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CD masters rejected for vinyl production, Split from Topic ID: 99623 (TOS #5)
pisymbol
post Feb 27 2013, 23:52
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Even though I'm walking into a complete flame fest....I would to state something for reaction...

As I understand it, its common practice to use the same master for both CD and vinyl. Cost is the mitigating factor most of the time.

HOWEVER, given the "Loudness War" and the absolutely crappy sounding masters due to hyper compressed music, a lot of labels will not master the vinyl from the original Redbook one, but create a new one that is significantly less compressed. Has nothing to do with bitrate or "analog vs digital" arguments...

And in fact I spoke with one particular label who submitted the original CD master which was rejected by the engineer who is responsible for the vinyl release. He subsequently lowered the amount of DRC applied before sending it to press. This is not unheard of and IMO, one of the key reasons why vinyl can and DOES sound better than CD from time to time. Typically its because the Redbook master was done by an amateur, and the vinyl one was done by a professional.

I also have another example of DDA file getting screwed up and the engineer sending the CD directly to the label for press. Worked just fine that way (there was no LP release).
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db1989
post Feb 28 2013, 00:14
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QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 27 2013, 22:52) *
HOWEVER, given the "Loudness War" and the absolutely crappy sounding masters due to hyper compressed music, a lot of labels will not master the vinyl from the original Redbook one, but create a new one that is significantly less compressed. Has nothing to do with bitrate or "analog vs digital" arguments...
It may have nothing to do with those but a lot to do with the physical inability of vinyl to competently reproduce highly brickwalled signals for extended periods of time without risking damage to at least one stage of the playback chain.

QUOTE
And in fact I spoke with one particular label who submitted the original CD master which was rejected by the engineer who is responsible for the vinyl release. He subsequently lowered the amount of DRC applied before sending it to press. This is not unheard of and IMO, one of the key reasons why vinyl can and DOES sound better than CD from time to time. Typically its because the Redbook master was done by an amateur, and the vinyl one was done by a professional.
Typically? Where are the statistics on this? It could just as easily be typically done because the mastering engineer Ė whether professional, amateur, or amateur-masquerading-as-professional Ė was forced by the limitations of vinyl to tone down their otherwise highly excessive compression and limiting.

Sure, this can sometimes result in vinyl sounding better in terms of dynamics. Does that count as an advantage of vinyl? Seeing as itís an indirect and quite possible less-than-voluntary result of a theoretical limitation of the format, nope. And I donít see it as cause for promoting vinyl (not that Iím zealously against it), which would be a spurious conclusion: I see it only as further cause for opposing the loudness war.
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pisymbol
post Feb 28 2013, 01:47
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You bring up a good point and that's very true. But what I am also saying is true, when a label wants a higher fidelity release, they will cut a different master from the overly compressed Redbook one.

This post has been edited by db1989: Mar 1 2013, 21:59
Reason for edit: full quote is (more) unnecessary after thread was split
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greynol
post Feb 28 2013, 02:30
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...assuming they have access to it.


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pisymbol
post Feb 28 2013, 13:48
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Feb 27 2013, 18:14) *
QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 27 2013, 22:52) *
HOWEVER, given the "Loudness War" and the absolutely crappy sounding masters due to hyper compressed music, a lot of labels will not master the vinyl from the original Redbook one, but create a new one that is significantly less compressed. Has nothing to do with bitrate or "analog vs digital" arguments...
It may have nothing to do with those but a lot to do with the physical inability of vinyl to competently reproduce highly brickwalled signals for extended periods of time without risking damage to at least one stage of the playback chain.

Sure, this can sometimes result in vinyl sounding better in terms of dynamics. Does that count as an advantage of vinyl? Seeing as it’s an indirect and quite possible less-than-voluntary result of a theoretical limitation of the format, nope. And I don’t see it as cause for promoting vinyl (not that I’m zealously against it), which would be a spurious conclusion: I see it only as further cause for opposing the loudness war.


I forgot to respond to that last paragraph...

I am not even close to insinuating that vinyl has some kind of inherit advantage over CD (well in terms of packaging art maybe!).

But that last sentence utterly perplexes me. So you rather BUY CDs that are terribly mastered as a way to send a message to labels and artists to stop the Loudness War? WHAT!?

In fact, I currently believe that most vinyl junkies will freely admit that Redbook is superior and SOUNDs superior IF PROPERLY MASTERED.

While the "state of the art" of digital mastering is light years ahead of what it was say 10-15 years ago, the fact is the overwhelming majority of CDs released today sound like crap. And when there are two different versions of the same release, one highly compressed DR4-5 Redbook, and one DR11-12 LP, it doesn't shock me that folks want the LP and then claim vinyl sounds better than CD.

Bottom line is this: Despite CD's (and more contextually relevant, digital music) superiority in every possible conceivable way, it gets a bad rap at times for poor sound mainly due to poor mastering. Garbage in, garbage out.

NOTE: I personally do not collect LPs.

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krabapple
post Feb 28 2013, 17:46
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QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 28 2013, 07:48) *
While the "state of the art" of digital mastering is light years ahead of what it was say 10-15 years ago, the fact is the overwhelming majority of CDs released today sound like crap. And when there are two different versions of the same release, one highly compressed DR4-5 Redbook, and one DR11-12 LP, it doesn't shock me that folks want the LP and then claim vinyl sounds better than CD.


Yes, ignorance of causes and effects is not shocking, but let's not *accept it*, OK?

And you know what? There are *other* audible parameters that might matter as much or more than dynamic range -- parameters in which even the 'crap' CDs that overwhelm us today, perform better than LPs.

This obsession with DR as the be-all of audio quality is starting to annoy the bejebus out of me.

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greynol
post Feb 28 2013, 18:01
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Just as annoying is that the expectation bias that vinyl will sound more dynamic than its CD counterpart is being fueled by the misinterpretation of waveform graphs and DR values. That vinyl may look and measure better is no guarantee that it was derived from a different master from that used to create the CD. These differences may be attributable to the cutting and playback processes.

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db1989
post Feb 28 2013, 19:16
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QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 28 2013, 00:47) *
QUOTE (db1989 @ Feb 27 2013, 18:14) *
QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 27 2013, 22:52) *
blah
blah
You bring up a good point and that's very true. But what I am also saying is true, when a label wants a higher fidelity release, they will cut a different master from the overly compressed Redbook one.
As I questioned your assertion that vinyl is “typically” mastered by “professionals” whereas CDs are relegated to the machinations of mere “amateurs”, so must I question even more strongly your even more conclusive assertion here that labels master vinyls for higher fidelity – presumably in the belief that the format offers this – and not just technical reasons. Saying this at all would have been enough cause for concern, but insinuating that it is a universal phenomenon is something else altogether. Again: where are the statistics to back up these grand claims?

QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 28 2013, 12:48) *
QUOTE (db1989 @ Feb 27 2013, 18:14) *
Sure, this can sometimes result in vinyl sounding better in terms of dynamics. Does that count as an advantage of vinyl? Seeing as it’s an indirect and quite possible less-than-voluntary result of a theoretical limitation of the format, nope. And I don’t see it as cause for promoting vinyl (not that I’m zealously against it), which would be a spurious conclusion: I see it only as further cause for opposing the loudness war.
that last sentence utterly perplexes me. So you rather BUY CDs that are terribly mastered as a way to send a message to labels and artists to stop the Loudness War? WHAT!?
You might want to save the shouted cries of confusion and disbelief for yourself. Again, you are pushing a false premise without substantiation: vinyls are always mastered better, therefore people should not buy CDs, and those concerned by the loudness war should buy vinyl even if they don’t want to or cannot use it. It’s a false dichotomy between disapproving of the loudness war and not wanting to be restricted by the inherent properties of vinyl, shored up by fanciful tales about the intentional superiority of masters on the latter. The fact that you twist my words into an illogical conclusion that I never even hinted at is irksome to me, but in the context of other things you’ve said, not surprising.

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pisymbol
post Feb 28 2013, 22:25
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I suggest you go back re-read my statements again since I neither claimed that vinyls are always mastered better than CDs or that CDs are always mastered by amateurs. I did insinuate that due to the proliferation of easy to use tools to "master" we are definitely seeing a lot of artists who aren't really mastering engineers that typically yield poor results.

I made the claim that a lot of labels pay for a different master because typically in today's LW's climate, CDs are hyper-compressed. You mentioned about needle having a hard time with very compressed CDs. I agreed.

I also said that part of the reason why CDs can get a bad rap is frankly due to poor mastering techniques such as the overzealous use of DRC.

Finally, can you learn to be a little less confrontational in your responses? I realize this is the Internet, but it would be nice to have a conversation with a potential new friend that shares a mutual passion for fidelity than just bantering back and forth (even if what I wrote wasn't exactly clear, your responses leave a lot to desire with respect to board diplomacy).

This post has been edited by db1989: Feb 28 2013, 22:35
Reason for edit: deleting pointless full quote
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db1989
post Feb 28 2013, 22:49
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Perhaps I would interpret the points in question differently with a fresh mind, but I donít have that luxury at the moment, so all I can say is that this is a good example of why you need to be more clear when offering hypothetical scenarios. This applies especially when generalisations are involved, or at least statements that are prone to being misinterpreted as generalisations, if thatís not the sense in which you intended them. If I overread, then thatís my mistake. But donít make it easy for people to do so. wink.gif

Separate from that, there isnít much misinterpretation to be had in the faulty reasoning that my reluctance to buy vinyls as though that will slow the progress of the loudness war means that my buying CDs (which I do very rarely, by the way) makes me fully complicit in its continuation. Sure, perhaps a hardliner would refuse to buy any release, on any medium, that wasnít mastered sanely. Do people who like music have that option in practical terms? Not really. And it isnít always as easy or desirable to just buy the Ė only sometimes better-mastered Ė vinyl instead. Neither will said act necessarily, or perhaps even often, register directly as a vote of no confidence in the loudness war. That was my point. If I reacted strongly, itís because I perceived your objection as having been presented strongly. All Iím trying to say is that things arenít that simple, and drawing conclusions on behalf of others doesnít always go down well, especially when the issues are more complex than an either-or choice would suggest.

I didnít intend any personal offence; nor do I harbour any animosity. Things that you might have perceived as such in my posts were instead just reactions to words and arguments as part of posts, not a person.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Feb 28 2013, 23:36
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QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 28 2013, 07:48) *
While the "state of the art" of digital mastering is light years ahead of what it was say 10-15 years ago,


What advances/changes have happened in the last 10-15 years.
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2Bdecided
post Mar 1 2013, 10:42
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 28 2013, 16:46) *
And you know what? There are *other* audible parameters that might matter as much or more than dynamic range -- parameters in which even the 'crap' CDs that overwhelm us today, perform better than LPs.
What, audibly? On compressed pop music? Only once the record gets worn or damaged IME (though the capacity for damage and/or wear is a major factor in vinyl's inferiority).

As Arny has often said, the surprising thing about vinyl is that it can sound OK, despite measuring terribly.

QUOTE
This obsession with DR as the be-all of audio quality is starting to annoy the bejebus out of me.
I guess it's just the biggest quality-killer of the last decade in CD releases, so it's justified to be obsessed about it. When it's gone, we can moan about something else wink.gif

I think in pure numerical terms you need people who don't fully understand something to jump on the band wagon anyway in order for things to change. When only the people who really understand things speak up, the mainstream just carries on its own sweet way. While the DR meter can be confused and there are many other attributes to a good recording, maybe the only way that DRC is going to be backed off if through ill-informed as well as well-informed criticism.

Cheers,
David.
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pisymbol
post Mar 1 2013, 16:25
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 1 2013, 04:42) *
QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 28 2013, 16:46) *
And you know what? There are *other* audible parameters that might matter as much or more than dynamic range -- parameters in which even the 'crap' CDs that overwhelm us today, perform better than LPs.
What, audibly? On compressed pop music? Only once the record gets worn or damaged IME (though the capacity for damage and/or wear is a major factor in vinyl's inferiority).

As Arny has often said, the surprising thing about vinyl is that it can sound OK, despite measuring terribly.

QUOTE
This obsession with DR as the be-all of audio quality is starting to annoy the bejebus out of me.
I guess it's just the biggest quality-killer of the last decade in CD releases, so it's justified to be obsessed about it. When it's gone, we can moan about something else wink.gif

I think in pure numerical terms you need people who don't fully understand something to jump on the band wagon anyway in order for things to change. When only the people who really understand things speak up, the mainstream just carries on its own sweet way. While the DR meter can be confused and there are many other attributes to a good recording, maybe the only way that DRC is going to be backed off if through ill-informed as well as well-informed criticism.

Cheers,
David.


I think you already conceded that DRC is one of it not THE biggest factor in the degradation of audio quality over the last decade. And with copious amounts of DRC applied, comes the ever dreaded clip which I think we can all agree is not good for the music or mastering in general.

@Arny: Software/hardware has improved leaps and bounds over the last 10-15 years which allows for much more advanced forms of mastering. I agree the media has not nor has the fundamental concepts of digital audio (though I will argue that some facets of the chain have improved, especially USB based audio).

As Neuron mentioned, albums with a DR4 and even DR6 aren't that great to listen too. It does not surprise me one iota that if you take the equivalent LP with a DR of 11 or higher vs its compressed equivalent, it sounds a lot better despite the fact that CDs are a superior format to LP in practically every measurable way.

I am firmly in the camp that improperly mastered music destroys it regardless of medium. It just so happens that in today's climate, LP seems to benefit from its niche status and sort of ducks the "Loudness War" a bit.

Until that changes, I think there is a lot to be said for music lovers who collect LP's and want higher dynamics in the music. (NOTE AGAIN: I don't collect LPs, I live with the fact that DR5-6 is sort of the industry norm).

I WANT to also state that the DR metric isn't the be all or end all of a master either. But no matter how you swing it, once you get it in the 6 or lower numbers, you take a hit and it sucks! :-(
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krabapple
post Mar 1 2013, 16:47
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 1 2013, 04:42) *
QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 28 2013, 16:46) *
And you know what? There are *other* audible parameters that might matter as much or more than dynamic range -- parameters in which even the 'crap' CDs that overwhelm us today, perform better than LPs.
What, audibly? On compressed pop music? Only once the record gets worn or damaged IME (though the capacity for damage and/or wear is a major factor in vinyl's inferiority).


And that vulnerability to 'damage' (pops, tics, scratches, wear) is a huge deal for some of us. Add to that, extended bass; pitch stability; lack of inherent surface noise; excellent channel separation; immunity to position-dependent playback errors (e.g., mistracking near the label).

QUOTE
As Arny has often said, the surprising thing about vinyl is that it can sound OK, despite measuring terribly.


I would say that lot of modern pop can sound very enjoyable too, despite being horrifying to audio purists. That should not be surprising...it has EVER BEEN THUS.

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 1 2013, 21:27
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 28 2013, 11:46) *
And you know what? There are *other* audible parameters that might matter as much or more than dynamic range -- parameters in which even the 'crap' CDs that overwhelm us today, perform better than LPs.

This obsession with DR as the be-all of audio quality is starting to annoy the bejebus out of me.


The two common orthogonal parameters of a channel whether analog or digital are linear and nonlinear distortion. There can be as many pairs of orthogonal parameters as you wish to invent, but these two seem to make the most sense. Dynamic range seems to correspond best to nonlinear distortion. It does not seem to be linear.
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paul46
post Mar 16 2013, 21:01
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 28 2013, 17:46) *
QUOTE (pisymbol @ Feb 28 2013, 07:48) *
While the "state of the art" of digital mastering is light years ahead of what it was say 10-15 years ago, the fact is the overwhelming majority of CDs released today sound like crap. And when there are two different versions of the same release, one highly compressed DR4-5 Redbook, and one DR11-12 LP, it doesn't shock me that folks want the LP and then claim vinyl sounds better than CD.


Yes, ignorance of causes and effects is not shocking, but let's not *accept it*, OK?

And you know what? There are *other* audible parameters that might matter as much or more than dynamic range -- parameters in which even the 'crap' CDs that overwhelm us today, perform better than LPs.

This obsession with DR as the be-all of audio quality is starting to annoy the bejebus out of me.


Digital has potential to perform better than vinyl but currently the CD format is 16 bit by 44.1 kHz which allows for only sixty five thousand different volume levels. A vinyl record has limited volume variations based on the master recording which is usually 24 bit by 196 kHz with millions of volume variations. Someone needs to bring that kind of quality to the consumer and then vinyl would be surpassed.
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db1989
post Mar 16 2013, 21:19
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Except no, because you blatantly have no understanding of digital-to-analogue conversion and the relevant aspects of human hearing. Would you like to go away and educate yourself and come back to this discussion later, or shall we just bin it now?
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LithosZA
post Mar 16 2013, 21:20
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QUOTE
Digital has potential to perform better than vinyl but currently the CD format is 16 bit by 44.1 kHz which allows for only sixty five thousand different volume levels. A vinyl record has limited volume variations based on the master recording which is usually 24 bit by 196 kHz with millions of volume variations. Someone needs to bring that kind of quality to the consumer and then vinyl would be surpassed.

CD already surpasses vinyl. 24bit/196Khz doesn't make any audible difference in audio quality. 16bit/44.1Khz is enough for music unless somebody can prove otherwise.
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Porcus
post Mar 16 2013, 22:33
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Mar 16 2013, 21:19) *
Except no, because you blatantly have no understanding of digital-to-analogue conversion and the relevant aspects of human hearing. Would you like to go away and educate yourself and come back to this discussion later, or shall we just bin it now?


Since I am not a moderator who has to do the dirty S/N improvement filter here over and over, I generally think it is OK to be misinformed at least once.
So I suggest the former. And good a Saturday Night reading for the poster: http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

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db1989
post Mar 16 2013, 22:45
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Donít get me wrong: everyone has misconceptions, learning is great, and so on.

But itís not easy to summon patience for people who dive in with their first post to make uninformed claims, while seemingly trying to come across as someone who knows what theyíre talking about by quoting numbers but, notably, not any citations for their supposed ramifications.

Also:
QUOTE
A vinyl record has limited volume variations based on the master recording which is usually 24 bit by 196 kHz
Iíd like sources for the claims (A) that vinyl can faithfully reproduce signals of any given dynamic and frequency ranges input into it, and (B) that masters for vinyl are ďusuallyĒ sampled at 192 kHz.
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krabapple
post Mar 16 2013, 23:42
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QUOTE (paul46 @ Mar 16 2013, 16:01) *
Digital has potential to perform better than vinyl but currently the CD format is 16 bit by 44.1 kHz which allows for only sixty five thousand different volume levels. A vinyl record has limited volume variations based on the master recording which is usually 24 bit by 196 kHz with millions of volume variations. Someone needs to bring that kind of quality to the consumer and then vinyl would be surpassed.


Wrong.


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greynol
post Mar 17 2013, 00:56
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QUOTE (db1989 @ Mar 16 2013, 14:45) *
QUOTE
A vinyl record has limited volume variations based on the master recording which is usually 24 bit by 196 kHz

Iíd like sources for the claims (A) that vinyl can faithfully reproduce signals of any given dynamic and frequency ranges input into it, and (B) that masters for vinyl are ďusuallyĒ sampled at 192 kHz.

None will be forthcoming as (A) is simply and patently wrong. Bit-depth dictates a signal to noise ratio and it has yet to be demonstrated that vinyl can produce a signal to noise ratio better than what 16 bits can offer, let alone 24 bits. Silly arguments describing digital stair steps and smooth analog waves need not apply. These are uneducated pedestrian notions that do nothing more than demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge of digital signals and analog reconstruction. With (B) I'm sure the poster pulled this out of his ass, unless 196 was a typo. We already had this question in the thread from which this discussion was split. But hey maybe it is usually 24/192. Paul46, please provide some compelling evidence as to why we should believe you.


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Engelsstaub
post Mar 17 2013, 04:44
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I think if anyone's truly interested in the bit depths/sample rates of digital masters applied to modern vinyl, we should truly start asking the people currently involved in such production.

I'm willing to do my part and start sending some emails to the record companies I get the most vinyl from. Hopefully some others would be agreeable as well. I'm not of mind to make contributions and expend my time and efforts if nobody else cares or just wants to argue and say "prove it," "that's just you," this is too genre-specific," or whatever. I know for a fact that Century Media accommodates (with seeming honesty) such requests.

...might be a good academic exercise to just go ahead and figure out what's customary so everyone here (myself included) can stop insulting one another and move on with real-world evidence.

The Krisiun album (Century Media) that I presented in this thread was actually recorded to analogue tape according to the parties involved in the recording process. (What I don't know is if that same tape was used to cut the vinyl...I'm guessing at some point it could have been digitized.) Also the dynamic range of the LP version is very obviously different from the CD.

...if course this has little-to-nothing to do with bit-depths and sampling frequencies, but I think it fairly demonstrates that what we think is "industry standard" could possibly be otherwise...and that such information is not that difficult to obtain.


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paul46
post Mar 17 2013, 05:45
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QUOTE (Porcus @ Mar 16 2013, 22:33) *
QUOTE (db1989 @ Mar 16 2013, 21:19) *
Except no, because you blatantly have no understanding of digital-to-analogue conversion and the relevant aspects of human hearing. Would you like to go away and educate yourself and come back to this discussion later, or shall we just bin it now?


Since I am not a moderator who has to do the dirty S/N improvement filter here over and over, I generally think it is OK to be misinformed at least once.
So I suggest the former. And good a Saturday Night reading for the poster: http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html


I thought compact discs are limited to around 65,000 volume variations, am I wrong? Do you remember when computers only had thousands of colors? Todays computers have millions of colors but compact discs have not progressed into millions of sound level variations! To me vinyl with all its noise still sounds more alive with its more than a million possible different volume levels.... I looked this up on wikapedia about compact disc limitations.
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greynol
post Mar 17 2013, 06:25
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QUOTE (paul46 @ Mar 16 2013, 21:45) *
I thought compact discs are limited to around 65,000 volume variations, am I wrong?

No, you are not wrong (on this point), though the number is 65,536.

QUOTE (paul46 @ Mar 16 2013, 21:45) *
Do you remember when computers only had thousands of colors?

I remember when computers had far less than that.

QUOTE (paul46 @ Mar 16 2013, 21:45) *
Todays computers have millions of colors but compact discs have not progressed into millions of sound level variations!

At first I was going to say this comparison was rather silly, but perhaps you might consider how many levels of intensity there are for any given color. This is what would be analogous to a "sound level variation". But sure, let's go down your path of counting colors. Now you're specifically talking about discrete frequencies. The frequency response of discrete time signals is limited to half the sample rate and is capable of capturing any frequency from DC to this upper bound. With digital audio frequency is not discretely quantized like a computer's color palette.

QUOTE (paul46 @ Mar 16 2013, 21:45) *
To me vinyl with all its noise still sounds more alive with its more than a million possible different volume levels.... I looked this up on wikapedia about compact disc limitations.

As you were already told, the error resulting from quantized levels manifests itself as noise. For CD, this noise is less than what is present when playing back vinyl.

Regarding the "more alive" comment, please keep these types of useless (and most likely baseless) placebo-driven terms to yourself m'kay?

This post has been edited by greynol: Mar 17 2013, 06:58


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