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Is it Just Because CD's Are Louder?

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4 hours ago, glens said:

Well, I always liked watching the cylinder turning on the Edison player; it was certainly part of the experience!  (Maybe the best part...)

 

I knew you were getting old... 🤐

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On 6/28/2019 at 7:19 PM, JohnKuthe said:

Digitizing always loses SOME sound information!

I think it can be safe to say that "recording" always loses some sound information?

 

Join us next week when @thebes dissects his favorite boy band to answer how the stereo versions are better than the mono:)

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The enjoyment of musical reproduction in its various permutations constitutes a pretty big tent. If Thebes, our resident anachronistic curmudgeon wants to listen to acetate & shellac, who are we to begrudge him his indulgences? Personally I cannot afford a vinyl set up that beats a good cd player. So for me, I prefer cds over my collection of records that stretches back to the very early 70s. Most of them have been played to death and the surface noise is more than a distraction.

 The world evolves and is always moving forward, yet there are many of us who are resistant to change, for better or worse. For them, there is a comfort level in the ritual of cleaning the record, lining up the tonearm, gently lowering it into the groove and being transported to a state of musical bliss via reproduced sound. If vinyl hounds find music sounds best to them from a turntable, good for them. I don't criticize them, nor do I expect to be criticized for listening to cds.

 I am given grief from some quarters and called a luddite for listening to cds over streaming. So I guess that turnabout is fair play. Many folks find that streaming from their computer is more convenient than dropping a shiny disc into a player. Perhaps I will head down that road at some point, but for now, I will stay with my 1s & 0s via discs.

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Comparing LPs vs. CDs is like comparing VHS vs. Beta.   None of these technologies are state-of-the-art, and none of these technologies deliver the best available audio quality.   Moreover, none of these formats deliver advances such as video, or surround-sound (which is useful in large rooms, and/or when the main speakers must be far apart).

 

My favorite format for classical music:  modern Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray recordings that feature DTS-HD MA 5.0.

 

The availability of modern high-quality hi-res (e.g., DTS-HD MA 5.0, 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD) recordings varies by music genre.   For the classical music I love, modern high-quality hi-res recordings are commonly available.     Provenance of the recording is critical – i.e., modern recordings that were captured and mastered in a hi-res format - and delivered to the consumer in a hi-res format.    (NOT CDs that were ripped to FLAC.)

 

Dismissing all digital recording formats because you are dissatisfied with poor quality CDs would have been a relevant discussion 30 years ago.

  

Relevant today:  compare LPs with a modern high-quality hi-res consumer deliverable.

 

Regarding loudness levels, my modern hi-res (e.g., Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD) classical recordings do not suffer from the “loudness wars” – they are not compressed.    OTOH, pop music is usually compressed, and mastered MUCH louder.  On the rare occasion when I play something other than a hi-res classical recording, I must turn the volume WAY down.

 

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The music that sounds good (production/product) will sound better than anything thats the latter. Wont matter what format is used on the two sides. Even a good recording on a tape (tape deck) can out perform the best format with something thats not. 

 

Cds had some growing pains. But what format didn't. 

 

Good product on any formate with a good set up will sound great. I don't agree with the loudness war conspiracy.  

 

I do think some formats are better of course. 

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IME, “good product(s)” (i.e., recordings captured and mastered in a “hi-res” format) that are delivered in a hi-res consumer format (e.g., Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, 24bit/192kHz FLAC download, SACD) generally sound the best.

 

The $64k question is this:  What is your benchmark for the audio quality of the recorded music that you listen to in your home? 

 

Because I listen to classical music and opera, my benchmark is clear:  The live performance of classical music in its intended venue - i.e., a symphony hall or opera house with world class acoustics – where no electronics are employed.    (In other words, no sound reinforcement system is used when classical music is performed in its intended venue.)

 

OTOH, for some electronically produced music, there never was a live performance, and no one knows how the music “should” sound.  In which case it seems to me that the concepts of “hi-fidelity sound reproduction” and “accurate sound reproduction” are meaningless.

 

For me, “the music that sounds good” is the live performance in the symphony hall or opera house.   That’s my benchmark for evaluating the quality of sound reproduced via recordings and my home hi-fi system.  IME, modern recordings that were captured and mastered in a hi-res format, and delivered to the consumer in a hi-res format, are usually best at creating the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house.

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32 minutes ago, robert_kc said:

IME, “good product(s)” (i.e., recordings captured and mastered in a “hi-res” format) that are delivered in a hi-res consumer format (e.g., Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, 24bit/192kHz FLAC download, SACD) generally sound the best.

 

The $64k question is this:  What is your benchmark for the audio quality of the recorded music that you listen to in your home? 

 

Because I listen to classical music and opera, my benchmark is clear:  The live performance of classical music in its intended venue - i.e., a symphony hall or opera house with world class acoustics – where no electronics are employed.    (In other words, no sound reinforcement system is used when classical music is performed in its intended venue.)

 

OTOH, for some electronically produced music, there never was a live performance, and no one knows how the music “should” sound.  In which case it seems to me that the concepts of “hi-fidelity sound reproduction” and “accurate sound reproduction” are meaningless.

 

For me, “the music that sounds good” is the live performance in the symphony hall or opera house.   That’s my benchmark for evaluating the quality of sound reproduced via recordings and my home hi-fi system.  IME, modern recordings that were captured and mastered in a hi-res format, and delivered to the consumer in a hi-res format, are usually best at creating the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house.

Im a big big fan of h-res (sacd and others like it). Ive owned a decent/large amount of hi-res music, and movies that are also (like blu ray) in that same hi-res level format. 

 

That said a turd in hi-res is still a turd. 

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20 minutes ago, Heritage_Head said:

Im a big big fan of h-res (sacd and others like it). Ive owned a decent/large amount of hi-res music, and movies that are also (like blu ray) in that same hi level format. 

 

That said a turd in hi-res is still a turd. 

 

Agreed

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On 6/28/2019 at 9:39 PM, Edgar said:

 

Mustering as much civility as I can:

These are superstitions. The first claim is provably false, the second claim is a misstatement of what dither does, and believing otherwise will not change the facts no matter how forcefully anybody asserts those beliefs.

As another signal processing engineer here, just chiming in to say Edgar is correct regarding the technicals.

 

As for why CDs may sound louder, I would guess that it has to do with differences in the mastering techniques for the two media. It should in principal be possible to make them sound identical if that was the goal. CDs do have much more dynamic range, but that shouldn't make them louder, just better. (Well, at least technically)

 

So if a CD is louder it's probably just due to the mix.

 

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15 minutes ago, rjp said:

As another signal processing engineer here, just chiming in to say Edgar is correct regarding the technicals.

 

As for why CDs may sound louder, I would guess that it has to do with differences in the mastering techniques for the two media. It should in principal be possible to make them sound identical if that was the goal. CDs do have much more dynamic range, but that shouldn't make them louder, just better. (Well, at least technically)

 

So if a CD is louder it's probably just due to the mix.

 

Agreed

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so when are going to talk about speaker cable and interconnects and how they may/may not effect the overall sound quality  😟   

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8 minutes ago, fastpuce271 said:

so when are going to talk about speaker cable and interconnects and how they may/may not effect the overall sound quality  😟   

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So back to this, Audio Nirvana, what is it? has anyone reached it?  Would they even know what it is if they heard it, OR would they always want more?

 

 

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You've reached as close as possible when you're making equipment changes in search of those last few percentages and all you hear is less satisfaction.

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