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rmeyer52
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Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Well it's been close to two months since I upgraded to an Arcam Solo and Paradigm 100 speakers and listening to hi-fi I have found that some CD's sound really great while other sound terrible. That is you can tell if the recordings are good, average or poor.

I ordered some XRCD's and they sound excellent but some of my older CD's, especially classic rock, just sound compressed to the point that I can't listen to them anymore.

Is this what others who have upgraded their systems have found as well?

jctapana
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Don't worry, it's perfectly normal. Some CDs are great, some are terrible, it's your new gear that lets you hear the difference.

Regards.

smejias
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


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Is this what others who have upgraded their systems have found as well?

Yes, I experienced this, also, Rich. It can be really troubling, if you let it. I found myself, for instance, giving up on a lot of my favorite music, because I couldn't stand the way it sounded on my system. My music library grew smaller and smaller, until I was listening to the same handful of recordings over and over, recordings I knew would sound good on the system. Then, I'd compensate by only buying new music that I knew would also sound good.

This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it did mean that I was letting go of some of my favorite bands and songs.

What really got to me is when I started putting the system before the music. It was almost as though the gear became more important than the songs. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The gear and the music live together and have their specific roles.

For me, the ideal case is having a system that allows me to enjoy all of my music, a system that conveys music in a way that is at once beautiful and accurate. And, to get even cornier and wackier, I like to include myself within that definition of "system." The way I perceive the music and my ability to enjoy a particular recording has as much to do with my current mood as it does my current hi-fi gear. There are times when I can't stand listening to Beck's "Missing," with its annoying fabricated LP noise, and other times when, listening to the same song through the same gear, I just can't sit down. It sounds so wonderful, I have to dance.

Again, for me, this is all a part of the fun. But: it's not always fun. I mean, some days are more fun than others.

soundboy
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

There are both good and bad recordings on any format (i.e. CD, vinyl, SACD, etc.). To add to the confusion, there are good and bad versions of the same recording out there as well.

So your experience is entirely normal.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

CDs are no different than cassettes. You purchased cassettes from one of those record clubs and they suck. You purchase some CDs from the same clubs today and they suck too. I've got tons of old cassettes from record clubs. They suck. You have to read the labels on the medium. Make sure they have all the bells and whistles with the recording.

jkalman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:
Well it's been close to two months since I upgraded to an Arcam Solo and Paradigm 100 speakers and listening to hi-fi I have found that some CD's sound really great while other sound terrible. That is you can tell if the recordings are good, average or poor.

I ordered some XRCD's and they sound excellent but some of my older CD's, especially classic rock, just sound compressed to the point that I can't listen to them anymore.

Is this what others who have upgraded their systems have found as well?

This is one very unfortunate consequence of having a good system.

One solution, that I often use, is to save the bad recordings for the car and play the good ones on your dedicated system. Another is to save those songs and albums for a system you use when not listening critically, like a whole house system or a system you use while working, painting, exercising, etc.

Another consideration, is that it might not only be the recording. If you hear compression and editing artifiacts that is one thing, but if you do not always hear them and still have problems with certain songs it could be that particular songs on an album are in a certain key that resonates badly with your room (i.e. the room dimensions produce certain modal peaks and nulls that interfere with the song's natural key).

Also, things such as room dimensions that share common lengths, or square room, or round rooms can also cause major problems with the sound, but those would be more apparent on all recordings (though still still more so with keys that they correspond to modally, or something to that effect - except the round room which will act like a concave surface reflecting the sound back at you from every direction), so that probably isn't the case here.

bifcake
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


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CDs are no different than cassettes. You purchased cassettes from one of those record clubs and they suck. You purchase some CDs from the same clubs today and they suck too. I've got tons of old cassettes from record clubs. They suck. You have to read the labels on the medium. Make sure they have all the bells and whistles with the recording.

What do you mean "make sure they have all the bells and whistles with the recording"?

Monty
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Popular recordings are a mixed lot when it comes to recording quality. I often times prefer the early generation CDs on the original labels. Remastering doesn't always mean that the recording will be superior to the original.

The early CDs don't usually suffer from the degrees of compression found in modern releases and sometimes get tossed into the "bad" column simply from the problems associated with early CD players.

Addressing your broader point, whether or not you will find upgrades to be worthwhile will be largely dependent on the quality of the recordings you listen to. A more revealing system will often times magnify what you are experiencing now. However, as you accumulate more high quality recordings and broaden your taste in music, you might find the upgrade path begins to become more worthwhile.

I think a lot of people have at least a couple of pairs of speakers to swap in and out to work with whatever musical mood they might be in. Warm speakers for the junk and revealing speakers for the well recorded stuff.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Read the labels. It should indicate how it was mastered to begin with. For example, cassettes with the "Digilog" label are going to sound better than one with just the Dolby symbol. A cassette with the "Dolby Stereo" symbol is going to sound better than one with just the Dolby symbol. Also, as mentioned above, some original CDs are just manufactured better than later ones of the same title. That is why each version has a different ID number. As a release gets older it gets more difficult to obtain rights to the original master. It is cheaper to get later generation masters and use that to manufacture a cheap copy.

I can't believe this. People can actual purchase equipment that is too sensitive for typical over the counter recordings. Tsk tsk tsk. The quality of the recorded medium is the limit. Not the equipment. Oh,well. Looks like DUP and I have been vindicated without even trying.

commsysman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Maybe your taste is just maturing, and you are starting to realize that the music in question is, fundamentally, crap!

If you still want to listen to it somwtimes, a boombox in the garage might be helpful; or a not-too-great car stereo.

commsysman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

I have many CDs that I considered poorly recorded over the years; time has proven this to be wrong, in most cases.

I went through many different CD playback setups, but still had a mix of about 60% of my CDs which sounded good or very good, 30% sounded fair, and 10% just plain bad! The last CD player I was using was the SONY CDP-777ES ($2500), which one or two Stereophile reviewers are still using as their reference. It sounded pretty good using the analog outputs, but for CDs it sounded even better using the digital output to a THETA Pro Basic 3 D/A converter. But even so, I still had that substantial number of CDs that I considered to be fair or poor recordings.

Then I bought the AYRE C5xe.

Now 95% of my CDs and SACDs sound EXCELLENT, including many many CDs that I was certain were bad recordings. The sound quality on them is suddenly outstanding, or at least very good. Yes, there are still about 5% of my CDs that probably ARE badly recorded and still do not sound very good, but I have a new opinion about most of those that previously did not sound very good.

EVERY CD or SACD sounds much much better through the AYRE; it is quite amazing. It is a lot of money ($6000), but if you can afford it, it is worth every penny to get the most out of those recordings (after all, I figure I have over $20,000 invested in the CDs themselves...1500 CDs times $$xxxx).

So don't assume that it is the CD that is bad; we are just starting to realize how hard it is to get the available sound quality off of those CDs, and how few players are currently available that can do the job really well. Maybe in a few years new powerful chips will become available at reasonable prices, and there will be $800 CD players that can do what the AYRE can do now. Until then, you will either have to spend the $6000 or accept the fact that there is a lot of sound quality that your player is not able to recover from the disc.

P.S.- just for reference, 60% of my CDs are classical, 20% jazz, 10% bluegrass, and 10% vocal/pop/classic rock 'n roll etc.; not a lot of modern pop or rock.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Floyd

That was a good post. You get five stars. You must be a bad boy on this forum. It didn't change your two stars.

Why do you suppose your AYRE is picking up what others cannot? I mean the CD is just zeros and ones from the original source.

CECE
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

AVA Ultra DAC will do it too, for much less, from ANY player. EMMLABS at $10K.....is mighty interesting, but price is an issue...2X SACD sampling that's slick.....upsamples SACD. When is that gonna get a review? Not these dopey $45K 3 piece nonsese players. CD only with 20 year old obsolete chips....EMMLABS baby AVA DAC Ultra series.....

tandy
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

I think it is rather simplistic to say a cd player is simply 1s and 0s. It is so much more complex than that.

Dealing with jitter problems, the quality of the D to A converter/digital getting into the analog chip and analog section, the quality of the analog section itself, quality of the passive parts, even the solder used. Digital involves high speed, meaning there is, or can be radiation inside the case.

As one can see, a player is no simple component.

Enclosure
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

EMM Labs rocks! http://www.emmlabs.com/html/audio/cdsa/cdsa.html

How YOU like it Carl I don't get it. I thought that you didn't care about high end gear you cannot hear the difference in? A five times upsampled CD and a two times upsampled SACD isn't going to sound much more different than a change in the grade of wire interconnects. Is it Carl? Gee Carl looks like you have yourself backed into a corner don't you Carl?

What are you doing with a cheap AVA DAC with an inferior Panasonic digital source? What are you trying to hear already? That combination of gear is worse than a scratchy LP.

And how you would mention that cheap shitty AVA gear in the same paragraph is beyond me. Heck even the AVA website with its fuzzy images is a joke. A competent fifth grader like yourself could probably better. LOL! LOL!

Time to buy an OMEGASTAR FAT VALVE! Look at some of the samples from this amateurish website! Cables all over the place on the inside of the gear! No wonder the images are small and out of focus. Yea, lets go buy gear from them! NOT!
http://www.avahifi.com/images/thumbnail/u70front.gif
http://www.avahifi.com/images/thumbnail/U550-inside-1-front.gif
http://www.avahifi.com/images/thumbnail/UltraDac-inside-2.gif
http://www.avahifi.com/images/thumbnail/omega3_250_c_front_150.gif

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

You can go to Enjoy The Music and read their review of the EMM CD/SACD player. I do not think that $10K is too much for this player when you consider the Nagra CD only is $13K+, and yes, probably worth every penny...if I had that many.

I am hoping JA gets to review the EMM soon!

CECE
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Yup, 800V/uS slew rates super reliable, super powerful, Let's get a $15K tube amp that puts out a whopping 12W And see it drive speakers to life like levels, while having no distortion, and SLAM IMPACT and super clairty live live music. Ain't no Panasonic here, some Philips, Onkyo, Tascam, HHB, RANE. AVA OmegaStar EX ckts in the Hafler P500 chassis capable of about 1400W RMS into 4 Ohms. X 4 making it live, not making it liffeless. Never heard a live event be powered by 15W of Class A or any other magic nonsense. Last recent live event was outside powered by some nice Crown amps into a nice set of portable JBL They took the sound all the way out to the water...cables all over the ground, those JBL'S had some nice woofers in their base, two nice speakers on each side, cranking out some great Gibson Les Paul wailing!!! Some Louisianna Sax drums, Fender bass, those JBL where great Crown power baby....part of the family of some great Harman stuff AVA/Hafler can make it all live at home.

CECE
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

I wanna see teh EMMLABS reviewed also, it appears to be a superior concept over everything as far as players that have been tested in Stereophile in 5 years!!! $45K 3 pice CD only players, you got's to be kidding...$10K is still a lot for a CD/SACD player, but at least it appears to be based on 21st century electronics!!! Eesssshhh, enough with the obsoleted junk being strewn on "audiophiles" just cus' it's goofy makes it "audiophile" CD players with power supplies in an external box, sure that is real electronic nonsense....At least EMM LAbs dude is involved in teh format DSD etc...he looks to advance the medium, not bring it backwards with dopey vacuum tube CD only players, Cd players using obsoleted chips that Philips stopped making decades ago, cus they are OBSOLET, yet certain reviewers claim of it's audible superiority, nonsense,RD, AD, JA and a few others write with some reality, a couple others M.....are in a world that is Bizzare.

smejias
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:
I have found that some CD's sound really great while other sound terrible. That is you can tell if the recordings are good, average or poor.

Getting back to the original post:
Rich, can you give us an example of a recording that sounds excellent? One that sounds terrible?

Also, commsysman brings up an interesting idea with his breakdown of musical genres. Do you find that recording quality varies with the type of music?

ohfourohnine
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Getting back to your original question, I suspect your bad ones sound as they were engineered to sound.

".... but some of my older CD's, especially classic rock, just sound compressed to the point that I can't listen to them anymore."

A lot of the success of classic rock depended on getting the "right sound" on AM radios in homes and in cars. Clearly, the playback had nothing to do with Hi-fi. Lots of compression was required to compensate for the playback weaknesses. There are even numerous stories about engineers testing classic rock mixes by using their car radios as monitors.

I spent some time yesterday listening to 60's and 70's rock played on a Tivoli PAL (single speaker I.5"). The source was WLS-AM, a 50,000 watt Chicago radio station that during the 60's and 70's was THE source for rock in the Midwest. They staged a little retrospective on Memorial Day. I'm sure the input at their end was digital, probably copies of the original CD's. The music sounded just as I remembered it.

Don't ask your classic rock stuff to stand up to a revealing system

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Now there's a blast from the past. WLS from my $3 trasistor radio under my pillow. Dick Biondi et al. You did it right listening on a 1 1/2" speaker. That is fully retro! That was when top 40 actually had music worth listening to. IMHO.

Downloaded the free CSO from ITunes last night. Very nice. You can get the free code from the CSO website.

rmeyer52
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Don't ask your classic rock stuff to stand up to a revealing system

This is such a true statement Ches...I find that I listen to my classic rock in my car or at the office I just cant listen at home some of it just sounds soooo bad

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:
I think it is rather simplistic to say a cd player is simply 1s and 0s. It is so much more complex than that.

Dealing with jitter problems, the quality of the D to A converter/digital getting into the analog chip and analog section, the quality of the analog section itself, quality of the passive parts, even the solder used. Digital involves high speed, meaning there is, or can be radiation inside the case.

As one can see, a player is no simple component.

I didn't state the player was zeros and ones. I stated the CD itself is a data series of zeros and ones. A CD player is a computer. The CD disc is the software. If the disc has bugs maybe there are CD players that can intelligently correct these errors upon playback. Hell, I don't know. I don't care. If the CD sounds like crap than it is crap.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

You've got too sensitive of equipment troop. You guys are buying equipment that is so sensitive that it is picking up anomalies that not even the record producer was hearing before a release. You're buying equipment that is making your collection obsolete in your own home. It's so stupid.

tandy
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

"Why do you suppose your AYRE is picking up what others cannot? I mean the CD is just zeros and ones from the original source."

I stated it because you couldn't understand why the AYRE was resolving info, sounds different, that other players could not, that's all. All digital pickups may sense the ones and zeros, but some players may do a better job of suppressing garbage info such as hash, rf interference, or have a better analog section etc.

jkalman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


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"Why do you suppose your AYRE is picking up what others cannot? I mean the CD is just zeros and ones from the original source."

I stated it because you couldn't understand why the AYRE was resolving info, sounds different, that other players could not, that's all. All digital pickups may sense the ones and zeros, but some players may do a better job of suppressing garbage info such as hash, rf interference, or have a better analog section etc.

Actually, if you go read the measurements section of the Ayre C-5xe review, it "was disappointing" on the error correction test.

I own this player also BTW and like it very much, and run Ayre equipment from source to speakers on the two channel section of my system.

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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


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I stated the CD itself is a data series of zeros and ones.

This is a widely held misunderstanding. The signal read off the disc may represent 1s and 0s, but it is actually an analog signal and subject to all the attendant ills. See www.stereophile.com/features/827.
Errors in the length of the pits and lands, an incorrect depth of the pits, high-frequency variations in the disc's rotational velocity, all lead to time-base errors in the recovered datastream, which in turn leads to jitter in the recovered wordclock even if the data are correct, which in turn leads to spuriae in the reconstructed analog signal.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

stereophillips
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


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You've got too sensitive of equipment troop. You guys are buying equipment that is so sensitive that it is picking up anomalies that not even the record producer was hearing before a release. You're buying equipment that is making your collection obsolete in your own home. It's so stupid.

I find this argument specious, to say the least. Or, at least one proposed by someone who has never actually been in a studio, or have the slightest idea what the "original" engineer or producer heard -- or cared about.

I've been present in studios where -- when confronted with poor sound, a bad splice, or an outright clam -- the engineer will switch over to a 3" console speaker and assure everyone involved that "they'll never hear it on the radio." OTOH, I've worked with engineers (JA, for instance) who will work for a solid year after the recording itself, just to get the sound as close to U-R-There as possible.

If "we" deliberately limit our systems' "sensitivity" to the point where the recordings of the first sort don't offend us, we forfeit the pleasures that can be derived from the latter.

If you're happy setting the bar so low that no recording is disappointing, no wonder you're oblivious to the potential pleasures of higher resolution hi-fis.

CECE
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Setting everything in life to the lowest expectations, always insures results that safisfy. Therefore more happy, with less. Getting more satisfaction on less, is GREEN. It will save the planet. Low expectations, lead to better results. Less stress getting there. I propose there be a low expectation Thursday, for now on, do the least, on Thursdays, and expect even less. Watch how happy you beome. Now let me go play a 78 RPM LP on a Goldmund record player. (Yes I see it does 78's!!!!!) Is that high expectations, or low?

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:

Quote:
You've got too sensitive of equipment troop. You guys are buying equipment that is so sensitive that it is picking up anomalies that not even the record producer was hearing before a release. You're buying equipment that is making your collection obsolete in your own home. It's so stupid.

I find this argument specious, to say the least. Or, at least one proposed by someone who has never actually been in a studio, or have the slightest idea what the "original" engineer or producer heard -- or cared about.

I've been present in studios where -- when confronted with poor sound, a bad splice, or an outright clam -- the engineer will switch over to a 3" console speaker and assure everyone involved that "they'll never hear it on the radio." OTOH, I've worked with engineers (JA, for instance) who will work for a solid year after the recording itself, just to get the sound as close to U-R-There as possible.

If "we" deliberately limit our systems' "sensitivity" to the point where the recordings of the first sort don't offend us, we forfeit the pleasures that can be derived from the latter.

If you're happy setting the bar so low that no recording is disappointing, no wonder you're oblivious to the potential pleasures of higher resolution hi-fis.

Meow! Who was it? Stephen or David that posted on this thread that they are down to a certain number of recordings that they can still enjoy listening to? I don't remember. Maybe it was a dream.

rmeyer52
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Being able to enjoy hi-fi is surely one of the pleasures of ownership. I do find that the discs currently in rotation on my Solo are ones in which the fidelity matches the artists performances. Even though I don't have what I consider a high end system CD's like the Eagles Hotel California are almost unlistenable on my system because the fidelity is soo bad. Now obviously there could be several reasons for this inlcuding the quality of the original analog tapes, and the fact that when this album was recorded the digital age was still up and coming. Now when I compare this to the XRCD recording of the Eagles "When Hell Freezes Over" the difference is day and night. Hell Freezes Over is an amazing recording and was very well engineered.

Another thing to consider when building a hi-fi is the type of music you listen to. When I went to audition my system for example I brought several of my best Jazz CD's so that I could hear what they sounded like on potential systems. If I was that much into heavy metal or rock I believe my choices might have been different.

The bottom line is that my system is optomized for MY needs, mostly great jazz. I have about 300 classic rock but I listen to those CD's on other systems as the sonics and recordings are not what I consider "quality".

jkalman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:

Quote:
I stated the CD itself is a data series of zeros and ones.

This is a widely held misunderstanding. The signal read off the disc may represent 1s and 0s, but it is actually an analog signal and subject to all the attendant ills. See www.stereophile.com/features/827.
Errors in the length of the pits and lands, an incorrect depth of the pits, high-frequency variations in the disc's rotational velocity, all lead to time-base errors in the recovered datastream, which in turn leads to jitter in the recovered wordclock even if the data are correct, which in turn leads to spuriae in the reconstructed analog signal.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

This is exactly why designs like Meridian's newer CD players are so well thought out. By putting buffers, or RAM, as close to the DAC as possible (hopefully as part of the DAC itself eventually) all of that can be eliminated except problems with an inconsistent wordclock itself (the crystal used to time the bit rate into the DAC or on the DAC). Buffering the signal allows it to be reconstructed by the simple act of storing it temporarily in memory (refreshing the electrical charge), when it is released from memory it is re-timed to the word clock, thus eliminating any built up latency between pulses (jitter). The closer that buffering occurs to the DAC, the more accurate the signal will be as it is converted from digital to analog.

Unfortunately, you still have to worry about how the analog is handled once it leaves the DAC... This is why internal balanced circuitry is a good way to handle things, like Ayre uses in their equipment (if I've understood their manuals correctly). Unfortunately, without a buffer close to the DAC, you still get jitter issues before the digital signal is turned into analog, even if it is handled correctly with balanced signaling internally afterwards. I'm not sure how Ayre handles their digital signal before it is converted, so I don't know if they buffer it close to the DAC or not.

jkalman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Here is another issue we are confronted with today in terms of CD quality: The Death of Dynamic Range.

There are some truly great music albums out there, especially current ones (such as the last three Flaming Lips albums), that have great music but sound terrible fairly often during their playback. That article in the link will tell you why. You can tell if a CD suffers from these issues because it is much louder than older CDs, engineered before this trend became popular, at the same volume level. Chances are, the louder it is over the older CDs, the more it is clipping during the very musically dynamic moments on the album.

So yes, you can really hear how bad some CDs are, usually in the form of clipping, and that is often going to be revealed first by a noticeably louder sound at normal listening levels.

smejias
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


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Who was it? Stephen or David that posted on this thread that they are down to a certain number of recordings that they can still enjoy listening to?

I think you're referring to something I said. But I mean to speak only for myself; I'm sharing my own experiences. And I don't think I was very clear. What I meant was: There are periods in time when I find myself enjoying only a few CDs in my collection: Recordings of music I love, with a sound that I also love.

I don't think this is stupid. I may not be enjoying all of my collection, all of the time, but I'm still having fun. And, the number of recordings in my collection that offer wonderful music, with great sound, has grown. Which, I think, is a great thing.

Through some systems, on certain days, certain recordings can sound so bad that I don't want to listen to them. That's been my experience. Even if I was still listening to music through my Magnavox boombox, I think this would still be the case. Yes, the boombox (or any lower resolution system) will hide some faults, but it'll also fail to reveal so much of the beauty.

Something else, somewhat related, that's also been on my mind is the tendency of some people to say that this hobby is "all about the music." For the record, I don't agree with that idea. I don't think that this hobby is "all about the music." To me, this hobby is about music and sound and the gear we use and the things we do to that gear
to get it to sound great with the music we love. (Maybe somewhere along the way, I'll be able to express that succinctly.)

My hi-fi allows me to love music and sound.

And I agree with Wes: I don't want to deprive myself of the pleasures of listening to really excellent recordings of wonderful music through a high-resolution hi-fi. In fact, it's something I'd like to share with anyone who's interested.

tandy
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

"If you're happy setting the bar so low that no recording is disappointing, no wonder you're oblivious to the potential pleasures of higher resolution hi-fis."

Right on Wes. Nice comment. And with low expectations, no sonic improvements will ever occur. Improvements by the high end companies leave the wannabees in the dust.

Of course the better the components, the less turnover the manufacturer gets.

tandy
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

So if many CDs sound poor, improve the quality of the recordings. Get the poor/pathetic recording engineers out of business.

What audiophiles want is better sounding music. So put pressure on the recording engineers to improve the quality of the recordings, rather than setting one's expectations low.

jkalman
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:
So if many CDs sound poor, improve the quality of the recordings. Get the poor/pathetic recording engineers out of business.

What audiophiles want is better sounding music. So put pressure on the recording engineers to improve the quality of the recordings, rather than setting one's expectations low.

The problem is, audiophiles are a small percentage of the people who listen to music. Most people don't care how "good" the music sounds on a realism level. Some people probably even like that a CD is louder when they put it in, and likely equate that with "rocking harder," not realizing that they are getting ripped off by and supporting sub-par sound engineering.

tandy
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Right on Jeff. Maybe we could somehow try to get the word out to the stars that audiophiles really care about the quality of their music compared to ordinary folks? Any ideas anyone?


Quote:

Quote:
So if many CDs sound poor, improve the quality of the recordings. Get the poor/pathetic recording engineers out of business.

What audiophiles want is better sounding music. So put pressure on the recording engineers to improve the quality of the recordings, rather than setting one's expectations low.

The problem is, audiophiles are a small percentage of the people who listen to music. Most people don't care how "good" the music sounds on a realism level. Some people proabbly even like that a CD is louder when they put it in, and likely equate that with "rocking harder," not realizing that they are getting ripped off by and supporting sub-par sound engineering.

showflash
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Draw up the best methodology for recording so you have something in writing. Then get the e-mail addresses of all the recording studios, engineers and managers that you can and start a campaign. Can't go to step two without knowing what you propose them to do and it has to nearly be a protocol that they can adhere to.

VinnieVeedivicki
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Signs that your audio system is picky picky picky is evidence that you bought twitchy speakers that are "super revealing" and basically tipped up in the highs. Or the room interaction is like an excercise from hell.

The amount of out of wack speakers out there is astonishing. Buy Harbeths.

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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Well, I am going to go against the grain of most of the posts.

I am amazed at how good most CDs I have sound. There I said it.

I have over 650 and a wide variety going back to music from the 50's( the music goes back, not the CDs) to recent releases. I gasp at the music comming from most. I do admitt I listen to very little modern POP music. But I do have a big collection of old classic rock right through to modern, but of a particualr style. Mainly what I label under soundscape type rock.

I have listed the last 10 CDs I got off amazon as they appear on my purchase list, and I didn't buy a dud recording amoungst any of them.

West by Lucinda Williams
Begin to Hope by Regina Spektor
Befriended by The Innocence Mission
The Best of Art Garfunkel [Import]
Sense by The Lightning Seeds
Days of Future Passed [Original recording reissued] Moody Blues
Who's Afraid Of The Art of Noise! by Art of Noise
Life for Rent by Dido
Pocket Symphony [Enhanced] by Air
Watermark by Enya
Blind by The Sundays
Solid Pleasure [Original recording remastered] by Yello

All have moments of beauty.

VinnieVeedivicki
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

I second the idea that professional recordings are by and large fantastic sounding. Think about it: A microphone that hears a good sounding voice or instrument, in a good room...how can it sound BAD unless something is broken?

I was in the recording business. I am an audiophile. But I build systems that sound gorgeous playing back anything. I have built probably a couple of thousand systems (retired high end salesman).

My "method" is simple...use highest possible quality ingredients in a well thought out "finished" system and balance flat response with musicality. I use both tests and my ear to recognize how close to "mastering grade" the set is getting. At any price point... From five grand to fifty. Or more (think Krell and Amatis).

I wrote a note that J Gordon Holt thanked me personally for putting out there in Stereophile. It stated that the goal of a real system is to give a "photographically correct representation of the mastered product---CD, Vinyl Album, whatever."

Not just PERFECT. Not just MUSICAL. Just an accurate representation ot the mastered PRODUCT. So you can just hear what the recording sounds like. And it SHOULD sound pleasant or something is out of whack!

If it was a "master photographic print" by Ansel Adams and you wanted to see it you would demand a very clear copy (or the actual original print!) and you would not look at it through a haze or a filter or bad lighting. You would be able to tell if you were seeing it clearly from having seen his work in a museum under good lights. THE SAME THING GOES FOR RECORDINGS.

I KNOW what an AKG mike sounds like (if it was used on the session). I KNOW what a tenor sax sounds like. Ditto a Steinway. Ditto the human voice ( I am a singer myself and have recorded a bit).

It is hard to believe lots of folks think there are "good" and "bad" recordings out there. Maybe they have crappy HiFi setups? Hmmmmm.

Evey time I propose there is actually a "right" way to do our hobby I get attacked by HiFi artists who prefer to paint little snippits of a real system instead of building the darn thing correctly. All right who is gonna give me a whupping for saying it THIS time?

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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

I agree, the state of mass-produced CDs in this day and age makes me glad that I've spent the last few years primarily buying vinyl. There are plenty of terrible vinyl pressings out there (due to both poor production/mastering jobs as well as poor physical production) but at least the music industry can't really force their "loudness war" campaign onto vinyl. Nothing fatigues my ears like that "cranked to the max" clipping sound found on so many CDs nowadays.

It's gotten to the point where I'll generally ask for opinions on CDs from companies I'm unfamiliar with so I won't end up with something that makes my ears feel like they've been assaulted - I even tracked down waveforms for the recent Pink Floyd Piper at the Gates of Dawn reissue, which was the last CD I bought. Not to stand on my soapbox for too long, but there's a reason amplifiers have volume knobs.

VinnieVeedivicki
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

I thought the original question was about how a "good" system is a bummer because now you can hear how lousy a lot of typical recordings sound. Hmmmmm.

In my experience the same guy then plays "Sgt Pepper" on his set and it sounds like crap. Now THAT proves the set is crap because no way should the recording sound less than life changing!

THAT'S what I am trying to say. Yes there are a FEW (more likely NEW) recordings that suck. But there are TONS of tweaky sounding ways to set up a HiFi that guarantee a bad reaction to way too many otherwise great recordings.

Comments?

tom collins
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

fwiw, i think that much of the quality of a cd these days depends on the priority of the producer. for example, i think that morph the cat by steely dan sounds fantastic coming out of my speakers (no comment on the lyrics or content, though i like) just a comment on the sound coming out. if i play a 35 year old LP of steely dan, it sounds very good as well. so, what i glean from this is that production value has always been a priority for that group and importantly, becker and fagan have enough juice to insure that their product sounds good. i think this is generally true for a number of the old line groups. you take a newer, younger group and they are less likely to be as concerned with those production values and are more likely to be under the sway of the labels they record for.
that said, on the whole, many cds sound very good these days to me, but there are some major disappointments, usually from mega bands on big labels.
i also think that generally, the better your system is, the more you will notice the quality of the recording. (am i stating the obvious, sorry).

tom

VinnieVeedivicki
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

And I think Buddy Holly recordings sound fantastic...alive, dynamic to the max, clear and clean. As does Little Richard stuff and Chuck Berry. And the Beatles. And Camelot the broadway play with Richard Burton. And classical music has zillions of simply recorded acoustically wonderful performances from days gone by.

Fact is there is so much good sound on the "classic" recordings (of ALL eras up until today) loved by music lovers that it is a candy store out there. AND THEN I go over to my local "high end" store and play this stuff on their rigs. And it sounds awful more often than not.

So the guy then plays Diana Krall or Steely Dan just to prove how "detailed" and expensive sounding his stuff really is and how I am a moron for not appreciating the "art" of the high end.

Haw haw. I am a LOT like J Gordon Holt on this one. Here I have spent 50 years of my life on this hobby and people out there can't even hear how screwed up their approach is. It HAS to be screwed up if the classic recordings all sound awful on their gear...

What else would you call it? What would you call an automobile that is so unstable it heads for the ditch no matter how hard you fight the wheel? What would you call a toothpaste that removed your tooth enamel wholesale?

I calls it "screwed up is what." Me and JGH, yeah man...

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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?


Quote:
i also think that generally, the better your system is, the more you will notice the quality of the recording.

tom

And this is the reason that I kept my 25 year old system...to play those lesser-quality recordings and not be able to hear the imperfections.

tom collins
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

the system quality cuts both ways. i mean, you can have an average system that you are happy with and everything will sound pretty good. or, you could have a system of carefully chosen gear where some things sound extraordinary and other things less so in comparison. i agree, there is a smorgasboard of great stuff out there and my personal choice is to have a system that some of it sounds extraordinary on. but, i don't have a great deal of money in this system, comparatively speaking, just carefully chosen gear.
we should all go with whatever floats our respective boats.
good listening.

tom

p.s. it is funny what i didn't know. rooty, i had these expensive mobile fidelity records and went to the dealer one day with them. they sounded good on his demo unit, then he pulled down some old album from the 60s, just a run of the mill $3.00 album you could buy in any record store in the day and played that, it sounded just as good as my expensive album. so, i think i have to disagree that a better system always makes the older stuff sound like junk. i bought the turntable from him and many of his old LPs as well.

Monty
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

While I don't think the goal of building a piece of gear should be anything
less than truth to fidelity in as much as it is possible at a specific price,
compromises have to be made in all but the cost-no-object stratosphere that
few people can afford. Once the determination is made that fidelity must be
compromised, what exactly gets compromised is wide open and will vary from
company to company. Multiply those compromises between numerous pieces of
gear that make up a common Hi-Fi system and truth to fidelity is degraded
at every step.

If that isn't enough, most contemporary recordings suffer from serious flaws
that are only going to be enhanced unless you are driving 60 mph down the road
with your windows rolled down.

At some point, I think many audiophiles have to come to grips with their
desire to have the best system they can afford to put together and the quality
(or lack of quality) of most of their recordings.

Just how clean do you want your window if the view outside is of the local
landfill? Or perhaps your view is that of an unmolested lake in the middle of
a lovely forest?

There isn't a right or wrong approach or "one true way" that will fit into
everyone's enjoyment of music. A system designed to accurately reproduce
live and unamplified music is the best approach in many cases, but they
will often reveal modern, popular recordings for what they are. Crap!

VinnieVeedivicki
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Wait! Switch analogies over to photography for a minute...If you want to look at a MASTER like Ansel Adams and he made a LARGE high density clear print of the Grand Canyon---All you would want to look at is his print NO?

I say our systems are to be made to enable us to all look clearly at the MASTER PRINT of whatever recording level we are enjoying at the moment. If CD then it is the mastered CD we have on the player at the moment. The one the company produced for us to hear as a finished PRINT.

The real artists are lovers of pleasure. Art is sex is pleasure is knowing is ultimate knowledge is cumming...
Sorry. I bet THAT went way beyond most of your abilities to understand ART. Which is an orgasm of pleasure!!!

So the prior commentator says DON'T look closely at art because it must be ugly... Well folks I am sorry but by my personal definition of art as an artist he must have his head up his ass... because art is NEVER unsexy or ugly...

Which is why you all ways should want to see it close up and personal. It is GORGEOUS. And even when the subject is very mean and cruel like "Guernica" by Picasso which represented the bodies of dead civilians in the Spain of Franco---it was still lovely to look at---which made Picasso's point quite well---HOW AWFUL TO SEE LOVELY PEOPLE BLOWN UP!!!

So what am I saying? I want my lovely stereo to show all the beauty possible including how ugly stupid people make their recordings like rap music which is mostly about Ho's and killings with MY NINE MILLIMETER GUN....

It is not MY fault thay make ugly recordings. We live in a fascist age of morons running things. Personally I run away and listen to recordings made years ago. But you are free to choose whatever you WISH to hear...

But just don't tell ME to slow down my set because your shit is ugly and mean.... Sounds like a personal problem. MY stuff is gorgeous and loving. And sexy and HOT...Boo Hoo on YOU....

VinnieVeedivicki
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Re: Is it me or can you really hear how bad some CD's are?

Let me put it differently. I just couldn't disagree more that a system needs to be compromised because modern recordings sound like butt.

What you need to do is listen to the real artists that LOVE music and you will not have this problem.

Let me tell you a story. Just on a giggle I recorded a ton of 70s Black Pop recordings back when the artists and the technology were pretty bodacious. Nice grooves and well recorded. Put it on a CD and took into into work at a High End sales store.

My Black manager listened but had a complaint to air: "Those recordings are HARMLESS." I was stunned. What did he expect music to be, UGLY and VILE and NASTY and MEAN??? YeSSSSSSS!

Jesus! Now I finally GOT it. It was ME all along. I kept thinking that music was ART. About the intensity of feeling ORGASMIC about being alive. Obviously today's audience has moved ON past the last 1000 years of known music and come up with a new definition.

Count me out. I do not want to KNOW what adrenaline addled junk is hot. Even rock and roll when it was challenged for being too "dirty" was at least about pleasure.

This new stuff is just freakin ugly. And it LIKES it. (What made me really barf was the manager STOLE the CD so he could go home and play it for hours---he confessed later he had it. And was ignorant about IRONY).

No wonder modern HiFi buffs are a strange lot. A lot of them are into "assault weapons" instead of loving endorphin.

Anybody out there hearin' me?

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