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I hereby start a new thread on the reproduction of sound (largely music for its own sake)  here and now.
(08-15-2016, 10:11 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-11-2016, 09:43 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-11-2016, 02:54 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]How does recorded sound become irrelevant?

Recorded sound in such formats as tapes and CDs become unnecessary as personal possessions (barring some copyright Gestapo). Oddly, vinyl discs seem to be making a comeback.

Recorded sound will not die. How else could one hear Schnabel on the piano, Oistrakh on the violin, or Rostropovich on the cello? Or for that matter the great singing voices of Maria Callas and Sarah Vaughn? Or Pete Fountain on the clarinet? Lionel Hampton on the marimba?

We will not need the playback intermediates of the disc or tape. Someone else might hold them in a library function.

Digital smart phones and computer speakers can't readily replace stereo hi fidelity, can they?

Smart phones and computer speakers are not high-fidelity devices. A reader is apparently OK. People will want high fidelity back. We Boomers know. We used to spend as much as the cost of a four-year-old used car for stereo equipment. Few people do that now. It could be smaller living spaces and neighbors who hate hearing Led Zeppelin or Schubert's Octet.

I am not convinced that after 100 playings that vinyl disks are as good as a compact disc. You will fall asleep without putting the disc back in its jacket. I thought that CDs were as good as vinyl discs at the outset, but that they were less likely to warp, stretch and unstretch with temperature fluxes, and, of course get subjected to dust and worn needles.

I dedicated a reader to my stereo system almost exclusively for getting music off YouTube. But I have yet to dispose of my compact disks. I have some fear of a copyright Gestapo cracking down on us (Make sure that you have paid $50 to listen to that piece of music or we will attach your bank account or garnishee your wages). Remember: I have good cause to not assume the best behavior of capitalists and their flunkies.
(08-17-2016, 04:28 PM)X_4AD_84 Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-16-2016, 06:25 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-15-2016, 10:11 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-11-2016, 09:43 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-11-2016, 02:54 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: [ -> ]How does recorded sound become irrelevant?

Recorded sound in such formats as tapes and CDs become unnecessary as personal possessions (barring some copyright Gestapo). Oddly, vinyl discs seem to be making a comeback.

Recorded sound will not die. How else could one hear Schnabel on the piano, Oistrakh on the violin, or Rostropovich on the cello? Or for that matter the great singing voices of Maria Callas and Sarah Vaughn? Or Pete Fountain on the clarinet? Lionel Hampton on the marimba?

We will not need the playback intermediates of the disc or tape. Someone else might hold them in a library function.

Digital smart phones and computer speakers can't readily replace stereo hi fidelity, can they?

Smart phones and computer speakers are not high-fidelity devices. A reader is apparently OK. People will want high fidelity back. We Boomers know. We used to spend as much as the cost of a four-year-old used car for stereo equipment. Few people do that now. It could be smaller living spaces and neighbors who hate hearing Led Zeppelin or Schubert's Octet.  

I am not convinced that after 100 playings that vinyl disks are as good as a compact disc. You will fall asleep without putting the disc back in its jacket. I thought that CDs were as good as vinyl discs at the outset, but that they were less likely to warp, stretch and unstretch with temperature fluxes, and, of course get subjected to dust and worn needles.

I dedicated a reader to my stereo system almost exclusively for getting music off YouTube. But I have yet to dispose of my compact disks. I have some fear of a copyright Gestapo cracking down on us (Make sure that you have paid $50 to listen to that piece of music or we will attach your bank account or garnishee your wages). Remember: I have good cause to not assume the best behavior of capitalists and their flunkies.

Or another sort of problem ... wages of cyberwar ... "All your MP3s are berong to us!"

Do you remember the old control on computer-generated or computer-stored data that one absolutely needed? One needed a 'hard copy' for official purposes because computer files are easy to delete. But that is for documentary purposes. Something like the original files for a mortgage cannot be simply digitized onto a computer with the originals destroyed. (The tempting urge to do forgery for personal gain always exists, and digital data is easy to forge).

Copyrights can be enforced by elaborate rules of licensing, especially if the owners control the politicians and hence law enforcement. A hard copy in the form of a vinyl or compact disc sold by an entity with the right to sell the disk. Never mind that most copyrights are practically worthless except as a source of 'gotcha' revenue from people who can potentially be garnisheed for hundreds of dollars for having or using a bootleg copy of recorded music or video.

Technology is itself amoral.
Has anyone splurged on the retro vinyl disks? How good do they sound?

Of course, to avoid ruining them you need a really nove turntable and a great needle.
(09-08-2016, 09:00 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]Has anyone splurged on the retro vinyl disks? How good do they sound?

Of course, to avoid ruining them you need a really nove turntable and a great needle.

There has always been a hardcore group of high-fidelity fans who support vinyl as the closest to original source material there is. Unlike digital, the material is lossless (tough topic to cover here -- just trust me on this), and it's as time coherent as you wish it to be.  Getting the most from a vinyl disk is a lot more complex than extracting digital streams from CDs, DVDs or BluRay disks.  There is literally no upper limit to how much one can spend trying to get as close to the original material as possible.  For example, this turntable costs $300,000, and still requires a tonearm and catridge: assume $50,000 more for those.

[Image: top-10-most-expensive-turntables9.jpg]
My problem with vinyl was that it degraded over time, and I could hear that. Original vinyl sounded every bit as good as a compact disc, but expose it to several years of thermal flux inside a house (let alone a storage shed), and the sound quality deteriorates even with excellent playback. . After two years the CD was better in sound quality than a vinyl disc. The solution of buying replacement discs might offer itself, but if one has a large collection, then compact discs make more sense... Whoa! I have some thirty-year-old compact discs, still very playable and as good as new. Maybe that killed the recording industry for classical music; people replaced their vinyl discs with CDs and never had to buy another recording of this every ten years or so:

[Image: 71KAQrkTDvL._SX425_.jpg]

or this:

[Image: 51BEVq2fqTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg]

or this:

[Image: 81Iqix95g4L._SX425_.jpg]

It's not only classical music. Such albums were likely to have repeat customers when vinyl records were the only means of their availability. With compact discs, it is one time and done, with the CD that a 50-year old bought being passed on to an heir thirty years later or donated to a thrift shop.

There's not much distinction in quality, so far as I can tell, between playback devices for compact discs except for what they connect to. I now use an old DVD player exclusively for playback of CDs ... which may sound like a heresy to audiophiles, but it is now difficult to find new equipment exclusively for CDs that one can use in a hi-fi system. Huge distinctions apply to vinyl playback. When I relied upon vinyl I often had phono cartridges more expensive than my turntable. One retailer that sells the disks in stores also sells 'retro' phonographs for them, but I would not have used anything with less than a full-sized turntable for a cherished long-play vinyl record.

Lossless? I recall the argument... a CD is not as perfect as a vinyl disc, but one would have to be a cat (the sort that one can never trust with the safety of any small animal except for its kittens, a dog, or an infant) to hear the difference. (An aside: my cat loved classical music, but my dogs apparently don't). After about ten years, the deterioration of the disk even with meticulous care was quite audible to me.

Amazon has FAQs on playing vinyl disks, as many people getting them now never grew up with them:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/r...B012YL84SC

I am tempted to believe that much top-end audio has the description as a Veblen good, an object cherished by people because it is expensive as a signal of their class. But if one can tell the difference, the spending might be well worth it.
(09-11-2016, 12:40 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]My problem with vinyl was that it degraded over time, and I could hear that. Original vinyl sounded every bit as good as a compact disc, but expose it to several years of thermal flux inside a house (let alone a storage shed), and the sound quality deteriorates even with excellent playback. . After two years the CD was better in sound quality than a vinyl disc. The solution of buying replacement discs might offer itself, but if one has a large collection, then compact discs make more sense... Whoa! I have some thirty-year-old compact discs, still very playable and as good as new. Maybe that killed the recording industry for classical music; people replaced their vinyl discs with CDs and never had to buy another recording of this every ten years or so:

It's not only classical music. Such albums were likely to have repeat customers when vinyl records were the only means of their availability. With compact discs, it is one time and done, with the CD that a 50-year old bought being passed on to an heir thirty years later or donated to a thrift shop.

There's not much distinction in quality, so far as I can tell, between playback devices for compact discs except for what they connect to. I now use an old DVD player exclusively for playback of CDs ... which may sound like a heresy to audiophiles, but it is now difficult to find new equipment exclusively for CDs that one can use in a hi-fi system. Huge distinctions apply to vinyl playback. When I relied upon vinyl I often had phono cartridges more expensive than my turntable. One retailer that sells the disks in stores also sells 'retro' phonographs for them, but I would not have used anything with less than a full-sized turntable for a cherished long-play vinyl record.

Lossless? I recall the argument... a CD is not as perfect as a vinyl disc, but one would have to be a cat (the sort that one can never trust with the safety of any small animal except for its kittens,  a dog, or an infant) to hear the difference. (An aside: my cat loved classical music, but my dogs apparently don't). After about ten years, the deterioration of the disk even with meticulous care was quite audible to me.

I am tempted to believe that much top-end audio has the description as a Veblen good, an object cherished by people because it is expensive as a signal of their class. But if one can tell the difference, the spending might be well worth it.

Vinyl had the benefit of time coherency, which is critical for imaging.  Most stereo equipment setups are incapable of good imaging, so that was a wasted feature for most people.  You're right that the quality degrades with time, and digital sources are much better in that regard.  Still, they have great virtues, if you are willing to replace old records when they get hissy.  Special releases were and still are created for the high end market that are particularly good: half-speed masters pressed on pure virgin vinyl or direct-to-disk masters that are then pressed on virgin vinyl and destroyed after a certain number of records are pressed. 

Then again, few people have ears good enough to benefit, and the cost is far from trivial.
The audiophile ethos was for someone with a generous budget easy enough to understand: if one could hear the difference then one might as well pay the difference for a difference in sound quality. People might also buy it as a status symbol. A loud, colorful work like Bruckner's Fourth Symphony would justify both delicacy of sound reproduction and a very deep bass. Of course if you lived in an apartment with thin walls and had the potential for a hostile audience in the next apartment, someone might knock on your door and tell you "Turn off that Nazi music*!", then maybe you could not get away with music so powerful and loud, and needing a full hour to appreciate.

More people living in apartments implies more people having to make compromises on what they listen to, at what time, and at what volume. So perhaps the revival of vinyl is very much an elite phenomenon, something restricted to well-educated people (classical music remains a habit for people high in social-economic status, but folk and jazz are going that way, too) who still live in single-family housing. That said, audiophile sound was never for the budget-conscious then, and it is not now. It took three things: cost of the equipment and the material, adequate space (itself costly except in rural areas), and a genuine appreciation of music.

*I understand that classical music is very popular in Israel.
I have noticed that the selections of classical music available on vinyl (I am not buying into the craze) is rich in loud orchestral scores (from Mozart piano concertos to Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra) but few delicate chamber works. No string quartets.
I don't think it was compact disks that were the problem. I think it was portable music players and compressed formats that offered much lower fidelity than compact disks. Once the iPod and other portable music players became the rule, new generations could no longer hear the difference between different recordings of the same piece, so noone bought new recordings merely because they featured a different artist.
(02-01-2017, 01:15 PM)Warren Dew Wrote: [ -> ]I don't think it was compact disks that were the problem.  I think it was portable music players and compressed formats that offered much lower fidelity than compact disks.  Once the iPod and other portable music players became the rule, new generations could no longer hear the difference between different recordings of the same piece, so noone bought new recordings merely because they featured a different artist.

Interesting view. Maybe it is also the decision of music suppliers that pop music offers the one value that Big Business cherishes -- profit. Compression is loss in musical reproduction. For people who have been listening to music on iPod and other such schlock formats, vinyl is an unqualified improvement.

I am surprised that record companies have yet to push music on Blu-ray discs. I can think of a sales pitch for such recordings -- "Listen beyond the notes! Hear more!" Record companies could put more music, without loss, on one Blu-ray disc. They could also put such accompaniments as the scores of the music available as video.

Record companies would sell 'songs' that extol murdering one's family if such could outsell a recording of Schubert's Octet. Listening to a performance of that delightful, life-affirming, but psychologically-complex work turned me away from suicide at one desperate moment. I was that messed up a few months ago, and it wasn't on drugs or booze.
I just saw the words "high definition" placed on a box containing some inexpensive, mass-market speakers. I doubt that means "high fidelity" as I understood it.
(02-25-2018, 04:50 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: [ -> ]I just saw the words "high definition"  placed on a box containing some inexpensive, mass-market speakers. I doubt that means "high fidelity" as I understood it.

This is certainly true.  Today, you can buy reproduction equipment at literally any level of audio quality you wish, though acquiring superior source material is much more difficult.  My ears are no longer good enough to benefit from the best, or even close to the best, equipment, so I soldier on with the equipment I already own.  I doubt I would buy the high-end stuff even if cost was no barrier.  A lot of it is sold for vanity, like the turntable I included in an earlier post.

But getting to the discussion of High Definition (more accurately, high resolution), there are formats that offer that.  I purchased a Blu-Ray player that supported many of them, yet have acquired none to date.  They are out there, if you're willing to pay.  The most commonly available format is Super Audio CD or SACD.  I've heard them; they're stunning.  They're also pricy and only available in very limited titles.  Here's one source.  You will need a suitable player.
I'm more of a word and picture than sound person (which is not to say I don't like music, only that I've never really been an audiophile) but I recently retired my 10+ year old Samsung K3 mp3 player (which served me well for several thousand runs and walks, but was starting not to stay charged, had strange lines on the display, and the fake chrome bezel had long ago worn off - not a bad deal for the 35 bucks I had paid for it though, refurbished). Anyhow, I fast discovered that while the mass market for digital audio players has just about dried up (phones and all), there's a booming niche market for upscale dacs: Astell and Kern is the schmancy brand, and the highest end walkman (remember those?) is thousands of dollars. But I was just curious enough to get myself a $139 FiiO X3 II, and woh-uh it sounds amazing (even to my analog-biased ears) - and you can stream through it (via usb). It does bare bones/acoustic recordings best - Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" is pure magic, and the Indigo Girls doing "Come Together" sounds like they're in your living room - but pretty much everything is very improved over what I'm used to.
I do not fully trust sound quality over the Internet, but there is much material available only through the Internet except through difficult means.

I was satisfied that the pristine vinyl disk if new and played on a high-quality turntable with an excellent needle and cartridge was as good as a compact disc. I thought the compact disc less vulnerable to stretching and shrinking with temperature flux which happens even within a day between night and direct sunlight, dust, and the inevitable degradation of phonograph needles. That explains why I went from vinyl discs to compact discs in the 1980s and why I consider the fad of the vinyl disc suspect. I am surprised that the recorded-music industry never adopted Blu-Ray technology. Maybe Blu-Ray technology could put more material on one disc, especially in classical music, where there is a gigantic back catalogue. Putting all nine Beethoven symphonies on one Blu-ray disc is obviously less profitable than putting them on five ordinary compact discs (two symphonies except the ninth on one disc). With the disc could come such goodies as music scores that music lovers might want to follow.

But there is the huge back catalogue, and the record industry prefers that it not be available so that people can be induced to buy something new. I am not convinced. Recording quality with late-stage acoustic recording was as satisfying as the new technology of digital recording. Note also that sound quality often reflects such attributes of an orchestra as intonation and ensemble, and the powerful effect of the recording venue. Recordings of the Cleveland Orchestra with George Szell (who was much appreciated as a conductor) were typically compromised by the venue in which the recordings were made, much in contrast to those made by the Boston Symphony. Spherical halls do not work as well as rectangular halls for recording.
I'm not a sound person, as I said, so I don't know how all that works, but I have learned a few things about imaging, which may or may not be analogous. The longstanding film/digital debate usually turns on perceptions - subjectivity rather than objectivity, in other words - but there are concrete differences between the two (most of which, but not all, favor film).

The contention, mostly peddled by dslr makers, that the human eye can only see 16 million colors (which is to say 8 bit with 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling - what you get shooting H264 or MP4 on your whatever camera) is both empirically true, but also likely misleading. Through something I've seen referred to as color smoothing, the hvs can detect smoother or harsher transitions in color and contrast. As it stands, pro digital cinema cameras shoot 12 or more bit raw and or log video, which have (at least, I think, at 14 or more bit - it's a quick math problem) a color depth in the billions. If the 16 million outside limit was all there was to the story, there'd be no reason (other than clipping in post) to shoot raw video, or even stills. Color depth in film is infinite (and even though most distribution now is digital rather than prints scanners can still capture higher bit depths than digital cinema cameras).

So I guess what I'm wondering is: do ears work in a similar way such that analog or analog-to-digital is still better than digital? Dunno.

Another thing about film v digital is format size. Historically, photographers tended to work in the largest reasonable/feasible format, largely because the larger the format the more fine detail that can be resolved. A picture, all other things being equal, taken on a 4x5 view camera is going to look better than the same one taken on a small or medium format camera - and not just blown up to poster or wall size, but even just as snapshot/print size.
So, in film-only times, people who shot small format (35mm) tended to be news, sports, and wildlife photographers (largely because they needed long telephotos, which would be ginormous, or even more so than they already are, as well as even more insanely expensive). Medium format tended to be for weddings, and some portrait, fine art, and landscape work. And large format was always the gold standard for landscape/architecture, as well as for portraits and fine art when applicable.

What's happened with digital is that logic/understanding has been tossed out the window. Digital sensors top at about halfway between 35mm/"full frame" and the smallest medium format, 645 (not to mention the fact that the camera in question, the newish top end Phase One, costs like 50 grand - you could 20-some complete 645 film outfits for that price). So, basically, much or almost everything is shot on small or ultra-small format now.
Yet another issue is exposure. At the same exposure values (ev), digital sensors are able to resolve more shadow detail, and film is able to resole more highlight detail without blowing out the bright spots. (Something like 90% of digital raw files are devoted to preserving and even reconstructing highlight detail.)

Finally, I think, there's the issue of resolution. Film, of course, doesn't work in megapixels, and different film stocks have different "resolutions," but the guesstimate of at least 75mp of usable detail in a 35mm still by internet photo guy Ken Rockwell sounds reasonable enough.
(02-27-2018, 10:47 PM)linus Wrote: [ -> ]I'm more of a word and picture than sound person (which is not to say I don't like music, only that I've never really been an audiophile) but I recently retired my 10+ year old Samsung K3 mp3 player (which served me well for several thousand runs and walks, but was starting not to stay charged, had strange lines on the display, and the fake chrome bezel had long ago worn off - not a bad deal for the 35 bucks I had paid for it though, refurbished). Anyhow, I fast discovered that while the mass market for digital audio players has just about dried up (phones and all), there's a booming niche market for upscale dacs: Astell and Kern is the schmancy brand, and the highest end walkman (remember those?) is thousands of dollars. But I was just curious enough to get myself a $139 FiiO X3 II, and woh-uh it sounds amazing (even to my analog-biased ears) - and you can stream through it (via usb). It does bare bones/acoustic recordings best - Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" is pure magic, and the Indigo Girls doing "Come Together" sounds like they're in your living room - but pretty much everything is very improved over what I'm used to.

This kind of shows how much music is missing from mp3s.
(02-28-2018, 04:00 PM)linus Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not a sound person, as I said, so I don't know how all that works, but I have learned a few things about imaging, which may or may not be analogous. The longstanding film/digital debate usually turns on perceptions - subjectivity rather than objectivity, in other words - but there are concrete differences between the two (most of which, but not all, favor film).

I remember that in the 1970s (that obviously dates me) seeing a sticker commonplace in record shops  on the cellophane covers of phonograph records that said "Records are your best entertainment value". Buying a phonograph record was less expensive than going to some concert unless the concert was free, in which case the record stores encouraged you to go to it and hear what live music sounds like.

We would never see that on a music CD today. A video disc might be in a bargain bin in Wal*Mart for $5, and for that you spend less than for a ticket to a movie. That is about as expensive as an old acoustic recording (sound only) that lasts about 40 minutes. 40-minute feature film or 90-minute feature film -- which is the better buy?

This said, music is a legitimate pastime, but music without images is something that one usually enjoys while doing something else -- like driving a car in  a 40-mile commute, posting material on the web, or cooking from scratch. We want as many senses engaged as possible at once, which is human. This said, high fidelity is a strongly-desirable objective where possible. Obviously, road noise will compromise your listening experience if you are in a car. I cannot say, though, that listening to great music in a visual vacuum won't give one a hallucination of images any more than that I hear hallucinations when seeing great art in complete silence. Most people want to hear music as well as possible, and any compromises are out of convenience (one can't take one's household stereo with one) or limited funds. My sound system is an old DVD player now exclusively plays back audio CDs because it is obsolete for playing back video, a run-of-the-mill stereo receiver, a pair of bookshelf speakers now just over twenty years old (they still sound great!), a subwoofer to expand the bass response instead of buying a pair of all-in-one speakers, and now a reader device that I now dedicate to YouTube videos of classical music.

Quote:The contention, mostly peddled by dslr makers, that the human eye can only see 16 million colors (which is to say 8 bit with 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling - what you get shooting H264 or MP4 on your whatever camera) is both empirically true, but also likely misleading. Through something I've seen referred to as color smoothing, the hvs can detect smoother or harsher transitions in color and contrast. As it stands, pro digital cinema cameras shoot 12 or more bit raw and or log video, which have (at least, I think, at 14 or more bit - it's a quick math problem) a color depth in the billions. If the 16 million outside limit was all there was to the story, there'd be no reason (other than clipping in post) to shoot raw video, or even stills. Color depth in film is infinite (and even though most distribution now is digital rather than prints scanners can still capture higher bit depths than digital cinema cameras).

So I guess what I'm wondering is: do ears work in a similar way such that analog or analog-to-digital is still better than digital? Dunno.

Yes, it is analogous to sound. You can hear sound down to a certain frequency (about 16Hz if you are a child never exposed to deafening sounds, and somewhat higher if you have used a lawn mower) -- but you can probably feel vibrations through your feet. Organ pipes yield fundamentals below the threshold of aural hearing, but that one can feel. A truly-satisfying experience in music, as at an organ concert, entails feeling the sub-audible fundamentals from those giant pipes.

Quote:Another thing about film v digital is format size. Historically, photographers tended to work in the largest reasonable/feasible format, largely because the larger the format the more fine detail that can be resolved. A picture, all other things being equal, taken on a 4x5 view camera is going to look better than the same one taken on a small or medium format camera - and not just blown up to poster or wall size, but even just as snapshot/print size.

Sight and sound are not perfect analogies, but visual resolution and audio fidelity are ideals worthy of achievement.

Quote:So, in film-only times, people who shot small format (35mm) tended to be news, sports, and wildlife photographers (largely because they needed long telephotos, which would be ginormous, or even more so than they already are, as well as even more insanely expensive). Medium format tended to be for weddings, and some portrait, fine art, and landscape work. And large format was always the gold standard for landscape/architecture, as well as for portraits and fine art when applicable.

What's happened with digital is that logic/understanding has been tossed out the window. Digital sensors top at about halfway between 35mm/"full frame" and the smallest medium format, 645 (not to mention the fact that the camera in question, the newish top end Phase One, costs like 50 grand - you could 20-some complete 645 film outfits for that price). So, basically, much or almost everything is shot on small or ultra-small format now.
Yet another issue is exposure. At the same exposure values (ev), digital sensors are able to resolve more shadow detail, and film is able to resole more highlight detail without blowing out the bright spots. (Something like 90% of digital raw files are devoted to preserving and even reconstructing highlight detail.)

Of course a digital zoom does much of what SLR lenses used to do, and digital SLR cameras are desirable for those who want tricky lens shots  -- fish-eye, wide-angles, and the like. It is also possible that 35mm film is somehow better than digital storage. On the other side, I have taken about 1000 photographs (many of them failures, but if I get 100 artistic successes out of 1000 camera shots and 300 useful as snapshots, I am doing far better than making 200 photos with expensive film and processing and going to great efforts to arrange things so that I don;t waste precious film.

Quote:Finally, I think, there's the issue of resolution. Film, of course, doesn't work in megapixels, and different film stocks have different "resolutions," but the guesstimate of at least 75mp of usable detail in a 35mm still by internet photo guy Ken Rockwell sounds reasonable enough.

OK, 35-mm film is no more measured in pixels than one can measure vision in digital bits.  But both digital cameras and digital recording both translate something resembling a sensory experience into digital bits.
Interesting insights pb2a. I have this secret fantasy of having a pipe organ in my house.
Why do LPs sound so good?
Quote:The LP boom shows no signs of slowing, and no one really knows why.


November 24, 2018 10:17 AM PST


   by Steve Guttenberg

November 24, 2018 10:17 AM PST


Quote:The continuing audiophile fascination with LPs is a mystery, LPs are ancient tech, records can be noisy, they're fragile, expensive and they take up a lot of space. The best turntables, high quality phono cartridges, and preamps can cost a fortune. Even so, a lot of audiophiles still favor LPs, I know I do.

Playing audio files is gigantically more convenient than playing an LP, digital converter technology is getting better every year, and high-resolution files are clearer than the best LPs. Digital is eminently portable; LP playback is strictly a stay-at-home affair. So why are audiophiles still clinging to LPs? Ask them why, and they all say the sound comes first -- and I agree. Music sounds better played on a good turntable than it does from files or CDs.

The sound is the thing, but I'd also concede "gear love" is part of the reason we love playing LPs. Turntables look and feel cool. Digital gear is less touchy-feely, and with smart speakers you can play all the music you want without ever touching them. Digital audio is more like an appliance -- it just gets the job done without asking much from you. Maybe that's part of the reason LP fanatics find digital soulless.

https://www.cnet.com/news/why-do-lps-sound-so-good/

As someone who scrapped vinyl for CDs back in the 1980s, I can tell you that a new vinyl disc in the 1970s was as good as the digital CDs being released in the 1980s. Analogue recording was an art in itself, and the recording engineers of the time were themselves musicians to the extent that they knew what sounded good. I am tempted to believe that the digital recording devices were not as good as the trained ears of the analog recording engineers, and that usually showed.

The problem with the vinyl LP was that it is subject to warping, wear, and damage as a compact disc isn't. You can play a compact disc 200 times, and it will play as well as the first time or it will not play back well at all. That might not be so with a vinyl disc that has been subjected to the heat flux that occurs in a bedroom that endures a day-to-night difference in temperature and solar exposure, especially in a sunny climate. Air conditioning is not enough to prevent that  stretching and contraction that causes the vinyl to deteriorate. Then there is the needle that inevitably gets damaged and starts doing to a vinyl disk what dog claws can do to your flesh. At least you can heal from an inadvertent dog scratch (which is a very nasty injury that can require hospitalization), but vinyl disks can't make such a recovery.

I came to prefer CDs that had been transposed from analogue recordings of the 1970s, when the art of analogue recording was at its best. Yes, the playing of a vinyl disk is something of a ritual, whether one listens to a Mozart mass or Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps (OK, I have just exposed that I am a fan of classical music) that begins with selecting a disc from the information on its spine, pulling the sleeve out of the jacket or box, removing the disc gingerly and putting it on the platter, using a brush to remove the dust, and setting the tonearm and as a consequence the needle upon the disc, and then starting the disc. That is much less than one does when feeding a CD into an old DVD player (which is adequate because there is little audible distinction between CD players -- speaker quality and speaker placement are far more important).

I have bought 35-year-old compact discs as alternative recordings and found them none the worse for wear and storage. I could tell how old the disk was because of the faded color on the paper and that the disc had come from now-defunct Columbia House record club.

I do not see myself going on a nostalgic trip to vinyl. In any event much that we consider sound quality is performance (intonation and ensemble), which explains why a recording from the 1930s of Herbert von Karajan performing the overture of Die Zauberflöte with the Berlin Philharmonic could sound good. Odious as Nazi Germany was, the Nazi officials were still proud of the musical heritage of German-speaking composers (so long as they were "Aryan", which rules out such masters as Mendelssohn and Mahler) and the performance of great orchestras. Analogue sound? Sure -- and it was wonderful.

In fact no matter what the sound one eventually hears analogue anyway through speakers or headphones. I have a reader dedicated to providing music from YouTube to my stereo as if the reader were a turntable or CD player. Availability matters, too.  Many excellent live performances have never been put on any commercial LP or CD.
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