Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cosmo-D, Mar 5, 2018.
There is always "noise" whatever you do.
Huh? Lots of poorly mastered CDs are quite compressed. Listening to a brickwalled CD on even the most expensive system would sound utterly fatiguing. Assuming we're referring to a well mastered CD, then yes, I agree.
To me the big, obvious, glaring, in-your-face differences between vinyl playback and digital playback, be it CD or digital file, relate to the pretty substantial levels of mechanical noise present in turntable playback and absent in digital playback, as well as vinyl noise like surface noise vs. no such noise with digital -- noise which masks low level detail, which calls constant attention to the playback itself (vs. the music), which affects dynamics especially at the ppp range of the detail, etc. I'm talking about everything from "vinyl whoosh," which in my experiences often relates to a combo of motor vibration breakthrough, to other sorts of mechanical resonances, to acoustic breakthrough, etc.
Also, the presence of tracking distortion in the case of vinyl -- which again calls attention to the playback itself,affects the sound of dynamic peaks and HFs; and then issues with the records themselves, such as surface noise, such as off-centeredness. There's a lot of stuff with vinyl that calls attention to the playback itself.
Also, there's also a lot more, groser variation from turntable, tonearm and cart in terms of how they handled all things, there are gross variations in the differences between CD players and DACs.
In terms of analog vs. digital recording, my experience is not as extensive. The most obvious differences though again to me are mechanical -- pitch and timing variations with analog; higher noise floor; etc. But there are so many other differences in the signal chain relating to micing and electronics before we get to the encoding medium (and then differences in the encoding set up itself) that you can't really make apples to apples comparisons unless you've personally done a lot of recording of your own with single variable differences.
There are of course other, more subtle differences I supposed, but these noise differences, and timing and pitch variations, and distortion differences are so gross that they dwarf the scale of the more subtle differences we audiophiles mostly focus on.
It can actually reproduce tones of up to 22.5 KHz. Again, nobody will ever hear that, so who cares?
I would encourage people around here to get a hearing test sometime and see how far up your hearing really goes. There are some decent ones online as well, though you may have trouble finding a quiet place to take them. I'm pushing 40 and my hearing goes to 18Khz and no higher. My wife is a few years younger and her hearing goes to 20Khz. If you are over 40 or have been exposed to loud noise during your life you might be surprised where the high frequencies cut off for you.
Sure, it will probably add layers of distortion which some people may find pleasant.
FWIW I used to have an HK HD7400 and loved the sound of that CD player. It was my main CD player for a while before I got a new one and gave it to a friend. My friend had been playing CDs through his PC optical drive and was surprised at how much better the CD player sounded.
This is all clearly fact. I've had a theory that many people reprieve detail (or additional detail from what they are accustom to) as brightness. Since all the mechanical noises are missing from digital, perhaps that is why it is often considered bright.
But......these mechanical noises from playing records can be tamed if you care to spend the money. I'm not saying I'm there but I'm certainly further along than I once was and my spending ratio is about 7 to 1 in favor of my analog chain. There is a clear audible difference between the two sources and a consensus that the analog sounds better at my house. Once could say, like tubes, there is a distortion with the analog that is pleasing to some people. I don't buy into that, at least not the term "distortion". What I do find is that many CD's or files just sound too loud no matter what the volume is set at. The reasons for that could be the mastering, my DAC or some inherent difference between digital and analog.
What is distortion? If we are saying its any deviation from the master tape, none of us would know what that sounds like. Nothing is neutral and everything sounds different. From what I've heard, I'd say the tubes in a DAC can tame the highs, calms the bass bloat and blooms the mid range. To me that is a closer representation to what music sounds like when I hear it performed live and acoustic. I'd call that less distorted.
Mid 40's ot, Someone at this forum posted a good link for an online test a couple years ago. Mines under 16 as of today. I'm still grateful I can detect soundstage and EQ differences. Unfortunately the older I'm getting modern compression fatigue-ness hasn't gotten any better
Comparing a CD player with Tube output or CD player through tube DAC to a master tape is not what we're talking about here. That would be an improper comparison and not once did I bring up master tapes.
We should be talking about comparing the same CD (presumably well mastered with decent dynamic range) played on:
1) a conventional CD player or DAC that has reasonably flat frequency response
2) a CD player with a tube output stage or a DAC with a tube output stage
Depending on how the tube CD player or DAC is made, it will probably have some distortion that is not present on the 100% solid state unit. Both units can be measured with an oscilloscope program.
Whether you subjectively prefer the SOUND of one or the other is a matter of opinion.
(about wow & flutter)
They were from the start of the CD format.
No, nothing made by humans is perfect. But it's quite good.
Digital downloads. That was easy.
The difference is inaudible for humans. If you really hear a difference it's due to different mastering.
Between my $199 DAC and my $199 phono stage, vinyl sounds better.
There are also Blu Ray players who can emulate tube sound.
No they are not. I've tried just two DSD albums recently out of sheer curiosity. I have a smartphone and a small portable DAC that can play DSD files natively. The price of the downloads (usually around $30 or more) would stop me from making a huge investment in DSD music before I get to any other factor. The albums I've listened (DSD recorded also) do sound great, but I'm not sure how much better they would sound if I just converted them to 24/88 or even 16/44 FLACs and tried to compare them to the DSD versions. Another downside is that DSD files are huge. The new DSD recorded albums that are coming out now in DSD 256 are 7GB in size or more. Storage is getting cheaper all the time but if you buy a lot of this stuff you are going to be spending more on storage as well.
Think of analog as steak, and digital as steak that's been super-thinly sliced then reconstructed to look just like steak. They taste essentially the same.
No, red book only defines the frequency range up to 20 kHz, even though according to the sampling theorem it could go up to 22.5 kHz.
Really? That is quite high at that age. If you still own a CRT television, can you hear the 15.625 Hz whine?
Yes. Don't have a CRT TV.
Anything added by the playback mechanism that wasn't present in the original recording.
No. Strictly speaking as a consumer you can't tell what storage medium or what device is truer to the original. You can do tests by making your own recordings though, and people who have access to a professional master tape and the various commercial products made from it can also make that test. And the results are well known.
Actually, the point of high fidelity is to be neutral.
Something like that.
You are entitled to like it, but your preference does not necessarily mean it's less distorted. In this case it's the opposite.
I like the distortion in my Marshall.
Or think of analog as very expensive steak that is technically flawed but it prepped correctly for hours and cooked exactly perfectly will taste superb.CD is more like a cheaper mass produced but technically superior steak that is far easier to cook perfectly day in day out.
Analog and Tubes can manipulate the sound away from neutral and transparent more than digital does..That added coloring and distortion can make recordings sound better (or at least easier to listen too).But the subconscious effect of placing a record onto a mechanically moving turntable and the warm comforting crackle of needle on vinyl has a lot to answer for as well.But i would never criticize a format such as CD for its accurate and faithful playback.
This I can agree with and I cant think of anything that is added from a tube or a stylus that wasn't present in the original recording. Much like comparing two different speakers or speaker designs, just because they sound different doesn't mean one is distorted. I know people like to think their preference is the one that is neutral and the other is a distortion but it's only a distortion of their preference.
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