do not use headphones either.  I want to feel the music and that can only be accomplished through speakers, IMO.  I like to feel the puff of air from the subwoofer port.

Sounds like you're using your stereo as a...ahem...personal massage device. {#Lol}

Music that you can feel is not a given.  Many very good recordings simply don't have the bass content that you're looking for.  Sure, you can add things that the artist didn't intend, and get your jollies every time.  That seems like a horrible mistake to me!  Shake the room all the time, and after a while, Weather Report sounds like just another hair band!  No thanks.

The other thought I wish to offer is "garbage in, garbage out".  No matter how good your rig is, what matters most is the source.  A crappy recording is still going to sound crappy on the nicest rig.  The playback device can only do so much.

I said it before in a comment about studio monitors, but sometimes a crappy system will actually be the only way to make a "crappy" recording sound good.  That's because the recording engineers actually have a range of loudspeakers, including some that sound like crap on purpose, that they use to evaluate how a tune will sound on various levels of consumer equipment.

I share my efforts for feedback so I can improve.

{#Ask} If the only person you need to please is yourself, why do you need feedback from others?

 
Fair enough.  Let me offer some more, then.  I strongly believe that listening to music is highly subjective, and also dependent on one's hearing abilities (as in impairments due to loss and the like).  I understand and agree with your comments about the grand master and its use as reference.  The semantics of mix, remix and remaster are important and can get blurred in a discussion of this sort, but correct usage is important as you state.  So in your context, which I will take as correct, I would say that my efforts are somewhere in between remix and remaster considering what I have available for source material.

My remarks about feeling the music were more of an exageration to make a point, than anything else.  Again listening is a subjective experience, eh ?  What I do is primarily rock, not classical, so it mostly involves amplified and synthetic music, subject to interpretation, whereas classical music is acoustic and highly intentional in comparrison.

I have the capabilities to work in 32 bit float and may get there someday, but right now, I'm using 16 bit, cause it seems to work for me right now and until I get farther along in my "hobby", just seems to be overkill.  But with your suggestion as I am getting very familiar and comfortable with the programs, I will give it a try and do some A / B comparrisons.

Why do I seek feedback from others ?  Because, I don't want to get comfortable with my approach especially if it goes down the wrong paths.  I have made about 3 or 4 fundemental changes in my processes so far, and as a result from feedback.  My goal is to clean up the recordings and re emphasize some things that are available in for example vinyl that can be brought out through the process and also to clean up inherent noise that can be removed without destroying or doing much harm to the original source using the technolgy I have available.

Out of time for now.  And FWIW, my interactions with you in the political threads is what it is, political.  In here, however, I promise to be serious and respectful and open to critical thinking on this topic.  And I welcome yours.

{#Cheers}

Red_Dragon

Red_Dragon Avatar



Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 4:56am

 DaveInVA wrote:

Personal attacks? You accused me of the straw man thing first and you did take it out of context. You are the one that made personal attacks when I was trying to keep it low key and civil. You also told me my sources were no good and yet you provided none of your own but asked me for new ones. Many of the sources I quoted you completely ignored. Then I asked you for sources for some of your unsubstantiated statements so you quit playing. Just the statements you made about the harmonic distortion and your 16 khz limit alone prove beyond any shadow of a doubt to me that you don't know squat about analog audio and disqualifies you.  Saying things that are just plain wrong and providing no facts makes for no useful conversation. I stand by my sources and statements. Life is to short to waste any further time and effort on this with you. Better luck next time.
 
{#Lol} Dave, meet Servo.  Have fun with that.

DaveInVA

DaveInVA Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 4:52am

 Servo wrote:

Bzzzt!  Fail.

Thanks for playing, Dave.  But personal attacks and other logical fallacies don't make a useful conversation.  So as far as I'm concerned, you just disqualified yourself from your own topic.  Better luck next time.

 
Personal attacks? You accused me of the straw man thing first and you did take it out of context. You are the one that made personal attacks when I was trying to keep it low key and civil. You also told me my sources were no good and yet you provided none of your own but asked me for new ones. Many of the sources I quoted you completely ignored. Then I asked you for sources for some of your unsubstantiated statements so you quit playing. Just the statements you made about the harmonic distortion and your 16 khz limit alone prove beyond any shadow of a doubt to me that you don't know squat about analog audio and disqualifies you.  Saying things that are just plain wrong and providing no facts makes for no useful conversation. I stand by my sources and statements. Life is to short to waste any further time and effort on this with you. Better luck next time.

Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 3:43am

 kurtster wrote:

Ok, here's some stuff on remastering.  Reading and backscrolling some, I‘ve seen some discussion on mastering and remastering.  As a couple people here know I like to remaster music to my ear as taught by hippie.  While I cannot work with some tracks as they are truly hopeless to distill since they were recorded and mixed so poorly in the first place, there are some I can do.

 
It might be helpful to define terms here.  The traditional meaning of "master(ing)" in the context of audio post production is to take the final mixdown tape (the grand master), and process it for the distribution media (LP, EP, 45, CD, 8-track, Compact Cassette, Mini-Disc etc.) that gets mass-produced and sold to the consumers.  In that context, remastering is done using the same grand master (in reality, several copies are made of the grand master, and it is never touched again unless absolutely necessary) source, which is something most of us cannot do.  But because new(er) digital audio formats that use CD or DVD media are far closer to the capabilities of the recording equipment that makes and plays the grand master recording, it's less of a stretch to compare the final product to the grand master.  That doesn't mean that mastering is unnecessary for pressed CDs, though.

A more extreme, and more effective technique that is often confused with remastering is remixing.  Most people are familiar with the modern use of the remix, most often to create a disco or "extended" version of a single.  The less well known use is to use remixing to go back and fix errors made during the original mixdown process, and to extract more sonic information from the multi-track tapes.  This can be done using equipment that was unavailable at the time of the original mixing session, and is most often done to make albums that were produced before the advent of the CD sound better on digital media.

If this remixing is done with the consent (and usually the involvement) of the original artist, and involves the same producer, engineer(s) and technicians (when available) to produce a remix that is as faithful to the original album concept as possible (as opposed to the remix that is intended to be radically different), it might be called a "remaster" to distinguish it from the disco remix genre.  Ever since Rupert Neve invented the first practical automated studio mixing console ("look, moving faders!"), it has been possible to recreate the mixing process with the same precision as the recording process itself.  In the last decade, original multi-track tapes have been given the same kind of restoration treatment as museum quality relics.  So the little "remastered in..." phrase can represent a massive effort to preserve the original tapes that are literally falling to pieces.

I do my stuff on my home computer in 16 bit stereo wav files.

That's weak.  Unless you can't afford a more powerful CPU and/or disk space, you should be doing all your work in float32.  Inside your computer, instead of using physical devices, you are using mathematics to do the things that the physical devices used to do.  Certain mathematical operations will produce results that don't fit neatly into the 16-bit slot, and must be rounded-off, just like the math you did in school.  This rounding off might be done hundreds or even millions of times.  If you do it in 16-bit integer notation every time, the rounding errors will start making your least significant bit worthless.  And the track that started out with 16-bit precision can end up with quite a few bits that either must be discarded, or will cause unwanted distortion to the final product.  To combat this, serious audio processing software will work in/save as float32 (so far I haven't seen much software capable of working with 64-bit precision) so that you have 16 bits that you can toss out when you're done.

I do not use headphones either.  I want to feel the music and that can only be accomplished through speakers, IMO.  I like to feel the puff of air from the subwoofer port.

Sounds like you're using your stereo as a...ahem...personal massage device. {#Lol}

Music that you can feel is not a given.  Many very good recordings simply don't have the bass content that you're looking for.  Sure, you can add things that the artist didn't intend, and get your jollies every time.  That seems like a horrible mistake to me!  Shake the room all the time, and after a while, Weather Report sounds like just another hair band!  No thanks.

The other thought I wish to offer is "garbage in, garbage out".  No matter how good your rig is, what matters most is the source.  A crappy recording is still going to sound crappy on the nicest rig.  The playback device can only do so much.

I said it before in a comment about studio monitors, but sometimes a crappy system will actually be the only way to make a "crappy" recording sound good.  That's because the recording engineers actually have a range of loudspeakers, including some that sound like crap on purpose, that they use to evaluate how a tune will sound on various levels of consumer equipment.

I share my efforts for feedback so I can improve.

{#Ask} If the only person you need to please is yourself, why do you need feedback from others?


Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 2:06am

 black321 wrote:
Can you burn flac to a CD?  I thought it needed to be converted to mp3 or wav file first?
 
The CDDA "files" (you can't see them as such) are LPCM, so at some stage the FLAC-encoded file must be uncompressed, and returned to its original raw LPCM state before recording a CDDA disc.  Software that can handle burning FLAC files should do all of that for you automatically.  Most will also transfer some metadata into CD-TEXT, so you can see the artist and titles if your CD player can do that.


Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 1:57am

 mzpro5 wrote:
Why not use a lossless format for recording CD's?  And if you use a high bit rate (above 256) even MP3's are ok for casual listening but when I really want to listen I turn to CD's.
 
FLAC is good for storing metadata (e.g. CDDB titles etc.) for playback, compared to RIFF (e.g. .wav and AIFF files).  There's not much compression to get over LPCM, even at maximum compression, maybe 70% at most (or least {#Think}), and 80-90% on average.  That's a lot of work for   The few hand-held media players that support FLAC tend to choke on FLAC files at maximum compression, IME.  So I've concluded that lossless compression schemes that hold metadata are excellent for archival use, and for playback in less mobile media centers.

Some MP3 encoders can encode at data rates above the 320 kbps MPEG limit.  The problem is finding a player that supports the non-standard rates.  Even at higher rates (meaning larger file sizes), MP3 is generally considered to be inferior to newer codecs, and certainly to LPCM.  Sony's ATRAC+ (Sony was the first to claim "CD quality" with its 1st generation ATRAC codecs in Mini-Disc players) and the audio layers used in MPEG-4 (e.g. AAC, ALS) are considered to sound pretty close to CD at maximum data rates., but because they are proprietary, you are limited in using them.  Of course you can get "illegal" software to handle these formats, but as long as the Vorbis format works so well, and guilt-free, why bother?

You might get a lossy compression file that's half the size of a LPCM or CDDA file, and you can't hear the difference between it and the original CD.  The question is if the still pretty large half-size savings is really worth it.  To me it's not.  HD space is dirt cheap, and I can fit my entire music collection uncompressed onto a top quality HD costing much less than $100 new.  The only place where lossy compression makes sense for me is on my PMP that has a 60GB HD that can't be upgraded AFAIK.  And if I ever can slip a 2.5" 500GB HD into it, I'll be using it to play my lightly compressed FLAC files.


Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 23, 2010 - 12:49am

 cc_rider wrote:
The beauty of CDs is not their ultimate fidelity, but their consistency: each playback is the same. No 'discwasher', no cleaning the needle, adjusting the stylus weight, blah blah blah. Just put the disc in and hit play. MP3s sacrifice fidelity for convenience, which is the S.O.P. of audio: from reel-to-reel to 8-tracks to cassettes to MP3s. To me, CDs are the best compromise between fidelity and convenience.
 
If only that was completely true.  Unfortunately the optical path is subject to problems as well.  I have been waiting in vain for years for a CD player that had lights that flashed (sort of like Crown of America's patented IOC lights) whenever there was a read error that was successfully corrected 100%, a read error that was partially corrected by filling in where data was lost, and a read error that was unrecoverable.  Since there are three distinct failure modes, the three-color stop light configuration seems like a logical way of representing them.  Today I avoid the need entirely by ripping my discs using a simple program called "abcde".  ABCDE is a console (text) application that has what so far IME is a unique setting: to reject anything except a bit-perfect rip.  ABCDE uses good and proven tools like cdparanoia to relentlessly try to extract all data from dirty or damaged discs, but by themselves lack an "all or nothing" setting.

Ripping also removes all time base problems.  Of course new time base errors come with playback, but those are minor, and less objectionable than the jitter created by the CD drive mechanism.

IMO placing so much focus on the CD itself is a straw man argument of sorts.  We might as well compare the audio (Red Book) CD with the first Edison recordings to keep a level playing field by comparing first efforts to first efforts.  The state of the art of digital recording and playback is so far beyond the first CD release, and so much of the technology has changed since then.  But the True Believers are still citing long-abandoned technology.  That makes trying to hold a meaningful discussion with them akin to trying to converse with a brick wall.

I remember when Soundstream first started making digital recordings back in the mid '70s.  Back then the whole "golden eared" crowd was raving about how wonderful the then-new digital recordings were!  Most would have gladly sacrificed an appendage (or some other coveted piece of anatomy) in order to possess a Soundstream system.  The original Soundstream recordings still make up a substantial portion of Telarc's sales.  And those recordings were made using 16-bit ADC circuits that today's 25¢ sound card chips blow away in terms of quality!  Even the sample rate of 50 kHz was close enough to Digital Compact Cassette and Compact Disc rates that quibbling about such minute differences is an exercise in futility.

It's not like remastering was limited to, or somehow required for CD production.  Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab ring a bell to anyone? {#Lol}


Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 11:52pm

 Servo wrote:
What, like listening to music through the dbx expander-only that was sold briefly in the '70s?  Or no less and no more than the dynamic range that the artist originally intended?  Again, just because some corporate producers produce sonic trash, that doesn't mean that their practices are representative of the medium as a whole.  What's your point?  It seems like you're just making straw man arguments here.

DaveInVA wrote in response:
You are the one making the straw man here as you took that out of context. 
 
Bzzzt!  Fail.

Thanks for playing, Dave.  But personal attacks and other logical fallacies don't make a useful conversation.  So as far as I'm concerned, you just disqualified yourself from your own topic.  Better luck next time.


kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: where fear is not a virtue
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 5:04pm

 

Ok, here's some stuff on remastering.  Reading and backscrolling some, I‘ve seen some discussion on mastering and remastering.  As a couple people here know I like to remaster music to my ear as taught by hippie.  While I cannot work with some tracks as they are truly hopeless to distill since they were recorded and mixed so poorly in the first place, there are some I can do.

So if anyone is willing to do an A / B / C listening test, I'm willing to put myself up for scrutiny and feedback from everyone.  The tracks are 320k, but were all reformatted from original wav files on my studio program.  The quality is pretty decent, at least for these purposes (I hope).  Since everything was done in the same program, all things are equal at any rate.

What I have for review is the Cream track, Strange Brew.  There are three tracks put up in the folder clicky here, the original CD release of Disraeli Gears ala BMG, the second track is the commercially available remaster ripped from the 2004 Disraeli Gears Deluxe Edition remaster and third, mine which was remastered using the BMG track for my source.

A  Strange Brew, original CD release raw.

B  Strange Brew, the industry's pros remaster

C  Strange Brew, my remaster

Download the three tracks and play them back thru your good rigs and get back to me.  Set your EQ's to flat for the 3 tracks, to be fair to the music.  I suspect however, if your reading this, you probably listen to everything flat already.  And play ‘em loud.

What I have learned over the few years I have been doing this, at least with older recordings, is that I can do the most and best with the oldest versions of the albums, that is those that were just basically transferred to CD without much tampering as the tools were not really available back in the beginning to really permanently screw up the music. 

I do much the same thing to the vinyl I rip as well.  It's for shits and giggles so far and I like the end product.  There is still a lot of stuff out there that has not made it to vinyl yet, so it give me something to do that doesn't cost me any money.  Except that I really want to get a new Shibata stylus for my AT cartridge.  It was the version used for the "discrete quad" format vinyl recordings.  That stylus was designed to more match the groove in that type of pressing and fit all the way down to the bottom of the groove, picking up more information.  It also does the same thing on conventional stereo pressings giving up what I always thought was a richer sounding result.  My guess is that the shape of the stylus rode deeper and was more stable in the groove, providing a more accurate result.

What I offer up for spaghetti I guess, is that we are at the mercy of whomever's ear and tools and instruction for what is commercially available.  I think that the industry can do much better than it is offering.  I do my stuff on my home computer in 16 bit stereo wav files.  While I can really push things and get really different results that a home rig can withstand without distortion, the final listening test is done in my el cheapo 2006 Ford Focus basic factory system.  If it won't play there, I go back and try again.  My remaster of Strange Brew is a couple of years old and my technique has changed and improved (I think anyway) since then.  I do not use headphones either.  I want to feel the music and that can only be accomplished through speakers, IMO.  I like to feel the puff of air from the subwoofer port.

The other thought I wish to offer is "garbage in, garbage out".  No matter how good your rig is, what matters most is the source.  A crappy recording is still going to sound crappy on the nicest rig.  The playback device can only do so much.

I do the remastering for me because I like the end result, no one is offering me money to do it, but it pleases my ears so I do it.  I share my efforts for feedback so I can improve.  So have fun with my tracks if you're so inclined.  I like this thread and have learned from it already.  It has already inspired me to do more of my remastering and work harder at it cause of the concerns and considerations of recordings already discussed.  This is ultimately one of the reasons that drew me to RP in the first place, music is loved and taken seriously here.

I think that the whole point of the above, that ultimately now that we have CD's that can accurately reproduce whatever is put on them, the final mastering is the most important part of the whole process.  It can make or break the whole deal.  CD's can sound real good, given the right product.  That's probably a duh as well, but I ramble a lot and know it.

  Y'all !

 

 

 



jagdriver

jagdriver Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 9:58am

 black321 wrote:


Can you burn flac to a CD?  I thought it needed to be converted to mp3 or wav file first? 

 
As a set of data files, why not?

Aside from any computer, these devices support FLAC (scroll to HW support):

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

EDIT: See also http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=1&oq=FLAC+CD+player&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADBR_enUS293US293&q=FLAC+CD+player for some potentially useful info sites.

black321

black321 Avatar

Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 9:54am

 DaveInVA wrote:

Yes using .Flac or even .alac still gives full cd fidelity in 1/8th the space (depending on compression level you select). If you are playing off a computer you can just save them full res as hard drives are so big and cheap these days it really doesn't matter anymore.
 

Can you burn flac to a CD?  I thought it needed to be converted to mp3 or wav file first? 
cc_rider

cc_rider Avatar

Location: Bastrop
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 9:11am

 mzpro5 wrote:
Why not use a lossless format for recording CD's?  And if you use a high bit rate (above 256) even MP3's are ok for casual listening but when I really want to listen I turn to CD's.
  I'm too lazy/busy to even re-record my CDs.


DaveInVA

DaveInVA Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 8:29am

 mzpro5 wrote:

Why not use a lossless format for recording CD's?  And if you use a high bit rate (above 256) even MP3's are ok for casual listening but when I really want to listen I turn to CD's.
 
Yes using .Flac or even .alac still gives full cd fidelity in 1/8th the space (depending on compression level you select). If you are playing off a computer you can just save them full res as hard drives are so big and cheap these days it really doesn't matter anymore.

mzpro5

mzpro5 Avatar

Location: Budda'spet, Hungry
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 8:25am

 cc_rider wrote:
I'm too lazy to fuss with vinyl too. But I cannot STAND the poor quality of MP3s: it's fine with headphones, but a full-size system (admittedly a cobbled-up POS rig) sounds awful.

The beauty of CDs is not their ultimate fidelity, but their consistency: each playback is the same. No 'discwasher', no cleaning the needle, adjusting the stylus weight, blah blah blah. Just put the disc in and hit play. MP3s sacrifice fidelity for convenience, which is the S.O.P. of audio: from reel-to-reel to 8-tracks to cassettes to MP3s. To me, CDs are the best compromise between fidelity and convenience.

 
Why not use a lossless format for recording CD's?  And if you use a high bit rate (above 256) even MP3's are ok for casual listening but when I really want to listen I turn to CD's.

cc_rider

cc_rider Avatar

Location: Bastrop
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 8:22am

 mzpro5 wrote:
I don't see why it has to be a debate. 

Dave as you stated they both sound very good when source material and production are top notch.  I have about 1100 vinyl but don't listen to them too much because I am just lazy.

I say it is primarily a matter of preference, not one of which is "better".

  I'm too lazy to fuss with vinyl too. But I cannot STAND the poor quality of MP3s: it's fine with headphones, but a full-size system (admittedly a cobbled-up POS rig) sounds awful.

The beauty of CDs is not their ultimate fidelity, but their consistency: each playback is the same. No 'discwasher', no cleaning the needle, adjusting the stylus weight, blah blah blah. Just put the disc in and hit play. MP3s sacrifice fidelity for convenience, which is the S.O.P. of audio: from reel-to-reel to 8-tracks to cassettes to MP3s. To me, CDs are the best compromise between fidelity and convenience.


DaveInVA

DaveInVA Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 8:17am

 mzpro5 wrote:
I don't see why it has to be a debate. 

Dave as you stated they both sound very good when source material and production are top notch.  I have about 1100 vinyl but don't listen to them too much because I am just lazy.

I say it is primarily a matter of preference, not one of which is "better".

 
I got lazy for a few years and mostly quit playing them also about 10 or so years ago. Then I set the turntable and record cleaning machine back up with the intention of cleaning and salvaging about 800 or so lp's that got wet during hurricane Isabel. I had forgotten how good these can sound because I had gotten lazy. There is also something therapeutic about cleaning and playing an lp and being able to actually read the covers and labels with my aging eyesight. Sure there are some that sound awful like most the bootlegs and counterfeits but they can still be fun. I didn't think I'd get to a point were I was averaging cleaning and playing 5 records a day. I been doing it for years now and I still haven't gotten tired of it. I am thinking about ripping some of them to a hi-res format on the pc however. Not just for the convenience but I'd have a lot more potential LRC upload songs as I have a lot of stuff on LP that is either not yet on CD or just hard and/or expensive to get on CD. 

I don't see why it has to be a debate either and I didn't start it but I felt I had to address some misconceptions. It seemed to be starting to get out of hand and that's why I started this thread so it wouldn't detract from the spin list thread. I enjoy both formats and know both formats have their good points and bad points. I am in several other audio/studio forums and unfortunately every one of them gets this same debate at regular intervals. In fact getting rather tired of it as its always the same things over and over and sometimes gets rather heated and in the end nothing has changed as far as what the players in it think. Kinda like arguing politics. Usually nothing good ever comes of it in the end.

mzpro5

mzpro5 Avatar

Location: Budda'spet, Hungry
Gender: Male


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 8:02am

I don't see why it has to be a debate. 

Dave as you stated they both sound very good when source material and production are top notch.  I have about 1100 vinyl but don't listen to them too much because I am just lazy.

I say it is primarily a matter of preference, not one of which is "better".
DaveInVA

DaveInVA Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 7:57am

Servo wrote:

If I still had my major investment in vinyl, I wouldn't dump it either.  But, as I mentioned before, there never was (and probably never will be) much material that is as good as the grand masters.  But that's not a "vinyl v. digital" issue, it's a "studio v. retail quality" one.

That's why I added that as a "disclaimer" statement apart from the rest of my responses BUT the lack of software in the hi-res digital formats still figures in as it makes it moot (to myself anyways) if there is not much music thats enjoyable to me in those formats.

I have a very realistic handle on the limitations of vinyl AND of Redbook CD.

In the 30+ years since the Red Book was published ("Redbook" is a women's magazine, BTW), a whole lot has changed, and a whole lot of very clever engineering solutions have been applied as solutions to what was thought as insurmountable 30 years ago.  Even the 44.1/16 narrow place in the chain hasn't been the impediment that many people, myself included, thought could never transmit good music from the artist to the listener.  We were proved wrong by people who used clever DSP algorithms and ADC/DAC designs to shove a lot of information through the pipe that they were constrained to.  I give them credit, because it really does sound excellent.

As I previously said I don't dislike CD's and have thousands and never claimed they can't sound good. But just like with vinyl, they don't all sound good for a variety of reasons.

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.

Enjoyment is paramount for the listener, of course.  And as a "golden eared" listener, I learned early on that a perfect transfer function is rarely the most enjoyable.  That's why studio monitors "sound terrible" to the consumers of music.  At the consumer end, the wise listener will embrace distortion, and choose components that distort the signal in a way that pleases them the most.

That's why I prefer electrostatic speakers as they are among the lowest distortion drivers and yes there are other speaker technologies that can have low distortion also. They are also very phase coherent, And because they have far less mass than the average cone speaker they can show great detail. And yes electrostats are not for everyone because of their size and the larger effort it takes to set them up etc.


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.

The problem with your claim is that the "evidence" that you put forth to support it, fails.  the "vinyl LP high-frequency content" that one photo shows cannot be said to be the exact signal that the artist recorded, and not unwanted harmonic distortion.  In fact, is MUST be harmonic distortion.  Why?  Because the finest recording equipment available in 1974, when the album was recorded and mastered, were unable to record frequencies much past 16 kHz, much less 90.  So to represent that which is undesirable in the reproduction of music as being desirable is to lie.  You need to find better sources.

My sources are just fine, Google brings up more stating the same things but since you didn't seem to read that one there is no point in me posting them. One is from "The Society of Lathe Trolls" the very people that do this stuff. That article I linked does touch on response of the lathe and old mastering machines even the part about rolling off above 50 khz on the lathe in many cases. In fact the one reel to reel they mention is much older than '74. Seems like you are trying to justify one misconception with another. Remember, I to am an Engineer and have calibrated 100's of professional recording machines and consumer machines. I am totally perplexed about your statement of the 16 khz limit on high frequencies with 1974 vintage "finest recording equipment available". Even a lowly mid-fi Sony TC353 consumer 1/4 track deck from that period at 7.5 ips will record flat to beyond 16 khz. Most masters then were done on MUCH better half-track machines running at 15 ips or even 30 ips then. They can easily do 50 khz and beyond.  As I mentioned in the previous post I restore these very machines as a hobby and currently own more than 100 reel to reel machines. My semi-pro Sony TC880-2 tests flat to beyond 50 khz during record/playback. I can even record a CD-4 record to it and play it back through the decoder and the carrier is there and it works. There are Roberts/Akai and Tandberg decks with Crossfield heads that can do 16khz at 1 & 7/8.
Where are your sources? Just you saying " In fact, is MUST be harmonic distortion" doesn't make it so. The people that posted that article seem more than smart enough to know the difference, in fact if that was harmonic distortion it would be totally off the scale if measured as such so therefore it can't be harmonic distortion.

Even with the RIAA equalizer inserted into the chain, the HF response of an LP is limited by the mechanical size of the grooves, and the lathe that cut them.  There's no way around that!  That's why mastering for LP has always been something of a black art.  The engineers who master vinyl mothers don't share their tricks, but they do admit that they alter the original recording to fit the media.  Likewise, the bands that rely on getting exposure through broadcasting, where the typical dynamic range of a Rock station is 2-3 dB, master their retail products to sound like they do on the radio.

That was exactly the point I was making about the loudness wars with some current CD releases. Like you said earlier its not a cd vrs vinyl thing. I have many lp's that sound more dynamic than there CD counterpart. To me that makes no sense as the CD should be not be compressed to less than the vinyl during remastering. That's one reason I like CD's remastered by Engineers such as Steve Hoffman that don't do that.


There has been a lot of research done and published that explains why LP resolution is as limited as it is, but because it was written before the Web, you have to go to engineering libraries to find them.  What you will find is that HF response is not only limited, but things like the heat generated by dragging a diamond past the undulations in vinyl grooves causes the vinyl to get soft and deform, and do other things like ring in the same way that certain tire tread patterns make noise over certain pavement types.  The ONLY way to fix any of this is to completely re-engineer the mechanical recording process.  (BTW, SQ, QS etc. failed because the high frequency subcarriers were too weak to resolve clearly, and got burnished away after a few plays.)

Remember, I was active during those years and the world of vinyl is not new to me. They used to say never play a record twice in a row and give it time to cool so you don't risk damaging the groove because it will be soft from the heat generated by the first play. Someone finally put that to rest with both play tests and a heat spectrometer test. That was with decent equipment. Maybe it might have been true for people with not so good mid-fi turntables and cartridges that were rarely set up properly anyways.
There is no doubt records wear. Not just from playing but from improper handing and storage. As far as wear from playback it is a matter of degree and also dependent on the equipment used and the care taken in its setup and use. To be fair the average person in the 70's didn't have the best equipment or always take the best care of their records.
(BTW SQ, QS and CD-4 etc failed because 4 channel in general didn't catch on very well) I have CD-4 records that have been played many, many times and the carriers are still strong and play just fine as intended. Again, that is with good equipment and care. Many got played with wrong profile stylus's and in some cases that would ruin them in just one play. That's why they recommended using a Shibata stylus profile. Even then if it wasn't set up properly it could still easily damage the records ability for 4 channel playback by damaging the high frequency carrier.

The truth is that an average music recording is NOT a single sine wave.  CD media have 16 bit/channel resolution, not 4.  And although I used to be able to hear all the way up to ~30 kHz (per my hearing ultrasonic motion detectors (I was involved in the install of a store security system), I was the exception, not the rule.  The truth is that very little music has even fundamentals at the top octaves, and even if they did, 99.9% of listeners cannot hear them at all.

 I am also one of those people that was annoyed by the ultrasonic motion detectors. And yes it's true there is usually little music at the very high frequencies BUT as I mentioned in my previous post there have been at least a couple of studies that show that low level overtones can effect lower frequencies in a subtly audible way. True most people won't be able to hear it. I have a trained ear and I'd like to be part of one of those tests. I have also found that many people are "trainable" as far as audio. It's sort of like getting used to better wines and beers. Once you get used to the good stuff it can be hard to go back. Though there are some people that just don't care one way or the other. I am proud to not be one of those that don't care.
This takes me to the other part of the equation. The mastering and re-mastering.

I really wish that you had followed that up with some talk about the same.  Instead you chose to delve into matters of ergonomics, and technical issues that only apply to some genres of music, and don't represent the music transmittal technology at all.  Back when we got our music on records, and made it mobile by transcribing to Compact Cassette, I used to transcribe using my college roommate's Nakamichi compander to compress music for playback in cars.  Today there's a button on many car stereos that does the exact same thing in situ.  Sure, plenty of people used compression (another example is recording a tape using Dolby B or C, and playing the tapes on a Walkman without any decoder) post-sale.  That says nothing about the mastering process, though.

I did talk about remastering. Using additional compression is part of the re-mastering process if they choose to do so. I just don't like it when they do. Using a noise reduction system such as Dolby A is part of the mastering as all noise reduction systems take away from the sound in some way in part just because of the sheer number of extra active components the signal is going through. When I make live recordings of bands I try to keep the signal chain as simple as possible.
I never took cassettes more seriously than as a way to play music in a car. All the things that had to be done just to get the specs they did from them makes them good for that and casual listening but even the best cassette deck can't come remotely close to a studio deck. The narrow track width, the gyrated eq and required noise reduction circuits gives them decent specs but even the frequency response on cassette decks is always rated at -20 db and drops considerably when checked at 0 db levels so cassette decks have very limited dynamic range. I did like using them in cars except when you forget and leave one out and the sun ruins it.


One of the big complaints of the latest stereo Beatles Box Set of remastered albums is that it has been severely compressed.

Then don't buy them.  This is the 21st Century equivalent of why I used to buy $25 imported LPs when an American pressing cost $8, and why I used to jettison my clothes so I could stuff my suitcases with superior European LP pressings when I traveled abroad.  Go to Amazon.com and you typically can choose between three or four different version of the same album.  Clearly the Beatles box set wasn't remastered aboard Astoria, but then again there are very few virtuosos in the world.

I didn't buy them. I only brought it up as an example of the "Loudness Wars" trend. If you have been watching my LP posts you will see the bulk of my collection is Imports, Promos, Test Pressings. Audiophile releases, 45 rpm EP's etc.. Though there are some standard pressings here and there that are very good. Some are very bad also.

I'd rather hear it with the maximum dynamic range that can be had within the technical limits and not the least.

What, like listening to music through the dbx expander-only that was sold briefly in the '70s?  Or no less and no more than the dynamic range that the artist originally intended?  Again, just because some corporate producers produce sonic trash, that doesn't mean that their practices are representative of the medium as a whole.  What's your point?  It seems like you're just making straw man arguments here.

You are the one making the straw man here as you took that out of context. That was my conclusion after giving the reasons. Again, I don't like it when a CD remaster of something previously released on vinyl (or even CD for that matter) has less dynamic range then the previous releases. CD has a higher possibly dynamic range than vinyl but they don't always take advantage of that. In fact it seems they rarely do at least for rock type music. No straw man here...

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.

Like I said, there have been some mighty clever solutions. {#Music}

If you haven't read them already, you can find several posts I've made about my jitter-free system.  Essentially I rip everything to disk, then use the large amounts of cheap RAM that is available to standard computers to buffer the audio stream far better than the cheap PLL circuits that multi-thousand High End CD players still feature as their best effort.  The quartz crystal in a $20 sound card offers more than enough stability, but there are TXCO kits available to add a studio quality master clock to that $20 sound card.  That, with a modestly priced studio DAC, makes an excellent playback system.
If you had read my response you would have seen that I do something very similar. I use a Mac for general computer use but I built a purpose made pc just as a music server. I ripped my entire CD collection to it. As I use it only for ripping and playing I trimmed the XP as far back as possible by shutting down unused services etc. I use Foobar2000 and also play out of RAM and not just buffered as it feeds off a hard drive. I had been using a external EMU0404 that has excellent DAC's and output circuitry but now I use the Buffalo DAC and love it. I don't like using an internal DAC because of the electrically noisy environment inside a PC. Lots of noise on the supply voltages and buses. I didn't go into detail on my last post because this was a CD vrs Vinyl debate (not even really digital vs analog per say as CD & vinyl are the topics)
 

DaveInVA

DaveInVA Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 7:56am

DaveInVA wrote:
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.
 
If I still had my major investment in vinyl, I wouldn't dump it either.  But, as I mentioned before, there never was (and probably never will be) much material that is as good as the grand masters.  But that's not a "vinyl v. digital" issue, it's a "studio v. retail quality" one.

I have a very realistic handle on the limitations of vinyl AND of Redbook CD.

In the 30+ years since the Red Book was published ("Redbook" is a women's magazine, BTW), a whole lot has changed, and a whole lot of very clever engineering solutions have been applied as solutions to what was thought as insurmountable 30 years ago.  Even the 44.1/16 narrow place in the chain hasn't been the impediment that many people, myself included, thought could never transmit good music from the artist to the listener.  We were proved wrong by people who used clever DSP algorithms and ADC/DAC designs to shove a lot of information through the pipe that they were constrained to.  I give them credit, because it really does sound excellent.

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.

Enjoyment is paramount for the listener, of course.  And as a "golden eared" listener, I learned early on that a perfect transfer function is rarely the most enjoyable.  That's why studio monitors "sound terrible" to the consumers of music.  At the consumer end, the wise listener will embrace distortion, and choose components that distort the signal in a way that pleases them the most.

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.

The problem with your claim is that the "evidence" that you put forth to support it, fails.  the "vinyl LP high-frequency content" that one photo shows cannot be said to be the exact signal that the artist recorded, and not unwanted harmonic distortion.  In fact, is MUST be harmonic distortion.  Why?  Because the finest recording equipment available in 1974, when the album was recorded and mastered, were unable to record frequencies much past 16 kHz, much less 90.  So to represent that which is undesirable in the reproduction of music as being desirable is to lie.  You need to find better sources.

Even with the RIAA equalizer inserted into the chain, the HF response of an LP is limited by the mechanical size of the grooves, and the lathe that cut them.  There's no way around that!  That's why mastering for LP has always been something of a black art.  The engineers who master vinyl mothers don't share their tricks, but they do admit that they alter the original recording to fit the media.  Likewise, the bands that rely on getting exposure through broadcasting, where the typical dynamic range of a Rock station is 2-3 dB, master their retail products to sound like they do on the radio.

There has been a lot of research done and published that explains why LP resolution is as limited as it is, but because it was written before the Web, you have to go to engineering libraries to find them.  What you will find is that HF response is not only limited, but things like the heat generated by dragging a diamond past the undulations in vinyl grooves causes the vinyl to get soft and deform, and do other things like ring in the same way that certain tire tread patterns make noise over certain pavement types.  The ONLY way to fix any of this is to completely re-engineer the mechanical recording process.  (BTW, SQ, QS etc. failed because the high frequency subcarriers were too weak to resolve clearly, and got burnished away after a few plays.)

The truth is that an average music recording is NOT a single sine wave.  CD media have 16 bit/channel resolution, not 4.  And although I used to be able to hear all the way up to ~30 kHz (per my hearing ultrasonic motion detectors (I was involved in the install of a store security system), I was the exception, not the rule.  The truth is that very little music has even fundamentals at the top octaves, and even if they did, 99.9% of listeners cannot hear them at all.

MP3 can be brutal on these.

MP3 isn't for those.  MP3 is for casual listeners who tend to be more interested in the lyrics than the sound, and care more about the number of tunes they can put on their ipod than how they sound.  It's been nearly three decades since I had my peak hearing, so I can't tell just by listening (as with all middle-aged pundits that pretend to hear things they can't) just how good my is, but I've written some Vorbis encoding algorithms that give me ~256 kbps streams that sound as good or better than the 44.1/16 LPCM that I started with.

This takes me to the other part of the equation. The mastering and re-mastering.

I really wish that you had followed that up with some talk about the same.  Instead you chose to delve into matters of ergonomics, and technical issues that only apply to some genres of music, and don't represent the music transmittal technology at all.  Back when we got our music on records, and made it mobile by transcribing to Compact Cassette, I used to transcribe using my college roommate's Nakamichi compander to compress music for playback in cars.  Today there's a button on many car stereos that does the exact same thing in situ.  Sure, plenty of people used compression (another example is recording a tape using Dolby B or C, and playing the tapes on a Walkman without any decoder) post-sale.  That says nothing about the mastering process, though.

One of the big complaints of the latest stereo Beatles Box Set of remastered albums is that it has been severly compressed.

Then don't buy them.  This is the 21st Century equivalent of why I used to buy $25 imported LPs when an American pressing cost $8, and why I used to jettison my clothes so I could stuff my suitcases with superior European LP pressings when I traveled abroad.  Go to Amazon.com and you typically can choose between three or four different version of the same album.  Clearly the Beatles box set wasn't remastered aboard Astoria, but then again there are very few virtuosos in the world.

I'd rather hear it with the maximum dynamic range that can be had within the technical limits and not the least.

What, like listening to music through the dbx expander-only that was sold briefly in the '70s?  Or no less and no more than the dynamic range that the artist originally intended?  Again, just because some corporate producers produce sonic trash, that doesn't mean that their practices are representative of the medium as a whole.  What's your point?  It seems like you're just making straw man arguments here.

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.

Like I said, there have been some mighty clever solutions. {#Music}

If you haven't read them already, you can find several posts I've made about my jitter-free system.  Essentially I rip everything to disk, then use the large amounts of cheap RAM that is available to standard computers to buffer the audio stream far better than the cheap PLL circuits that multi-thousand High End CD players still feature as their best effort.  The quartz crystal in a $20 sound card offers more than enough stability, but there are TXCO kits available to add a studio quality master clock to that $20 sound card.  That, with a modestly priced studio DAC, makes an excellent playback system.


DaveInVA

DaveInVA Avatar

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


Posted: Jun 22, 2010 - 7:55am


 Servo wrote:
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.

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

Page: Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next