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Thread: CD’s are still the best playback format according to John Darko!

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    Senior Member Andolink's Avatar
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    Default CD’s are still the best playback format according to John Darko!

    After 3 months of experimentation, John Darko now acknowledges the superior sound quality of CD playback vs. computer audio, streaming services and vinyl using the Hegel Mohican and PSA DMP/DSD:

    https://youtu.be/vgmzh77KMCU
    Last edited by Andolink; Apr-10-2019 at 20:24.
    PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player>>PS Audio DirectStream DAC >>Dynaudio 9S subwoofer>>Merrill Audio Thor Mono Blocks>>Dynaudio Confidence C1 II's
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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    CDs are the new vinyl. Buy buy buy.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Apr-11-2019 at 00:55.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Audible transparency means perfect fidelity. It can be a CD, SACD, blu-ray disc, DVD-A or lossy... as long as in controlled testing you can't hear a difference between that and the original master, it doesn't matter what format it is. Good enough is perfect. Non transparent formats can sound very good too. I have good sounding LPs, 45s, cassettes, and even 78s.

    Formats don't matter as much as the quality of the engineering. That said, audibly transparent lossy is hands down the most flexible and convenient format of them all. If I could snap my finger and have all my records and CDs magically ripped to high bitrate lossy, I would do it in a second and chuck all the bulk.
    Last edited by bigshot; Apr-11-2019 at 05:34.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Now that CD PCM audio files can be converted to be direct-stream (PDM), CDs are just as valuable, if not more, than they used to be. The process essentially uploads and converts the PCM file, and makes it into a file that can be direct-streamed, and sound almost equal to a hi-rez SACD.
    What is obsolete is PCM playback, not the CD itself. PDM (pulse-density modulation) is a different way of playing-back digital audio.

    Last edited by millionrainbows; Apr-11-2019 at 13:13.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    That's absolute hogwash. Even a 40 dollar Walmart DVD player can play a CD without audible errors. And the difference between CD and SACD involves an increased sampling and bit rate, not just that it's Direct Stream.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    Yeah, I saw that Darko video a few days ago.

    I guess if you're a content creator (nothing wrong with that) and you need new "material", you need to keep reinventing the wheel.
    https://youtu.be/vgmzh77KMCU
    And maybe you get to play (or if you behave, keep for free) some pretty $$ gear ... like the >$5k Hegel Mohican CD player.

    What reviewers need to do -- to keep some perspective -- is drag out (or beg, borrow or steal) now-vintage equipment and compare to the latest-n-greatest.

    I'm still using a heavily-modified Magnavox (Philips) CD-650, and it's the best Red Book playback I've heard. And, no: I have not heard every DAC/player/streamer out there ... far from it. But I've heard some good and $$ recent products -- enough to opine and pontificate

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    My favorite playback format is Blu-ray: Blu-ray Videos of Classical Concerts

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    P.S.

    I recognize that people are different. And I respect that fact. With that said, I’ll illustrate the limitations of the 30+ year-old CD (based on my priorities) with some examples.

    When you attend the symphony, do you like to watch the performers, or do you close your eyes? What if there is a soloist – do you like to watch them perform?

    I saw/heard the Lalo Cello Concerto (along with other works) performed last night. I’d rather watch the cello player than close my eyes.

    I’ll see/hear Khatia Buniatishvili play piano this week. I’d MUCH RATHER see Khatia, than not.

    Clearly with ballet and opera, the visual performance is important.

    Have you ever heard a modern state-of-the-art classical recording that features 5.1 surround sound, when played on a high-quality surround-sound hi-fi system that is capable of near-concert-hall dynamics and realism? Have you seen such a recording that also features high-definition video?

    Have you ever heard any modern state-of-the-art classical recording that was captured and mastered in hi-res (i.e., 24bit/192kHz PCM or DSD), and delivered in a “hi-res” format such as Blu-ray DTS-HD MA 5.1, or SACD, or 24bit/192kHz download, or DSD download, when played on a high-quality hi-fi system capable of playing the native format (vs. downsampled to CD) – even if via a stereo mix vs. multi-channel? (Yes, for more than 40 years I’ve been aware of Nyquist’s Theorem. I don’t care to rehash the hotly contested theories about what people vs. bats can hear. I’m asking what you’ve heard.)

    Provenance of the recording is critical. If you want top quality sound, you need modern recordings that were captured and mastered in hi-res (i.e., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or hi-res DSD).

    (FWIW, I like modern hi-res recordings, featuring surround-sound, and hi-def video - played via my tube amps.)

    My point is that CD is a technology that was introduced to the market more than 30 years ago, and has limited capabilities compared to newer technologies such as Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray (and to a lesser extent SACD) – i.e., no video, no multi-channel, and lower audio resolution compared with newer technologies. I therefore think that the following statement is outdated: “CD’s are still the best playback format …”

    Of course, classical music lovers often must decide which is more important: performance quality, or audio quality of a recording. I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance. However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality. My opinion is that there are many modern classical recordings available on Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, and 24bit/192kHz or DSD download (i.e., newer than the 16bit/44.1kHz Redbook CD) that offer excellent audio quality, and excellent performance quality.

    Classical music lovers are fortunate in that there are more modern hi-res recordings available in our genre compared with most other genres.

    IMO, “CD vs. streaming” is a false dichotomy – particularly for classical music.
    Last edited by RobertKC; Apr-15-2019 at 04:31.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    There have been some real advances in sound quality since the introduction of the CD. Multichannel sound is as much of an advance over stereo as stereo was over mono. Pairing multichannel sound with HD visuals on a big screen only makes the experience even more vivid. I've stopped buying opera CDs unless they have some historical interest. If I'm looking for a recording of a particular opera, I look to blu-ray or DVD. The impact of opera on my ten foot projection screen is overwhelming. It's even better than seeing it performed live, because you get unobtrusive subtitles, and the opportunity to see the performance in close ups.

    Performance quality and sound quality have always been a tradeoff, going all the way back to Toscanini and before. There's certainly a place for recordings with compromised sound quality. Ultimately, the music is what matters, not the way it was recorded. The recent Furtwangler set proves that. But there's no reason to record today using the same technology as three decades ago.

    For two channel stereo, CD is perfectly capable and there's nothing audibly better for that. SACD is a waste of space for two channel recordings. However, sound is moving beyond two channel, and the CD format isn't set up to grow with the technology. DVD and blu-ray are.
    Last edited by bigshot; Apr-14-2019 at 20:31.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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    Senior Member apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    However, sound is moving beyond two channel, and the CD format isn't set up to grow with the technology. DVD and blu-ray are.
    Anecdotally, it seems like the large majority of people are listening to music through headphones these days. I know I do. You would probably know better than me, but it seems like there's still a place for good ol' stereo recordings, and most people outside of a small niche market with elaborate home audio systems are going to care much about multi-channel recordings.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Yeah, there's no way to match multichannel speaker sound with headphones. Headphones are all about convenience, not as much sound quality.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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    Senior Member 13hm13's Avatar
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    Regardless of sound quality, in my house, no disc format (including LP) is played on its own (like in the "olden days"). I rip(ped) all my faves to computer -- even for new purchases. So, nowadays, it's mostly about playlists on devices, or YouTube or internet radio streaming, or even FM.

    Come to think of it, even in my LP days, I'd always make mix tapes -- another type of playlist.

    Am I sacrificing on sound quality for the sake of convenience. No. Because I continue to invest in better components (like headphones or DACs or amps).

    As far as "enrichment" from pulling LPs or CDs off of shelves ... kicking back with a drink, let the music play while looking at album art or reading the liners ... to each, his/her own!

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    Senior Member haydnguy's Avatar
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    I can't understand how people can go back to vinyl. To my ears there is nothing superior about it.

    If you think back to when CD's first came out ~1983 and remember what quality our television pictures were like, going back to vinyl is like saying I want to go back from HD television to the previous picture. Who would want to? Apparently, some people want to go to vinyl. I can't understand it.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    vinyl is superior for recordings that never got released on CD.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
    AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

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    Senior Member apricissimus's Avatar
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    There's a hipster niche market for cassette tapes now (but not for classical music, as far as I know), which blows my mind. There are no redeeming qualities of cassette tapes, aside from perhaps nostalgia.

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