Why people prefer physical CD, over high-rez digital version of same release

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Turnaround, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Khamakhazee

    Khamakhazee Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    For an SSD yes. I have multiple external drives and WD have given me more issues than my Seagate external drives.
     
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  2. Pentior

    Pentior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    I'm not an expert, therefore I looked it up a bit.
    It seems that sample rate conversion (SRC, like 96kHz to 48kHz or 44.1kHz) definitely, measurably alters the sound - either by adding unnatural pre-ringing effects which can have an effect on some sounds' impact or by introducing phase distortions, especially in the upper range, which might alter the stereo imaging or the perceived dynamics (soundspace). Can have only one, can't have none. So, hearing differences on very faint sounds (like reverbs in dense passages) is completely in accordance with stuff.

    That said, I'm still not convinced that a superior soundstage is only achievable with "High-Rez". It gets lost (mildly) when producing in 96k (which is done often these days) and crunching it down to CD, but this might be only because of SRC - or because the producers decided to simplify the sound for the CD-version.

    There is no reason why echos and reverbs or really anything should be limited when working in CD quality from the start. Also, well produced CDs from the CD-only-era have great soundscape and stereo imaging as well as delays/reverbs. Or think of carefully done analog-to-CD-conversions of that time - e.g., Aphrodite's Child's 666 has great deepness. Or MFSL's CDs, they are awesome.

    Are you sure that there was no SRC when you knocked down music to CD-quality? As for now, I have never experienced differences in sound when only converting down bitrate, 24 to 16Bit. Neither by ear nor by comparing the compressed with the original by technical means (except for inaudible random noise, far too quiet to hear). I happily crunch down any "High-Rez"-downloads or self-digitized stuff to 96/16B.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
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  3. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Some "high rez" files are nothing more than upsampled version of CDs. Basically they are files that are equivalent to a CD played through a DAC that upsamples the data from 44.1/16 to 96/24. Same is true with streaming sometimes. Of course I am not say ALL high rez files are such. Some are truly recorded in 96/24.

    I have never, and never plan on buying a digital file. Physical media for me all the way. I have already sacrificed sound quality when I went from LP to CD back in 2001. I am fine with it. Occasionally I go to my friends house who still has a SOTA/ Premier FT-3/ Grado to experience what great, natural, holographic sound reproduction is like.
     
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  4. Pentior

    Pentior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Yeah, this kind of stuff should be punishable by law :D I mean, isn't it enough to downplay the quality CD can have by comparing 96kHz to HD-TV? And after that, they just sell upsampled stuff, put more delay on it and call it a day? Since there are arguments for recording and producing in 96kHz, there is, of course, a place for 96kHz end-product - to carefully avoid SRC, for instance.

    I am very mixed physical-digital right now. Since my CD-player is quite old and therefore sometimes skips AND doesn't have the best sound, most of the time I play CD-files from my PC via an external DAC. Which sounds great! Also, some albums are nice, but not important enough to me (or not that well produced) that I would buy a CD. Official MP3-download it is!
     
  5. Pentior

    Pentior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Probably it's also a marketing decision. I mean, the official normal release of an album must be a sonical allrounder - sounds well on a stereo system, but also in the car, or on earbuds, or close to mono or in real mono (directly played from the phone, or a small bluetooth box).

    Now, you are a producer and wanna also release a version optimised for the ideal situation - good stereo speakers or headphones in a quiet surrounding. If you release both via the same way, people will buy the "audiophile" version and may be set off by the sound in the car, for instance. If you make the "audiophile" version more expensive, near to no one will buy it. Also, they will ask why you can't decide on a version. So, you need a justification to appeal to the "focused listeners". Before SACD, it was gold discs by e.g. Sony and MFSL. Then SACD came along, which is surely needed for supplying more channels but also takes the role of carrying your "audiophile" version. Now it's "High-Rez" where the sound engineers are invited to do the best deep-stuff version they can manage. The modern wave of vinyl enthusiasm, especially among younger listeners, might be related to this. Certainly sounds better than the Spotify-version.
     
  6. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Serious question - what more can you actually, seriously hear at, say, 96/24?

    For money reasons Im not able to listen audiophilically (new word :p) but I can tell a bit of difference between say mp3 320 and flac

    I mean, what more can you actually, tangibly hear?
     
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  7. Pentior

    Pentior Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    Well, I definitely hear giant differences between the High-Rez-version of 2011 The Division Bell and the CD. More delay, better voice tonality, to name two. But these differences persist after downsampling and are therefore a mastering-decision.

    Frequencies above 20kHz can be produced by 96kHz, for example. You can't hear them though. Some people claim that it makes the feeling more alive and that they get more goosebumbs or something.
     
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  8. Giobacco

    Giobacco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    Exactly, it's the different master that makes the difference. Many people hear what they want (and pay for) to hear IMHO.
     
  9. Grant

    Grant Back to the 60s!

    Location:
    United States
    OK, the reason original 16-bit files are converted to 24-bit is because of dither. You want to avoid adding more dither. Dither adds a slight veiling to the sound.
     
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  10. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    I list mine in a Word document; the entries are numbered. I rip them to .flac on the desktop, tidy up the tags and embed the artwork, apply replay gain and then copy them to the portable drive for the laptop and the backup HD.
     
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  11. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Thanks guys :)
     
  12. John

    John Senior Member

    Location:
    Northeast
    I do not use sample rate conversion. When dealing with 96k and mastering to CD I use two computers. One to playback and the other to capture, using a combination of tube and solid state analog gear in the middle.
     
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