Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Musician's commentary on the state of playback technology today

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Some questions on playback. How many of you live anywhere near a "stereo store" that has good/high quality loudspeaker systems set up in dedicated rooms for relaxed system audition (and not just a big surround sound room)? Do any of those stores allow you to take home a pair of speakers, an amplifier, etc., for the weekend to try out? If there is a store, how many of you have more more than one store nearby (I had three near me many years ago in SC)?

    Here near Boston, I can only think of one "stereo store". Hugely expensive stuff (but very, very good). Maybe there are others, but I haven't checked for some time. All other stores with just decent sound rooms closed years ago of which I was aware. The market for them has largely disappeared.
    Ear buds, the new version of the shoulder-held boom-box.

    I think it's fair to say that everyone who frequents this board and others like it is in search of the best bang-for-the-buck sound. Or just best sound, cost be damned. But I also think it's fair to say that almost everyone else is happy to have compressed sound at their fingertips, often while walking down the street, more often now accessible from their favorite streaming audio site where they can store their mp3 collection via the internet. And they may ask "Where are the free downloads?". For the vast majority, convenience is paramount. Half of the people working out at my gym have ear buds in while pressing weights, not just those on the aerobic machines. Sometimes I can hear their music.

    99.99999% will never sit down in front of a good pair of speakers they bought for a listening session.

    dlr
    WinPCD - Windows .NET Passive Crossover Designer

    Dave's Speaker Pages

    Comment


    • #17
      The only stereo store I've been to in years is the JBL flagship store at Times Square. They have a big theater room with JBL K2 S9900s and a smaller listening room with Revel Salon IIs. Nobody else was there to hear them but my girl and me. Sad commentary, right?
      Francis

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by fpitas View Post

        Hey! My horn drivers only have 2" diaphragms. Big enough for me
        Which drivers? I'm looking at seeing how low I can push the 1.75" diaphragm of the JBL 2426. 800, we know it can do, even in pro apps. Can it do 500 clean at home? Will the 2374 horn even support 500Hz?

        Looks like we'll find out when I start testing! Probably should have just bit the bullet and gotten 2384/2453H-SL though.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by badman View Post

          Which drivers? I'm looking at seeing how low I can push the 1.75" diaphragm of the JBL 2426. 800, we know it can do, even in pro apps. Can it do 500 clean at home? Will the 2374 horn even support 500Hz?

          Looks like we'll find out when I start testing! Probably should have just bit the bullet and gotten 2384/2453H-SL though.
          TAD TD-2002s on 511 horns. I cross them at 800Hz to maintain a decent polar pattern.
          Francis

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by dlr View Post
            Some questions on playback. How many of you live anywhere near a "stereo store" that has good/high quality loudspeaker systems set up in dedicated rooms for relaxed system audition (and not just a big surround sound room)? Do any of those stores allow you to take home a pair of speakers, an amplifier, etc., for the weekend to try out? If there is a store, how many of you have more more than one store nearby (I had three near me many years ago in SC)?

            Here near Boston, I can only think of one "stereo store". Hugely expensive stuff (but very, very good). Maybe there are others, but I haven't checked for some time. All other stores with just decent sound rooms closed years ago of which I was aware. The market for them has largely disappeared.


            99.99999% will never sit down in front of a good pair of speakers they bought for a listening session.

            dlr
            Melbourne (pop: about 4.5m) used to have at least two or three dozen dedicated 'hi fi' stores, this is now down to less than ten. I'm not counting 'big box' stores which have a wall of speakers next to the washing machines etc. Of these ten stores, none will let you take items - particularly speakers - home to audition. So, if they sound like **** in your home, too bad.

            Perhaps the best 'hi fi' store was Encel Stereo, which was established in the early 1960s by Alex Encel, who designed and assembled speakers from Scandanavian drivers and made his own electronics. He had dedicated stores with several different sized listening rooms. Sort of like "The Big Room" in Ruthless People but much better.

            Fast forward 50 years, home theatre had killed sales of most 'stereo systems' and Encel just couldn't survive despite excellent service and products.


            Geoff

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
              The complaints about sound quality miss the mark. No LP even remotely approaches the sound quality of CDs. MP3 and other digital formats don't have the fidelity of CDs, but by the same token 8 Track and cassette tapes didn't have the fidelity of LPs either, so the trade off between portability and sound quality isn't new by any means. As noted the ease of digital transmission and storage is a double edged sword. Major names might bemoan the loss of revenue that it creates, but gone are the days when the only way anyone could get their tunes out to the public was by selling their souls to a record company. Consider that if not for the ease of distribution via the internet we may never have heard of Justin Bieber. OTOH maybe that in and of itself says that this particular genie should have been left in his lamp.
              I will take issue with the statement that no LP even remotely approaches the sound quality of cd’s. If you think that way than you haven’t listened to a good LP!

              Over the weekend I spun the new Abby Road for the first time. It completely blows away any other version I’ve heard! Than I spun the new James Taylor October Road that Analog Spark pressed. Two LP’s @ 33.3 rpm’s only three song per side. It betters the cd that I’ve been enjoying of the last few years.

              I’ve said it before, I have good LP’s, I have bad LP’s. I have good cd’s I have bad cd’s. Either format has the ability to sound stellar!

              Have Fun! Mark

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by badman View Post

                Great CDs are indeed awesome, and high res improves upon that somewhat. FLAC is how I store my CDs, though compressing wave files no longer really is needed since storage tech has come so far, it's harmless just not needed compression. I read the line on playback as "Earbuds and a phone are not a great way to listen", moreso than file format, though naturally MP3 is inferior (less so than the early days, where people space optimized, maximizing loss, and the codecs weren't very good yet).

                What I take issue with is the characterization of LP not being anywhere near CD grade. The best, most believable sound I've heard from a consumer format has been off of wax. Often it's not the case, and CDs obvious advantages in noise performance are not to be ignored, but a well-cared for, properly set up, high quality turntable/record solution doesn't have noise as a meaningful problem. My theory is that the shortfalls of LP are largely not signal-correlated- noise is more readily ignored than distorted peaks/high freqs (sampling errors). I've heard great sound from both formats as well as many others (ranging from high-res to master tape to, in a few instances, some very vital and convincing vocal qualities on a 78). LP is not drastically worse than CD, I don't know that I'd argue it's "better", that's pretty hard to say given how well-recorded CDs perform, and the advantages of low noise, higher dynamic range, and channel separation, but LPs have their own characteristics that for whatever reason agree with our ear/brain mechanism.
                Sadly, I'm old enough to have lived through the era of LP, when that format was looked at no differently than we look at MP3 today. LPs were at the bottom of the food chain in the audio playback world. Top of the heap was reel-to-reel. The limitations of vinyl have not been overcome. Dynamic range is no where near what's capable with even 16 bit recordings, and who uses 16 bits to record these days???

                That's not to say that a satisfying experience listening to vinyl is not possible, of course it is. The ONLY reason digital playback would be inferior to LP is if the producer of the digital product is a moron.
                R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
                Byzantium Project & Build Thread || MiniByzy Build Thread || 3 x Peerless 850439 HDS 3-way || 8" 2-way - RS28A/B&C8BG51

                95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
                "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by fpitas View Post
                  Dunno. When I play modern all-digital recordings on CD, I can hear the gnats whispering to each other on the studio wall. It's a different sound than the pleasant blur of vinyl, sure, and the recording techniques are more critical since you can actually hear everything.

                  But yeah, making money is tougher than ever. Still, at least you're no longer entirely at the mercy of major labels.
                  I think The Beatles' initial royalty was one penny per album, and there were 240 pennies in a pound! Still, that's more than the jazz band in the link earns....

                  Geoff

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    How can you beat 50dB dynamic range, -20dB crosstalk and the sound of a nail dragging in a groove in a piece of plastic? Surely not with a shiny plastic disk and a laser.
                    John k.... Music and Design NaO dsp Dipole Loudspeakers.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by badman View Post
                      I certainly agree with this- but quantization errors don't exist with LP- and quantization is basically everything, for CD.
                      Sadly, only people who don't understand how the quantization process (or more correctly the A/D - D/A process ) works can suggest that this somehow places CDs at a disadvantage to LPs.

                      It does not.

                      You can get virtually identical signal reproduction, up to a particular bandwidth and s/n ratio, both of which are based on the sampling frequency and bit depth. And the parameters used for encoding digital audio for storage on CDs result in the bandwidth,dynamic range and s/n ratio that's high above what LPs are capable of. Forgot about all those visuals of sine waves being converted into steps by quantization - that shows only one step of the process, not the end result!

                      I'm work in the computing field now, but my background is in EE. Years ago, while working on my degree, we covered digital sampling I wrote a software emulator that emulated the A/D and D/A processes, including any required filtering, allowing the user to change things like sampling frequency, but depth and the like, and allowed for before/after visual comparisons of the original and reproduced waveforms for the non-believers. As I mentioned previously, with the correct choice of sampling frequency and bit depth, and of course filtering at the input AND the output, the end result is basically an output waveform that's identical to the input.

                      I'll give a hint - all those "steps" you see in the stepped waveform that's usually represented as the output of the D/A process are above, and usually well above the highest frequency of interest. So what do you think will happen to those steps when that waveform is subjected to a LP filter that allows only the frequencies of interest through?
                      Brian Steele
                      www.diysubwoofers.org

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Everything starts at jump. Drums, drums, drums! Sorta kidding. How are they tuned, what room, what drummer, which tracking engineer, etc. I've been fortunate to have recorded in a number of different rooms with different formats; 2 inch tape multi track, 2 channel reel to reel, ADAT, Pro Tools, from pro to home, and listened critically on tracking, rough mix, and mastering monitor setups, and while I love what my ears have heard in a high budget treated room designed for those purposes, I personally don't care about going backwards with playback medium. I love the fact that my cd's and digital streaming is easy, and doesn't have the noise or degradation of old school tech. My favorite thing about all of the albums that I own is the artwork and the memories that I associate with them. I much prefer to hold them and treat them as a relic. Sorta like going through an old photo album. Some of my favorite memories happened in a customized 1976 Dogge Sportsman van with an 8 track, and shag carpet with a faux fur couch that converted into a bed. With the seats out I found that 13 bodies and the various party supplies could fit crammed into it. Memories is what it's all about to me. I'll stay with digital playback, but I love me some ***** horns, and they're anything but new tech, as far as the fundamental basis. As to money making as a musician, I have a career that allows me the freedom to remain a weekend warrior. I still love to play, and the money that gets made through music supports my motorcycle, and gear costs. Some of the best musicians that I know, and have played with are the same. One of the guys that I play with every now and again played for a top global artist, and he now is in sales. You have to play because you love to play, and if you are fortunate to make a living , consider it a bonus. Just my thoughts, and I don't begrudge anyone from having a completely opposite view. Glenn

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Drummer View Post
                          Everything starts at jump. Drums, drums, drums! Sorta kidding. How are they tuned, what room, what drummer, which tracking engineer, etc. I've been fortunate to have recorded in a number of different rooms with different formats; 2 inch tape multi track, 2 channel reel to reel, ADAT, Pro Tools, from pro to home, and listened critically on tracking, rough mix, and mastering monitor setups, and while I love what my ears have heard in a high budget treated room designed for those purposes, I personally don't care about going backwards with playback medium. I love the fact that my cd's and digital streaming is easy, and doesn't have the noise or degradation of old school tech. My favorite thing about all of the albums that I own is the artwork and the memories that I associate with them. I much prefer to hold them and treat them as a relic. Sorta like going through an old photo album. Some of my favorite memories happened in a customized 1976 Dogge Sportsman van with an 8 track, and shag carpet with a faux fur couch that converted into a bed. With the seats out I found that 13 bodies and the various party supplies could fit crammed into it. Memories is what it's all about to me. I'll stay with digital playback, but I love me some ***** horns, and they're anything but new tech, as far as the fundamental basis. As to money making as a musician, I have a career that allows me the freedom to remain a weekend warrior. I still love to play, and the money that gets made through music supports my motorcycle, and gear costs. Some of the best musicians that I know, and have played with are the same. One of the guys that I play with every now and again played for a top global artist, and he now is in sales. You have to play because you love to play, and if you are fortunate to make a living , consider it a bonus. Just my thoughts, and I don't begrudge anyone from having a completely opposite view. Glenn
                          I've talked to musicians who thought their stuff came through best on LP. To me that's an artistic decision, so inarguable. Their music, their choice. But yeah, as a consumer I like the digital stuff. No looking back.
                          Francis

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Just for the giggles
                            Click image for larger version  Name:	3 Notes.gif Views:	0 Size:	107.2 KB ID:	1424746
                            Paul

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by fpitas View Post

                              It's definitely a personal preference. I listened to LPs for many years (I'm 65). I'll take properly mastered CDs over LPs any day.
                              Someone mentioned to me that they had never scratched a record and I mentioned to them that I had never scratched a CD!

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Paul K. View Post
                                Just for the giggles
                                Click image for larger version Name:	3 Notes.gif Views:	0 Size:	107.2 KB ID:	1424746
                                Paul
                                Value!

                                Geoff

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X