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gkc
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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Many live concerts are a sonic mess. I guess, in 35 years of concert-going, I have never been to one of those.

The live acoustic concert-hall experience just is. All imitations aspire to what is, but never get there.

My only comment would be, you have been going to the wrong live events. I have been in the finest and worst concert halls in the world. I have never heard "a mess" in any of them. All I have ever heard is pure, unadulterated (redundant -- sorry) musical sound, in all its unsullied glory. No distortion. No boom. No shrieks. Just (mostly) hand-made instruments playing into the listening space.

True enough, I have been to outdoor rock-concerts, but that isn't live music. It is amped and blasted music without a listening room.

I have had mixed experiences with jazz in various acoustic situations. Some outstanding, some merely good. But I have never heard a "sonic mess."

You say, "the (analog) media (sic) itself is limited and has nowhere to go." You say, elsewhere, that "...one cannot upsample vinyl..."

That, my friend, is the entire point. You can't fuck with vinyl, or, by definition, it is no longer vinyl. All you can do is degrade it. You can manipulate digital to a fare-thee-well, and all you do is get further and further away from the information originally chopped, re-digested, and hacked onto the silver frisbee.

If you quit vinyl in 1983, you gave up about 20 years too soon. I can attest to that. As I said, I love music, and I love whatever I can squeeze out of the pre-masticated bits and bytes I feed into the tray, and whatever pure hits I can get from vinyl. I have CD's I would never sell, give away, or destroy. But none of them can compare with vinyl, when it comes to re-creating the the memory of the original live acoustic event.

You refuse to spend money. I don't blame you. So do I. Unless I hear something that gets me closer to my memories of the live event.

Nobody is trying to convert you. You will do what you will do. But your argument is specious, because you give no alternate reference as a substitute for what you vilify as a "sonic mess" -- which is merely live humans playing live music in a hall designed or designated for the purpose. This "sonic mess" has charmed, elevated, and transfigured (as only music can do) audiences for more than 6,000 years. The live event is. Every substitute for it aspires to what is, not to what might be...

And, what would your substitute be, analog or digital? Since the live experience is a sonic mess, what is YOUR alternative, as a reference?

I repeat. If you gave up in 1983, you gave up too soon.

Your argument is half an argument. The other half would require your engagement of contemporary vinyl playback standards.

Your rejection of live music as a "sonic mess" is ludicrous.

Upsample your way to mediocrity. Or worse. Next time you go to a live concert (will there ever be a next time? -- why should there be??), bring a digitized sound-chopper and an equalizer. Then you can correct the mistakes that the conductor, the musicians, and the sundry geniuses who originally put pen to paper couldn't get right. Bach. Haydn. Mozart. Brahms. Mahler. Berlioz. Stravinsky. What idiots. Devoting their lives to fulfilling the promise for communion that can only exist in a live listening situation. How DARE they perpetrate such fraud? And what sonic messes THEY left us with!

The next time you go to Ruth Chris's Steak House, bring a meat grinder. Then you can get comfortable with something you could have bought for 99 cents at Mickey D's.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

RIAA response curve is F'in with the signal right from the begining, if you don't play it back right, you ain't getting the original are ya. So when teh Cd replaced the LP, they said it was then end of the LP, which it pretty much did, but now when they say teh CD is done cus' of downloads etc, how come teh CD won't live on and have a resurgence, if the LP died, and is having this imaginary resurgence, how come Cd is dead, and never to return, more marketing BS, from teh few companies that are gonna milk it till vinyl finally goes away, selling a few million pieces of something that sold hundreds of millions before is hardly a "resurgence", more like a fad. The Hula Hoop is coming too...If you need the $100,000 spinning platter, $17,000 cartridges, $20,000 pre amps, that some reviewer claims is so wonderufl, the LP is a DEAD medium, the CD can play back on the most simple of players and still not have all the distortions that are a product of the failed obsolete analog grinding vinyl.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

In 35 years you musta not opened your ears, or truly don't know what it should sound like, many many live venues are horrible, loud, bloated, all kinds of anomolys, just moving from one side the other either in a large room or large open arena, can change the sound....been to a bunch of horrible sounding live events, been to more great sounding ones, but there are many live clunkers too, blind deaf, or maybe not having ears or brains that resolve enough to discern a good live event from a poor sounding one. And yet, you can hear how a wire or fuse sounds too? Hmmmmm

gkc
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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

RIAA? There's more to life than frequency response, DUP. The qualities I refer to that make the best LP's sound more like real music than the best CD's (in brief, more music and more of a sense of the space it occurred in...) go far beyond mere frequency response. As usual, when it comes to discussing music, all you can offer are abbreviations and meaningless ciphers.

Which is what digital is. An abbreviation.

Bad venues? No, just different sounding. Bad seats? Get a better ticket. No matter. Take an analog rendering of music played in one of your "bad venues" and a digital rendering of the same event, and the analog will sound better. How MUCH better depends on the particular chop shop that hacked out the digital.

One of the meanings of analogue is "side by side," roughly. All of the meanings of digital center on "sampling." With analog, you get all that it is possible to get; with digital, you get sonic sausage -- hacked, chopped, sampled, and reassembled into some truncated facsimile.

And both are poor substitutes for the original event, no matter where it took place...

This discussion was centered on "dynamic range." My original point was that dynamic range limitations are not somehow built into analog, and somehow freed up by digital sampling. Analog playback has evolved for the better, as technology has solved many of its earlier problems.

Of course, being a selective reader, who samples rather than processes, you would have missed that, hacking up, instead, some initialized blather about RIAA curves. Thus missing the entire point. As usual.

As always, you make no sense. You have a digital mind. All it can do is sample and refer to the samplings of others when it runs out of abbreviations. At least, you never disappoint.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Clifton, I'd mention something like, "You're talking to the hand," but that would be giving DUP too much credit.

I'm taking the wife and kids to Disneyland, so keep up the good fight while I'm gone!

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

DisneyLand is now showing a new Noah's Ark Ride.....

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Exactly, if it's digital it has the extended dynamic range to capture the LIVE event. And lot less noise distortion, so that more of the event is on the recording, not being blurred by distortion. AND it can be recorded with a lot less equipment tonage, and better recording for less money. Try a KORG MR1000 record a live event and see just how good digital can be for live events. Under $1,000 when purchased at teh right place. It took giant open reel-reel recorders that needed a truck to move back in those "not so great" analog times. Move on up to new and improved, i bet that 1962 Chevy Impala is such a thrill to drive, hoping it will stop at the next stop sign on a wet rainy drive, nothing like DRUM BRAKES, non of that digital braker controls, ABS, ESP, we want analog drum brakes!!! Ahhh the feel of nylon bias belted tires.....analog is dead, and will only get deader.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
analog is dead

Please define "dead" in this context. I have absolutely no idea what you're saying.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
Many live concerts are a sonic mess. I guess, in 35 years of concert-going, I have never been to one of those.

Good heavens have you been lucky. I once sat behind some folk at a Dan Fogelberg concert in NY and, despite the sound system, could only hear every other word in the lyrics because the loud mouths in front were doing their own concert of his greatest hits, and not the ones he was singing. Then there was a Olivia Newton John effort in Bostons Common where the entire left side amplification was no more than 1/2 the power of the right. I remember a concert at Carnegie where the sound was subject to echos in the cheap seats. I cold go on.


Quote:
The live acoustic concert-hall experience just is. All imitations aspire to what is, but never get there.

My only comment would be, you have been going to the wrong live events. I have been in the finest and worst concert halls in the world. I have never heard "a mess" in any of them. All I have ever heard is pure, unadulterated (redundant -- sorry) musical sound, in all its unsullied glory. No distortion. No boom. No shrieks. Just (mostly) hand-made instruments playing into the listening space.

I, respectfully, advise immediate medical care to fix this 'veil' of happy present in your aural cavities.


Quote:
You say, "the (analog) media (sic) itself is limited and has nowhere to go." You say, elsewhere, that "...one cannot upsample vinyl..."

That, my friend, is the entire point. You can't fuck with vinyl, or, by definition, it is no longer vinyl.

Nor can you repair it or put back what is missing from the cut.


Quote:
All you can do is degrade it. You can manipulate digital to a fare-thee-well, and all you do is get further and further away from the information originally chopped, re-digested, and hacked onto the silver frisbee.

All home audio is that process. Do you think vinyl is magic? Good digital fixes problems, good vinyl simply plays what is there better.


Quote:
And, what would your substitute be, analog or digital? Since the live experience is a sonic mess, what is YOUR alternative, as a reference?

Not an alternative, just a prefference. I want the band, orchestra, or musician to produce the best performance they can without the acoustic mess of an audience and poor venue. I want them playing for me, not a mob of cell phone talking 'live performance' devotes who might well be enjoying the event but are also screwing it up for folk a little less lt on the bong of the hour or less interested in cousin Susies latest piercing.

The performance, the music, is simply better without all the extra noise. That racket is part of the live experience. I am not trying to reproduce opening night at the Met...I am interested in hearing Tourendot minus the cougher in row one center.


Quote:
Your rejection of live music as a "sonic mess" is ludicrous.

As is your confusion of your opinion with a universal truth. Some folk like the noise...they confuse it with the music. That is fine. I like the music minus the noise. That is, for me, better.

I must have created forum heresy...how dare I not bow to the alter of a crappy live performance when a better recording exists.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

LP vinyl even recording in studios on open reel analog tapes, the few who do it, use it as an advertising tool/gimick to get the few leftovers who keep claiming it's somehow better sounding, closer to teh real thing. It's not. If it's not dead, how many open reel -reel recorders arer still mfg even for pro use, like Studer, Tascam etc, they is DIGITAL , it's more flexible, cheaper media, that's what I mean analog is Dead. It's over with analog. It's cumbersome, way over priced, since it's only made for teh limited few, who are giving the smart marketeers, something to keep taking big bucks, for a $30 LP, that is inferior to current digital media in SACD CD DVD-A. And I have lotsa LP's, SACD smokes em, CD upsampled smokes em, live recordings on teh Korg smokes em, ooops, gotta jump up and flip the record.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Ok, so, by dead you mean "it is DUP's opinion that it is inferior to other media for the following reasons..."? Thanks, that makes much more sense. Because, obviously, it is not dead in the sense that it is still widely made, sold, and played. Unless you meant that vinyl is a non-living thing - which is difficult to argue with, since it is inorganic (as is the plastic CD). It would be a strange world indeed in which we placed living things on turntables and stuck needles in them, just to see what they sounded like.

DUP, someday, you may want to realize that words have a precise meaning.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
It would be a strange world indeed in which we placed living things on turntables and stuck needles in them, just to see what they sounded like.

Strange to some, but this is not all that uncommon in certain fetishes.

RG

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

The term "dead" is used in many ways to describe a product. Even the head of Philips, years back declared the DCC format as "dead", when it didn't take off. In retail they want to move the dead items from the shelves, or the product ain't moving off the shelves, must be dead. If all the genius is declaring SACD dead, certainly LP ain't making a "comeback". Vinyl if final, as in finally gone. Selling a few copies via specialty online sellers and some used record stores, is hardly a "comeback". Major record stores have gone out of business, and they where selling curret CD's, are they declared dead too, if so, then vinyl is long past dead, it's like a fossil.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
Strange to some, but this is not all that uncommon in certain fetishes.

Touche.

DUP - it still looks like you're saying it is "dying." The reason I take issue with your definitions and argumentative statements, is that you tend to obfuscate. In other words, you don't ever clearly state what your position is, so when someone attacks it, you simply alter your position.

The word "dead" is used in several ways, but really seems inapplicable here. Regardless, I'll just keep in mind that you have a little trouble with words, and try to seek clarification when I can - no worries.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Dan Fogelberg? "...despite the sound system (italics mine)"?

Olivia Newton John, "...where the entire left side amplification was no more than 1/2 the power of the right ...(again, italics mine)"?

SOUND SYSTEM? AMPLIFICATION? Do you think that this is LIVE ???

Sorry, JIMV. You haven't been to "live." The Carnegie Hall example...where you heard what? Okay. Sometimes you get echoes in the cheap seats. Try paying a bit more. You'll get your money's worth -- and you'll discover what "live" really is. Or, if you want to save your money, consult your local newspaper. Free live concerts abound, first come, first served. Try a chamber music concert or organ recital in a local church. The performers may be amateurs, and you may hear a few missed notes. But, you'll discover what "live" is.

I have no idea what you mean by "veil of happy present." I suspect you mean I enjoy live music. You would be right, if that is, indeed, what you mean.

I think you should stick to digital. I expect you most certainly will. But, you failed to engage the most salient point of my argument. No matter where you sat, or how badly the "live" amplification treated the performer (snicker, snort...), an analog recording of the event would turn out to be every bit (pardon the pun) as "dynamic" as a digital one. And there would be more music present in the playback. Killing any noise via digital filtering and/or equalizing would be akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. If you filter out what you call the "mess" of a live performance (which you haven't heard), you also filter out the life of the music. Noise has nothing to do with it. Analog versions of studio performances (no audience present, to ruin your evening) get more of the dynamics and the life of the music into your room than digital versions. Anytime you sample, eliminate, and digitally regenerate what was at the original microphone(s), you lose dynamics and presense. That's what "sampling" means. And, remember, this comes from someone who has more than 2000 digital performances on his shelves. I love the music. Much of what I have on digital is simply not available on analog, so I'll take it and be grateful for it. But it all would have been better on analog...duplicate performances (analog and digital final products derived from the same masters) prove that, easily enough.

Stay digital. Why bother? But don't try to construct a rational argument for the superiority of digital that is centered on dynamics. It just doesn't stand up under the realities of improved analog playback equipment.

gkc
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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

DUP tends to obfuscate. Judicata, you are being kind. I admire your restraint, logic, and, especially, your gift for polite understatement ("...you have a little trouble with words...").

The one constant about DUP is, has been, and forever will be, nobody will ever be certain about what he means.

Meanwhile, happy listening.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Clifton,

Most, if not all recordings in the last 20-25 years have been digital. So, when these recordings are pressed onto analog media, all that means is that they go through a layer of DA conversion. Therefore, I don't quite find the logic in the claims that you and others make about analog playback being any better than digital playback.

It's not like you're staying true to the source. In fact, you're going through an extra layer of processing.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
Dan Fogelberg? "...despite the sound system (italics mine)"?

Olivia Newton John, "...where the entire left side amplification was no more than 1/2 the power of the right ...(again, italics mine)"?

SOUND SYSTEM? AMPLIFICATION? Do you think that this is LIVE ???

Sorry, JIMV. You haven't been to "live." The Carnegie Hall example...where you heard what? Okay. Sometimes you get echoes in the cheap seats. Try paying a bit more. You'll get your money's worth -- and you'll discover what "live" really is. Or, if you want to save your money, consult your local newspaper. Free live concerts abound, first come, first served. Try a chamber music concert or organ recital in a local church. The performers may be amateurs, and you may hear a few missed notes. But, you'll discover what "live" is.

Excuse me...I foolishly thought 'live' involved the actual performer and the listener in the same location at the same time. I was obviously wrong


Quote:
I have no idea what you mean by "veil of happy present." I suspect you mean I enjoy live music. You would be right, if that is, indeed, what you mean.

No, I mean you hear what you want to hear, filtering out the warts of the performance in the process. You need a veil of 'happy' to allow you to pretend poor acoustics, lousy sound, poor performances and audience noise is not a problem. A lot of vinyl folk have the same symptoms.

Do not misread me here. I have often wished I could just wish away a bad performance, poor engineering, or lousy sound but my pesky sense of esthetics refuses to cooperate. I envy your ability to separate the music from the peformance.


Quote:
I think you should stick to digital. I expect you most certainly will. But, you failed to engage the most salient point of my argument. No matter where you sat, or how badly the "live" amplification treated the performer (snicker, snort...), an analog recording of the event would turn out to be every bit (pardon the pun) as "dynamic" as a digital one. And there would be more music present in the playback.

Recognizing this as an opinion unbacked by science, I'll let it pass.


Quote:
Stay digital. Why bother? But don't try to construct a rational argument for the superiority of digital that is centered on dynamics. It just doesn't stand up under the realities of improved analog playback equipment.

Now you are making a logical falacy, the false alternative. Either listen to vinyl or listen to digital. Other possibilities are sort of let out.

I prefer a better choice...listen to whatever you like and enjoy, just don't pretend only one path leads to musical truth...that is religion, not music.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

AlexO,

This is an interesting topic. I think it

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Michael,

Are you saying that MOST recording studios record, mix and process in analog? If you look at most CDs, they're labeled as DDD, which of course means that it was recorded as well as mastered digitally. I'm sure that there are a number of studios and engineers who prefer to record and master using analog equipment, but I doubt that's what the majority does (regardless of the reasons why)


Quote:
On a personal note, I prefer vinyl regardless and this preference has nothing to do with logic. It has everything to do with enjoyment.

I am with you on that one. You listen to records because you enjoy them and that's fair enough. However, that's a very different statement from the unequivocal "Vinyl sounds better than digital." If we're talking about preferences, there's no argument. However, if we're talking about "better", that's when the argument begins and that's when we start quantifying everything.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Hey AlexO,

Since the word "most" does not appear in my post, I'd have say no, I am not saying "most" (smile). What I said was you can find many examples of currently produced analog recordings.

"bests" do not interest me. Whether that's gear, music, art, artists, beer, pizza, etc. I am more interested in the experience and enjoyment of...

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
Hey AlexO,

"bests" do not interest me. Whether that's gear, music, art, artists, beer, pizza, etc. I am more interested in the experience and enjoyment of...

That's the sanest thing anyone has ever said on these forums. We all enjoy what we enjoy. You enjoy your LPs, DUP enjoys his Legacies and AVAs, Jan enjoys his single driver speakers and being a contrarian, Clifton enjoys his Triangles, etc.

If we were to approach things from that perspective, there would be no arguments at all regarding cables, vinyl, tubes, etc. Then again, we'd have nothing to talk about.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


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We all enjoy what we enjoy.

We do. And sharing that enjoyment can be informative and entertaining. Stephen's blog for example. I'm all for being passionate about passionate things

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:

Of course we all know I enjoy my LPs more but that

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


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I don't understand most of the arguing here which makes about as much sense to me as a disagreement on the flea forum over whether or not elephants are big.

Digital or analog elephants?

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Alex, I know. I own many of these. I call them "digitized vinyl," for want of a better term. In particular, I have a lot of vinyl recordings of Mozart symphonies and piano concertos, on Philips. Many of these recordings contain performances on both the digitized vinyl and the older, analog vinyl, utilizing the same conductors, artists, and concert halls. The digitized vinyl sounds just like CD's, to my ears. With the added penalty of going through the fuss of cleaning the records and the stylus. So, because of the convenience factor, I actually prefer the CD's to the digitized vinyl. But the analog versions are much better, much smoother, and more spacious, especially in the area of front-to-back depth. There are no penalties in terms of dynamics. Columbia records reveal similar differences.

To my memory, the digitized vinyl pre-dates the actual CD's by 3 or 4 years, and they thus represent a sort of transition from analog LP's to what eventually became the CD's and CD players.

As I said, I am grateful to have the chance to own the music, some of which is not available on analog LP's. But, whenever possible, I enjoy the analog more. It is less of a strain to listen to.

gkc
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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Live is live. Unamplified. I know that many symphony halls have some partial sound reinforcement, with speakers placed high in the corners, to help reach all areas of the hall. When you heard "muffled" sound, perhaps you were hearing too much of the speakers, and not enough of the live, up in the cheap seats.

I would rather pass on the concert than endure bad seats. That is why I have subscription tickets to Disney Hall every year. I always know where I am going to sit.

Year before last (I remember it well) The LA Philharmonic performed the Rodrigo Concerto de Aranjuez. They hooked up the guitar to an amplifier/speaker connection, I suppose out of fear that the guitar sound wouldn't penetrate to the far reaches of the hall. It was a disaster. Live sound mixed with canned sound. A couple of weeks later, Il Gardino Armonico, an original-instruments group that specializes in Baroque music, played Vivaldi and Teleman. There were only nine musicians, and they filled the hall nicely, with no amplification.

We didn't begin with a discussion of the superiority of live over electronic sound. We began with your claim that contemporary analog playback systems do not express musical dynamics as well as CD-based playback systems. My contention was that if you haven't heard any new analog playback systems since 1983, you haven't heard contemporary analog playback, and that you were mistaken in assuming that a lack of dynamics was somehow buried in the LP's, a medium you insisted was limited by its very nature. Having the benefit of both the analog and digital mediums in my system, I can state clearly that, if anything, the analog is even more dynamic, in its ability to express musical contrasts, than the digital. And I attribute this to the modern technical revolution in analog playback design. I still have my old Thorens and Dual turntables, with their old Grace and Shure cartridges. They can't compete with the contemporary designs.

Concerning that other matter, I doubt if you could find many concertgoers who would prefer recorded versions, analog or digital, over the music they heard live.

I don't go to concerts to somehow "block out" distractions. I go to enjoy music at its source. And, yes, I am willing to pay for the best seats in the house, if I can get 'em.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Fleas can argue over anything but they typically remain civil. Just don't mention cheap hotels.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
We didn't begin with a discussion of the superiority of live over electronic sound. We began with your claim that contemporary analog playback systems do not express musical dynamics as well as CD-based playback systems. My contention was that if you haven't heard any new analog playback systems since 1983, you haven't heard contemporary analog playback, and that you were mistaken in assuming that a lack of dynamics was somehow buried in the LP's, a medium you insisted was limited by its very nature. Having the benefit of both the analog and digital mediums in my system, I can state clearly that, if anything, the analog is even more dynamic, in its ability to express musical contrasts, than the digital. And I attribute this to the modern technical revolution in analog playback design. I still have my old Thorens and Dual turntables, with their old Grace and Shure cartridges. They can't compete with the contemporary designs.

Someone more technical than I should be able to settle this argument. My understanding is that a CD even in the old CD standard has over 100db of separation between its least loud and most loud components and vinyl all of around 60-70. Is this right? In addition, channel separation is far more in a CD...is this right? Does the basic format of vinly limit what is possible for the disk....


Quote:
Concerning that other matter, I doubt if you could find many concertgoers who would prefer recorded versions, analog or digital, over the music they heard live.

I don't go to concerts to somehow "block out" distractions. I go to enjoy music at its source. And, yes, I am willing to pay for the best seats in the house, if I can get 'em.

You seem to enjoy the experience more than the music...If the music is compromised by the noise, venue or poor acoustics, the recording from the studio WILL produce the better music.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

I think (and some googling seemed to confirm) that CDs are capable of having a 90+db dynamic range, while vinyl is around 60db. But, because of the compression applied to many of today's CDs, it simply isn't used (the "loudness wars" article on Wikipedia is actually pretty good : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war ). I don't think this applies to records such as good classical CDs (or the new Mudcrutch CD).

And I'm not saying that LPs aren't compressed at all...

See also:
http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/177/

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

I think I'm beginning to understand the crux of the argument now. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the core of the argument is:

a) People prefer analog recordings

b) People who prefer analog recordings, prefer them on analog media

c)When engineers master a CD, they apply greater compression than when these same engineers master the same recordings for LP release. Hence, LPs sound better due to different mastering techniques.

Do I have this right?

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Alex, I honestly don't know about the "compression" issues. I suspect that many of my CD's have been "sanitized" to the point of omitting music -- what I referred to in another post as "throwing the baby out with the bath water."

All I know is that with contemporary analog playback equipment, I hear better dynamics than I do with CD's, and a better sense of the spatial aspects of music that I hear so vividly at live events.

I know that measurements can be wrong. I have bought "measurements," in the past, and I have been disappointed. When I started paying attention to what I hear, instead of reading numerical versions of what I ought to be hearing, I started making real progress towards assembling systems that do what I want them to do -- get me as close as possible to the memory of my listening experience in the concert hall. That has been my goal for 30+ years. Just get me as close as possible to the timbres, space, and dynamics I heard last night at the live concert.

I suspect that there are compression issues in CD's more often than there are in my best analog vinyl. But I can't quantify those suspicions. To me, analog sounds more open and more dynamic, if the engineer didn't mess with the equalizer and hype the bass and upper midrange. But, that happens on CD's, too.

I have been frustrated with certain recordings, on both analog LP's and CD's. You sense a lack of punch, a lack of immediacy, so you turn up the volume. All you do is put more boom in the room. I suspect this is simply lousy engineering, analogue or digital. I suspect that compression is the culprit, but I don't have the equipment or the inclination to measure it, because such measurements wouldn't tell me anything I hadn't already heard.

The numbers do not always tell you the entire truth. Sometimes they agree with what you hear, sometimes they don't. I hear greater dynamics and a more realistic sense of space with analog than I do with digital. My worst analog recordings do not sound as realistic as my best digital recordings. But my best digital recordings do not sound as realistic as my best analog recordings. Not by a long shot. The recording process can (and often does) screw up anything, analog or digital. But, on balance my listening experiences tell me that analog is more realistic and musically satisfying. ON BALANCE.

The notion that, across the board, digital is more dynamic than analog is absurd. From my own experiences with music, live and recorded.

Your summary is probably accurate. But, ultimately, music lovers lean towards what sounds the most musically satisfying, regardless of how the oscilloscopes flash and the numbers read out. And, on balance, contemporary playback equipment beats the hell out of anything that was designed a decade or two ago. And that includes analog playback gear.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

"If the music is compromised by the noise, venue, or poor acoustics, the recording from the studio WILL produce the better music."

Not always. Sometimes, but not always. Music is a communication, between the conductor, and the audience, through the orchestra and soloists. When the conductor is "with" the audience, and the audience is "with" the conductor, a one-time-only magic can occur.

Studio recordings can be magnificent. Or tepid and boring. It depends on the moment of the playing. Live performances can be poorly rehearsed and shoddy, and the conductor can be distracted.

But, whatever happens at the source of the recording, or wherever it happens, analog captures the event more realistically than digital, in my experience. On balance. These qualifications are necessary, because not all performances are alike, and not all recording engineers are equally competent.

On balance, live is superior to recorded. If you haven't heard this, I pity you. I have, many times.

On balance, analog captures the dynamics of live just as well as digital, if not better. There are no dynamic limitations on analog vinyl, compared to digital, that live listeners can process. Better analog playback equipment gets more out of the grooves than average or inferior analog playback equipment. The same goes for digital, too, but on balance, analog is more true to the memory of live.

Repeat. If you haven't had good seats at any live concerts lately, and you haven't heard what has happened to analog playback equipment since 1983, you are just guessing. And you are guessing wrong. Because you don't have the experience to back it up.

I have no idea what you mean by enjoying "the experience more than the music." The music IS the experience. I hate the traffic when I drive to the concert hall. I hate the food at the nearby restaurants and the in-hall cafeteria, the drinks are too expensive, and, as you mention, sometimes folks cough and squeak around in their seats too much. But the music is indescribably glorious, and that glory can be merely simulated in the home. Some simulations are better than others. The best can do a great job of transporting you back to the memory of the live event, even if you have never heard the particular piece, orchestra, venue, or conductor being reproduced in your home. We expand by analogy.

If you can bifurcate the music out of the live experience of it, perhaps you were born to be digital. I pity you. Pity me.

This argument has grown unproductive. I have nothing to say that you can relate to, and you certainly have no I idea how I listen to music, at home or live.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
"If the music is compromised by the noise, venue, or poor acoustics, the recording from the studio WILL produce the better music."

Not always. Sometimes, but not always. Music is a communication, between the conductor, and the audience, through the orchestra and soloists. When the conductor is "with" the audience, and the audience is "with" the conductor, a one-time-only magic can occur.

Studio recordings can be magnificent. Or tepid and boring. It depends on the moment of the playing. Live performances can be poorly rehearsed and shoddy, and the conductor can be distracted.

Not many modern recordings of anything but classical that involve conductors. Normally it is some want to b gangster screaming into a mike while his group tries to drown out the lyrics and the audience fights over the closest bong.


Quote:
But, whatever happens at the source of the recording, or wherever it happens, analog captures the event more realistically than digital, in my experience.

That is not my experience but we each hear differently and enjoy the experience individually.


Quote:
On balance, analog captures the dynamics of live just as well as digital, if not better. There are no dynamic limitations on analog vinyl, compared to digital, that live listeners can process.

This is either true or not. I do not believe the science says tis but I could be wrong.


Quote:
Repeat. If you haven't had good seats at any live concerts lately, and you haven't heard what has happened to analog playback equipment since 1983, you are just guessing. And you are guessing wrong. Because you don't have the experience to back it up.

Or perhaps you are simply more pleased by the melange of sounds that passes for a live performance.


Quote:
I have no idea what you mean by enjoying "the experience more than the music." The music IS the experience.

No the music is the music...all else is extraneous noise.


Quote:
This argument has grown unproductive. I have nothing to say that you can relate to, and you certainly have no I idea how I listen to music, at home or live.

I agree as long as you believe there is a correct way to appreciate music and your way is it, we have little to say on that subjective issue. As to the inherent capabilities of both vinyl and digital, that is quantifiable and science, not the stuff of debate.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


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As to the inherent capabilities of both vinyl and digital, that is quantifiable and science, not the stuff of debate.

I have yet to see anything definitive that makes clear the actual real-world capabilities of the two mediums.

I have digitized vinyl and examined the resulting file and have found that the dynamic range of vinyl is impressive. My vinyl front end is modest, about $1,200 worth, and I experience little surface noise and good range between loud and soft.

I also find that there is a good solid dynamic range with digital recordings.

At least on classical recordings the dynamic range as actually presented to the listener is pretty much the same between vinyl and digital.

One confusing factor is that the "dynamic range" of CDs is represented as 96dB+. However, this is merely a mathematical construct and does not translate directly to sound pressure levels. This 96dB only represents the swing in voltage that can be represented on the CD as a data recording medium. It does not mean that the CD actually captures a 96dB range of sound levels. It could, but only if the entire recording and playback chain is set up so that the swing in voltage translates directly to SPL.

The frequency response of analog is very good, as it is for digital.

The only area where there is a marked difference between the two is channel separation which is much less for vinyl. However while there is a large difference as measured, I am not convinced this translates to a different listening experience. Our measurement tools in this regard a vastly superior to our hearing.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

Great post Elk! Interesting, informative and unbiased. Thoughtful without a hint of condescension. My hat is off to you.

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


Quote:
On balance, analog captures the dynamics of live just as well as digital, if not better. There are no dynamic limitations on analog vinyl, compared to digital, that live listeners can process. Better analog playback equipment gets more out of the grooves than average or inferior analog playback equipment. The same goes for digital, too, but on balance, analog is more true to the memory of live.

What about analog equalization curves? You do know that there are at least a half dozen different curves, not just the RIAA. The differences are not subtle and a vinyl disk from a European record company played back using RIAA equalization has a problem far more audible than jitter in CD. Does your phono amp allow you to select its equalization curve? Almost none do.


Quote:
Repeat. If you haven't had good seats at any live concerts lately, and you haven't heard what has happened to analog playback equipment since 1983, you are just guessing. And you are guessing wrong. Because you don't have the experience to back it up.

I have heard at least a hundred concerts since 1983 and all of perhaps a dozen were properly done. As I have noted and you ignored, you seem to equate the noise surrounding a live performance with the music being presented and I prefer my music less cluttered with the stuff.


Quote:
I have no idea what you mean by enjoying "the experience more than the music." The music IS the experience. Sometimes folks cough and squeak around in their seats too much. But the music is indescribably glorious, and that glory can be merely simulated in the home.

See my above

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak


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What about analog equalization curves? You do know that there are at least a half dozen different curves, not just the RIAA.


While true, my understanding is that the RIAA equalization curve has been the international standard since the mid '50s. Not much to worry about unless you are playing much older vinyl.

It is also quite easy to implement in a phono preamp. It is not really a curve, but almost a straight line starting with a +20dB boost at 20Hz dropping to a -20dB cut at 20kHz. (It has a bit of a bump in the middle.)

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Re: CBS Evening News Byline: 'Rediscovering The LP. Low Tech Mak

My understanding is that there are at least 3 major standards, RIAA, Columbia and another that I cannot recall used by Telarc and Decca. They all handle both highs and lows differently. While it is true that the RIAA standard arose in the 1950's, it is not true that the folk using the other standards overseas changed. I know the Beatles were recorded using a european standard when they were on apple. Telarc and Decca also did not change so if you play one of their records on a RIAA system, you get bigger errors than anything on digital.

If I get the time I will do some internet searching on the issue but the idea that vinyl is more true to the performance then digital is simply not true. It depends.

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RIAA Curve

From Wikipedia we have this:

The RIAA equalization curve has operated as a de facto global industry standard for the recording and playback of vinyl records since 1954. Before then, especially from 1940, each record company applied its own equalization; there were over 100 combinations of turnover and rolloff frequencies in use, the main ones being Columbia-78, Decca-U.S., European (various), Victor-78 (various), Associated, BBC, NAB, Orthacoustic, World, Columbia LP, FFRR-78 and microgroove, and AES.

The full article, whcih is very interesting can be found HERE

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Re: RIAA Curve


Quote:
From Wikipedia we have this:

The RIAA equalization curve has operated as a de facto global industry standard for the recording and playback of vinyl records since 1954. Before then, especially from 1940, each record company applied its own equalization; there were over 100 combinations of turnover and rolloff frequencies in use, the main ones being Columbia-78, Decca-U.S., European (various), Victor-78 (various), Associated, BBC, NAB, Orthacoustic, World, Columbia LP, FFRR-78 and microgroove, and AES.

The full article, whcih is very interesting can be found HERE


<whew>

I'm glad they agree.

However, if there is information that any of these previous standards survived the mid-50's I'm all ears.

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Re: RIAA Curve

I have read other information. Dare I note it, the Absolute Sound in this months issue has a detailed discussion of this issue in an equipment review. Of course, one cannot link to it.....

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Re: RIAA Curve

By all means, JIMV, do and think what The Absolute Sound dictates that you should do and think.

After all, the "Absolute Sound" is the live concert experience. By their own directives. Snorts, snot, honks, hacks, loogers, and all.

Enjoy.

Of course, nothing ever gets equalized in the digital domain, right? Of course.

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Re: RIAA Curve


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Dare I note it, the Absolute Sound in this months issue has a detailed discussion of this issue in an equipment review.

No problem referring to TAS, JIMV. We will be publishing a technical primer by Keith Howard on the RIAA curve, including an examination of the controversial "Neumann 4th pole," in our January issue.

John Atkinson
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Re: RIAA Curve


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By all means, JIMV, do and think what The Absolute Sound dictates that you should do and think.

After all, the "Absolute Sound" is the live concert experience. By their own directives. Snorts, snot, honks, hacks, loogers, and all.

Enjoy.

Of course, nothing ever gets equalized in the digital domain, right? Of course.

You are confused again...Either what they say is true or it is not. Both outcomes have zero to do with anything I or you write. I really do not know the answer. I just know they, and others make a persuasive case. I would appreciate someone more knowledgeable making a case here for or against multiple equalization curves.

Do you not want to know? After all, imagine the effect if you can buy a phono amp that lets you pick the right setting! Why, analog might just really sound as good as digital and not just because of wishfull thinking or luck in setup.

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Re: RIAA Curve

Thanks..the issue is not one I had ever considered before, but if foreign labels ARE recorded using a different standard, then not properly compensating for it would have a big effect on the sound.

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Re: RIAA Curve


Quote:

Quote:
We will be publishing a technical primer by Keith Howard on the RIAA curve, including an examination of the controversial "Neumann 4th pole," in our January issue.


Thanks..the issue is not one I had ever considered before, but if foreign labels ARE recorded using a different standard, then not properly compensating for it would have a big effect on the sound.

As far as I am aware, everyone in the world masters LPs using the standard RIAA curve, except at the upper frequency extreme, where the engineer can choose between continuing the boost to the ultrasonic limit of his cutting gear or shelving the boost above 50kHz with a defined turnover frequency (the so-called Neumann pole).

For playback, the phono preamp either continues the complementary inverse-RIAA boost to below 10Hz or follows the "IEC" LF rolloff to avoid wasting amplifier headroom amplifying warp wow and tonearm resonance peaks. An increasing number of phono preamps also attempt to compensate for the ultrasonic Neumann shelf, instead of continuing the attenuation flat to 100kHz and above.

It is the latter I feel controversial, because although it can result in less phase shift in the upper octaves on playback (which may or may not be audible), it also adds an overshoot on non-musical signals, such as record ticks.

But again, to the best of my knowledge, no-one since the 1950s has used any other modification of the standard RIAA curve.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: RIAA Curve

Great info, John!

I greatly enjoy Keith Howard's articles and look forward to this one.

(I'll also take a look at the Absolute Sound article.)

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Re: RIAA Curve

Could you take a look at the review of the Zanden phono amp in the section called "HP's workshop" in TAS for this month and tell me if this product is onto something or if it is all simply hype. It IS a persuasive read and I had never heard of different equalization standards in use after the 1950's before.

Is the issue real and worthy of debate or is someone hyping the tweak of the week? By your note it sounds like the later.

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Re: RIAA Curve

From the Zanden website (my emphasis):

"Although many people believe the recording curves of all LP records were unified with the RIAA curve, this is not true. The RIAA curve did not become the standard until the fifties, and many recording labels used different recording curves during this period and earlier."

I read this as saying during the 50s and earlier. In any event, I think it's safe to say that the majority of LPs from 1956 on used the RIAA standard. Some smaller labels in Europe and Russia may not have adopted the RIAA standard for a few years after this, perhaps as late as 1960. So I think we're talking about a select minority of mainly classical LPs from a few small labels. Columbia and Decca both adopted the RIAA during the 1950s.

In general, the issue of non-RIAA eq seems a valid concern for collectors of early mono recordings and certainly for serious collectors of 78RPM records where there were dozens of different curves used.

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