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Listening to music
#21
RE: Listening to music
(July 21, 2021 at 10:26 am)HappySkeptic Wrote:
(July 21, 2021 at 9:29 am)no one Wrote: There's a depth to analog that digital just cannot match.

Yeah, that's an interesting position, and I've gone back and forth on it.  I find that good digital is just better these days (provided the electronics is good).

My rule of thumb is that vintage vinyl is always better than the CD of the same album.  However, digital remasters (especially high-res) are often better than both.

It's largely a matter of taste, but the fact is everything is a compromise in audio reproduction. The old albums we know and love were mastered with vinyl in mind. Most of them have everything below 50 Hz removed from the master. Lower frequencies take up more physical space on a vinyl album. So the lowest frequencies are left out of masters produced for cutting vinyl records so they could have less space between the groves. That gives us a longer grove so we get more play time on the record.

Most CDs produced through the 80s and 90s were made using the the masters that were made with vinyl in mind. CDs aren't vinyl and music mastered for CDs needs to be treated differently in order to get the best sound out of the CD. So remastering older music before digitizing can give better results, but a poor job of remastering can can also lead to poor end product. Add to that the often degraded, sometimes more than others, condition of the original masters, and remastering doesn't always give us better music. The first 4 times Thriller was remastered they made it louder. By the fourth try they had managed to completely fuck it up.

Then there is the digitizing process itself. I think most music that is digitally mastered these days is recorded in a 24 bits/192 kHz. Anything less than that and you are probably losing something in the process. You can record with higher resolution like 32 bits / 384 kHz, but most audio pros would probably say most people couldn't tell the difference between the two. Since it takes up more space why bother if you can't tell the difference.

Good recordings are important, but you need good playback equipment to get the most out of it. Once again though everything is a compromise. You need big speakers to produce low frequencies. Low frequencies require large resonating cavities. That means big enclosures. Most people don't like big ass speakers these days so most of us don't get great bass. At least not without a subwoofer which is another compromise. I won't even get into crossovers. Even McIntosh compromises with the design of their tube amps. Output transformers aren't the best way to get an even frequency response. McIntosh is still using them in their tube amps though because it gives them a more linear output across a wide impendence load. Some speakers are picky about the amps that drive them, but a McIntosh tube amp will drive about anything.

Finally, but possibly most importantly is the dynamics of your listening area. Speaker placement and listener position is key, but they shape and layout of the room are important too. But most of us don't have a golden trapagon shaped room with perfectly placed absorbers, defractors, refractors, speakers, and a chair in the sweet spot. We just make the best of what we have and make more listening compromises.

(July 21, 2021 at 10:19 am)Ranjr Wrote: I listen to music while driving or working outside.  MP3 or FLAC, headphones or speakers.  I record and listen at a PC through a pair of reconditioned Heresys that were standard issue where I grew up.

Symphonies sound better through high end, but rock and roll is just rock and roll. For example, if it's too clear, the squeaky pedal in Since I've Been Loving You makes me skip it.  A little hum doesn't crush my groove.  I prefer the direct experience of live music.

I almost bout a pair of Heresy IV's, but decided they were probably more than my small room needed.

(July 21, 2021 at 11:17 am)HappySkeptic Wrote: You like those vinyl distortions Smile  I also found that digital was missing something until I got really good digital electronics about 6 years ago.  It really should be easier, but it isn't.  Anything less than high-end (many thousands and recent electronics) falls flat for me.

I'm pretty happy with my budget audiophile system. 45 year old but recently rebuilt Marantz amp, Wharfedale Linton speakers, and a Rega P3 with Exact II cartridge. The Marantz has a warm almost tube like sound that I like. The new Lintons are just plain great for the money. The P3 gives me some upgrade options if I want to go there. The one thing I'm missing is decent DAC, but sooner or later I'll get one of those. But, I'm not an audiophile and don't claim to be.
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#22
RE: Listening to music
(July 20, 2021 at 6:04 pm)popeyespappy Wrote: Vulcanlogician's recent thread on trippy music, made me wonder not so much what most of you listen to as much as how you listen to it. Are you playing back crappy MP3's on your iPhone with a pair of cheap ear buds? Do you have a nice DAC decoding high resolution audio files through expensive headphones, or maybe vinyl via an old Mcintosh tube amp driving a pair of $15,000 Martin Logans? I'm asking because it makes a big difference. Some of you may not realize how much of a difference if you have never experienced anything but your iPhone and ear buds.

Once upon a time I had a nice stereo system. Pioneer separates including an equalizer and reverb pushing a pair of JBL 4312 monitors. Too many parties, too many moves, and not enough appreciation for what I had meant it didn't last long though. Eventually I replaced it with a surround sound system. I'm now on my third generation of surround sound which works great for watching movies, but just wasn't cutting it for listening to music. So much so that it was rare when I listened to music at home.

I recently decided fuck that. I want to listen to music again. So now I have a decent 2-channel audio system again. Which much to Karen's chagrin, required moving a bunch of furniture around to make it sound right. But now I can listen to my music the way it was intended to sound. I can hear things I didn't notice before. The soundstage in the sweet spot is perfect. I can close my eyes and hear the base player standing to left of the singer with the guitarist on the right and the drums behind. It's music like I remember it and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I have in years.

I used to have an old mid to late 1970s  tube receiver, with a partially wooden case, and heavy dials and switches. I also had a full metal equalizer( most likely early 80s) with 12 sliders basically 6 channels for each speaker. Had gigantic tower speakers the size of the twin towers. I used the thickest gauge copper speaker wires too. Had an old turntable and a 6 cd changer hooked up to the receiver. 

That old system was so powerful you could use it for sound propulsion.

[Image: cu0xaw7ctcndhnb6xx7a.jpg]

^^^^^^^ This is a real stereo receiver.
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#23
RE: Listening to music
Purchased an Asus Xonar SE sound card for my computer. It's not an EVGA Nu, but it's got a 116 db SNR and better grounding than the Realtek chip on my motherboard. I doubt I'll notice the difference, but it's probably worth the $40 I spent.
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#24
RE: Listening to music
(September 10, 2021 at 11:13 am)Angrboda Wrote: Purchased an Asus Xonar SE sound card for my computer.  It's not an EVGA Nu, but it's got a 116 db SNR and better grounding than the Realtek chip on my motherboard.  I doubt I'll notice the difference, but it's probably worth the $40 I spent.

I picked up my NU off eBay for about $120.
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#25
RE: Listening to music
Yeah, I don't think my ears would notice the difference.

What would make a difference, though, given that I've moved my computer so that it's no longer directly in front of my A/V speakers, is to buy a pair of switchable studio monitors for the computer. I'm also looking at upgrading my graphics card, but while I wait for prices to come down or be on-sale at the end of the year, the speakers might be a good idea. I'm just starting to look, but my initial gander suggests something from Klipsch or Edifier in the $300 range. I don't know much about Edifier, but apparently they're a Chinese firm that is producing some real good shit.

Of course, first I have to commit to my new seating location, which will depend upon whether I can figure out how to clamp my Racing Wheel to my old desk, and other issues which aren't fully settled.
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#26
RE: Listening to music
I'm going to say some things that will be unpopular and get lots of hate, but here goes.  The only "real" music is live music, hard stop.  If you aren't listening to live music, you are not hearing anywhere near the total sound quality.  That said, I've experienced music in a range of systems including vinyl, reel to reel, 8 track, cassettes, CD's, mp3's, OGG.  Of those, reel to reel is superior to all the others.  Digital recordings on CD are indistinguishable from vinyl unless the producer made some mistakes in production, and they have the advantage of having no ticks and scratches, and you don't have to clean them if you want to keep them from scratching.  Ripping from CD's to mp3's does lose some sound quality, but here's where for me the issue becomes subjective.  I rarely sit and focus only on the music.  I listen to music as a background while I'm engaging in other activities, so if the sound quality is slightly inferior, it makes no difference.  The only time I'm truly focused on the music is during a live performance.

Now, where music has been getting far worse in recent years (like the last 20) is not in the medium or equipment at all, but rather in the mixing/production.  Producers have been destroying music by engaging in compression of the dynamic range, or reducing the difference between different tracks in the music.  So soft sounds like a high hat are just as loud as a guitar solo, which robs music of subtle moods and textures.  I don't buy much new music nowadays, but when I hear current songs, they sound offensive to me, and not just because the songs suck.  It's like everything on the song is turned up to 11.  I generally only listen to pretty old music and not remasters because they often do this on remasters, too.  One note, this may not be as much a problem with jazz and classical music, as I rarely listen to those genres recorded.  But anything from pop to rock to country, all of those are guilty as hell.  Not really sure why they do this.
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#27
RE: Listening to music
(September 21, 2021 at 12:21 pm)Spongebob Wrote: I'm going to say some things that will be unpopular and get lots of hate, but here goes.  The only "real" music is live music, hard stop.  If you aren't listening to live music, you are not hearing anywhere near the total sound quality.  That said, I've experienced music in a range of systems including vinyl, reel to reel, 8 track, cassettes, CD's, mp3's, OGG.  Of those, reel to reel is superior to all the others.  Digital recordings on CD are indistinguishable from vinyl unless the producer made some mistakes in production, and they have the advantage of having no ticks and scratches, and you don't have to clean them if you want to keep them from scratching.  Ripping from CD's to mp3's does lose some sound quality, but here's where for me the issue becomes subjective.  I rarely sit and focus only on the music.  I listen to music as a background while I'm engaging in other activities, so if the sound quality is slightly inferior, it makes no difference.  The only time I'm truly focused on the music is during a live performance.

Now, where music has been getting far worse in recent years (like the last 20) is not in the medium or equipment at all, but rather in the mixing/production.  Producers have been destroying music by engaging in compression of the dynamic range, or reducing the difference between different tracks in the music.  So soft sounds like a high hat are just as loud as a guitar solo, which robs music of subtle moods and textures.  I don't buy much new music nowadays, but when I hear current songs, they sound offensive to me, and not just because the songs suck.  It's like everything on the song is turned up to 11.  I generally only listen to pretty old music and not remasters because they often do this on remasters, too.  One note, this may not be as much a problem with jazz and classical music, as I rarely listen to those genres recorded.  But anything from pop to rock to country, all of those are guilty as hell.  Not really sure why they do this.

Meh. Recorded music is just different from live. Not better or worse. You get things live that you don't recorded. But the reverse is true as well.
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#28
RE: Listening to music
(September 21, 2021 at 11:49 am)Angrboda Wrote: Yeah, I don't think my ears would notice the difference.

What would make a difference, though, given that I've moved my computer so that it's no longer directly in front of my A/V speakers, is to buy a pair of switchable studio monitors for the computer.  I'm also looking at upgrading my graphics card, but while I wait for prices to come down or be on-sale at the end of the year, the speakers might be a good idea.  I'm just starting to look, but my initial gander suggests something from Klipsch or Edifier in the $300 range.  I don't know much about Edifier, but apparently they're a Chinese firm that is producing some real good shit.

Of course, first I have to commit to my new seating location, which will depend upon whether I can figure out how to clamp my Racing Wheel to my old desk, and other issues which aren't fully settled.

In that price range you should look at a pair of JBL Professional 306P MKII monitors. They only take balanced inputs so you would probably need to a unbalanced to balanced cable somewhere between your source and the monitors, but that won't be an issue.

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=4...nkQAvD_BwE

(September 21, 2021 at 12:21 pm)Spongebob Wrote: I'm going to say some things that will be unpopular and get lots of hate, but here goes.  The only "real" music is live music, hard stop.  If you aren't listening to live music, you are not hearing anywhere near the total sound quality.  That said, I've experienced music in a range of systems including vinyl, reel to reel, 8 track, cassettes, CD's, mp3's, OGG.  Of those, reel to reel is superior to all the others.  Digital recordings on CD are indistinguishable from vinyl unless the producer made some mistakes in production, and they have the advantage of having no ticks and scratches, and you don't have to clean them if you want to keep them from scratching.  Ripping from CD's to mp3's does lose some sound quality, but here's where for me the issue becomes subjective.  I rarely sit and focus only on the music.  I listen to music as a background while I'm engaging in other activities, so if the sound quality is slightly inferior, it makes no difference.  The only time I'm truly focused on the music is during a live performance.

Now, where music has been getting far worse in recent years (like the last 20) is not in the medium or equipment at all, but rather in the mixing/production.  Producers have been destroying music by engaging in compression of the dynamic range, or reducing the difference between different tracks in the music.  So soft sounds like a high hat are just as loud as a guitar solo, which robs music of subtle moods and textures.  I don't buy much new music nowadays, but when I hear current songs, they sound offensive to me, and not just because the songs suck.  It's like everything on the song is turned up to 11.  I generally only listen to pretty old music and not remasters because they often do this on remasters, too.  One note, this may not be as much a problem with jazz and classical music, as I rarely listen to those genres recorded.  But anything from pop to rock to country, all of those are guilty as hell.  Not really sure why they do this.

1. I disagree with the real music statement. The last time I went to live show the acoustics were shit, and the music sounded terrible compared to what I am used to listening to at home. I admit things might have been different if the Stones had been playing Carnegie Hall instead of Soldier Field and Mick and the rest of the band were 26 instead of 76, but they weren't. The show in question received pretty good reviews, BTW.

2. My office at work right now.

[Image: aZ01P1M.jpg]

Reel to reel tape machines work well. The one above is a 45ish year old Pioneer RT-909. We paid about $1200 for it 5 years ago then another $1000 having it rebuilt with fresh caps and transistors and properly biased. It isn't a 16-track 2" Studer A80, but most people don't listen to studio grade equipment at home. It sounds good, but I doubt you or anyone else could tell the difference between the copy of Dark Side of the Moon I recorded from vinyl on this machine and and the 24 bit 192 kHz FLAC file I ripped from the same album in a blind test.
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#29
RE: Listening to music
I enjoy live music though I have been to far fewer concerts than I would have liked.

Years ago they built a new sports complex at one of the universities in Iowa. It was supposed to be the next great thing in that it had a dome over it...not a bad plan in that neck of the woods. First husband and I went to a Marshall Tucker concert there, it was the first concert they held in that arena...that was his kind of music though I liked it well enough. I don't recall who was the opening act. Anyway...the sound was absolutely awful unless you were right in front of the stage. There was too much space for the music to fill. The acoustics were horrible with the music dissipating and fading off. It was disappointing.

My hearing is such now that I can't really be too fussy with what media is used. Several years ago I bought a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort over the ear headphones. With sound feeding right into my ears through quality headphones I am able to hear things in songs I have been missing for years.

I loved albums and 45s, owned a reel-to-reel for a time, dealt with 8-tracks, went through the love/hate with cassettes, and am pretty content with CDs. As I said, my hearing is such that I can't blame the delivery system.
 “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ~Albert Einstein                                                 
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#30
RE: Listening to music
Those are great headphones. I've tried them, but they're not in my price range and my Sony MDR-7506s are more than satisfactory. I don't need wireless at home. I just bought a pair of Jabra Elite 45h headphones, which have rave reviews, but I haven't tried them yet.
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