SQ of Different Media


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Dec 28, 2019
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I’m interested to hear others experience of the SQ of different media i.e. Vinyl (original and re-issued); CDs (original and re-issued) and Streaming, and what the effect of different players and level of players have on the sound obtainable from the source material.

For example and I’ll make it easy – original vinyl pressings where the whole process was analogue vs the re-issue of the same album where it might have been remastered so contain some digital influence in the sound. How would say a Linn LP12 deal with the sound of the newer version. I know from my own ears that the LP12 can produce some truly astonishing results with good recordings though I have only heard older, analogue pressings on the LP12 and not newer issues. I have a Linn Axis which is obviously not an LP12 but still sounds amazing.

How does a high-end CD transport or player such as the Leema Antila IIs Eco (reference from Richer Sounds) handle CD’s that were produced during the ‘Loudness Wars’ compared to a lesser Marantz CD6007?

What about Streaming services? Some offer HD or Ultra HD or High Res etc but all of these will have some sort of compression or EQ applied to them at some point during the process or delivery.

I’ve just been having a look at https://dr.loudness-war.info/ It seems like a great way to check the best version of albums to get that are not affected by compression and Loudness War destruction. It’s quite revealing to check some old vinyl albums I have and to see what a huge dynamic range they have compared to the later CD versions. I can attest that my CD of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Californication sounds shite but there seem to be worse albums out there.

One album that springs to mind was my wife’s CD of The Sugarbabes ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’ – it sounded great on her ‘boombox’ but when I played it on my Alpine car audio install (I spent a lot of money on car audio back then) it was completely unlistenable! I’ve a couple of newer vinyl pressings that are not so good – Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ ; Amy Winehouse ‘Back to Black’ and Pearl Jam ‘Ten’ which are all a little disappointing and sound compressed.

SO what do you guys find? Does a more revealing system make some music/recordings sound so bad you can’t listen to it, or does a high end system flatter bad recordings and make them enjoyable?
Don't think there's any one definitive answer. Because of the complexity of different recording methods, they will all have their individual pros and cons.

I have vinyl albums, for example, of Blondie's 'Parallel Lines' and I also have the 12"single of Heart of Glass, and the single version sounds more expansive than the album edition.


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It all starts with the engineering and mastering of the recording, whether that's the original masters or re-masters. If those things aren't right things fall at the first hurdle.

There's countless variables after that all the way through to the equipment you're using and the room you're listening in, as well as your own hearing.

I've always leaned towards physical media. I grew up listening to vinyl and CD and they are still my main formats now. Both sound good in my present system, but the turntable outshines the CD player. I'm also experience occasional problems with my CD player, which doesn't help.

I've used streaming to an increasing extent over the past few months - Qobuz through my Node 2i - and it sounds as good as my CD player. The bonus is that I can find albums more quickly than I can put my hands on the CD, and there's plenty of leads into discovering other music. There's also not the mechanical issues CD can present - even more so given most of them now use fairly cheap components. I see in the Rega interview that they have open eyes to the fact that some of the technology is already getting more difficult to obtain. I have too many CDs (especially limited edition box sets) to abandon the format, but whether or not I'll buy many more is another question.
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I've never really had a problem with 'loudness' etc - some recordings that others have grumbled about sound perfectly listenable to me. Some bands had engineers who didn't give a stuff - Oasis's recordings spring to mind. And excess sibilance like in some pop/pap.

Better gear shows the flaws, but in some instances it might not turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, but it can nudge it gently in that direction.

Couldn't live with vinyl's clicks and pops, and streaming I do in Spotify at sub-CD quality - suitably pampered by the CDP's DAC is sounds better than it should do to me.

Not tempted by hi res - I couldn't differentiate between the same mixes* on CD through CDP and SACD through the Oppo.

*I'm convinced that a lot of hi res streaming is 'altered' so that it sounds different on the modest kit/phones on which most will listen to it - thereby bumping up subscription rates. A cynical view, I know...


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