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the importance of analog sound in prog

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pkos76 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pkos76 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: the importance of analog sound in prog
    Posted: September 17 2012 at 07:17
as i understand in order to apreciate prog you should pay attension in detail  especially in the techique of the musicians.this detail only analog sound can offer to you.many prog gems like early genesis albums i started to love them when i listened them in vinyl format.i want to know if other proggers of this forum aggree with me   
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Snow Dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 07:31
I prefer CD. Always have done, always will.
Coldness doth get away with the badness.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 09:59

Early Genesis albums are horribly produced - whatever subjective benefit you think there is in analogue it is wasted on those albums. In terms of dynamic range, signal to noise, channel separation and frequency response digital beats analogue every time. If you prefer analogue then that's a different kettle of monkeys altogether but when it comes to attention to detail and hearing things deep in the mix then digital is the best option. For example while Dark Side of the Moon is rightfully held up as the epitome of analogue recording there is far more detail to be heard in the CD remasters than can be heard in the original analogue masters. You may still prefer the analogue versions (and many people do), but that's not because they are superior in any technical sense, it's purely a subjective liking of what you hear.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote altaeria Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 10:15

I prefer the "imperfect" recordings of the classic albums...
because I feel that THAT is exactly what gave each album (and studio) its unique identity.

Modern albums all sound like they were recorded on the same computer...
using the same sterilizing software.. in the same pristine studio environment.

This may not completely be an "analog vs. digital" situation-- but I'm sure it plays a big part.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 10:43
Originally posted by pkos76

as i understand in order to apreciate prog you should pay attension in detail  especially in the techique of the musicians.this detail only analog sound can offer to you.many prog gems like early genesis albums i started to love them when i listened them in vinyl format.i want to know if other proggers of this forum aggree with me   

Good question!  I enjoyed vinyl, but the insistent pops & hiss ruined the aural experience. 

One of my CD treasures is a VERY early CD release of CTTE!  Basically, the label took the actual studio tapes (as Eddie Offord would have heard them) and directly converted these to digital, warts/hiss and all. 

Quite brilliant!  Bruford's drumming (especially his cymbals) REALLY leap out on this one!   Plus, it doesn't have all the "digitally remastered" aspects that I am leery about....who does this re-mastering?  How well did they know the original music? 

The KC re-masters seem fine, but otherwise, I've heard some product that I just don't like.  Plus, the re-releases are jammed with all sorts of "extras" such as studio out-takes etc.  Nice to hear once perhaps, but I don't really need them. 

I'd say that the vinyl of TFTO is superior to my digitally re-mastered set....for some reason, they added all sorts of ambient music before "Revealing Science of God."  Perhaps Yes planned it this way originally, but it is hard to beat the amazing, sudden vocal intro on the original release! 

Oh well, I'm just Grumpy Old Chuck! 


Edited by cstack3 - September 17 2012 at 10:44
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Post Options Post Options   Quote richardh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 14:13

I used to have a vinyl copy of Aphrodites Child 666 album and it was was obviously superior to the CD equivalent that I now listen to although the CD has the same detail.The track that highlights this fact most is Altamont. An absolute monster on Vinyl that just sounds very ordinary on CD. Vinyl gives you more depth and the bass is very different especially. I think for early recordings (ie 1967- 1971) it may well be that you need Vinyl to appreciate the music best but after that the difference probably gets less noticeable I suspect.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hercules Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 15:47
Originally posted by Dean

Early Genesis albums are horribly produced - whatever subjective benefit you think there is in analogue it is wasted on those albums. In terms of dynamic range, signal to noise, channel separation and frequency response digital beats analogue every time. If you prefer analogue then that's a different kettle of monkeys altogether but when it comes to attention to detail and hearing things deep in the mix then digital is the best option. For example while Dark Side of the Moon is rightfully held up as the epitome of analogue recording there is far more detail to be heard in the CD remasters than can be heard in the original analogue masters. You may still prefer the analogue versions (and many people do), but that's not because they are superior in any technical sense, it's purely a subjective liking of what you hear.

 
Digital is horribly 2 dimensional and has no front to back imagery. And digital does NOT have a better dynamic range - indeed many recordings are very compressed. And the frequency response on a good vinyl is way beyond the range of human hearing (mine is 32 to 33kHz +/- 3db) so digital offers no advantage that you can actually hear.
 
I use a Pink Triangle Anniversary with an SME V arm and Lyra Lydian cartridge and I don't own a CD player because I couldn't find one to compare with my budget of 10k.
 
The vinyl shows much more detail and tonal accuracy than any CD I've heard. Digital does score on signal to noise and lateral channel separation, but that's no compensation overall.
 
As for the early Genesis albums, Trespass and Nursery Cryme sound like they were recorded in a swimming pool with the water in!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Josef_K Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 16:33
Originally posted by Dean

Early Genesis albums are horribly produced - whatever subjective benefit you think there is in analogue it is wasted on those albums. In terms of dynamic range, signal to noise, channel separation and frequency response digital beats analogue every time. If you prefer analogue then that's a different kettle of monkeys altogether but when it comes to attention to detail and hearing things deep in the mix then digital is the best option. For example while Dark Side of the Moon is rightfully held up as the epitome of analogue recording there is far more detail to be heard in the CD remasters than can be heard in the original analogue masters. You may still prefer the analogue versions (and many people do), but that's not because they are superior in any technical sense, it's purely a subjective liking of what you hear.


I more or less agree with you here, with the exception (I guess) that I REALLY like the sound of vinyl and I actually enjoy the "horrible" sound of some old analog recordings, at least the Genesis albums. What I can't stand is sterile and dead productions, which is of course not the result you always get with digital production, but it is easier to fall into that trap, especially with the limiting war going on where everything has to get LOUDER and LOUDER all the time for some strange reason... Artists and producers all over the world are killing the art they are creating themselves, but digital technology is not to blame. It can be used properly with smashing results.

Personally I don't look for detail in a good production, not after a certain point at least. I look for warmth in the sound. A perfect example is the intro to "Watcher of the Skies". I had heard it several times on digital media when I first bought Foxtrot on vinyl. Now, I don't know which reissue I have, it might even have gone through some digital treatment (my best guess is that it's from the 80s though, it's not brand new at least), but it sounds much warmer and more balanced, the intro feels more dynamic and you can actually feel all the subtle changes in that mellotron sound. I just can't get that impression from digital media, but I do agree with you that this is all very subjective. If you enjoy your CDs more, then congratulations, you just saved yourself lots of money!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Manuel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 16:50
Originally posted by cstack3

Originally posted by pkos76

as i understand in order to apreciate prog you should pay attension in detail  especially in the techique of the musicians.this detail only analog sound can offer to you.many prog gems like early genesis albums i started to love them when i listened them in vinyl format.i want to know if other proggers of this forum aggree with me   

Good question!  I enjoyed vinyl, but the insistent pops & hiss ruined the aural experience. 

One of my CD treasures is a VERY early CD release of CTTE!  Basically, the label took the actual studio tapes (as Eddie Offord would have heard them) and directly converted these to digital, warts/hiss and all. 

Quite brilliant!  Bruford's drumming (especially his cymbals) REALLY leap out on this one!   Plus, it doesn't have all the "digitally remastered" aspects that I am leery about....who does this re-mastering?  How well did they know the original music? 

The KC re-masters seem fine, but otherwise, I've heard some product that I just don't like.  Plus, the re-releases are jammed with all sorts of "extras" such as studio out-takes etc.  Nice to hear once perhaps, but I don't really need them. 

I'd say that the vinyl of TFTO is superior to my digitally re-mastered set....for some reason, they added all sorts of ambient music before "Revealing Science of God."  Perhaps Yes planned it this way originally, but it is hard to beat the amazing, sudden vocal intro on the original release! 

Oh well, I'm just Grumpy Old Chuck! 

Yes, this is quite close to the way I see it and feel about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 17:10
Originally posted by Dean

...You may still prefer the analogue versions (and many people do), but that's not because they are superior in any technical sense, it's purely a subjective liking of what you hear.
  
Funny thing on the way to the forum ... I was listening to some of the remasterd KC ... and I can not find any "difference" inside my mind that I had not "seen" before by listening to the music from the LP's!
 
I never have heard music by its "technical" design, and tend to just close my eyes and let the images come to life ... and my definition of "good music" usually tends to be centered around its color and that inner movie.
 
"Dark Side of the Moon" was nice ... but the American pressing was absolute crap. And when I heard the remastered version a while back, guess what? ... it sounded exactly like the English pressing LP, that I bought 28 years ago ... because it was better than the American LP -- WITH the posters and the extras!
 
To me, this "difference" is almost like talking about or reading "The Doors of Perception" ... or listening to music under the influence ... it always seems like it has more "shine", than before ... but I do not believe this is true, and I have never found this to be "true" in my own experiences. I did not have the reactions that Jung, or Huxley or Castaneda had, though in the "dreaming" I do have the same surreal happenings.
 
All in all, TO ME ... it is about the music and how it lives ... and it is rather strange that we think that if it is done left handed it will sound better than right handed! ... so to speak!
 
I wonder if sometimes we are super imposing our own wishes, desires and dreams and visions onto the music itself ... to find another reason as to why we should like it.  To me the music lives or it doesn't live! I don't look at Dean as black and white, and neither do I look at Snow Doc as green or blue, and neither do I look at Trice as yellow or purple ... they are ... who they are and a part of an excellent group that should have gotten an award at the Prog Awards! 
 
It's great already as it is ... !!!


Edited by moshkito - September 17 2012 at 17:11
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 17:13
Originally posted by Hercules

Originally posted by Dean

Early Genesis albums are horribly produced - whatever subjective benefit you think there is in analogue it is wasted on those albums. In terms of dynamic range, signal to noise, channel separation and frequency response digital beats analogue every time. If you prefer analogue then that's a different kettle of monkeys altogether but when it comes to attention to detail and hearing things deep in the mix then digital is the best option. For example while Dark Side of the Moon is rightfully held up as the epitome of analogue recording there is far more detail to be heard in the CD remasters than can be heard in the original analogue masters. You may still prefer the analogue versions (and many people do), but that's not because they are superior in any technical sense, it's purely a subjective liking of what you hear.

 
Digital is horribly 2 dimensional and has no front to back imagery. And digital does NOT have a better dynamic range - indeed many recordings are very compressed. And the frequency response on a good vinyl is way beyond the range of human hearing (mine is 32 to 33kHz +/- 3db) so digital offers no advantage that you can actually hear.
 
I use a Pink Triangle Anniversary with an SME V arm and Lyra Lydian cartridge and I don't own a CD player because I couldn't find one to compare with my budget of 10k.
 
The vinyl shows much more detail and tonal accuracy than any CD I've heard. Digital does score on signal to noise and lateral channel separation, but that's no compensation overall.
 
As for the early Genesis albums, Trespass and Nursery Cryme sound like they were recorded in a swimming pool with the water in!
I like subjectiveness and I like objectiveness, I can also read product specs and I understand the technology at engineering level so I am perfectly capable of making objective comparisons - all I need for subjective comparisons are two ears and a brain and I as I appear to have those I am capable of that too.
 
How you measure "detail" and "tonal accuracy" [*shudder*] is purely subjective and moreover, it is subjective without a point of reference. And there is nothing wrong in that, except that means it is not absolute and it is not definitive, it just means you preferred what you heard on vinyl, and that's cool.
 
(Please note that it is the recordings that are compressed and that has nothing to do with the storage/playback media, compression happened on analogue recordings too, and if the current fashion for loud playback was around in the 70s then the same mastering "trickery" would have been used then too. As it was compression was used in the 70s to squeeze more time onto a side of a disc, so if you have an album with an hour of music on one disc you can guarantee it is very compressed.)
 
If what you hear pleases you then you have the system you like and that's all anyone can ask. I have the capability to playback both digital and analogue and have no overriding preference except digital is infinitely more convenient and considerably less fragile. Vinyl (especially coupled to a valve amp) is soo cool and esthetically pleasing, but it ain't perfection, but then we've learnt that perfection is absolutely not what we are looking for - we don't want (or like) perfectly flat responses and perfectly noiseless systems - we like the imperfections that the media imposes, we like the indefinable and the unmeasurable essence that each system possesses. Some analogue recordings are great and some are rubbish, some digital recordings are great and some are rubbish because they were made by humans, artistic humans - which is why the early Genesis recordings are not very good even though they were recorded in one of the most state of the art studios at the time (Trident).
 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote pitfall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 17:25
I do not think that most people listen to music on a technical level, so to say that digital is superior on a technical level is rather superfluous.
My view is that the analogue medium is far more important in the creation of the music in the first place.
I am not anti digital, and have quite a lot of it in my studio, but I hardly ever use it, as analogue instruments and effects sound infinitely better to my ears.
In fact I'd say that the rise of digital has led to a reduction in the quality of music being made.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 17:39
Originally posted by pitfall

I do not think that most people listen to music on a technical level, so to say that digital is superior on a technical level is rather superfluous.
My view is that the analogue medium is far more important in the creation of the music in the first place.
I am not anti digital, and have quite a lot of it in my studio, but I hardly ever use it, as analogue instruments and effects sound infinitely better to my ears.
In fact I'd say that the rise of digital has led to a reduction in the quality of music being made.
Confused As I have repeatedly said  - it's all down to (subjective) preference. Few here (well, me for certain, but I honestly don't know about anyone else) has the ability to measure any technical responses of any system. Even the most ardent analogue enthusiast simply puts together systems based upon a subjective assessment of what they sound like (and when audiophilist equipment is specified with such non-technical parlance that is all they can do). If you prefer analogue instruments and effects over digital because they sound "better" to your ears then all the better, because if you believe you are using "better" equipment it will encourage you to make full use of it.
 
The implication of your last statement is that the use of analogue instruments should result to an improvement in the quality of music being made, and I think that has yet to be proven. Personally I believe a good craftsman really can make a silk purse out of a pigs ear. Rick Wakeman in his one-man shows tells the story of working with David Bowie, he asked Bowie why he had a battered old 12-string guitar in the studio when he had access to the best guitars money could buy, the answer he got was "If a song sounds good on that it will sound good on anything."


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Post Options Post Options   Quote stonebeard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 17:57
Whether the end medium the user experienced is analog (vinyl) or digital (.wav, CD) has almost no relevance, except in the fact that analog mediums are much more limited in their ability to produce dynamic range and that they degrade faster.

Analog gear in recording is much more important. While we have made a ton of strides in digital processing in the last decade, emulations only get you so far, and the reason a lot of old recordings sound great and pleasing is the consoles, rack gear, effects, and microphones were analog, tube or high-quality condenser, and that gear gave a unique flavor to the audio.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Zargasheth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 18:03
I haven't done much in-depth comparison of CD and vinyl--I've mostly depended on the CD format, for purposes of thrift, and because I don't really care that much.
But the one time I did try measuring up a CD and vinyl album against each other was when, as an experiment, I played my CD of Close to the Edge alongside my dad's vinyl copy and switched off. The CD sounded noticeably clearer and sharper to me. This hasn't impaired my appreciation of CTTE on vinyl or CD, and it could just be that my dad doesn't have a good record player, but I don't really find the "imperfections" of vinyl to be an important or beneficial element of the music.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ytse_Jam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 19:31
If I have to choose between vinyl and cd I usually choose the first one, firstly because my record player is much better than my cd player, and then because of what vinyl format means to me. It's a matter of form to me, the ritual behind it, the authentic taste that accompanies this format, the hours spent in the dusty record stores. I absolutely am not against technology and innovation, I'm just for a more authentic approach to music, but of course this is MY point of view. However, I think that the differences between vinyl and cd usually become noticeable when comparing expensive hi-fi systems, owned by a reduced number of audiophiles. In most cases, then, talking about "analog sounds better" is pretty ridiculous since most people (me first) do not have the necessary equipment to do a serious comparison.

Edited by Ytse_Jam - September 17 2012 at 19:32
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 20:47
All formsof technology have their benefits and their limits.  I still listen to much of my old vinyl, but not that often since I almost never pick up anything new in that format.  I also still listen to my old cassette tapes more often than the vinyl, but that is a matter of convenience. I tend to prefer the cleaner sound of CDs and digital.  The "warmer" sound of vinyl is usually off-set by pops, cracks, and wear & tear - and I keep good care of my records.  There is something tactile and satisfying with vinyl records though, that neither cassettes nor CDs match which is completely different from downloading.
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 22:39

As usual Dean makes an excellent technical arguement for digital to analog specs. Tech wise, specification wise, numbers wise...I agree that digital does win. But there also in lies some leeway.....Not all CDP are very good nor do they all sound very good. So here in lies a Y in the road....What are we talking about? The sound that comes from your laptop computer with a US$40 disc drive and $30 internal DAC?? Or a $500 CDP with a high end Wolfson DAC or even better a US$1200 CDP with dual DACs and separate power supply that is top loading? The options can be endless to make a CD sound gorgeous....but you may need a lot of cash. The same CD played on these two different players will give you two very distinctly different sounds....one that will sound like pure A$$ and the other will give you some digital goodness.

I have an excellent NAD C545BEE CDP with one of the better internal DACs, separate power regulators for digital and analog sections...It pulls music off the disc as good as any $1000 players I have heard.
I also have an external DAC which is tube based audio when I want my CDs to sound more "analoguee".
 
Now I have many CDs, and I also have a lot of vinyl, duplicates too. In almost all cases I prefer to listen to vinyl as I want that sound. Nothing beats vinyl/analog for a huge soundstage, if you prefer your music to wrap you up like a warm blanket in winter...then vinyl will do that. Some CDs can do that but at the expense of sounding too digital and causing ear fatigue.....which does exist. As Hercules said, digital is wayyyy too 2-dimensional for me, too much channel separation is not a good thing in music.
 
I too run a higher end vinyl setup a Music Hall mmf-7.1, Pro-Ject 9 carbon fiber arm with a Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge run thru a Phonomena II phonostage into my NAD C356BEE int amp.....I like the British sound so I pump all my music using Epos Epic 2 speakers.
 
My DSOtM anniversary copy blows away my 2 CD copies I have.......Sound wise everyone prefers the vinyl. All my Porcupine Tree vinyl is no comparison to the CD issues.
 
I agree there is the subjective arguement that Dean makes, I do prefer vinyl/analog sound to digital any day of the year..My intelligent mind tells me this cannot be, but my ears in this case is all that matters. I cannot argue the specs..its hard because in this audiophile hobby you are always looking for that better sound and you have to look at specs. But it is easy for me to say..vinyl sounds better. So in this case the tech numbers do not tell the whole story.
 
Now to the topic of old prog bands like Genesis....yea those first few records are horrid on vinyl. They sound like there is a blanket over my speakers. The recent remixes are much better and those are what I play, the original releases are put away for safe keeping since they are originals.
I do prefer the original releases of some though, like KC and ELP.....I use them as reference music where if I start to hear more music coming off the vinyl then I know I am mating certain gear very well.
Most older music released on CD does not sound good at all, if you get some of the recent remixed/remasterd CD issues they are better. But they can have that computer/techy sound to them and that is a turnoff....In some cases I can agree that listening to old prog on vinyl you do hear more, but that is rare, and you need the system that can do it.
With the revival of vinyl in the past 5-10yrs, I am hoping so much stuff gets redone...but cost is always the brickwall.
 
I don't listen to classical music or "elevator music"...so the occasional pop or click goes away once the music starts, but I am meticulous about my vinyl care so I don't experience much of that, its no concern of mine. I have vinyl that is 30+ yrs old and has no surface noise.
 
I appreciate what Dean says, being an electrical engineer you have to respect his knowledge of what the inside of these boxes do.
But when I sit down and listen to my system or go and audition something new I have interest in, usually those thoughts go away and my ears make my decision.
 
 
      
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JediJoker7169 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2012 at 03:00
Originally posted by Dean

...we don't want (or like) perfectly flat responses and perfectly noiseless systems - we like the imperfections that the media imposes, we like the indefinable and the unmeasurable essence that each system possesses.

I am a recording engineer, and I want (and like) the lowest amount of noise possible, and you had better believe I want the flattest frequency response possible from my monitoring gear.  Even for pleasure listening, for me, flat is where it's at.  Then again, I haven't had the opportunity to record "outside the box."  And, indeed, I do like the "warmth" of analog recordings and that certain je-ne-sais-quois, often referred to as coloration, of certain (analog and digital) studio gear.  Vinyl as a storage medium, however, is not sustainable.  Every time a vinyl record is played on a standard turntable, the stylus damages the disc.  This is unfortunately true of almost all analog storage media, including magnetic tape.

It is also true that digital recording technology affords greater possible dynamic range, due to a lower noise floor (among other things), but unfortunately, that is an advantage rarely exploited outside of the Classical and Jazz world.  If you're looking for a demonstration of the best aspects of full-digital recording, look no further than Flim & The BB's recordings on DMP Records: super-low noise, incredible dynamics, superior detail and transparency, with none of the sterility or "harshness" often associated with digital recordings.  Impeccable musicianship and formidable composition chops help, too.

What I really want to know is why DSD (SACD) has not become the universal digital audio standard.  It is vastly superior to PCM (CD, DVD-A, Blu-ray Audio and everything else) in its approximation of analog waveforms, leading to a warmer, more "analog-sounding" recording, without the drawbacks of analog technology.  And on top of that, why are optical discs still the primary storage medium of uncompressed (and losslessly compressed) audio recordings?  Other electronic components transitioned to solid state long ago (even if tubes sound great).  It's like we're still living in the '80s when it comes to high-end consumer audio.
Rock On,
- D.J. "Slick" Jicky Rones

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Joined: October 24 2007
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Post Options Post Options   Quote friso Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 18 2012 at 03:47
I think that if all classic prog albums were to receive a great remaster (like some Beatles albums have) the vinyl would only be more attractive for it's experience. If it comes to sound-quality the cd could be really good, but it just almost never is. The argument of specifications doens't apply, because those specifications are almost never used in a proper way.
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