Is it my speakers? I think I'm done with CD's. Are paid-for downloadable files any better? (...and, "Can it reach 60", a quality test for CDs)

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MidiMagic

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I listen to the CD and then determine how much I like it and how good the mastering is.

Question: Is immersive basically the opposite of discreteness?
 

par4ken

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Question: Is immersive basically the opposite of discreteness?
No! Two different things altogether IMHO. Immersive just means being surrounded by the music as opposed to those mixes with just weak ambiance in the rear.

Immersive mixes can be very discrete! I suppose that you could also call multi-speaker mono immersive as well!
 

dobyblue

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LOL, yea like to avoid all those issue the playback gain would have to be increased to
levels that would make the surface noise sound like a 747 on take-off.

Well I got about 4 more links on vinyl mastering that all say the same as the first 2 but
try this one.
So you either know more than all those other engineers or your purposely trying to ignore/bury the facts. Problems such as speed irregularities, (wow and flutter) inner groove distortion, surface noise, pops & clicks, etc will always be there to cripple the sound of vinyl compared to digital, irrelevant of a couple points in DR.

The juvenile link you just posted has nothing to do with masters headed for vinyl production. The entire bolded passage is just a giant straw man fallacy. We're not talking about vinyl playback, we're talking about the misconception that vinyl releases from major labels typically have better mastering than their digital counterparts.

Again, "Bad mastering doesn't just give CD a bad name, most major label releases feature that same bad mastering on all formats including vinyl. Some people are fooled into thinking vinyl is mastered better because they maybe saw a "DR" score from the DR database, but the TT meter was not meant for measuring vinyl or needle-drops, but original digital source material."

Your claim, "mastering for vinyl is ALWAYS done in a way much inferior to that for digital releases", was rebutted by two well-known actual mastering engineers; Ian Shepherd and Miles Showell.
 

par4ken

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we're talking about the misconception that vinyl releases from major labels typically have better mastering than their digital counterparts.
I think what we were talking about is the mastering of vintage vinyl vs the brickwall mastering of many/most CD re-releases.
Bad mastering doesn't just give CD a bad name, most major label releases feature that same bad mastering on all formats including vinyl.
Agree
Some people are fooled into thinking vinyl is mastered better because they maybe saw a "DR" score from the DR database
True that the DR of vinyl is affected by surface noise, rumble, scratches etc., values given in a database are subject to too many variables. Once again my "clean" (vintage) vinyl rips consistently show a DR value of about 12. Non brickwalled CDs show similar values! DR value is a very useful tool to help weed out those bad CD releases. If I only listened to vintage vinyl DR ratings would be totally unnecessary.
 
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himey

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Quite a few. Most of these quit when the next version of Windows appeared.
.wk3
.wks
.msp
.pcx
.pal
.qpw
.wq3
.wq2
.gwb
.bas
.ws
.wsd
.wmc
.!ws
.wpd
.mts
.mmd

I have files in all of these formats on legacy disks.
I was speaking about a popular format. But thanks for the list of extensions I have never heard of, and I have been using a PC for music for nearly 30 years (Windows 95).
 

mandrix

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Quite a few. Most of these quit when the next version of Windows appeared.
.wk3
.wks
.msp
.pcx
.pal
.qpw
.wq3
.wq2
.gwb
.bas
.ws
.wsd
.wmc
.!ws
.wpd
.mts
.mmd

I have files in all of these formats on legacy disks.
Wow. I've never even heard of most of those. So I guess no loss on my part. I've never had any large problem playing my music, that's what counts for me.
Not an attack on anyone's preferences because I don't care, but:
People over the years have got hung up on obscure formats. I never saw the point.
As to formats, if you're going to play a format on Windows, you need a player that supports those formats. Don't depend on MS. I don't.
 

par4ken

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I was speaking about a popular format. But thanks for the list of extensions I have never heard of, and I have been using a PC for music for nearly 30 years (Windows 95).
Of the ones that I looked up none have anything to do with music. They are obscure because they have long been superseded by something more modern, many are old MS Dos extensions!


Flac is not from Microsoft and is "the only one that at once is non-proprietary, is unencumbered by patents, has an open-source reference implementation, has a well documented format and API, and has several other independent implementations." Unlikely to go away!

 

MidiMagic

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I was speaking about a popular format. But thanks for the list of extensions I have never heard of, and I have been using a PC for music for nearly 30 years (Windows 95).
Not popular?

Lotus 123
Wordstar
Wordperfect
Quattro Pro
Microsoft Works
MS Paint
Older versions of Excel
Musictime
Corel Draw X3
Magix Studio
Microsoft Office files before 2010
Data Translation DT-Vee
- (a whole laboratory became useless when Microsoft forced the change to Windows)

Microsoft forced many of these out of business because they kept changing the operating system so they didn't work anymore.
 

MidiMagic

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Wow. I've never even heard of most of those. So I guess no loss on my part. I've never had any large problem playing my music, that's what counts for me.
Not an attack on anyone's preferences because I don't care, but:
People over the years have got hung up on obscure formats. I never saw the point.
As to formats, if you're going to play a format on Windows, you need a player that supports those formats. Don't depend on MS. I don't.
Windows also has to correctly read and serve the format to the player software. The software does not directly read the media. I have the same media player (same DVD install disk) I had on XP (it DOES work with multiple Windows systems). But some video file types that worked when it was running XP are not recognized when running Win10.

I also lost a number of image files because I did not know that newer versions of Windows could not read them until after the old computers were gone..

These changes in formats allowed can be very expensive:

- An entire laboratory with millions of dollars of equipment stopped working because Microsoft stopped supporting the operating system it was made to work under. The equipment had a guaranteed working life of 30 years. It was 5 years old and it could not be made to work with new versions of Windows. They changed the bus timing and the old interface cards would not work. The company that made the equipment went out of business because of the change (there goes the guarantee).

- The US government almost lost all of the data from the 1960 census. They didn't notice until 1964 that the computer that had stored all of the data on magnetic tape was gone. Nothing else could read those tapes. They finally found a computer collector who had the old computer and tape drives and could print the data.

- Too many business owners have suddenly been required to produce (e.g. for a court case) data from many years ago. They get the disks containing the records out of their vault and then find out that nothing available today can read them.
 

quicksrt

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Let me just add my personal feelings on the situation here.
It's very easy to deduce why Stereophile, TAS, and the other online bibles of high end audio
initiated the "vinyl revival", just follow the money. The LP is crippled by it's 1930s technology and forever will be. Any claim of "Superior Sound" is pure BS and supported only by the marketing arm of audio. Bottom Line, It's over 50 years since vinyl was an acceptable medium for the reproduction of SOTA Sound.

The anti-digital crowd uses the "loudness wars" as it's muscle and a sad situation it is without a doubt. But while doing so they chose to ignore all the inherit weaknesses of the
LP in any attempt to reproduce the sound of a master recording, whether analog or digital. IE (mono'd bass, restricted bass level/response, reduced separation, inner grove distortion (the sound/distortion gets worse as you approach the center of a LP) , high frequency tracking problems and distortion, surface noise, pops and clicks, there's more).
If you doubt any of this read through the "mastering for vinyl" recommendations of a couple recording studios.
Vinyl Mastering

Thankfully for the music I listen to, I can avoid 90% of the badly compressed music in many ways, there's usually more than one way to skin a cat.
But honestly, for me personally, when there is no avoiding making a choice, I would still rather listen to compressed digital music than listen to all of vinyls audible issues.
I don't think you've ever heard good vinyl LP playback. Because is not a choice between compressed and bricked digital (certainly is a sad situation sometimes as you noted), and (of vinyl's) restricted bass, reduced separation, groove distortion, surface noise and pops/clicks, etc.

LPs are not crippled by 1930s technology, but actually in the late 60s and early 70s microgroove cut hi-fi sides with very strong dynamics in stereo became the new standard, and other sometimes slight improvements that continue to this day. Many or most of my LPs do no exhibit these audible issues you describe. They breathe with air and power that CDs generally do not have. While the dynamic rage of CDs (quietest to loudest) is an advantage, the pure resolution is not. As an example, the carrier tone on a CD-4 LP is a higher frequency than any CD can produce. Did you know that, yes, LPs can produce frequencies that no CD will ever achieve. LPs have a finer resolution in the music itself, and yes they do have low level noise that CDs of course do not have. But good well cut and pressed LPs sound good enough that I've been and will continue to be very satisfied with them.

What is so interesting and tragic at the same time, is that while CDs have this great dynamic range designed into them at 16/44.1, they are more often that not in recent two decades, mastered without taking advantage of this virtue (squashed). And LPs with a more limited signal to noise ratio are being mastered with more dynamics than current CDs. The exact opposite of where each format can shine. Very often where we find ourselves.

Thankfully, with higher resolution like 24/96kHs, and 24/192kHz, that missing resolution I described with CDs is not an issue anymore with good digital on newer formats. Now if only they would consistently master music with the dynamics retained like with good vinyl, and not jacked up so far.
 
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Sonik Wiz

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Windows also has to correctly read and serve the format to the player software. The software does not directly read the media. I have the same media player (same DVD install disk) I had on XP (it DOES work with multiple Windows systems). But some video file types that worked when it was running XP are not recognized when running Win10.

I also lost a number of image files because I did not know that newer versions of Windows could not read them until after the old computers were gone..

These changes in formats allowed can be very expensive:

- An entire laboratory with millions of dollars of equipment stopped working because Microsoft stopped supporting the operating system it was made to work under. The equipment had a guaranteed working life of 30 years. It was 5 years old and it could not be made to work with new versions of Windows. They changed the bus timing and the old interface cards would not work. The company that made the equipment went out of business because of the change (there goes the guarantee).

- The US government almost lost all of the data from the 1960 census. They didn't notice until 1964 that the computer that had stored all of the data on magnetic tape was gone. Nothing else could read those tapes. They finally found a computer collector who had the old computer and tape drives and could print the data.

- Too many business owners have suddenly been required to produce (e.g. for a court case) data from many years ago. They get the disks containing the records out of their vault and then find out that nothing available today can read them.
Broken record...
 

Sonik Wiz

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Returning to the comments about dynamic range, I just had an eye opener. I've done many audio/video upmixes & it starts with demuxing the DVD & working on the audio in AA3. In 2011 I did Chisato Moritaka's Kokon Tozai performance. In 2017 I ripped & demuxed the re-release of this in Blu-ray. This afternoon I started working on the upmix to the Blu-ray. Something didn't seem right immediately so take a look at this:
1686081090661.png
The top waveform is the original audio from the 2011 DVD, the bottom one is from the new improved re-mastered Blu-ray. Peak level is -.07dB & compressed to death. Amplitude statistics says no clipped samples but this is gonna take some work. Guess I'll be checking into that peak waveform fixer suggested by @par4ken .
 

dobyblue

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I think what we were talking about is the mastering of vintage vinyl vs the brickwall mastering of many/most CD re-releases.

Agree

True that the DR of vinyl is affected by surface noise, rumble, scratches etc., values given in a database are subject to too many variables. Once again my "clean" (vintage) vinyl rips consistently show a DR value of about 12. Non brickwalled CDs show similar values! DR value is a very useful tool to help weed out those bad CD releases. If I only listened to vintage vinyl DR ratings would be totally unnecessary.

Absolutely your clean rips will consistently show high DRs, but we know of several releases with aggressive dynamic range compression where we have access to the digital vinyl cutting masters. Trent Reznor has confirmed the 24/96 downloads he's made available to purchasers of the "Definitive" edition vinyl releases are the vinyl cutting masters. The cutting files for NIN's Broken EP are DR6, but you'll get DR10 if you rip the vinyl.

This is Ian's point in his video, he's comparing one of his own mastering jobs where the vinyl was cut from a digital master but in playback does not match - "The waveforms and TT Meter measurements seem better on the vinyl version, even though it was cut from an identical digital file. So they can't be reliable."

I 100% agree that the DR database is useful to help weed out awful digital releases, whether CD or digital downloads. I wish the site's owner would make add some additional options. Currently any SACD, DVD-V, DVD-A, Blu-ray, etc., rip has to be input as "unknown". It would be great to add "Other Disc" on there and add a toggle for Vinyl Off/On.
What is so interesting and tragic at the same time, is that while CDs have this great dynamic range designed into them at 16/44.1, they are more often that not in recent two decades, mastered without taking advantage of this virtue (squashed). And LPs with a more limited signal to noise ratio are being mastered with more dynamics than current CDs. The exact opposite of where each format can shine. Very often where we find ourselves.

But they're rarely being mastered with more dynamics than current CDs as far as major label releases go. The vast majority of popular (rap, hip hop, r&b, rock, alternative, etc) major label releases see one mastering being used for all formats.
Returning to the comments about dynamic range, I just had an eye opener. I've done many audio/video upmixes & it starts with demuxing the DVD & working on the audio in AA3. In 2011 I did Chisato Moritaka's Kokon Tozai performance. In 2017 I ripped & demuxed the re-release of this in Blu-ray. This afternoon I started working on the upmix to the Blu-ray. Something didn't seem tight immediately so take a look at this:
View attachment 92443 The top waveform is the original audio from the 2011 DVD, the bottom one is from the new improved re-mastered Blu-ray. Peak level is -.07dB & compressed to death. Amplitude statistics says no clipped samples but this is gonna take some work. Guess I'll be checking into that peak waveform fixer suggested by @par4ken .
Why work at all? Bin the new Blu-ray mastering and stick with the original from the top of the picture. GIGO.
 

mandrix

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Windows also has to correctly read and serve the format to the player software. The software does not directly read the media. I have the same media player (same DVD install disk) I had on XP (it DOES work with multiple Windows systems). But some video file types that worked when it was running XP are not recognized when running Win10.

I also lost a number of image files because I did not know that newer versions of Windows could not read them until after the old computers were gone..

These changes in formats allowed can be very expensive:

- An entire laboratory with millions of dollars of equipment stopped working because Microsoft stopped supporting the operating system it was made to work under. The equipment had a guaranteed working life of 30 years. It was 5 years old and it could not be made to work with new versions of Windows. They changed the bus timing and the old interface cards would not work. The company that made the equipment went out of business because of the change (there goes the guarantee).

- The US government almost lost all of the data from the 1960 census. They didn't notice until 1964 that the computer that had stored all of the data on magnetic tape was gone. Nothing else could read those tapes. They finally found a computer collector who had the old computer and tape drives and could print the data.

- Too many business owners have suddenly been required to produce (e.g. for a court case) data from many years ago. They get the disks containing the records out of their vault and then find out that nothing available today can read them.
I went through something similar with Lab equipment. It ran on an old Stride pc running the P-Pascal OS. Eventually they came out with a Windows version about Windows 3.1 I think.

In "my" Lab we also had some test equipment that uploaded all the data to the LAN connected database. I don't remember now the format, but every time the data would get screwed there was only one person that knew how to fix it...and she had her own regular job and detested being called to work on the stuff. Eventually We got a new Windows version of the software and I collected the data myself and parsed through a custom Excel VB program I made and life got easier, not having the old clunky database and being able to parse thousands of lines of data.

I started with Access at one point but I believe back then it had a 50.000 line limitation so I switched to VB.

But for my personal stuff I just try to stay ahead of the game.
 
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