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Vinyl is equivalent to which digital bit-depth and sampling rate?
pdq
post Mar 24 2012, 14:05
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If such jitter were a problem (which it is not) then it is conceivable that a reference tone could be added into the analog signal, then filtered out of the digital data. Of course, the analog reference tone is likely to have much more jitter than the A/D.
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Ethan Winer
post Mar 24 2012, 20:05
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QUOTE (icstm @ Mar 22 2012, 07:45) *
all those ppl who were happy with Vinyl are now seeking better than CD sound quality through their SACDs and the general discussion on >16/44 formats!

Yes, and I see this in pro audio circles too. The same recording engineers who love analog tape lament that even the best digital converters aren't transparent enough for them. Sheesh.

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DonP
post Mar 25 2012, 12:41
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QUOTE (pdq @ Mar 24 2012, 09:05) *
If such jitter were a problem (which it is not) then it is conceivable that a reference tone could be added into the analog signal, then filtered out of the digital data. Of course, the analog reference tone is likely to have much more jitter than the A/D.


No reason to think A/D jitter is any less of a problem than D/A jitter. Just like non-OFC power lines going down the highway are just as much a problem as a non-gourmet power line from the wall to your amplifier.
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Woodinville
post Mar 26 2012, 10:03
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QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Mar 24 2012, 12:05) *
QUOTE (icstm @ Mar 22 2012, 07:45) *
all those ppl who were happy with Vinyl are now seeking better than CD sound quality through their SACDs and the general discussion on >16/44 formats!

Yes, and I see this in pro audio circles too. The same recording engineers who love analog tape lament that even the best digital converters aren't transparent enough for them. Sheesh.

--Ethan


It's amazing what you can do with a bit of oversampling and M/S distortion.


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Fandango
post Mar 26 2012, 10:18
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QUOTE (icstm @ Mar 22 2012, 13:45) *
^^^ so isn't quite funny that all those ppl who were happy with Vinyl are now seeking better than CD sound quality through their SACDs and the general discussion on >16/44 formats!

Yep, they live and breathe the excluded middle. laugh.gif
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 15 2012, 12:42
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QUOTE (Fandango @ Mar 26 2012, 05:18) *
QUOTE (icstm @ Mar 22 2012, 13:45) *
^^^ so isn't quite funny that all those ppl who were happy with Vinyl are now seeking better than CD sound quality through their SACDs and the general discussion on >16/44 formats!

Yep, they live and breathe the excluded middle. laugh.gif


It's all about bragging rights.
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icstm
post Apr 16 2012, 09:49
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QUOTE (Woodinville @ Mar 26 2012, 09:03) *
QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Mar 24 2012, 12:05) *
QUOTE (icstm @ Mar 22 2012, 07:45) *
all those ppl who were happy with Vinyl are now seeking better than CD sound quality through their SACDs and the general discussion on >16/44 formats!

Yes, and I see this in pro audio circles too. The same recording engineers who love analog tape lament that even the best digital converters aren't transparent enough for them. Sheesh.

--Ethan


It's amazing what you can do with a bit of oversampling and M/S distortion.
I am clearly having a Monday morning sydrome...
Why are they using those things? unsure.gif
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cdroid
post Yesterday, 07:36
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So I didn't read each and every one of these posts, but I wanted to weigh in on something that I thought would help your understanding. Most of what I am about to say is a summary of information I got from a conversation with one of my audio engineering instructors. The rest is information from various course books I have had to read as well as some of my own conclusions from all this material.

Your original question was what the sample rate and bit depth equivalents are for vinyl, and someone already accurately answered that it is 44k and 12 bit. Your next question was whether or not someone would just as much enjoy a digital recording at the same specs and the answer is too complicated to have a yes or no answer, but theoretically yes. Here is some elaboration on the subject. For starters, I will point out two factors that commonly cause vinyl to have a "better" sound than digital formats.
1. The most common way we listen to music now is by MP3 or some other "lossy" file type. What I mean by "lossy" is that an MP3 (and some other common file types) are actually compressed; the file has pieces of information that are removed and then approximately replaced during playback. The problem with this is that the lost information is never truly recovered with great accuracy after it has been compressed. We also need a DAC (digital to analog converter) to play back digital files. The DAC takes the ones and zeros stored on the computer and translates them to sound. Most people are simply using the DAC that is built into their portable MP3 player or computer, which typically doesn't sound very good.
2. Vinyl playback systems have a magnetic system that actually smooths over the choppiness of what can be considered gaps between the bit positions and samples. High quality DACs would have similar responses but as I have already discussed, most people do not use high quality DACs.

So what I hope I just properly explained is that although digital has by far surpassed analog, vinyl typically sounds better because the digital delivery systems we use have not caught up to the quality that is available.
Let me suggest that any good audio system will have good preamps, good amps, and good speakers. A good vinyl system will also have high quality cartridges and a good digital system will have high quality, lossless audio files and good DACs. Failing to have high quality components in either playback system will cause it to sound inferior when compared to the other.
Also consider that although digital recording and storage has surpassed analog, the digital signal processing has not yet surpassed the quality of analog signal processing. Consider that a song completely recorded and mixed in the box (on a computer with no analog gear besides the ADC and DAC) will sound inferior to the same song mixed on comparable analog gear. Professional studios will typically have all their microphones run through an analog soundboard with the direct outs of each channel running to a Pro Tools HD rig where it is recorded. Then to mix the Pro Tools HD rig is sent back to the channel where the audio engineer will mix (sometimes aided by plugins in Pro Tools) on the analog board with analog gear inserted on the channels as need. A stereo mix-down will be recorded back to the Pro Tools HD rig instead of to tape. A digital recording will likely not sound better than an analog recording if the quality analog gear is absent. However, plugins are catching up as more processing power becomes available and many plugins have become indistinguishable from their analog counterparts to the untrained ear.

Now I hope I can explain why digital actually is better than vinyl. For starters, Vinyl can be scratched and warped while these and other imperfections are not found in digital. Also, it only takes 44k and 12 bit to surpass analog, but modern Pro Tools HD rigs can actually go up to 192k and 32bit. With a high quality playback system, a lossless audio file with these specs will blow any analog system out of the water. Also, vinyl tends to have a serious drop-off in frequency response after about 17k. You'll notice older people typically prefer vinyl, but that's because you tend to lose hearing over 16k as you age. I would also speculate that they've been listening to vinyl for long enough that the imperfections (like the pops and clicks and crackling of vinyl that I don't really enjoy) have actually become part of the musical experience to them. Digital audio obviously doesn't have this 17k drop-off, so to younger ears there is actually more information on digital audio that can be defined in layman's terms as 'air' or 'presence'. This would greatly increase the tone of a digital recording since many of those tones above 17k are part of the harmonic overtone series on an instrument (I won't even try to explain that one, google it if you don't know it) which would make a recording sound closer to the live performance.

Now there is one more thing to consider about the experience of listening to a vinyl, and I've already touched on the idea that perhaps imperfections have been ingrained as part of the music. It is true that harmonic distortions found in analog gear are sonically pleasing, but we can still experience those tones either in the signal processing stage of mixing or after playback by using tube amps or preamps and other processors after the DAC.
What we need to consider is that music is inherently a spiritual, for lack of a better word, experience. We describe music as being part of your soul, part of that illogical part of you that can't be monitored as brain activity. Music has a quality that is sacred. By listening to music on low quality systems and by putting it everywhere (in the car, in the grocery store, on our commercials, literally everywhere; even in places that drag the music through the mud) we've taken away this sacred quality of music.
On top of that, we turntables are typically plugged into high quality sound systems. Digital audio is usually compressed and played back through your iPod on apple headphones. We've devalued our music this way. If you put on a vinyl, you have to work a little bit to hear the music. First you have to find the vinyl you want and you can't just load up your favorite playlist. Then you have to listen to that album; otherwise you must drop the needle on the song you want and risk damaging your album. You also must typically clean the vinyl with a proper cleaning device and then your vinyl is played back on a high quality system. Going through this whole process physically and mentally prepares you to enjoy the music.
If you really want to enjoy digital music, you must similarly prepare yourself physically and mentally to appreciate the music on a high quality system.

I hope I have done a good job in clarifying all the discussion around vinyl and digital and explained what other people might not have been able to.
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Kohlrabi
post Yesterday, 08:59
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QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
1. The most common way we listen to music now is by MP3 or some other "lossy" file type. What I mean by "lossy" is that an MP3 (and some other common file types) are actually compressed; the file has pieces of information that are removed and then approximately replaced during playback. The problem with this is that the lost information is never truly recovered with great accuracy after it has been compressed. We also need a DAC (digital to analog converter) to play back digital files. The DAC takes the ones and zeros stored on the computer and translates them to sound. Most people are simply using the DAC that is built into their portable MP3 player or computer, which typically doesn't sound very good.
Everything mixed up with everything else. First, lossy compression is not a huge problem, and properly mastered music from CD, converted to MP3s, will blow any Vinyl record out of the water. And I don't know how you get the impression that most DACs are bad. There might be some bad ones around, but it's even more difficult and challenging setting up a good enough Vinyl playback system. So I can just as well argue that "most people" who listen to Vinyl are getting a subpar experience as well. We cannot know what people use, but there are enough good DACs around.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
2. Vinyl playback systems have a magnetic system that actually smooths over the choppiness of what can be considered gaps between the bit positions and samples. High quality DACs would have similar responses but as I have already discussed, most people do not use high quality DACs.
The quality of even shitty current PC onboard audio DACs far surpasses the theoretical possibilities of Vinyl. And a tiny Sansa Clip+ will beat every Vinyl setup imaginable.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
So what I hope I just properly explained is that although digital has by far surpassed analog, vinyl typically sounds better because the digital delivery systems we use have not caught up to the quality that is available.
No, digital music reproduction has surpassed Vinyl ages ago. The problem is the production/mastering quality of digital recordings.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
Also consider that although digital recording and storage has surpassed analog, the digital signal processing has not yet surpassed the quality of analog signal processing.
Sadly, I don't have any experience in that, but I very much doubt that.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
Now I hope I can explain why digital actually is better than vinyl. For starters, Vinyl can be scratched and warped while these and other imperfections are not found in digital. Also, it only takes 44k and 12 bit to surpass analog, but modern Pro Tools HD rigs can actually go up to 192k and 32bit. With a high quality playback system, a lossless audio file with these specs will blow any analog system out of the water.
Those extra bits are great for processing and production, but will add nothing to the perceptible audio quality. "Redbook" 16 bit and 44.1kHz is good enough for our species.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
By listening to music on low quality systems and by putting it everywhere (in the car, in the grocery store, on our commercials, literally everywhere; even in places that drag the music through the mud) we've taken away this sacred quality of music.
The current problem with modern music is not whether digital is "good enough", or whether "the people" have "good enough" gear, but the production quality of music. Dont' blame the recipient, the customer, for the bad quality of music. The responsible parties are producers, audio engineers, and artists. The customer can just buy what's out there, but the average production quality (in certain genres) has steadily fallen since the early 90s.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 08:36) *
On top of that, we turntables are typically plugged into high quality sound systems. Digital audio is usually compressed and played back through your iPod on apple headphones. We've devalued our music this way. If you put on a vinyl, you have to work a little bit to hear the music. First you have to find the vinyl you want and you can't just load up your favorite playlist. Then you have to listen to that album; otherwise you must drop the needle on the song you want and risk damaging your album. You also must typically clean the vinyl with a proper cleaning device and then your vinyl is played back on a high quality system. Going through this whole process physically and mentally prepares you to enjoy the music.
If you really want to enjoy digital music, you must similarly prepare yourself physically and mentally to appreciate the music on a high quality system.
My opinion is that the whole mystifying of the playback experience is audiophile nonsense talk. You aren't appreciating the music more by using an inferior and inconvenient playback system, you're just cultivating an elitist aura. Everybody can do as he or she pleases, by all means, but the implied sense of superiority by some Vinyl enthusiasts is ridiculous. Be wary, from my experience, if something is termed "audiophile", it sure is special, inconvenient, and sounds bad.

This post has been edited by Kohlrabi: Yesterday, 09:05


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mjb2006
post Yesterday, 09:15
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cdroid, welcome to the forum. You will find that we are not perfect, but we generally don't allow people to get away with repeating folklore as fact, and your post is full of "audiophile" red flags. Some things you do get right, but others, not so much.

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 00:36) *
Most people are simply using the DAC that is built into their portable MP3 player or computer, which typically doesn't sound very good.

It "doesn't sound very good"? Really? In what way? DAC technology has been pretty stable for 20, 25 years. Has there been a sudden decline in the quality of DACs lately?

QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 00:36) *
Vinyl playback systems have a magnetic system that actually smooths over the choppiness of what can be considered gaps between the bit positions and samples. High quality DACs would have similar responses

Well, every phonographic stylus, magnetic or not, traces the groove continuously, producing an analog waveform (or pair of waveforms, for stereo). However, the notion that there's something to "smooth" is a myth. If the waveform is sampled at a particular rate (44100 Hz, for example), then the motion that the stylus is subjected to between the sample points only contributes to frequency content above one-half the sample rate (e.g., frequencies above 22050 Hz, well above the limits of human hearing).

It's kind of a mess, but you should look over Vinyl Myths page in the wiki before making any more dubious claims vinyl.

Also, even if you know some of this stuff already, please take the time to review these presentations by someone way smarter than you and me put together:


QUOTE
Consider that a song completely recorded and mixed in the box (on a computer with no analog gear besides the ADC and DAC) will sound inferior to the same song mixed on comparable analog gear.

You have not defined inferior, so your statement is meaningless. There will be differences, sure, and you may have a preference for one over the other, but how is your preferred sound superior and the other inferior? (rhetorical question, really)

QUOTE
modern Pro Tools HD rigs can actually go up to 192k and 32bit


True, and 32-bit is actually floating-point so it has exponentially greater resolution than 16 or 24-bit integer, but what's the point if it all sounds the same? Do we need ultraviolet, infrared, X-rays and gamma rays in our photo albums, too?

Might as well add to your reading list:


QUOTE
Vinyl tends to have a serious drop-off in frequency response after about 17k.

So does human hearing. As for the frequency limits of vinyl, my understanding is that it really depends on how and when it was mastered, with what cutting equipment. Some cutters roll off within the upper range of human hearing like you say, but others extend a bit further into the ultrasonic territory.

This post has been edited by mjb2006: Yesterday, 09:17
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2Bdecided
post Yesterday, 10:23
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QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Sep 2 2014, 09:15) *
QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 00:36) *
Consider that a song completely recorded and mixed in the box (on a computer with no analog gear besides the ADC and DAC) will sound inferior to the same song mixed on comparable analog gear.

You have not defined inferior, so your statement is meaningless. There will be differences, sure, and you may have a preference for one over the other, but how is your preferred sound superior and the other inferior? (rhetorical question, really)
He's quoting a widely believed and spectacularly stupid opinion in the pro audio/mixing world: that somehow adding numbers (digital / In The Box) is genuinely inferior and lower quality than adding voltages (analogue / Out Of The Box). Even when the source is digital. Even when the "analogue" mixing requires D>A, mixing, A>D. There's a whole industry set up around providing analogue mixing devices for all-digital rigs.

Where the difference really sits is in the processing applied to the tracks and mix: essentially the comparison is between software plug-ins (in the box) and physical pieces of hardware (out of the box). Obviously these often sound different. It's hard to imagine the level of experimental controls you'd need to apply to ensure that they sounded the same (all other things being equal). Often people get a better result from a stand-alone piece of kit than from a DSP plug-in that some marketing department said was equivalent. This should surprise no one. Sometimes the kit is simply better (not in terms of 24-bit vs 32-bit minutia, but in terms of doing the broad job better), sometimes the fact it's separate means it has buttons and dials which enable the human operator to do a better job, even if the actual processing (if you set the same parameters in the software DSP "equivalent" was the same).

The bizarre thing is that there are many people who call themselves audio engineers who attribute the difference in sound, not to all the above, but to adding voltages rather than numbers.

It's a strange world. And, like the audiophool world, where there's money to be made from their lack of understanding, equipment manufacturers are more than happy to indulge it. A business that only sells to people with a perfect graphs of science and blind testing, who also happen to have excellent hearing and discernment, plus the funds to make expensive purchases - that business is not going to be nearly as profitable as the one that takes money from anyone willing to spend it.

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Yesterday, 16:10
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QUOTE (cdroid @ Sep 2 2014, 02:36) *
So I didn't read each and every one of these posts, but I wanted to weigh in on something that I thought would help your understanding. Most of what I am about to say is a summary of information I got from a conversation with one of my audio engineering instructors. The rest is information from various course books I have had to read as well as some of my own conclusions from all this material.


The following post might be entitled "Misapprehension city". ;-)

QUOTE
Your original question was what the sample rate and bit depth equivalents are for vinyl, and someone already accurately answered that it is 44k and 12 bit.


Oh, someone was being optimistic about vinyl?

QUOTE
Your next question was whether or not someone would just as much enjoy a digital recording at the same specs and the answer is too complicated to have a yes or no answer, but theoretically yes. Here is some elaboration on the subject. For starters, I will point out two factors that commonly cause vinyl to have a "better" sound than digital formats.


Cut to the chase. If the vinyl version of a song is well mastered, and the digital version is badly mastered then the vinyl version may be able to overcome of of the inherent sonic detriments that are part and parcel of vinyl and actually sound better. That is about it. There is a reason why vinyl was dumped by just about everybody with a brain in the 1980s and it has to do with bad sound quality.


QUOTE
1. The most common way we listen to music now is by MP3 or some other "lossy" file type. What I mean by "lossy" is that an MP3 (and some other common file types) are actually compressed; the file has pieces of information that are removed and then approximately replaced during playback. The problem with this is that the lost information is never truly recovered with great accuracy after it has been compressed. We also need a DAC (digital to analog converter) to play back digital files. The DAC takes the ones and zeros stored on the computer and translates them to sound. Most people are simply using the DAC that is built into their portable MP3 player or computer, which typically doesn't sound very good.


That would be two common misapprehensions in one.

(1) Common lossy file formats are now highly perfected and if you give them a reasonable number of bits to play with and a good encoder the sound quality absolutely and positively blows vinyl into the next universe.

(2) Common DACs are now also highly perfected and now we have to jump over several alternative universes to find one where DAC sound quality, even DACs in $40 digital players, are any kind of an audible problem.


I know the two most common technique to formulate the above misapprehensions which are to do sighted evaluations and to listen to people who do sighted evaluations. One is riskier and more commonly invalid than the other. ;-)


QUOTE
2. Vinyl playback systems have a magnetic system that actually smooths over the choppiness of what can be considered gaps between the bit positions and samples.


Misapprehension number 3: There are no gaps between the samples in a digital file.

QUOTE
High quality DACs would have similar responses but as I have already discussed, most people do not use high quality DACs.


Obviously, you've never done anything technical with digital audio or done any studies of it based on credible sources.

I just gotta give you some friendly advice. There are some people around here get impatient with the intellectually lazy and the otherwise intellectually challenged.


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mjb2006
post Today, 05:07
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 2 2014, 09:10) *
QUOTE
Your original question was what the sample rate and bit depth equivalents are for vinyl, and someone already accurately answered that it is 44k and 12 bit.


Oh, someone was being optimistic about vinyl?


The 12-bit number comes from digitally recording from a turntable (i.e., ripping vinyl). The recording software's peak meter shows that the noise floor, when the needle is playing an unmodulated part of the groove, hovers around something like 50 to 70 dB below peak, depending on I-don't-know-what. So that's why we say you need 10-12 bits or so, just to make sure you get everything above the noise floor. Really, though, that peak is dominated by the motor rumble and tonearm resonance. Roll off the EQ below 30 Hz and the peak drops quite a bit. What does this mean for the bit depth? Well, who knows. Maybe you need more bit depth. But then, music on vinyl generally is mastered as loud as possible to keep the SNR down, so maybe you need less.

Here's a recording I made of an unmodulated groove that takes up a whole side of a 12" record, for your analyzing pleasure: (click)
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