CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read

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James Tanner

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CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« on: 20 Aug 2009, 06:47 pm »
Audibility of a CD-Standard A/D/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback*
E. BRAD MEYER, AES Member AND DAVID R. MORAN, AES Member
(EBradMeyer@att.net) (drmoran@aol.com)


Boston Audio Society, Lincoln, MA 01773, USA
Claims both published and anecdotal are regularly made for audibly superior sound quality for two-channel audio encoded with longer word lengths and/or at higher sampling rates than the 16-bit/44.1-kHz CD standard. The authors report on a series of double-blind tests comparing the analog output of high-resolution players playing high-resolution recordings with the same signal passed through a 16-bit/44.1-kHz ?bottleneck.? The tests were conducted for over a year using different systems and a variety of subjects. The systems included expensive professional monitors and one high-end system with electrostatic loudspeakers and expensive components and cables. The subjects included professional recording engineers, students in a university recording program, and dedicated audiophiles. The test results show that the CD-quality A/D/A loop was undetectable at normal-to-loud listening levels, by any of the subjects, on any of the playback systems. The noise of the CD-quality loop was audible only at very elevated levels.

BACKGROUND
Since the standardization of the 16-bit/44.1-kHz CD pulse-code modulation format, over 25 years ago, its quality as a recording medium has been the target of regular criticism, both in the subjective audio press and among audio professionals. The complaints typically focus on a perceived harshness, lack of depth, and/or a cold, sterile sound. However, blind comparisons of CDs against their source tapes have revealed these perceptions to be unfounded. To that extent, the CD standard was transparent, whether the original source was digital or analog. Meanwhile digital technologies evolved, and in the past several years two new high-resolution audio technologies, Super Audio CD (SACD) and DVD-Audio, have emerged as alternatives. The usefulness of the increased dynamic range afforded by longer word lengths for mixdown has never been in question. Both new systems moreover carry multiple channels, clearly a potential advantage for home playback. But these acknowledged capabilities aside, each of the high resolution audio technologies has also been claimed to offer superior-sounding playback.

As a licensor asserted in these pages [1], A long-term audiophile criticism of the CD has been that it lacks the resolution to reproduce all the detail in a musical performance. . . . High-quality audio practice now recognizes the CD channel as a ?bottleneck?. . . . Higher resolution audio promises better sound than the CD, and the potential for this has already been demonstrated in carriers that permit a wider frequency response . . . and greater dynamic range. . . . Experience shows and anecdotal evidence suggests that higher sample rates ?sound better.? Typical observation are that with higher sampling rates the sound is clearer, smoother, has improved low-frequency definition, and is more ?natural.? In the author?s experience higher sample rates can lead to better foreground/ background discrimination. ?Objects? are better separated from the acoustic and therefore sound clearer and more ?complete.? The subjective and recording-engineer magazines have also declared repeatedly that both formats offer entirely obvious sonic improvements over the CD standard.

Such assertions show no awareness of previous relevant investigative work, though all of those papers address one parameter: the possibility that high-resolution recording offers sonic improvement because of its greater potential high-frequency extension. Regardless, all conclude that CD quality is adequate, and indeed the Plenge et *Manuscript received 2006 October 19; revised 2007 April 5 and June 15. J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 55, No. 9, 2007 September 775 al. [2], at the dawn of the CD era, implied that even its bandwidth might be more than is needed.

1 THE TESTS
Despite the claims made for them, neither SACD nor DVD-A, so far as the authors know, has been subject to properly controlled blind testing of its superiority to CD audio; at least no such results have been published. With the printing of the characterizations in Stuart?s lead paper [1] in this Journal, it became clear that it was well past time to settle the matter scientifically. This engineering report, then, describes double-blind comparisons of high resolution stereo playback with the same two-channel analog signal looped through a 16/44.1 A/D/A chain (see Fig.1). Unlike the previous investigations, our tests were designed to reveal any and all possible audible differences between high-resolution and CD audio, many of which, according to published claims, occur within the commonly accepted audio bandwidth. The theoretical sonic advantages of the high-resolution signal should not survive the degrading 16/44.1 ?bottleneck,? and differences would be audible.

With the help of about 60 members of the Boston Audio Society and many other interested parties, a series of double-blind (A/B/X) listening tests were held over a period of about a year. Many types of music and voice signals were included in the sources, from classical (choral, chamber, piano, orchestral) to jazz, pop, and rock music. The subjects included men and women of widely varying ages, acuities, and levels of musical and audio experience; many were audio professionals or serious students of the art. Most of the tests were done using a pair of highly regarded, smooth-measuring full-range loudspeakers in a rural listening room with an ambient noise floor of about 19 dBA SPL, all electronics on (see Fig. 2). We also took the test setup to several other locations: a Boston-area mastering facility with very large four-way studio monitors; a local university audio facility, again with large high powered monitors in a custom designed listening space (the subjects for this test were students in the recording program); and a private high-end listening room equipped with well-reviewed electrostatic loudspeakers and very expensive electronics and cables. In all venues we performed informal tests of the subjects? upper hearing limits to see whether there was a correlation between this parameter and the audibility of differences.


SEE BELOW

James Tanner

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #1 on: 20 Aug 2009, 06:50 pm »
SEE ABOVE

For the CD loop we used a well-regarded professional CD recorder with real-time monitoring. Levels in both channels were matched to within 0.1 dB using a very high-performance adjustable analog gain stage, which was always in the 16/44.1 signal path. Audio switching was handled by an ABX CS-5 double-blind comparator (see Fig. 3).

High-resolution audio offers a lower digital noise floor, so playback levels are a significant factor. Does the lower noise have any practical consequence, given modern compression techniques and existing noise floors in microphones, preamplifiers, and mixing consoles? We found that most of the SACD and DVD-A recordings produced what might be termed realistic playback (that is, the subjects heard the sources loudly and clearly, with natural timbres and appropriate scale but without discomfort) at a system gain such that a 1-kHz octave band of noise recorded at an average level of −16 dBFS produced an SPL at the listening position of 85 dB, unweighted. For some classical recordings of very wide dynamic range, listening levels 5?7 dB higher than this were used from time to time. The test signal we used to produce 85 dB SPL at our standard gain is available on the Boston Audio Society Web site. The downward frequency sweep, used at the same playback level as a quick test of high-frequency hearing limits in our subjects, can be found on the same page, at www.bostonaudiosociety.org/media.

2 THE RESULTS
The test results for the detectability of the 16/44.1 loop on SACD/DVD-A playback were the same as chance: 49.82%. There were 554 trials and 276 correct answers. The sole exceptions were for the condition of no signal and high system gain, when the difference in noise floors of the two technologies, old and new, was readily audible. As the tests progressed, we repeatedly sorted the data for correlations with age, sex, upper frequency hearing limit, or experience. No such correlations have emerged. Specifically, on music at normal levels as defined here, audiophiles and/or working recording-studio engineers got 246 correct answers in 467 trials, for 52.7% correct. Females got 18 in 48, for 37.5% correct. Those subjects able to hear tones above 15 kHz got 116 in 256 trials, for 45.3% correct; listeners aged 14?25 years old (who were, as it turned out, the same group), also got 116 correct in 256 trials, 45.3%. The ?best? listener score, achieved one single time, was 8 for 10, still short of the desired 95% confidence level. There were two 7/10 results. All other trial totals were worse than 70% correct. Furthermore, none of the more elaborate and expensive playback systems (for which the subjects were all dedicated amateur audiophiles, active students in a professional recording program, and/or experienced working professionals) revealed detectable differences on music, again at levels as defined previously.

In one brief test with two subjects we added 14 dB of gain to the reference level quoted and tested the two sources with no input signal, to see whether the noise level of the CD audio channel would prove audible. Although one of the subjects was uncertain of his ability to hear the noise, both achieved results of 10/10 in detecting the CD loop. (We have not yet determined the threshold of this effect. With gain of more than 14 dB above reference, detection of the CD chain?s higher noise floor was easy, with no uncertainty. Tests with other subjects bore this out.)

The high-resolution sources when played back at the +14-dB level were unpleasantly (often unbearably) loud, and modern, aggressively mastered CDs even more so. Room tone and/or preamplifier noise in almost all recordings masked the 16/44.1 noise floor, though we did find one or two productions in which there was a detectable difference in room tone at gain settings of +20 dB or more above the reference level. At these very high gains we could also hear subtle low-level decoding errors in all but the most expensive of the high-resolution players. From the many different recordings we used it emerged that almost no music or voice program, recording venue, instrument, or performer exceeds the capabilities of a well implemented CD-quality record/playback loop. The CD has adequate bandwidth and dynamic range for any home reproduction task, and it is a rare playback venue that is quiet enough to reveal the 16-bit noise floor of our A/D/A loop?which has no noise shaping and was therefore less than optimal in this regard?even at gains above our reference.

3 CONCLUSIONS
We have analyzed all of the test data by type of music and specific program; type of high-resolution technology; age of recording; and listener age, gender, experience, and hearing bandwidth. None of these variables have shown any correlation with the results, or any difference between the answers and coin-flip results. The previous work cited, some of it at the very beginning of the CD era and some more recent, pointed toward our result. With the momentum of widespread ?high-rez? anecdotes over the last decade, culminating in the Stuart assertions, we felt the need to go further and perform a thorough, straightforward double-blind level-matched listening test to determine whether 16/44.1 technology would audibly degrade the sound of the best high-resolution discs we could find. We used a large and varied sample of serious listeners; we conducted our tests using several different types of high-quality playback systems and rooms; and we took as much time as we felt necessary to establish the transparency of the CD standard.

Now, it is very difficult to use negative results to prove the inaudibility of any given phenomenon or process. There is always the remote possibility that a different system or more finely attuned pair of ears would reveal a difference. But we have gathered enough data, using sufficiently varied and capable systems and listeners, to state that the burden of proof has now shifted. Further claims that careful 16/44.1 encoding audibly degrades high resolution signals must be supported by properly controlled double-blind tests.

4 A NOTE ON HIGH-RESOLUTION RECORDINGS
Though our tests failed to substantiate the claimed advantages of high-resolution encoding for two-channel audio, one trend became obvious very quickly and held up throughout our testing: virtually all of the SACD and DVD-A recordings sounded better than most CDs? sometimes much better. Had we not ?degraded? the sound to CD quality and blind-tested for audible differences, we would have been tempted to ascribe this sonic superiority to the recording processes used to make them.

Plausible reasons for the remarkable sound quality of these recordings emerged in discussions with some of the engineers currently working on such projects. This portion of the business is a niche market in which the end users are preselected, both for their aural acuity and for their willingness to buy expensive equipment, set it up correctly, and listen carefully in a low-noise environment. Partly because these recordings have not captured a large portion of the consumer market for music, engineers and producers are being given the freedom to produce recordings that sound as good as they can make them, without having to compress or equalize the signal to suit lesser systems and casual listening conditions. These recordings seem to have been made with great care and manifest affection, by engineers trying to please themselves and their peers. They sound like it, label after label. High-resolution audio discs do not have the overwhelming majority of the program material crammed into the top 20 (or even 10) dB of the available dynamic range, as so many CDs today do.

Our test results indicate that all of these recordings could be released on conventional CDs with no audible difference. They would not, however, find such a reliable conduit to the homes of those with the systems and listening habits to appreciate them. The secret, for two-channel recordings at least, seems to lie not in the high-bit recording but in the high-bit market.

SEE BELOW


James Tanner

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #2 on: 20 Aug 2009, 06:50 pm »
SEE ABOVE:

5 REFERENCES
[1] J. R. Stuart, ?Coding for High-Resolution Audio
Systems,? J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 52, pp. 117?144 (2004
Mar.).
[2] G. Plenge, H. Jakubowski, and P. Scho?ne, ?Which
Bandwidth Is Necessary for Optimal Sound Transmission?,?
J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 28, pp. 114?119 (1980 Mar.).
[3] T. Nishiguchi, K. Hamasaki, M. Iwaki, and A.
Ando, ?Perceptual Discrimination between Musical
Sounds with and without Very High Frequency Components,?
presented at the 115th Convention of the Audio
Engineering Society, J. Audio Eng. Soc. (Abstracts), vol.,
51, p. 1222 (2003 Dec.), convention paper 5876.
[4] D. Blech and M. Yang, ?DVD-Audio versus SACD:
Perceptual Discrimination of Digital Coding Formats,?
presented at the 116th Convention of the Audio Engineering
Society, Berlin, Germany, 2004 May 8?11, convention
paper 6086.

THE AUTHORS
E. B. Meyer D. R. Moran
Brad Meyer was born in Baltimore, MD, in 1942 and received a B.A. degree from Harvard College, Cambridge, MA. He has been recording concerts since the late 1950s and worked making measurements, calibrating instruments, reducing data, writing reports, and learning acoustics at Bolt Beranek and Newman from 1966 to 1972. He started his own company, Point One Audio, in the late 1970s. He does location recording and digital editing of classical and some folk material. Mr. Meyer has been on the executive committee of the AES Boston Section since the early 1980s and served two years as its chair. In addition to his past duties as writer and sometime editor of the Boston Audio Society Speaker newsletter and Society president, he has published audio articles for the Boston Phoenix, High Fidelity, Stereo Review, and Stereophile.
_
David Moran was born in Springfield, OH, in 1947. He studied history and literature at the University of Rochester, NY and Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, where he received a B.A. degree. He has an M.A. degree in literature from Columbia University, New York. He is a writer and editor, with particular interest in audio, music, and technology. He was audio editor (also managing editor) of the Boston Phoenix during the 1970s and worked for dbx engineering through the 1980s. He has been president of the Boston Audio Society and editor of its BAS Speaker newsletter, and has reviewed loudspeakers for CD Review, Digital Audio, Speaker Builder, Car Stereo Review, and currently for Sensible Sound magazine and the BAS Speaker. He also has annotated and produced CDs and written about music (classical and popular) for publications from the Boston Globe, Phoenix, and Herald to Stereo Review, has received two NEA fellowships for classical criticism, and recently helped edit the NPR Listeners? Encyclopedia of Classical Music. He currently works as a technical writer at BBN Technologies in Cambridge, MA.

ENGINEERING REPORTS AUDIBILITY OF CD-STANDARD A/D/A LOOP
J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 55, No. 9, 2007 Septemb

vegasdave

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #3 on: 20 Aug 2009, 07:28 pm »
Do the studios use Bryston? I'd like to see a comparison between cd and vinyl.

Mad Mr H

Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #4 on: 20 Aug 2009, 08:35 pm »
Thank you,

Excellent information.

SF

Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #5 on: 30 Aug 2009, 09:56 pm »
Very nice information James. Thank you.
I have several Rudy Van Gelder 24-bit remastered but CD (16bit 44kHz) jazz recordings that, compared to the old masterings, are far superior. Now that knowledge of recording and mastering from digital sources has advanced so much, it really is possible to get 98% of the music on CDs. Probably explains why you introduced BCD1 in the 21st century.
I doubt we will ever capture the subjective and transient truth of emoting music in rational laws of mathematics which are devoid of memories and other subtle sensations.
Brilliant article. 

Laundrew

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #6 on: 6 Sep 2009, 04:25 pm »
SEE ABOVE

4 A NOTE ON HIGH-RESOLUTION RECORDINGS
Though our tests failed to substantiate the claimed advantages of high-resolution encoding for two-channel audio, one trend became obvious very quickly and held up throughout our testing: virtually all of the SACD and DVD-A recordings sounded better than most CDs? sometimes much better. Had we not ?degraded? the sound to CD quality and blind-tested for audible differences, we would have been tempted to ascribe this sonic superiority to the recording processes used to make them.

Plausible reasons for the remarkable sound quality of these recordings emerged in discussions with some of the engineers currently working on such projects. This portion of the business is a niche market in which the end users are preselected, both for their aural acuity and for their willingness to buy expensive equipment, set it up correctly, and listen carefully in a low-noise environment. Partly because these recordings have not captured a large portion of the consumer market for music, engineers and producers are being given the freedom to produce recordings that sound as good as they can make them, without having to compress or equalize the signal to suit lesser systems and casual listening conditions. These recordings seem to have been made with great care and manifest affection, by engineers trying to please themselves and their peers. They sound like it, label after label. High-resolution audio discs do not have the overwhelming majority of the program material crammed into the top 20 (or even 10) dB of the available dynamic range, as so many CDs today do.

Our test results indicate that all of these recordings could be released on conventional CDs with no audible difference. They would not, however, find such a reliable conduit to the homes of those with the systems and listening habits to appreciate them. The secret, for two-channel recordings at least, seems to lie not in the high-bit recording but in the high-bit market.

SEE BELOW

A very interesting article. I was a little confused by the quoted paragraph above. It sounded as if they were contradicting themselves at times. They mentioned that the SACD recordings sounded better than their CD counterparts. I found it interesting that the engineers seemed to be more concerned with the quality of the finished product in SACD format compared to the regular CD format.

I can understand the unwillingness of the recording industry not to produce a high quality item if its ability can not be fully utilized in audio equipment that was not designed to take advantage of this.

When I was auditioning CD players, I did not consider an SACD format at the time. It turned out that the CD player I enjoyed the most (sound, mechanical fineness and aesthetics) turned out to also have the SACD format. My current CD player (soon to be replaced) is a mechanical beast - you get that awful, annoying "clunk, clunk" when you open the CD transport.

So, at the end of the day, if the quality is better in the SACD format - why not go with it? Perhaps something to truly consider, especially if you have substantial funds invested in your systems - as most people do here. 

I am looking forward to doing a blind test myself with CD/SACD format with the same artist.

Be well...

James Tanner

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #7 on: 6 Sep 2009, 04:57 pm »
Hi Laundrew,

I think they were concluding that the reason SACD sounded better had nothing to do with the 'format' used but the care taken by the engineers in mastering and producing it.

So if the same care was taken with regular CD's - instead off this serverely restricted dynamic range crap we get today to satisfy pop radio and ipods - regular redbook CD's would sound every bit as good as specialty type formats like SACD and DVD-A.

james

Phil A

Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #8 on: 6 Sep 2009, 05:37 pm »
I find that hi-rez recording tend to bit a bit better in the highs and low as well as the noise floor.  I listened to Mark Knopfler's "Shangri-La" which is a DVD-A/CD set.  The 24/96 audio just sounds better (played on a Marantz DV9600 which is excellent on DVD-A and OK on SACD but not reference by any means) vs. playing a CD.  I have other things where I either can't hear tons of difference or although I like certain things about the hi-rez, the Bryston BCD-1 seems to image a bit better.  So it is a mixed bag.  A well engineered SACD or DVD-A sounds better.  The Dave Matthews live Blu-Ray was excellent on audio.  That's why I don't want to go nuts on getting something that plays hi-rez.  I'm sending the Oppo BDP-83 off to Modwright in a couple of weeks and between what the player and the mods cost it is not outrageous in terms of cost.  Given the number of hi-rez discs vs. what is out on CD that I want, spending tons on a player that does SACD does not make economic sense.  I know audiophiles who have less than a third of the SACDs that I have (I have about 260) and have spent $6k to get a player that does SACD and they will play the same discs over and over.  To each his own.  I went through a similar analysis when I got into LD late.  Given the fact I ended up with 130 LDs, I could not see going over a certain price point just to have the privilege to play each disc.  If SACD was still being embraced by mainstream labels and being released the way it was 5 yrs. back it might be a different story.  I find myself buying 8-12 SACD titles a year at this point.

Lyndon

Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #9 on: 6 Sep 2009, 05:46 pm »
James said:
Quote
So if the same care was taken with regular CD's - instead off this severely restricted dynamic range crap we get today to satisfy pop radio and ipods - regular redbook CD's would sound every bit as good as specialty type formats like SACD and DVD-A

That's it in a nutshell.  And how can we find before a purchase, if the engineers have not constricted the dynamic range?  Or that they even care past the general buying public? :(

Laundrew

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #10 on: 6 Sep 2009, 05:47 pm »
Hi Laundrew,

I think they were concluding that the reason SACD sounded better had nothing to do with the 'format' used but the care taken by the engineers in mastering and producing it.

So if the same care was taken with regular CD's - instead off this serverely restricted dynamic range crap we get today to satisfy pop radio and ipods - regular redbook CD's would sound every bit as good as specialty type formats like SACD and DVD-A.

james

Hello James,

I would agree.

Would you know if any marking studies that have being completed with reference to what percentage of audio consumers purchase high end audio products and at what point is audio equipment considered as high end? I am very curious at what percentage of consumers could benefit from a higher dynamics audio format.

I do not know anything about the recording industry, is it much more expensive to produce a CD with superior dynamics over one without? Or would this sound not be very good on ipods or radio stations? I am really walking on thin ice with this one as I have no knowledge or experience with respect to this subject.

I am curious if it is more cost effective to produce a more dynamic product in SACD for a targeted consumer group instead of the same level of quality in a standard CD.

I have a box set "Dead Can Dance" on order in SACD format. What I want to do is compare the same albums I have from this group in standard CD format. I think that it will be very interesting. I will not replace all of my CDs with SACD, only a select few and again this all depends on the improvement in sound quality. It is the same with the DVD Blueray format - we still purchase standard DVDs at times and do not plan to replace our entire DVD library with Blueray.

ted_b

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #11 on: 6 Sep 2009, 06:06 pm »
great discussion (said as a real fan...oh, and the forum moderator of AC's Hirez Circle   :D  )
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=150.0

I would agree that much of Hirez's superior sonics comes from the simple things...the care and feeding of the recording as it makes its way through the mixing and mastering processes.  yes, the extended word length and resolutions  help at the fewquency extremes, of course.  But if you've ever listened to redbook labels like Mapleshade, MA Recordings, ECM (for the most part) you'll find an overall "hirez" kind of palpability, and a dedication to non-limiting and straight wire-with-gain kinds of signal paths.   Of course, when all you plan to sell to is a niche of diehard music lovers you have that freedom.  Delivering non-compressed redbook to the masses seems to be a no/no...yet i've never heard MA Recordings (for example) push the limits of my iPod or car stereo into distortion.  The loudness wars seem to be over something that's no longer a big issue in practice.  But what to do i know....

ted_b

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #12 on: 6 Sep 2009, 06:06 pm »
Delete...duplicate post...sorry

TerryO

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #13 on: 6 Sep 2009, 06:14 pm »
James,

The results that you presented are interesting, but at odds with the results that we've experienced at the Pacific Northwest Audio Society doing various comparisons of differing formats over the last couple of years.

The results that you present cetainly confirm Nyquist's predictions and I'm assuming that was a foregone conclusion of at least some of the people involved.

I'm pretty busy right now but some of the conclusions that we've reached are as follows.

1. Analog master tapes such as The Tape Project sound better than cd-style formats.

2. Good vinyl played on good gear usually sounds better than just about any digital source.

3. Various Hi-Res digital formats, including the latest K2HD redbook recordings are better sounding than SACD.

4. Burned copies of cds, using EAC, etc., will usually sound better than the original cd from which the music was sourced. Interestingly enough, while there's some controversy, it's generally felt that black cdrs seem to sound a bit better than most (but not all) of the silver variations.

5. PC based music servers, using Hi-Res recordings and utilizing Solid State hard drives are much better than any cd-style format.

Hopefully I can get back to this thread later today or tomorrow, but these are some of the things that we've explored recently.

Best Regards,
TerryO

James Tanner

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #14 on: 6 Sep 2009, 09:54 pm »
Hi Terryo,

Thanks very much for your groups input based on the testing at your end. It really is a very interesting subject and attempting to get valid and unbiased results is not an easy task as there are so many variables. I have to say I have not experienced the computer over the optical CD Player superiority you have but the tests continue. How were your tests run -double blind?

james
« Last Edit: 7 Sep 2009, 12:00 pm by James Tanner »

redbook

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #15 on: 7 Sep 2009, 02:25 am »
For what it's worth .......... redbook cd records have become a far greater medium than I first heard in 1988!  Since about ten years ago alot of " my music " type has surpassed all hopes of accepable fidelity.  Thanks to all those that are studiously analying this topic...........Redbook. :thumb: :dance: :banana piano: :wave:

daffy

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #16 on: 7 Sep 2009, 10:23 am »
Here a nice visual example of the "loudness" war  the record company's run.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

I think the main culprit why hi-rez disk CAN sound better than cd is the care taken in the mastering & mixing proces.

daffy :wink:

oh and just for fun watch this one even if you don't like metallica (master of puppets) hilarious.
mastered by muppets : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPu0DKyGgZI

TheChairGuy

Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #17 on: 7 Sep 2009, 11:52 am »
For what it's worth .......... redbook cd records have become a far greater medium than I first heard in 1988!  Since about ten years ago alot of " my music " type has surpassed all hopes of accepable fidelity.  Thanks to all those that are studiously analying this topic...........Redbook. :thumb: :dance: :banana piano: :wave:

Yup - i agree mostly...but it was more like 6 years ago for me that CD became acceptable (I think the modest upgrading in players rather than software the cause), but that the medium still felt short of vinyl.

However, as Ted B mentions, I've heard specialist labels (which would have been recorded and engineered with more care to their market) Mapleshade, MA Recordings, ECM, JVC XRCD, etc and found DVD-A modestly superior in frequency extremes and 'palpability'.

Like James...I've not yet heard the superiority of hard drive over a spinning disc (especially if the disc has been 'damped' a la Herbies disc or other damping film on the surface).  If you are sitting long enough to play multiple discs, hard drive can certainly be more convenient if it's wirelessly fed.

Nonetheless, with advancing years (47) and the inevetible decline in hearing no matter how well you take care of yourself and so many worthy formats and choices of software.....I'm in music nirvana these days  :dance:

John

James Tanner

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #18 on: 7 Sep 2009, 12:08 pm »
Here a nice visual example of the "loudness" war  the record company's run.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

I think the main culprit why hi-rez disk CAN sound better than cd is the care taken in the mastering & mixing proces.

daffy :wink:

oh and just for fun watch this one even if you don't like metallica (master of puppets) hilarious.
mastered by muppets : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPu0DKyGgZI

Hi Daffy,

Great piece- thanks for that link.  I see this all the time in pop music mastering and tracking facilities.

james'

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Re: CD vs SACD vs DVD-A - Long but interesting read
« Reply #19 on: 7 Sep 2009, 12:43 pm »
There is even more to making a great sounding CD than top notch recording and mastering. You need first rate replication at the CD plant as well. Check out this link to FIM: http://www.firstimpressionmusic.com/Articles.asp?ID=132.
Chris H.