Is there something deficient in CD player setup, or are some albums just incredibly badly mastered?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cosmo-D, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Fred Alsberg

    Fred Alsberg New Member

    Weatherford, OK
    Admittedly, I'm more of a collector than an audiophile, but almost all CDs that I play sound good on my system. I also don't listen to modern rock, pop, etc. Maybe that's why I don't encounter the problem. I do sometimes listen to music transferred from 78's, and usually even that's okay. My system, of course, was not chosen for maximum high resolution, rather for a rich but forgiving tone.
  2. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Nothing deficient in CD players, just bad production in the main...
  3. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    The potential of the CD has been sadly wasted due to mastering, and that's coming from someone who greatly prefers vinyl. Most properly designed CD players from lower mid range up should be capable of decent reproduction these days. You just need a source that hasn't been compressed and brick walled.
    Hubert jan likes this.

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, it is ironic that CD medium is capable of such high dynamics and yet are mastered to be loud, grainy and brittle. The digital recording equipment has greatly improved since the advent of CD as well, as has the CD players. So, yes, the medium is being wasted on poor mastering. Sabotage? Maybe downloads are more profitable than having CD pressing plants. And people are willing to pay through the nose for new LPs. And they typically are mastered much better than the same title on CD.
  5. Hubert jan

    Hubert jan Well-Known Member

    That is a very bad advice. Bad sound from CD ? "Buy a new hifi" !
    Many CD's suck, check waveform with Audacity or something, compression, limiting, clipping roght before your eyes, even on respected classical, jazz CD's
    Sorry, I am an oldie, still have valve and vinyldust in my ears. From the fifties on.
  6. Metal is often poorly mastered. However, there are some metal bands on Bandcamp that have released albums with two different masterings available. One mastering with excessive compression and crushed dynamics, and one mastering with high dynamic range (HDR). The band Vainaja from Finland is one example. They have two albums that they released in both a regular and HDR versions. Go to their Bandcamp page and listen to a couple tracks from each version of the two albums. The difference will be clear. That's a good demonstration of the types of sound quality compromises that happen when this type of music gets compressed.

    The problem isn't the CD format itself. The CD format can sound very good (but high-res can sound slightly better). DACs in general are quite good. Even cheap ones. Although there are some exceptions. Better DACs can sound better, even when listening to dynamically compressed metal. But in general, most DACs are fine. But if you're trying to get CD to have some of that smoothness and openness that you hear with vinyl you're going to need to seek out DACs that do better than the average DAC.
  7. Cosmo-D

    Cosmo-D Member Thread Starter

    Interesting! I'll give those a listen.

    With regards to DACs I am waiting on Topping to release their newest model. I did some reading over at Audio Science Review and apparently their offerings measure extremely well (low distortion, high linearity, flat frequency response, et cetera). I don't know if that makes for a DAC that sounds "good", but it sure seems like the logical starting point from a design perspective. I've tried to make my vinyl setup as accurate as I can afford (and of course within in the limitations of the format). I think that is why it sounds good to my ears.

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