Defining Confusing Audio Terms

Discussion in 'The Steam Vent' started by admin, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. jliedeka Audioholic General

    jliedeka
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    I agree about 16 bits of dynamic range being wasted. Who has amps and speakers that can realistically produce that? With the loudness wars, 4 bits is probably sufficient. :D

    Jim
  2. DS-21 Full Audioholic

    DS-21
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    Actually, there have been audible differences detected between 16-bit systems and 14-bit systems. See here.

    However, there has never been a test in which listeners detected a difference 16/44.1 and any higher-resolution format*, or DSD.

    *higher resolution here means higher bitrate, higher sampling frequency, OR both.

    So it appears 16/44.1 was well-chosen for CD.

    Incidentically, vinyl's resolution is roughly 12-bit, under ideal conditions. Less in the real world.

    Perhaps you just need a higher-resolution system, so you can reproduce program material going lower.

    In theory yes. In actual practice, it is limited to about an octave below that.

    Please take a moment to contemplate the physical reality of dragging a hard and sharp rock through a soft pit, and come back to us.

    Actually, it's a selling tool for music.

    Consider that the first movement of Mahler 3 is about half an hour long. (There are other examples of long pieces of music, but that's the most obvious one.)

    You may think it's fine to bisect that piece. I find it unacceptable.

    Please grow up. Fingerprints don't hurt CDs. And they certainly don't hurt Mac Minis or other modern devices for storing one's library of 2-channel music.

    That is why a prudent person backs up her/his digital media in several places. Obviously, one cannot do that with physical analog media - except by digitizing it, of course! - because every copy is degraded by the copying process.

    Clearly wrong, yes.

    Note that, as shown above, differences were detectable between a 14-bit DAC and a 16-bit DAC.

    What makes you think I'm arguing theory? For the record (hehe), my vinyl collection is more than 4x the size of your paltry CD collection....

    Now we're descending into Robert Harley-esque realms of utter incompetence...

    Incorrect. "Stereo" does not mean "two-channel." It means "solid."

    Anyone well-versed in audio history knows that stereo was originally designed as a three-channel format.

    You may be aware of the Klipsch Heresy speaker. It was designed by PWK as a center-channel to fit between two Klipschorns, in anticipation of the new stereo format. In 1957.

    However, because of the consumer music delivery system of the time (vinyl LP) was too primitive to support three discrete channels, we got stuck with an inferior 2-channel hack instead of the intended format.

    Please stop mixing things that are utterly unrelated. It makes you sound ignorant.

    Nobody has ever demonstrated an ability to distinguish 16/44.1 and higher resolution.

    Lossy compression is a different animal. There are plenty of studies in which listeners have determined differences due to different lossy compression schemes. (And others that have shown a given scheme to be more-or-less transparent. But given that bandwidth is ever-increasing, I suspect lossy compression is a dead end, except for perhaps in mobile telephones.)

    Higher effort, perhaps, but judging by the tenor of your post I suspect much of it was wasted...

    Conspicuously absent from your description, for instance, is any mention of a calibrated microphone and a modern measurement program such as FuzzMeasure Pro or Omnimic.

    Actually, yes.

    Thank you for proving my point. If you need to live in a padded cell, that tells me you have chosen incompetently-designed loudspeakers. That is to say, loudspeakers with a serious directivity mismatch in the midrange. That is to say, typical "high end" speakers.

    I prefer to use speakers that are appropriate for the room, and not turn my living room into some audiophool padded cell hell.

    That may be true. It's also not inconsistent with anything I've written.

    The reason is that the ritual of vinyl impresses people, compared to just pressing play.

    Most people (probably all) enjoy rituals. It's something we as humans are hard-wired for, I think.

    I know I enjoy the ritual of inviting some friends over, making some drinks, firing up the hookah with a new flavor from Starbuzz, and fussing with a record or two, the cleaning, the gloves, etc.. But that doesn't make vinyl equivalent, let along higher in fidelity, than digital. That's outside the scope of the ritual.

    Just 300? That's a pretty puny collection. I was there already by the time I was 14...

    FWIW, according to iTunes, I have 3012 albums in Apple Lossless format, though some of those are higher than 16/44.1, e.g. the Beatles 24-bit USB drive, which I converted from FLAC or whatever they were in to Apple Lossless so that I could store them on my media server. And about 1200 vinyl LPs.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  3. Time_Stand_Stil Junior Audioholic

    Time_Stand_Stil
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    DS-21

    B.S. on you over vinyl's resolution. Since it does no sampling and transcribes the signal fed to it in an analogue way in effect its resolution is infinite. But certainly in comparing analogue to 16Bit/24Bit is not a true straight forward way and as such must be analyzed on each ones own merits.

    As to 16/14 bit as per dynamic range, were are not talking about resolution, it's dynamic range we talk about. Two totally different measures. One last time no engineer uses all 96db of possible resolution made with 16 bit audio, NONE!!! It would not be salable to any general consumer. And as such neither do they the 110+ hi-rez digital.


    What the Hell are you asking about me needing a higher rez system to produce programme levels going lower than 20Hz. Unless you ONLY listen to Pipe Organ music with its 16Hz lowest note nobody gets any content as such and nobody can HEAR IT! Likely 99.999% of all recorded music has little to no record output below 30Hz let alone 20Hz.


    One more time on vinyl and highs above 20khz. It's just wrong for you to say that it's stunted. An engineer may CHOOSE to limit such, be it analogue or digital, most music be it analogue or digital recorded has little or no content about 12-15 K. I'm not saying it's not important to have such space available and vinyl can give it too. But it's all an engineering choice. Pop music has little need going much above 12-15k and the energy content and the frequency reach of that genre's music instruments rarely do. Classical, Acoustic, Jazz music may have as part of the genres content pushing even above 20Khz especially in in overtones and above the 22.5Khz HARD LIMIT OF 16bit digital.


    Look, as to record wear. I told you already back in the day of Vinyl as King numerous tests and studies were done and found that vinyl being rather elastic (picture it more like hard molasses not some brittle, solid substrate ok?) and having a bit of a memory effect could take over 100 plays in rapid succession before any appreciable measured effect but NON AUDIBLE could be found. Don't believe me if you want but it's your ignorance then. I go back to this hi-fi hobby to the early 80's and read loads of mags back in the day with points of view by many respected audio journalists and reviewers of hi-fi gear back then and recall this point as to actually how resilient vinyl is as if it were yesterday in my mind.

    As to CD's time length. I never argued against it as a selling tool. Sony was said to have chosen 74min as that was the length of Beethoven's 9th symphony. So good, I am NOT anti CD nor anti Digital. I'm as a hi-fi fan just sick of ignorant blowhards blathering nonsense over vinyl as if they know what they are saying.


    As to stereo/discrete. HAVE AT IT! You have you digital formats that give you more than two channels. Fact is it's a niche and probably will remain so. If you like it then good for you. I've heard some good multi-channel sound but found too often the damn engineers eff it up. AIX Records is possibly and currently the best producer of hi-rez, multichannel sound.


    Nobody has ever distinguished 16/44.1 or higher? You talk as if you know as if you are God. Speak for yourself not assume 7 billions others ok? Hi-Rez digital in an A/B comparison to CD audio can be noticed by practical but careful listening, not general or casual listening. I'm not talking about casual listening or casual listeners ok?


    My point about room/speaker setup is that I carefully set up my gear and no it's not a waste ok? I measure and adjust the output carefully. I did not just drop a speaker here and the other there ok? No matter what gear one buys all rooms need to be set up for such and if you think a place for judicious room treatments is not needed, you display your ignorance. Also my room treatments are not gawd awful and do not look as if my room is a padded cell. That point alone by you shows me your ignorance. You need reflectivity and absorption ok? Nobody wants to listen to an anechoic chamber. Your home was built for LIVING in not for listening in. Be it a $5,000 system, $50,000 one or a $500,000 system it ain't wort $hit if you can't work the room and the gear to the room including room acoustics and adjusting them as needed.

    Also you have no clue as to what room tuning I have done then. No clue about my gear which is for your info competent . Nor do you know my exact set up but that I state my set up is by my effort and desire better and more careful than probably 8-9/10 typical audio users do in their home's. And my decor is typically natural lived in looking and not ugly nor tacky as a result ok?


    As to 14 yrs of age and CD buying. Gawd you are acting 14 here. The quality of CD listening is not indicated by how many damn silver discs you have got it? It's about how you listen to your music and what you listen to. Put effing Rhianna on a $20,000 CD player and she still sounds like crap. Put Diana Krall on a $500 Cambridge and she still sound great. Too many damn CD's especially over the last 15 odd year are produced via mostly the silly loudness wars to sound like crap anyways! Ain't no $3,000, $10,000 or $20,000 CD player will fix that. I have about 300 CD's and over 700 LP's as of this date. I have a enjoyable collection of music to cover most genre's I care about and I enjoy. So please spare me the numbers game in how many CD's you have. Go try to show up your 14 yr. old buddies with that nonsense.

    Oh and good for you with your iTunes numbers too. I could not care any less. It is irrelevant to the discussion.

    You go play your music choices and enjoy it all. But if you blather off like all too many vinyl bashers do with the crap you say about vinyl expect to be called out for it.

    The difference between you and those other typically ignorant vinyl bashers and me and those who speak like me is I'm not here to take your digital enjoyment away from you or to make you think you are misguided, out of touch or what have you by enjoying quality digital. I'm not here to state digital is NOT a quality music format (except for lossy crap ok:D). I never bashed quality digital but you and those like you lip off and via out of ignorance against vinyl.
  4. Cruise Missile Full Audioholic

    Cruise Missile
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    Tom, did you hire this ^^guy to come here and sell your points about the Audiophile group?

    If not, what a lucky break for you.... This has made me laugh more than the article!
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  5. craig7 Senior Audioholic

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    i have never seen this many posts this long on a forum before... some serious s*** is about to go down i think.
    also this is the most intense argument ive ever seen about vinyl vs digital
  6. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Swap the order of two of those words and I just might buy that CD player. :D Even more true if it was Rihanna. :p
    Adam,
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  7. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Adam
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    Check out some of FirstReflection's posts. Seriously helpful...and seriously long. :) (I said "posts" - plural. Pervs. Yeah, you know who you are. :D)

    Impressive - you must be reading the posts. I automatically skip any post longer than about ten sentences. I just don't have that long of an attention span. :eek:
    Adam,
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  8. avnetguy Audioholic Chief

    avnetguy
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    No kidding, I was just about to jump into the discussion for defense of .. oh .... squirrel ....
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  9. Time_Stand_Stil Junior Audioholic

    Time_Stand_Stil
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    Cruise Missile,

    If you are referring to me you have started off completely wrong. I do not consider myself an audiophile. I don't believe in $1,000 power cords, $5,000 interconnects, or same speaker cables, nor $200 A.C. plugs. I do not think one has to buy a $10,000+ CD player or turntable to get great sound. I'd never buy $20,000 amps or $50,000+ speakers.

    I'm an enthusiast and one who looks for the best balance of value and performance to price. I have grown up enjoying hi-fi and I enjoy the hobby of getting the most out of my gear and my playback media.

    I do not buy special wipe/spray on coatings for CD's to magically make them sound better. I take damn good care of my CD's. My first one bought back in 1984 looks as perfect today as it did back the first day. I take damn good care of my LP's, look only to buy the best used ones I can and thoroughly clean them for best playback. 99% of my 700+ LP's were bought for a $1.00 or less, try that with any other media source? Oh wait since many are dumping CD's you get them pretty cheap used today too. Oh and keep on dumping your physical media folks. I'll and many others will buy them LP's, CD's, tapes for pennies while you put your faith in H/D's that will die in a few year and due to user laziness likely leave you crying while you try to replace your lost music.

    I invested in a solidly competent vinyl setup that punches well above its weight. I've never heard a Calburn, Calibra turntable at $100,000+ nor a Brinkman at what $200,000+ . I'm sure they not only sound great but too are likes works of art of industrial design deserving a place in a museum of technology.

    What pi$$es me off as a hi-fi fan and hobbyist are ignorant aholes who bash vinyl but likely have no clue what they say nor ever really heard a good set up. Are you one? If so how about you just finding a good setup in your locale, playing a good LP on it, SHUT UP and listen. Unless you are tone dear you will quickly hear and realize what I and many other vinyl users state.

    I was a early adopter to digital (1984). I bought the sales hype and even got rid of pretty well all of my analogue gear by 1987. I thought like many other vinyl bashers that ooh because CD's are so quiet between tracks and have a clean (in reality antiseptic) sound blah, blah, blah that why would anyone want to still mess with vinyl. Just plop a CD in a player HIT PLAY. Well about 10 years ago I gave vinyl a retry and tried to look at it in a fresh way. A relative actually still had one of my old regular MADE IN JAPAN turntables sitting in storage. I dug it up and found a handful of my old LP's they had stuck away years ago too. I cleaned it up, set up and checked the cartridge and pulled out an LP. Even with this old unit as soon as the needle dropped and volume went up I thought "Oh, oh, Holy $hit I've been missing something for all these years." That was my revival into vinyl and today with the products out there and the community on the web one can talk about and learn more about it and the hobby of vinyl much easier than back in the 70's, 80's.

    Tom is a cool guy, a blowhard at times, pig headed in opinions at times but IMO he is also out to lunch on his views over vinyl. Fine! it's his life and views but he and any other who talk as vinyl bashers invite counter point to his, your points if you throw them out here. Is that good enough for you? Or do you only want us all to parrot Tom's and your's views?
  10. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

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    Well, Mr Time, I have listened to vinyl very seriously, on systems owned by people who think exactly the same way you do. The truth it that it's very difficult to really compare LPs and CDs, because you need a copy of the same recording in both formats. I have heard these comparisons a few times, only a few, but my impressions were:

    1. The SNR of the vinyl signal path was far worse than the CD. You could always hear some sort of noise in the background. This is a personal thing, but I find this very annoying.

    2. Stereo imaging of the vinyl signal path is different and presented differently than the CD path. And it's easy to explain. Stereo separation of a CD system is for practical purposes perfect, while the vinyl path will always present a more mixed presentation. Channel separation in a great LP set-up will probably be about 35db, which at an average listening level of say 90db is definitely audible, and will change the stereo presentation. So the sound stage of an LP will sound different, and since the mixing is a distortion by definition whatever pleasant effects are produced are a distortion. I think on good speakers it is obvious the sound stage presentations are different.

    3. One of the things I've noticed about playing the same recording in both formats on the same system is that they never sound identical. Well, at least I could tell them apart in my admittedly infrequent demo sessions. I can think of a lot of reasons why that is the case, but since CDs measure dramatically better than LPs, in my mind there can be no two ways around it - the LP version is distorted, and if you like the LP version better you like a distorted presentation better. Can an LP advocate honestly claim that they have heard identical sound from the same recording in both formats on the same system? I'm just saying I haven't.

    4. It is illogical to think that a mechanical system with measurable and uncorrected speed irregularity, a mechanical mechanism for converting motion to voltage, an extra stage of very low voltage amplification, and fidelity that varies from the outer portion of the groove to the inner portion, is going to sound as accurate or as revealing as a digital signal that is much lower distortion and consistent by comparison.

    My feeling has always been that if you like the sexiness and potentially euphonious impact of LP reproduction on your music, great, go for it. I hope they sell vinyl to you forever. But if you expect those of us that value accuracy to agree with you that digital just doesn't sound as good, to me that's like saying accuracy doesn't sound as good, and I can't.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
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  11. craig7 Senior Audioholic

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    well.... i skim the posts....
  12. GO-NAD! Audioholic Ninja

    GO-NAD!
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    I don't think Tom is saying that vinyl is a terrible format. I think the point is that there are no qualities found in vinyl that can't be equaled, or exceeded, by digital. Listening to vinyl is akin to dealing with a government agency - the final output is less important than following process.:D Just because it takes more effort to use and maintain the vinyl format, it doesn't mean that it's superior.

    I love the look of turntables, reading covers, etc and have been sorely tempted to implement such a setup into my system. However, I have a very hard time justifying it when there is absolutely no qualitative advantage for doing so.
  13. Alex2507 Audioholic Overlord

    Alex2507
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    Sure there is ... sometimes. I don't know if been covered in here and I'm certainly not going to read through everything but my understanding/rumor has it that even though CD can exceed the abilities/boundaries of LP's the mastering done on vinyl in some cases is just better so the LP is of a better sound quality.

    That said, who really cares? The bottom line is that you're too cheap to buy a TT. :D

    ... and I doubt your wife would allow you to mess up the feng shui. :p
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  14. GO-NAD! Audioholic Ninja

    GO-NAD!
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    Ahhh, but that's not due to the limitations of CD. Both formats can be poorly mastered.;) Aside from that, the other reason that I don't get a TT, is that I'd need to find space for a vinyl collection. I bought the 2 CD changers so that I could save some room! But, you are right in one respect, SWMBO would give the suggestion of a TT the hairy eyeball.
  15. gp4Jesus Audiophyte

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    +1! What some forget is vinyl remains true to what sound is: analogue! It doesn't convert analogue to digital then back again. Any time that happens something "gets lost in the sauce!"

    Further I find it interesting how SS & CD fan[atics] will tout specs & other techno details while the tube & vinyl camps holler "just listen!" Of the 4 I mention I own 3. I enjoy all of them. Can't swing the initial or maintenance $ of tubes.
    My $ 0.2. Cheers tony
    .
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  16. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

    Irvrobinson
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    That's because "just listen" is all that you can say when by nearly every measurable criteria your advocated medium is inferior. If I said "just listen" to a well recorded, mixed, and mastered CD on a measurably near-perfect DAC playing on an awesome system... what would you say? That you like some possibly euphonious distortions better anyway? That there are some as yet undiscovered criteria by which an LP (not great analog, I said an LP) is superior? I have just listened. I prefer CDs to LPs.
  17. Time_Stand_Stil Junior Audioholic

    Time_Stand_Stil
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    To clarify a few things.

    First, I'm only participating here out of the spirit of the discussion. In reality I could not care less of what anyone prefers for recorded music playback. You can like 128Kb lossy music, just don't call it hi-fi. You can prefer any digital format or any analogue one for that matter. But I only responded to it as I said because blowhards who slam analogue, notably vinyl, IMO probably have never heard it, let alone heard it on a good turntable set up.

    So that said if I may?

    I was thinking while spinning some vinyl today;):D what kind of analogy can I add here?

    So here goes.


    First, no recording be it a master or not can reflect 100% accurately a live event. Not even close nor can we expect it. If we could reproduce a live musical event in our homes we'd all be thrown out of our homes and excommunicated from the neighbourhood. That said we each try to as best get recorded sound to sound as natural and pleasurable as we can if we are hi-fi fans, given our budget, time and effort.

    So picture this a Master recording as an original Master of Art painting, all the colours, textures and brush strokes on canvas. That is the starting point for us to copy for consumer use.

    The analogue consumer copy (consider it to be akin to vinyl here) of this original painting is us getting another artist, he/she is given a clean canvas, paint palette and a range of paints. The quality of artist hired may vary but obviously the better artist and tools you get will then see him/her make a closer to the original master painting copy. No, he/she will not be able to make a 100% perfect copy and each copy he/she makes will be slightly different. But that said to the consumer put a set of good painted copies up beside the Master's original and likely most consumers will not perceive any if much of a difference again as long a the hired painter to copy is of good caliber and has appropriate tools. This is what a vinyl LP and the turntable set up will give us from the original master tape.

    The digital consumer copy of a painting is more like this. A digital camera is used to take a digital picture of the original painting. If it's low buck it will be lower megapixels, if its higher buck it will be more megapixels. Not only has it taken the digital picture but it had to slice it up in tens to hundreds of thousands of samples. Each little slice is a digital representation of the original painting. It then must recreate the copy in picture form, slices all stitched back together and all. It can look darn close to the original painting as long as it was processed well, but it will still just be a digital photo. Now of course being digital every subsequent digital photo copy will essentially look identical to each other but none will match perfectly the original Master's painting. This is what lossless digital music gives the user. The user gets a hi to higher rez copy as a digital photo and it may look darn good but under scrutiny it will not look like the original master's painting.

    If we go to lossy it even gets worse. Not only is the digital camera lower grade but it lacks the bits needed to get the resolution off the original painting. It's like a very low bit rate JPEG. Looks fine from afar but under closer scrutiny it's missing a lot of details. Any lossy format suffers this issue.


    So in the end neither analogue nor digital can perfectly recreate the original master. The original studio master itself is not a true recreation of the live performance (and live is not what most studio recordings get us as they are all typically multi-tracked and worked on to various levels of pro quality by the recording engineers.)

    Fans of analogue will accept that the copy of the master recording may not be 100% perfect but the copy will in essence sound much like the original. The fans of digital will know that each digital copy of an original recording will be identical to each other and that each digital copy can capture much of the details of the master recording but must accept it's still just a digital representation. Sliced up as samples and restitched to make the sound wave our ears and brain perceive. It too can sound pleasurable but also will not be perfect.

    I think my analogy makes the differences clear. Each and everyone here can choose which they prefer. I can accept both formats and not slag either, accept that each are far from perfect and each can have variances due to R&D and manufacture of such gear. I just find most often that quality analogue including LP's sounds closer to what recorded sound should be to a live event.

    To each his/her own.:)
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  18. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

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    We agree on the neither is perfect part, but this "sliced up" stuff just isn't the case, and pixels aren't a good analogy. Sampling a waveform doesn't slice things up, it completely recreates the waveform. The loudness level, as represented by the word length of each sample, is an approximation, but a very accurate one. Approximating 96db of dynamic range with over 65,000 levels is pretty fine-grained stuff. Which would you guess is more accurate? 65,535 levels of loudness, or that stylus on the end of the tone arm trying to follow a groove?

    I can only speak for myself, but I think it's perfectly fine that you like vinyl better. That's preference, and anyone that tries to impose theirs on others is out of bounds, IMHO. The problem I have is when people start making up stories about why they prefer vinyl, and that's because it's somehow "better" in some technical way. Isn't it enough that you like it better?
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  19. avnetguy Audioholic Chief

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    I enjoyed listening to LPs growing up and I still have my technics turntable along with a number of albums. So what do I listen to these days ... nothing but digital. Personally, I do find digital superior in all ways, including sound quality, and I really don't miss the audible noise floor or pops associated with records. Actually, I find it funny that some digitally produced songs add in the old vinyl sounds to give it that old school feeling but I just find it distracting.

    In fact, the only real negative thing I can say about some CDs, though this isn't really about the digital format itself, is that they are not the same song I enjoyed on the original album, it's a remix. :mad:

    I also find high bitrate compressed formats MP2/MP3 to be more than suitable for enjoyable listening and honestly, depending on the genre and song, I can't hear any difference and I bet most people can't either.

    Steve
  20. Cruise Missile Full Audioholic

    Cruise Missile
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    Dear Time stand stil(l),

    I'm not in either camp here with the analogue VS. digital nonsense. I have indeed heard stellar playback of music on various mediums.

    I've also been to countless live performances occasionally as a performer.

    The one thing I've never heard anywhere except on vinyl is hiss and pop(When gains were set properly). Period.

    Your need to convince people of your viewpoint is what I was and still am laughing about.

    Nothing else to add from me.

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