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Format, format, format.

Wil

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As "location" is to real estate, if audio format/media is as important to Hi-Fi.

Myself, I do favour playing back a certain format. But nevertheless, in 2015, I bought 3 versions of an album (being SACD, CD, HFPA):
DSC05878.JPG

In brief, going forward, I'd prefer to buy only SACDs because, crucially for me, CantoPop has an available back catalogue of them (plus regualr new releases).

The Red Book standard was never good enough for true Hi-Fi. I don't want to purchase any more CDs (not even recent offerings from PJ Harvey nor Fiona Apple tempted me).

Only because a Blu-ray of Lowell Lo performing the full Beyond Imagination (BI) album live led me to buying that CD-package featured in the photo.

Concerning High Fidelity Pure Audio, it's dead?

And say I'm-in-mourning, for another 2 years I'll be happy to just revisit my own music collection.

About LP, though I rate its musicality highly, it's not for me. I like Repeat of a track (and A-B repeat) or simply nonsequential play. Hence the reason I didn't obtain a vinyl BI.

My feelings towards other formats, I'll share some other time.
 
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Friesiansam

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@12th Monkey, agreed, also, there is an awful lot of information on CDs, just waiting for a good enough DAC to find it. I'm still blown away by the amount of detail my Pathos Converto MK2 digs up, when I listen to something I've not played through it before. It was quite a revelation when I got it. BTW, all my music, with only 1 high res exception, is 16 bit 44.1 KHz.
 
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Wil

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Throw money at 16 bits 44.1kHz all we want, Red Book format will still inherently remain a sow's ear.

After learning of Tim de Paravicini' passing, for remembrance, I reread many of his interviews e.g.:
When CD arrived in the 1980s, Tim de Paravicini was among the first to explain the shortcomings of the new format's sound quality by pointing out that existing analog media were superior when analyzed in terms of sampling rate.

"I did my own summation—and this is from [34] years ago—that if we did 384kHz at 24-bit, we'll have a system that will resolve on a par with the best analog. That's the holy grail."


And recalling 12th's Oppo, this quick comment about SACDs, it has been said that to truly appreciate them is akin to needing to run in dedicated Nike Vaporfly shoes rather than in a pair of Cross Trainers. Such rigour holds true for Hi-Res Audio?
 
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12th Monkey

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What can be discerned by any means is not the same as what can be discerned by the human ear. CD can sound wonderfully natural to me. It might be a compromise at heart, but 'sow's ear' is a very significant exaggeration, I think.

We are all hifi enthusiasts as well as music lovers, but it should be more the latter than the former. I fear that this sort of obsessing swings the balance too far the other way - but each to their own!
 

matthewpiano

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I love CD as a format, and I have a huge collection of music from across all genres.

There were some early transfers and some early players that gave the format a bad name, but 90s players like the Rotel RCD965BX and Marantz CD63MkII Ki-Signature started to show what the possibilities were even at relatively affordable prices. I still own the Rotel, and it still produces superb sound.

I listen to a lot of classical music, and I love the long playing time offered by CD as it means large-scale works such as symphonies can be enjoyed without interruption, and I find the format shows classical recordings at their best, especially on a natural sounding player like the Musical Fidelity I'm using as my primary player. It serves the music beautifully and ultimately that's what I'm most bothered about.
 

Wil

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Let's be precise about my position (and yours). I'm not dismissing enjoyment-from-CDs. I said "I don't want to purchase any more CDs."

12th jumped, thinking with feelings, intuition against my stating of knowledge, facts.


Slow down (I'd rather have more weekend time for listening), who else in this WHF community will dispute (providing present day scientific proof that) my labelling Red Book standard as sow's ear (in terms of high-fidelity recoding/capturing) is "a very significant exaggeration"?


Sam's at a CD-ceiling? And indeed most product/setups don't differentiate High-Res Audio vs that of 16 bit 44.1 KHz?

I know Matthew has watched YouTube supplements. So, did you view link from my initial Thread Post View: https://youtu.be/lslw-HSoETI


And speaking of classical music, it's better served by titles in higher resolution formats than pop. I trust there are readers who moved successfully above Red Book and can attest to an unwillingness to go back to CDs.
 
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12th Monkey

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More than a trifle patronising there, Wil - you don't know me and cannot therefore 'clarify' my position. And videos of people you admire does not fact make. I'll duck out of this one, as I don't see anything productive coming from it.
 

James83

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Apr 2, 2015
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Let's be precise about my position (and yours). I'm not dismissing enjoyment-from-CDs. I said "I don't want to purchase any more CDs."

12th jumped, thinking with feelings, intuition against my stating of knowledge, facts.


Slow down (I'd rather have more weekend time for listening), who else in this WHF community will dispute (providing present day scientific proof that) my labelling Red Book standard as sow's ear (in terms of high-fidelity recoding/capturing) is "a very significant exaggeration"?


Sam's at a CD-ceiling? And indeed most product/setups don't differentiate High-Res Audio vs that of 16 bit 44.1 KHz?

I know Matthew has watched YouTube supplements. So, did you view link from my initial Thread Post View: https://youtu.be/lslw-HSoETI


And speaking of classical music, it's better served by titles in higher resolution formats than pop. I trust there are readers who moved successfully above Red Book and can attest to an unwillingness to go back to CDs.
You talk of feelings. What does the term 'Sows ear' fall under? Yep, feelings. Considering I don't think it is an official term, it is therefore completely made up by yourself. No fact in that.

Now, there is no harm in subjective feelings. But don't then go and knock someone else for using them.

As for sound quality.
I hear no difference between LP and CD.
Cassette tapes are worse than CD.
Most digital music is worse, unless you have FLAC recordings.
Sows ear my a**e.

As for flexibility.
It is second only to digital. Even then, there are occasions when CD is better.
Sows ear my a**e.

So you don't like CDs. Good for you.
I don't do streaming, but that is my decision, just like you not liking CDs is yours.
 
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Wil

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You've been misled by 12th, sow's ear fall under the proverbial "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

So when I wrote "Throw money at 16 bits 44.1kHz all we want, Red Book format will still inherently remain a sow's ear." I meant, in terms of formats, as-a-carrier-for-music, present day, 2021, there are High-Res silk purse solutions for the-musical-Muse.

And you're misleading to say "So you don't like CDs." Because, for me, it's not been a matter of liking, it's been a matter about spending.

You talk of feelings. What does the term 'Sows ear' fall under? Yep, feelings. Considering I don't think it is an official term, it is therefore completely made up by yourself. No fact in that.

Now, there is no harm in subjective feelings. But don't then go and knock someone else for using them.

As for sound quality.
I hear no difference between LP and CD.
Cassette tapes are worse than CD.
Most digital music is worse, unless you have FLAC recordings.
Sows ear my a**e.

As for flexibility.
It is second only to digital. Even then, there are occasions when CD is better.
Sows ear my a**e.

So you don't like CDs. Good for you.
I don't do streaming, but that is my decision, just like you not liking CDs is yours.
 

James83

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Apr 2, 2015
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You've been misled by 12th, sow's ear fall under the proverbial "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

So when I wrote "Throw money at 16 bits 44.1kHz all we want, Red Book format will still inherently remain a sow's ear." I meant, in terms of formats, as-a-carrier-for-music, present day, 2021, there are High-Res silk purse solutions for the-musical-Muse.

And you're misleading to say "So you don't like CDs." Because, for me, it's not been a matter of liking, it's been a matter about spending.
Mislead by 12th? Not sure where you get that from. Nobody is leading me anywhere.

As for Sows ear. You obviously don't get it.
When it comes to music, sows ear or silk purse are not official terms. Therefore, it is a made up term by you, in deciding to describe CDs as a sows ear. Or even describing Hi Res as a silk purse. Again, not a problem, but don't claim it as fact based, whilst knocking others for using subjective terms.

I think you may also have misunderstood what the term means. It is basically saying "you cannae polish a turd".

To say CDs are Sows ears, because there are other formats which you deem to be a silk purse, is taking the term out of context.

To stick close to home (Ie pretending CDs are a sows ear) the following would be closer to the real meaning of the term (beware, you may throw your teddys out of the pram!!!!!)
You: I've invented a super dooper CD. It's called SACD.
Me: Ah, it is still just a CD. You cannae make a silk purse out of a sows ear.



Not liking or not spending. Same thing me thinks.
You don't want to spend money on CDs. Good for you. Then don't.
Perhaps I should start a thread:
I don't use Spotify.

I'm sure it will soon be voted the most exciting thread on the forum.

Oh by the way, CDs are still my number 1 format, and will remain so for many many years to come. If there is an album I want, then I must buy it on CD. If I don't, then I don't own the album. If I don't own the album, well then I couldn't have been too bothered about it.

My favourite couple of artists- Every album is purchased on CD (and often now on vinyl if available).
If I didn't buy the CD, well then I would be seriously questioning whether I was right in the head.
Why would you spend thousands of pounds on heaven knows how many concerts over the years, but you can't spend a tenner on a physical album every couple of years.

You get the picture. The CD is my number 1.
 
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millennia_one

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The good all format wars, if they're so good why did half that selection listed basically fail and today there's only really 2 physical formats about? simple answer CD quality is certainly more than enough.
I can't buy any of the music i like on most of those formats so really matters not a jot.

I like to think all the sort of thing as chocolate, creamy, rich and sweat on its own, but then there's fruit and nut, it adds another dimension to the taste though subtle its there, and so on so forth basically there all really tasty and there no wrong or right answer.

Just enjoy. Its all largely academic.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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Okay, I've just Googled the-problem I had wanted to convey… key search words being "studio quality downsampled cd 44.1" and this resulted:
"In a conversation with Keith Johnson (whose ears I trust completely) he told me the single worst thing that ever happened to any of his work was the downsampling of the master tapes to CD’s. He hated the results…

Downsampling may be one of the worst things to ever happen to the CD and one of the central reasons we judge it so harshly.

It may also partially answer why we can make a digital copy of an analog event without much in the way of loss. We don’t have to mess with the final result of the conversion, just play it back at whatever sample and bit rate we recorded it at.
"

The good all format wars, if they're so good why did half that selection listed basically fail and today there's only really 2 physical formats about? simple answer CD quality is certainly more than enough.
I can't buy any of the music i like on most of those formats so really matters not a jot.

I like to think all the sort of thing as chocolate, creamy, rich and sweat on its own, but then there's fruit and nut, it adds another dimension to the taste though subtle its there, and so on so forth basically there all really tasty and there no wrong or right answer.

Just enjoy. Its all largely academic.
 

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
85
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10,545
The good all format wars, if they're so good why did half that selection listed basically fail and today there's only really 2 physical formats about? simple answer CD quality is certainly more than enough.
I can't buy any of the music i like on most of those formats so really matters not a jot.

I like to think all the sort of thing as chocolate, creamy, rich and sweat on its own, but then there's fruit and nut, it adds another dimension to the taste though subtle its there, and so on so forth basically there all really tasty and there no wrong or right answer.

Just enjoy. Its all largely academic.
I'm actually quite embarrassed that I got involved! But needs must!
As you say, each has it's benefits. Let's enjoy it.
 

Wil

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May 8, 2020
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If you so dislike CDs...
With your ambiguous brevity, rather than assume the worst, I thank you for proving, just 4 months ago, I bought CDs.

And let's highlight too my current position, at the beginning of this Thread:
In brief, going forward, I'd prefer to buy only SACDs because, crucially for me, CantoPop has an available back catalogue of them (plus regualr new releases).

The Red Book standard was never good enough for true Hi-Fi. I don't want to purchase any more CDs (not even recent offerings from PJ Harvey nor Fiona Apple tempted me).

That soundtrack double CD, as one would expect, sounds better than YouTube e.g.:



Yet, I want the studio masters.
 
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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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Any recording is only ever a shadow of a live performance, and given the way much music is recorded it is never going to sound like the real thing. The best a hi-fi can do is to reproduce the way in which the recording captures the music, and there are advantages and flaws in every format.

CD isn't perfect, but neither is vinyl, SACD, MQA or any other hi-res format you care to mention. As with every aspect of hi-fi, you choose the particular set of compromises that suit you, your musical tastes and your pocket the best, and enjoy it.
 

millennia_one

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I'm actually quite embarrassed that I got involved! But needs must!
As you say, each has it's benefits. Let's enjoy it.
Don't be! Just these sorts of things can fly off the handle pretty quickly, everyone has there thoughts on the matter, but everyone is right making it hard to wade through the info for newcomers to the furom. I personally can't hear much a of a difference, its all much of a muchness. Hence the chocolate metaphor
 

Wil

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I'm unable to find the Matthew's Post where he described high-end being out-of-reach. But I've added, at the finish, something else he put time into communicating.


In short, too many affordable Source products may be downgrading Hi-Res Audio without consumers knowing it. I'll give 2 quick examples, firstly, I too bought a M-CR611, it plays DSD. But "DSD to PCM DSP":
M-CR611.jpg

Secondly, researching the Musical Fidelity MX-DAC, it will play to DSD 128—but downsampled


The CD-quality-ceiling? Can ordinary music enthusiasts truly access/afford enjoyment-of-high-resolution-audio to hear-the-difference…

I'm not sure 'golden age' quite describes it, but it's certainly a time of transition, not just for hi-fi but also for the music that is the reason for its existence.

Streaming platforms offer cheap access to a huge range of music, both newly released and from the past. The incorporation of these platforms into modern hi-fi has made them a serious source and to some extent this isn't a bad thing. It offers more people than ever a huge opportunity to explore music beyond what they know and to find new music to enjoy. However, the ease of access on phones and devices such as soundbars and the ubiquitous Amazon Echo means that mainstream listeners are less interested in the concept of dedicated hi-fi. At the same time, this has changed mainstream attitudes to music, with huge numbers of people now viewing it as something throwaway that they don't have to pay more than a nominal subscription for, and as something that doesn't require so much commitment.

This is having a serious impact on music in multiple ways. If the majority of the audience listens only on streaming services and never takes the step of buying the CD, LP or a hi-res download, the musicians can't earn a living from it. It is the record companies, agents and streaming platforms that are making the profits, and the creators are getting the breadcrumbs. This devaluing of music in wider society is also having a detrimental impact on music education provision, with many schools and even Universities squeezing it out of the curriculum. The only way forward in circumventing all this is for musicians to change the way they work, following the example of artists such as Fish, who for some years has promoted, recorded and distributed his music without middle men. Doing so is more accessible than ever before, and it means musicians retain the rights to their work instead of signing them over to a big corporation.

Those people who are interested in listening to music as an activity in itself, rather than as wallpaper to other activities, have some very capable equipment to explore, and that certainly is a good thing. There are more options than ever for putting together a minimalist system that offers good performance without completely dominating the room, and plenty of options for building more extensive multi-source set-ups. As noted in other comments above, hi-fi dealers and musicians do need to work together more closely, and the hi-fi industry has to be better at promoting what it can offer and making it feel more approachable to more people. Dealers certainly need the higher margin high end products to make business sustainable, but they need to more consistently offer the same level of service to those starting out. Without the budget hi-fi buyers of today, there will be no high-end buyers tomorrow.

In a world of increasing entertainment distractions across media there remains huge potential for music and hi-fi to thrive, but it requires more fight and determination than ever to attract the 'footfall' of new explorers.
 
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Friesiansam

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I'm unable to find the Matthew's Post where he described high-end being out-of-reach. But I've added, at the finish, something else he put time into communicating.


In short, too many affordable Source products may be downgrading Hi-Res Audio without consumers knowing it. I'll give 2 quick examples, firstly, I too bought a M-CR611, it plays DSD. But "DSD to PCM DSP":
View attachment 1982

Secondly, researching the Musical Fidelity MX-DAC, it will play to DSD 128—but downsampled


The CD-quality-ceiling? Can ordinary music enthusiasts truly access/afford enjoyment-of-high-resolution-audio to hear-the-difference…
Post what you like in support of your view on CDs, most people are mainly concerned about what their music sounds like. If it sounds good to you, it is good, regardless of other people's views and somebody's graphs.
 

manicm

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Wil, unfortunately they're expensive, but there are some disc players that will natively play DSD/SACD without downsampling or converting to PCM. Marantz and PS Audio among others make such players.

If SACD did not take off then it's only Sony/Philips to blame. And blame that on pure free market greed. It was a well known fact that even in the 80s CDs were cheaper to produce than vinyl but still priced higher. And SACD even more so, along with dismal and confused marketing. Why the **ck woul anyone want to buy it back in '99 when CDs were still thriving? Especially when Sony clearly didn't know how to sell it! Is it any wonder it failed??? It also arrived about at least 7 years too late.

I have neither the desire, time nor space to go back to vinyl. As for CD, contrary to what others say some CD players are bl**dy well better than others. It's still a very valid format.
 
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iMark

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There's absolutely nothing wrong with a well recorded and well mastered CD. That's one of the reason why people who love classical music love digital recordings and CDs. They were a huge improvement over analogue recording and LP playback: no tape hiss in the recording, no surface noise etc. 16/44.1 is more than good enough for enjoying music.

SACD, DVD Audio and Blu-ray Audio may be slightly better than a CD, but that's usually down to better mastering. I still think the major record companies missed a trick by not releasing everything on Hybrid SACD, the most flexible format. Audiophiles can play the SACD 2ch layer, people with a home cinema setup can play the multichannel mix and everyone else can play and rip the CD layer.

I have recently ripped a couple of XTC Blu-ray discs to my Mac in order to make the music portable. There is no other way to access the great music stored on the disc. I have downsampled to 16/44.1 (ALAC) so I can play the music on my iPhone or stream the music around the house through AirPlay. It all sounds great.
 
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Wil

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You're trying to co-opt my thread.
Post what you like in support of your view on CDs, most people are mainly concerned about what their music sounds like. If it sounds good to you, it is good, regardless of other people's views and somebody's graphs.
Yes, my viewpoint, my direction when paying: I pursue pure Hi-Fi—which we should keep in mind stands for high fidelity.

I'm not going to explore new 44.1/16 if it's going to cost me.


And I'm not always pursuing Hi-Fi, YouTube being free, the following "sounds good" to me:

Not your kind of thread? Note the title of this favourite:
 
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