Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 29 of 29

Thread: Let's talk about sound gear once again, and the need for cd or vynil?

  1. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    15
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I made a lengthy post describing my gear, my audio history and philosophy re audio and classical, including vinyl - hope it will show up - If this post shows up, then there is some bug in the forum when posting using "Go Advanced" - I think it has happened to me in the past. Ah well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fredx2098 View Post
    IIt's ridiculous how some people pretend like 320kbps mp3 is low quality. I've seen downloads for single-LP-length albums that are several gigabytes. It's pretty absurd.
    If you want a fun couple of days - I invite you to go to any audiophile forum and post this ! Grab the popcorn and watch.


    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I can't hear ANY difference between a 256K VBR MP3 and a CD. But I'm getting along in years any my ears certainly aren't what they once were.

    A direct WAV file, bit-for-bit, from a CD is about 700 MB. A FLAC file that can be decoded losslessly to the same is about half that. There's no point, even given the most wild-eyed theories, to go beyond that!
    First of all, I am an skeptic with engineering training - so I will be the first one to admit that any human, least of all myself, is capable if hearing a difference, if any.

    That said, I prefer hi-res - on principle - meaning the argument for hi-res files is, hmm, kind of artistic, and consumer rights related, as opposed to an audio/hearing related argument.

    The mp3 is a degraded product. Again, I won't even try to test myself - the result will probably be that I won't hear a difference. However in principle I cannot accept a degraded product. MP3 was necessary necessary back in 1995, 20 years ago, when storage size and speeds were a fraction of what they are now.

    These days, the consumer deserves a product as close to the master as possible. Hi-res files gives us that. Simple. Lemme tell you - recently I bought Manfred Honneck's Shostakovich 5 + Barber on Reference Recordings, at DSD256 - download size came to 10GB - it only took 10 mins to download and it only moved the centesimal digit on my NAS usage - nothing.

    So no need anymore to accept a degraded product. As a consumer I want it, whether I can hear the difference with Amazon Music's 256kbps mp3s or not.



    v

  2. #17
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    377
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    It seems like "high bit rate enthusiasts" (don't know what else to call them) don't seem to understand that acoustics, recording equipment, production, and playback equipment are monumentally more important than bit rate when it comes to how "good" a recording sounds. You just need enough bits to create a continuous wave in the air, and after that there are extremely diminishing returns.

    In my experience YouTube is extremely hit-or-miss, especially for classical music. It seems like more miss than hit. Some recordings are good, but others sound like a glitchy robot having a stroke.

  3. Likes fliege liked this post
  4. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    So. California, USA
    Posts
    1,721
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredx2098 View Post
    In my experience YouTube is extremely hit-or-miss, especially for classical music. It seems like more miss than hit. Some recordings are good, but others sound like a glitchy robot having a stroke.
    The quality of the YouTube audio depends on the video resolution used:
    240p -> 64 kbps
    720p and above -> 192 kbps
    Between the above ->128 kbps

    A fair number of YouTube videos use 240p so the audio bitrates are going to be low.
    Last edited by DaveM; Jul-14-2018 at 07:07.

  5. Likes Larkenfield liked this post
  6. #19
    Member les24preludes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    82
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fredx2098 View Post
    ...acoustics, recording equipment, production, and playback equipment are monumentally more important than bit rate when it comes to how "good" a recording sounds.
    And how innately musical the engineer and producer are. I had friends in the ECM studios in Oslo and one evening a bunch of us listened to the award winning master tapes of Keith Jarrett with his Scandinavian quartet. The engineer was Jan Erik Kongshaug and the drummer, Jon Christensen, was with us in the studio. Listening and talking and playing the kit in the studio, the thing that stood out more than anything else was how exceptionally musical Jan Erik was. He's a good guitarist, by the way. The drums were set up, mic'd up and mixed beautifully - there was clearly an art to it. Nothing to do with fancy cables or esoteric hardware. It was a human factor that made the difference, plus the quality of the actual instruments. The studio Steinway was ravishingly good.

  7. #20
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    377
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by les24preludes View Post
    And how innately musical the engineer and producer are. I had friends in the ECM studios in Oslo and one evening a bunch of us listened to the award winning master tapes of Keith Jarrett with his Scandinavian quartet. The engineer was Jan Erik Kongshaug and the drummer, Jon Christensen, was with us in the studio. Listening and talking and playing the kit in the studio, the thing that stood out more than anything else was how exceptionally musical Jan Erik was. He's a good guitarist, by the way. The drums were set up, mic'd up and mixed beautifully - there was clearly an art to it. Nothing to do with fancy cables or esoteric hardware. It was a human factor that made the difference, plus the quality of the actual instruments. The studio Steinway was ravishingly good.
    Definitely, that's why it's good to be everything at once! I'm fascinated with every aspect of music, sound, and the recording/producing process. I've never recorded any classical music sadly (except with my phone, which I do not count...). One of my dreams is to have my own recording studio or to work in one as both a producer and sound engineer (and musician for my own music). I'm strongly influenced by Steve Albini's recording techniques for rock music. Actually, my own ideal technique is even simpler. I like to use only two mics in an XY setup to record an entire group playing live. That's probably the technique I would use for classical music as well.

    This might be a better question for its own thread, but does anyone know if it's appropriate to offer to record a small-scale performance? I'm going to a performance of not one but two Feldman pieces for FREE in Chicago at a small venue (a church I think), and it would be amazing if I could record them.

  8. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    249
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    It seems like "high bit rate enthusiasts" (don't know what else to call them) don't seem to understand that acoustics, recording equipment, production, and playback equipment are monumentally more important than bit rate when it comes to how "good" a recording sounds.

    I think I'd restate this differently: they don't understand that the reproduction has become more important than what is being reproduced -- or the music, the point of it all. And in a larger sense the reproduction has replaced artistry and discernment. This was once the point of music listening and collecting.

    I'm not saying this is new to millennials. When I was young a fellow named Marshall McLuhan came forth with an interesting theory based on the cliché that "the massage is the medium." I saw a demonstration of this in a class in college; essentially the technology -- or the "massage" (often mixed up with message -- replaced whatever was supposed to be the message or point of the presentation.

    So it's been coming a long time, probably at least back to Stokowski using reverb chambers and other gimmicks to produce monophonic LPs in the 1950s. I can't say I've been immune to all this because I adore Stoki's recordings from the 1950s far more than his later stereo stuff. London produced a bunch of recordings in the 1960s called Phase 4 which used as many as 20 microphones, mixed everything up in a studio, then redid it in recordings where a flute or guitar could overwhelm an entire orchestra.

    I've seen every new technology -- from 78s to LPs to cassette to reel-to-reel to CD to download to streaming to portable players and computer storage -- become more important than the music it is replicating. The addiction to new technology somewhat blinds people to what they are consuming.

    I haven't reached a point where I don't trust modern recordings but am skeptical of everything. In a way I better trust 78s and old LPs as representations of sound than I do modern recordings which are made perfect every time around.

    I once saw a program about singers where a guy said he only listened to Caruso on 78s because, "That way I know I am hearing Caruso."
    Last edited by larold; Jul-14-2018 at 14:08.

  9. #22
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    377
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    It seems like "high bit rate enthusiasts" (don't know what else to call them) don't seem to understand that acoustics, recording equipment, production, and playback equipment are monumentally more important than bit rate when it comes to how "good" a recording sounds.

    I think I'd restate this differently: they don't understand that the reproduction has become more important than what is being reproduced -- or the music, the point of it all. And in a larger sense the reproduction has replaced artistry and discernment. This was once the point of music listening and collecting.

    I'm not saying this is new to millennials. When I was young a fellow named Marshall McLuhan came forth with an interesting theory based on the cliché that "the massage is the medium." I saw a demonstration of this in a class in college; essentially the technology -- or the "massage" (often mixed up with message -- replaced whatever was supposed to be the message or point of the presentation.

    So it's been coming a long time, probably at least back to Stokowski using reverb chambers and other gimmicks to produce monophonic LPs in the 1950s. I can't say I've been immune to all this because I adore Stoki's recordings from the 1950s far more than his later stereo stuff. London produced a bunch of recordings in the 1960s called Phase 4 which used as many as 20 microphones, mixed everything up in a studio, then redid it in recordings where a flute or guitar could overwhelm an entire orchestra.

    I've seen every new technology -- from 78s to LPs to cassette to reel-to-reel to CD to download to streaming to portable players and computer storage -- become more important than the music it is replicating. The addiction to new technology somewhat blinds people to what they are consuming.

    I haven't reached a point where I don't trust modern recordings but am skeptical of everything. In a way I better trust 78s and old LPs as representations of sound than I do modern recordings which are made perfect every time around.

    I once saw a program about singers where a guy said he only listened to Caruso on 78s because, "That way I know I am hearing Caruso."
    I agree with this mostly, however there does seem to be a group of people who have an elitist attitude about listening to massive lossless files instead of mp3s. None of them seem to seriously interested in the music; they just feel some placebo effect because the term "higher quality" sounds attractive to a person who doesn't know how pointless that is past a certain point.

    But speaking of analog media, one of the biggest drawbacks aside from time constraints is that they degrade over time. The more you play it, the worse the quality gets. Depending on how old and mistreated the records/tapes are, they could sound like a ready-made musique concrète piece.

    In terms of properly interpreting a piece of classical music, I'd rank from best to worst: thinking about the pure concept of the score if you have that level of musical ability, hearing a live performance, digital recordings, CDs with time constraints, and analog media. Each of those can sound as good or better than any other depending on other factors, but it gets less practical and harder to get right as it goes down that list.

    The current societal aspects of music in popular culture really make me sad. I just try not to think about it, because no one can stop me from enjoying the music I enjoy, the way I want to enjoy it.

  10. #23
    Senior Member dogen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    4,405
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    You haven't lived till you've had tinnitus.

  11. Likes senza sordino liked this post
  12. #24
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    377
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    You haven't lived till you've had tinnitus.
    As a drummer/percussionist...... WHAT? SPEAK UP!

  13. Likes dogen liked this post
  14. #25
    Member les24preludes's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    82
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    You haven't lived till you've had tinnitus.
    Don't......... there are musicians reading this!

  15. Likes dogen liked this post
  16. #26
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Next to Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    9,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dogen View Post
    You haven't lived till you've had tinnitus.
    I get ringing in my ears, so maybe tinnitus, but usually don't notice it--probably because am most always listening to music on an earbud.
    "My brothers, there's not a sinner in the world to whom the way of redemption is closed!"
    --Minne in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West.

  17. #27
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Paradise, Montana ... on
    Posts
    1,840
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I would suggest we often do the best we can to hear something, and that our judgment about what we hear (sound quality-wise) has a lot to do with our own preferences. Subjectivity.

    We can talk about "live music" being different from recorded sound. And it is. But "live music" one day (in one venue, by one performer, by a certain instrument ... etc.) compared with that of another day (venue, performer, instrument ... etc.) will differ. And not every performance will be ideal.

    Forget cables and microphones and processors and tonmeisters for a moment. Consider something as fundamental as the instrument itself. If the acoustic guitar sounds lousy, the "live" performance will likely sound lousy. Recording manipulations may actually improve things. But often a lousy performance, whatever the reason, will still please us if we like the song, the musician, the environment .... So much is subjective.

    Tinnitus aside, even ears affect how sounds are heard. I note that if I push the backs of my ears forward I hear everything quite differently than when my ears are in their "natural" position. I suspect folks with big, forward facing ears hear everything differently than those with small, stubby close to the head and side-parallel ears. Maybe headphones equalize this, but stereo speakers won't. Nor will any amount of production. Not if the positioning of ears has something to do with quality of perception.

    And of course equipment will always alter sound. I notice differences when I change the tubes in my amp. Let alone the CD deck, the turntable cartridge, the line filter. (I plug my devices into a Panamax. The single greatest improvement I've ever noticed in an equipment change in my system was when I first added an electrical line filter. The improvement was profound: the silences darker, the dynamics sharper, the timbres more real, the spatiality -- soundstage -- more expanded and real seeming. I no longer needed to push at my ears!)

    So, when we all discuss quality of sound, let us remember that it is all rather subjective. I understand that the producer and engineer attempt in a recording to capture the "live" sound they hear in the concert or in the studio, but I wonder what positioning their ears have on their heads. Will I hear what they heard?

    And of course a lot depends upon the instruments and music genre. Electric guitars plugged into amps are already a subjective distortion in comparison to, say, an acoustic guitar. Microphones make so big a difference. There's that recording on, I believe, a STEREOPHILE set-up disc where the producer records his voice over a number of different microphones to demonstrate the great differences in the sound. It's all so artificial, right up to the roofing beams of the concert hall. No one concert hall sounds the same as any other.

    Thus, to continue arguments about which is preferable: vinyl, silver discs, enhanced silver discs, or downloads of whatever bit-rate seems almost absurd. If you like what you hear, if you enjoy the performance, what difference does it make?

    Sure, I try to achieve a "quality sound" with my playback equipment, and I've acquired some formidable devices to assist in that achievement. And sure, I tend to prefer a pristine LP disc sound over that of a CD of the same material. But not always. And sound changes even from one LP or CD to another of the same music, especially of different releases. Sometimes a new remastering will improve the sound I know; sometimes it does not. Too much remains subjective.

    And like many of you, as I age I suspect my hearing is changing. Though it's hard to tell from one day to the next. Fortunately I have not suffered (yet) from tinnitus. But I intuit that I'm hearing Beethoven's Fifth differently today than I once did. Still, I like the music and so will continue to access my various mechanical renditions of this music (some several dozen discs at present) on the various playback equipment available to me, and I shall continue to visit the concert hall when I can to hear this music. (I've heard two performances at Heinz Hall with the PSO in the past couple of years.)

    So much could be said here, but I prefer to listen to music. And I'll do so today without pushing forward on my ears.

  18. #28
    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    377
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The differences I'm talking about are mostly related to practicality. With vinyl, you have 40 minutes of music on a 12" disk. With CDs, you have 80 minutes of music on a smaller disk. With digital files, you can have hundreds of hours of music ready to play instantly on your phone (unless you have superfluously high bit rate files), not including streaming websites or apps. And they all reproduce sound just as well, so it comes down to the physical factors in my opinion. I think vinyl colors the sound a little in a pleasant way, at least for some genres like hardcore punk and certain kinds of electronic music. I don't think it sounds good for classical music though; I don't want it to be colored. Not to mention that a vast quantity of classical music can't fit on vinyl properly. I buy vinyl as collector's items for my favorite albums and/or because I like the way it colors the sound. On the other hand, I can't see a reason to buy CDs unless they're some special edition, because they're just digital files put onto a physical disk. I think digital files are the best for both casual and serious listening, and vinyl is good for collecting or having a slightly different sound quality. Of course people are free to think otherwise, but I think my point stands up to scrutiny.

  19. #29
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    15
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I had a couple of posts that got delayed - they showed up now, but in the past, not at the latest end of the thread - just wanted to bump them here so you fine people can see them and comment - I am curious of your opinion... although from reading what came after my post, I suspect what it would be...

    here they are

    Let's talk about sound gear once again, and the need for cd or vynil?
    Let's talk about sound gear once again, and the need for cd or vynil?

    thnx!

    v

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •