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Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by MajorDomo, Dec 28, 2014.
24/96 if you can do it.
No, I'm hearing a sucking sound.
Didn't you know that lo-fi is a hipster douche audio dream?
shhhh!!! do not tell an audiophile that.
Digital does not simulate a sine wave. It represents the sine wave as a discrete sequence of n-bit integers. The faithfulness of all this relies on good AD/DA chips and a good analog stage.
If you really want to see digital sampling in action try this. Get yourself an analog function generator and an analog oscilloscope. Run the function generator to the oscilloscope. What you observe should be a pure analog wave (sine, square, saw, etc . . .) Now, take the output of that function generator and run it into your soundcard's line-in. Record it and save it as a WAV. Now, hook the oscilloscope to your soundcard's line-out. Play the recorded waveform. What does it look like? It will look indistinguishable* from the pure analog waveform unless you used square or saw waveforms as those will look different due to the Gibbs Phenomenon.
I really suggest everyone who wants to know more about digital audio watch D/A and A/D | Digital Show and Tell.
Vinyl sound reproduction is a function of investment and quality turntables and styluses are a horrendous price. On the upside, vinyl doesn't rot apart in the case after ten years, unlike CDs.
Anyone who uses MP3s and yaps about the sound quality of vinyl is tone deaf. High frequencies in most compressed audio sound like they're playing through an aquarium and a metal rod. Lossless digital is the best option. CD should have been the king of the world forever, but the quality of the media is shameful so it couldn't compete with downloads.
It seems to me that the music industry is in an eternal state of flux, if people want to hop off the roller coaster and listen to vinyl, have at it. Good luck with the costs attached. I have a really good turntable and a really good stylus, I have thousands of old records. I sure as hell don't buy new stuff on record when I can get a lossless digital version that can be preserved for eternity if I maintain the data properly. Whether it's a CD rip or a lossless download.
MP3s and AACs sound like absolute shit though, you're cheating yourself if that's how you get your music.
Hehe, let me know how setting up that play list with 1000 albums on it goes one vinyl disk at a time. And my records always skip in the car, in the truck, at the gym, moving around my house....
Vinyl is capable of incredible quality - the problem is it's impractical to get there. You'll spend at least 1500 dollars to get close to the price/performance inflection point, a good phono stage like the Schiit Mani, a good tonearm, cartridge and needle on a decent TT, plus a record cleaner.
At that price range, DAC's and preamps are incredibly good and would outmatch Vinyl anyway, provided a well recorded source is available. You can get that level of sonic detail with a 400 dollar digital setup (Schiit Modi 2 Uber + pre-amp of your choice)
I review audio gear professionally, and while I have all the love in the world for Vinyl, the truly knowledgeable guys in the industry know it's just a way to profit from the well-moneyed nostalgic audiophile crowd. Even those in the press who crow about vinyl listen to digital more often than they admit, but they won't put that on the record, with the exception of Mikey Fremer who is a true vinyl purist.
I grew up with vinyl as well, it never sounded bad not did it pop or crackle.
Granted my dad did have a very good sound system and record player back in the day but I honestly can't say I grew up with shit sounding music.
Now the cheap cassette tapes I used to own, that is another story...
I hear it's a hipster thing
This thread is full of butt-hurt vinyl owners that can't reason objectively.
Vinyl went almost extinct for a reason. Looking back with rose colored glasses on is really easy but not practical.
It's a losing battle imo. We now have entire generations of people who've never heard much or anything beyond MP3's. and who believe $1000 buys a high-end analog audio system. The one thing I've found in common among all these people is complete inexperience with truly high-end analog audio.
If you haven't seen it already, this is one of my favorite sites on the internet. Find a digital work you already own, and compare their analog captures. Admittedly it's not a fair fight, since the source material is analog, but you can easily get a tangible feel for what is actually lost in the digital transfer process.
you want real analog sound go 1" reel to reel mag tape
The truth is usually a little bit of collumn a and b. Records degrade over time because the tip of the needle is littler cutting a little bit of the plastic away as it passes. The contact at high speed is what vibrateds the diamond head like when you rub your finger on the lip of a wet glass. Plastic also melts and warps over time if not stores in a perfectly dry 60 degree sealed container... most people with records store them in a cabinet in a stack or rack. Also if you are not using a tube amp it does not matter that sound is sine wave because only tube amps use the sine wave to reproduce sound the rest are digital or modulated. A sound engineer could explain better. But essentially a digital copy that maintains at least 80% of the details will sound better going through cheap but high range speakers than a worn out record player or record going to the same speakers. The digital will sound the same every time the record will sound the best the second time it is played then get worse from there the first it needs to be broken in. Personally I find 96 / 24 and opamps to be the best sound I can tell the difference of, but a lot of stuff is only mastered at 44 / 16 and then a record player with the reqired diamond tip and tube amp still is very simalar to a digital sound card with opamps and the same tube amp or even just really nice speakers. I used to love messing with people when I had my auzentech card I could put on high quality digital files made from the records and just putting on the record player and switching the sound source half way through as long as they saw the record player moving they could not tell th difference unless they were started to far apart.
Welcome back to the 1960s with vinyl records.
Coming soon: 8-track tapes to make a comeback.
Most these Hipsters are likely using their Beats headphones to listening to their vinyl on a USB record player that's plugged into their iMac. Although they are probably still trying to figure out how to rip the albums to 128 bit mp3's with iTunes so they can put this amazing sounding music on their iPhones.
I'm surprised they haven't made scratch proof records by using something other than vinyl.
One thing I think a lot of people don't think about is different people have different levels of hearing. This is similar to arguments about FPS on computers IMO. You also have training. Some people say speakers need to be burned in, others say its more your ears burning in. I know for sure a lot of people simply cannot hear things others can. We should be targeting audio quality at the best not the lowest.
My point is IMO we should always strive for maximum fidelity so that we can make sure that the bottle neck in every system is only the humans. In the case of audio a lossless flac is not that big and there is very little excuse for not using it other than the entire recording industry is going to love reselling everyone their same music again in a couple years as high fidelity.
To extend my point a lot of people say they cannot tell the difference but how many people have a sound system that can keep up? Very few. It is also worth mentioning that some songs or sounds simply show off a good sound system and a good ear way better than others. When I got my better sound system I found myself for the first time interested in a lot of songs outside my typical genre. I still think the sound system (speakers, amplifier) are the weakest link in almost every system out there vinyl or digital and I see no reason why a proper processor should not be able to make a digital file sound like a record if people really like that sound.
FLAC file size not that big? Lol? Mine are a minimum of 20-25MB per song, with some up to 60MB. That might work if you only have a couple hundred songs, but once you get into the 10's of thousands that's not going to work anymore. A good quality MP3 is around 7-10MB. FLAC is good for storing the original files, but for transporting on mobile devices it's not the best choice.
Sometimes I even transcode my FLAC files to MP3 for mobile devices.
Super Audio CD and DVD-A both got a good push at one point and just never really caught on in a big way. I think the main issue is every format that has ever been thrown at as has tried to dominate and become a standard. With both of those digital hi quality standards pretty much dying it shouldn't be a shock that more people turned backwards to vinyl.
There are more digital devices today capable of higher fidelity playback, perhaps things like pono push more of the mainstream music industry to release higher quality digital recordings... maybe even convince some of the industries mainstream producers to rethink the volume wars. The simple fact that 30 year old recordings sound better to most people then anything recent is a sad state of a affairs.
Anyway I think there is a place for both formats... I won't be retiring my Rega anytime soon. I enjoy sitting and listening to me favorite albums. Playing them on vinyl is just more fun.
Still having the option to own those same albums on a near perfect high quality digital transfer from the masters is still the holy grail. Butchered compressed versions sold to me in the form of a standard developed in the 1970s with the limitations of early optical lasers in the form of redbook... or a in the digital mp3 format standardized in 93 to do nothing more then encode data with the same fidelity so we could squeeze it though phone lines just won't do anymore. In the age of Blu Ray anad HD downloads I think most people are starting to demand a better music experience.
The vinyl is cool stuff is fun... and interesting as of course the format has a ton of issues as a mainstream option. What its rebirth should clue the music industry into is the simple fact that consumers want better quality. They need to dump the idea of a standards war. SCD and DvDA failed... and Blu may have destroyed HDDVD still its main rival isn't physical. On mass they should all adopt a practice of using an open format like Flac, they where dragged kicking and screaming to MP3. It is time for true high definition music to be the standard.
that's hardcore, I only have a 1/4" half track Otari MX5050BIII
My preference for Vinyl comes not from the format, the "warmth" of the sound, the any millions of adjectives people use to try to justify why they think it sounds better...
It comes from physics.
Because CD (44kHz/16Bit) allows for much denser sound, steadily from the mid to late 90's onward, everything has been compressed and brickwalled to shit all for the sake of making sure that song sounds louder on the radio because for most "louder = better"... CD audio is capable of amazing dynamics yet they seem to want to completely destroy whatever breathing room exists when they master audio digitally.
And because everything is so heavily compressed, so up front and in your face... lower fidelity, lossy formats like MP3s tend to sound like it's an inch away from noise on good sound setups. Even MP3, a lossy format, can sound pretty good... but music has been getting ruined for the sake of loudness.
If you were to put the exact same audio mix for digital into a vinyl master, the needles would fly off the groove. As such, vinyl mixes tend to be less compressed, less limited and more "airy" with the dynamics... Where you can actually hear the space in between the beats, the lingering notes as the strings on a guitar slowly decay after being strummed, etc...
That is the only reason I prefer Vinyl. An aging format that has approximately 40db worth of dynamic range due to the noise floor of the needle dragging on a slab of plastic... because it has more dynamic range than current mastering practices on most digital formats.
You want a really, really good example of how bad it's gotten? Depeche Mode, Playing the Angel. The CD is unlistenable. It distorts in parts of the mix on every track because the waveforms flattened out due to the amount of compression used. The vinyl mix however, sounds great compared to that.
In general terms of mastering practices on CD Audio, 1997-1998 and on was when it started getting really bad. Some labels have since taken a step back away from that trend but for a lot of music... the damage is already done. People have equated louder is better and there's not much one can do to change the minds of the uninformed masses.
I'm not a vinyl user myself, but I think if people want to criticize it, they should at least debate about the actual reasons why enthusiastic audio fans prefers vinyl rather than claiming it's merely for nostalgic or hipster reasons. From my understanding, people who go for this format today are aiming for the most accurate and natural sound reproduction. I believe it has something to do with analog-digital conversion.
At the end of the day, different people enjoy their music differently. Most people are happy listening to music on their smart phone with it's stock earphone. Some people like myself only go as far as getting a decent sound card and headphone, while some would spend money on expensive audio hardwares just for music. In all of these different setup, obviously the source that matters would be different too. CD audio is enough for a decent setup, but if you're going all out for the best audio reproduction, might as well get the best source you can.
You have no clue what you're talking about. Next you're going to say that humans can't see more than sixty frames per second.
Because then they'd complain that it doesn't sound as warm because it's not the same material.
I'm sure there are some meticulously maintained collections of vinyl albums that sound amazing when played back on a $3,000 turntable hooked up to a nice tube amp and some decent speakers for another 4 or 5 grand. Most people aren't willing to drop the cash AND treat a vinyl album that carefully.The simple fact is, that cost aside, most people do not want to treat an album like a museum piece just so it doesn't get screwed up. Because it doesn't matter how fancy your audio playback equipment is, it does no good if the media ends up like crap.
That's what Kyle was talking about. Hardly anyone "back in the day" treated playing an album like some sort of ritual to handle a painting by Davinci. To be frank, even doing that today would be a massive pain in the as, with the point of it simply being the ritual itself rather than actually listening to music.
If people want to do that for some reason, fine. It's not like anyone is getting hurt by it. But stop pretending your OCD rituals for vinyl playback are somehow superior to a decent lossless recording played back on the same equipment.
This thread shows more of human nature than of audio science.
In protuguese we call these people "audiotas", a mix of audiophiles and idiots.
They come in various formats:
There is the analog audiota, which swears that analog audio is better than digital. It is useless to argue with them that digital audio introduces less artifacts in the record than analog.
Then we have the sample rate audiota, which claims that 192Khz audio is better than 44KHz. This one does not know math nor science, and refuses to read a wikipedia article on the human hearing sustem limits or signal sampling methods.
The worst kind is the "high end" audiota. they refuse to submit themselves to blind tests, and swear by their $1k cables, power filters and golden DACs.
As a MD, the funniest thing about audiots is that thye become more purist and radical the older they become, and claim louder that THEY can feel the difference while the rest of the world can't, meanwhile their ears become less and less capable of actually discerning sound differences.
I once heard a tale of an audiot "calibrating" their speakers when the wife comes complaining about the F noise...which he couldn't hear because it was outside his frequency range. People that claim that 192KHz sounds better that 44Khz or that " high end" cables sound better that $1 cables are more often than not utterly incapable of hearing 10Khz+ sounds
It is funny how nobody agrees on digital audio but hands down, digital video wins.
Nobody is pining for the return of CRT monitors despite the fact that a quality CRT delivered BETTER image quality than a LCD is capable of.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and truly so is high fidelity audio.
For the kids that usually listened to CD on boom boxes; a MP3 may sound like gold.
Then Uncle hippie pulls out his vinyl record and says "Kid, you ain't heard nothing till you hear this".
And hears a wet mix for a LP record; it sounds much better than the MP3 or a crappy CD boom box.
As I said before; the return of vinyl records is NOTHING but hipster fodder.
What it must be like to live in such a tiny box.
More like 30+ years in the electronic/technical field.
I use to sell and repair record turntables, amps, receivers, CD, Laserdisc, reel to reel recorders, etc, etc.
Same type guys would purchase the gold plated magnetic cartridge connectors and and would come in the next time saying "WOW, it sounds much better now!"
As far as I knew, tube amps were always expensive and I knew a few audiophiles that claimed they sounded better. I never could tell the difference. My parents also say their records are better sounding.... Guess it's because I grew up on CDs and MP3s. I will never know what it is.
The main reason why I still buy vinyl is for the album art. We've lost some of the best visual art when we moved to cd.
This argument is silly no matter which forum it pops up on. The medium is much less important than the skills of the engineers recording/mastering/converting the audio. Equipment DEFINITELY comes into the equation as well, but the final storage medium... Not so much. There are incredible sounding vinyl records, CDs, high-bit-rate or lossless compressed audio, and tape. The average "audiophile" that makes outrageous claims is just silly. Personal preference, and one's own hearing characteristics play a huge role in how something sounds too. Saying records sound like shit though is very short-sighted. A good turntable with a good needle and a good record sounds exquisite. Digital audio played through high-end DACs is equally good.
The things that are going to make audio sound bad, is bad compression, bad gain staging, bad converters, bad needles, bad amplification / speakers/monitors, unskilled engineers, etc.
You may prefer one technology over the other, but a good tube amp is going to sound good. A good solid state is going to sound good. A good reel-to-reel will sound good, a good MP3 or Flac will sound good. Bad ones will sound bad. Simple as that.
I design analog synthesizers, and proper component choices without a doubt make big differences in the sound coming out. Circuit design also plays a big part. There is something to using high-end parts. There's also a point of diminishing returns and that tends to end up where all of the fanatics are. You don't need a $50K audio system to reproduce music well. However, a $25 MP3 player is still going to sound like a $25 MP3 player.
There's a lot of grey area with this stuff. Anyone too far to either side is silly.
Also, spouted "audiophile" drivel aside, if audio is someone's hobby/profession/passion then by all means, put every last penny you have into it. It may be a little silly in some ways, but if it makes you happy, and you get what you want out of it, I don't see the problem.
Sorry, but you're conflating "CD-quality" with "digital".
While CD is a digital format, it's not the sum of digital audio.
It's similar to PC gaming. Some people swear by 144 fps, some claims we won't see any difference above 75 fps, while others are more than satisfied with 60 fps. And you'll see a bunch of people furiously arguing about this on the internet, everyone trying to change the other person's belief. (Thankfully I haven't seen anyone calling 144 fps a hipster thing though).
The whole argument is just silly. I don't understand why people spend so much time and effort trying to change other people's opinion when it comes to very subjective matters involving our visual or audio sensory. If someone is going to spend plenty of money on top tier audio equipment, might as well get the best format. Who cares if our ears can actually perceive the difference or not. Just like if someone is going to spend on a PC that can render games at 3 digits fps figures, might as well get a monitor that can display that.
I buy and listen to vinyl because it's a more interactive experience when listening to music. I don't always want to put in earbuds and zone out to 5k songs on shuffle.
Speaking of dead tech, Youtube needs to ban uploading of new SD videos.
True on your first claim, because as for your second, practically CD is the current limit for the digital consumer market, just as vinyl is far from the sum of analog audio.
I'll agree that an old, well mastered, LP sounds VASTLY better than any dynamically crushed digital device or medium.
Please don't confuse choice of data storage medium with the dynamic issue.
Vinyl vs CD vs. 24/96 (etc.) has nothing to to with the asinine Loudness War.
Indeed, I strongly suspect that these newly pressed LPs will be mastered with the same crushed-to-death sources that are used to write digital storage devices. The buyer will wind up with the worst of both worlds - the noise, fragility and somewhat reduced fidelity and DR of a record, combined with the Wall of Noise effect that makes so much of modern music unlistenable.