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Sound reproduction and playback
#1
I hereby start a new thread on the reproduction of sound (largely music for its own sake)  here and now.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#2
(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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#3
(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!"
#ImpeachTrump
#ProsecuteTreason
#HUAC2.0
#RealNationalism
#NaziPunksFOff


Mark 13:22 - "For there shall rise false Christs and false prophets, and they shall give signs and wonders, to seduce, if possible, also the chosen."


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#4
(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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#5
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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#6
(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]
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#7
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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#8
(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.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#9
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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#10
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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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#11
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.
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#12
(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.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool" -- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, V.i


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