Is vinyl more accurate?

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emers...@email.com

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Apr 25, 2001, 3:03:19 PM4/25/01
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Is vinyl more accurate?

What am I asking, exactly? The question I find interesting is, "Which medium,
CD or vinyl, does a better job of reproducing the beauty and emotions present
in live music?" Of course we have to realize that this question will have no
single answer; there are many ways of producing CD's and many ways of
producing LP's. Undoubtedly the best CD's are better than the worst LP's and
vice-versa. But is there some sort of average trend?

Note also that I am specifically interested in the *beauty* and *emotions* of
live music, since that is what I value most about music. Do I like a
detailed presentation? Yes, if it creates more emotion and beauty; no if it
detracts from emotion and beauty. Do I want to be able to tell what make of
violin the solist is playing? Not particularly, unless the details that make
it obvious are the same details that convey beauty.

I am not a recording engineer nor active professional musician. If I wanted
to have a complete picture of the relative merits of each medium, CD and LP,
I would probably want to have major experience as one of those two
professions. I would want to produce some LP's and CD's from the same
performance. If I ever do get to do those things, my opinions might change.
Just a caveat about what follows.

Different people are listening for different things in music. So when someone
states that "CD is better," we must realize that they are saying, "Given the
type of sounds I enjoy, or I listen for, I hear more of them in CD." I would
not try to contradict a person about which medium they prefer or think is
more accurate. In fact, I think an obstacle that often comes up in
discussions about CD vs. vinyl is that people are trying to make absolute
statements, "Medium X is more accurate, period," as if that were true for all
people at all times.

Even the same person may listen for different things at different times. My
own method of listening has shifted over the years. I call my older method
of listening "analytical" and my newer method of listening "centered." By
"analytical" I mean that my attention is on the details of the music, trying
to find things to notice. "That's an interesting sound. That bass is
tight." By "centered" I mean that my attention is more on my subjective
reactions, feeling what is in my body and listening to the emotions contained
in my thoughts, and the details of the music are on the periphery. These are
oversimplified descriptions but hopefully you get the general idea. This is
not a black-and-white shift; I always have a little bit of each mode of
listening going on.

Since I have different modes of listening, it makes sense to me that different
people may have different modes of listening in an analogous way. Some
people may be more toward my "analytical" style (though they might want to
give it some other term) and some may be more toward my "centered" style.
Other dimensions in addition to the "analytic-centered" axis exist.

I recently discovered vinyl after years of listening to CD. I love what I'm
hearing on vinyl; more beauty, more musical emotion, more involvement.

For reference my setup is as follows:

CD: Marantz CD player as transport( $300), Transparent Premium Digital Link
($300) into a California Audio Labs Sigma II

Analog: Grado Red Prestige cartridge, Premier MMT tonearm, Thorens TD-125 Mk
II, an old PAS-2 as the phono stage, all records cleaned with Nitty Gritty
before play

Amplifier: Wheatfield HA-2 single-ended triode headphone amp

Headphones: AKG K501

I listen to mostly classical. I have spent a great deal of time composing in
various classical styles, so I have developed my ear. I have strong feelings
about sounds that are beautiful to me, and often I detect beauty when it is
faint or far away. For example, hearing a string quartet down the hall, I
will immediately know that I love the sound, even though it is vague and
filtered. Or hearing potential in a young player, I will find things about
their playing that are beautiful to me.

In general, I hear a lot more beauty on analog. The average CD doesn't come
close. The difference between the average LP out of the used record bin, and
the average CD, is enormous. With LP I get involved in the music, I feel
like it easy to engage the music with my attention, and my attention doesn't
wander so much. I am thrilled by dramatic gestures, I am excited by rapid
passages. On CD, on the other hand, the accents of notes seem hard and
repeated accents like trills and fast passages make me cringe in a subtle way
(or gross way on really bad CD's).

Most importantly, listening to vinyl, I have more of the emotions I have in
listening to live music. My impression is that vinyl is more accurate at
conveying musical emotion. Wait! Is it the same emotion the performer
intended? Because to be "accurate" implies that something is being
duplicated with similarities to the original. Well, I am sure that in many
cases, the feelings the recording provokes are the ones intended by the
performer. I have had several chances to listen to the pianist James Boyk
play live, and I have heard several of his LP's, and the LP does a much
better job of conveying the feeling of his performances than the CD. In
fact, it's not even subtle. The difference is huge! But that's one case; to
be more sure of this, I would want more experience as a recording engineer.

I know there are recording engineers who are sure that digital is more
accurate, and there are recording engineers who are sure that analog is more
accurate. Why the disagreement? Probably because they are listening for
different things. Maybe also because they have different monitor speakers,
different microphones, different recording acoustics, etc.

Another reaction I get to vinyl is that the instruments sound more real; with
CD, there's a veil between me and the instruments. Again this suggests to me
that vinyl is more accurate.

So why this subjective impression of greater accuracy on vinyl? I can think
of three theories. Let me say that I don't know which of these theories is
right, and to tell the truth, I don't think anyone else knows either.

Theory 1: We like the sounds of the distortions on vinyl, but vinyl is not
really more accurate.

Theory 2: (on average) vinyl may have more distortion than CD taken in a total
sense, but is more accurate than CD at preserving patterns in the sound that
are crucial for conveying emotion and beauty.

Theory 3: Vinyl distorts, but the types of distortions actually enhance the
audibility of the crucial patterns of emotion and beauty.

I am going to illustrate these three theories in the realm of visual imagery.

First of all, let me point out that we have to consider two steps in the
recording/playback chain. Really it has more than two steps, but let's just
simplify it to two for now. Step one is we capture the soundfield with
microphones.

Musician makes sound ---(step 1: microphones)--> stereo signal

Note that we have thrown out most of the information present in the original
soundfield. The original soundfield sends a complex pattern of sound out in
all directions, but we measure it at one or two points.

Step 2 is we somehow record the sound and play it back into a new soundfield.
This lumps together all record and playback equipment.

stereo signal ---(step 2: record/playback through speakers)--> reproduced
soundfield

We could think of both steps as a kind of distortion or change to the original
sonic event. One reason I'm separating them is that the analog/digital
choice only affects step 2.

---- Theory 1: We like the sounds of the distortions on vinyl, but vinyl is
not really more accurate. ------

To imagine this in the visual realm, imagine that we are taking a picture of a
natural scene on black-and-white film. The reduction of a color stereo scene
to a flat b/w image corresponds to step 1 above. Then we develop the film
and print it. This corresponds to step 2 above.

Imagine that we have two processes for developing the picture, process A and
process D. Process D does a very accurate rendition of the picture, while
process A adds subtle colors as a distortion of the photographed black/white
image.

Looking at the results, some people would like process A better because it has
colors, and "colors are pretty." But process D would probably do a better
job of conveying the shapes and brightness levels of things.

Does this explain my reaction to vinyl? Is vinyl like process A and Cd like
process D? I'll address that below.

---- Theory 2: (on average) vinyl may have more distortion than CD taken in a
total sense, but is more accurate than CD at preserving patterns in the sound
that are crucial for conveying emotion and beauty ----

Consider a masterful painting. We find it beautiful for several reasons, say,
perhaps its flowing lines and its overall composition among them. Consider
that we look at it directly for reference, and then we put a lens between us
and the painting and view it through that lens. Consider that we have two
lenses. Lens A is a "wide-view" lens, like looking through a peephole in a
door, and it has quite a large effect. Lens D is composed of adjacent
"cells," each of which applies a very small distortion to a small part of the
picture.

What is our subjective reaction to looking at the picture through each of
these lenses? Well, we might immediately notice that lens A applies a more
noticable distortion: the painting looks quite different in size and shape
through this lens. The distortion of lens D is subtle. Which lens preserves
more beauty? That depends on exactly *what* we find beautiful about the
original. If we are attracted to its flowing lines, perhaps lens A would
convey those better; the individual cells of lens D, while not distorting the
lines as much in a simple absolute sense, might interrupt the flow of the
lines. If we are attracted to patterns about the relative positioning of
parts, we might like lens D better.

So perhaps the patterns that I care about in music are like the flowing lines
in this painting, and vinyl, like lens A, preserves them better.

---- Theory 3: Vinyl distorts, but the type of distortions actually enhance
the audibility of the crucial patterns of emotion and beauty. ----

Consider that not all the information in the stereo signal is relevant to the
music. For example, it creates musical emotion to hear that this chord
*here* is slightly louder than the chord preceding it. However, perhaps it
is not musically relevant that the beat-tones of the first chord are shifted
in phase 20 degrees relative to the beat-tones of the second chord. What is
a visual analogy of this situation? Perhaps an image of a page of a book.
What is relevant is the ability to identify the letters. This is a "Q" not
an "O". This is an "I" not an "l". What is not relevant is the ability to
identify the font.

Suppose we take an out-of-focus picture of a book. That would correspond to
step 1 above; it would throw out information. Then we transmit the picture
and in the transmission process it changes somehow. That would correspond to
step 2. Suppose that we have two transmission processes, process A and
process D. Process A actually is a kind of edge-enhancement algorithm,
whereas process D doesn't do much to the image. We might find the result
more legible after running process A, even though process D changed the image
less.

So does vinyl somehow enhance the audibility of patterns of beauty?

---- Which theory do I believe? ----

Well, it depends on whose sense of beauty we are talking about. Theory 1
makes sense for some listeners, especially those who have simplistic senses
of beauty. "Sparklies and pastels are so beautiful..." However, it doesn't
make sense to me if we are talking about someone with a mature and
sophisticated sense of beauty, especially because some of these people feel
that the reproduced music on vinyl has more accurate beauty; that is, it is
beautiful in the same way live music is beautiful. In our visual analogy,
that would be suggesting that adding colors in a process independent of the
colors of the original image would make the image more realistic. I admit
it's possible but it doesn't seem likely for listeners with a sophisticated
sense of beauty.

Theory 2 makes sense to me. Right now I think this is the best explanation,
because I find that vinyl accurately conveys the beauty and emotions present
in live music.

Theory 3 is interesting. However some evidence against it is that most
recording engineers I know consider a live stereo feed (a signal coming
straight from the microphones that has never been recorded) to be the best
quality signal. If theory 3 were true, then the recorded signal could
potentially sound even better than the live feed. Maybe it does for some
listeners, but out of the recording engineers I know who have sophisticated
senses of beauty, the live feed is best.

In summary, we don't need to apologize for liking vinyl better...no one can
say for sure whether it might be more accurate at conveying certain patterns
in the music.

- Emerson Wood

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Joe Chip

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Apr 25, 2001, 3:28:02 PM4/25/01
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On Wed, 25 Apr 2001 19:03:19 GMT, emers...@email.com wrote:

>Is vinyl more accurate?

More accurate? Hmmm ...

More musical? Probably ...

--

Uncle Joe

Howard Ferstler

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Apr 25, 2001, 4:19:35 PM4/25/01
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emers...@email.com wrote:
>
> Is vinyl more accurate?

No.



> What am I asking, exactly? The question I find interesting is, "Which medium,
> CD or vinyl, does a better job of reproducing the beauty and emotions present
> in live music?"

You pretty much said it. The CD does a better job of
reproducing the sound at a live concert, or shall we say it
does a better job of reproducing what the microphone
captured. Now, if the engineer did a bad job (bad hall, live
performance constraints, etc.), then the CD will do a better
job of reproducing the errors that were made. So, what you
want are recording jobs that are better and not a
reproduction medium that adds possibly pleasant colorations
to the recordings. After all, on some other recordings those
colorations might not be what you want, but you will be
stuck with them if you opt for the LP.

> Note also that I am specifically interested in the *beauty* and *emotions* of
> live music, since that is what I value most about music.

It certainly is the way to go. What is wanted is something
that does the most accurate job of reproducing the beauty of
the music at the performance. The CD is more able to do that
than the LP, if what we want is an accurate rendition of
what the engineer captured and put on tape. Hopefully, the
engineer will have been able to do a proper job.

> Do I like a
> detailed presentation? Yes, if it creates more emotion and beauty; no if it
> detracts from emotion and beauty.

Well, are you saying that you would be satisfied with a less
accurate version of the live performance, if the live
performance itself lacked emotion and beauty?

> In fact, I think an obstacle that often comes up in
> discussions about CD vs. vinyl is that people are trying to make absolute
> statements, "Medium X is more accurate, period," as if that were true for all
> people at all times.

Well, accuracy really has nothing to do with people. Either
one version is more accurate, or not. People may prefer the
colorations of the less-accurate medium, but that does not
change the fact that it is less accurate.

In a sense, you are saying that if the view through a clean
window is not to my liking, I would prefer to have a new
window that has embellishments that make the view look
better. OK, that is fine, but you also have to remember that
the window will apply those colorations to everything you
listen to. So, if suddenly the landscape around you is
improved (gardens are planted, etc.), then your view through
the modified window may not be able to reveal this new
beauty properly.

The same goes for the LP. You want the most accurate medium,
so that the better recording jobs come through with minimum
colorations. If you get a recording that is not so good, you
can apply tone-control fixes. The CD gives you a flatter,
more accurate base line from which to work.

> Since I have different modes of listening, it makes sense to me that different
> people may have different modes of listening in an analogous way. Some
> people may be more toward my "analytical" style (though they might want to
> give it some other term) and some may be more toward my "centered" style.
> Other dimensions in addition to the "analytic-centered" axis exist.

You are separating your listening experiences from the fact
that the audio system is but a pipeline to the recording
session. The beauty and emotion should pass through the
pipeline with minimum coloration. You want the recording job
to determine the sound and not your playback medium.



> I recently discovered vinyl after years of listening to CD. I love what I'm
> hearing on vinyl; more beauty, more musical emotion, more involvement.

And also more surface noise, less speed accuracy, and more
distortion, particularly on the inner grooves. You may like
that sort of thing, but I certainly do not, and of course
you still have to sweat problems with wear and tear on those
discs.

> In general, I hear a lot more beauty on analog. The average CD doesn't come
> close.

Blame the engineer. All the CD is doing is accurately
reproducing what he got on his tape. Also, the LP often adds
a euphonic degree of coloration that almost simulates
surround sound. And it adds that distortion to every
recording. You cannot delete it or modify it.

> The difference between the average LP out of the used record bin, and
> the average CD, is enormous.

Certainly, there is more background noise with most such LP
recordings. That continual scrubbing, plus the occasional
pops and ticks, used to drive me up the wall.

> Most importantly, listening to vinyl, I have more of the emotions I have in
> listening to live music. My impression is that vinyl is more accurate at
> conveying musical emotion.

I am not sure that emotion, per se, can be transmitted. The
emotion is generated by the listener during the listening
experience. And even if emotion could be transmitted, the CD
more accurately mimics what was on the master tape, and so
it should be able to more accurately transmit that emotion
than the LP.

I will admit that the LP often will have frequency-response
errors, compared to the flatter-responding CD, that makes
the midrange seem more distant and the top octave less
potent. Many recording engineers appear to like the strings
to have more bite to them than what we get at live
performances. That is a recording problem, however, and
certainly is not the fault of the CD, which is merely doing
what it has been told to do.

And as I noted above, the LP also has phase interactions and
separation inconsistencies (depending on the cartridge) that
may allow it to kind of simulate the spaciousness of live
concerts.

(big snip)

> In summary, we don't need to apologize for liking vinyl better...no one can
> say for sure whether it might be more accurate at conveying certain patterns
> in the music.

I would think that any musical patterns would be part and
parcel of the sound that was captured by the microphones. In
that case, the CD should do a better job of reproducing
them.

Better yet would be additional channels: the addition of a
discrete center, plus at least two surround channels to
deliver environmental ambiance. That technology is here
right now, thanks to DVD-A and even DTS and DD.

Let's face it, the LP is a near-stone-dead format, and now
even the two-channel CD is retro technology.

Howard Ferstler

Jean-Pierre Dussault

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Apr 25, 2001, 6:24:04 PM4/25/01
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Howard Ferstler wrote:

> emers...@email.com wrote:
> >
> > Is vinyl more accurate?
>
> No.
>

> ...


>
> > Note also that I am specifically interested in the *beauty* and *emotions* of
> > live music, since that is what I value most about music.
>
> It certainly is the way to go.

.....

> Well, accuracy really has nothing to do with people.

So you pretend everyone accurately perceive the same way *beauty*,
*emotions*?

Even just *sound* is certainely not perceived alike by everyone!

Visual accuracy ought to be very different for a color blind from
what it is for me!

No,no... for reproducing emotionaly musical events, accuracy is
related to people!

Perfect accuracy of course has nothing to do with people, but
approximate accuracy (like the one we're talking about) departs from
perfection in some way, and different persons perceive (measure)
differently this departure from perfection.

JPD

Allen Watson

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Apr 25, 2001, 8:05:22 PM4/25/01
to
Puh-leez! "Accurate" being an objective kinda thing, there is no question
that CD is more accurate than vinyl. For what you are describing, I would
use a word like "enjoyable," "pleasant," or even, for the sake of argument,
"beautiful."

I remember in the early days of hi-fi (before stereo, even) that many
people preferred to listen to records with the high end rolled off by
something called a tone control (just an HF attenuator, actually). Given
a choice between mellow sound and sound that was more accurate but
more harsh, many listeners went for mellow.

Another angle. Many musical instruments, especially when heard close
up, do not sound mellow. "Too piercing, man!" Suppose there were such
a thing as tone controls at live performances. I would bet that many
listeners would prefer some rolloff of the highs.

One desirable characteristic of good concert halls is warmth--the amount
of reverb at, and general enhancement of, the low and mid-range frequencies.
Again, most people prefer a mellow sound over one that is harsh or overly
bright.

Here's my bottom line-- I think anything that distracts me from the
musical values, whether it's harshness on a badly-mastered CD, or
groove grunge* on an LP, is bad, and to be avoided. In my experience,
it's easier to find a well-mastered CD than it is to find an LP without
groove grunge.

If a CD sounds too clinical, you can always turn down the highs. If
an LP has too much groove grunge, there's nothing you can do about
it.

Cheers!
- Allen

*Groove grunge: shorthand for the multitude of ills that LPs are heir to,
including bad fill, mashed bottom, bubbles, worn grooves, pinch warp,
dirt, scratches, off-center pressing, and so on.

***********************************
"Queremos genios en vida."
- Mecano
***********************************

Arny Krueger

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Apr 25, 2001, 8:14:51 PM4/25/01
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<emers...@email.com> wrote in message
news:9c771h$2is$1...@bourbaki.localdomain...
> Is vinyl more accurate?

> What am I asking, exactly? The question I find interesting is,
"Which medium,
> CD or vinyl, does a better job of reproducing the beauty and
emotions present
> in live music?"

AFAIK, all recordings, whether CD or Vinyl start out with
microphones.

AFAIK, ALL recordings, whether CD or Vinyl are based on electrical
signals that are produced by microphones.

I know of no evidence showing or even suggesting that microphones are
capable of transducing emotions or beauty into electrical impulses.

I therefore conclude that reproduction of the beauty and emotions
present in live music is not possible using recordings based on
electrical impulses coming out of microphones.

Therefore neither CD nor vinyl can do the better job of reproducing
the beauty and emotions present in live music since both are
systematically incapable of reproducing beauty and emotions at all.

This question makes no more sense than asking which medium, CD or
Vinyl is capable of flying to the moon under its own power. Neither
is capable of flying to the moon under its own power so the proposed
comparison is ludicrous.

Fill

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Apr 25, 2001, 11:28:43 PM4/25/01
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>Blame the engineer. All the CD is doing is accurately
>reproducing what he got on his tape.

Not true. Ask an engineer sometime. While everyone knows about the perils and
distortions in cutting vinyl many engineers will tell you about what 44.1 hz
sampling rate does to the ambience (among other things) on their master tape.
It might do a better job as a format than vinyl does but it's by no means
accurate. What's more "musical" is up to you.

P h i l i p

______________________________

"Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies."

- Gore Vidal

TT

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Apr 26, 2001, 2:03:02 AM4/26/01
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Snip: I therefore conclude that reproduction of the beauty and emotions

present in live music is not possible using recordings based on
electrical impulses coming out of microphones.

Observation: Most of the live performances I have been to the musicians all
seem to be using mics and amps.

So why would it not be possible to reproduce this? Everyone from a
symphony orchestra to the druggy muso singing at the local bar still conveys
their performance with the aid of "electrical impulses". Isn't this the
case so the people "up the back " can hear to?

Is it fair to say that the "accurate\beautiful\emotive" reproduction
probably wont be with CD or LP but there are some promising formats coming?
BTW Didn't Villi Manilly (I think that was the name) get a Grammy a few
years back for "Miming" their live performances?

Mmmmmmmmm. After just re-re-reading this I seem to asked more questions
than I have given answers to but I am sure some one will point out the error
in my reasoning.

My $0.02 worth TT

"Arny Krueger" <ar...@pop3free.com> wrote in message
news:9c7p9l$a3j$1...@bourbaki.localdomain...

Arny Krueger

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Apr 26, 2001, 10:56:41 AM4/26/01
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"TT" <sw...@swat.com.au> wrote in message
news:9c8dmh$hck$1...@bourbaki.localdomain...

> Snip: I therefore conclude that reproduction of the beauty and
emotions
> present in live music is not possible using recordings based on
> electrical impulses coming out of microphones.

> Observation: Most of the live performances I have been to the
musicians all
> seem to be using mics and amps.

> So why would it not be possible to reproduce this?

Let's get back to basics. Microphones turn pressure variations into
electrical impulses. Microphones are totally insensitive to beauty
and excitement. However, pressure variations are a means for
communicating sound and sound, when perceived by a human can give
rise to perceptions of beauty and excitement in that human.

> Everyone from a
> symphony orchestra to the druggy muso singing at the local bar
still conveys
> their performance with the aid of "electrical impulses". Isn't
this the
> case so the people "up the back " can hear to?

Let's get back to basics. Microphones turn air pressure variations
into electrical impulses. Microphones are totally insensitive to
beauty and excitement. However, pressure variations are a means for
communicating sound and sound, when perceived by a human can give
rise to perceptions of beauty and excitement in that human.

> Is it fair to say that the "accurate\beautiful\emotive"
reproduction
> probably wont be with CD or LP but there are some promising formats
coming?

As long as microphones remain insensitive to beauty and excitement we
will have to concern ourselves with communicating sound via audio
media.

> BTW Didn't Villi Manilly (I think that was the name) get a Grammy
a few
> years back for "Miming" their live performances?

That group was a fraud and practiced artistic trickery. I think that
makes their behavior irrelevant to this discussion.

I don't think that anybody who claims that an audio system transmits
emotions or beauty really understands audio, sensation or perception.
What really happens is that audio systems transmit sound, and sound
is sensed by humans and stimulates perceptions in humans. Human
perceptions are not solely based on immediate sensations but are
based on all prior experiences and knowledge. Therefore any claims
that immediate perceptions are sufficient to explain human
perceptions are obviously false.

Therefore a claim that only the immediate sensations are involved
with the perceptions that result from listening to a LP or CD is
obviously false and must be dismissed immediately. Since all audio
enthusiasts who compare the two media should have listened to both
LPs and CDs it is safe to say that their perceptions of LPs are
partially based on listening to CDs and vice-versa. Therefore claims
that the perceptions of beauty and excitement that are heard while
listening to one or the other are based only on listening to that
form of audio media are false claims.

We again find that the question: "Which medium, CD or vinyl, does a


better job of reproducing the beauty and emotions present in live

music?" is a question that makes no sense because it does not
consider the fact that human perceptions are not solely based on
immediate sensations but are based on all prior experiences and
knowledge. When we listen to a CD we don't know for sure which
emotions are due solely to listening to the CD and which are based on
previously hearing it on LP, and vice-versa.

B.Ross

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Apr 26, 2001, 11:32:55 AM4/26/01
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TT <sw...@swat.com.au> wrote:
> Most of the live performances I have been to the musicians all
> seem to be using mics and amps.
> So why would it not be possible to reproduce this? Everyone from a
> symphony orchestra ... conveys

> their performance with the aid of "electrical impulses"

Symphony orchestras never amplify the sound! The mics you sometimes see
are used for recording. Nearly 99% of the live performances I go
to are unamplified, but then I go to mostly chamber music stuff
(much of it 'early music' performance). Plus, I play music myself
(classical & baroque guitar). The physical acoustics of live, unamplified
music are vastly different from electronically reproduced performances.
this isn't to say I don't enjoy listening to recorded music. Sometimes
I prefer recorded to live anyway since I can't always afford good seats at
concerts and a recording makes it seems I'm right in the middle of it!
Plus, the artist I enjoy don't come that often to my neighborhood!

None of this relates to the accuracy of vinyl vs. CD but I go for
CD due to convenience, economics, choice of recordings, and my intolerance
for crackle & pops.

Yours, Bev Ross

Harry Lavo

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Apr 26, 2001, 12:42:47 PM4/26/01
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"Arny Krueger" <ar...@pop3free.com> wrote in message
news:9c7p9l$a3j$1...@bourbaki.localdomain...
> AFAIK, all recordings, whether CD or Vinyl start out with
> microphones.
>
> AFAIK, ALL recordings, whether CD or Vinyl are based on electrical
> signals that are produced by microphones.
>
> I know of no evidence showing or even suggesting that microphones are
> capable of transducing emotions or beauty into electrical impulses.
>
> I therefore conclude that reproduction of the beauty and emotions
> present in live music is not possible using recordings based on
> electrical impulses coming out of microphones.
>
> Therefore neither CD nor vinyl can do the better job of reproducing
> the beauty and emotions present in live music since both are
> systematically incapable of reproducing beauty and emotions at all.
>
> This question makes no more sense than asking which medium, CD or
> Vinyl is capable of flying to the moon under its own power. Neither
> is capable of flying to the moon under its own power so the proposed
> comparison is ludicrous.
>

Oh, lighten up Arny. His post clearly indicates that he is concerned
with the final impact of the recorded sound, AS CONVEYED BY THE
MEDIUM, on the emotional response of himself to the music contained
therein. Moreover, he is attempting to calibrate that response to
the equivalent response he gets when listening to a live
performance. If it comes closer, he is calling it emotionally more
accurate.

Quit your reductionist nit-picking!

Rob Gold

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 12:43:55 PM4/26/01
to
TT <Sw...@swat.com.au> wrote:
>Snip: I therefore conclude that reproduction of the beauty and emotions
>present in live music is not possible using recordings based on
>electrical impulses coming out of microphones.
>
>Observation: Most of the live performances I have been to the musicians all
>seem to be using mics and amps.
>
>So why would it not be possible to reproduce this? Everyone from a
>symphony orchestra to the druggy muso singing at the local bar still conveys
>their performance with the aid of "electrical impulses". Isn't this the
>case so the people "up the back " can hear to?
>
>Is it fair to say that the "accurate\beautiful\emotive" reproduction
>probably wont be with CD or LP but there are some promising formats coming?
>BTW Didn't Villi Manilly (I think that was the name) get a Grammy a few
>years back for "Miming" their live performances?
>
>Mmmmmmmmm. After just re-re-reading this I seem to asked more questions
>than I have given answers to but I am sure some one will point out the error
>in my reasoning.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The vast majority of orchestra concerts are NOT amplified ("Pops"
concert soloists and outdoor concerts excepted). A very few concert
halls and opera houses will use "assisted resonance," using
loudspeakers where the goal is to change the reverberant character
of a bad sounding hall, not to amplify.

Far too many performers use amplification in small venues like clubs
where it is simply not necessary. A crutch, I think.

The "dancing haircuts" Milli Vanilli were shamed not for lip syncing
during live performances (a regrettably regular occurance where the
performers are more interested in dancing than singing), but for not
having actually performed on the original recordings which bore their
name.

Rob Gold

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 12:43:33 PM4/26/01
to
moth...@aol.com (Fill) writes:

>>Blame the engineer. All the CD is doing is accurately
>>reproducing what he got on his tape.
>
>Not true. Ask an engineer sometime. While everyone knows about the perils and
>distortions in cutting vinyl many engineers will tell you about what 44.1 hz
>sampling rate does to the ambience (among other things) on their master tape.

Only if they're bad engineers! :-)

Now, if they complained about what 16-bit recording does to ambience,
that might be more credible. Unfortunately, you'll be way below the
surface noise of vinyl before you reach 13 bits, so that argument
doesn't seem too good either..............

>It might do a better job as a format than vinyl does but it's by no means
>accurate. What's more "musical" is up to you.

Quite so. While CD is of course *much* more 'accurate' in the sense of
being closer to what's on the master tape technically, whether it
*sounds* more 'musical' than LP is entirely a matter of personal
preference. For me, CD beats LP musically, but a very vocal minority
disagrees.

--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is art, audio is engineering

Gary Eickmeier

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 3:13:05 PM4/26/01
to
Arny Krueger wrote:

> I don't think that anybody who claims that an audio system transmits
> emotions or beauty really understands audio, sensation or perception.
> What really happens is that audio systems transmit sound, and sound
> is sensed by humans and stimulates perceptions in humans. Human
> perceptions are not solely based on immediate sensations but are
> based on all prior experiences and knowledge. Therefore any claims
> that immediate perceptions are sufficient to explain human
> perceptions are obviously false.

To play the devil's advocate here, what you are saying is that a good
song heard on a car radio can evoke just as much emotion as one played on
a kilobuck home system. Well, true as far as it goes. But think about
another comparison of media - the acoustic recordings done by Edison and
Berliner in which the performers must literally pump the sound into a
cone to be heard at all, and a similar cone had to be used for playback.
Mono, distorted, limited FR and running time. Maybe an extreme example,
but it was just another medium to make sound, which, under your
statement, should be able to evoke as much emotion and beauty as CD. But
I don't think it would, in comparison. The comparison of LP to CD differs
only in that it is less extreme a difference. But there may be some
difference - I know I didn't enjoy LPs much, even before CD came out. The
dreaded distortions and noises distracted me from the message. I think CD
is sensational, and gets completely out of the way of the technical
requirements for the performance.

> Therefore a claim that only the immediate sensations are involved
> with the perceptions that result from listening to a LP or CD is
> obviously false and must be dismissed immediately. Since all audio
> enthusiasts who compare the two media should have listened to both
> LPs and CDs it is safe to say that their perceptions of LPs are
> partially based on listening to CDs and vice-versa. Therefore claims
> that the perceptions of beauty and excitement that are heard while
> listening to one or the other are based only on listening to that
> form of audio media are false claims.
>
> We again find that the question: "Which medium, CD or vinyl, does a
> better job of reproducing the beauty and emotions present in live
> music?" is a question that makes no sense because it does not
> consider the fact that human perceptions are not solely based on
> immediate sensations but are based on all prior experiences and
> knowledge. When we listen to a CD we don't know for sure which
> emotions are due solely to listening to the CD and which are based on
> previously hearing it on LP, and vice-versa.

I would just caution you to be careful in accepting his false premise. He
is apparently trying to say that LP communicates beauty and emotion
better than CD. This is not true, but the reverse may well be true. So
don't argue against the principle that there just might be a difference
in the two media's ability to communicate. I think there is, and CD wins
by a landslide.

Gary Eickmeier

Howard Ferstler

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 3:42:38 PM4/26/01
to
Fill wrote:
>
> >Blame the engineer. All the CD is doing is accurately
> >reproducing what he got on his tape.
>
> Not true. Ask an engineer sometime. While everyone knows about the perils and
> distortions in cutting vinyl many engineers will tell you about what 44.1 hz
> sampling rate does to the ambience (among other things) on their master tape.
> It might do a better job as a format than vinyl does but it's by no means
> accurate. What's more "musical" is up to you.

Well, that 44.1 kHz frequency, after filtration, determines
the cut-off point at the high end. Just how does that have
anything to do with the ability of a system to capture
ambiance?

Howard Ferstler

Norm Strong

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 4:19:09 PM4/26/01
to
>Is vinyl more accurate?
>
>What am I asking, exactly? The question I find interesting is, "Which
>medium,
>CD or vinyl, does a better job of reproducing the beauty and emotions present
>in live music?" Of course we have to realize that this question will have no
>single answer; there are many ways of producing CD's and many ways of
>producing LP's. Undoubtedly the best CD's are better than the worst LP's and
>vice-versa. But is there some sort of average trend?
>
>Note also that I am specifically interested in the *beauty* and *emotions* of
>live music, since that is what I value most about music. Do I like a
>detailed presentation? Yes, if it creates more emotion and beauty; no if it
>detracts from emotion and beauty. Do I want to be able to tell what make of
>violin the solist is playing? Not particularly, unless the details that make
>it obvious are the same details that convey beauty.

(snip lots and lots of stuff :-)

You'll have better luck if you distinguish
between CDs and digital recording in
general. Since it's apparently impossible
to tell the difference between an LP and a
digital recording of that same LP, any advantage
you may attribute to vinyl would have to be
due to its defects rather than its accuracy.

I can't bring myself to go there!

Norm Strong (nh...@aol.com)
2528 31st South, Seattle WA 98l44

Howard Ferstler

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 4:19:23 PM4/26/01
to
Jean-Pierre Dussault wrote:
>
> Howard Ferstler wrote:

> > Well, accuracy really has nothing to do with people.

> So you pretend everyone accurately perceive the same way *beauty*,
> *emotions*?
>
> Even just *sound* is certainely not perceived alike by everyone!

People may react differently to different sounds, and how a
given recording impacts somebody will depend upon a
multitude of factors (not the least of which is the mood of
the person at the time) but this has nothing to do with the
ability of a sound system to accurately reproduce the
signals sent to it.

> Visual accuracy ought to be very different for a color blind from
> what it is for me!

Whatever. However, the fact is that the energy forming image
itself is independent of the person perceiving it. And if
you have a medium that applies fixed colorations to
playback, you will be stuck with those colorations with all
recordings, including good ones. I have no problem with
colorations being applied to improve the sound of
recordings, but I would prefer that they be adjustable and
even defeatable.



> No,no... for reproducing emotionaly musical events, accuracy is
> related to people!

Certainly, people may react to accuracy in different ways,
but it is a hard fact that the ability of a system to
accurately reproduce an input is independent of what people
feel about the sound from that system.



> Perfect accuracy of course has nothing to do with people, but
> approximate accuracy (like the one we're talking about) departs from
> perfection in some way, and different persons perceive (measure)
> differently this departure from perfection.

I am not sure what you mean by approximate accuracy. One
would think that the best system would be the one that was
the most sonically neutral to begin with. That would allow
it to deal properly with the widest variety of sources, good
or bad.

Howard Ferstler

George Graves

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 4:19:38 PM4/26/01
to
In article <9c9f34$uu8$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>, "B.Ross"
<b_r...@my-deja.com> wrote:

> TT <sw...@swat.com.au> wrote:
> > Most of the live performances I have been to the musicians all
> > seem to be using mics and amps.
> > So why would it not be possible to reproduce this? Everyone from a
> > symphony orchestra ... conveys
> > their performance with the aid of "electrical impulses"
>
> Symphony orchestras never amplify the sound!

Oh, would that this were true! Have you not read any of the flak
flying about with regard to Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and
their decision to sound reinforce the NY Philharmonc and the
disasterous results (for the audience) of that decision?

> The mics you sometimes see
> are used for recording. Nearly 99% of the live performances I go
> to are unamplified, but then I go to mostly chamber music stuff
> (much of it 'early music' performance). Plus, I play music myself
> (classical & baroque guitar). The physical acoustics of live, unamplified
> music are vastly different from electronically reproduced performances.

No. You don't say? :-)

> this isn't to say I don't enjoy listening to recorded music. Sometimes
> I prefer recorded to live anyway since I can't always afford good seats at
> concerts and a recording makes it seems I'm right in the middle of it!
> Plus, the artist I enjoy don't come that often to my neighborhood!
>
> None of this relates to the accuracy of vinyl vs. CD but I go for
> CD due to convenience, economics, choice of recordings, and my intolerance
> for crackle & pops.

Take better care of your records.

George Graves
--
George Graves

George Graves

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 4:19:53 PM4/26/01
to
In article <9c9j7...@news2.newsguy.com>,
pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:

Many of whom are professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
who deal with these differences every day. Read the interview with
mastering legend Steve Hoffman in the May issue of Stereophile for
the latest professional "take" on digital vs. analog and LPs vs CDs
vs master tapes. Funny how all these guys (Hoffman, Ricker, Ludwig,
etc.) seem to have independently come to the same conclusions. And
while you are at it, give Michael Fremer's "Analog Corner" column a
read. In it, he attends a recent direct-to-disc LP mastering session.
Especially note the comments made by the mastering engineers and the
musicians about the differences between the take masters on a
solid-state disc cutter and a paralleled tubed one and the
differences between the LP master and the digital masters made at the
same time.

George Graves

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 4:20:38 PM4/26/01
to
In article <9c9j8...@news2.newsguy.com>, rgvi...@aol.com (Rob Gold)
wrote:

Actually, its worse than a crutch, its brinksmanship at its worst.
The 'band' figures that it needs sound reinforcement to be heard over
the patrons' chatter. The patrons are then put in a position where
they have to talk louder. This makes the musicians turn up the
volume, the people talk louder still. Eventually, the music is so
loud and distorted that it hurts people's ears, and they, in turn,
have to resort to cupping their hands over the ears of those to whom
they wish to talk, and screaming into that person's ear. The whole
point becomes moot beause now, nobody can hear anybody. Do away weith
the sound reinforcement and people will talk quietly and the music
will sound natural - just like it used to in clubs.
--
George Graves

Jean-Pierre Dussault

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 10:01:25 PM4/26/01
to
Howard Ferstler wrote:

> Jean-Pierre Dussault wrote:
> >
> > Howard Ferstler wrote:
>
> > > Well, accuracy really has nothing to do with people.
>

> ...

....

> > Perfect accuracy of course has nothing to do with people, but
> > approximate accuracy (like the one we're talking about) departs from
> > perfection in some way, and different persons perceive (measure)
> > differently this departure from perfection.
>
> I am not sure what you mean by approximate accuracy. One
> would think that the best system would be the one that was
> the most sonically neutral to begin with. That would allow
> it to deal properly with the widest variety of sources, good
> or bad.

Sonic neutrality is not a one dimensionnal phenomenon. NO reproduction is
going to be 100% neutral. Departure from neutrality does not arise in
only ONE direction! To use again my colour blind example, a B&W image may
be in perfect focus, have no grain, etc and thus be preferable to a
colour image whose colours are grossely distorted.

Since perfect neutrality is an abstraction of our human minds, any
departure from neutrality has to be weighted by the people experiencing
the final result. Two very good reproduction systems may be judged
differently: both are 99% neutral, but system A's faults are not annoying
to me while I can't stand system B's faults. It might well be the
opposite for you!

So, I insist that accuracy in reproduction systems depends on people.

JPD

Rob Gold

unread,
Apr 26, 2001, 11:44:36 PM4/26/01
to
>Bev Ross <b_r...@my-deja.com> wrote:
>> Symphony orchestras never amplify the sound!
>
>Oh, would that this were true! Have you not read any of the flak
>flying about with regard to Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and
>their decision to sound reinforce the NY Philharmonc and the
disasterous results (for the audience) of that decision?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is not the NY Phil's Avery Fisher Hall but Lincoln Center's State
Theatre, home of the NY City Opera, which has installed an
"assisted resonance" system. Despite the frantic hand wringing
and wailing, the purpose of this system is NOT to amplify the
sound of either the singers or the orchestra. The goal of assisted
resonance systems is to re-shape the reverberant envelope of a
bad acoustical space (and the untreated State Theatre qualifies
as "bad").

Here is a very simplified explaination of assisted resonance. Say
an oboe plays an "A" at center stage. The sound travels to the
seated listener's ears in "X" amount of time. The sound also
travels to one side wall and bounces, reaching the listener's ears
later than the direct sound from the stage. How much later is
determined by the greater distance the sound has to Travel.
How loud this reflected sound is is a factor of distance (further
= less loud) and the reflectivity of the wall (hard = more reflection,
soft and absorbent = less reflection). This time delay and
absorption (actually a very complex interaction of many delays)
is what gives us our sense of the size and shape of the space.

Now place a microphone on stage, picking up the sound of the
oboe. Then place a loudspeaker at the reflection point on the
wall. If there is no time delay to the signal fed to the loudspeaker,
it will sound at essentially the same time as the oboist plays.
With adjustments to the time delay of this signal, the
engineer/acoustician can modify the apparent (to the seated
listener) position and reflectivity of the wall. Doing this well
enough that the majority of listeners in a performing space "buy"
the illusion as a complex three dimensional reality takes a lot of
high quality speakers and very sophisticated digital delay
electronics.

In theory, this works (assuming that the loudness level of the
speakers is low enough that the listeners cannot localize their
sound). In practice, once the acoustician leaves, the technicians
start fiddling with the knobs, different speakers and electronics
are substituted, etc., and the illusion collapses. Several assisted
resonance halls, including Indianapolis' Circle Theatre, where I
worked for the Orchestra four years, have simply turned the
damned things off (Indy still uses the under balcony speakers).
The acoustician responsible for most of these systems is
Christopher Jaffe of Jaffe, Holden & Scarborough, and no one
else has followed their lead. The Hult Center in Eugene, OR
was originally designed by them from the get-go as assisted
resonance, with a deliberately dry acoustic to allow the speakers
to do their thing. It is a sonic nightmare, and the system has
been turned off for years.

Still, the main point is that the role of the mikes and speakers in
such venues is NOT amplification.

Rob Gold

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 27, 2001, 12:06:31 PM4/27/01
to
George Graves <gmgr...@slip.net> writes:

And of course *most* professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
have the opposite preference. Like I said, you are part of a very
vocal minority, and you seem to feel the need to justify your personal
preference by calls to authority such as that above.

> Read the interview with
>mastering legend Steve Hoffman in the May issue of Stereophile for
>the latest professional "take" on digital vs. analog and LPs vs CDs
>vs master tapes.

Steve does not speak for the profession...........

> Funny how all these guys (Hoffman, Ricker, Ludwig,
>etc.) seem to have independently come to the same conclusions.

Not really, since the sonic differences between CD and LP are
extremely well known. People tend to prefer one or the other.

> And
>while you are at it, give Michael Fremer's "Analog Corner" column a
>read. In it, he attends a recent direct-to-disc LP mastering session.
>Especially note the comments made by the mastering engineers and the
>musicians about the differences between the take masters on a
>solid-state disc cutter and a paralleled tubed one and the
>differences between the LP master and the digital masters made at the
>same time.

The notoriouis tweaker and vinylhead Michael Fremer is hardly an
unbiased reporter in such matters, now is he?! :-)

Shame that we can non longer hear the exact opposite view as promoted
by the late, great, Gabe Weiner.

Saxon Liw

unread,
Apr 27, 2001, 11:38:03 AM4/27/01
to
"George Graves" <gmgr...@slip.net> wrote in message
news:9c9vt...@news1.newsguy.com...

> Many of whom are professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
> who deal with these differences every day. Read the interview with
> mastering legend Steve Hoffman in the May issue of Stereophile for
> the latest professional "take" on digital vs. analog and LPs vs CDs
> vs master tapes. Funny how all these guys (Hoffman, Ricker, Ludwig,
> etc.) seem to have independently come to the same conclusions. And
> while you are at it, give Michael Fremer's "Analog Corner" column a
> read. In it, he attends a recent direct-to-disc LP mastering session.
> Especially note the comments made by the mastering engineers and the
> musicians about the differences between the take masters on a
> solid-state disc cutter and a paralleled tubed one and the
> differences between the LP master and the digital masters made at the
> same time.

Do allow me to say something.. We talk about microphones, speakers
and transducers etc.. I don't think these are, by any means,
electrically more linear than DACs and ADCs. So in an LP system, we
have to use 2 of these transducers. Of course, these are made to be
as linear as possible so I guess there will be, inevitably,
distortions and colorations added. Just like how a recording
engineer chooses certain mics to give certain sounds a boost, I think
it is equally important in the transducers for vinyl cutting and
playback. Plus, there is the RIAA factor. Not all pre-amps implements
the RIAA filter precisely, so that another level of coloration.

As for accuracy, I think that's not very difficult to determine..
Just re-record the vinyl to a CD using a high-end CD-recorder and
play it back. You should be able to get back exactly what you heard
using the vinyl. Sad to say, most DACs doesn't sound good because of
the post filtering, both digital and analog. If the digital filter
isn't done right, the frequency response won't be flat either, and if
the analog filter isn't done right and the DAC clock bleeds into the
audio path, it's going to cause intermodulation distortions in later
amplification stages.

Bottomline is, digital has got the accuracy. Now only if consumer
electronics designer could design the post-DAC analog stages
properly, people would have been swearing by digital audio 5-10 years
ago. To quote one example, I stripped open a S$90 portable Philips CD
player using a continuous calibration DAC (BitCheck technology),
probably one of the budget DACs which Philips manufacture. To my
surprise, the designers used exactly the test circuit given in the
datasheet. Using an oscilloscope, the DAC output is seen infested
with clock spikes. So what I did was to add capacitors on these paths
to reduce the clock spikes. The result I get was simply encouraging.
Apparently, the distortions in the original circuit was probably due
to intermodulation with the clock spikes.

Later, I changed the opamp from the Philips TDA1308 to a Burr-Brown
OPA2353. The result I obtained is simple astonishing. Just a couple
more capacitors and a low distortion, high bandwidth opamp made so
much of a difference. This clearly shows that there is potential in
digital audio that have not been properly harvested. Clock jitter
problem probably doesn't affect the musicality of DACs that much as
intermodulation distortion.

Sam Eaton

unread,
Apr 27, 2001, 1:52:42 PM4/27/01
to
On 26 Apr 2001 16:43:33 GMT, Stewart Pinkerton
<pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk> wrote:

>Quite so. While CD is of course *much* more 'accurate' in the sense
>of being closer to what's on the master tape technically, whether
>it *sounds* more 'musical' than LP is entirely a matter of personal
>preference. For me, CD beats LP musically, but a very vocal minority
>disagrees.

Of course both the pro-vinyl minority and the pro-cd minority are
totally dwarfed by the majority who don't give a fig about accuracy or
'musicality' as long as it's convenient...

Just worth remembering that those who care about what CDs or vinyl
*sound* like are in the minority too ;->

Sam
--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sam Eaton Senior Systems Manager, Easynet South Coast
"Fortified with essential bitterness and sarcasm"
------------------------------------------------------------------------

George Graves

unread,
Apr 27, 2001, 4:04:44 PM4/27/01
to
In article <9cc5e3$em3$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>,
pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:

> George Graves <gmgr...@slip.net> writes:
>
> >In article <9c9j7...@news2.newsguy.com>,
> >pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:
> >
> >> moth...@aol.com (Fill) writes:
> >>
> >> >>Blame the engineer. All the CD is doing is accurately
> >> >>reproducing what he got on his tape.
> >> >
> >> >Not true. Ask an engineer sometime. While everyone knows about the
> >> >perils and
> >> >distortions in cutting vinyl many engineers will tell you about what
> >> >44.1 hz
> >> >sampling rate does to the ambience (among other things) on their
> >> >master
> >> >tape.
> >>
> >> Only if they're bad engineers! :-)
> >>
> >> Now, if they complained about what 16-bit recording does to ambience,
> >> that might be more credible. Unfortunately, you'll be way below the
> >> surface noise of vinyl before you reach 13 bits, so that argument
> >> doesn't seem too good either..............
> >>
> >> >It might do a better job as a format than vinyl does but it's by no
> >> >means
> >> >accurate. What's more "musical" is up to you.
> >>

> >> Quite so. While CD is of course *much* more 'accurate' in the sense of
> >> being closer to what's on the master tape technically, whether it
> >> *sounds* more 'musical' than LP is entirely a matter of personal
> >> preference. For me, CD beats LP musically, but a very vocal minority
> >> disagrees.
> >

> >Many of whom are professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
> >who deal with these differences every day.
>

> And of course *most* professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
> have the opposite preference.

Name them. References?

> Like I said, you are part of a very
> vocal minority, and you seem to feel the need to justify your personal
> preference by calls to authority such as that above.

Then why don't you counter with some "calls to Authority" to prove me wrong?
Everywhere I look, I see more people "who should know" back my opinion than
I see experts who back yours. Frankly, I want to hear opposing opinions, and
I do not personalize them or demean them or simply ignor them with glib
shrug-offs as you seem fond of doing. The fact that these people are the
most famous mastering engineers in the business, and also considered the
best, must mean that their "opinions" yield better results. Could it be that
their opinions on this are more correct than yours or than those less well
respected members of "the profession" who share your view? Could it be that
following the precepts that they believe in yields better sounding product?
Why else would they be so highly regarded?

> > Read the interview with
> >mastering legend Steve Hoffman in the May issue of Stereophile for
> >the latest professional "take" on digital vs. analog and LPs vs CDs
> >vs master tapes.
>

> Steve does not speak for the profession...........

No, he just shares an opinion set with those members of the profession who
are recognized as the BEST of that profession.

> > Funny how all these guys (Hoffman, Ricker, Ludwig,
> >etc.) seem to have independently come to the same conclusions.
>

> Not really, since the sonic differences between CD and LP are
> extremely well known. People tend to prefer one or the other.

That's true. Those who know what real music sounds like prefer analog, those
who don't know or more usually, don't care prefer the admitted convenience
of 16-bit/44.1KHz CD.

> > And
> >while you are at it, give Michael Fremer's "Analog Corner" column a
> >read. In it, he attends a recent direct-to-disc LP mastering session.
> >Especially note the comments made by the mastering engineers and the
> >musicians about the differences between the take masters on a
> >solid-state disc cutter and a paralleled tubed one and the
> >differences between the LP master and the digital masters made at the
> >same time.
>

> The notoriouis tweaker and vinylhead Michael Fremer is hardly an
> unbiased reporter in such matters, now is he?! :-)

When he is quoting the other people, I.E. musicians and engineers WHO WERE
THERE, I don't think that his biases come much into play. After all, the
master they chose from which to produce the release LP was the one made with
the valve gear - the one HE SAID that everyone agreed sounded the best. Most
people who know Fremer's biases are smart enough to be able to tell when he
is voicing his own opinion or just reporting the facts. In this case he is
just reporting the facts.

> Shame that we can non longer hear the exact opposite view as promoted
> by the late, great, Gabe Weiner.

It is a shame.

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 27, 2001, 8:53:24 PM4/27/01
to
George Graves <gmgr...@pacbell.net> writes:

>In article <9cc5e3$em3$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>,
>pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:
>
>> George Graves <gmgr...@slip.net> writes:
>>
>> >In article <9c9j7...@news2.newsguy.com>,
>> >pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:
>> >
>> >> While CD is of course *much* more 'accurate' in the sense of
>> >> being closer to what's on the master tape technically, whether it
>> >> *sounds* more 'musical' than LP is entirely a matter of personal
>> >> preference. For me, CD beats LP musically, but a very vocal minority
>> >> disagrees.
>> >
>> >Many of whom are professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
>> >who deal with these differences every day.
>>
>> And of course *most* professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
>> have the opposite preference.
>
>Name them. References?

Let's start with all those who have *not* come out in favour of vinyl,
i.e. 99% of them. Like I said, vinylphiles are notable for their noise
level, rather than for their numbers.

Dave Collins will do for starters, he sometimes contributes to these
newgroups, and is one of the mastering engineers responsible for the
excellent JVC XRCDs. His comments regarding the 'quality' of vinyl
would not I fear be to your liking! :-)

You have to name those in favour of vinyl, simply because they *are*
so few!

>> Like I said, you are part of a very
>> vocal minority, and you seem to feel the need to justify your personal
>> preference by calls to authority such as that above.
>
>Then why don't you counter with some "calls to Authority" to prove me wrong?

Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal
preference.

>Everywhere I look, I see more people "who should know" back my opinion than
>I see experts who back yours.

Blinkers help greatly in this regard..............

Besides, why would people bother to 'back' the industry standard? Much
more than 90% of all new recordings are mastered using digital
technology, hence there's no need to provide 'proof' of its generally
held superiority. That superiority is a given due its near-universal
use by all the major recording studios.

> Frankly, I want to hear opposing opinions, and
>I do not personalize them or demean them or simply ignor them with glib
>shrug-offs as you seem fond of doing. The fact that these people are the
>most famous mastering engineers in the business, and also considered the
>best, must mean that their "opinions" yield better results.

Oh, really? You don't consider Gabe Weiner to have been one of the
best? You are simply applying your personal bias in *claiming* that
those few who prefer analogue are the 'best' in the business.

> Could it be that
>their opinions on this are more correct than yours or than those less well
>respected members of "the profession" who share your view?

This is a crass argument, and you know it. The validity of my own
opinion is irrelevant, but for every 'well respected' sound engineer
who prefers vinyl, you can find a dozen who prefer digital. Hey, guess
what, George? That would explain why digital is the *standard* in the
major studios, and analogue is touted merely by a very vocal minority.
Here's a thought: it's a highly competitive market, where *claims* of
better sound might attract big name artists. What price 'sound
quality' when there are big bucks on the table? :-)

> Could it be that
>following the precepts that they believe in yields better sounding product?
>Why else would they be so highly regarded?

See above..............

>> > Read the interview with
>> >mastering legend Steve Hoffman in the May issue of Stereophile for
>> >the latest professional "take" on digital vs. analog and LPs vs CDs
>> >vs master tapes.
>>
>> Steve does not speak for the profession...........
>
>No, he just shares an opinion set with those members of the profession who
>are recognized as the BEST of that profession.

Bullshit. While some of those you mention are indeed top men, there
are dozens of others at the top of their profession who do *not* share
the view that vinyl sounds better. Naturally, most of them don't feel
any need to belabour the obvious.....................

>> > Funny how all these guys (Hoffman, Ricker, Ludwig,
>> >etc.) seem to have independently come to the same conclusions.
>>
>> Not really, since the sonic differences between CD and LP are
>> extremely well known. People tend to prefer one or the other.
>
>That's true. Those who know what real music sounds like prefer analog, those
>who don't know or more usually, don't care prefer the admitted convenience
>of 16-bit/44.1KHz CD.

More bullshit. The very first area where CD rapidly grew to dominate
the market was in classical music, where the accurate reproduction of
the sound of live unamplified music is essential.

Indeed, the 'resurgence' of vinyl (yeah, from 0.01% to 0.02% of the
market!) is occurring in areas of the market where sound quality per
se is virtually irrelevant, but 'coolness' is everything.

>> > And
>> >while you are at it, give Michael Fremer's "Analog Corner" column a
>> >read. In it, he attends a recent direct-to-disc LP mastering session.
>> >Especially note the comments made by the mastering engineers and the
>> >musicians about the differences between the take masters on a
>> >solid-state disc cutter and a paralleled tubed one and the
>> >differences between the LP master and the digital masters made at the
>> >same time.
>>
>> The notoriouis tweaker and vinylhead Michael Fremer is hardly an
>> unbiased reporter in such matters, now is he?! :-)
>
>When he is quoting the other people, I.E. musicians and engineers WHO WERE
>THERE, I don't think that his biases come much into play. After all, the
>master they chose from which to produce the release LP was the one made with
>the valve gear - the one HE SAID that everyone agreed sounded the best. Most
>people who know Fremer's biases are smart enough to be able to tell when he
>is voicing his own opinion or just reporting the facts. In this case he is
>just reporting the facts.

As selected by him, of course. George, you've played in this arena, so
I know you're not *that* naive.........

>> Shame that we can non longer hear the exact opposite view as promoted
>> by the late, great, Gabe Weiner.
>
>It is a shame.

Well, at least we can agree on that!

Jean-Pierre Dussault

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 12:15:13 AM4/28/01
to
Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> George Graves <gmgr...@pacbell.net> writes:
>

....

>
> That superiority is a given due its near-universal
> use by all the major recording studios.
>

Ok, now I understand why VHS is superior to Beta, and why Windows is superior to
Mac OS, and why Budweiser is superior to Sam Adams, why Chevrolet is superior to
Ferrari, why a BigMac is superior to caviar...Thank you to open my eyes... I
never before really understood the english meaning of the word "superior", which
I thought closer to its french relative "supérieur".

Regarding "perfection", is it the same (english vs french) that I never
understood Sony's claim of perfection about their first CD players? They
improved several times on perfection, something impossible in french! (même si
un proverbe dit que 'impossible n'est pas français')

I refute some arguments, but not the cause... I mostly enjoy vinyls; it reflects
the proportion of my collection (~3000 vinyls, ~500 CDs). But I have the
pleasure of owning superb CDs.

Wow, I feel expressive tonight! Let me take an example to bring some arguments
to the vinyl camp. I recently bought Jacky Terrasson "Reach" CD (on blue note),
produced and recorded by Mark Levinson. First class digital mastering,
production, recording, etc. Live capture, also. If this is not a first class
digital product, please show me one.

Unfortunately, I was deceived by it. No, understand me: it IS a first class
production, I do not criticize its quality. My deception comes from the fact
that I get more the feeling of being there with the analogue production "Jazz at
the pawn shop" on Proprius, one of the best recording I own, regardless of
musical style or medium. Suppose you agree with me, but argue that Jazz at the
pawn shop is an exceptional product. I also get more "being there feeling" from
an old 'Quality records ltd' "The blues, A real summit meeting" starring among
others Clarence "gatemouth" Brown, superb!

To conclude, please stop using rational arguments ("digital is measurably more
accurate", "most recording studios use digital facilities", "AD converters are
more linear than tube amplifiers", etc.) since as I posted previously, perfect
accuracy/neutrality is an abstraction of the human mind. Real reproduction
systems strive to such an ideal neutrality, but they all depart from it. The
perceived departure is certainly not the same for everyone, and certainly not
perfectly correlated to engineering measurements. More subtle methodology is
required to take into account the psycho acoustic aspects of the phenomenon.
Convenience, CD wins easily, that's for sure. Psycho acoustic accuracy, I would
not bet my shirt on either side.

I think that the limited standard 16-bit/44.1KHz was dictated by economic
arguments rather than by quality arguments. Sony and Philips paired to kill
vinyl (with success!). I truly believe that the future is digital (I even saw an
advertisement of a digital coffee brewer!), but I sincerely hope that artistic
considerations will weight more than economic considerations in the development
of the next support for music reproduction.

OK, that's enough for tonight! I'm going to listen to what? CD or vinyl?.......
Not important, MUSIC! That's it!

JPD

Fill

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 12:15:31 AM4/28/01
to
>More bullshit. The very first area where CD rapidly grew to dominate
>the market was in classical music, where the accurate reproduction of
>the sound of live unamplified music is essential.

Bullshit from you. Phillip's deleted their vinyl, the first major company to do
so. No one demanded the cd. They knew they could re-sell the same music with
the new technology and they did.

George Graves

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 12:17:36 AM4/28/01
to
In article <9cd49t$a63$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>,
pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:

> George Graves <gmgr...@pacbell.net> writes:
>
> >In article <9cc5e3$em3$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>,
> >pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:
> >
> >> George Graves <gmgr...@slip.net> writes:
> >>
> >> >In article <9c9j7...@news2.newsguy.com>,
> >> >pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> While CD is of course *much* more 'accurate' in the sense of
> >> >> being closer to what's on the master tape technically, whether it
> >> >> *sounds* more 'musical' than LP is entirely a matter of personal
> >> >> preference. For me, CD beats LP musically, but a very vocal
> >> >> minority
> >> >> disagrees.
> >> >
> >> >Many of whom are professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
> >> >who deal with these differences every day.
> >>
> >> And of course *most* professional mastering and re-mastering engineers
> >> have the opposite preference.
> >
> >Name them. References?
>
> Let's start with all those who have *not* come out in favour of vinyl,
> i.e. 99% of them. Like I said, vinylphiles are notable for their noise
> level, rather than for their numbers.

99% of all computer users use Windows. Does that make those users
computer experts? Does it make Windows the best operating system on the
planet? The answer to both is no, and quoting that 99% of some faceless,
nameless members of a profession share your opinion is hardly proof that
they actually do agree with you or that you are right.

> Dave Collins will do for starters, he sometimes contributes to these
> newgroups, and is one of the mastering engineers responsible for the
> excellent JVC XRCDs. His comments regarding the 'quality' of vinyl
> would not I fear be to your liking! :-)

Ok. That's one. Hardly 99% though.

> You have to name those in favour of vinyl, simply because they *are*
> so few!

And they are the most famous and the most sought-after. They also master
CD as well as vinyl and are in an excellent position to judge the
results of both.


>
> >> Like I said, you are part of a very
> >> vocal minority, and you seem to feel the need to justify your personal
> >> preference by calls to authority such as that above.
> >
> >Then why don't you counter with some "calls to Authority" to prove me
> >wrong?
>
> Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal
> preference.

Nice dodge.

>
> >Everywhere I look, I see more people "who should know" back my opinion
> >than
> >I see experts who back yours.
>
> Blinkers help greatly in this regard..............

Well, you should know, you've been wearing them long enough....

> Besides, why would people bother to 'back' the industry standard? Much
> more than 90% of all new recordings are mastered using digital
> technology, hence there's no need to provide 'proof' of its generally
> held superiority. That superiority is a given due its near-universal
> use by all the major recording studios.

Is that the same thing as saying that virtually all recording is digital
because its best, or is virtually all recoding digital because that's
the currently selling standard? You try to equate one with the other,
but its not a given.

> > Frankly, I want to hear opposing opinions, and
> >I do not personalize them or demean them or simply ignor them with glib
> >shrug-offs as you seem fond of doing. The fact that these people are
> >the
> >most famous mastering engineers in the business, and also considered the
> >best, must mean that their "opinions" yield better results.
>
> Oh, really? You don't consider Gabe Weiner to have been one of the
> best? You are simply applying your personal bias in *claiming* that
> those few who prefer analogue are the 'best' in the business.

Its just fact. They are considered the best in the business. Weiner is
less well known, as is Dave Collins. I have met Gabe on several
occasions and enjoyed talking with him. I as well as everybody who knew
him certainly miss him.

> > Could it be that
> >their opinions on this are more correct than yours or than those less
> >well
> >respected members of "the profession" who share your view?
>
> This is a crass argument, and you know it. The validity of my own
> opinion is irrelevant, but for every 'well respected' sound engineer
> who prefers vinyl, you can find a dozen who prefer digital. Hey, guess
> what, George? That would explain why digital is the *standard* in the
> major studios, and analogue is touted merely by a very vocal minority.

It might explain it, but guess what? It doesn't. CD's virtues (and one
of them ISN'T sound quality) are such that it would be the *Standard* in
the music industry even if it sounded like MP3.



> Here's a thought: it's a highly competitive market, where *claims* of
> better sound might attract big name artists. What price 'sound
> quality' when there are big bucks on the table? :-)

Now you have spoken the truth. The industry follows the big bucks, and
if an inferior product has advantages in production, manufacturing, and
distribution, then the money will follow the inferior product.

Now who's BS-ing who?


>
> >> > And
> >> >while you are at it, give Michael Fremer's "Analog Corner" column a
> >> >read. In it, he attends a recent direct-to-disc LP mastering session.
> >> >Especially note the comments made by the mastering engineers and the
> >> >musicians about the differences between the take masters on a
> >> >solid-state disc cutter and a paralleled tubed one and the
> >> >differences between the LP master and the digital masters made at the
> >> >same time.
> >>
> >> The notoriouis tweaker and vinylhead Michael Fremer is hardly an
> >> unbiased reporter in such matters, now is he?! :-)
> >
> >When he is quoting the other people, I.E. musicians and engineers WHO
> >WERE
> >THERE, I don't think that his biases come much into play. After all, the
> >master they chose from which to produce the release LP was the one made
> >with
> >the valve gear - the one HE SAID that everyone agreed sounded the best.
> >Most
> >people who know Fremer's biases are smart enough to be able to tell when
> >he
> >is voicing his own opinion or just reporting the facts. In this case he
> >is
> >just reporting the facts.
>
> As selected by him, of course. George, you've played in this arena, so
> I know you're not *that* naive.........

Again, it doesn't matter what he selected. The producers chose the disc
cut with valve gear because all agreed it sounded better. Heck, even if
Fremer were a dyed-in-the-wool solid-state supporter, he would still
have had to admit that the valve cut master went into production not SS
cut one.

> >> Shame that we can non longer hear the exact opposite view as promoted
> >> by the late, great, Gabe Weiner.
> >
> >It is a shame.
>
> Well, at least we can agree on that!
--

George Graves

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 3:28:09 AM4/28/01
to
moth...@aol.com (Fill) writes:

>>More bullshit. The very first area where CD rapidly grew to dominate
>>the market was in classical music, where the accurate reproduction of
>>the sound of live unamplified music is essential.
>
>Bullshit from you. Phillip's deleted their vinyl, the first major company to do
>so. No one demanded the cd. They knew they could re-sell the same music with
>the new technology and they did.

Nice revisionist assertion, but basically nonsense. Philips stopped
cutting vinyl because sales dropped through the floor. You think they
wouldn't continue to sell *both* media if they could? After all, they
still kept selling cassettes, didn't they?

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 3:28:52 AM4/28/01
to
Jean-Pierre Dussault <jean-pierr...@dmi.usherb.ca> writes:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> George Graves <gmgr...@pacbell.net> writes:
>>
>> That superiority is a given due its near-universal
>> use by all the major recording studios.
>>
>
>Ok, now I understand why VHS is superior to Beta, and why Windows is superior to
>Mac OS, and why Budweiser is superior to Sam Adams, why Chevrolet is superior to
>Ferrari, why a BigMac is superior to caviar...Thank you to open my eyes... I
>never before really understood the english meaning of the word "superior", which
>I thought closer to its french relative "supérieur".

We are talking here about professional mastering engineers, not retail
consumers. The tired old Bose/McDonalds argument doesn't hold here.

>Regarding "perfection", is it the same (english vs french) that I never
>understood Sony's claim of perfection about their first CD players? They
>improved several times on perfection, something impossible in french! (même si
>un proverbe dit que 'impossible n'est pas français')

Again, that's a tired old argument regarding a consumer sales slogan
which was never backed by the engineers. BTW, the French seem able to
'improve on perfection' in each seasons haute couture...........

>I refute some arguments, but not the cause... I mostly enjoy vinyls; it reflects
>the proportion of my collection (~3000 vinyls, ~500 CDs). But I have the
>pleasure of owning superb CDs.
>
>Wow, I feel expressive tonight! Let me take an example to bring some arguments
>to the vinyl camp. I recently bought Jacky Terrasson "Reach" CD (on blue note),
>produced and recorded by Mark Levinson. First class digital mastering,
>production, recording, etc. Live capture, also. If this is not a first class
>digital product, please show me one.
>
>Unfortunately, I was deceived by it. No, understand me: it IS a first class
>production, I do not criticize its quality. My deception comes from the fact
>that I get more the feeling of being there with the analogue production "Jazz at
>the pawn shop" on Proprius, one of the best recording I own, regardless of
>musical style or medium. Suppose you agree with me, but argue that Jazz at the
>pawn shop is an exceptional product. I also get more "being there feeling" from
>an old 'Quality records ltd' "The blues, A real summit meeting" starring among
>others Clarence "gatemouth" Brown, superb!

Fine, you clearly have a preference for vinyl artifacts. I do not.

>To conclude, please stop using rational arguments ("digital is measurably more
>accurate", "most recording studios use digital facilities", "AD converters are
>more linear than tube amplifiers", etc.) since as I posted previously, perfect
>accuracy/neutrality is an abstraction of the human mind.

Sorry to maintain such an annoying use of rational arguments.... :-)

> Real reproduction
>systems strive to such an ideal neutrality, but they all depart from it. The
>perceived departure is certainly not the same for everyone, and certainly not
>perfectly correlated to engineering measurements. More subtle methodology is
>required to take into account the psycho acoustic aspects of the phenomenon.
>Convenience, CD wins easily, that's for sure. Psycho acoustic accuracy, I would
>not bet my shirt on either side.
>
>I think that the limited standard 16-bit/44.1KHz was dictated by economic
>arguments rather than by quality arguments. Sony and Philips paired to kill
>vinyl (with success!). I truly believe that the future is digital (I even saw an
>advertisement of a digital coffee brewer!), but I sincerely hope that artistic
>considerations will weight more than economic considerations in the development
>of the next support for music reproduction.
>
>OK, that's enough for tonight! I'm going to listen to what? CD or vinyl?.......
>Not important, MUSIC! That's it!

Quite so.

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 3:30:34 AM4/28/01
to
George Graves <gmgr...@slip.net> writes:

Nor is quoting a tiny minority of very vocal vinyl supporters proof
that *your* argument has any substance. Fact is, it all comes down to
personal preference.

>> Dave Collins will do for starters, he sometimes contributes to these
>> newgroups, and is one of the mastering engineers responsible for the
>> excellent JVC XRCDs. His comments regarding the 'quality' of vinyl
>> would not I fear be to your liking! :-)
>
>Ok. That's one. Hardly 99% though.

You seem to be trying to run both ends of the same argument here! :-)

>> You have to name those in favour of vinyl, simply because they *are*
>> so few!
>
>And they are the most famous and the most sought-after.

Sez you..........

They are *some* of the most famous and most sought after. Others do
not share their opinion, as quite vocal debates on pro-audio mailing
lists have shown.

> They also master
>CD as well as vinyl and are in an excellent position to judge the
>results of both.
>>
>> >> Like I said, you are part of a very
>> >> vocal minority, and you seem to feel the need to justify your personal
>> >> preference by calls to authority such as that above.
>> >
>> >Then why don't you counter with some "calls to Authority" to prove me
>> >wrong?
>>
>> Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal
>> preference.
>
>Nice dodge.

Not a dodge, simply an accurate observation. If you *prefer* vinyl,
that's fine. Dragging up famous names in support will not justify that
preference, since a preference *cannot* be justified, it's just a
personal opinion.

>> >Everywhere I look, I see more people "who should know" back my opinion
>> >than I see experts who back yours.
>>
>> Blinkers help greatly in this regard..............
>
>Well, you should know, you've been wearing them long enough....

Some of us actually believe in *progress*, and in examining the entire
world of audio, not just settling into a comfortable rosy glow of
tubes and vinyl.........

>> Besides, why would people bother to 'back' the industry standard? Much
>> more than 90% of all new recordings are mastered using digital
>> technology, hence there's no need to provide 'proof' of its generally
>> held superiority. That superiority is a given due its near-universal
>> use by all the major recording studios.
>
>Is that the same thing as saying that virtually all recording is digital
>because its best, or is virtually all recoding digital because that's
>the currently selling standard? You try to equate one with the other,
>but its not a given.

Nor is it a given that digital is *not* superior, just becauise a few
well-known pros prefer analogue. Of course, in a competitive industry,
you do need to make a lot of noise and offer something a little
different to gain commercial advantage..........

>> > Frankly, I want to hear opposing opinions, and
>> >I do not personalize them or demean them or simply ignor them with glib
>> >shrug-offs as you seem fond of doing. The fact that these people are
>> >the
>> >most famous mastering engineers in the business, and also considered the
>> >best, must mean that their "opinions" yield better results.
>>
>> Oh, really? You don't consider Gabe Weiner to have been one of the
>> best? You are simply applying your personal bias in *claiming* that
>> those few who prefer analogue are the 'best' in the business.
>
>Its just fact. They are considered the best in the business.

They are considered to be *some* of the best in the business.

> Weiner is
>less well known, as is Dave Collins. I have met Gabe on several
>occasions and enjoyed talking with him. I as well as everybody who knew
>him certainly miss him.
>
>> > Could it be that
>> >their opinions on this are more correct than yours or than those less
>> >well
>> >respected members of "the profession" who share your view?
>>
>> This is a crass argument, and you know it. The validity of my own
>> opinion is irrelevant, but for every 'well respected' sound engineer
>> who prefers vinyl, you can find a dozen who prefer digital. Hey, guess
>> what, George? That would explain why digital is the *standard* in the
>> major studios, and analogue is touted merely by a very vocal minority.
>
>It might explain it, but guess what? It doesn't. CD's virtues (and one
>of them ISN'T sound quality) are such that it would be the *Standard* in
>the music industry even if it sounded like MP3.

Sorry, but sound quality *is* one of the virtues of CD, whether *you*
believe so or not.

>> Here's a thought: it's a highly competitive market, where *claims* of
>> better sound might attract big name artists. What price 'sound
>> quality' when there are big bucks on the table? :-)
>
> Now you have spoken the truth. The industry follows the big bucks, and
>if an inferior product has advantages in production, manufacturing, and
>distribution, then the money will follow the inferior product.

Agreed, so isn't it great that a convenient, compact and wear-free
medium like CD also *sounds* so much better than LP? :-)

Bob Olhsson

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 12:25:22 PM4/28/01
to
In article <9c8dmh$hck$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>, TT <sw...@swat.com.au>
wrote:

>Observation: Most of the live performances I have been to the musicians all
>seem to be using mics and amps.

This has been an unfortunate development.

Another is that most venues that didn't require amplification have put
it in anyways and then found themselves going out of business. There's
certainly no proving that amplification was the reason but it sure took
the magic away from those places for me.

--
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery Recording Project Design and Consulting
Box 90412, Nashville TN 37209 Tracking, Mixing and Mastering
615.352.7635 FAX 615.356.2483 Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
40 years of making people sound better than they thought possible!

Fill

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 12:37:36 PM4/28/01
to
>Nice revisionist assertion, but basically nonsense. Philips stopped
>cutting vinyl because sales dropped through the floor. You think they
>wouldn't continue to sell *both* media if they could? After all, they
>still kept selling cassettes, didn't they?

Sorry, I was a record buyer at the time. Vinyl was expensive to produce and had
a much, much smaller profit margin. People wanted it, but Philips decided to go
with cd and push the "no noise" aspect of it.

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 2:03:06 PM4/28/01
to
moth...@aol.com (Fill) writes:

>>Nice revisionist assertion, but basically nonsense. Philips stopped
>>cutting vinyl because sales dropped through the floor. You think they
>>wouldn't continue to sell *both* media if they could? After all, they
>>still kept selling cassettes, didn't they?
>
>Sorry, I was a record buyer at the time. Vinyl was expensive to produce and had
>a much, much smaller profit margin. People wanted it, but Philips decided to go
>with cd and push the "no noise" aspect of it.

And sure enough, the buying public *preferred* their classical music
with no snap, crackle and pop, no wow and flutter, and crisp response
from the deepest bass organ pedal to the highest ting of the triangle.
Aside from the obvious convenience advantages, CD succeeded because it
simply *sounds* better to the vast majority of the buying public -
including the majority of audiophiles.

Rob Gold

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 3:20:27 PM4/28/01
to
Someone wrote:
>>Nice revisionist assertion, but basically nonsense. Philips stopped
>>cutting vinyl because sales dropped through the floor. You think they
>>wouldn't continue to sell *both* media if they could? After all, they
>>still kept selling cassettes, didn't they?
>
>and Philip <moth...@aol.com>replied:

>Sorry, I was a record buyer at the time. Vinyl was expensive to produce and
>had
>a much, much smaller profit margin. People wanted it, but Philips decided to
>go
>with cd and push the "no noise" aspect of it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Record companies HATE vinyl, for a lot of very good reasons.
Editing is labor-intensive and difficult, returns due to poor quality
control are massive and expensive, and they are expensive to
manufacture.

The promise of digital recording and playback is also very appealing.
Editing becomes a rapid, nearly error-free process. Gone are the
LP's speed instability, noise and play-induced degradation, warps,
limited playtime per side, and the expensive Rube Goldberg
engineering of the playback gear and its requirement for expert
set-up (which still misses the ideal in most every home system).

Digital *should* -- no matter how hyperbolic the promotion at
introduction, or how self-serving the profit motive, or the record
companies deliberate ruin of the LP market through destruction of
inventory and absentee quality standards -- provide everyone with
real benefits in reliability, durability, low cost-led profitability for the
makers (irrespective of their price gouging), convenience and audio
quality.

There are three reasons why the LP did not die as pre-ordained:

1) The massive installed base of wonderful performances. This
trumps all audio quality-based reasons for many listeners. For me,
LP still represents about 80% of my listening.

2) While LP's audio shortcomings are legendary and easily listed,
their distortions add an "inaccurate" but most appealing sense of
warmth and spaciousness to recorded sound.

3) While CD's shortcomings are few, the subtractive distortions of
many of them give a cold, lifeless and two-dimensional quality to
the sound. Most of these shortcomings have been addressed in
the best modern recording and playback gear, and those that remain
are mostly due to issues of electronic implementation rather than
inherent errors of the digital process and standard. As with analog
recording, crappy digital records are more due to issues of miking,
harsh electronic gear, and lack of care over the details. The *best* \CD-based
systems now achieve the richness and ambience of the
best analog, and without LP's phasey distortions or other limitations.
The proof of this, for me, was a recent extended audition of a
system with a Theta transport and dcS DAC, playing
the Chandos/David Wilcox CD recording of the Britten "War
Requiem" through JM Lab Mezzo Utopia speakers and Rowland
electronics, which easily trumped my Decca and EMI LPs of the
same music (each of which excels at the LP's principal areas of
appeal: warmth and spaciousness, and played on the same system
via Basis 2800 table/Graham arm/Transfiguration cartridge).

Perhaps some of us still enjoy LPs because they came from an era
where our producers and engineers cared more, sweated more details
and had a better understanding of "first principals" than we see in so
much of today's world. Digital and CD *should* be better; that it often
is not is not praise for LPs, but a black mark on those who make
many -- but not all -- of today's recordings.

Rob Gold

George Graves

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 4:26:55 PM4/28/01
to
In article <9cdrij$j1v$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>,
pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:

You have yet to prove your assertion that these professionals are a "tiny
majority" or that 99% of the rest of the people in that profession prefer
digital. I suspect they work in digital because that's what they've got.
I.E. there simply isn't that much work available to keep cadres of vinyl
mastering engineers busy, but it does take cadres of mastering engineers to
keep the pipeline filled with the endless stream of garbage that constitutes
the music recording business these days, and that's ALL on CD.


>
> >> Dave Collins will do for starters, he sometimes contributes to these
> >> newgroups, and is one of the mastering engineers responsible for the
> >> excellent JVC XRCDs. His comments regarding the 'quality' of vinyl
> >> would not I fear be to your liking! :-)
> >
> >Ok. That's one. Hardly 99% though.
>
> You seem to be trying to run both ends of the same argument here! :-)
>
> >> You have to name those in favour of vinyl, simply because they *are*
> >> so few!
> >
> >And they are the most famous and the most sought-after.
>
> Sez you..........
>
> They are *some* of the most famous and most sought after. Others do
> not share their opinion, as quite vocal debates on pro-audio mailing
> lists have shown.
>
> > They also master
> >CD as well as vinyl and are in an excellent position to judge the
> >results of both.
> >>
> >> >> Like I said, you are part of a very
> >> >> vocal minority, and you seem to feel the need to justify your
> >> >> personal
> >> >> preference by calls to authority such as that above.

I actually don't feel a need to justify anything. My ears do that for me.

> >> >
> >> >Then why don't you counter with some "calls to Authority" to prove me
> >> >wrong?
> >>
> >> Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal
> >> preference.
> >
> >Nice dodge.
>
> Not a dodge, simply an accurate observation. If you *prefer* vinyl,
> that's fine. Dragging up famous names in support will not justify that
> preference, since a preference *cannot* be justified, it's just a
> personal opinion.

That kind of post-modern hyperegalitarian bable hardly befits you, Stewart.

> >> >Everywhere I look, I see more people "who should know" back my
> >> >opinion
> >> >than I see experts who back yours.
> >>
> >> Blinkers help greatly in this regard..............
> >
> >Well, you should know, you've been wearing them long enough....
>
> Some of us actually believe in *progress*, and in examining the entire
> world of audio, not just settling into a comfortable rosy glow of
> tubes and vinyl.........

I also believe in progress, but it MUST truly be progress, not just because
someone says it is. Digital CD is a great step forward in a number of ways,
lack of noise, they don't degrade with play, have perfect pitch, etc. But
its not TRUE progress when its one step forward and two steps backward.

> >> Besides, why would people bother to 'back' the industry standard? Much
> >> more than 90% of all new recordings are mastered using digital
> >> technology, hence there's no need to provide 'proof' of its generally
> >> held superiority. That superiority is a given due its near-universal
> >> use by all the major recording studios.

> >Is that the same thing as saying that virtually all recording is digital
> >because its best, or is virtually all recoding digital because that's
> >the currently selling standard? You try to equate one with the other,
> >but its not a given.
>
> Nor is it a given that digital is *not* superior, just becauise a few
> well-known pros prefer analogue. Of course, in a competitive industry,
> you do need to make a lot of noise and offer something a little
> different to gain commercial advantage..........

Commercial advantage is not the point here. If NO new records were
available, I'd still have thousands of records to play in my own library
(BTW, I also have a couple of thousand CDs). But what is interesting is that
there are more good turnatbles, arms, cartridges and phono preamps available
today than there ever were in vinyl's "heyday."

Analog sounds like music. 16/44.1 digital doesn't. Its that simple. And
before you rush to add "To you" on the end of the above statement, let me
remind you that research has shown that healthy humans, within a relatively
small variation, all hear and see things pretty much the same way. Of
course, understanding and interpreting what they see and hear varies
incredibly from one person to the next. If one interprets digital as
sounding more like music than good analog, its probably because the sound of
real music isn't all that familiar to that listener. ;-)


>
> >> Here's a thought: it's a highly competitive market, where *claims* of
> >> better sound might attract big name artists. What price 'sound
> >> quality' when there are big bucks on the table? :-)
> >
> > Now you have spoken the truth. The industry follows the big bucks, and
> >if an inferior product has advantages in production, manufacturing, and
> >distribution, then the money will follow the inferior product.
>
> Agreed, so isn't it great that a convenient, compact and wear-free
> medium like CD also *sounds* so much better than LP? :-)

Too bad it doesn't. If it did we wouldn't need SACD or DVD-A.

George Graves

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 6:18:29 PM4/28/01
to
George Graves <gmgr...@pacbell.net> writes:

>In article <9cdrij$j1v$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>,
>pat...@popmail.dircon.co.uk wrote:

<large snip in order to cut to the chase>

>> Sorry, but sound quality *is* one of the virtues of CD, whether *you*
>> believe so or not.
>
>Analog sounds like music. 16/44.1 digital doesn't. Its that simple.

In your *opinion*. Not in mine. Indeed, it is that simple. Note that
if you archive an LP to CD-R, you retain all that 'vinyl magic'. What
does that tell you about relative fidelity to the master tape?

> And
>before you rush to add "To you" on the end of the above statement, let me
>remind you that research has shown that healthy humans, within a relatively
>small variation, all hear and see things pretty much the same way.

Yup, and the *vast* majority buy CD. Next?

> Of
>course, understanding and interpreting what they see and hear varies
>incredibly from one person to the next. If one interprets digital as
>sounding more like music than good analog, its probably because the sound of
>real music isn't all that familiar to that listener. ;-)

A *seriously* tired old argument. I attend around thirty live
unamplified performances a year. I suspect that my hearing is at least
as good as those who attend live amplified performances..........

>> >> Here's a thought: it's a highly competitive market, where *claims* of
>> >> better sound might attract big name artists. What price 'sound
>> >> quality' when there are big bucks on the table? :-)
>> >
>> > Now you have spoken the truth. The industry follows the big bucks, and
>> >if an inferior product has advantages in production, manufacturing, and
>> >distribution, then the money will follow the inferior product.
>>
>> Agreed, so isn't it great that a convenient, compact and wear-free
>> medium like CD also *sounds* so much better than LP? :-)
>
>Too bad it doesn't. If it did we wouldn't need SACD or DVD-A.

We don't, but Sony does..................

Fill

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 6:50:37 PM4/28/01
to
>Yup, and the *vast* majority buy CD. Next?

People bought cassettes in droves as well as 8-tracks. What does *that* have
to do with anything.

>In your *opinion*. Not in mine. Indeed, it is that simple. Note that
>if you archive an LP to CD-R, you retain all that 'vinyl magic'. What
>does that tell you about relative fidelity to the master tape?

That's not something anyone but you claimed.

Gary Rosen

unread,
Apr 28, 2001, 10:52:00 PM4/28/01
to
"Fill" <moth...@aol.com> wrote in message

> People bought cassettes in droves as well as 8-tracks. What does *that*
have
> to do with anything.

About as much as the percentage of people who buy
Windows.

- Gary Rosen

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Apr 29, 2001, 5:41:09 AM4/29/01
to
moth...@aol.com (Fill) writes:

>>Yup, and the *vast* majority buy CD. Next?
>
> People bought cassettes in droves as well as 8-tracks. What does *that* have
>to do with anything.

It proves that 'most people' don't necessarily agree that vinyl sounds
better. It is of course true that *most* people don't give a rats ass
about sound quality, but I was referring to the audiophile market, in
particular to the fact that it was the classical market which first
dumped vinyl in favour of CD.

>>In your *opinion*. Not in mine. Indeed, it is that simple. Note that
>>if you archive an LP to CD-R, you retain all that 'vinyl magic'. What
>>does that tell you about relative fidelity to the master tape?
>
>That's not something anyone but you claimed.

Untrue. At least four other regular contributors have so asserted, and
indeed it was one of Gabe Weiners favourite games to debunk visitors
to his studio who claimed that digital lacked the 'magic' of analogue.
He'd cue up an LP, the visitors would go 'ahhh, bliss, you can't get
that sound with digital', then he'd raise the arm to demonstrate that
the sound was actually coming from a DAT tape of the LP! :-)

Indeed, *everyone* who has had the opportunity to compare all three
has agreed that CD is much closer to the sound of the master tape, the
only argument (as with the Stereophile albums) is which medium better
captures the gestalt of the original performance. I have never seen
*anyone* argue that LP is closer to what's on the master tape itself.

Jason Kau

unread,
Apr 29, 2001, 2:31:49 PM4/29/01
to
Here's my question:

How many of you that believe vinyl is superior to CD have had the
opportunity to do A/B comparisons of their turntable rig to CD-R
recordings of their turntable rig?

My father and I did a lot of this when he first received his Marantz CD-R
640 recorder. The equipment was a VPI HW-19 Mrk III turntable, Sumiko
Premier MMT tonearm, Monster Cable Alpha 2 cartridge, Threshold SL-10
pre-amp, Marantz CD-R 640 recorder, Marantz CD-17 cd player.

Our results: we felt CD-R's of his records sounded just as good as records
played on this turntable rig in A/B comparisons. He also failed to
identify which was which in semi-blind comparisons.

Our conclusion: records must add some sort of euphoric distortion that we
find pleasurable.

--
Jason Kau
http://www.cnd.gatech.edu/~jkau
jaso...@gtri.gatech.edu

Bob Olhsson

unread,
Apr 30, 2001, 2:59:34 PM4/30/01
to
In article <9cerkc$vn1$1...@bourbaki.localdomain>, Fill
<moth...@aol.com> wrote:

>Sorry, I was a record buyer at the time. Vinyl was expensive to produce and had
>a much, much smaller profit margin. People wanted it, but Philips decided to go
>with cd and push the "no noise" aspect of it.

It was actually the retail outlets who killed vinyl because they got a
four-fold margin increase from the CD and have managed to hold the
prices up at full list to this day. Record companies lost a lot of
regular buyers.

Ralph Heidecke

unread,
Apr 30, 2001, 5:25:07 PM4/30/01
to
Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

>
>
> Let's start with all those who have *not* come out in favour of vinyl,
> i.e. 99% of them. Like I said, vinylphiles are notable for their noise
> level, rather than for their numbers.
>

> ....


>
> You have to name those in favour of vinyl, simply because they *are*
> so few!
>

It's almost unheard of (maybe with exception of Doug Sax and
associates) as most of these comments regard analgue vs digital
professional recording medium.

I think few people would disagree that CD effectively removes many of
vinyls the more objectionable artifacts - primarily surface noise,
wear and the endlessly fiddly nature of setup and maintenance.

>
> Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal preference.

OTOH it would be preferable if the CD/Digital crowd would be more
accepting of the preference of vinyl/analogue listeners and be
honest and recognize that Digital technology relies on an a
necessarily limited model of human hearing. That some could disagree
with your own preference for digital media could possibly say
something that is undefined and unmeasured in hearing pereception
that common digital media simply misses.

Francois Yves Le Gal

unread,
Apr 30, 2001, 5:25:12 PM4/30/01
to
On Mon, 30 Apr 2001 18:59:34 GMT, Bob Olhsson <o...@hyperback.com> wrote:

>It was actually the retail outlets who killed vinyl because they got a
>four-fold margin increase from the CD

Not to forget less returns, a more compact packaging, and the
opportunity to sell again and again the same records...

>and have managed to hold the prices up at full list to this day.

Or nearly, yes. And we're seeing the same with SACD and DVD-A, which
are priced over the top.

Kalman Rubinson

unread,
Apr 30, 2001, 5:25:00 PM4/30/01
to
On Mon, 30 Apr 2001 18:59:34 GMT, Bob Olhsson <o...@hyperback.com>
wrote:

>It was actually the retail outlets who killed vinyl because they got a


>four-fold margin increase from the CD and have managed to hold the
>prices up at full list to this day. Record companies lost a lot of
>regular buyers.

And many fewer returned discs.

Kal

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
May 1, 2001, 2:33:01 AM5/1/01
to
Ralph Heidecke <ralph.h...@ag.gov.bc.ca> writes:

>> Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal preference.
>
>OTOH it would be preferable if the CD/Digital crowd would be more
>accepting of the preference of vinyl/analogue listeners and be
>honest and recognize that Digital technology relies on an a
>necessarily limited model of human hearing. That some could disagree
>with your own preference for digital media could possibly say
>something that is undefined and unmeasured in hearing pereception
>that common digital media simply misses.

That rather tired old argument might have more credibility, were it
not for the fact that a DAT tape or CD-R made from an LP retains all
the 'magic' of vinyl. This strongly suggests that there isn't anything
missing from digital, but there's a heck of a lot *added* by vinyl!

Richard D Pierce

unread,
May 1, 2001, 11:35:00 AM5/1/01
to
In article <9ckl7...@news2.newsguy.com>,

Ralph Heidecke <ralph.h...@ag.gov.bc.ca> wrote:
>> Because there *is* no 'authority' on musicality, simply personal preference.
>
>OTOH it would be preferable if the CD/Digital crowd would be more
>accepting of the preference of vinyl/analogue listeners

Wow, hold on there a second! Either you have not read the thread
well or you are simply ignoring the facxt that it is the
self-proclaimed vinylphiles that have been intolerant of the
views and preferences of anyone but themselves. It is THEY who
are making grandiose and arrogant claims that THEIR preferred
medium is closer to music (not closer FOR THEM, just closer).

>and be
>honest and recognize that Digital technology relies on an a
>necessarily limited model of human hearing.

Sorry, that's utter nonsense. The limitations imposed by the LP
medium depend FAR more heavily on such a model.

>That some could disagree
>with your own preference for digital media could possibly say
>something that is undefined and unmeasured in hearing pereception
>that common digital media simply misses.

Once again, you have either failed to read or chosen to leave
out the fact that it is the LP afficianados in tyhis thread who
have shown intolerance for others preferences. Further, your
rather unfounded proclamations about perception and such
deomnstrate a rather profound lack of knowledge about the
limitations of each medium.

--
| Dick Pierce |
| Professional Audio Development |
| 1-781/826-4953 Voice and FAX |
| DPi...@world.std.com |

Arny Krueger

unread,
May 1, 2001, 11:35:17 AM5/1/01
to
"Ralph Heidecke" <ralph.h...@ag.gov.bc.ca> wrote in message
news:9ckl7...@news2.newsguy.com...

> OTOH it would be preferable if the CD/Digital crowd would be more
> accepting of the preference of vinyl/analogue listeners

I see no lack of acceptance of the fact that there are those who
prefer vinyl and analog.

> and be
> honest and recognize that Digital technology relies on an a
> necessarily limited model of human hearing.

Unlike the fact that some prefer vinyl and analog, this is simply not
a generally accepted fact. Furthermore there is considerable evidence
that it is a false claim.

> That some could disagree
> with your own preference for digital media could possibly say

> something that is undefined and unmeasured in hearing perception


> that common digital media simply misses.

I agree that the form of hearing perception that digital media misses
is both undefined and unmeasured.

AFAIK there is no reliable evidence that there exists a form of
hearing perception that digital media of necessity misses.

Furthermore, many have told me that digital transcriptions of analog
media are indistinguishable from the original analog media if the
comparison involves just listening.

Ralph Heidecke

unread,
May 1, 2001, 11:35:52 AM5/1/01
to
Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> --
>

your statement is baseless.Is it coincidence that only CD proponents
make such a claim? Name any studies that back this up

>
> Stewart Pinkerton | Music is art, audio is engineering

listening is perception.

Howard Ferstler

unread,
May 1, 2001, 12:41:48 PM5/1/01
to
Jean-Pierre Dussault wrote:

> Sonic neutrality is not a one dimensionnal phenomenon. NO reproduction is
> going to be 100% neutral. Departure from neutrality does not arise in
> only ONE direction! To use again my colour blind example, a B&W image may
> be in perfect focus, have no grain, etc and thus be preferable to a
> colour image whose colours are grossely distorted.
>
> Since perfect neutrality is an abstraction of our human minds, any
> departure from neutrality has to be weighted by the people experiencing
> the final result. Two very good reproduction systems may be judged
> differently: both are 99% neutral, but system A's faults are not annoying
> to me while I can't stand system B's faults. It might well be the
> opposite for you!
>
> So, I insist that accuracy in reproduction systems depends on people.
>
> JPD

The interpretation of accuracy may depend upon them, but the
accuracy of a system itself is independent from that
interpretation. Two systems may be equally accurate, but
still different, of course, but to be practical, it is rare,
indeed, for two systems to be equally accurate and
different.

In any case, when we are talking about reproduction accuracy
differences between the CD and the LP, the balance is
decidedly lopsided, and hair splitting is not required. The
CD is way more accurate than the LP. It may not sound as
pleasant to some people (although how anybody can stand that
surface noise and occasional wow and inner-groove distortion
is beyond me), but it is still more able to accurately
reproduce the original master-tape source.

I leave it to the recording engineers to turn out a proper
master tape.

Howard Ferstler

Richard D Pierce

unread,
May 1, 2001, 1:19:50 PM5/1/01
to
In article <9cml4...@news1.newsguy.com>,

Ralph Heidecke <ralph.h...@ag.gov.bc.ca> wrote:
>> That rather tired old argument might have more credibility, were it
>> not for the fact that a DAT tape or CD-R made from an LP retains all
>> the 'magic' of vinyl. This strongly suggests that there isn't anything
>> missing from digital, but there's a heck of a lot *added* by vinyl
>
>your statement is baseless.

How so?

>Is it coincidence that only CD proponents
>make such a claim?

Huh? Try reading what he said again: digital copies of LP media,
done properly, cannot be distinguished from the original LP when
the ONLY criterion for making the choice is the sound.

>Name any studies that back this up

I've done a couple myself, as a matter of fact.

>> Stewart Pinkerton | Music is art, audio is engineering
>
>listening is perception.

Yes, and for many people, involves making judgements on much
more than just the sound. Brand recognitiion, satisfaction of
preconceptions, prejudice, agenda ALL have importnat effects on
perception.

But when all the non-sound influences on perception are removed,
it's a different matter altogether.

BEAR

unread,
May 1, 2001, 12:36:21 PM5/1/01