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Thread: Tube amps vs. solid-state for classical music and opera

  1. #136
    Junior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    I haven't bought a CD in years, as I buy my music as HiRes downloads and always run them through software that test for dynamic range. I look for a DR >= 12. I also stream music from streaming services, but that is a whole other topic.

    Generally speaking, the classical music world has been safe from the so called "loudness wars". But it has started creeping in, primarily in reissues and series such as "Essential Classics" that Sony, I believe has put out (i.e., essential piano, essential violin, etc.)

    I'm sure your 10,000 CD's have are fine. The loudness wars are a relatively recent phenomenon and I didn't mean to imply that dynamic range compression was common in classical music CD's.

    Having said that, if folks buy iTunes or Amazon MP3 files they are definitely dynamically compressed. I think that anyone buying through those services already knows that and they don't care.
    "The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham.

  2. #137
    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    I would have thought that any recorded music is compressed to some extent
    "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.

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  4. #138
    Junior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    It's all a matter of degrees. If you look at vinyl it had to be compressed, otherwise the stylus would not be able to track. Digital brought in an era where compression was no longer necessary.

    But I didn't mean to derail this thread on tube vs SS gear.
    "The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham.

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  6. #139
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodrigaj View Post
    if folks buy iTunes or Amazon MP3 files they are definitely dynamically compressed. I think that anyone buying through those services already knows that and they don't care.
    I don't buy a lot of downloads, but there are things I've bought CDs of on Amazon that are auto ripped for me. That sounds exactly like the CD. I don't detect any additional compression at all there. I would imagine it's the same for iTunes.
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  7. #140
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I don't buy a lot of downloads, but there are things I've bought CDs of on Amazon that are auto ripped for me. That sounds exactly like the CD. I don't detect any additional compression at all there. I would imagine it's the same for iTunes.
    The MP3 format compresses the size of the music file, but I don't believe it has anything to do with dynamic range regardless of the bit rate used.
    Last edited by KenOC; Nov-08-2018 at 19:48.


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  9. #141
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    In the digital age, dynamic compression has been added to certain recordings so the listener does not have to toggle the volume up and down from loud to soft when the soft passages have to be turned up to be heard and consequently the loud passages are too loud and have to be turned down. It’s practical since the entire wide dynamic range of a symphony orchestra cannot generally be reproduced through two stereo speakers, or even surround. Even a surround system is not the size of Carnegie Hall, and some compromises have sometimes been made and compression used. At least that’s the way it used to be done. It was as much practical as anything to make the recording compatible for a home sound system and not have to fool with the volume knob all the time. I have rarely been bothered by it. Some of the BIS Sibelius (?) recordings have little or no compression and some listeners have complained about having to adjust the volume all the time. Those who don’t mind the lack of compression usually have sound systems that can handle that kind of a dynamic range. But I wouldn’t say that the majority of listeners have high-end systems. I'd say that the compression saturation wars apply more to rock and jazz rather than classical, thank God.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Nov-08-2018 at 21:55.
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  11. #142
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    In the digital age, dynamic compression has been added to certain recordings so the listener does not have to toggle the volume up and down from loud to soft when the soft passages have to be turned up to be heard and consequently the loud passages are too loud and have to be turned down. It’s practical since the entire wide dynamic range of a symphony orchestra cannot generally be reproduced through two stereo speakers, or even surround. Even a surround system is not the size of Carnegie Hall, and some compromises have sometimes been made and compression used. At least that’s the way it used to be done. It was as much practical as anything to make the recording compatible for a home sound system and not have to fool with the volume knob all the time. I have rarely been bothered by it. Some of the BIS Sibelius (?) recordings have little or no compression and some listeners have complained about having to adjust the volume all the time. Those who don’t mind the lack of compression usually have sound systems that can handle that kind of a dynamic range. But I wouldn’t say that the majority of listeners have high-end systems. I'd say that the compression saturation wars apply more to rock and jazz rather than classical, thank God.
    That’s my impression as well. Even for listening in a reasonably quiet living room, some compression is required. CDs are occasionally produced with a dynamic range that’s simply too wide, and those (for me at least) are very difficult to listen to. Vanska’s first Sibelius symphony cycle on Bis is an example.
    Last edited by KenOC; Nov-08-2018 at 21:39.


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  13. #143
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    It's a shame about that Sibelius box because the performances are fantastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The MP3 format compresses the size of the music file, but I don't believe it has anything to do with dynamic range regardless of the bit rate used.
    I think he was saying that Amazon and Apple master them differently. I don't think they do. I think they just take the files the labels give them.
    Last edited by bigshot; Nov-09-2018 at 01:05.
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  14. #144
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    ...I think he was saying that Amazon and Apple master them differently. I don't think they do. I think they just take the files the labels give them.
    I think you're totally right. Messing with the files the labels give them would be bad (and very expensive) business.


  15. #145
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    But doesn't Apple have a set of standards they recommend (Mastered for iTunes)?

  16. #146
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Those standards are for what kind of master the studio supplies them with, Apple doesn't apply any adjustments themselves.
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  17. #147
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Those standards are for what kind of master the studio supplies them with, Apple doesn't apply any adjustments themselves.
    Which is why I used the word "recommend." However, I suspect a lot record companies follow Apple's guidelines. In which case Apple is directing the mastering.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    ”Art is how we decorate space; Music is how we decorate time.”

  19. #149
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    That pdf reads mostly like sales pitch.
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