Cassettes were the MP3s of the era ... "good enough" for
the average consumer. They didn't (have to) sound THAT
bad. Many were used in car audio systems (the car I have
actually HAS a cassette slot).
But 1/4 or especially 1/2 inch - VASTLY better.
>> Vinyl has made a comeback within the touchy feely ArtStudent brigade
>> who have no idea what hi fidelity actually meant.
> If it rumbles it must be good, right? At least that's the message
> I get from that guy in the boom car somewhere within 100 yards of me
> in a traffic jam.
Most 'modern' music was never made with "high fidelity" in
mind. It's meant to be played LOUD, usually on a crap system
with 1000w bargain-basement class-D amps.
>> Years ago I bought a vinyl copy of Electric Ladyland. I was always
>> unhappy about distortion on one track. Eventually I bought the CD. To
>> my surprise, the distortion was on the master tape, and not the needle
>> chattering in the groove.
>> A good CD will give you 0-19khz with 90dB signal to noise and no actual
>> distortion beyond digitisation noise.
>> You would be lucky to do better than 65dB signal to noise on vinyl and
>> 0.5% distortion.
Note that "sound" and "hearing" are not exactly the same things.
An absolutely "perfect" system might not SOUND so good. The ear
and brain have to be pleased. Certain harmonics and frequency
biases on vinyl "sound better". The old transistor amps were
technically "more perfect" than tubes/valves - but they sounded
harsh, brash. Odd harmonics -vs- even harmonics from the vac tubes,
emphasis in the wrong places, gaps in the wrong places.
So now people blow thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, on
vac tube amps/pre-amps and vinyl. Try :
to see what the "budget unlimited" crowd craves.
>> Good analogue tape at 15ips can net you something up around 80dB or
>> better. Which is getting near better than the microphones. Of course
>> digital tape first and then digital disk recording has made the whole
>> recording process limited only by the microphones and their pre-amps
>> Sadly as the recording quality has improved immeasurably, the recorded
>> material and sound engineer quality has deteriorated to utter drivel
>> Many of the best classical orchestral recordings were done with a simple
>> crossed pair of stereo mics. Many hits of the 50s and 60s were done on 4
>> or 8 track recorders
>> 128 track digitally mastered 'baby shark' just doesn't cut it. :-)
> I've read that CDs - including remixes of good vinyl recordings -
> are often compressed down to something like a 12dB dynamic range.
That'd be an AWFUL transfer. OK for boom-boom-boom I guess.
Now I have a CD, R.E.M., where one track opens with the sound
of someone using an old manual typewriter. With a decent amp
and magneplanar speakers (inefficient but utterly 'transparent')
I was almost shocked by it - sounded REALLY RIGHT IN THE ROOM.
The rest of the CD was top quality too - you could just hear
the bassists fingers sliding a bit on the strings, WAY down
the decibel ladder.
So CDs CAN be good. Thing is, almost nobody bothers. MP3 can
be good too - but you have to use VERY little compression
and crank the sample rate up a bit. There have been some
makers trying to push "super-CD" with a much higher sample
rate and A/D depth. Never got traction though. In theory
a DVD, properly purposed, could easily fit in the double
or triple-sized audio files.
> I got my hands on an MP3 of a wonderful Joni a track that
> I cherish on vinyl. It sounded so horrible that I deleted it -
> and I don't delete _anything_.
> That's not to say that there weren't variations even on vinyl.
> The labels in the WEA triumvirate (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic)
> were arranged in decreasing order of recording quality.
> If you turned up the volume on a Warner recording, the sound
> would come out of the speakers and envelop you. If you turned
> up the volume on an Atlantic recording, it just got loud.
That's the sign of 'audiophile' quality - increasing the
volume simply makes it louder ... instead of adding that
distorted edge. But even that's not ALWAYS good. Got
some "re-mastered" Led Zep stuff. TERRIBLE sound. They
utterly ruined it. Thin bass and no distortions. Back
in the day we'd crank it up EXPECTING, WANTING, that
distortion. That's what it was SUPPOSED to sound like.
When The Levee Breaks is SUPPOSED to shake brain cells.
I may use Audacity "re-ruin" those discs :-)