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Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res. (Read 1621 times)
SteveC
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Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
12/06/13 at 20:31:26
 
What's better in recordings?
More dynamic range with loss of high frequencies
Less dynamic range with better high frequency response

I bought my first hi res album from hdtracks. Billy Idol Rebel Yell 192/24.  I know it's not typical fare for quality, but I know this album well, played the vinyl endlessly in my younger days, have the 1983 cd, and now have it in hi res.

sadly, the hdtracks hi res issue is loud and compressed like most new cd's.  The loudness war is still raging.  Using the addin for foobar, I measured the dynamic range and submitted the data to the dynamic range database
http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?search_artist=billy+idol&sort=year&ord...
mine is the last entry

I didn't realize it was compressed at first.  I listened.  It sounded great.  It had crisp clear treble that is a bit muddied on the old 1983 CD.

(Do you guys see this as a general pattern? Music cd's from the 80's have more range, are quieter, and they all seem to have some high frequency roll off or other lack fo resolution/muddiness.  while cd's from the 90's got louder, and had better highs.  and from 2000's on, cd's are just grating because they are all peaking out all the time. generally.   ???)

Anyway, I listened back and forth.  then I tried using ABX comparer in foobar2000. Used ReplayGain to compensate for differing volumes of the same songs. listened between the two repeatedly, and did the ABX comparison.  I never guessed wrong. I could always tell which song was which, so that high roll off was definitely real, but which was better?  I keep second guessing myself.  

So I'm back to this dilemma.  I like the wider dynamic range of the old cd.  I like the crisper highs of the newer release.  sucks that there's no clear winner.  Anyone else got thoughts/experience on this?

my testing was: superzen+trapeziums+schiit uber bifrost
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DPC
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #1 - 12/07/13 at 00:51:59
 
Steve,

If the recording engineer blew it when the tracks were recorded, no amount  of later reprocessing can "make a silk purse from a sows ear".  I have downloaded some DSD tracks that in my ears could rival any vinyl I have heard.  Also, there are many 16/44 CD's that I find quite nice.

Please accept that my vinyl rig is barely a few clicks better than "entry level".

I'm sure that you can find some Hi-Rez downloads that will blow your socks off!

Dennis
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Dom
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Still like that old
time Rock and Roll!!

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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #2 - 12/07/13 at 14:19:27
 
Steve...here is a non technical answer that my help.

First....what instruments move you....string instruments, wind instruments, percussion, vocals; or more specific do you like the bass guitar over reg. guitar?  For me...I play the guitar....so I like my music that has the crisp clean highs.  

Point being.....depend on what you like to listen on a regular basis my dictate the answer to your question.  

In terms of your analysis...I do find your statement correct.  I recently downloaded a Joss Stone album form HD tracks 192/24.  For this album being an emphasis on vocals, I was happy with download.

I am in the process of ripping my entire cd collection to a backup Hard drive, and listen a bit along the way.  It's interesting to see the audible differences.

So...in regards to your question...it will vary among individuals.  And more importantly...it will vary among you.  Some days I just want to hear some slamming guitar music....other days a set of vocals produced by the human voice , whether it's a male or female, is just powerful.  

Not sure if this post helps, but sometimes we get caught up in the technical aspect of the music ...with amp and speaker features ( myself included) and forget about appreciating our music that just hits home....which can depend on our mood.

Just my 2 cents.  

Dom

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #3 - 12/07/13 at 17:04:56
 
Personally, I feel that high rez files are in their infancy. I'm afraid those of us jumping into it now, are going to be like it was when CD's first came out...the CDs didn't have the pops and snaps of LP - had better highs and lows, but they also sounded sterile, loud, and compressed. As recording engineers understood what CD could do, they pushed CD to it's limits, some for the better, but many simply for volume it seems.

That's where we are now with digital files. Too many shops are just porting these LP or CD masters to 192 without regard to how that new medium will present these old masters (mastered for a different medium!) as high rez files and what those files are capable of. The source, the version of the source, and the *limits* of what the source has to offer are going to jump out in high rez.  HDTracks is terrible about this as I've found out. I was all set to buy Van Halen Fair Warning as it's one of my favorite down and dirty rock albums, and in my research I stumbled into this.

http://www.metal-fi.com/hdtracks-fair-warning/


So, here we are now, porting albums that were recorded on media with technology limitations of when they were made, and dumping them warts and all into high rez - not even really re-mixing them to best suit this *new* medium. Bleh - that's going to be really hit or miss. I grabbed the 24/192 of Hearts Dreamboat Anne for my birthday - I can hardly stand it. There is something going on in the high frequency that's...hell, I don't even know how to describe it - it's not like the digital itch of a low rez MP3, but something that makes me have trouble sitting through the whole album. This is what makes me understand and appreciate where Lon is coming from with the more forgiving sound profile of his system - this Heart album might sound amazing on his system.

The flipside, go check out some high rez files from 2L Nordic Sound.

http://www.2l.no/hires/

These guys look at what the new medium is capable of, then record and master accordingly. These recordings, and others done like them with 24/96 - 24/192 in mind as the final output, *this* is the future of music. We just need to suffer through the growing pains and poor ports of our old favorites, and keep our ears open for new artists using and pushing these new formats to the limits.

Go check out An Awesome Wave from Alt-J

http://www.hdtracks.com/an-awesome-wave

Or Random Access Memories from Daft Punk

http://www.hdtracks.com/random-access-memories


These are the kind of recordings that are crossing over from CD to HD what I look forward to in the future of music.

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« Last Edit: 12/07/13 at 17:06:38 by Lonely Raven »  
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SteveC
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #4 - 12/07/13 at 21:01:36
 
Thanks guys, for the opinions.  

as I read them, I kept saying "yeah, I know this, yeah, you're right." repeatedly.

My expectations were too high on my first hdtracks purchase.
Sigh.

LR. thanks. I'll check out those links.

Oh, also tell Brie we saw Absinthe in Vegas.  best show ever. omg.

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RJR
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #5 - 12/07/13 at 23:43:41
 
It is sad to know that no matter how much you invest in your system, if the recording is poorly recorded then the sound will be poor.  At best, maybe some improvement can be made.  It amazes me that recording artists of every genre would not want their recordings to be the best.  I realize it is about making money and most music will be played on basic systems, in cars or whatever, yet take some pride!!!

I remember when I decided to build a hi-fi system.  I bought the Rachel and ZU Omen Def speakers and I was, actually, 'pissed' at the sound reproduction.  I just spent all this money and for what.  Then I upgraded to the Torii MK3 and the sound was still poor.  Then something happened. The system began to blossom. So I played Peter Gabriel So and it sounded great. But wait, I played Peter Gabriel Us and it sounded flat and dull.  Then I decided to investigate and learned that not all recordings are good and many are substandard.  So I found that some of my music was recorded well so I began to listen to those CD's (all my music is FLAC sent via my Squeezebox Classic) and life was being breathed into my system.  I also upgraded cabling and that helped a bit.  Tube rolling not as much and I don't know why???

Also, I have a basic 30 year old Technics turntable with a Grado Black being sent to my AVR acting as a phono stage and then to my MK3.  It ceases to amaze me that most of the albums just sound better.  I am going to upgrade to a separate phono stage and I hope it helps.  I really have to raise the volume on the AVR to get to a moderate sound level.  

I wish I had an audiophile that lived near me to try some of their equipment, cabling, etc. to see if I am missing something and can make some improvements.

Take care
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will
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #6 - 12/08/13 at 00:51:59
 
RJR,

I think your observations about starting with good recordings ties well with the thread and with system sound. But I keep thinking you may have some weak links in your room and/or system...especially since cable and tube rolling is not helping much. I am not familiar with your vinyl rig, squeezbox, or Zus, but I am getting really captivating sound on less than great recordings and all Redbook, and surreal real sound on good recordings!

Old story, but finally your system will be as good or bad as the weakest link. For me it is source source source, and room room room...and throw in power quality....then all the other stuff "shows up." But as this thread indicates, the weaker recordings just are weak. That said, as I keep refining my system/room a lot of those sorry recordings are getting quite good.

In this context, you may really benefit from a Zstage or CSP adding more signature adjustment depending on tubes, and so that you can "ride the gain" with your Torii, adjusting dynamics, weight and body to your range of recordings.
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« Last Edit: 12/08/13 at 00:57:52 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #7 - 12/08/13 at 04:47:01
 
Code:
it is source source source, and room room room...and throw in power quality....then all the other stuff "shows up." 



Well said. I might even put room/setup first above all.
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marky
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Re: Music quality. old cd's. new cd's. new hi res.
Reply #8 - 12/08/13 at 14:01:17
 
Reading this thread reminds me when I bought a pair of Focal standounts and good stands. I`d walked into the hifi dealers and heard some music emanating in mid space, so  I bought a pair. Anyway, they did the same for me and the speakers were truly `invisible`, with the soundstage above and behind the speakers. ( this is all analogue).
I was browsing in a record shop and bought 5 Little Feat albums in one go. When I played them they were such a bad production that I was going to take them back. How could they have made such awfully bad recordings? The music was not escaping from the speakers at all, just so poor, you could hear everything but you were looking at the speakers. What a waste. That was through a Naim Nait and Rega deck.
Enter new speakers and tube amps and deck. The Little Feat albums are now amongst my best recordings. Very 3D. They are an excellent production job.
The episode will always remain a puzzle.

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« Last Edit: 12/08/13 at 14:01:56 by marky »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, CSP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s. Roksan Radius/Nima/high def cabl & M.Benz LP s , Rega P3,RB300 (silver Litz), Rega wall mount, DV 20XL, Nakamichi LX5, M/L aeon i`s, Townshend Isolda sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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