Author Topic: Audio Equipment Thread  (Read 4849 times)

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #60 on: July 14, 2018, 12:26:22 PM »
Also there's loads of records that sound shit. CCR's Willie and the Poor Boys and Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers came out in 1969. Willie sounds great by any standards but Volunteers has levels all over the place. There's a remaster on spotify and you can tell they've tried quite hard but it's still not much better.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #61 on: July 14, 2018, 12:32:02 PM »
For new Vinyls reissues from Third Man Records sound good, but after hearing this 1977 record I am going to do a lot more digging.

I wish someone would start a crowd funding site for a new Vinyl pressing plant, because that record was phenomenal. Even though its just a bunch of theme tunes the sound was really different..

I feel like my eyes have been opened somewhat!

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #62 on: July 14, 2018, 12:38:30 PM »
For new Vinyls reissues from Third Man Records sound good, but after hearing this 1977 record I am going to do a lot more digging.

I wish someone would start a crowd funding site for a new Vinyl pressing plant, because that record was phenomenal. Even though its just a bunch of theme tunes the sound was really different..

I feel like my eyes have been opened somewhat!

Third Man is actually a new plant built by Jack White.
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/inside-jack-whites-new-vinyl-pressing-paradise-110569/

The BBC showed a film last year called American Epic that told the story of the first mobile record cutting machines and how they took them out to the swamps to record roots music. Then it has modern musicians like Nas and Rhiannon Giddens covering them. I think Jack White had something to do with the making of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIj5rFxeHFo

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #63 on: July 14, 2018, 01:02:08 PM »
There is chat surrounding new HD Vinyl. Basically using lasers to cut the templates which results in much more detailed grooves and better reproduction. This then paves they way for styluses that can fit perfectly into said groove increasing the detail dramatically.

https://hdvinyl.org

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #64 on: July 14, 2018, 01:07:07 PM »
I looked and that and thought it was a bit of a gimmick tbh. The full potential of vinyl as is isn't being realised half the time.

Not to mention loads of studios are still producing in 44.1khz/16bit.

I think something that will be interesting is when the resolution of 3d printers gets fine enough to 3d print a record. Someone's already written some software to do it and has printed a proof of concept but the technology isn't there yet.

http://www.amandaghassaei.com/projects/3D_printed_record/

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #65 on: July 14, 2018, 01:25:21 PM »
Not to mention loads of studios are still producing in 44.1khz/16bit.

I read something that said almost every cutting lathe in current use also has a 16-bit microcontroller so even if you've produced, mixed and mastered in analogue there's still a digital final stage.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #66 on: July 14, 2018, 01:27:39 PM »
I read something that said almost every cutting lathe in current use also has a 16-bit microcontroller so even if you've produced, mixed and mastered in analogue there's still a digital final stage.

Oh god it's like the time I took a photo I'd took to be professionally printed and had to get it exported to lossless .tiff only to look at the metadata on the back clearly state whatever went to the printer was now a .jpg.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #67 on: July 17, 2018, 05:10:52 PM »
So gents I got a Rega Phono Stage.. bloody nora what a difference a small bit of kit makes!

I also got an acrylic turntable matt thing.

Next month I'll be getting a Vinyl cleaning machine. If any of you VCs need to use it let me know, as I want to share the fun!

I need to find an equipment rack on the cheap soon as it looks like it might all fall apart soon :p

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #68 on: July 18, 2018, 11:30:16 AM »
I read something that said almost every cutting lathe in current use also has a 16-bit microcontroller so even if you've produced, mixed and mastered in analogue there's still a digital final stage.
At the professional level if they have any lathes upgraded to use microcontrollers it is only to control the speed of the stepper motors that move the cutting arm and spin the turntable. It's not in the audio path - the amplifiers and RIAA encoders are all analogue circuits. GZ, the world's biggest record manufacturer, have a system called Vinyl Visual Mastering that uses a computer to control the speed and arm position of the lathe to optimise the groove width and spacing to minimise distortion. The computer analyses the audio data (either directy from a digital master, or by digitising a tape master) prior to mastering, creating a virtual map of the groove which it can then use to control the lathe in real time.

GZ run 4 1980s Neumann VMS-82 Direct Metal Mastering lathes with full analogue audio paths. They use PrismSound Orpheus DA/AD converters for exporting digital masters to the lathes, or for making digital copies for the control system when VVM is being used with an analogue master). Last year Sony also installed a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe in their Tokyo studio for vinyl mastering.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 11:43:41 AM by buzby »

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #69 on: July 18, 2018, 10:18:06 PM »
Intriguing stuff!

I suggest the Third Man Records live stuff, it is so good and punchy!

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2018, 07:01:15 PM »
The saga continues...

I picked up some excellent quality records from my local record shop 5/6 need a good clean. (I am thinking of getting the pro-ject one - so if anyone wants to come to mine for a clean in the future your welcome!)

Anyway out of the records I picked up, there was this:-
https://www.discogs.com/The-Hollies-Confessions-Of-The-Mind/release/1576744

From 1970, this just sounds so damn good. Made in the UK by EMI it just has a phenomenal quality. The quality of the mastering rivals anything I heard today and really has a distinguishing sound that trounces the Spotify counterpart. I am running the Spotify version through a £1200 DAC and this still kicks the crap out of it.

This has proved to be an eye opener and slightly saddening that even the fabulous Third Man Records don't sound as well mastered as this EMI Vinyl.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #71 on: July 23, 2018, 01:12:09 AM »
This has proved to be an eye opener and slightly saddening that even the fabulous Third Man Records don't sound as well mastered as this EMI Vinyl.

Wait until you find something you like that was released or mastered and pressed e.g .Reader's Digest albums) by Decca...

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2018, 01:17:42 AM »
Wait until you find something you like that was released or mastered and pressed e.g .Reader's Digest albums) by Decca...

Tango in the night; and they say records can't sound as bright as cd's.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #73 on: July 27, 2018, 10:26:02 PM »
The pro-ject vinyl cleaner arrived.

Didn't realise it would be as good as to make most record shop 2nd hand stuff sound so pristine!
I'll be more adventurous now when I buy 2nd hand stuff.

I did some A/B comparisons of that Hollies album with Spotify's remastered version with my daughter who has far better hearing than I do.
Her observations were that the Spotify version sounds like there is no space in front of her, and the vocals sound like they are being shouted through a tin a can.

The biggest difference to me were the vocals and the orchestral pieces. Spotify may have badly mastered it, but man there is zero dynamics to it. I am glad I took the risk with vinyl

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #74 on: July 27, 2018, 10:51:04 PM »
That sounds like the Spotify version has been brickwalled. There's a sad irony in the fact that cd's can achieve much better dynamic range than an well mastered lp yet records tend to have more dynamic range because there's also a physical limitation on how hard you can compress things. As it happens, both yYoutube and Spotify are fighting back against the loudness war by limiting things based on a dr rating; you can compress things all you like but it'll not 'sound' louder as they'll wind the volume down, all you're doing is slicing off the peaks.

In terms of record shop cleaning, most aren't good,they make them look clean, I've seen one guy in my local do records with a bottle of lighter fluid and a rag that looks like he's been checking his engine oil. They sound crackly as fuck, but usually come up fine after a clean.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #75 on: July 28, 2018, 01:23:43 AM »
I noticed the other day watching Westworld when they played the Stones Play With Fire it sounded all digital and polished, but I just had a play about on spotify and they have the mono version, despite being 'remastered' in 2002 it's got loads of tape hiss and saturation all over it and it's really good. It's almost as if digital systems are perfectly capable of capturing this and it's all in the mastering and transit.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #76 on: July 28, 2018, 08:56:49 AM »
I think as much as I have found spotify useful in the past I am going to cancel it.

I get Tidal for £5.00 a month because I have a third man vault subscription.

I do find vinyl cleaning a laborious chore even with this machine :P I need to train my daughter up to automate it!

Have you guys seen Chord's M Scaler which got unveiled at Can Jam? - I can upscale CDs really well apparently.. I spoke to the guy who made it via head-fi and he's adamant its not just plugging data that isn't there in.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #77 on: July 28, 2018, 08:58:56 AM »
I wouldn't bother replacing Tidal for Spotify. They might do lossless but their library is tiny and full of heavily compressed rnb made by egomaniacs.

Also upscaling sounds like a terrible idea; 16/44.1 sounds great if done well (listen to Neil Young's Harvest and tell me it sounds 'digital'), it's almost certainly snake oil.

Don't get sucked into the pseudoscience area of audiophilia; I'd hate to see you buying a very expensive power lead or some magic pens to draw on cd's to stop the light shimmering.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #78 on: July 28, 2018, 09:32:51 AM »
I had the same concerns about the MScaler, not sure if what he's saying makes sense:-

"Interesting post - I am actually not adding in any more information - the information is all contained in the original bandwidth limited sampled signal. but what we have is sampled data, and what we need is a continuous un-sampled signal - and we need to do a huge amount of processing to do this without error. I will give you an example. Imagine a sine wave. You can state it's a sine wave; give its frequency and its amplitude. So the information content is fixed; but if you want a waveform of infinite length, and precision, then you would need an infinite amount of processing to create the infinite number of points. And with the sampled data, we can convert it to a continuous signal - with exactly the same information content - and recover the original bandwidth limited continuous signal - if and only if you do an infinite amount of processing and use an ideal sinc function interpolation filter. So I am not trying to create new information - actually we are converting from a sampled bandwidth limited signal to a continuous with exactly the same information. The problem with conventional filters is they are the ones that are adding extra information, as the interpolated signal is different from the original. What I am trying to do is merely reduce these errors, which are audible as it degrades the timing of transients - something which is essential from human psychoacoustics."

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #79 on: July 28, 2018, 09:37:54 AM »
Yeah that's bollocks.

Think of it like cutting something that's been sampled at a low sample rate to vinyl (which being analogue has an infinte sample-rate) and sampling it at a higher rate.

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #80 on: July 28, 2018, 10:42:01 AM »
The immediate comparison I thought of was interpolation on SD - HD up scalers.
It looks shit, so I can't imagine this being any better.

Its amazing he's trying to sell that for £3500 and I am sure there will be those who buy it..
I'll have a listen to see what it is about at my dealers obvs!

I think I should just collect my records and CDs now since I am relatively happy with my set up.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #81 on: July 28, 2018, 10:44:35 AM »
I had the same concerns about the MScaler, not sure if what he's saying makes sense:-

"the information is all contained in the original bandwidth limited sampled signal. but what we have is sampled data, and what we need is a continuous un-sampled signal - and we need to do a huge amount of processing to do this without error.....What I am trying to do is merely reduce these errors, which are audible as it degrades the timing of transients - something which is essential from human psychoacoustics."

what he's saying is along the right lines, but what he's doing (basically oversampling) won't retrieve information (the transient timing he mentions) which has been discarded by the 44.1kHz sampling rate.
nyquist states that a frequency can be reproduced accurately by using a sample frequency roughly double the highest frequency you want to capture. this is true, but the representation you can then recover of that frequency is missing a lot of data in the time domain. the assumption, in most versions of the theory that you'll see on the web, is that the samples are to be used to reconstruct perfect sine waves; there's seldom a discussion about transients, rapidly rising edges, asymmetrical waveforms, the sorts of awkward things that real sounds do in open air.

analogue systems can also make a right hash of all this, but they tend to do so in a slightly more pleasing way &, if enough care is taken over their engineering, they will yield more accurate results than 44.1/16, up to their own resolution (analogous to sample frequency & bit-depth) which is determined by the granularity of the material used to carry the signal (so, magnetic particle size, vinyl composition, & the devices used to write/read same). not infinite, note...

another thing to remember about 44.1/16 is that it was the best that could be reliably & cheaply put onto 120mm shiny discs using late 70s technology, & we were immediately painted into a corner by its wide adoption.

by the time things were advanced enough for the labels to reissue everything on shiny discs at a better sampling rate, greater bit-depth, a few bad things had happened:

the master tapes were fucked.
the machines needed to play them were fucked.
people had forgotten how to use their ears & couldn't remaster things properly anyway.
consumers had had enough of being sold the same catalogue in different formats.
consumers had moved on & were listening to shitty MP3s & streams with dropped packets, & didn't care.

it's depressing, if you let it be.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #82 on: July 28, 2018, 10:44:51 AM »
Well upscaling can work well in some cases. Most 4k films are filmed at 2k and upscaled but they use equipment that costs millions of pounds rather than the chips in a telly that cost pence. If you're doing it in real-time it's probably not going to be any good.

In terms of audio I don't think upscaling will usually yield good results, and if you are doing so you want to make sure you're upscaling to something that is a factor of the original sample frequency otherwise it's going to be aliasing.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #83 on: July 28, 2018, 10:47:20 AM »

another thing to remember about 44.1/16 is that it was the best that could be reliably & cheaply put onto 120mm shiny discs using late 70s technology, & we were immediately painted into a corner by its wide adoption.


Also it was capable of being captured nicely on a umatic video tape.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #84 on: July 28, 2018, 11:05:13 AM »
Also it was capable of being captured nicely on a umatic video tape.

again, reliable & cheap. by the time sony et al decided to make digital tape available for the consumer (& remember r-DAT was originally intended to be a consumer format; an early adopted mate of mine had his DAT walkman in a bracket in his alfa spyder, ffs), we were stuck with the accepted belief that 44.1 or 48 kHz was good enough. this meant that it was possible to make digital audio tape stupidly small (& therefore not terribly robust) instead of making the cassettes a more sensibly size & using this to accommodate more data, or at least better protected data (redundant bits & so on).

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Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #85 on: July 28, 2018, 11:05:47 AM »
So depressing..

The really horrible thing that is going on at the moment is for hi-res files people on HDTracks and Qobuz are taking CDs and changing the file format to DSD and 192khz / 24bit and charging 3 - 4 x CD prices. This whole industry needs a bit of bloody regulation. So many cunts thieving old men's retirement salaries

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #86 on: July 28, 2018, 11:11:04 AM »
again, reliable & cheap. by the time sony et al decided to make digital tape available for the consumer (& remember r-DAT was originally intended to be a consumer format; an early adopted mate of mine had his DAT walkman in a bracket in his alfa spyder, ffs), we were stuck with the accepted belief that 44.1 or 48 kHz was good enough. this meant that it was possible to make digital audio tape stupidly small (& therefore not terribly robust) instead of making the cassettes a more sensibly size & using this to accommodate more data, or at least better protected data (redundant bits & so on).

'member dcc though?

my old man was a pmr radio engineer who worked for effectively the same company that got bought out, after they were pYe they were philips which means he got massive discounts on their consumer kit, some were wise purchases (CD104) some bad (CDI). Thankfully he never bought one of those.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #87 on: July 28, 2018, 11:14:07 AM »
So depressing..

The really horrible thing that is going on at the moment is for hi-res files people on HDTracks and Qobuz are taking CDs and changing the file format to DSD and 192khz / 24bit and charging 3 - 4 x CD prices. This whole industry needs a bit of bloody regulation. So many cunts thieving old men's retirement salaries

agreed. you can also see on ebay loads of listings for "master tapes" which are quarter-inch tapes dressed up to look like studio masters but which are in fact just a normal CD copied onto tape at 7.5 or 15 ips. I occasionally service tape decks for people, & if it's a high-speed revox or similar, I'll try to steer them away from this sort of crap.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #88 on: July 28, 2018, 11:19:05 AM »
The big irony about a lot of this audiophile nonsense is that even if you ignore a lot of it being pseudoscience, by the time you're old enough to afford it you're probably too deaf to notice anyway.

I've got a quad 303 and some linn kans. The top on the Kans is excellent but the low end isn't as good as I'd like, might swap them for some vintage Kef's (C40's or something) or some Tannoys at some point.

That techmoan geezer on youtube was trying to say that tape progressively got worse because quarter inch was originally single channel but then got squished to 2 channels to make it bidirectonal, then four. Whilst what he says about bandwidth is true it completely ignores how much better tape got chemically and how heads got much better, it's a croc of shit.

Re: Audio Equipment Thread
« Reply #89 on: July 28, 2018, 11:20:57 AM »
'member dcc though?


I took one look at DCC.... again, trying to get a quart out of a thimble. rDAT would've been better if they'd used the video-8 cassette & transport for it, but it would still have been 44.1 or 48 at 20 bits tops, & quarter inch would still make it sound crap. I don't know what they thought DCC was going to achieve. a decent analogue cassette would always give it a good spanking.