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The Fuzz damn you!

Will the crappy sound of MP3 replace the crappy sound of vinyl?

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and unfortunately when JB stopped stocking SACD/DVD-A it became hard to get them locally.

Really?

My store still has quite a bit of SACD (although I've only purchased 2 so far).

If there's a particular one I want, I get the CD manager to order it for me.

 

The local stores (SA) stopped stopped stocking them about 18 months ago. At bthe time they had a bit of a run-out and got rid of most of them for about $15 wheich is when I bought about half a dozen.

 

While the formats are good, there has never been much uptake of them, About 3 years ago, I visited Blackwood Sound (specialist music + hifi shop in an expensive part of town) and asked about SACD, the guy there laughed because they'd just sent back all their SACD stock having for 18 months stocked every single Sony SACD release and sold very few.

 

It's because the players have been so dear.

They are coming down now but you can't even get an analogue only drive for a PC!

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and unfortunately when JB stopped stocking SACD/DVD-A it became hard to get them locally.

Really?

My store still has quite a bit of SACD (although I've only purchased 2 so far).

If there's a particular one I want, I get the CD manager to order it for me.

 

The local stores (SA) stopped stopped stocking them about 18 months ago. At bthe time they had a bit of a run-out and got rid of most of them for about $15 wheich is when I bought about half a dozen.

 

While the formats are good, there has never been much uptake of them, About 3 years ago, I visited Blackwood Sound (specialist music + hifi shop in an expensive part of town) and asked about SACD, the guy there laughed because they'd just sent back all their SACD stock having for 18 months stocked every single Sony SACD release and sold very few.

 

It's because the players have been so dear.

They are coming down now but you can't even get an analogue only drive for a PC!

 

Pioneer were selling universal players for about $250 three years ago - sure that's expensive for a run of the mill DVD player, but chicken feed in the HiFi market - It doesn't seem to have made much difference to the market place.

 

Don't really see what the value of an analogue only drive for PC would do, high quality sound and PCs really don't mix as a market - not that a PC can't technically generate it, but the ambient noise from most PCs makes any attempt to use one for localised live playing limited.

 

SACD's really don't need to be burnt or manipilated by a PC and both SACD and DVD-A formats are strictly music implementations, with no worthwhile storage value in the PC market.

 

I live in hope that SACD and DVD-A will survive in some form, especially for their multi-channel capabilities, but I don't place a lot of confidence in it - It's also in conflict with my hope for optical media to go the way of the dodo :)

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They just spent a heap of money installing a DSD recording facility in the Sydney Opera House.

 

At least the Japs are keen!

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i urge everyone to read this AES double blind experiment comparing SACD and DVD-A versus CD. some may find the results damning to their illusions about the inadequacies of the CD format ;)

What did they expect to find upon downsampling?

 

The authors report on a series of double-blind tests comparing

the analog output of high-resolution players playing high-resolution recordings with

the same signal passed through a 16-bit/44.1-kHz “bottleneck.”

 

i have nfi what your point is.

 

 

What's the point of playing a SACD or a DVDA and then reducing it to 16/44.1?

 

You may as well play/buy the CD!

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i urge everyone to read this AES double blind experiment comparing SACD and DVD-A versus CD. some may find the results damning to their illusions about the inadequacies of the CD format ;)

What did they expect to find upon downsampling?

 

The authors report on a series of double-blind tests comparing

the analog output of high-resolution players playing high-resolution recordings with

the same signal passed through a 16-bit/44.1-kHz “bottleneck.”

 

i have nfi what your point is.

 

 

What's the point of playing a SACD or a DVDA and then reducing it to 16/44.1?

 

You may as well play/buy the CD!

 

you didnt read it did you? there is EXTREMELY COMPELLING EVIDENCE that the drop to 16/44 does not effect the signal at all -- ie. it is not a quality drop.

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I notice they give NO specs at all on the playback systems..........which are many and varied.

 

I think their testing regime is a bit sus, but still, they may be right regarding the general population.

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vinyl isnt still around because of its accuracy (of which it has little compared to even CD), its around because of its pleasant inaccuracies [which btw i think The Fuzz is selling short in the OP].

Well, that's the thing isn't it? Some people find the inaccuracies of vinyl pleasant; other people find the inaccuracies of MP3s pleasant. Other people find both "crappy". Why do we value one set of traditionally-pleasant inaccuracies more than another, more recent set?

 

but i think its rather unsporting (and tantamount to trolling) to place the the crappiness of one in the same league as the other :)

 

half-decent vinyl systems are free (enough) of clips/pops/crackling -- artifacts that you will struggle to hear most of the time. vinyl softens gently. vinyl adds musicality in the form of even harmonics -- something mp3 will NEVER do. in that regard, it is akin to a musical instrument in its own right. mp3 by contrast is a mere butcher.

 

lets avoid silly semantic arguments over the definition of "musicality". we deride low bitrate mp3 because it is simply shit, the artifacts of which are wholly and completely harsh and unmusical by any objective measure, regardless of who might like them. vinyl, however, arguably adds considerable elements of musical quality. it is hard to believe an mp3 lover could be a critical listener with a 'good' ear, whereas the case is far from cut-and-dried with a vinyl lover.

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I notice they give NO specs at all on the playback systems..........which are many and varied.

 

I think their testing regime is a bit sus, but still, they may be right regarding the general population.

i will let you do your own detective work. there is little reason to doubt them.

 

and they may be right regarding everyone. the test group included audiophiles and audio professionals, and there was no revealing correlations.

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I used to upsample my CDs to 96khz and even tried 192khz, without a great improvement.

I decided it was a waste of time since the source was already limited.

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I normally buy vinyl because it's cheap. I can spend $10 and walk away with a dozen albums if I look hard enough... and most of the music I listen to, exists in vinyl. Plus, vinyl doesn't have DRM. ;-)

 

Sound quality: Well... I've had some terrible sounding CDs, and some vinyl records that are in excellent condition. In any case, having the album means I have a legit copy... I can always burn a copy of someone's CD to retrieve a song that I have on vinyl in bad condition. (Lets face it, I can only listen to one copy of a song at a time.)

 

All my music gets stored in Ogg/Vorbis, with select tunes burned to a DVD in MP3 format for the car DVD player. I'm not an audiophile, thus compressed formats normally are adequate for my needs. I've found Vorbis gives me better perceived sound quality in a smaller file than MP3, hence I use that on the laptop and file server for storing the entire collection -- with the songs I particularly like put on a MP3 DVD along with songs my father likes -- the DVD stays in his car on random play. Means one minute it'll be playing some Scottish country dance music, then next minute flips over to some Pink Floyd... but never mind... it works well. You don't hear compression artefacts over road noise.

 

I used to upsample my CDs to 96khz and even tried 192khz, without a great improvement.

I decided it was a waste of time since the source was already limited.

Well, there's an exercise in futility. I can understand up-scaling if you plan to drop the bit depth (32-bit to 16-bit), or if you had limited processing power available and had the challenge of a fixed-frequency DAC (some laptop sound cards for instance run at a fixed rate of 48kHz). I doubt you'd be able to get the sample rate up high enough to keep the SQNR down when reducing the bit depth though... if I recall my sampling theory correctly.

 

Plus, who wants to go below 16bit linear sampling for music? Voice... okay, you can do it at 8bit, but you don't save much, especially if you have to quadruple the sample rate to maintain the SQNR.

Edited by Redhatter

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but i think its rather unsporting (and tantamount to trolling) to place the the crappiness of one in the same league as the other :)

 

half-decent vinyl systems are free (enough) of clips/pops/crackling -- artifacts that you will struggle to hear most of the time. vinyl softens gently. vinyl adds musicality in the form of even harmonics -- something mp3 will NEVER do. in that regard, it is akin to a musical instrument in its own right. mp3 by contrast is a mere butcher.

 

lets avoid silly semantic arguments over the definition of "musicality". we deride low bitrate mp3 because it is simply shit, the artifacts of which are wholly and completely harsh and unmusical by any objective measure, regardless of who might like them. vinyl, however, arguably adds considerable elements of musical quality. it is hard to believe an mp3 lover could be a critical listener with a 'good' ear, whereas the case is far from cut-and-dried with a vinyl lover.

So... let's avoid any formal definition of "musicality" and then go on to say that vinyl is better because it adds this undefined-something, but MP3 isn't because it doesn't?

 

And let's further assume that this "musicality" is something that cannot be objectively defined, yet can somehow be objectively measured?

 

Or... how about this: both vinyl and MP3s have elements that detract from the accuracy of a recording, but both have their subjective fans who enjoy the introduction of these inaccuracies? Hmmm?

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There's a hell of a lot more information available on vinyl than an MP3.

 

At least with vinyl,; you have a chance of extracting it.

With MP3, it's just gone.

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but i think its rather unsporting (and tantamount to trolling) to place the the crappiness of one in the same league as the other :)

And I think that the above statement is so ridiculous that I spat my coffee on my monitor in laughter.

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but i think its rather unsporting (and tantamount to trolling) to place the the crappiness of one in the same league as the other :)

And I think that the above statement is so ridiculous that I spat my coffee on my monitor in laughter.

 

I laughed when I read it too...............cause I thought it was true!

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but i think its rather unsporting (and tantamount to trolling) to place the the crappiness of one in the same league as the other :)

 

half-decent vinyl systems are free (enough) of clips/pops/crackling -- artifacts that you will struggle to hear most of the time. vinyl softens gently. vinyl adds musicality in the form of even harmonics -- something mp3 will NEVER do. in that regard, it is akin to a musical instrument in its own right. mp3 by contrast is a mere butcher.

 

lets avoid silly semantic arguments over the definition of "musicality". we deride low bitrate mp3 because it is simply shit, the artifacts of which are wholly and completely harsh and unmusical by any objective measure, regardless of who might like them. vinyl, however, arguably adds considerable elements of musical quality. it is hard to believe an mp3 lover could be a critical listener with a 'good' ear, whereas the case is far from cut-and-dried with a vinyl lover.

So... let's avoid any formal definition of "musicality" and then go on to say that vinyl is better because it adds this undefined-something, but MP3 isn't because it doesn't?

 

And let's further assume that this "musicality" is something that cannot be objectively defined, yet can somehow be objectively measured?

 

Or... how about this: both vinyl and MP3s have elements that detract from the accuracy of a recording, but both have their subjective fans who enjoy the introduction of these inaccuracies? Hmmm?

 

 

Hmmm, what? i will assume you are still disputing that vinyl can be considered less damaging and more musical?

 

i made a reasonable case as to why the two are qualitatively different. of course your stance is not invalid. it just lacks pizazz :P

 

there is a common sense place to apply Occam's Razor here that is even suggested by your OP, the premise of which is the generally accepted notion that there is such a thing as objectively good and bad sound. you ask, 'what is the excuse?' of those who prefer 'crappy' sound but make the problematic assumption that 'accuracy' is the be all and end all of quality.

 

the only reason we can make reasonable and universally valid assumptions about matters that would otherwise be wholly consignable to the vagaries of personal taste, is that music is founded on principles of harmony which are themselves founded on the mathematical symmetry underpinning the physical universe. chords sound pleasant to us because, for whatever reason, we are biologically hard-wired to appreciate sonic order and consonance. combining any even-multiple of a frequency with itself will produce an enriching experience of aural harmony. in fact, its the ability to produce sustained cascading patterns of 'nice' harmonics that quintessentially qualifies something as a musical instrument.

 

unless ive been misled, a good deal of vinyl's proclaimed warmth is due to it adding nice harmonics. whereas, there is nothing about the noise profile of low bitrate lossy compression (that i am aware of) to qualify it as 'musical' by any objective measure. in addition to this, as bitrates increase up to a point* -- i am speculating now -- it is likely that an mp3 which can be proven by way of Fourier analysis to be a more accurate copy of the original audio than its vinyl counterpart, can yet be objectively anticipated to be less musical to critical ears. the vinyl's noise is greater but less abrasive, and the phase shifts it imparts on higher frequencies means that valuable audio information that would otherwise be rejected completely by an mp3 encoder could be more or less faithfully transferred, even if slightly time-smeared.

 

so we have two forms of imperfection where, all things being equal, one is superior to the other. sure, we could add unchecked relativism to this discussion, if you like. but entering into a 99.9% vacuous shitstorm™ of hurled philosophical technicality doesnt help us. i say reflecting on the objective validity of opinions is integral to this discussion. and if someone prefers run-of-the-mill low bitrate mp3s to run-of-the-mill vinyl, we should be checking if there is something rotten in their water.

 

 

but i think its rather unsporting (and tantamount to trolling) to place the the crappiness of one in the same league as the other :)

And I think that the above statement is so ridiculous that I spat my coffee on my monitor in laughter.

 

*

youre not wrong, hence my semi-serious tone.

 

the reason you are not wrong, is because mp3 is a format that encompasses everything from the shittest of the shit -- a level of 'crappyness' that NOBODY here (no, not even someone tempted to suggest that alls forms of crappiness are created equal) will DARE suggest a vinyl release has ever even come close to -- to borderline perfection.

 

so yes, ive never been in doubt that its quite ridiculous to compare vinyl to mp3 without first qualifying the assumed features of each. since we are talking about the medium of vinyl in its typical form and not about issues of cost, i dont think it matters too much whether we consider the extreme high end, or merely the "half-decent" system you might find in the average geriatric home. but it is especially important to know the assumed encoding specifications of our mp3!

 

you will note, then, that i was careful to confine my comparisons to "low bitrates", although i admit this does not go far enough.

 

i am unsure whether i can tell the difference between a WAV and an MP3 encoded at 320 kbps using the best codec. but i am sure that IF i can, it will be during a very small percentage of the time, even under optimal listening conditions. this chance, is still more than enough justification for me to favour WAV and FLAC as a matter of course, but in practice we are talking about genuine negligibility. we are talking about a level of exactitude and fidelity so high that i could hardly hope to know what i was missing. we are talking about no characteristic signature of degradation to speak of, that is sensible to a normal mortal.

 

i put it to you then, that near enough to EVERYONE who has exited their teen years is in a similar position. and that the vast majority of people who scoff and dismiss mp3 out of hand whenever it is mentioned are just tiresome posturing wankers.

Edited by @~thehung

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unless ive been misled, a good deal of vinyl's proclaimed warmth is due to it adding nice harmonics. whereas, there is nothing about the noise profile of low bitrate lossy compression (that i am aware of) to qualify it as 'musical' by any objective measure. in addition to this, as bitrates increase up to a point* -- i am speculating now -- it is likely that an mp3 which can be proven by way of Fourier analysis to be a more accurate copy of the original audio than its vinyl counterpart, can yet be objectively anticipated to be less musical to critical ears. the vinyl's noise is greater but less abrasive, and the phase shifts it imparts on higher frequencies means that valuable audio information that would otherwise be rejected completely by an mp3 encoder could be more or less faithfully transferred, even if slightly time-smeared.

First up, I'd be interested in reading more about this "harmonics" thing -- not because I necessarily doubt you (although I am a sceptic at heart) but simply out of interest.

 

However, we still have a problem. You define "musicality" here as something that, at least partially, involves harmonics (which sounds reasonable enough to me), but you then talk about "nice" harmonics and "added" harmonics. Can people not, with all validity, prefer fewer harmonics, or harmonics of a different nature that others might consider "harsh"? If it comes down to aesthetic appeal (as surely any definition of "musicality", as distinct from "accuracy", must) then the entire concept becomes entirely subjective and unmeasurable.

 

edit-- just have to say, btw, very nice post. :-)

Edited by The Fuzz damn you!

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Meh...

 

I just let my ears decide for me :)

 

I have a copy of a SACD of "White Winds" by Andreas Vollenweider and the LP of the same title, both sound very good.

 

But the vinyl wins for me, there is a section where a large number of little bells are tinkling away, and with the vinyl these bells have so much more variation to them.......each bell is heard with so much more realism it can't be put down to colouration, they sound like real bells rather than, what from the CD sounds like an interpretation of what bells may sound like.

 

It's not only the bells either :P

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First up, I'd be interested in reading more about this "harmonics" thing -- not because I necessarily doubt you (although I am a sceptic at heart) but simply out of interest.

yeah, so would i! i am basing this on a few plausible accounts ive read about the nitty-gritty of the cutting and playback process -- but my half-arsed google searches are currently yielding very little. i understand the reason you get a preponderance of even-order harmonics is it is to do with resonance and damping in physical systems, like the simple harmonic motion of a weight on a spring, and there is some correspondence to that and how a stylus reacts to waves. but i shouldnt be overstating this. its everything else too. a key aspect of which is that all the accompanying 'losses' tend to be introduced in smooth gradients proportionally related to the input signal -- whereas because mp3 takes multiple sample batches of frequencies (and makes snapshots of intervals of time that are not small enough to be considered static) and subjects them to individual horrors, the errors produced are not contiguous or in any way 'organic'.

 

 

However, we still have a problem. You define "musicality" here as something that, at least partially, involves harmonics (which sounds reasonable enough to me), but you then talk about "nice" harmonics and "added" harmonics. Can people not, with all validity, prefer fewer harmonics, or harmonics of a different nature that others might consider "harsh"? If it comes down to aesthetic appeal (as surely any definition of "musicality", as distinct from "accuracy", must) then the entire concept becomes entirely subjective and unmeasurable.

 

edit-- just have to say, btw, very nice post. :-)

thanks. and yeah, i am taking *some* liberties ;)

 

if you were writing yourself a little tune on the piano using only one finger -- the addition of any simultaneous higher-octave note (ie. a 2nd, 4th, 8th-order harmonic etc) could safely be assumed to sound nice and never harsh. but, sure, people might prefer fewer harmonics. you might not want that density of sound, and the presence of the reinforced harmonics will subtly alter the emotional character. any noticeable amount of the six-order harmonic could totally change the mood. but i am not sure how all the multiples work out exactly and how often they correspond to western musical notes (?). the thing is though, the addition of harmonics we are talking about is going to be gradual and very subtle. i am guessing, it *could* be responsible for causing some intermodulation distortion, but at worst its going to create a thicker, slightly more diffuse sound. although people might well prefer no additional harmonics, or a slightly different spectrum in the form of different proportions of each added frequency, i dont imagine its humanly possible for them to interpret the result as unmusical. again, its the organic nature of these additions which imo is an essential distinction demanding acknowledgement.

Edited by @~thehung

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Did somebody call for a tiresome, posturing wanker?

Yeah, mate just stand over here next to me :)

 

The idea of quality sound is wasted on the Mp3 brigade, they are a bit like Mp3's......................missing important information :P

 

Or they are just misinformed ;)

Edited by datafast69

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Same as I have gathered from what I have read on digital radio, it sucks the big one :)

 

A definite downgrade to radio quality from the sound of it, luck we will still have the old broadcast too.

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