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Jim Alfredson

Tonight I compared vinyl, CD, and HD audio

99 posts in this topic

38 minutes ago, rockefeller center said:

Compressed, yes. Lossy/irreversible compression? No. FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec

 

Eh, doesn't matter. Most, if not all folks wouldn't be able to hear the difference in a properly encoded AAC. I can't and relatively speaking I'm one of the youngest posters here with average to above average hearing, and an excellent playback system. 

Either way, yes I've been told by people that they can indeed hear a difference between FLAC/ALAC and .wav.

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On 27 February 2016 at 6:49 PM, Homefromtheforest said:

A good friend of mine ripped all his cds(around 2500) to hard drives a few years ago and now has a computer next to his stereo where he plays all his CDs from.  It's really convenient but I can't see myself ever getting time to do this..especially with a wife and two little kids!

I began ripping when my wife was pregnant and finished when our son was about two and a half. I managed to find many odd moments to pop a disc in, particularly when he was asleep! Bev puts it well: it is just like putting a load in the washing machine. And streaming is great when you have a little kid: nothing to get broken and no need to break off to change discs, just continuous music when you want it.

Also, I did it in, as it turns out, three stages: box sets, then single discs by favourite artists, then all the rest alphabetically. Breaking it up like that made it easier and more fun. Actually, it's not the ripping that takes time but the tagging. My advice here is to keep it as simple as anal retentiveness will allow -- and no cover art.

Oh and I am quite aware that FLAC files are compressed. They are nowhere near as compressed as MP3s, though.

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I started ripping a lot of my CDs years ago and got maybe around half way through. At some point I got to the stuff that for one reason or another I just don't listen to that much, and then it all showed up on Spotify and Apple Music so I stopped.

I still immediately rip new purchases though.

I personally can't hear a big difference, if any, between 256K AAC and the various lossless formats. I still rip CDs lossless for "archival" purposes. Whatever that means.

Edited by psu_13

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Ha! I rip in lossless as well, and I'm not entirely sure why either. 

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I have actually had a few CDs go bad on me. I lost at least one disk in my highly treasured Art Blakey Mosaic set... which I had not ripped in high quality. But I managed to find a lossless rip in the Intertubes so I could download a playable version of the album. That was lucky. I think in the long term hard disk storage + backups might be more durable than CDs, as long as someone keeps making the backups.

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8 hours ago, crisp said:

Oh and I am quite aware that FLAC files are compressed. They are nowhere near as compressed as MP3s, though.

The difference is the kind of data compression. FLAC uses a lossless data compression which means that upon decoding no information is lost; you have an exact digital copy of the original file. If you've ever downloaded and extracted a ZIP file from the web, it is the same concept.

MP3 data compression is lossy, meaning it throws away parts of the data is deems unnecessary. It uses psychoacoustic theory to determine that. If you encoded an executable file (a program) with a lossy data compression scheme, like MP3, and tried to run it once decoded, it wouldn't run because it would be missing actual data.

 

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Exactly. In FLAC I believe there is a little compression remaining after decoding but not so you would notice it. I certainly don't.

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Like a .zip file. 100% on the money. Which is why I always found it humorous that some claimed to "hear" a difference. 

And "lossy" has become a misnomer with modern codecs. 

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2 hours ago, crisp said:

Exactly. In FLAC I believe there is a little compression remaining after decoding but not so you would notice it. I certainly don't.

With losless (reversible) compression no information is lost.

Encode foo.wav to foo.flac

Decode foo.flac to foo2.wav

Content of foo.wav == foo2.wav

Look at the md5 checksums:

lY2V5jf.png

Edited by rockefeller center

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Yes, the definition of a lossless compression scheme means that no data is lost once the data is decoded. So a FLAC file is exactly the same as whatever file it was made from, just smaller. So no, there is no compression left after the decoding.

Don't confuse data compression with dynamic (audio) compression. They are two very different things.

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But the differences in results are all but negligible considering how advanced modern codecs are. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Dolan said:

But the differences in results are all but negligible considering how advanced modern codecs are. 

Different codecs for different purposes.

<insert car analogy here>

 

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I've stayed out of this, and I certainly didn't want to mention 78s, because I didn't want to appear crazy. I collect shellac for a lot of reasons, and sound quality is only part of it. But I did a synchronized one-to-one comparison tonight, similar to what Jim did. Yesterday I bought the 1946 Esquire Award Winners album, a two-disc 12" set on RCA Victor. I felt a little silly buying it, since I have the four tracks on CD, but it was so cheap, the records were in such excellent condition, and the graphics of the album so cool that I couldn't resist.

I started side one and the RCA/Bluebird CD Esquire's All-American Hot Jazz Sessions at the same time, and switched back and forth between the two. It was apparent from one switch that the 78 sounded "better" - the sound was richer, with more high end - a wider frequently response in general. The CD sounded thin and compressed, even though it didn't have the surface noise the 78 had. I found the surface noise mild and unobtrusive - and the sonic trade-off totally justified it, in my opinion.

I know that, that to some extent, this says more about the mastering than the medium. The King Oliver Off the Record CD shows how great a CD transparently mastered from excellent 78s can sound. But in many cases, the only CD (or LP) versions of older music available are those that sacrifice frequencies to eliminate surface noise.

My very qualified position is that in some cases, for music recorded during the 78 era, the original 78s can sound better than later than reissues. This is even more conditional than with LPs - the record has to be in excellent condition, played on good equipment with the right stylus. But sometimes 78s win.

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3 hours ago, jeffcrom said:

But in many cases, the only CD (or LP) versions of older music available are those that sacrifice frequencies to eliminate surface noise.

Digital techniques have gotten better for noise removal but I tend to think we should leave well enough alone and just release needle drops of older material like that.

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I've nothing to contribute i.e. comparing vinyl to CD versions of albums, but I can say that ripping my CD collection to my hard drive (as WAV's or 320 MP3) it really does make listening to things I haven't for a long time much easier, listening to boxes, multi disc sets, etc.......... it's just really nice.  Will I ditch the CD's? no.

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I agree and also won't ditch my CDs, but if I'm honest I probably could since I no longer play them or even look at the booklets. Instead they are largely boxed up and packed away in cupboards. Ultimate back-up I suppose....

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This ripping business is hard work - 3 months later and I am just about ready to move into the S's with Lalo Schifren.

I've still got a lot of Mosaic box sets to do as well.

I don't know, once I am satisfied that the back-ups are robust and secure, then maybe, I might sell the physical box sets. But then would I be committing a crime? I dunno, but the music would be getting out to others who will appreciate jazz. So why not. Still, as Crisp states you then have the ultimate back-up. Hmmm......

 

 

 

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On 28.2.2016 at 9:00 PM, rockefeller center said:

Compressed, yes. Lossy/irreversible compression? No. FLAC - Free Lossless Audio Codec

 

You're still around, Rocky? Nice to read you! How ya doin'?

On 7.3.2016 at 4:52 AM, jeffcrom said:

I know that, that to some extent, this says more about the mastering than the medium. The King Oliver Off the Record CD shows how great a CD transparently mastered from excellent 78s can sound. But in many cases, the only CD (or LP) versions of older music available are those that sacrifice frequencies to eliminate surface noise.

That's what annoys me about today's reissue business - the engineers' hissophobia. I, too, suffer from a bit of high frequency hearing loss, but I cannot imagine the cymbal sound suffering as much as it does, especially on many cheapo reissues.

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I think "hissophobia" is healthy. Case in point the Mosaic Dial set. 

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