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Recordings and quality

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We know we are listening great quality equipment. Our source material can be so scattered. We all have our personal taste. Without the over the top audiophile talk.

 

Do people hear try to obtain quality source material? Are there formats you like or dislike? I buy my musical taste and purchase quality the same.

 

Mofi offers SACD for instance. Last week for instance I bought an immersion box set of Pink Floyd Wish you were hear. The box includes DVD audio offers the album in Quad and 5.1 in 2 different bitrates also a LPCM stereo. With among the Blu-ray it also includes the same Quad, 5.1 in HD audio of 96kb / 24 bit. It just arrived so I offer no opinion. If one likes the music and has the equipment this certainly could test some of the fidelity questions.

 

Also I bought Dire Straits Brothers in arms using K2 method. It seems so far all the k2 cd's are Japanese made. The sound is obviously excellent right from the start. That I've played a couple of times and impressed. No definitive opinion. Because another item I purchased was a 20th anniversary edition which offered SACD/SACD Surround and cd on the disk. 

 

Does anyone else listen like this? I'm far far the discerning listener. The Beatles Sgt Pepper was like a new listening experience. When the quality jumps out like that I like to hear from others and maybe some general impressions. To me the regular release I thought so impressive when remembering to the vinyl in the 80's.

 

Clarity and so natural without the tape hiss. Much better than the first remastered cd's. The multitracking so clear. I could go on but those interested probably more than experienced this many times over.

 

Anyone else wants to offers their own experiences on this?

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For me, the hierarchy is: DVD Audio, SACD, FLAC, CD, then mp3. (Generally speaking, as there ARE a few CDs of superb quality).

 

I find myself enjoying music outside my normal listening path, IF the recording is of exceptional quality (This is how I became fond of Alison Krause - her stuff is almost always recorded exceedingly well). Conversely, I find myself frustrated when I cannot find music that I am particularly fond of, in a high quality recording (Adele comes to mind).

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That's the rub for me as well. Sometimes I just have to ignore the obvious and listen for the music between the noise, EQ, etc. Patricia Barber comes to mind for excellent recordings as well as Donald Fagen, and of course many others. FLAC files have a very good sense of quality, but SACD is some of the very best. Trouble is, as usual, who makes a good SACD player these days? And on it goes. I only got into FLAC files and the like so as not to be left in the playback dust.

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Most Mobile Fidelity, Dunhill Compact Classics (MOFI & DCC), and Audio Fidelity CDs, SACDs, & vinyl are all done very well. Steve Hoffman of DCC & Audio Fidelity is highly regarded as a recording engineer. Alan Parsons, Mutt Lange, & Todd Rundgren have a history of great work as producers.

 

Expect to pay more for the MOFI, DCC, and Audio Fidelity recordings, sometimes much more, but I've been rarely disappointed.

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MoFi question first do you listen as a cd or sacd? Also if the disc offers surrond sound do you listen as surround or stereo?

 

My first hdcd was an accident as I was looking for the album and grabbed it without a real look at the cover. Cars first for those curious but not asking.

 

It's a shame that Audio Fidelity is closed. They had plenty of titles I would have purchased if not so limited by their runs.

 

The additional cost is a factor that I tend to buy the albums well known rather than one that only offers a song or two.

 

Not that the new-ish XRCD which are Japanese imports doesn't offer much for me but some of you would be right at home with. JVC maximizes the mastering side starting fresh from the master tapes using 20 bit mastering then brings it to 16 bit for Redbook.

 

The their K2 processing involves the ultra high quality of coding for the disc. The few discs I have explains all of the processing involved. I just sprinted through to offer a quick account of them.

 

Interesting how a few mentions of the human element. I mentioned elsewhere how Sgt Pepper a obvious very listen eed to album sound so much better with their most recent remastering.

 

Really gave me a new listening experience. The hearing also offered a better appreciation of George Martins techinical wizardry of the time.

 

After I work out the couple of kinks from listening. I can't wait to hear my system as it should be. It's also funny to me when someone asks about the system and as far as the electronics go aside from the disc player tthe next newest piece is 20 years old. Sometimes one of my neighbors occasionally borrows a disc player since he doesn't have blu-ray yet. I have a Carver CD player among the gear and use that in the interim. Works nicely but starts the skipping every so often.

 

My DVD audio experience has to do with burning a show into that format. One box set offers a DVD audio. To me I see the Blu-ray discs are the ones used for the high-end discs for the box sets. Also the same format not mentioned so far.

 

The consistency of opinion speaks volumes of agreement of the various formats of the members.

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I think source material is very important.  I've even heard some argue that it is the most important component of the audio chain.  I used to think that Hi Res audio was the best audio possible (Hi Res as defined as better than 16bit/44.1k)  But then my experiences proved otherwise.  I started to download from HD Tracks and other Hi-Res sites.  At times the tracks sounded fantastic.  Other times I was very underwhelmed.  During this time, I also noticed that certain CDs sounded great.  My doubt began to grow.  However, I held to the belief that Hi-Res must be superior to Redbook CDs.  Then I did an A/B comparison test.  I downloaded tracks that were natively recorded in 24/96 and also downconverted to 16/44.1.  I settled in one night, fired up the Carver, confident that I would easily be able to tell the difference.  I listened critically, and listened critically some more.  I eventually went to bed depressed.  I couldn't tell the difference. - so much for having golden ears.  So my current conclusion is that there are many factors that can make music sound great.  Just because it's Hi-Res does not mean it's going to sound great.

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The best artist, and media quality mean nothing if anywhere along the path, somebody did a crappy job.  `hether it's one "engineer"who cranks the levels too high, or not enough, or gets carried away with compression, or someone producing the media messes up.  In the case of vinyl, all it takes is someone cutting the grooves a bit too close, trying to pack extra material on an album side, or having the settings a bit off to trash the quality.  Digital isn't innune, either.  It depends totally on what happened at each step in the process.

 

I've had CD versions of an album that I have the LP for that sound muddy to me, and others where the LP was awful, but the CD great (remastered albums, notwithstanding, of course).

 

There's no way to assume any media will always give great results.  Some may have greater potential, but that's no certainty it will be realized.

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I think this is a topic we should discuss more often - quality recordings.  I am much more flexible on the music Thani am the recording quality.

 

maybe a couple threads - great digital recordings, and great vinyl.  Not at all focused on the type of music or performance, but just the actual quality of the recording....?

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8 hours ago, Daddyjt said:

I think this is a topic we should discuss more often - quality recordings.  I am much more flexible on the music Thani am the recording quality.

 

maybe a couple threads - great digital recordings, and great vinyl.  Not at all focused on the type of music or performance, but just the actual quality of the recording....?

I totally agree, and find myself listening to different genre's due to the quality of available recordings.  I really like Jesse Cook's acoustic guitar recording quality as they are all so well done.  Also I am finding that the better my system sounds, especially lately with strong Carver gear, the worse the poorly mastered recordings sound even if I really like the artists.  Great recordings now really "POP" for me.

 

Mark, you took the words right out of my mouth basically.

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On 9/12/2018 at 12:10 AM, halfbaked said:

MoFi question first do you listen as a cd or sacd? Also if the disc offers surround sound do you listen as surround or stereo?

 

 

Yes. If it's a hybrid disc, I'll pick SACD - DSD if available, PSM if not, downmixed to 2 channel. I rarely listen to music with my surround system, and if I do, I'm streaming flac, sitting in the front yard, sipping a beer or other adult beverage, and enjoying my neighborhood freak show. 

 

On 9/12/2018 at 12:10 AM, halfbaked said:

JVC maximizes the mastering side starting fresh from the master tapes using 20 bit mastering then brings it to 16 bit for Redbook.

 

JVC did all of the original MFSL album pressings. I don't know if they still do since the revival of MFSL. IMO, they did great work.

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It's been a steady progression in sound quality of recordings of the same old, and occasional newer music, that I listen to. From the lp to the cd to some remastered and sacd versions. Unfortunately,  a remaster does not necessarily sound better occasionally. Just bought The Doors' debut album. It sounds harsh to me.

 

But for the most part, my remastered purchases were well worth it.Take for instance my small Fab Four collection. Bought all their lp's when I came to the States and later bought the MoFi boxed collection that mostly remained boxed as the cd soon took over. Excitedly bought the first Beatles cd's on the first day of release and immediately returned them as they were in mono! Bought all cd's when later released in stereo.

 

A few years ago, the remastered boxed collection came out and I of course didn't think twice and pre-ordered it from Amazon. And now, the re-mixes starting with Pepper. Bought the cd of course and love most of the resulting change which I was wishing for years ago.

 

Eagerly awaiting to willingly spend part of my pension for the rest of EMI's remixed gold mine. A holographic version will be the ultimate re-hash and if I'm still around, I'll gladly contribute to EMI's and the Beatles' pot. Yet again.

 

While I'm at this, please allow me to speak my mind further. Aside from a couple of their post Terry Kath lp's, I never bothered with Chicago's music other than the greatest hits. So it's a great pleasure to acquire their Quadio surround boxed set and hear for the first time their early releases. The multi-channel cd's sound, in a word, amazing to these ears. If you're a Chicago fan, IMHO, it's the best bang for the buck available as far as sound quality is concerned. It breaks my heart that the guitar wiz who made those unique but now very familiar wah-wah driven licks left this world at such a young age.

 

So there you go-it's for the increase in sound quality of the same music that I've been listening to since my teens that I mostly spend my dispensable money on. I rarely buy cd's of artists whose music I'm not familiar with and when I do, it's because of their superb sound quality as per feedbacks on Amazon and occasionally, what site members listen to.

 

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