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What songs has digital killed (CD vs LP samples)
Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 14:11
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Some monthes ago, a thread calle like this was posted in George Massenbourg forum :
[link broken]

The poster was asking for examples of what analog fans call "dull lifeless digital sound".

I just answered ([link broken]), posting two samples of Depeche Mode - Strangelove, that have bee killed by digital IMHO (how ironic : the CD is mastered as DDD, and I'm posting a digital copy of the LP, that is a copy of the digital master rolleyes.gif )

If you are interested, you can go and download the samples in the direct link above.

EDIT : links broken (another forum changing the url !), here are the samples.

2.flac (942 ko)
3.flac (983 ko)
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Tom Servo
post Aug 11 2002, 15:13
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Storing audio digitally is just another way of recording, and I don't really see a reason why it should be worse than analogue recordings? ???
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ff123
post Aug 11 2002, 15:34
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That is a relatively big difference in sound quality (abx results 14/16, p = 0.002)

The one which I presume is supposed to be the digital copy sounded less bright ("dull") and the tambourine-like instrument (I don't know what it's called) sounded more mono-like.

ff123
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Garf
post Aug 11 2002, 15:46
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My impression is similar to ff123, but the analog one sounds overbright to me. A bit over the top. The imaging does seem better.

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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 15:54
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Thanks for the results, but could you tell me if you're talking about 2.lpac or 3.lpac as the analogue one ??

Tom, you're perfectly right. Here, we're dealing with badly recorded digital, that, for a given reason (14 bits definition ? too much truncation during processes ? Bad procesing algorithms ? anything) sound "digitally bad", if I may say so.
I chose a digital sample that sounded flat on purpose.
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ff123
post Aug 11 2002, 16:07
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3.flac was the "duller" one

ff123
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Frank Klemm
post Aug 11 2002, 16:12
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QUOTE
Originally posted by Tom Servo
Storing audio digitally is just another way of recording, and I don't really see a reason why it should be worse than analogue recordings? ???


MM and also MC systems of record players have no flat frequency response. A very good MC system
has a frequency response of +/- 0.5 dB (200 Hz...8 kHz) which is still audible. You need something
with +/-0.25 dB which is technical nearly impossible without electronic equalization.

Typical US$ 500...2000 MC systems have +/-1 dB. This is good and nice, but easy to detect.

MM systems have the general problem of the resonance of the coil L and the amplifier C which
enhance the 10 kHz range by 1.5...2.5 dB and reduces f > 15 kHz.

High capacity amplifier can shift this to 6...7 kHz, +3...4 dB and >10 kHz.
















Information source: Frequency plots in Audio and Stereoplay in the 90's.


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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 16:42
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We agree that one has more treble than the other.
Here are the differences :

http://pageperso.aol.fr/lyonpio2001/sample...lueforvinyl.gif

The two analysis have been superposed. The white or cyan (light blue) peaks means that there is more or less of these frequencies in the file.
White is the CD (2.flac), and cyan is the vinyl (3.flac)

So the CD has more treble.

But I still find a difference in the sound in addition to just equalisation.

This post has been edited by Pio2001: Apr 2 2003, 18:58
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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 18:42
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Edit 05/01/2003 : samples available on request

More samples :
11.flac (833 ko)
12.flac (829 ko)

21.flac (422 ko)
22.flac (445 ko)


11 and 12 are from track 2 of The Legendary Pink Dots - The Maria dimention,
quite near the beginning of side 1.

http://pageperso.aol.fr/lyonpio2001/sample...d2blueforlp.gif

21 and 22 from the end of track 8, near the end of the LP.

http://pageperso.aol.fr/lyonpio2001/sample...d8blueforlp.gif

These samples and comparative spectrums show the huge loss of treble at the end
of the LP, due to the slower linear speed for Lp playback.
In cyan (light blue), the frequencies louder in the LP, in white, the ones louder in the CD.

I reminds me when I found the Amnesia - Ibiza maxi single, that I had searched for
years. Whe I found it, the guy had it on maxi 45 RPM, and also as 33 LP in a
compilation, both second hand, it was a DJ selling all his records. I could listen to
both before buying.
Some of you know this track : it's the very Amnesia sample of old once used in the
alt-preset tests. It has continuous sharp electric transients "bzz-bzz-bzz".
The 33 and 45 RPM versions were day and night. The 33 one was completely worn
out, while the 45 had kept its sharpness.

This post has been edited by Pio2001: Jun 15 2003, 15:46
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evereux
post Aug 11 2002, 19:10
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I've just had a listen to these tracks and at first had some trouble distinguishing between the two. But after listening to 2.flac repeatedly about ten times the differences were easier to spot. I ABX'd them 15/16 times. I found 3 flac to be the duller one too.

There were differences in the bass line for me too, I was going to say that I thought 3.flac had a lower bass response (albeit muddier) but I don't think that's the case now. I believe that someting is omitting in the frequency range in 3.flac to give me that false impression.

Interseting stuff, thanks. smile.gif
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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 19:32
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In fact, there is quite a difference in the frequency response. 3 seems duller because it has less treble.
The amount of treble, as I just myself saw right now (I didn't expect such a loss) depends in fact of the wear that the LP has borne. So it's not a good way of telling which one sounds better, since it can change from track to track, and also from catridge to catridge.

The details of the sound themselves are more difficult to catch. Because the sample is short, and especially because it has been digitalized. So it's not a true LP vs CD comparison.
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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 19:36
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When you say "lower bass", do you mean at a lower volume (less bass), or at a lower frequency (more bass) ?
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rexit2
post Aug 11 2002, 19:48
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I just took a listen myself. I can't say its a HUGE difference but I think #2 has a bit more distortion thus sounding a bit brighter then #3. (I can abx if needed, just shuffled the two tracks in winamp for now) However without the original master I don't think this is a fair comparison. If someone was going to ask me which sample sounds better I'd prolly opt for #3. Even though #2 might sound more pleasing (for some people) because of the brighter top end. Without the original source file its impossible to know which sample is closer to the original recording. Not only that, but also the fact that records can sound vastly different depending on the equipment used. Just my $.02 (listened with headphones)

Edit: listening on speakers it would appear that #2 has better stereo separation and #3 has a thicker duller sound. Based on that I would have to say #2 sounds better. My point still stands though...which sample is closer to the original recording?


Edit #2: I can't hear any difference between #11 and #12 ( I *think* #11 sounds a bit brighter..probably couldn't abx it reliably)...#21 and #22 are night and day prefering the sound of # 21
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evereux
post Aug 11 2002, 19:58
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QUOTE
Originally posted by Pio2001
When you say "lower bass", do you mean at a lower volume (less bass), or at a lower frequency (more bass) ?


When I originally said that I meant a lower frequency response. But in hindsight I don't think that's the case. I think that the bass kind of stands out more in 3.flac but it isn't as clear and crisp as 2.flac.

With these samples I really can't say which of the two I prefer though, they're just different.

Edit: Crap, I'm pulling my hair out trying to best describe that difference in bass. The best I can come out with at the moment is that in 3.flac it just stands out more for me, eg louder.
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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 20:57
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Don't worry, I understand well your point, since it has something to do with my catridge for Lp playback wink.gif
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evereux
post Aug 11 2002, 21:01
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I can't pick out the difference between 11 and 12 either.

21 and 22 massive difference, no need to abx that one. I prefer 22 though. smile.gif
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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 21:11
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Phew ! I feel better, I thought I was the only one to prefer 22 !
(there was another vote for 21 on the IRC)
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Pio2001
post Aug 11 2002, 21:37
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I didn't realize that 11 vs 12 would be so hard.
Not too bad for a vinyl versus CD wink.gif. I knew that it was the CD/LP that had the closest sound between both media in my collection. And I must have at least 20 tracks or records on both CD and vinyl.

I just got them 16/16 in ABX.
ABX warned me that they had a different lenght, but they start more or less at the same point and I never played any until the end, and I chose my answers relying on the sound.

And I say it again, to be safe (I just said it once in the other forum) : ban any SQRsoft of Nullsoft Winamp gapless plugin for 48 kHz listening !
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Pio2001
post Aug 13 2002, 21:51
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Here's a summary of what has been said. I only kept the most relevant parts of each one's text. I put myself aside, because my listening wasn't blind, and biased by the fact that I've listened to all the record, sometimes in pure analog playback.
I've inserted the real samples names into brackets.

Depeche Mode.
The graph shows that the vinyl has a response evenly loosing about 4db in amplitude from bass to treble compared to the CD

QUOTE
FF123 :
That is a relatively big difference in sound quality (abx results 14/16, p = 0.002)

The one which I presume is supposed to be the digital copy [the vinyl] sounded less bright ("dull") and the tambourine-like instrument (I don't know what it's called) sounded more mono-like.

Garf :

My impression is similar to ff123, but the analog [the CD] one sounds overbright to me. A bit over the top. The imaging does seem better.

Evereux :

I ABX'd them 15/16 times.
I found 3 flac [the vinyl] to be the duller one too.

There were differences in the bass line for me too,
I think that the bass kind of stands out more in 3.flac [vinyl] but it isn't as clear and crisp as 2.flac [CD]

With these samples I really can't say which of the two I prefer though, they're just different.

Rexit 2

I can't say its a HUGE difference but I think #2 [CD] has a bit more distortion thus sounding a bit brighter then #3 [vinyl]. However without the original master I don't think this is a fair comparison. If someone was going to ask me which sample sounds better I'd prolly opt for #3 [vinyl]. Even though #2 [CD] might sound more pleasing (for some people) because of the brighter top end. Without the original source file its impossible to know which sample is closer to the original recording. Not only that, but also the fact that records can sound vastly different depending on the equipment used. Just my $.02 (listened with headphones)

Edit: listening on speakers it would appear that #2 [CD] has better stereo separation and #3 [vinyl] has a thicker duller sound. Based on that I would have to say #2 [CD] sounds better. My point still stands though...which sample is closer to the original recording?


So it's a complete no-winner.

Me :

ABX 16/16
The CD has more treble than the vinyl, but it seems to lack some definition. I prefer the sound of the vinyl not only because I find the amount of treble more balanced, but because it seems to have more info recorded into it.
However this lifeless treble could very well have been compressed on purpose to avoid overloading the vinyl mastering. It was recorded in 1987, and at this time, mastering engeeners knew perfectly how to master a vinyl. This vinyl has all the same a "dirty" or "noisy" sound, not audible in this sample, that compensate somehow the lifelessness of the treble (with sometimes alot of distortion sad.gif ). From this point of view, the "info" on the vinyl would just be distortion.

Evereux, the bass you describe is exactly the bass of my Stanton Trackmaster EL catridge : loud and muddy. It was not recorded on the vinyl.

___________________

The Legendary Pink Dots

Samples 11 and 12 are taken 12 centimeters from the center of the vinyl, while samples 21 and 22 are 7.5 cm from it. Therefore 11-12 are read with a linear velocity 1.6 times faster than samples 21 and 22.
As a result (and maybe also because track 8 can have been played two times more often than track 2), the graph shows about 3 to 9 db treble loss from 4 to 15 kHz compared to the track 2. Track 2 already behaves like Depeche mode compared to the CD : about 4 db loss from bass to treble.

QUOTE
Rexit2 :

I can't hear any difference between #11  and #12 [track 2]  ( I *think* #11 [CD] sounds a bit brighter..probably couldn't abx it reliably)...#21 and #22 [track 8] are night and day prefering the sound of # 21 [vinyl]

Evereux :

I can't pick out the difference between 11 and 12 either [track 2]

21 and 22 [track 8] massive difference, no need to abx that one. I prefer 22 [CD] though


Me :
This record is really close to the CD. I've got many other records that sound more different, in one way or another, from the CD.
Being recorded in 1991, I think we can assume that the vinyl is a copy of the CD.
I ABXed 11 and 12 16/16. The CD has more treble.
I hoped that the track 2 would sound better on vinyl, while track 8 would sound inferior.
I had no idea though, that track 8 was destroyed like this. Listening to it without the CD as reference, one doesn't notice it at all.
I understand that it can sound better once destroyed, because the original mix on CD (that must be appreciated into the whole track) is very harsh, but I'm convinced that it's impossible to rebuilt the CD from the vinyl sound, while I think it can be quite easy to lowpass the CD to get the vinyl.
But I must admit that finally, the vinyl sample for track 2 doesn't sound better than the CD sample. Maybe it's actually the case in pure analog playback, but I can't test it in blind.

Conclusion :

The first main difference comes from the wearing and linear speed of the vinyl (playback near the edge or near the center) : up to 9 db of treble lost at 15 kHz !

The second difference comes from the sound of the catridge, that has much bass and few treble : 4 db peak to peak, difficult to spot.

The real loss due to the vinyl recording and playback itself compared to lossless digital (Depeche Mode at least is mastered in digital) is quite inaudible, granted I chose on purpose some samples that
-are loud
-don't click
-are not distorded

Settings

<span style='font-size:9'>These samples were recorded with a modified Technics SL3100 direct drive turntable (no more antiresonance bottom. Two cones holds the metal bottom of the drum mechanism and one spike put over a metal cylinder hold the arm axis bottom. All this on 60 kg stone).
The vinyl is put directly over the metal drum, with two glasses over it so that it doesn't slip.
The arm height can't be adjusted, so due to the lack of slipmat, the catridge is 5 millimeters too low.

Catridge : Stanton trackmaster EL
Phono preamp : Arcam Diva A85 integrated
A/D Recording : Sony DTC 55ES at 48 kHz.

the CDs were ripped with EAC, then resampled to 48 kHz with SoundForge 4.5, highest quality among 4 choices. No antialias for Depeche mode. I put the antialias on for The Legendary Pink Dots by mistake, but I don't think it has an audible effect.

First sample :
Depeche Mode - Music for the masses - Strangelove (1987)

2.flac : French CD third edition. Virgin 8 41804 2. First edition was by Virgin in 1987, second by Vogue in 1993. I don't know when this one was released.

3.flac : English LP STUMM47 straight from Mute records. Ordered in 1993. Listened to about 5 or 10 times. 4.6 cm inside side A

Second and third samples :
The legendary pink dots - the Maria dimention (1991)

CD : BIAS 184 CD
LP : BIAS 184 listened to about 20 or 40 times.

Track 2 : on a 12 cm radius in side A. 11.flac is the CD, 12.flac the vinyl
Track 8 : on a 7.5 cm radius in side B. 21.flac is the vinyl, 22.flac is the CD</span>
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jkauff
post Aug 13 2002, 22:46
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I was hanging around Warner Bros. Amiga studios when they were converting from analog recording to digital recording. This was 1978, so there were no CDs. Lee Hershberg, who was the lead engineer at the time, talked for hours about how hard it was to get the digital recording to sound right, and complained about the pathetic state of digital mastering. Digital mastering was brand-new, and your choices were 1) a 3M facility in the U.S. that was working but not quite finished, or 2) a Sony facility in Japan. Warner decided to go with 3M, because they could travel there and tweak the process themselves.

The vinyl version of Ry Cooder's Bop Til You Drop is a prime example of how bad the early digital recordings sounded on LP. DGG in Germany seemed to get the process down sooner than anyone, but they had probably the best sound engineers in the world. It took the popular music engineers much longer to get a decent-sounding LP.

When Neil Young started bitching about digital vs. analog, he was originally talking about how bad digitally-recorded material sounded when mastered to an LP.

- Jim K.
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maciey
post Aug 13 2002, 22:54
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is DGG for Deutsche Grammophon ?
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rjamorim
post Aug 13 2002, 23:02
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QUOTE
Originally posted by maciey
is DGG for Deutsche Grammophon ?


DGG = Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft

http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/

I personally prefer DECCA. biggrin.gif

(They are all owned by Universal anyway...)


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