Here are examples of that bass boom I was talking about:
Thanks for the excellent example.
I have been thinking about starting with vinyls again a long time now I might finally do it, to listen to the classics on vinyl.
But for songs made today there should be no difference?
Oh and I also think that you should consider having clothes to not take away the attention from your message and make people feel uncomfortable?
LOL I was getting tired of the automatic white balance on the camera going berserk and my white shirts were in the wash LOL That is the last time I will do a video shirtless unless the subject matter IS about being shirtless LOL
But yes, for songs made today, the CD should always be a lot better.
Most people can hear down to somewhere between 20hz and 25hz. Once it goes below that, you can only feel it or “sense” it. Many of the “bass cars” you hear going down the street are thriving on ranges between 28 and 75 hz. A bass guitar has semitones that go down in the low ranges that helps back up the main tone–and on the CD mixes of many old songs, those semitones are completely lost.
I have equal complaints about home theater speakers. One cannot get the true ranges of the lower frequencies out of 99% of the subwoofers that come with home theater systems. In order to get those low frequencies for REAL and not just something that tricks your ears, you have to at the very least have a speaker cabinet that has enough physical space to support those frequencies (as well as a speaker that can push enough air to really put out those tones, usually the bigger the speaker and the more physical movement, the better), and that cannot come from a small cabinet, no matter how much companies like Bose try to claim otherwise–one may hear SOMETHING when the lower tones are played, but they’re not the REAL resonance.
For me, the actual sounds of scratches and the static that comes with most records, that physical interference, isn’t actually what I miss the sound of. Don’t get me wrong, to me the sounds of scratches in a record remind me of being by a roaring fire in a fireplace–but it’s not what I actually miss the sound of.
For instance: I got to borrow a reel-tape (7 1/2 speed, the good speed, not the nasty 3 1/4 speed) of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Yes, I have a reel tape machine (AKAI X-360D). It had that quality that you hear in 60’s and 70’s records without any of the scratches or static. All the errors in the recording, the bassy hiss at certain points, crisp high treble but without the static you hear on most records (especially when you get closer to the center of the record, yuck)–it was amazing sounding–but this was because it was made when they were using mastering methods that were common at the time it was recorded. It truly gave the feel of the period in which it was recorded.
That’s exactly what I truly believe has been lost in the translations. If they want that warmth of the records, and they want to capture the feeling of the period in which it was recorded, they need to master using the methodology of the period in which it was originally recorded, as well as in some cases equalizing the music the way that vinyl automatically equalizes music–bring up the low end just a skosh.
New music, provided it was recorded digitally to begin with, I think always sounds better on CD. CDs are more accurate, and if things have been mastered specifically to sound warm, that warmth is going to be retained on the CD. I think of Radiohead–Nigel Godrich is a fantastic producer with an absolutely amazing feel for ambiance.
There are some Led Zeppelin CDs, particularly some of the box sets, that have been mastered fantastically, but that kind of thing is definitely not the norm. So many people try to use modern mastering methods on old material, and I think it just ruins the sound–in my opinion, 99% of what gives a feel of the period is the way it was recorded and mastered. I can generally guess with a 95% accuracy the exact year something was recorded.
I switched from vinyl to cd when cd was introduced in the 80s, havent regretted that decision even if the player cost huge amounts of money. A few albums wasnt available on cd-format but I have managed to get them as MP3 so its ok. I really don’t miss the vinyl days.
I love vinyls, they’re so big and graphical. Been collecting them since I was 14 years old. Started collecting when I found my mom’s old collection of 100 records.
About the sound quality then, naturally CD is capable of giving you a good quality, but I do realize the fact that it’s a whole different thing to listen to music on vinyl than on CD. There are other things involved than just the music when talking about vinyl. Or at least that’s how I feel. Sometimes I feel like going through 7" vinyls and on the opposite sometimes I feel like playing the soundtrack of my life, dozens of tracks on shuffle from computer. Nowadays I’m all about Spotify though.
Yes - Fragile
A few points on this matter I’d like to ramble about:
First off, in discussion over the sonic qualities of music people often find it difficult to separate their perspective of what’s going on into two distinct areas: 1. The physical science of the signal path, 2. Their emotional reaction to the content of the sound. So we get problems when someone says “Wow this album sounds massive!” when perhaps they are reacting to the quality of the composition, and in fact the sonic quality can be quite low. The last Depeche Mode album was sonically atrocious but that didn’t stop people from loving the songs. So, it’s quite hard for people just to focus on the sound: and even then if they manage to get knowledgeable of the science then there’s a great amount of esoteric knowledge and voodoo going on to stand in the road of useful discussion.
Let’s look at some signal paths for comparison:
Typical 1979 Album
Acoustic sound from a range of microphones and/or amplifiers/speakers, or an analog synth —>
Inline analog FX —>
Tube or Solid State preamp —>
Multitrack tape deck —>
Assigned channel on a mixer, usually with EQ, pan and fade —>
Combination of inline and send/bus analog hardware FXs —>
Summed two channel mix dubbed to a mix-master tape reel on a particular master deck —>
Mix-master tape processed by mastering house, so more analog FX and one more tape dub to produce the true master tape (with the rest of the album tracks) —>
Dub of the master tape sent to duplication plant which may be further altered in producing a pressing master and subsequently copies are pressed —>
Individual copy played on a range of players and playback systems in a range of acoustic environments, accounting for vinyl degradation over time.
Typical High Budget 2009 Album
Acoustic sound from a range of microphones and/or amplifiers/speakers, or an analog synth + digitalized sources such a digital synths, samples and computer sounds —>
Inline FX, both analog and digital —>
Tube or Solid State preamp —>
AD (analog-digital) converter, set at a ‘working’ sample rate and bit depth (e.g. 96khz 24bit) —>
Internal routing of sample data inside a soundcard with possible alterations of “gain” which case loss of bit-resolution —>
DAW (digital audio workstation, like Renoise) again with possible gain alterations —>
DSP alterations to the signal, both inline and on virtual sends/buss, AND with layers due to ‘master’ FX. —>
Additional ‘virtual synth’ sounds and digital samples added, sometimes with re-sampling and heavy FX —>
Straight Render of the mix at 96khz 24bit into a two track PCM WAV or AIF file as a ‘mixdown’ —>
Mixdown imported into a separate mastering process. Further inline, mid/side and sidechained DSP processing occurs —>
DA (digital-analog) converter —>
Output signal processed through high quality analog FX —>
Often signal is sent to a high quality Reel to Reel tape deck and dubbed at a carefully set gain (for setting saturation colour) to high quality (e.g. ATR) tape. —>
Output of tape goes to yet another AD converter —>
Sample clock running at 44.1khz 24bit, signal routed again internally in a soundcard —>
Another instance of a DAW monitoring the input signal —>
Signal routed to a DSP mastering limiter (e.g. Ozone 4) and the amplitude is boosted so the sound is louder —>
DSP real time Dither (e.g. again Ozone 4’s MBIT+ dither) dithering the bit depth down to 16bit —>
Real time recording using the DAW of the DSP output at 44.1khz 16bit (PCM waveform file) —>
Recored file is then further ‘topped and tailed’ with minor digital edits, and thus is called the ‘master file’ —>
Master can then be burnt onto consumer CD-audio; or sent to a CD pressing plant for pressed duplication; or sent off for CD-R duplication which is the same quality as consumer burning; or —>
File is copied into a compression format, either as lossless such as a FLAC file, or lossy such as MP3, both intended for internet distribution; then in all cases —>
Individual copy played on a range of players and playback systems in a range of acoustic environments.
What does this mean?
Ever single point in the above two models causes signal damage. Analog-circuit/Tube/Tape damage has a certain character to it, and often gets confused as being the cause for analog’s magical feeling - the real reason analog sounds magical is because it’s ANALOG. In digital the signal damage has a different character and is more linked up in the basic fact that the process is digital. The biggest weak points are the AD/DA converters (with problems like jitter and strange artifact distortions) and DSPs altering the sample data within a limited fixed resolution range. The more digital processing, the more damage to the integrity of the sound - a bit like constantly resizing a JPG image and wondering why it looks all pixilated and yuck. The above cases don’t even mention other problems, like cable noise, power-supply noise/quality, or problems with monitor quality and acoustic problems in monitoring. Nor does this take into consideration engineer quality.
All these points exist out of the realm of the composition and the ‘artist performance’, and if anything they mediate and/or distort that original input. The fact remains though that time and time again people react more initially to cultural substance surrounding the music much more than they react to the sound quality. Sound quality seems to become more of an issue for the longevity of the music - just how well can the said album be played over and over again without loss of enjoyment due to a wearing and abrasive production sound.
Current day Vinyl Pressings
The brand new records you see in stores these days could be made up of a number of sources:
- A straight no-edit transfer from the original master tape, which is a simple repressing that should sound the same as the original pressing as long as the press quality (and vinyl quality) is the same. Chances are it’s not the same quality, and therefore doesn’t sound as good as an originally pressed copy kept in mint condition.
- A remaster. When it says it’s been remastered that could mean ANYTHING. What’s likely to have happened is that the original tape master has been digitized and re-worked in a modern DAW + console + analog set-up. Depending on who does it with what gear and what process, any sort of sonic murder is possible. Often remasters sound worser than the original because of poor conversion, and commonly have had harmonic exciters slapped on them given the tops an initially brighter sound but ultimately come across as fatiguing gloss. Remaster pressings are at the same whim of pressing quality as well.
- A modern production that’s been originally generated in a DAW environment where the vinyl pressing is taken from either a 96khz 24bit mixdown file (for example) or from a dub off the analog master tape if there is one is available. So what you end up hearing is a vinyl representation of something that was at some point originally digital, and therefore doesn’t quite have the analog magic that say your old records from the 1970s have. In some ways this should sound better than a CD because it’s come from a higher quality source than CD’s 44.1khz 16bit resolution, but the drawback vinyl has it’s own sonic limitation despite being analog playback - things like noise, crackle, dust, machine noise and vibrational noise, disc wear and warping, needle quality and so on. I think these things are forgivable on an original analog pressing, part of the charm if you like, but on something that’s a digital transfer it seems outright distracting when you know the copy you have on CD sounds flawlessly clean.
A note on CD players: CD players’ DA converter process is usually very very low jitter, and I’m lead to believe lower jitter than a typical soundcard output. Given this, if you’ve got an excellently produced album on CD, and your output is going through say a really nice Class A amp and beautiful speakers - then the sonic experience should be pretty damn amazing. Given the above points about vinyl pressing quality you might be hard pressed to find a second hand original copy of some 1970s classic in mint condition to play through your pure analog playback system - whereas the CD is a pretty damn good option. If you’ve got some old warped+worn out copy that you’re playing through a mediocre playback system (or even worse you’ve got it going through a AD/DA converter somewhere) you might be kidding yourself that the vinyl sounds better.
P.S. One of my favorite vinyls in my collection is Dire Straights - Love Over Gold. It’s an original pressing and still in pretty good condition. My deck is the Denon DP-300F and has it’s own lovely sounding pre-amp in it. Playing “Telegraph Road” and “Private Investigations” through an all-analog playback system is truly a sonically transcendent experience! Bliss!
The thing that’s left out of the comparison above is that tastes have changed, hugely, in the past 30 years, in terms of what sounds good sonically. It’s not just a matter of the technology changing or improving; back in the day, records were mixed in such a way that they sounded somewhat like live performances, and preserving the elements of live performance was somewhat of a priority.
Nowadays, the emphasis is on making sure that every instrument can be heard clearly, and that the whole thing is as loud as possible. It’s like a movie where every shot is supersaturated and everything is in focus. It’s a drag because the messiness of the old mixes, to my ears, rocks harder.
To me that’s the main difference when they “remaster” old records: what they really do is make it so that every element sounds good, to the detriment of the record.
This vinyl vs cd reminded me of an old test about sound. A group of 100 testaudience was played music, first with speakers havng black fabric, and second time with the same speakers but using red fabric. The red speakers sound was considered to be better and warmer than the black ones. So there so much more into listening music than just the sound
my opinion is:
try (just once) listening to a peice of music, without a bit of metal shoved in your nose.
kizz is right tho, vinyl > cd for PURE sound. The only good thing about cd is no hiss/crackle. and you can play them more often
Well, that’s not really what I was saying, but ok LOL
ohright no sorry i thought you were FOR cd. I’m actually vinyl but I ignore people who say the W word and whole, ‘i like the sound of the crackle’ these people just come across as snobs. don’t get me wrong I like to hear all the frequencies, but to think the cons of vinyl add some sort of magic is just stupid. imo of course.
LOL I must have misinterpreted when you used “>”, I thought you were saying vinyl is greater than CD for pure sound LOL
I agree with you.
yeah, I had a listen to that YES tune and you’re spot on. the do something with the mastering, some roll off… it’s just horrible, god knows how many other cd’s have been ruined because of this mindset.
I recently checked this with a friend. I had my E 100,- sony cd-player next to a very expensive one (I don’t know the brand anymore) and the difference in sound was enormous!!
I’m saving money now for a good quality cd-player so I would enjoy my cd’s more.
I´m a DJ, as you can see from signature, and i prefer vinyl.
I have ALLWAYS used vinyls and those are great.
There´s no worry about those “snaks” and “pops”
with a proper vinyl care.