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Author: Subject: Music format confusion...

Peach Master





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  posted on 12/31/2011 at 05:50 PM
Ah, it's just so confusing...CD's, SACD, Vinyl, Blu-Ray, SACD players, Blu-Ray players....what do you all do? Is vinyl going to stick around? Is Blu-Ray going go the way of DVD-A or SACD?

I'd like to get a really nice turntable and get back into vinyl, but do you think it really sounds better than Blu-Ray? I have Neil Young's Archives on the DVD hi-rez, and it sounds just as good to my ears as vinyl...what does everyone else here think?

Discuss....

 
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Peach Master



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  posted on 12/31/2011 at 06:41 PM
quote:
Ah, it's just so confusing...CD's, SACD, Vinyl, Blu-Ray, SACD players, Blu-Ray players....what do you all do? Is vinyl going to stick around? Is Blu-Ray going go the way of DVD-A or SACD?

I'd like to get a really nice turntable and get back into vinyl, but do you think it really sounds better than Blu-Ray? I have Neil Young's Archives on the DVD hi-rez, and it sounds just as good to my ears as vinyl...what does everyone else here think?

Discuss....


Vinyl will aways be around, its just now gotten more expensive as more folks have gotten back into it.

As for blu-ray, it does sound great, and its got the "physical" sound that vinyl provides.
Problem is theres just not that much to be purchased via that format.

But hold onto your wallet, theres talk of releasing more hi-rez downloads for classic records, as well as new music, via a new type of format coming in 2012. Neil Young wrote a blurb about it in March, and Warner Brothers is supposedly taking the lead here. I'd imagine the issue is portability of the music, but we'll all just have to wait and see what they have in mind.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 01:12 AM
I am an audio head and have all of the formats except Bluray. All of the readingnI have been doing it seems that DVD-Audio seems to be the format that hold the most information. I prefer DVD-A surround sound of Yes' Fragil is out of the world as is Young's Harvest. SACD has a great sound but my AAB/FE and Layla seem to lack a little. Now I think it is the mix. There is just so many red book CDs out there so I think that format will last a while longer. But the day of the down load is here and just a matter of time before it takes over. From what I have read the Bluray is capable of the best sound of all but it is like SACD or DVD Audio it getting the music out. I have talked with a lot of audio guys who prefer got old LPs but I just don't see how that can sound better especially if you have ever seem the acual LP making process.
 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 04:53 AM
Just to give you my take on your question/concerns:

I still do not have a Bluray player at this point and in fact am still buying video in regular DVD format. I never bothered to embrace DVD-A or SACD either as I had doubts that either format would ever gain enough users to make either a viable format. The market has pretty much determined that at this point. So, for right or wrong, I have never taken the jump there.

Redbook CDs, despite the current issues with the "loudness wars" still provide the best balance of sound quality, convienience, and price for me. I have some hearing issues after years and years of concerts, so any sound advantages from the newer formats listed above will not be as apparent to me, or are not enough so to justify the added cost.

I love the older vinyl that I already own and still play it but let's be honest here. Pops, clicks, hiss, skips, warps, and off center pressings have always been a problem with vinyl and continue to be a problem with the new pressings.

To pay $20.00 + for a title on vinyl and then to have to take it back or worse, have to send it back and then hope that a replacement is actually available and not defective as well is just too frustrating for me to deal with.

In fact, chronic bad pressings was one of the main reasons that I first embraced CDs in the first place .

Just my opinion but that is why I am not buying new vinyl. I will still take my chances on used vinyl occasionally if it is something that I really want, or if it is a title that is hard to obtain on CD or has never been released on CD.

I have to admit that I am interested in the new Hi-Res download format and actually may use it after CDs are no longer readily available but...it will have to be cost effective, and I'd really like to see files included for the front /back covers and liner notes for existing CD titles so I can make my own if I choose.

But, the music industry, in their unbridled greed, have pretty much come close to destroying the physical media market for music and in their cosmic cluelessness, could very well do exactly the same with Hi-Res .

And that would be a shame, as Hi-Res may just be their last shot for serious hardcore music listeners who actually care about fidelity.






[Edited on 1/3/2012 by les_paul_sunburst]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 02:50 PM
quote:
And that would be a shame, as Hi-Res may just be their last shot for serious hardcore music listeners who actually care about fidelity.



Unfortunately, the 3000 of us left will never win against the sales of 10 million to the Britney, Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber style of music that lines their pockets today.

I have SACD and DVD-A disks, along with blu-rays. If I want a concert video, I will only buy blu-ray. There just aren't enough SACD and DVD-A's out there anymore (although Wish You Were Here is coming out in a week or so in SACD).

For me it is mostly about surround sound in all those formats. The buzzing in my ears means that sound quality won't make much of a difference anymore (except the new remastered version of Thick as a Brick). I would have bought the surround sound version of TAAB, except the stupid maretking of the band - making it only available to people that buy the $130 deluxe set.

There is nothing like hearing every sound of the cash register coming out of a different speaker for the SACD version of Dark Side of the Moon. Bands like Porcupine Tree that actually make their music for surround sound really stand out - which is why Steven Wilson is in such demand for remastering King Crimson and Tull.....

I still have my albums, but rarely play them because of the hassle and because of the pops and clicks that have emerged because of 20 years of storage... no matter how good you try to take care of them.

I still like the physical media - be it album or cd or dvd....... I just don't fit into the download generation. I spend tons at Amazon on cd's and concert dvd's. Unfortunately that is the only place left to go - Best Buy is getting rid of the physical cd's in their stores - they have less and less of a selection every time I go. I was actually shocked to find the King Crimson Discipline remaster, Tull remaster, Rush blu-ray Live in Cleveland and the Stones Some Girls blu-ray all on the same day there (I had gift cards).

 

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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 03:28 PM
Vinyl sounds great if you keep it clean and have a quality turntable that separates the table and tonearm from the mechanical noise.

I mostly buy new releases on vinyl if I can get it. I like the gatefolds and graphics that just don't make in in a CD insert. A lot of new Vinyl has a CD or download included now for your mobile devices.

Red Book CD (16 bits) is under resolved for music. It was a compromise for keeping players in the consumer price range. Not for audiophiles.

HDCD is a bit better 20 bits adds a lot more information compared to lossy CD Red Book.

DTS sits between HDCD and DVD-audio in terms of raw resolution.

Dolby Digital Surround is crappy, too lossy for me to enjoy it. A lot of good concerts are ruined for me by this format. Too much compression in the format. If a show doesn't have DVD-audio or DTS, I generally pass on those.

DVD-audio and SACD are accurate enough for the range of human hearing. 24 bits at 96KHz and 128Khz are great sounding on the right equipment.

Sang is right about the capabilities of 5.1 surround, it gives more space to place different parts at different levels compared to a stereo mix. In a stereo mix you have to use EQ to separate parts and something gets lost in the mix. you have much more space to mix with in 5.1 mixes and the sound is much richer.

But you need decent gear to really appreciate what DVD-audio and SACD and blu ray formats have to offer.

Don't expect audiophile quality from consumer grade equipment. (with some exceptions of course)

I have both the SACD and DTS-cd of the ABB Filmore East record, they sound very different because of the different 5.1 mixes. The SACD sounds like you are sitting in the audience at a very good seat sonically. The DTS 5.1 mix puts you on the stage with the Band.
The SACD has additional material cut from the vinyl and DTS releases.

I can't say much about blu-ray as my blu-ray players are just hooked up to TVs and not good stereo gear. but when you get to that much resolution, it's up to the mix.

A poorly recorded concert won't sound great just because it is on BluRay. Nor will a great recording that is poorly mixed. Regardless of the format.







[Edited on 1/3/2012 by spacemonkey]

 

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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 04:00 PM
here is some interesting info on recent vinyl sales.

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/63920--vinyl-collectors-help-album- industry

I love vinyl. I like the sound and the album covers. triple gatefold? That's for me! I knew in the 80's I wasn't going to like the diminutive CD booklets and I still don't, however, I often think CDs sound better, but it all depends on the mastering and source used. the original CD version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's One More From The Road sounded horrible. The vinyl sounded 1000 times better. SACD and DVD-A sound great and offer pristine fidelity but I have found it often accents noises in the music like squeaky drum pedals, which drives me nuts when I hear it. I become fixated and can't unhear it. That kind of thing makes you appreciate the limitations of the original vinyl mixes. I had the SACD of Stevie Ray Vaughan's COuldn't Stand The Weather and couldn't listen to it because all I could hear were the cymbals intruding on every other element of the mix. They were too clear.

I got the LP of Low Country Blues for the extra songs and I was a little bummed because the brand new vinyl had some crackles in it. I cleaned it but I can't still hear them. On the other hand, I remember, as a teenager, sitting with friends in a dark room on an October night listening to a crackly version of Stairway To Heaven which still rates as one of the spookiest experiences I've had. So, none of that really helps does it?

It's so subjective. I must say, I used to run a Sam Goody next to a Barretts that sold top end audio equipment and I've heard some amazing music on 50,000 dollar stereos. But When I crank up my 500 dollar stereo, it still sounds pretty damned good no matter what the format.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 06:27 PM
Thanks everyone-this is exactly the feedback/info I was hoping to get
 

Peach Master



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 06:36 PM
One more thing, regarding Blu-Ray or SACD-this still represents physical media, like someone mentioned...is it a case of saying yes, I'll jump on the SACD or Blu-Ray bandwagon only to have that, too, go away in a few years?

What irritates me a bit is I used to like going to the store, perusing the aisles, picking out music and going home. Now it's like I'm in this giant chess match where I have to plan a freakin' strategy LOL


 

Peach Master



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 07:41 PM
quote:
One more thing, regarding Blu-Ray or SACD-this still represents physical media, like someone mentioned...is it a case of saying yes, I'll jump on the SACD or Blu-Ray bandwagon only to have that, too, go away in a few years?

What irritates me a bit is I used to like going to the store, perusing the aisles, picking out music and going home. Now it's like I'm in this giant chess match where I have to plan a freakin' strategy LOL




Well the chess part is right, lol.

SACD is an audio intensive concept, but is fading away, though less quickly than DVD-A.
Blu-Ray is more video a concept, and the thing holding the audio side of it back is that the content to be purchased is just not there.

Hi-Rez downloads, I think, will be the next big scheme sprung upon the public to get us to repurchase all the music we've previously purchased. So with that, you get no physical item, and even smaller, if any artwork/liner notes that come with vinyl/cds. There's probably also going to be a need for a system/device to convert these files so you can listen to Hi-Rez on the go.

Besides the better possible sound quality, (remember a poorly recorded, mixed, or mastered album, is still going to be that, poor no matter what the format) it'll be tons easier to store your music collection, as you can purchase a 1 TB harddrive for less than $150 bucks, if not cheaper, today. And I'd imagine it'll get cheaper as well.

So instead of manufacturing disks, packaging, and shipping them, you'll simply be buying the music off servers from the labels, and for established acts, probably directly from them.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 1/3/2012 at 11:31 PM
I agree the down load is the way of the future but hate the thought. You can already see the future in downloads with video right now. So we are there. I hope it will be high rez. There are a lot of people who enjoy high end audio such as my self and do not want bad sound. But it seems that kids drive the market so if they can live with audio that if they can live with so so quality the rest of the market will suffer. I still blame the SACD and DVD-A makers for not having larger catalogs for the failing of the multi channel formats. The youth of the 60s and 70s now are productive adults who can generally afford the SACD and DVD-A and would love to have all of the music they grew up with in the high Rez multi channel formats. Example the complete ABB recordings and others bands they grew up listening to. I have maybe 350 to 400 CDs and I would love to replace a lot of them with the multi channel format.
 
 


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