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TurnTables Sound better than Digital !!! - Really ???

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ukjeyaraj

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I am using both vinyl and digital (only flac/mp3, no CDs). As many have told, vinyl sounds more live and gives a feel of presence of the orchestra in living room.

Having said this, my usage pattern is 95% digital music and 5% vinyl music. This is due to non-availability of content in vinyl and practical convenience in using digital music. I enjoy both.
 

abhraneel

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no hard feelings thad...just expressed what i felt...
I really didn't want to get into another OH YES IT IS --- OH NO IT ISN'T bargee on this thread, but when I see comments like

I just have to gently mention that some of us grew up with it. In fact, some of grew up with Shellac.

Nothing personal, abhraneel, someone had to say it, and it just happened to be you. I'm happy you're happy spinning your discs, whether they are black pastic, shiny-silver, or highly polished platters in a hard-disc enclosure. It is true that the actual spinning is a lot more fun with a gramophone record.
 

Staxxx

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The one thing that I do not understand is that almost all the commercial LPs in the last 20 years have either been recorded, mastered and/or mixed in the digital domain and then reconverted to analogue (even if the original source was analogue tape) and pressed into LPs and CDs.
What does that make it? A mongrel or is it analogue because one is listening to it on a TT?
Curious to hear thoughts.....
 

Dr.Bass

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The one thing that I do not understand is that almost all the commercial LPs in the last 20 years have either been recorded, mastered and/or mixed in the digital domain and then reconverted to analogue (even if the original source was analogue tape) and pressed into LPs and CDs.
What does that make it? A mongrel or is it analogue because one is listening to it on a TT?
Curious to hear thoughts.....
I think that is one reason why most analog purists dont care about reissues, most of them look out for the original pressing just because it sounds purer, more like real (analog) thing. Some reissue labels are very good but still 8 out of 10 times the original issue sounds better. Why (even if the mastering engineer is Bernie Grundman) ? Because the reissue has gone through some "digital" processing somewhere:p.
 

Saket

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Last night, I was listening to Disco Dancer LP - Yaad aa raha hai song. Was sounding marvelous. Have a CDP & CD of tha same song but I would not compare LP to MP3 and that too on different setups llike amp & speakers.

Now, I hope I am not asking an off-track question...but do all digital formats use some sort of compression? I know, there is flac, but it is completely lossless? As it is a digital format, the way it is stored, is there any sort of compression/loss?? What are other lossless formats?
But I am sure that these lossless formats would be truely lossless only when the source is original & lossless or may be analog.
Experts of digital music please share your views on this. Which format of digital music is comparable to Analog given the same playing set ups except of course the CDP & TT. No intention of again starting a Digital vs analog war but the intent is to know the best of the best digital formats which I want to try.

Thanks,
Saket
 

doors666

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The one thing that I do not understand is that almost all the commercial LPs in the last 20 years have either been recorded, mastered and/or mixed in the digital domain and then reconverted to analogue (even if the original source was analogue tape) and pressed into LPs and CDs.
What does that make it? A mongrel or is it analogue because one is listening to it on a TT?
Curious to hear thoughts.....
There is hardly any good music that has been produced in the last 20 years. the old timer bands still use analog.
 

reubensm

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my take on this never ending debate is as follows:

It all depends on how you like to hear your music. Some people (like myself) are not too keen to listen to soft, smooth and silky music and like their music loud and bang in the face (because my staple is made up of rock and heavy metal). I think CDs are better for this kind of listening and I would say that my CD63SE is ideally for the job as it is bright.

When I pull out those old records and listen to them, the music from them tends to sound better because I feel that only if it sounds that way, I will be able to relate to the old times. I would prefer to listen to Jim Reeves or Frank Sinatra on LP but would prefer to listen to Metallica and Deep Purple on CD.

At the end of the day, when it comes to listening to music, its all about "me" and not about audiophile traditions, standards, methods and practices. I do what appeals best to "me".

This is a very subjective debate and will keep going on and on.

I know a lot of friends who have invested in TTs and have built LP collections. They are so bowled over by the format and talk very highly of it, saying its better than CD. However, they also maintain parallel collections of CDs (wherever possible) and prefer to play CDs for general listening or when friends come over, saying that CD sound is more main-stream and appealing to the average ear while vinyl listening is niche and will appeal only to those who understand the format (I think this is the audiophile excuse of the century)

Personally, I remember many years ago, an experience at a Scorpions concert. They were on professional sound systems and their live sound definitely did not sound soft, smooth and silky with great imagery, midrange, colour and what not. It was loud and what audiophiles would call "thin" (less mids) but it caused an adrenalin rush and gave us a kick, got our money's worth that day.
 
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Thad E Ginathom

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There is hardly any good music that has been produced in the last 20 years. the old timer bands still use analog.
Speaking of contemporary music, I have spent the last 20 years recognising the old music they are imitating:rolleyes:. There is so much stuff that is derivative. However, those who do follow the music scene rather than allowing themselves to get stuck in 1974 assure me there is good stuff, and some youtube surfing actually proves they are right! :eek:hyeah:

Added to which the is the vast library of classical music, of course still performed, and of course still recorded. If classical music (East or West) is not a person's cup of tea, I'd be the last to force-feed their ears. We do, after all, listen to music for pleasure! However, if a person wants to exercise their hifi and their hearing, there is nothing like a symphony orchestra to do just that. Nothing else will fill the entire frequency range; nothing else will provide such dynamic variation. Nothing else will provide such variety of instruments and sound.

There is no need at all for audio technology, or any specific application of it, to be stuck in the past.

Now, I hope I am not asking an off-track question...but do all digital formats use some sort of compression? I know, there is flac, but it is completely lossless? As it is a digital format, the way it is stored, is there any sort of compression/loss?? What are other lossless formats?
I believe that this question should be answered by an expert in the technology, and it won't be easy to really understand the answer. We toss around words like compression and sampling, and attach our assumptions to them --- and then we find a forum to beat each other with those assumptions :lol:.

Here are some of mine :cool:...

The digital technology that we mostly use is lossless. Compression, of they type of which you speak, only enters the picture when people want to minimise the file size for storage or transmission of music. Want to get hours and hours and hours of music on a CD? MP3 is your friend. You might not enjoy listening to it though!

The music that you buy on a standard audio CD is lossless. The music that you rip from that CD is lossy or lossless according to your choice. There are numerous file formats: WAV is lossless; FLAC is compressed but lossless; OGG and MP3 are examples of file formats that are lossy compressed.

So --- a lossless format gives you exactly what you ripped, regardless of whether it is compressed or not: no better, no worse. A lossy format does not: some of the content is discarded.

But --- the digital music we use (eg a CD) is sampled, and doesn't the word "sample" imply that it is not "all" the music? That's where the assumptions kick in, and my understanding (maths duffer) kicks out. My assumption is that 41,100 samples per second Is enough to perceive all of the music and cover the entire frequency range ( a formula states that the frequency range is limited to half the sampling rate) of human hearing. Other assumptions say that that is not enough. Many people including music technologists say that the CD standard is not perfect. On the other hand, I've seen the mathematical theory, and the graphs, which I do not understand that shows that, somehow, sampled though it may be, we do get the stuff in the gaps too! That baffles me, so please don't argue this with me: argue it with a mathematician/cryptologist/encoding expert!

Some of those people might say that vinyl is not perfect either: after all, the sound needs to be distorted to get it into an LP groove and undistorted to play it back. I have nothing against vinyl, I've known it for forty years, but I do think that people's assumptions overdo the vinyl-is-natural thing. How about tape, guys? Re[ea]l tape, of course, not cassettes.

It's a bit like the naturopathy thing. Common assumption: herbs are natural, how could they do you any harm? Fact: many gardens contain enough poison to kill a person, and qualified herbal practitioners (Eastern and Western) prescribe poisons just like alopathic doctors do.

I think that the hard lines that are drawn between analogue (or, rather, LP) and digital are mostly the result of these assumptions, and, whilst continuing to listen to whatever source/equipment combination suits us best, it really does not need to be a battle line. And, if it must be a battle line, lets keep the logic err... logical.

reubensm said:
At the end of the day, when it comes to listening to music, its all about "me" and not about audiophile traditions, standards, methods and practices. I do what appeals best to "me".
That makes perfect sense. It's the way to go. But it is still fun and a learning process to chew the theoretical cud.
They are so bowled over by the format and talk very highly of it, saying its better than CD. However, they also maintain parallel collections of CDs (wherever possible) and prefer to play CDs for general listening or when friends come over, saying that CD sound is more main-stream and appealing to the average ear while vinyl listening is niche and will appeal only to those who understand the format (I think this is the audiophile excuse of the century)
That's just weird. If it sounds good it sounds good.
 
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koushik

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IMO - Lossy and lossless are terms tossed with respect to the source. FLAC, WAV etc are considered as lossless to the source, that is, ACD or SACD BUT whether digital itself is lossless or not is arguable. If CD was lossless than what is SACD? Is it adding some more info from Universe? No!

The continuous analog wave is sampled at different sampling rates(44.1, 48, 96 kHz etc) and stored in different bit sizes(16, 20, 24 bits etc) so if we increase the rate of collecting samples, we can store more information hence more bigger file size. Instead of 192kHz, if we sample it with 288 kHz(50% more) the file size is likely to increase by 50%

Digital(music, photographs, signals) will always be lossy but we have to find out some optimized sample rate after which it really doesn't matter.
 

Saket

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About the digital music You hit exactly the right note of my doubt Thad. I have not gone into real depths of digital; music, but if something is played digitally, or recorded digitally, sampling rates comes into play whose effect is to be discussed & understood.
Also, its difficult to truely understand digital standards because the problem is unless we have a better digital format than the current one, the digital world treats the current one to be the best of the best formats...I won't be amazed if they come up with 'True Flac' or 'Truely Lossless' or other such terms when they invent a new (& probably little better than current format).
But be it digital or analog, both formats suffer from their respective shortcomings & there is no denying it. Vinyls can have typical problems like pre-echo, stereo separation to an extent, surface noise, accuracy based on excessive mechanical dependance and wear of media & stylus, alignment problems among some others. Similarly digital has its own problems of compression/sampling/and above all piracy leading the world of entertainment reeling under economic issues which is dangerous for the industry.

Kaushik has made some very appropriate points which have also hovered in my mind always. I think that digital storage will always be lossy because it has to be sampled at some rate unless we come up with some other technology altogether. Different lossless formats can only be lossless when it is compared to original digital recordings; which in itself is lossy.

So as the old saying goes, nothing is perfect, applies here too. Just like clothes, perfumes, colours, food & music, the media also should belong to a personal domain and whatever appeals to the user, shoudl be the way to go by it. As I admire looking at a spinning vinyl under my stylus others may enjoy the laser reflection being converted to music.

Thanks for reading, if you have read the whole story!

Saket.
 
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Staxxx

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...but do all digital formats use some sort of compression? I know, there is flac, but it is completely lossless? As it is a digital format, the way it is stored, is there any sort of compression/loss?? What are other lossless formats?

Thanks,
Saket
Saket, there are many sites with explanations of the various audio formats. However they are not very clear often. Note that a FLAC file IS compressed, however it is restored back bit-for-bit hence this is called "lossless" compression. This is quite a good link for an explanation:

Computer Audio File Formats

All my music currently is in WAV (which is not compressed and therefore takes a lot of space to store) and my digital player designer prefers to use WAV64 files....I have not and am not interested in doing a comparison of these formats physically at the moment, as the sound I am achieving is really very good.

Hope this helps.
 

KiranPS

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IMO - Lossy and lossless are terms tossed with respect to the source. FLAC, WAV etc are considered as lossless to the source, that is, ACD or SACD BUT whether digital itself is lossless or not is arguable. If CD was lossless than what is SACD? Is it adding some more info from Universe? No!
That is a great point koushik which never struck me till you pointed it out. Digital music is always LOSSY. Digital music can never be LOSSLESS. You are always loosing music between each sample.

So assuming that today we have the technology to sample at upto 1MHz (theoretically it can be infinite) but for argument sake let's limit ourselves to current technology. A CD is sampled at 44Khz would loose a whopping 95.6% of music, only 4.4% of the music is captured on a CD.
A Flac at 96 KHz would loose about 90% and Flac at 192 KHz would loose 80%.

Whereas in a pure Analog path no music is theoretically:rolleyes: lost.

Just my theory , what do you guys think ? Is my math right ?
 

moktan

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That is a great point koushik which never struck me till you pointed it out. Digital music is always LOSSY. Digital music can never be LOSSLESS. You are always loosing music between each sample.

So assuming that today we have the technology to sample at upto 1MHz (theoretically it can be infinite) but for argument sake let's limit ourselves to current technology. A CD is sampled at 44Khz would loose a whopping 95.6% of music, only 4.4% of the music is captured on a CD.
A Flac at 96 KHz would loose about 90% and Flac at 192 KHz would loose 80%.

Whereas in a pure Analog path no music is theoretically:rolleyes: lost.

Just my theory , what do you guys think ? Is my math right ?
how would that translate when you hear music as sound and not calculate it as math...perhaps we lose x% of the essence of music which analogue would reveal to us...but i doubt some math would be able to quantify that...
 

jls001

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Digital music is always LOSSY. Digital music can never be LOSSLESS. You are always loosing music between each sample.
The math for sampling comes from the Nyquist-Shannon Sampling theorem:

If a function x(t) contains no frequencies higher than B hertz, it is completely determined by giving its ordinates at a series of points spaced 1/(2B) seconds apart.

In essence, the theorem shows that a bandlimited analog signal can be perfectly reconstructed from an infinite sequence of samples if the sampling rate exceeds 2B samples per second, where B is the highest frequency of the original signal.

from NyquistShannon sampling theorem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Note the words "completely determined".

This means that for an audio signal band-limited to 20 kHz, if you sample that signal at >40 kHz (more than twice the highest freq component), you can reconstruct the original signal exactly. So in theory it is not lossy since every part of the original signal is recoverable, provided you have "infinite sequence of samples". In practice, there is no electronics that can deal with infinite anything. Which brings us back to whether the signal is reconstructed exactly?

More knowledgeable folks please chip in with more gyaan.
 
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mbhangui

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That is a great point koushik which never struck me till you pointed it out. Digital music is always LOSSY. Digital music can never be LOSSLESS. You are always loosing music between each sample.

So assuming that today we have the technology to sample at upto 1MHz (theoretically it can be infinite) but for argument sake let's limit ourselves to current technology. A CD is sampled at 44Khz would loose a whopping 95.6% of music, only 4.4% of the music is captured on a CD.
A Flac at 96 KHz would loose about 90% and Flac at 192 KHz would loose 80%.

Whereas in a pure Analog path no music is theoretically:rolleyes: lost.

Just my theory , what do you guys think ? Is my math right ?
You are right in theory. No amount of mathematical approximation can ever predict what the sound wave was for the small missing piece in between two samples. All one can say is that with time, technology improves and probably digital music has not reached the pinnacle but will be there someday.
 

thatguy

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Is my math right ?
No.

I guess it was Scott Fitzgerald who once said that the trouble with being rich is that you have to live with rich people. I just came up with the hifi equivalent of that statement. The trouble with taking interest in hifi is that you have to listen to the audiophiles.

Go a little easy in trying to *explain* things. Vinyl seems intuitive, almost within the grasp of the layman. I am quite certain even that is far more complex that most of us assume it to be. Digital music *is* rocket science. You probably want to refresh your knowledge of singal processing before trying to calculate the %age of music lost during sampling.
 
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bugsnest

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I was reading this discussion and the arguments are nicely put (and well informed!) but I'm just curious if anyone here can honestly say they HEAR superior sound coming out of their LP's than a nicely re-mastered CD of the same album?

Granted not all music has been digitally remastered as well as they should be so there would be some LP's that would still sound better than their CD counterparts. But if you are comparing apples-to-apples then a well re-mastered CD should sound as good (if not better when you take away distractions like the crackling sounds and static that are inherent to LP's). The 5 or 6% loss that we are theoretically arguing may not have any real world impact.

If music is meant to move you then I doubt you would care 2 hoots what source it comes out of. If vinyl is your thing then so be it but I don't think that means you need to buy a $30,000 player to truly move you.

I for one feel the act of spinning a vinyl is romantic in itself and brings back cherished memories. But does it make the experience of listening to a cherished artist/album any more or less enriching? I would say no. I enjoy listening to the Beatles in my car, iPhone and laptop as much as I enjoy spinning my first pressing White Album :)
 

captrajesh

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A CD is sampled at 44Khz would loose a whopping 95.6% of music, only 4.4% of the music is captured on a CD.

A Flac at 96 KHz would loose about 90% and Flac at 192 KHz would loose 80%.

Whereas in a pure Analog path no music is theoretically:rolleyes: lost.
Whoa, are you saying that playing a redbook CD, we are listening to only 4.4% of the original music as compared to the same on vinyl?:eek:

Could you kindly elaborate how did you arrive at those percentages.:)
 

Dr.Bass

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So assuming that today we have the technology to sample at upto 1MHz (theoretically it can be infinite) but for argument sake let's limit ourselves to current technology. A CD is sampled at 44Khz would loose a whopping 95.6% of music, only 4.4% of the music is captured on a CD.
A Flac at 96 KHz would loose about 90% and Flac at 192 KHz would loose 80%.

Whereas in a pure Analog path no music is theoretically:rolleyes: lost.

Just my theory , what do you guys think ? Is my math right ?
You are right if you are listening direct to the master tape. If you are listening to LPs, there is still a lot of data loss that happens due to compression, after all the mastering engineer has to fit in x number of songs on one LP.
 
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