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"Killer sound" -


Kramerguy

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So this is more O/T for BWTB, but I like you guys so I'd rather discuss it here-

 

I will use the piece from my sig - Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812.

 

-It's a brilliant piece, about 17 minutes long I believe, and it has a LOT of very dynamic up's and downs, at some points the entire orchestra is so quiet you can barely hear the violins or oboes , and at other points, the jump is almost startling, especially the cannons!

 

So, I listen to it in my car - found it on cassette (my car has a tape deck, yes...). The dynamics were still impressive nonetheless, just have a little tape hiss, which after a listen or two, you even stop noticing..

 

So I thought to look it up and found the same version in digital format. I ripped a really high (320? not sure) quality recording, and converted the wav to mp3. I then used an audio program to boost the high and low eq's- Looked at the wavelength and already I could see the ultimate fail that was coming..

 

And yep, fail it did. Whether playing it on my mp3 player, FM transmit to the car radio, or even putting the raw WAV onto cd and using a tape-converter in the car, nothing from the digital format even came close to the dynamics on the cassette. The bottom and high ends were there, but the volume swells and bursts associated with the actual orchestra (as you would hear it live) were just not there.. the cannons, while sounding fantastic, lost their impact. I knew there would be some dynamic loss, but I never realized it was such a devastating difference.

 

Since, I've pulled cassettes out of the closet - everything from the monterrey pop festival to WASP - and even though none are nearly as dynamic as an orchestra, the bottom line still remains clear - I'm actually thinking of looking for a tape recorder to replace my digital with.

 

Now I get why people rave so much about vinyl.. Analog recording captures something digital is just missing..

 

just my thoughts, wanted to share :)

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I can see the MP3 compression being an issue. "320" is a reference to the kbps of an MP3. Even if you burned it as a WAV file, if the original source was the MP3, it wouldn't sound any better than the original MP3. Perhaps there's an issue with whoever/whatever made the digital version you ripped. Even though it said "320" maybe that "320" version was created from a 96 or 64kbps MP3? Was this a file you purchased or some who-knows-what-you're-going-to-get filesharing version?

 

I also can't imagine there can't be SOME degree of loss with what must be a 20+ year old cassette. Just sitting on the shelf those things will degrade over time.

 

I'm a big fan of analog. I still play my LPs a lot. But I don't find that, at the end of the day, analog to be superior to digital or vice versa. It's a case-by-case basis. I have some old albums where the LP is better than the CD. And others where the CD is far superior. It really just depends on the quality of the mastering.

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So this is more O/T for BWTB, but I like you guys so I'd rather discuss it here-


I will use the piece from my sig - Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812.


-It's a brilliant piece, about 17 minutes long I believe, and it has a LOT of very dynamic up's and downs, at some points the entire orchestra is so quiet you can barely hear the violins or oboes , and at other points, the jump is almost startling, especially the cannons!


So, I listen to it in my car - found it on cassette (my car has a tape deck, yes...). The dynamics were still impressive nonetheless, just have a little tape hiss, which after a listen or two, you even stop noticing..


So I thought to look it up and found the same version in digital format. I ripped a really high (320? not sure) quality recording, and converted the wav to mp3. I then used an audio program to boost the high and low eq's- Looked at the wavelength and already I could see the ultimate fail that was coming..


And yep, fail it did. Whether playing it on my mp3 player, FM transmit to the car radio, or even putting the raw WAV onto cd and using a tape-converter in the car, nothing from the digital format even came close to the dynamics on the cassette. The bottom and high ends were there, but the volume swells and bursts associated with the actual orchestra (as you would hear it live) were just not there.. the cannons, while sounding fantastic, lost their
impact
. I knew there would be some dynamic loss, but I never realized it was such a devastating difference.


Since, I've pulled cassettes out of the closet - everything from the monterrey pop festival to WASP - and even though none are nearly as dynamic as an orchestra, the bottom line still remains clear - I'm actually thinking of looking for a tape recorder to replace my digital with.


Now I get why people rave so much about vinyl.. Analog recording captures something digital is just missing..


just my thoughts, wanted to share
:)

Not so much digital, but probably the mp3 compression.

 

Get a good CD of 1812 overture and it'll blow you away: classical music ROCKS on CD, as long as it wasn't mastered stupidly with brickwall compression.

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I remember when Sting's Soul Cages came out and it was one of the first DDD recordings, which I think meant digitally recorded, mixed and mastered. I'll never forget putting on my headphones and listening to that the first time. Absolutely AMAZING. I do agree that MP3 and Satallite radio so over compress things as to lose the purity of the original recording. Bus as Wade says, get it on CD and generally speaking you'll be blown away.

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Whether playing it on my mp3 player, FM transmit to the car radio, or even putting the raw WAV onto cd and using a tape-converter in the car, nothing from the digital format even came close to the dynamics on the cassette.

 

 

Not sure about your mp3 player setup, but I've never heard a FM transmitter or tape-converter that wasn't extremely lo-fi.

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The band Rush made a big stink awhile back about mastering studios sucking all the dynamic range out of their music.

They were pissed because they turned their wav files into 2x4 blocks sucking all of the dynamic range they worked so hard on to perfect.

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The band Rush made a big stink awhile back about mastering studios sucking all the dynamic range out of their music.

They were pissed because they turned their wav files into 2x4 blocks sucking all of the dynamic range they worked so hard on to perfect.

 

 

Modern mastering techniques--the "brickwalling" Wade referred to--can often ruin good sound music for a lot of people. Especially for those who remember more dynamic range in the older versions. A lot of "remastered" recordings are compressed so that the loud parts are loud and the soft parts are loud. Makes a lot of stuff unpleasant (for me anyway) to listen to.

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I like many of my CDs, but I'd still rather listen to just about any vinyl record from the mid 70s-early 80s through a good stereo than most of the CDs I have.

 

 

Like Jason, I was initially very impressed with the first CDs I heard. I think just the fact that they were so QUIET with no pops and crackles and surface noise and such.

 

But a few years ago I dusted off my old turntable because I wanted to rip some old albums I had that weren't available on CD, and I started to do some comparisons of old LPs to newer CD versions and I was surprised at how good the old LPs sounded. There really wasn't NEARLY the difference in clarity and fidelity that I had always thought CDs had. Really, none at all. And, in many cases, the LPs sound better because they were simply just mastered better. Not all. I have many old LPs that sound like crud compared to the CD versions. So it really is just on a case-by-case basis which sound better.

 

And, of course, everyone has different taste. But for anyone who believes that CDs simply smoke LPs just because they are digital, I would state they are simply wrong.

 

Old cassettes though? Hmmm...not so much.

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Just to clarify, I've taken several classical pieces from various sources, and have avoided mp3 sources, I should have explained that better in my OP- I did try to play some (store bought) CD's transmitted to FM as well as using the converter for cassette in the car - the CD's just .. lack.

 

I'm simply having a hard time finding that dynamic range and especially volume swells in digital recordings. It's hard to believe a cassette tape can capture an essence that a CD cannot, which is why I referred to vinyl at the end, but it's truthiness.

 

and yeah, I did try to source one mp3 and copy it, it was awful and bland.

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I did try to play some (store bought) CD's transmitted to FM as well as using the converter for cassette in the car - the CD's just .. lack.


 

 

If the only way you're listening to your CDs and/or comparing them to your cassettes is using an FM transmitter or cassette-converter, then this is where the problem lies. Those things suck. That's where all your dynamic range is going. Seriously, you're doing what exactly here--- Playing your CD on a cheapy portable player through a $15 Radio Shack cassette converter into a car audio system that is old enough to be cassette and you're blaming the loss of dynamics on the CD itself?

 

CDs have more dynamic range than standard cassette tapes. And while it's true that brickwalled mastering can do horrendous things to dynamic range, classical CDs are rarely brickwalled. That is much more an issue with pop CDs.

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Let's get a little bit technical here:

 

The frequency response of the human ear is about 20hz to 20,000hz. Most of us musicians (especially us older ones) don't have that high end anymore.

 

The frequency response of a standard 16bit CD is about 4hz to 20,000hz.

 

The frequency response of a LP is about 7hz to 25,000 hz.

 

The frequency response of a VERY GOOD cassette is about 20hz to 20,000hz. And I'm talking like a Metal Oxide tape recorded on a high-end Nakamichi deck. The stuff put out on pre-recorded tape was generally crap in comparison.

 

The dynamic range (the difference between the softest and quietest parts that can be recorded) of a CD is 96db. A LP is about 75db. A cassette about 60db.

 

So all things being equal, a CD version SHOULD always sound better than an LP or cassette. If it doesn't, the fault lies with either the way the music was put onto CD (the mastering) or with the quality of the playback equipment.

 

Some LPphiles will argue that there is sound recorded in those above-human-hearing frequencies that contains sub-harmonics that we CAN hear that makes LPs sound better. But, to my knowledge, this theory has never been proven.

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I'm simply having a hard time finding that dynamic range and especially volume swells in digital recordings.

 

 

Some people believe that analog is superrior to digital in many ways, but dynamic range is certainly something that no one will argue about. Digital wins by a mile - something's wrong with your playback system, probably the FM transmitter.

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Pick up Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (which happens to be my favorite symphony) on CD (London Symphony). It's one of the most dynamic pieces in terms of going from near silence to very loud I've ever heard. And it sounds brilliant. I've never compared it to an LP, since there most likely isn't one made, but I can't imagine it sounding any better.

 

I still have milk crates of LPs (and 45's) that I pull out from time to time. There's a nostalgic sound that I get listening to records (if that makes sense), but I wouldn't say I think they sound better.

 

Also, if you can get your hands on it, Prince completely F@#$'d up the recording of the entire record 1999. You don't notice it to bad on the LP, but on the CD, it distorts constantly. He recorded everything too hot, so in almost all the choruses the instruments and even his voice distorts. I always thought (and I could be wrong) that the reason it's so much more noticeable on the CD is because CD's sound quality is so much better. :idk:

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Also, if you can get your hands on it, Prince completely F@#$'d up the recording of the entire record 1999. You don't notice it to bad on the LP, but on the CD, it distorts constantly. He recorded everything too hot, so in almost all the choruses the instruments and even his voice distorts. I always thought (and I could be wrong) that the reason it's so much more noticeable on the CD is because CD's sound quality is so much better.
:idk:

 

I've always noticed that distortion (kinda just always thought he wanted it that way), but I never noticed it being worse on CD. But I haven't played my LP of 1999 since I bought the CD. (Twice, because the first pressings didn't have "DMSR"). I might have to pull that LP out tonight and do a little comparison for fun.

 

Yes...that's my idea of "fun" on a Friday nite with no gig... :facepalm:

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Pick up Gorecki's 3rd Symphony (which happens to be my favorite symphony) on CD (London Symphony). It's one of the most dynamic pieces in terms of going from near silence to very loud I've ever heard. And it sounds brilliant. I've never compared it to an LP, since there most likely isn't one made, but I can't imagine it sounding any better.


 

I never listen to classical on LP because the surface noise is just too annoying on quiet passages. I don't know that I even own any classical LPs any more.

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Yes...that's my idea of "fun" on a Friday nite with no gig...
:facepalm:

 

I've made some serious changes in my life recently, one of which is that I have, for the time being, quit drinking, which means tonight should include such rabble rousing activities as cutting the grass and maybe starting on cleaning out the garage. (no face palm here, I'm actually proud of it)

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Listen to Journey "Infinity" or most any Queen album for an example of analog brick wall compression.

 

 

I don't disagree that some of the stuff that was recorded prior to digital and has now been converted sucks. But stuff done now, if done correctly, sounds pretty damn good.

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Modern mastering techniques--the "brickwalling" Wade referred to--can often ruin good sound music for a lot of people. Especially for those who remember more dynamic range in the older versions. A lot of "remastered" recordings are compressed so that the loud parts are loud and the soft parts are loud. Makes a lot of stuff unpleasant (for me anyway) to listen to.

 

Dynamics? What's that? :lol:;)

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I don't disagree that some of the stuff that was recorded prior to digital and has now been converted sucks. But stuff done now, if done correctly, sounds pretty damn good.

 

I'm not sure I'd say that it sucks.

 

I kind of like the sound of tape saturation.

 

Hell, listen to David Gilmour's use of the EchoRec tape echo on "Time" and you can really hear that saturation.

 

I think Roy Thomas Baker was going for that same type of sound, and it worked really well with Queen and on Brian may's guitar in particular.

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I think he was agreeing with you that some remastered CDs suck.

 

 

Yeah that's where I was going with that. My main point is that I think newer CDs recorded and mastered correctly sound amazing.

 

I remember we were recording our CD back in 1995 and the guy who mixed it also mixing Diana Ross's CD at the same time. He compressed the crap out of it. It was horrible, but he said "that's what the music exec were looking for" so we kept it to shop to them. We actually had it remixed by a lesser dude and we all liked the second version a ton better. The second one is the one we made into CDs and sold at shows.

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