Why various pressings sound difft

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venkatcr

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I don't buy any CDs without an 'Import' sticker on them if I can help it. The ones that are turned over in this country are absolute trash. Makes you want to stop buying CDs totally.

But what do we do when we like Indian music so much?

Cheers
 

arj

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is painlessly and cheaply cured by ripping the CD in data mode to your hard drive. The most painstaking process is to create a image file from the CD in data mode, then mount it and either rip or play from the virtual drive itself. Really bit perfect.

so true. i found Japanese pressings to be fantastic and US pressings followed by Europe (Especially Germany) to be very good as well
rest of APAC is really very Sad quality but ripped by with EAC (with error correction) they sound better.
 

square_wave

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But what do we do when we like Indian music so much?

Cheers

There is nothing much one can do.
The problems originate from the studio-mix master itself. The master is tweaked to sound good (exciting) on cheap stereos. The pathetic cd production pipeline adds to the insult.
 

square_wave

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Of course Water Lily. I have that cd. One of the best recordings ever done.
There are a lot of Hindustani classical cds on the sare-gama label which are outstanding. All are recordings done in Europe and cds made in Germany. I have quite a few.
ROC that Hariprasad cd which I got when I came home was a NAD cd made in India but recorded in London.

Kavi Alexander is a genius. An iconoclast:thumbsup:
 

SuhasG

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But what do we do when we like Indian music so much?

Cheers

Venkat,

ECM had produced some albums in Indian Classical for example:
  • 'Making Music by Zakir Husssisn'
  • 'Raga and Saga by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan' ( he sings Indian Ragas such as Durga etc but doesn't name them accordingly!)
EMI Classic (UK) too had produced some albums look for their
  • Call Of the Valley.

Another small label from Germany is 'Chhanda Dhara' owner is 'Ms Shefali Naag', this label has a very impressive list of albums both in Hindustani Classical as well as Carnatic Classical.

As mentioned in other posts , check for Water Lilly Acoustic , very impressive album list , artist include Vishwamohan Bhat, Ronu Muzumdar, Kadri Goplanath just to name a few.

One more UK based label is Audiorec, they have some nice albums.

If you are lucky enough you can still find some very good recording done by Navraas records (UK) especially go for Ahir Bhiarav by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Sukhbinder Sing Namdhari recorded live at Kufa Hall London.

There is one more French Label 'Makar Record' they are famous of recording some lesser known but brilliant artist. Go for their 'Bhairavi' a 2 cd album by various artists but buy this for Rudra Veena by Ustad Dagar.

SONY-Naad lable also produces some good albums look for their Rashid Khan series.
Also look for one Indian Label: Ninaad, they too have very impressive and well recorded albums, Soul Raga by Ronu Muzumdar, AnantPrabha series by Dr Prabha Atre, Maya by Pt Hariprasad Chourasis, Thumari Katha by Pt Satyasheel Deshpande etc.

There is one more Indian label Mystica Music offering some very well recorded albums such as Hidden Gems by Kalpana Zokarkar , Gauri Pathare etc

Also watch other indian labels such as Kosmic and Times music label, occasionally they produce some very good albums (for example Raga Symphony)

Mahendra Dave of Oceanic Sound and Vision Pune, has produced some very well recorded Sufi Albums under the label 'Oceanic.

Hope this helps.
 

Asit

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I find the article in the AVGuide quite interesting and informative. The article explains how the digital data (streams of zero's and one's) stored in the CD's in the form of 'pits' and 'lands' (zero's) and changes from one to the other (one's) are not the original discretized data, but actually an encoded one (through the so-called EFM modulation) which puts a minimum of two to ten zeros between successive ones.

BTW, DVDs are also encoded through a similar modulation known EFMplus, I think.

The EFM modulation is an engineering marvel that enables accurate data reading simpler. CDs as physical objects are handled in daily life situation (not in a laboratory under 'clean' conditions) and are difficult to keep in ideal condition for easy data reading from the indentations (pits and lands) made by the 'pressing'. The EFM makes this job simpler and that's why even from scratched or unclean CD's most of the times we get 'some' music out.

But the most important point that the author raises is that, with 2 CDs pressed with two different machines, after the photo-detection (conversion of the light (laser) signal reflected from the disc into electrical signal) and then the subsequent decoding, the two digital data streams are exactly identical. Even then the quality of the music ultimately extracted from them through the subsequent identical chain of DAC, amp and speaker was different.

The author makes the observation that the poorer CD had more of a scatter of the zero's (from a possible two to ten) between the subsequent one's (from the original unencoded data stream).

However, as I understand the issue (and the author also appreciates it, I suppose, because he still calls it a puzzle and is trying to get more understanding from the Philips engineers), after the decoding (i.e., retrieval of the original digital data stream), this scatter information 'is lost'. If that is the case, how can it make a difference to the sound?

It seems to me (and pardon me, I am only good at making mental models, which may or may not work) that the only way there can be difference is if the causal sequence is messed up in the chain of events starting with first the photo-detection of the encoded data, then the decoding of the data into the original data stream (this will be a more difficult process if there is a random scatter of the encoding artifacts) and then the Digital-to-Analog conversion stage. In other words are there appropriate caching done with appropriate time-delay (to ensure that the correct data stream is entering the D/A stage) before the D/A stage? I presume these are done in CD players, but the question is, from an engineering point of view, are these done sufficiently well enough to make sure that none of the encoding artifacts are actually going into the D/A stage? Somebody knowledgeable, please comment.

The other aspect the article focuses on is the choice of material, their refractive indices etc suitable for the compact disc medium. As far as I understand, and the author actually has left this for us to conjecture, better material (i.e. with better optical properties) will make the photo-detection procedure easier.

From the responses given by a few of our members, I have not understood how ripping of the CDs into disc-images will solve the problem, because the problem of the encoding artifact is there in the disc (inherited from the 'pressing' procedure). The only solution (other than a super expensive glass discs or something similar) seems to be to get rid of the discs altogether and download the PCM data directly into a data storage and then play it through D/A stage.

I have many of the CD-brands mentioned by Suhas. Some are good and some are not so good. Even some from Chhanda-dhara, some are not good, for example the one with U. Srinivas and Zakir Hussain. I guess some of the Indian artistes mess with the foreign engineers and misdirect them. I have seen this happen in front of my eyes with a few live recordings in the US. Unfortunately some of these artistes are legends or otherwise so well-known, the engineers (some of them are so polite and almost awe-struck) sometimes agree to things that go against their wisdom. I had interaction with some of them, and they were clearly unhappy at the end of it. Mastering and pressing is still another issue, as already mentioned by almost everybody.
 
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Guns

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Hi,
Please also check Moment Records owned by Zakir Hussian himself. they have some nice indian classical and fusion.
 

venkatcr

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However, as I understand the issue (and the author also appreciates it, I suppose, because he still calls it a puzzle and is trying to get more understanding from the Philips engineers), after the decoding (i.e., retrieval of the original digital data stream), this scatter information 'is lost'. If that is the case, how can it make a difference to the sound?

Frankly I don't understand it myself. There are a few possibilities, that I can understand

1. The same master is used in two different duplicating machines which could create a difference in the content.

2. Two batches from the same duplicating machine has raw stock of slightly different characteristics.

3. There was some glitch during duplication, and one batch has some errors of a few bits.

In all such cases, the data will invariably be different. But if you play two CD that are bit identical on the same equipment, I find it hard to believe that they can sound different.

It seems to me (and pardon me, I am only good at making mental models, which may or may not work) that the only way there can be difference is if the causal sequence is messed up in the chain of events starting with first the photo-detection of the encoded data, then the decoding of the data into the original data stream (this will be a more difficult process if there is a random scatter of the encoding artifacts) and then the Digital-to-Analog conversion stage. In other words are there appropriate caching done with appropriate time-delay (to ensure that the correct data stream is entering the D/A stage) before the D/A stage? I presume these are done in CD players, but the question is, from an engineering point of view, are these done sufficiently well enough to make sure that none of the encoding artifacts are actually going into the D/A stage? Somebody knowledgeable, please comment.

Irrespective of how the player and subsequent electronics behave, if you use the same equipment and the CD, they should behave the same way. UNLESS, the decoding and DAC conversion brings a subtle random differences in each play that are controlled by the mathematics used internally (Fourier Transform and Curve Fitting), particularly in the DAC process.

From the responses given by a few of our members, I have not understood how ripping of the CDs into disc-images will solve the problem, because the problem of the encoding artifact is there in the disc (inherited from the 'pressing' procedure). The only solution (other than a super expensive glass discs or something similar) seems to be to get rid of the discs altogether and download the PCM data directly into a data storage and then play it through D/A stage.

This may sound strange, but a CD ripped into WAV or FLAC using EAC, many times, actually sounds better than the CD itself, keeping everything else the same. I had mentioned this in some other thread with a reference to another article by Robert Harley (Do Hard-Disk Drives Sound Better Than CD? | AV Guide). According to him disk drives present the same data with higher precision than CD drives do (less Jitter). This is particularly true in timing precision.

EAC extracts the data using raw reads and does it multiple times till it is satisfied that the data is accurate. It has a set of reference data available both for the drive and for the album with which it compares your extraction. It does this every time you rip a CD. Each CD could take anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours depending upon the quality of the CD and the drive.

Cheers
 

gobble

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Guys

Please burn your audio CDs using Moser Baer Gold CDs and listen to the difference!! You may laugh but the SQ has a "shimmering" quality to it. I mean it literally! You may experience the audio equivalent of the visual shimmering and sparkling of gold in the way cymbals and hi-freq metal instruments sound!!

Try it and let me know your opinion.

Regards
 
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