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The best 'source' for music? Download 24 bit? Vinyl? Or ?

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2 hours ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

Sadly, that Dire Straits LP is the worst sounding one they ever produced. Love Over Gold, Making Movies, and Communique are far better IMHO. The self titled LP is not that great, but bad in a different way than BIA.....

 

Shakey

New or vintage vinyl ?

 

I have it both on vinyl and cd...

 

that album blows me a away...

 

my table is down .... I will have it up and running... and will do a a/b...

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Hi Bruce,

 

Thanks -- I don't know anything about non-classical music, don't listen carefully enough to it to judge digital vs analogue.  I just believe that every clearly digital classical LP I've ever listened to has had the same negative characteristics that I tried to spell out here.  I've run across a few classical LPs that were made in the 1970s and 80s that had the same symptoms and tend to believe they were digital masquerading as analog vinyl.  I had to get rid of those too.  I'm not the only fan who thinks that, BTW.

 

I absolutely do NOT have the same reaction to well-recorded CDs and DVDs, so there must be something evil that specifically.creeps into digital LPs.

 

I don't recall any openly digital classical LPs that I thought sounded great.  For some reason.

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That may be the case. Using my old  offering of classical 10 lp's Masterpieces(1980's earlier) as a standard reference cannot answer to the digital offerings but to say, there well may be a discerenable ... diff. in hearing of.

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4 hours ago, LarryC said:

Hi Bruce,

 

Thanks -- I don't know anything about non-classical music, don't listen carefully enough to it to judge digital vs analogue.  I just believe that every clearly digital classical LP I've ever listened to has had the same negative characteristics that I tried to spell out here.  I've run across a few classical LPs that were made in the 1970s and 80s that had the same symptoms and tend to believe they were digital masquerading as analog vinyl.  I had to get rid of those too.  I'm not the only fan who thinks that, BTW.

 

I absolutely do NOT have the same reaction to well-recorded CDs and DVDs, so there must be something evil that specifically.creeps into digital LPs.

 

I don't recall any openly digital classical LPs that I thought sounded great.  For some reason.

 

I listen mainly to classical and jazz, with a few film soundtracks.

 

The few Lps I have that are marked digital aren't very good.  There always were some analog Lps that were bad.  OTOH, the typical LP was pretty good, and a few were great, including ordinary labels and specialty ones, like 35 mm magnetic film recordings to Lp, Direct to Disk, etc.  One of the best Lps I have is a mono  Westminster Classical Sampler from the late '50s.  Starting in the mid '60s, I used Thorens turntables, SME arms, and a succession of Ortofon cartridges.

 

Many CDs are good, and some are harsh.  I like multichannel, and most SACDs I have are excellent.  Blu-ray movies almost always have good sound.

 

During a bad period on my life sound-wise, I bought a cassette recording of Mishima.   Even though it was a lowly cassette, I loved it.  Then when I "went digital" I bought a CD of it.  The CD seemed harsh, no matter what tone control EQ I used.  Then I got Audyssey ... same speakers, room, treatment, layout, etc.  The CD was no longer harsh.  I use either Audyssey Flat or Audyssey Reference, depending on the recording (Mishima needed the 2 dB "midrange compensation" dip at 2K, and the gradual treble roll-off, - 2dB at 10K, of Audyssey Reference), and I have a probably permanent subwoofer boost of 6 dB, AFTER Audyssey calibration. 

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Larry, I haven't had much time to go back over the history, but I believe a lot of this has to do with the early digital recorders, which were only 13 bit with a 32khz sampling freq. The technology was changing fast (still is, but the basics are more solid and understood and accomplished now).

 

I don't doubt what you hear, and acoustic music is far more difficult to reproduce accurately, i.e., we know what violins, pianos, trumpets, etc., sound like. I am wondering how newer recordings would fare.

 

Bruce

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I read that, I forget who it was, like an Eric Clapton or someone of that stature, he was furious at the new revival of the vinyl craze because they were really digitals just pressed on vinyl, there's no analogue involved as was the case in the "old" LPs which created THE LP sound, so it sounded to me that he more or less thought it was just a hype, i.e., the revival of vinyl.  I am not sure if that is the same as when LPs in the 80s went digital before CDs, or another method, not quite clear on that.  Because those digital recorded LPs from the 80s sound good to me, although they also had their critics.

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15 hours ago, willland said:

If that is the worst of the lot, then they sure know what they are doing.:D  Like Steely Dan(well maybe not that good), their worst is better than most.

 

Bill

 

It's not that it's terrible, it's not. But it can't touch Love Over Gold (vinyl), which is much better than it's digital version. To me, the "Brothers In Arms" album is no better or worse than the seedee.

 

No argument from me about the Dan. And their solo albums are just as good.

 

Shakey

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1 hour ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

It's not that it's terrible, it's not. But it can't touch Love Over Gold (vinyl), which is much better than it's digital version. To me, the "Brothers In Arms" album is no better or worse than the seedee.

 

No argument from me about the Dan. And their solo albums are just as good.

 

Shakey

Totally with you on this.:emotion-21:

 

Bill

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Gary RC:   One of the best Lps I have is a mono  Westminster Classical Sampler from the late '50s.  Starting in the mid '60s, I used Thorens turntables, SME arms, and a succession of Ortofon cartridges.

 

Hi Gary,  Those Westminsters were truly great>  That mono setup you had is likewise unimpeachable, which is a good thing these days!  The old Nonesuch LPs were tops in my book as well.

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--

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On 12/12/2018 at 11:36 AM, Shakeydeal said:

"Brothers in Arms",

 

On 12/12/2018 at 11:36 AM, Shakeydeal said:

 

Sadly, that Dire Straits LP is the worst sounding one they ever produced

Huh?

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I’m in the minority here because I listen mostly to classical music and opera.  Nonetheless, I’ll share my 2 cents.

 

Classical music lovers sometimes must decide which is more important:  performance quality, or audio quality of a recording.  I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance.  However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality.  I therefore choose modern performances of classical music that were recorded in hi-res.    (In contrast, some classical music fans are willing to tolerate less-than-state-of-the-art audio quality in order to enjoy what they regard as the best performance of a classical composition – which may have been recorded decades ago.) 

 

My preferences for consumer deliverables:

  1. My favorite is Blu-ray audio/video (featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 surround-sound).   (A few Ultra HD Blu-ray opera recordings are starting to become available.)   High-definition audio/video is particularly relevant for ballet and opera.  Additionally, I think that high-definition audio/video is very enjoyable for classical concerts.
  2. My second choice in formats are SACD and Pure Audio Blu-ray that feature surround-sound.  (No video.)
  3. My third choice are 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz FLAC stereo downloads (e.g., HDTracks).

In all cases provenance of the recording is critical – i.e., modern recordings that were captured and mastered as hi-res.   (In a few cases high quality analog master tapes have been digitized at hi-res with fairly good results - e.g., some RCA Living Stereo.)

 

I use Oppo UDP-205 universal players to directly drive vintage tube amps (i.e., using the Oppo’s built-in DAC, pre-amp, and bass management) for surround-sound, and stereo. 

 

My goal for the sound quality of recorded classical music played via my home hi-fi systems is to have the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house where classical music is performed live, with no electronics involved (i.e., no sound reinforcement system).    I’ll clarify what I mean:

 

Classical Symphonic Music vs. Pop Musicians Performing with Orchestra vs. Outdoor Performances

 

My local symphony orchestra performs a Classical Series, plus a number of “pop concerts”, and a few outdoor concerts.

 

For the Classical Series – which involves classical music performed live in the symphony hall, there is no use of a sound reinforcement system.  I’ve confirmed with the symphony’s Executive Director that the microphones that can be seen hanging above the stage are used solely for recording, NOT for amplifying the sound in the symphony hall.   My local symphony hall has world-class acoustics, and the natural sound is amazing.

 

OTOH, when pop music is performed in the same hall, electronics are often used.  An example is when a pop singer uses a microphone to sing.   And for some pop concerts, electric guitars and/or electronic organs are sometimes used. 

 

And, of course, on the rare occasion when the symphony performs an outdoor concert (e.g., outdoor Memorial Day concert), then of course a sound reinforcement system must be used.

 

Opera vs. Musicals

 

One of the hallmarks of opera is that the singers do NOT use microphones.  And the orchestra does NOT use a sound reinforcement system.  No electronics are involved when an opera is performed by an opera company in an opera house.

 

OTOH, musicals typically involve signers using microphones.

 

And, of course, on the rare occasion when an opera singer performs the National Anthem at the baseball park, then they must sing into a microphone.

 

Chamber Music

 

Chamber music performances generally do not involve a sound reinforcement system.   (I’ve been to one concert by a string quartet that used sound reinforcement because the venue had poor acoustics.    I won’t attend another concert at that venue.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

For classical music, the artists are the composer, the conductor, and the musicians - and IMO the “work of art” was the live performance (i.e., musicians performing together in the symphony hall).   I’m using the term “work of art” in terms of what represents a benchmark for the sound quality of the recording when played via a home hi-fi system, not in terms of Intellectual Property law.  (The same might be true of other genres that involve natural music performed live, such as some big-band, some jazz, some folk, etc.  (I’m not knowledgeable about these genres, so I can’t say.)   OTOH, reportedly some pop music is completely different – particularly if there never was a live performance, and electronic sounds were cobbled together by recording engineers.) 

 

For classical music, the role of the recording engineer IMO is to produce a recording that is as faithful as possible to the live performance. 

 

For those of us who regularly attend live classical performances (I attend more than 20 classical concerts each year), we have a pretty good memory of what a violin should sound like – independent of whether we were at a particular recording session.   We have a pretty good memory of what a string quartet should sound like – and a pretty good memory of what a symphony orchestra should sound like – when performing live with no sound reinforcement system.   (Recognizing some variance due to the acoustics of the venue, and the listener’s seat location.  For my season tickets at the symphony and opera, I sit in the first elevated tier, front row, near center of the hall.)  

 

No recording is perfect, and no hi-fi system is perfect.  And my memory isn’t perfect.  Nonetheless, for classical music, my benchmark for the sound quality of music reproduced via one of my home hi-fi systems is based on my memory of the sound of classical music performed live in its intended venue.   

 

I want the inevitable imperfections in the sound from my home-hi-fi to sound pleasant vs. unpleasant.  One of my priorities is for the timbre of the orchestra instruments to sound natural.  (This is why I generally prefer tube amps.)  And I like to achieve dynamic range that approaches the live concert experience.   (This is why I like Klipsch speakers.)

 

The good news is that when using modern hi-res classical recordings, tube amps, and Klipsch speakers, I often find that the illusion of being at a live classical concert is good enough that I’m “engaged by the music”. 

 

Here’s an example of a box set of Blu-ray audio/video discs (featuring DTS-HD MA 5.0 surround-sound) that I think is very enjoyable, and has excellent audio and video quality:

 

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9
  • Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez
  • Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14
  • Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233

 

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(For some reason the price of this box set varies significantly.  FWIW, I paid $50 for the deluxe box set.)

 

I just listened to (and watched) Beethoven Symphony 1 from this box set.   I listened via my basement system:  Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II.  A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7.    (A Y-cable from Oppo UDP-205 combines Surround L and Surround R.)   Today I chose a Scott 296 for front L&R, plus a Fisher KX-200 for center and rear.   (In this system I have 6 other tube amps I can select from.)   Two subwoofers are connected via RCA Y cable to the Oppo:  SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW.  Sounds excellent – to my ears.  And the video looks great on my plasma HDTV.

 

There are several other Blu-ray box sets that contain all of a composer’s symphonies (e.g., Sibelius, Brahms, Mahler, Schumann) that I can recommend if anyone is interested.  

 

Bottom line:  State-of-the-art audio/video Blu-ray discs are my favorite way to enjoy recordings of classical music.

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34 minutes ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

Name one that doesn't sound better.

 

Shakey

I can't, I don't own any of the LPs. I'm just surprised. I own the CD of Brothers in Arms from right around when it first came out on CD. So it's not a "remaster" its an original. And some of the tunes on it sound spectacular, that's all.

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Well to me, you can tell the LP is a digital master. Sounds impressive at first, but extended listening bears out that it's very processed, not very natural.

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On 12/13/2018 at 11:44 AM, LarryC said:

Gary RC:   One of the best Lps I have is a mono  Westminster Classical Sampler from the late '50s.  Starting in the mid '60s, I used Thorens turntables, SME arms, and a succession of Ortofon cartridges.

 

Hi Gary,  Those Westminsters were truly great>  That mono setup you had is likewise unimpeachable, which is a good thing these days!  The old Nonesuch LPs were tops in my book as well.

@LarryC,      ...and the Nonesuch were $1.98 when a standard mono Lp was list $4.98, and sold for about $3.98.  There were a few super discount stores, and even Safeway supermarkets sold classical Lps (and others).  The Safeway Lp bins were usually located right next to the tube tester, and paperback books that would qualify as literature (Steinbeck, Hemmingway, an even Kerouac)!  But I went to the record store that offered only a moderate discount, Stairway to Music (Classical only; they had a Pop outpost 10 minutes down the road), because the proprietor, Gene, seemingly knew every record,  sometimes by disk number!  It was impressive to see someone ask for an obscure record, then Gene would call out to one of his employees, "Please order such and such, DGL 4018."  He had classical music playing all the time, on a big JBL C55 "scoop" rear loaded horn, with two woofers, and the marvelous JBL 375 midrange driver, and horn lens.  They had two listening booths (turntables behind the counter, under Gene's supervision) with JBL vertical C34s (also rear loaded horns) with D130 15" extended range, with 075 bullet ring radiator (or "orange juice squeezer") tweeters.  When stereo records came in, he bought or rented the store next door, and moved the C34s into there, providing a nice big stereo listening space.  When classical sales waned, and pop sales waxed, instead of closing the classical store, he combined the pop and classical stores.  People continued to come to his store from all over the S.F. Bay area.   I assume he retired before the CD era.  I had to go to Alphonso's Mercantile in Mendocino Village (by the sea, in California) to get the 1960 stereo version of Miloslav Kabelac's Mystery of Time on Supraphon CD.

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1 hour ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

Name one that doesn't sound better.

 

Shakey

The first one...

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34 minutes ago, Marvel said:

The first one...

I'm on the fence on this one. No, it is not as polished and well produced as BIA, but that might be it's best virtue. Some tracks are magical, others, not so much. But I still enjoy it.

 

Shakey

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I enjoy it too, but I don't think the production is as good.

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I was a very early first wave adopter of CDs. They remain my source of choice.

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