B&W and formats

Fandango Andy

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So in a promotional B&W email I received, and I'm sure many others did too, they rank CD as the worst sounding format behind vinyl and high-res streaming.

So are they voicing their speakers toward vinyl and high-res streaming? I'm very curious of their opinion.
Any more info? Are they the only three formats ranked? Do they qualify or quantify there reasoning?
 

Sixtyten

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I mean this is click bait - so rather than give them the satisfaction of getting a click from this post, then you'll find the article by searching for B&W CD in google. The gist of their view is repeated verbatim from their website.

The bigger issue for us is the sound quality. CDs were launched to a huge fanfare that suggested they offered music reproduction at its finest. They didn’t. Compared to the high-resolution streaming services that are available they are distinctly lacking, and to most ears they don’t sound as good as wonderfully warm vinyl.

So, if you care about building an affordable collection quickly CDs are a good option. If you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for your source.


And in their spirit of subjective opinion being passed off as objective fact, I'm happy to declare that if you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for speakers than B&W
 
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manicm

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Seems very odd given their history of making CDPs. My old RCD 975 was a cracker and they still make the 11 and 14.

Rotel and
Seems very odd given their history of making CDPs. My old RCD 975 was a cracker and they still make the 11 and 14.

B&W and Rotel were never one company, even if they had common distribution and indirect marketing together.
 

Gray

Well-known member
And in their spirit of subjective opinion being passed off as objective fact, I'm happy to declare that if you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for speakers than B&W
I've previously owned B&W CDM-1NT speakers - pretty good they were.

Best never to treat anyone's opinion as fact.....especially the rubbish opinion they've come out with.
 
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Fandango Andy

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Well they are the three top formats no? Cassettes and reel to reel are extremely niche.
Are they? Top as in best quality or most common?

I think we can exclude cassette tape and 8-track. Reel to reel is niche, but depending on how its used is equal to or better than vinyl.

As for streaming, how much is actually hi-res? Many people use free or cheap streaming with a lower bitrate. Or stream via bluetooth or other lossy methods.

Ultimately its all b/s, how good your must sounds is a combination of factors including: Room size and shape, resonance of the room, loadspeaker placement, listening position, quality of componens. Get any one of those wrong by a small amount and it really doesn't matter what format you are listening to!
 
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I mean this is click bait - so rather than give them the satisfaction of getting a click from this post, then you'll find the article by searching for B&W CD in google. The gist of their view is repeated verbatim from their website.

The bigger issue for us is the sound quality. CDs were launched to a huge fanfare that suggested they offered music reproduction at its finest. They didn’t. Compared to the high-resolution streaming services that are available they are distinctly lacking, and to most ears they don’t sound as good as wonderfully warm vinyl.

So, if you care about building an affordable collection quickly CDs are a good option. If you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for your source.


And in their spirit of subjective opinion being passed off as objective fact, I'm happy to declare that if you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for speakers than B&W
I agree that your quote (in italics) is twaddle. If they think “wonderfully warm vinyl” is accurate, no wonder so many of their speakers are voiced with a rising HF.
 
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Revolutions

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It’s just a FLAC love-in. Little about vinyl. They spend a lot of time saying how cd is a failed format & then after recommending computer software to manage FLAC files, there’s this gem about getting those lossless files to your hifi.

FLAC with an unknown dac on random computer = better than cd 🤷‍♂️

“The simplest way to do this is to take an analogue line output from your computer soundcard. This is likely to have a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack plug, so you’ll need a cable with a 3.5mm stereo plug on one end and a pair of RCA phonos on the other, to connect into a spare line input on your amplifier to system (although systems and amplifiers increasingly have a 3.5mm input on the from for just this purpose. This method will give a reasonable sound, particularly if you have a good quality soundcard, but it’s not ideal – computers are electrically ‘noisy’ environments, and it’s best if at all possible to pipe out the digital signal away from the PC or Mac.”

 

Stuart83

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I'm not sure it makes sense to me especially with the results bring to the contrary throughout all the systems I've had, own and heard.

CD has always been king by an instantly recognisable margin in quality.

The night and day difference between the older popular formats of my youth being the backend of records and main stay of tapes saw a gargantuan leap quality when the CD became the main source of the masses.

Gone were the crackles and pops of records and muffled sound of tapes ever degrading tapes.
I still bother with vinyl ans always have as djaying became a job for awhile so records were a big part of my life but the night and day difference in quality the CD offers is instant.

I stream both via a mid range pc, occasional laptop and ifizen with 2 high quality DACS on various platforms at different qualities as it brings its biggest advantage to the table which is content, content, content but irrespective it's still not as good as CD IMO.

Recently as some know I bought myself a Marantz CD 60 to replace a favourite failing but now repaired twice Marantz CD 52 mk2 which saw the dawn of streaming to the masses and I still choose to use steaming primarily as a selection process of music to then purchase the said music on CD.

Streaming was brought up at the hifi store briefly in which it was mentioned it's main attraction of being a huge library at ones fingertips but the theoretical quality is mixed bag as I've found.
It's advertised way above what you get.

I find a lot of streams of tracks bass heavy amongst other things compared to an identical track on CD with a volume difference between tracks becoming something that requires a normaliser.

I find it very similar to the days of MP3 etc in regards to what actually comes out at the other end.

One can wax lyrical about HI-Res audio, encoders, soundcards and more importantly BIT-RATE which is not unlike upgrading kit in a hifi, but I prefer the almost guaranteed quality a CD brings with it especially within the prior mentioned main decider in audio, which is it's bitrate.

CDs have a much, much higher bit-rate of 1,411 compared to streaming services like Spotify with an average MP3 bit-rate of 320kb.1 Furthermore, the fundamental audio format used by CDs establishes uncompressed CD-quality sound.

Most people think and are led to believe that some premium streaming platforms etc broadcast all the files in hi Res which is incorrect.
I often see the bitrate change on most platforms to much lower than a cd despite it being advertised as hi-res etc.

All the theory goes out of the window when I play a CD of an identical track from a stream whatever the bitrate etc, the quality is always consistently better and I've found the same throughout my hifi journey to date.

There's many advantages and disadvantages to both as said and I'm sure that claims of superiority will come from the streaming fans with huge bitrate claims and boastful quality acronyms and I'm even listening to streams now through my main hifi for convenience, but I know if and when I hit on a good track I will purchase the CD to hear it better IMO.

It's how I found a absolutely amazing band "The Lumineers" which I then bought the CD and it instantly brought their music to life.
There's a female backing singer all of a sudden ever so faintly in the background that's now added even more to an already hair raisingly good band.
I also enjoy collecting the albums knowing they can be played without any inherint problem other than clumsily scratching them.

I've found similar things when purchasing other CDs after finding something new via streaming throughout various kit.

This is all to my ears 😊 as in essence I think one should listen to whatever they enjoy however they like to enjoy it.

I say the same to people who are still in the CD Vs vinyl debate.
 
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Kenneth Fernandes

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Downloading Hi-Res albums is an alternative option, like HDtracks or the qobuz shop, where you can find Hi-Res audio tracks. Most digital devices are capable of playing back FLAC file format (along with supported hardware), unless there is a new licensed Hi-Res audio file format that can only be played on compatible devices or dedicated software.
 
Original recording quality can give a greater variation than playback format.
Quite so. I have a number of LPs which sound much better than their CD equivalent, the HD downloads I have of tracks from same album sound as good or better than the LP. However, this is not always the case.
You can be sure that even if all formats were identical in recording then playback would depend on the quality of the playback devices themselves.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Quite so. I have a number of LPs which sound much better than their CD equivalent, the HD downloads I have of tracks from same album sound as good or better than the LP. However, this is not always the case.
You can be sure that even if all formats were identical in recording then playback would depend on the quality of the playback devices themselves.
Indeed.
You just can't make the sweeping generalisation (as B&W appear to be doing) that any one format will necessarily sound better than another.

For example:
Anyone that thinks they could always routinely tell CD apart from the best vinyl reproduction, is likely to have never heard top quality 12" 45rpm vinyl on a great player.
 
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Friesiansam

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I mean this is click bait - so rather than give them the satisfaction of getting a click from this post, then you'll find the article by searching for B&W CD in google. The gist of their view is repeated verbatim from their website.

The bigger issue for us is the sound quality. CDs were launched to a huge fanfare that suggested they offered music reproduction at its finest. They didn’t. Compared to the high-resolution streaming services that are available they are distinctly lacking, and to most ears they don’t sound as good as wonderfully warm vinyl.

So, if you care about building an affordable collection quickly CDs are a good option. If you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for your source.


And in their spirit of subjective opinion being passed off as objective fact, I'm happy to declare that if you care more about absolute sound quality, you will want to look elsewhere for speakers than B&W
Their ranking vinyl first then, is based on it sounding warm, so a subjective view rather than an objective analysis of sound quality. I'll happily continue buying CDs and disregard B&W's claim, especially as HiRes doesn't, to my ears, sound better than a good CD.
 

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