PDA

View Full Version : CDs rapid Demise



SlimChances
2018-06-14, 11:54
I am not sad to see the CD go I just wish there was better availability of music downloads at reasonable prices. Is $10 a reasonable price for an lossless album download or are we being ripped off. I would think the costs of producing and distributing an album for download are far lower than the costs of yesteryear. Despite the quote below I don't have much use for vinyl.

“Vinyl is written in stone. I think if it’s made it for 120 years now, it’s here forever. That’s a beautiful thing to think about.”
Jack White

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/owning-music-buying-vinyl-cds-downloads-streaming-w521504

JJZolx
2018-06-14, 17:18
Is $10 a reasonable price for an lossless album download or are we being ripped off. I would think the costs of producing and distributing an album for download are far lower than the costs of yesteryear.

With CDs you were never really paying for the physical media and packaging. I recall when CDs first became prevalent, there were claims that they'd lower the cost of buying albums, but that was never true. They came out and were actually more expensive than vinyl records. There's no reason to expect downloads to be much cheaper than CDs.

SlimChances
2018-06-14, 17:42
With CDs you were never really paying for the physical media and packaging. I recall when CDs first became prevalent, there were claims that they'd lower the cost of buying albums, but that was never true. They came out and were actually more expensive than vinyl records. There's no reason to expect downloads to be much cheaper than CDs.
Surely there is a much greater cost to produce and ship CDs to stores than to provide a download

Mnyb
2018-06-14, 20:45
Surely there is a much greater cost to produce and ship CDs to stores than to provide a download

Manufacturing cost was was not that much , I would say insignificant. Pennies
Maybe more cost in selling in a brick and mortar store with people involved.

Most of the price is and was for the immaterial content .

That makes 10$ not to bad for a download I pay that when a CD in a store costed more than that a decade ago heck,I paid more 20 years ago, and even today with competition from downloading CDís are often more .
CD to sells in more efficient ways mail order from amazon here to you mostly pay for the content .

However with sites like Bandcamp and similar there is a very low ďstart costĒ no glass master ofsett print masks etc to pay for like in a Cd print.
So you get a micro economy where an artist can take the risk of releasing even if his independent or does not project huge sales.

So I do think roughly 8-10$ is the price for the content .

If you want expensive you can buy from HD tracks in so called hirez where they upmarket the price just because thier custommers are willing to pay more for bitinflated content ?

Price and manufacturing cost never has simple relationships it never had .

With the advent of everything ďmade in China ď for rough estimates you can say the bill of manufacturing a unit is ď0Ē ( ok say <10% of consumer sticker price ) and price is made up of other costs and risk and development other business costs ( like having a company ) vat and vat and shipping and actually what a market would pay for a ďthingĒ.

pablolie
2018-06-14, 22:20
I tend to buy used CDs quite often these days (seldom new ones). I know it's a form of piracy, but it gives me a simple 16/44 flac at an unbeatable price with cover art. The music industry simply shoots itself in the foot again and again. If I was a big label, I'd offer 16/44 download from my website with cover art.

Mnyb
2018-06-15, 00:21
I tend to buy used CDs quite often these days (seldom new ones). I know it's a form of piracy, but it gives me a simple 16/44 flac at an unbeatable price with cover art. The music industry simply shoots itself in the foot again and again. If I was a big label, I'd offer 16/44 download from my website with cover art.

Yes thats what we ever wanted for 30 years :D some do actually . Used CD is a good source and it is not piracy really (unless previous owner ripped it before sale) , actually with the UMW watermark it can be the best source for their music is all downloads are tainted.. shooting oneself in the head instead of the foot .

SlimChances
2018-06-15, 05:32
Yes the Bandcamp model is ideal. I sense that the artists get a good portion of the sale as opposed to the record company model where the label grabs most of the sale price. I wish other download sites followed Bandcamps example. I was disappointed when CDBaby discontinued FLAC downloads

iPhone
2018-06-15, 08:23
I tend to buy used CDs quite often these days (seldom new ones). I know it's a form of piracy, but it gives me a simple 16/44 flac at an unbeatable price with cover art. The music industry simply shoots itself in the foot again and again. If I was a big label, I'd offer 16/44 download from my website with cover art.

.
I am deeply in the used CD camp. I want to own "My Masters" so if anything happens that I haven't planned for already, I can re-rip an Album. I don't even remotely consider it piracy. The New CD was priced at $16 and the artist got his cut. The Artist agreed to have his work produced and sold on a CD. The person that bought that CD has every right to sell it as it has now become his property, the artist was licensing or renting the Album to the end buyer. CDs are no different then any other product that is bought and sold out right to the purchaser. If artists want to complain about something, how about Asian and European copy-right laws?! How does ones copy right simple go away after X number of years and anybody can now produce it and sell it at a rate that doesn't pay the artist anything? Copy Rights are not Patents that have a limited life and protection.

Which brings me to the issue of Downloads. Yes I have bought something, but I don't physically own it in the material sense as in I can't hand to somebody else allowing them to buy it for it has no physical form. Yes it is "Stored" on a physical form but it is not packaged in physical form and not sold in a brick and mortar retail establishment. If a hit song is 88 cents for a download from Walmart, then the whole album should be about $5 for buying in bulk. For again there is no cost of a physical store front, no employee to pay to sell or interact with the purchase, not warehouse space to store multiple hard copies, no packaging to pay for, no product cost to incur to make and sell multiple copies of the product, and on and on. So a huge costs have been removed even when one thinks it only cost a penny or two to mass produce CDs for a hit Album, there are tons of other costs involved like jewel cases, storage, shipping, etc.

I probably have less then a dozen downloads and I only have them because there was no other means to get the Album I was searching for. Just my thoughts. I don't ever want to see CDs go completely away. Does that make me a control freak?
.

drmatt
2018-06-16, 04:59
Despite the quote below I don't have much use for vinyl.

ďVinyl is written in stone. I think if itís made it for 120 years now, itís here forever. Thatís a beautiful thing to think about.Ē
Jack White

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/owning-music-buying-vinyl-cds-downloads-streaming-w521504

If I could buy a digital master that's mine, forever, I'd be happy to forego physical media; I only rip it and put it back in the box anyway, I never actually play from CD..

Jack White needs to get his head out the hippy smoke and join the real world. Vinyl will die when my parent's generation dies.


Transcoded from Matt's brain by Tapatalk

cliveb
2018-06-16, 08:15
The price of CDs, digital downloads (and vinyl LPs, for that matter) has little to do with production costs.
It has everything to do with what the market can bear.

If the price was governed by the cost of production and delivery, then FLAC downloads would cost no more than the equivalent MP3.
But they do cost more, because the customer is prepared to pay more for what they perceive to be a superior product.

iPhone
2018-06-16, 08:57
......

If the price was governed by the cost of production and delivery, then FLAC downloads would cost no more than the equivalent MP3.
But they do cost more, because the customer is prepared to pay more for what they perceive to be a superior product.

.
It is NOT just a perceived superior product, the FLAC File is lossless hence one is getting ALL the music they paid for whereas MP3 is a copy and a bad one at that with tons of missing actual music data. 128Mbps is easy to tell the difference even on a bad stereo as it is lifeless, incomplete, and has no sustained bass because notes and sustained musical artifacts have been removed by an algorithm that was mathematically designed on the bad assumption that the human ear couldn't actually hear those notes yet a human brain and ears heard them in the first place because that is why they were written into the music (musicians don't get paid by the note, they get paid by what people like to HEAR and listen to)! 256Kbps is not much better and 320Kbps does take a decent stereo to hear the difference but again just anybody that writes music, studies music, is an avid listener of quality music can tell a 320Kbps file from a FLAC file.

Now once one starts talking about super HiRes, then yes your claim makes all the sense in the world because anything over 24/96 is a complete waste of money because it is only good for Masters and even then starts causes more problems then it is worth as rates get higher and higher. 24/192 playback has filter and high bit rate byproducts in it that actually can easily be measured and when compared side by side with 24/96 playback 24/192 actually "Looks" dirty compared to 24/96 on the HP Measuring Receiver due to these artifacts caused by sampling a rate that high and the excess filtering involved in an attempt to remove these artifacts, essentially attempting to keep the resolution level actually ends up making it a lower actual resolution then native 24/96! The fact that 24/192 playback has a higher noise floor then 24/96 tells one all they need to know.
.

cliveb
2018-06-16, 09:11
.
It is NOT just a perceived superior product, the FLAC File is lossless hence one is getting ALL the music they paid for whereas MP3 is a copy and a bad one at that with tons of missing actual music data.
You have misunderstood my point. I never said that FLAC isn't a better product, just that the customer perceives it to be so and is therefore prepared to pay more, even though it costs the vendor no more to deliver it. I personally choose to pay a little extra to buy FLAC downloads rather than MP3 because I believe they are (probably) going to sound better.

The word "perception" does not mandate a false impression, and I chose the word very deliberately. In the context of pricing things in the marketplace, it doesn't matter whether the customer's perception is valid or imagined - only that they have it, and are therefore prepared to pay more.

earthbased
2018-06-17, 09:00
With CDs you were never really paying for the physical media and packaging. I recall when CDs first became prevalent, there were claims that they'd lower the cost of buying albums, but that was never true. They came out and were actually more expensive than vinyl records. There's no reason to expect downloads to be much cheaper than CDs.

That's because Central Banks keep printing money! Print Print Print...Entertainment costs skyrocket.

MLB is mystified why attendance is down ~9% (https://www.wsj.com/articles/major-league-baseball-sees-a-sharp-drop-in-attendance-1529063246) because they are too stupid to understand the new US tax code nixes biz deductions for customer entertainment. Wait until next season! Keep building those MLB Stadium Suites!

earthbased
2018-06-17, 09:02
Surely there is a much greater cost to produce and ship CDs to stores than to provide a download

Yes, you are correct. Store rental, inventory costs, worker costs, stolen merchandise costs, etc. See https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-15/affordability-crisis-low-income-workers-cant-afford-2-bedroom-rental-anywhere

earthbased
2018-06-17, 09:07
The price of CDs, digital downloads (and vinyl LPs, for that matter) has little to do with production costs.
It has everything to do with what the market can bear.

If the price was governed by the cost of production and delivery, then FLAC downloads would cost no more than the equivalent MP3.
But they do cost more, because the customer is prepared to pay more for what they perceive to be a superior product.

FLAC takes more cpu power to create from PCM master vs MP3. Streaming uses more bandwidth. Storing requires more GB/TB. Smart persons use RAID and online backup. These are real costs.

Mnyb
2018-06-17, 10:36
Also,the local store donít have all I want nowadays , so they offer to order .
But I can do that myself fro amazon or cdbaby and a zillion places.
Or do I really want to waits weeks to get the music , when there is a flac download a minute away..?

mavit
2018-06-17, 16:34
Vinyl will die when my parent's generation dies.

I kinda hope so. You can listen to a record using little more technology than a pin and a paper cone; if doing that becomes our best option again, some things have gone badly wrong.

Mnyb
2018-06-17, 20:47
I kinda hope so. You can listen to a record using little more technology than a pin and a paper cone; if doing that becomes our best option again, some things have gone badly wrong.

People much younger than me thinks vinyl i kind of hip hence its current comeback .

I abamdoned it in the early 90ís sometimes wonderng if i should take it up again as a nostalgig thing.

My parents also gave up vinyl at the same time , but i do think must audiophiles are my dadís ago or slightly older.
With them a lot of silly things would ll die.
Most normal people of that age probably have a harder time to abandon vhs and fm radio at home ( fm radio in the car is sad necessity)

drmatt
2018-06-17, 22:40
I am depressed to say that there's a secondary problem. Due to loudness wars so many CDs are so badly mastered that they probably benefit from the softening and flattering bass of an LP playback system.

I'm starting to think the game is lost, home playback of high quality music is dead, unless you're prepared to pick over geeky audiophile forums where sad ex BBC engineers moan all day...


Transcoded from Matt's brain by Tapatalk

JJZolx
2018-06-18, 01:22
I am depressed to say that there's a secondary problem. Due to loudness wars so many CDs are so badly mastered that they probably benefit from the softening and flattering bass of an LP playback system.

"LP playback system" ... A turntable? You can play CDs on a turntable now? That's pretty cool.


I'm starting to think the game is lost, home playback of high quality music is dead, unless you're prepared to pick over geeky audiophile forums where sad ex BBC engineers moan all day...

Reading audiophile forums is how you get good playback of badly mastered CDs?

drmatt
2018-06-18, 07:43
"LP playback system" ... A turntable? You can play CDs on a turntable now? That's pretty cool.

Reading audiophile forums is how you get good playback of badly mastered CDs?

Pedantry will get you everywhere.


Transcoded from Matt's brain by Tapatalk

atrocity
2018-06-18, 08:25
People much younger than me thinks vinyl i kind of hip hence its current comeback .

I abamdoned it in the early 90ís sometimes wonderng if i should take it up again as a nostalgig thing.

My parents also gave up vinyl at the same time , but i do think must audiophiles are my dadís ago or slightly older.
With them a lot of silly things would ll die.
Most normal people of that age probably have a harder time to abandon vhs and fm radio at home ( fm radio in the car is sad necessity)

I've been on a vinyl digitizing kick again lately and have been doing my collection of Warner Brothers Loss Leaders. I'm occasionally surprised at how good some of it sounds, but it's sure variable! Even the same side of a record can start out horrible but be terrific by the end. It's interesting to also get visual confirmation of what I'm hearing: ClickRepair will show me it's doing all kinds of work on some passages and nothing at all on others.

pablolie
2018-06-20, 10:27
I retired my turntable a loooong time ago. I only brought it out around ~2007 to digitize some albums that were never re-issued. I always took excellent care of my vinyl. But I digitized and then sent the turntable (technics SL1200, nothing exotic) back to a storage location. And I gifted it last year.

I have no nostalgia for the sound nor the ritual, but I do like the large album art as my reading ability has suffered over the last few years :-D

But among a few things that make me foam out of my mouth like a rabid werewolf is when modern artists introduce artificial hiss and pop to a perfectly good digital recording. AAARRRGGGHHHH. Enough said.

Dogberry2
2018-06-26, 11:27
I retired my turntable a loooong time ago. I only brought it out around ~2007 to digitize some albums that were never re-issued. I always took excellent care of my vinyl. But I digitized and then sent the turntable (technics SL1200, nothing exotic) back to a storage location. And I gifted it last year.

I have no nostalgia for the sound nor the ritual, but I do like the large album art as my reading ability has suffered over the last few years :-D

But among a few things that make me foam out of my mouth like a rabid werewolf is when modern artists introduce artificial hiss and pop to a perfectly good digital recording. AAARRRGGGHHHH. Enough said.What, you mean you don't prefer a high noise floor, terrible signal-to-noise ratio, plenty of hiss, wow and flutter, with continuously degrading wear and worsening sound every time you listen to an album? What are you, a heretic? Any vinyl cult follower will tell you all that crappy noise stuff translates into a "warmer sound"! :D

Most of the vinyl-heads I know are not old timers; they're kids in their 30s and younger. All the old timers I know laugh at them. We were amazed at how good things sounded when the digital age hit us, and we could start getting away from the nastiness of vinyl. I still buy almost all my music on CD, and rip it to FLAC for my Squeezeboxen.

sfraser
2018-06-28, 11:24
It's the inconvience and extra expense that really draws me back to vinyl LOL!

d6jg
2018-06-29, 05:12
Coming to this discussion late (I have been away).

Approx 30% of my Music Library is FLAC from meticulously digitised Vinyl which has taken me nearly 10 years to complete.
69% is FLAC from from CD
Perhaps 1% is downloaded mp3/FLAC where I can't source physical product.

Most of the LPs were bought in the 70s & 80s and in many cases I can recall actually where and when I bought them. Not so for the CDs.
I am still buying the odd (secondhand) LP.
In lots of cases I have both FLAC from Vinyl and FLAC from CD copies of the same album. I invariably play the version from Vinyl. Is it just for nostalgic reasons. Possibly?

Grumpy Bob
2018-06-29, 12:15
Most of the LPs were bought in the 70s & 80s and in many cases I can recall actually where and when I bought them. Not so for the CDs.

This is true for me too, for almost all my LPs! My LPs remain in pretty good shape - and I never completely stopped buying vinyl. And with reference to an earlier poster - yes, the ritual around caring for and playing is quite good fun.

Robert

atrocity
2018-06-30, 08:52
What, you mean you don't prefer a high noise floor, terrible signal-to-noise ratio, plenty of hiss, wow and flutter, with continuously degrading wear and worsening sound every time you listen to an album? What are you, a heretic? Any vinyl cult follower will tell you all that crappy noise stuff translates into a "warmer sound"!

I just got the new Andy Partridge 10" yesterday. It sounds shockingly good...except for the side that's wildly off-center...and ends with a single long, sustained note.

emalvick
2018-07-03, 08:54
The loudness war I think is a huge reason vinyl is popular with audiofiles (doesn't necessarily explain the hipster love of vinyl).

I've noticed plenty of examples where the vinyl sounds better than the CD and it isn't because vinyl is better, it's just the mastering. About the time digital download sales began, mastering started to gear itself towards compression. I think it was easier to just master the CD and mp3 all at once and then compress the dynamics to tailor towards listeners who predominantly listen to music in a car, crappy headphones, ipods, etc. That is how music is listened to 99% of the time now. Vinyl, however, has been immune to this type of mastering, probably because it can't really stand up to it, and the industry is trying to bank on the idea that vinyl is better.

I really started noticing the decline in CD mastering quality around 2004 / 2005 (I'm sure it began sooner). I remembering ripping a few CD's that just sounded terrible once ripped. Using audacity and then a few other tools showed me that the music was clipped across the board. A few years later, I found a vinyl copy of one of the albums, and when it was ripped, I noted there was no clipping, and consequently sounded better. Was it because it was vinyl? only indirectly. If the CD had been mastered the same as the vinyl, I'm fairly certain it would have sounded the same to my ears. I am not an audiophile in the sense some people can be, I do prefer the clean sound of a well-mastered CD or other format rather than the random pops that go with vinyl. My home system and speakers are quite modest; I can't hear the difference between a 24-192, 24-96, or 16-44 audio. I can rarely hear the difference between a 320 bit mp3 vs a FLAC (from the same source). But, I really hate over-compressed and loud CD's and digital files.

So, with regard to CDs and their demise; I tend to buy used CDs, like others expressed, mostly because if an album is old enough, the 1990's generally had better mastering than the 2000's when it comes to popular music. I do buy new music but I am much more selective than I used to be. I rely on Spotify to try before I buy, and then I get selective on the format I do buy. I tend to buy more FLAC (bandcamp and 7digital) but stick with 16/44 format or occasionally 24/48 as I don't find a need for higher resolution. But, when FLAC is significantly more expensive or impossible to come by, I might buy CD or Vinyl.

I am not a huge fan of the warming aspects of vinyl, so I generally try to avoid it unless I (a) really love the album (b) it's the only good mastering of the album and (c) want the album art.

With this method, I find myself buying less music but buying more music that I will listen to and that will sound good.

I am, however, a contributer to the CD's demise, although the record industry has contributed too. I do think it is cheaper to sell, stream, distribute digitally than physically, otherwise physical formats wouldn't be in a demise. Digital is probably more profitable and the prices are really just based on what the market will bear.

d6jg
2018-07-03, 11:55
The loudness war I think is a huge reason vinyl is popular with audiofiles (doesn't necessarily explain the hipster love of vinyl).

I've noticed plenty of examples where the vinyl sounds better than the CD and it isn't because vinyl is better, it's just the mastering. About the time digital download sales began, mastering started to gear itself towards compression. I think it was easier to just master the CD and mp3 all at once and then compress the dynamics to tailor towards listeners who predominantly listen to music in a car, crappy headphones, ipods, etc. That is how music is listened to 99% of the time now. Vinyl, however, has been immune to this type of mastering, probably because it can't really stand up to it, and the industry is trying to bank on the idea that vinyl is better.

I really started noticing the decline in CD mastering quality around 2004 / 2005 (I'm sure it began sooner). I remembering ripping a few CD's that just sounded terrible once ripped. Using audacity and then a few other tools showed me that the music was clipped across the board. A few years later, I found a vinyl copy of one of the albums, and when it was ripped, I noted there was no clipping, and consequently sounded better. Was it because it was vinyl? only indirectly. If the CD had been mastered the same as the vinyl, I'm fairly certain it would have sounded the same to my ears. I am not an audiophile in the sense some people can be, I do prefer the clean sound of a well-mastered CD or other format rather than the random pops that go with vinyl. My home system and speakers are quite modest; I can't hear the difference between a 24-192, 24-96, or 16-44 audio. I can rarely hear the difference between a 320 bit mp3 vs a FLAC (from the same source). But, I really hate over-compressed and loud CD's and digital files.

So, with regard to CDs and their demise; I tend to buy used CDs, like others expressed, mostly because if an album is old enough, the 1990's generally had better mastering than the 2000's when it comes to popular music. I do buy new music but I am much more selective than I used to be. I rely on Spotify to try before I buy, and then I get selective on the format I do buy. I tend to buy more FLAC (bandcamp and 7digital) but stick with 16/44 format or occasionally 24/48 as I don't find a need for higher resolution. But, when FLAC is significantly more expensive or impossible to come by, I might buy CD or Vinyl.

I am not a huge fan of the warming aspects of vinyl, so I generally try to avoid it unless I (a) really love the album (b) it's the only good mastering of the album and (c) want the album art.

With this method, I find myself buying less music but buying more music that I will listen to and that will sound good.

I am, however, a contributer to the CD's demise, although the record industry has contributed too. I do think it is cheaper to sell, stream, distribute digitally than physically, otherwise physical formats wouldn't be in a demise. Digital is probably more profitable and the prices are really just based on what the market will bear.

You are 100% correct about Loudness although Vinyl isnít totally immune from it, it is as you say much less likely to occur.

As usual the Record Industry exploits those of us who rebel against Loudness by selling FLAC etc for much more than MP3. The only additional cost is a bit of storage yet it can be double the price. If itís an old album Iíll always source a secondhand CD and rip it myself.

emalvick
2018-07-03, 14:28
You are 100% correct about Loudness although Vinyl isnít totally immune from it, it is as you say much less likely to occur.

As usual the Record Industry exploits those of us who rebel against Loudness by selling FLAC etc for much more than MP3. The only additional cost is a bit of storage yet it can be double the price. If itís an old album Iíll always source a secondhand CD and rip it myself.

You're right. I meant to mention that. I actually found that with Nirvana's Nevermind album, which in its vinyl release of the past few years, is a victim of the loudness war. That was a point I wanted to make. Vinyl is not immune. I do think that if everything is relatively equal, especially the sources, then the argument for vinyl is really subjective.

cliveb
2018-07-04, 07:14
Just wanted to comment on a few of the issues you raise:


I've noticed plenty of examples where the vinyl sounds better than the CD and it isn't because vinyl is better, it's just the mastering.
Agreed. Despite its manifest flaws, vinyl can sound pretty damn good, but if it sounds better than the CD, it's because a better master has been used.

However...

Vinyl, however, has been immune to this type of mastering, probably because it can't really stand up to it
This simply isn't true. It's perfectly possible to cut a hypercompressed master to vinyl. In fact many (most?) modern releases use the same basic master for vinyl and CD (although of course the vinyl master is further processed to cope with the limitations of the medium).


I really started noticing the decline in CD mastering quality around 2004 / 2005 (I'm sure it began sooner).
I think the rot set in big time during the mid-1990s. The earliest example I can think of where the degree of dynamic range compression was just a tad too much is the Led Zeppelin remasters from 1991.


I remembering ripping a few CD's that just sounded terrible once ripped. Using audacity and then a few other tools showed me that the music was clipped across the board. A few years later, I found a vinyl copy of one of the albums, and when it was ripped, I noted there was no clipping
If you're checking for clipping with an audio editor, presumably you're looking for flat-topped waveforms. Note that a flat-topped waveform is an example of DC (ie. it has a frequency of 0Hz). Vinyl by its very nature imparts a high-pass filtering effect (ie. there are no frequencies below, say, 20Hz). As such, a flat-topped waveform is impossible to cut to vinyl, so even if the master is clipped, what gets cut (and what you'll see in an audio editor) is a waveform with a sloping top and so it doesn't appear to be clipped, even though it is.

Now of course it may be possible that in this case the vinyl was genuinely from a different (less compressed) master than the CD, but beware of jumping to conclusions. Remember: most LPs these days are cut from the same master as the CD.

One way of pretty much guaranteeing that you get a non-hypercompressed album is to buy secondhand stuff from earlier than 1990. Unfortunately although CDs from that era weren't compressed, a lot were made from copy masters that had generational losses. And of course buying used vinyl is a crapshoot. So basically you can't win. Life's a bitch, eh?

emalvick
2018-07-09, 17:02
Just wanted to comment on a few of the issues you raise:


Agreed. Despite its manifest flaws, vinyl can sound pretty damn good, but if it sounds better than the CD, it's because a better master has been used.

However...

This simply isn't true. It's perfectly possible to cut a hypercompressed master to vinyl. In fact many (most?) modern releases use the same basic master for vinyl and CD (although of course the vinyl master is further processed to cope with the limitations of the medium).


I think the rot set in big time during the mid-1990s. The earliest example I can think of where the degree of dynamic range compression was just a tad too much is the Led Zeppelin remasters from 1991.


If you're checking for clipping with an audio editor, presumably you're looking for flat-topped waveforms. Note that a flat-topped waveform is an example of DC (ie. it has a frequency of 0Hz). Vinyl by its very nature imparts a high-pass filtering effect (ie. there are no frequencies below, say, 20Hz). As such, a flat-topped waveform is impossible to cut to vinyl, so even if the master is clipped, what gets cut (and what you'll see in an audio editor) is a waveform with a sloping top and so it doesn't appear to be clipped, even though it is.

Now of course it may be possible that in this case the vinyl was genuinely from a different (less compressed) master than the CD, but beware of jumping to conclusions. Remember: most LPs these days are cut from the same master as the CD.

One way of pretty much guaranteeing that you get a non-hypercompressed album is to buy secondhand stuff from earlier than 1990. Unfortunately although CDs from that era weren't compressed, a lot were made from copy masters that had generational losses. And of course buying used vinyl is a crapshoot. So basically you can't win. Life's a bitch, eh?

I don't disagree with any of what you said, but when buying newer music, I do check closely at how the vinyl is mastered: I track record companies who put more care into the process (and note it), I look for samples and reviews of the albums I am interested in, reviews of an album or discussion regarding, and even the availability of high-res files for sale. In fact, if they are selling a high-res version of an album, the vinyl will usually be from that source; although, I've seen high-res that is obviously from a CD format, but people are becoming more aware of that too.

Oh well... It's tough to win on this. It can all be a crap-shoot, but a little effort improves the odds of getting something good if it's important. I am not an audiophile enough to get too hung up; I just want to avoid the obvious distortion of a hypercompressed album that is mastered too loud. Not that a non-clipped hypercompressed album is fantastic, but if there isn't distortion and the music is good, I'm happy.

w3wilkes
2018-07-09, 20:17
"but if there isn't distortion and the music is good, I'm happy."

Right on!

drmatt
2018-07-10, 23:52
I think they rarely go full scale DC for any number of samples on any recordings, they are pushing it too hot but it's compression not "distortion" as such, (though we choose to call it such because we are pedants..) so wouldn't see that level of distortion.

Extreme compression is pretty horrible and results in a deeply unpleasant sound however.


Transcoded from Matt's brain by Tapatalk

emalvick
2018-07-11, 08:24
I think they rarely go full scale DC for any number of samples on any recordings, they are pushing it too hot but it's compression not "distortion" as such, (though we choose to call it such because we are pedants..) so wouldn't see that level of distortion.

Extreme compression is pretty horrible and results in a deeply unpleasant sound however.


Transcoded from Matt's brain by Tapatalk

I don't know, when they compress it and run it at the limits (volume-wise), it is pretty noisy. Maybe not distorted, but definitely not what was intended.

Regardless, I miss the time when bands and musicians actually used dynamics as an element to their music. The steady volume levels of music these days is what really ruins it for me. And why does music need to be distributed at such loud levels. It isn't like we don't have the ability to change the volume ourselves. But now I am just ranting, and those complaints are beyond the fact CD's are dying.