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Vinyl > Digital on HowStuffWorks, Is their explanation incorrect?
snoozer
post Feb 16 2009, 00:36
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My friend won't give in that he just likes the motions of putting his records on his turntable but he found this website:

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

QUOTE
This means that the waveforms from a vinyl recording can be much more accurate, and that can be heard in the richness of the sound.

QUOTE
From the graph above you can see that CD quality audio does not do a very good job of replicating the original signal. (at 16/44.1)


I referred him to this:

http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Vinyl_Myths
(http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=85436)

I'm trying to understand the specifics but I'm a little lost. Are these two contradictory? Could someone clear up where HowStuffWorks might be disseminating wrong info?

This post has been edited by Peter: Feb 19 2009, 02:32
Reason for edit: Link now less search engine friendly.
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seangan
post Feb 18 2009, 03:25
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There are two things you can tell your friend. Firstly, the graph is grossly misrepresentative particularly with regard to scale. The analogue waveform depicted would actually be wholly inaudible. A 16-bit ADC does indeed provide 65,536 possible values but this results in a signal-to-noise ratio of 98.09 dB which is pretty is negligible in comparison to the noise introduced by the process of mastering and cutting vinyl.

Ditto, for the sampling frequency, which can capture frequencies of up to 22kHz while the human ear can only hear up to 20kHz (when very young Ė most adults are unable to hear above 16 kHz). Thereís probably no need to mention the need for low-pass filtering before the sampling stage as you donít want to baffle them with too much information.

There are very good reasons why audio engineers picked out 16 bits and 44.1kHz. Itís simply because more audio information is beyond the capabilities of the human ear to detect. Even still, much of CD quality audio information is redundant as far as human ears are concerned Ė as the use of lossy compression techniques demonstrates.

Maybe, refer your friend to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog-to-digital_converter , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_frequency , and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantization_noise where he/she can check the maths for themselves. They could also read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoacoustics and other articles and web pages linked to from those articles.

Iím an audiophile and I love vinyl but itís not because the sound is better. I like the whole experience of sitting down and putting on the record, just sitting there listening to it and then getting up again to change to the other side. While digital media is far superior, it seems a little more disposable and less precious.

Other vinyl loving friends think the sound is better because they compared a record on their turntable with the same recording on a CD deck played through the same amplifier / speaker set-up. The vinyl sounded better to their ears but I explained that they werenít actually comparing like with like as the turntable output passed through a pre-amp stage. I also explained that differences in the mastering processes didnít mean that the vinyl carried a more faithful reproduction of the original.

This post has been edited by seangan: Feb 18 2009, 03:26
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krabapple
post Feb 18 2009, 18:39
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QUOTE (seangan @ Feb 17 2009, 21:25) *
Iím an audiophile and I love vinyl but itís not because the sound is better. I like the whole experience of sitting down and putting on the record, just sitting there listening to it and then getting up again to change to the other side. While digital media is far superior, it seems a little more disposable and less precious.

Other vinyl loving friends think the sound is better because they compared a record on their turntable with the same recording on a CD deck played through the same amplifier / speaker set-up. The vinyl sounded better to their ears but I explained that they werenít actually comparing like with like as the turntable output passed through a pre-amp stage. I also explained that differences in the mastering processes didnít mean that the vinyl carried a more faithful reproduction of the original.



You, sir, are a mensch . (In case you aren't familiar with Yiddish, that's a good thing to be)
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Posts in this topic
- snoozer   Vinyl > Digital on HowStuffWorks   Feb 16 2009, 00:36
- - Mike Giacomelli   QUOTE (snoozer @ Feb 15 2009, 18:36) I...   Feb 16 2009, 01:03
- - Canar   It is completely, horribly wrong, down to the grap...   Feb 16 2009, 01:22
- - Axon   Here's what I put down on the contact us page....   Feb 16 2009, 08:51
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Axon @ Feb 16 2009, 02:51) This is...   Feb 18 2009, 18:35
|- - Axon   QUOTE (krabapple @ Feb 18 2009, 11:35) QU...   Feb 18 2009, 19:19
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE The waveform is a lie (CDs do not output squ...   Feb 17 2009, 20:51
- - AndyH-ha   Perhaps these have exceptionally low cost soundcar...   Feb 17 2009, 21:51
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Feb 17 2009, 15:51...   Feb 18 2009, 18:37
- - greynol   Well, there's gotta be a DAC, but it appears t...   Feb 17 2009, 22:19
- - Axon   If it really does look like that then it will have...   Feb 18 2009, 02:19
|- - greynol   QUOTE (Axon @ Feb 17 2009, 17:19) If it r...   Feb 18 2009, 02:52
- - Axon   Lavry's sampling paper goes over inherent atte...   Feb 18 2009, 03:09
- - seangan   There are two things you can tell your friend. Fir...   Feb 18 2009, 03:25
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (seangan @ Feb 17 2009, 21:25) Iím ...   Feb 18 2009, 18:39
- - greynol   That's an informative paper, Axon. Thanks...   Feb 18 2009, 03:27
- - 2Bdecided   Can't we break the link in the first post? I d...   Feb 18 2009, 11:39
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Doug, can you please dig into your work comp...   Feb 18 2009, 22:15
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Feb 18 2009, 16:15) QUOT...   Feb 24 2009, 22:05
- - Axon   Those are some pretty common cards. I did not expe...   Feb 18 2009, 23:02
- - Dynamic   Sorry to resurrect an oldish topic, but OMG! ...   Mar 3 2009, 21:24
- - Axon   There was a blind test conducted by a bunch of Vin...   Mar 3 2009, 22:00
- - Knowzy   QUOTE (Axon @ Feb 18 2009, 10:19) Mods: i...   Mar 4 2009, 19:53
- - TomasPin   Bumping this to report that article is still aroun...   Aug 5 2013, 23:20
- - AliceWonder   That article made me very angry. It brought up mem...   Mar 21 2014, 12:45
- - andy o   A lot of (all?) pseudosciences are very similar in...   Mar 21 2014, 16:57
- - polemon   QUOTE This means that, by definition, a digital re...   Mar 22 2014, 02:14
- - yourlord   Any time you come across crap like this, just link...   Mar 22 2014, 03:50
- - Glenn Gundlach   QUOTE (yourlord @ Mar 21 2014, 18:50) Any...   Mar 22 2014, 21:51


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