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

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5 hours ago, babadono said:

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.

I got a remaster of that one and gave it away. The original CD is way better................less compressed, which is usually what happens when the "remaster." The worse CD remaster I ever got, was Tres Hombres by ZZ top, where the drums sounded like they were in a cave 30 feet back from Billy Gibbons guitar. Fortunately, they went back closer to the original mix on the latest CD's (without the cavernous drum sounds) and all is well. 

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  • 3 years later...
On 8/14/2017 at 3:59 PM, Chris A said:
  1. "I'm curious why the reissue vinyl sounds worse. Is it the remastering?"
    In all of the 1000+ digital discs that I've demastered to date, I can definitively say that "remastering" is the problem.  There is a culture in all the audio-only record companies and their supplier/contractor cultures that has never changed: they all believe that louder versions are better, as long as the effects of compression//loudness can be successfully "hidden". 

    This is the problem--in my opinion--and it's existed since at least the 1940s.  What's changed over time is the ability of the companies to make their recordings even louder.  In every case that I've seen, "remastered" equals "louder", and that's about all the difference that can be discerned between older versions of recordings and their "remastered" versions. 
  2. "Did they use the CD master as a source?"
    This is a point that most fail to acknowledge or perhaps understand.  Nowadays for essentially all new recordings--the "vinyl master" is derived from the same master that's used for CD production--i.e., it's a digital master.  And because vinyl has much less latitude than CD format, the vinyl master always undergoes further processing (vinyl mastering) to limit low frequency loudness below ~100 Hz, make the bass mono, limit the loudness by adding further track attenuation (or using less compression/limiting during mastering) so that the needle will stay in the groove of a "typical" turntable/arm/cartridge setup, and apply the 40 dB RIAA EQ curve.  So when you buy a phonograph record made new since the mid-1980s, it's a digital recording that's been squeezed onto a phonograph record.
  3. "Is it the new vinyl pressing equipment?"
    Elsewhere, you'll see that many/most current phonograph record pressing factories are built from used equipment wherever possible (because it's less expensive), and often that equipment is far into its useful service life (i.e., nearing wear-out).  "New" pressing equipment is somewhat of a misnomer--since it seems as if most of these small pressing plants seek older equipment that's less expensive.
  4. "What did they change in remastering?"
    "Remastering" started occurring in the early 1990s by a few labels, but gained full momentum by 1999.  Basically, the techniques used are:

    a) increased compression (nonlinear amplifiers), and
    'b) limiting (clipping). 

    The major goal is a louder mix--and that's basically it.  There are a few "secret sauce" inferences in the liner notes, but when you look at the tracks, 95% of what you see is more compression+limiting.  There are other tricks used to decrease dynamic range (yes--they've intentionally decreased dynamic range for earbud users).  Some use of linear phase filtering (i.e., FIR filters) apparently began to be used to limit the effects of phase distortion about when DAWs began to be widespread among the home-studio crowd. 
  5. "Why didn't they use the original master tapes as they were?"
    Then the studios couldn't say "new and improved".  Remember the rise of the mp3 players during this time period, and most earbud users don't really like dynamic range in their playback libraries.
  6. "Are the original master tapes still good or have they degraded?"
    Both.  Some masters have be archived for the long haul, many have not.  Chances are that when you see an advertisement for a remastered version--it's because someone found an archived copy of either the original mixing console multi-track tapes (like in the case of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon), the original mix-down tracks that were sent to the mastering labs, or some good "glass master" or "vinyl master" that survived somewhere relatively unaffected by the processes which degrade analog tapes and digital masters perhaps archived on DAT formats.



On 8/14/2017 at 8:21 PM, Chris A said:

You take the prize on that one: no one has yet accused me of forgetting what PWK wrote in his audio papers. :emotion-21:  Perhaps I'm mellowing in my old age...;)


Actually, there is an explanation that doesn't blame the medium: phonograph records from 35+ years ago (i.e., before CDs were introduced in 1982) typically didn't have the horrible mastering EQ that followed on CDs in the 1980s-2000s.  When you demaster that EQ, what you hear is truly amazing.  It's not "nonlinearities" that cause those early CDs to sound bad--it was bad mastering EQ--in every case that I've seen.  And it's completely reversible without introduction of noise.


Nowadays, the best released albums get a little less mastering EQ than they did in the 1980s-1990s, but what you get instead is more than 7 dB in compression and limiting that is harsh sounding (i.e. odd HF harmonics due to limiting) and LOUD music tracks.  After demastering, there are some real jewels in the rough out there, I've found.




here we are 5 years later..



one claims streaming is the way to go..


Prerecorded Analog tape is expensive! And streaming is the answer.




Bernie claims analog and why..



And you don't get what you pay for..



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