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Article: Why We Need Audiophiles, The subjective perspective
2tec
post Apr 16 2009, 14:55
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I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile, which clearly goes completely against the grain around here. For instance:

"We play my solid 256kbps VBR MP3 of "Heroes" off my iPod; it sounds like shit. Free of pops and crackles, yes, but completely lifeless, flat in every way. This is the detail that matters: Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air. It's crazy and I've never experienced anything like it." ~ Why we need audiophiles


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zipr
post Apr 16 2009, 19:30
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Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?

Do musicians listen to their own stuff on $350,000 equipment?
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krabapple
post Apr 17 2009, 16:45
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QUOTE (zipr @ Apr 16 2009, 14:30) *
Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?



James Boyk claims to have done one between CD and vinyl, long ago, but never published it in any detail (he says vinyl 'won'). I can't find any links to it, but he did release a 'demonstration' recording of sorts:

http://www.performancerecordings.com/albums.html

QUOTE
pr7lp (LP), pr7cd (CD): Boyk plays Mussorgsky 1991
Mussorgsky: "Pictures at an Exhibition"
Performer / Co-engineer / Producer / Album Notes

World's only comparison of (a) pure digital, (b) digital-from-analog, and © pure analog recordings, made at the same time from the same microphones; (a) and (b) on the CD, © on the LP. The analog master tape was the first tape made on MagnesaurusTM. From the album notes: "Interested listeners may use this double release of LP and CD to investigate some timely questions: Given an analog master tape, which medium preserves its virtues better, LP or CD? (Compare the LP with the analog half of the CD.) Does a CD sound better made from digital or analog master tape? (Compare the two versions on the CD.) And most important, which preserves the emotional impact of the music better, purely analog or purely digital recording? (Compare the LP with the digital half of the CD.)"





He also records with a modified tubed Ampex deck....

btw could someone translate the following into a dynamic range figure I can understand? It would appear to set an 'audiophile' bound for analog:


http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/rep-int.htm


QUOTE
REP: How does the noise measure out?

JB: Noise measurements are enough to drive anybody nuts. I can't come up with anything meaningful. What I want to do is the CCIR/ARM measurement that Dolby has promulgated, but I don't have the proper filter for that. My guess is that it's 67dB below 250n/W. (Complete specifications.) I'll tell you what I've learned, and I've looked into each of these questions elaborately: The most meaningful thing you can say about measuring noise is that with blank tape on the machine and the tape stopped, you read the noise off the playback electronics. Then you run the blank, unmodulated tape. Your tape-stop noise, playback electronics only, should be better than 10dB below the silent tape run noise at every point in the spectrum, looking at it with an FFT analyzer.
That's the goal. Then you turn on Record with the level pot down all the way. Now you have bias noise on there, and the record electronics, of course, and ideally it should not go up more than 4dB or 5dB above the blank tape playback noise.


REP: And that's mostly bias and tape modulation?

JB: Yes. Now that's the ideal. The theoretical is that it goes up 3dB. If you get 4dB or 5dB, you're doing great. But let's talk about dynamic range for a moment. The stock, factory 351 gives you a signal-to-noise of 60dB, very roughly. When you go to 1/2-inch tape, you gain 5dB. You ought to gain only 3dB because you've doubled the tape width. But the relevant thing is not the width of the tape; it's the width of the track. The 1/2-inch, 2-track tape uses the tape very effectively; 1/4inch, 2-track does not. When you compare track width instead of tape width, you see that 5 dB is what you should expect.

REP: What is the dynamic range of the machine?

JB: Using a peak meter at the Mastering Lab, we actually measured transients off tape, which are 14.6dB above 250n/W, clean. Absolutely not getting into the tape. Nobody would listen to it and say it was overmodulated, compressed. 14.6 above 250, which means it's 16.6 above 200, or 17.2 above 185n/W. That's almost unbelievable, and frankly a level that I didn't think tape could take. It's hot! With piano transients! I think part of that possibility, that advantage, is tube electronics, much more headroom and much more transient capabilities. It sounds marvelous.


This post has been edited by krabapple: Apr 17 2009, 16:58
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Posts in this topic
- 2tec   Article: Why We Need Audiophiles   Apr 16 2009, 14:55
- - lvqcl   QUOTE Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. Ne...   Apr 16 2009, 15:29
- - nig nig the conqueror   I just got through reading that and I HAD to come ...   Apr 16 2009, 15:31
- - Fandango   Hey , nig nig! How can you say that! They ...   Apr 16 2009, 15:44
|- - Nick.C   QUOTE (Fandango @ Apr 16 2009, 15:44) The...   Apr 16 2009, 19:46
- - Bodhi   If I had a $350,000 stereo system I wouldn...   Apr 16 2009, 16:03
- - krabapple   Sad to read how many commenters there thought it w...   Apr 16 2009, 16:16
|- - nig nig the conqueror   QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 16 2009, 11:16) Sa...   Apr 16 2009, 16:39
- - Arnold B. Krueger   Unlike most people who post here, I've had the...   Apr 16 2009, 16:32
|- - pdq   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 11...   Apr 16 2009, 16:54
||- - krabapple   IIRC (and I may not) in his 'real life' Fr...   Apr 16 2009, 17:02
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 10...   Apr 16 2009, 21:24
|- - shenzi   Elsewhere on the site someone posted a link to an ...   Apr 17 2009, 11:47
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (shenzi @ Apr 17 2009, 06:47) Elsew...   Apr 17 2009, 16:32
- - skelly831   I've been a Gizmodo reader for a while, but al...   Apr 16 2009, 16:41
- - 2Bdecided   I don't think it's that bad. If you want t...   Apr 16 2009, 16:44
|- - nig nig the conqueror   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 16 2009, 11:44) So...   Apr 16 2009, 16:50
- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Bodhi @ Apr 16 2009, 07:03) If I h...   Apr 16 2009, 17:04
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Ron Jones @ Apr 16 2009, 12:04) I...   Apr 16 2009, 18:03
- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (2tec @ Apr 16 2009, 06:55) They ...   Apr 16 2009, 18:04
|- - rpp3po   In the context of synesthesia the 3D metaphor is r...   Apr 16 2009, 19:06
||- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (rpp3po @ Apr 16 2009, 11:06) But i...   Apr 16 2009, 23:31
||- - benski   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 16 2009, 18:31...   Apr 17 2009, 00:40
||- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (benski @ Apr 16 2009, 16:40) The 4...   Apr 17 2009, 04:13
|- - Linux Zealot Troll   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 16 2009, 18:04...   Apr 18 2009, 22:29
- - caligae   This might finally give some insight to their obje...   Apr 16 2009, 18:35
- - 2Bdecided   But good systems with excellently matched speakers...   Apr 16 2009, 18:41
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 16 2009, 13:41) Bu...   Apr 16 2009, 21:49
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 16 2009, 20...   Apr 17 2009, 13:16
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 17 2009, 08:16) Le...   Apr 17 2009, 17:37
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 17 2009, 08:16) QU...   Apr 17 2009, 20:16
- - zipr   Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, a...   Apr 16 2009, 19:30
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (zipr @ Apr 16 2009, 14:30) Has the...   Apr 17 2009, 16:45
|- - Kees de Visser   QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 17 2009, 16:45) QU...   Apr 17 2009, 17:09
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 17 2009, 11:45) QU...   Apr 17 2009, 23:47
- - timcupery   synesthesia is a real thing, and the comparison ma...   Apr 16 2009, 20:22
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE I'm interested in what the HA community ...   Apr 16 2009, 21:17
- - Axon   I'm not really sure Fremer and Mahoney actuall...   Apr 16 2009, 21:24
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 16:24) QUOTE (...   Apr 17 2009, 17:02
- - Axon   Nope. According to Mejias, Fremer's a Jersey m...   Apr 16 2009, 21:51
- - SnTholiday   Do you think Fremer really gets into the music wit...   Apr 16 2009, 22:05
- - DVDdoug   2tec, Thanks for that post & link. Good stuf...   Apr 16 2009, 23:08
|- - carpman   QUOTE It's like when you go to the symphony, a...   Apr 17 2009, 08:30
- - Axon   I think it's abundantly clear that Fremer is a...   Apr 16 2009, 23:45
|- - /mnt   So if I upgrade my crappy PC speakers and my cheap...   Apr 17 2009, 02:01
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 18:45) I think...   Apr 17 2009, 17:14
|- - hybris   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 16 2009, 23:45) I think...   Apr 19 2009, 10:10
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (hybris @ Apr 19 2009, 04:10) Is th...   Apr 19 2009, 12:01
|- - hybris   QUOTE (cpchan @ Apr 19 2009, 12:01) QUOTE...   Apr 19 2009, 12:43
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (hybris @ Apr 19 2009, 06:43) Eatin...   Apr 19 2009, 13:20
|- - hybris   QUOTE (cpchan @ Apr 19 2009, 13:20) QUOTE...   Apr 19 2009, 18:55
- - B0RK   From what I have read , I have to say I see no pro...   Apr 17 2009, 00:56
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 19:56) From wh...   Apr 17 2009, 17:16
- - Axon   Calm down B0RK. (B0RK B0RK.) None of us are arguin...   Apr 17 2009, 01:11
- - greynol   Like the suggestion that an expensive hi-fi system...   Apr 17 2009, 01:18
- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 15:56) He is a...   Apr 17 2009, 02:38
- - shakey_snake   We need audiophools about as much as we need AIDS....   Apr 17 2009, 05:12
- - B0RK   Well fine thoughts expressed indeed . But I still...   Apr 17 2009, 05:13
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 23:13) I Still...   Apr 17 2009, 05:29
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 21:13) So I fe...   Apr 17 2009, 05:32
|- - greynol   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 21:13) Oh ...   Apr 17 2009, 06:35
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 20:13) Many of...   Apr 17 2009, 06:40
|- - Axon   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 16 2009, 23:13) I Still...   Apr 17 2009, 07:18
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 00:13) Oh ...   Apr 17 2009, 17:24
- - Dracaena   Hilarious. For $350k you could spend a good f...   Apr 17 2009, 07:36
- - MichaelW   @carpman One day you'll be old, fat, and in th...   Apr 17 2009, 09:11
|- - carpman   QUOTE (MichaelW @ Apr 17 2009, 08:11) One...   Apr 17 2009, 09:57
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE There is a cottage industry in the audiophil...   Apr 17 2009, 13:58
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Apr 17 2009, 07:58) I ...   Apr 17 2009, 14:38
- - B0RK   First, @2Bdecided ,Thanks you for bringing some mu...   Apr 17 2009, 21:14
|- - rpp3po   A post's length often inversely correlates wit...   Apr 17 2009, 21:53
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 13:14) Some vi...   Apr 17 2009, 23:12
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 12:14) for all...   Apr 17 2009, 23:23
- - pdq   This is very disappointing. Year after year the me...   Apr 17 2009, 21:40
- - Axon   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 17 2009, 10...   Apr 18 2009, 04:22
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 17 2009, 19:22) The dis...   Apr 18 2009, 05:50
- - B0RK   @Ron Jones well ...Now in your post you switched t...   Apr 18 2009, 06:15
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 22:15) So afte...   Apr 18 2009, 17:39
||- - chelgrian   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 18 2009, 16:39...   Apr 18 2009, 17:48
||- - Fandango   QUOTE (chelgrian @ Apr 18 2009, 18:48) So...   Apr 18 2009, 17:50
|- - Ron Jones   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 17 2009, 21:15) You...   Apr 18 2009, 20:17
|- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 01:15) This is...   Apr 19 2009, 06:07
- - botface   Just thought I'd throw in a couple of observat...   Apr 18 2009, 12:35
|- - [JAZ]   QUOTE (botface @ Apr 18 2009, 12:35) On t...   Apr 18 2009, 16:14
- - ShowsOn   QUOTE (2tec @ Apr 16 2009, 22:55) I'm...   Apr 18 2009, 13:40
|- - Axon   QUOTE (ShowsOn @ Apr 18 2009, 07:40) QUOT...   Apr 18 2009, 17:13
||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 18 2009, 12:13) QUOTE (...   Apr 18 2009, 23:42
||- - B0RK   QUOTE (kornchild2002 @ Apr 18 2009, 10:39) B0RK, y...   Apr 19 2009, 01:41
||- - Frumious B   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 20:41) That we...   Apr 19 2009, 04:05
||- - pdq   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 20:41) To trul...   Apr 19 2009, 04:55
|||- - B0RK   QUOTE (pdq @ Apr 18 2009, 21:55) It truly...   Apr 19 2009, 06:22
|||- - krabapple   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) But We ...   Apr 19 2009, 06:42
|||- - pdq   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) QUOTE (...   Apr 19 2009, 13:15
||- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 18:41) What...   Apr 19 2009, 06:36
||- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (B0RK @ Apr 18 2009, 20:41) To trul...   Apr 19 2009, 12:21
||- - Frumious B   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 19 2009, 07...   Apr 19 2009, 14:10
|- - Fandango   QUOTE (ShowsOn @ Apr 18 2009, 14:40) Frem...   Apr 18 2009, 17:43
|- - kornchild2002   QUOTE (Fandango @ Apr 18 2009, 09:43) Isn...   Apr 18 2009, 19:07
- - Frumious B   What I find ridiculous about this article is the c...   Apr 18 2009, 17:22
- - ShowsOn   QUOTE (Frumious B @ Apr 19 2009, 01:22) W...   Apr 19 2009, 04:58
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