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ARSCLIST  January 2011

ARSCLIST January 2011

Subject:

Re: Digital download stats

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 2 Jan 2011 08:47:59 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (95 lines)

I agree with this, given the state of LP production and manufacturing in the early 1980s. Most LPs 
that I bought in those days came out of the shrinkwrap warped, some were stamped off-center to the 
hole, some came out of the factory with scratches or vinyl "zits" and many were pressed on 
super-thin, noisy vinyl. These would be mainstream American rock and jazz albums, the stuff normal 
people with normal budgets bought. Yes, you could buy imports pressed on better vinyl, but again 
these sometimes cost twice as much. Earlier-era vinyl was typically somewhat better. There was a 
phase in the 70s where they went to thinner vinyl but it was quieter than the "deep groove" thicker 
vinyl of the 60s. But by the 80s, they had even cheaped out on the thin vinyl and it was noisy and 
often warped.

Early CD's, for the most part -- and again talking about mainstream titles at mainstream prices --  
were hampered by bad production choices as much as lower-quality A-D converters. Using non-master 
tapes with generation losses or other distortions, playing back on non-aligned tape machines, using 
lower-quality tape machines than the original master recorders, etc, hampered the sound quality. In 
many cases, a second generation reissue of older material sounded better than the first try and 
sounded vastly superior to the original LP. There were exceptions, one big problem was that by the 
late 80s and early 90s when many of these second-try reissues were done, the master tapes were 
deteriorated. Another problem was that NoNoise and other digital tools were in vogue then and, as 
now, ham-handed knob-twisters often over-used them. One other problem was that the modern mastering 
engineers in most cases never even listened to the original LPs, to see what the original cutting 
engineer did as far as EQ or dynamics control between the master tape and the production LP. In some 
cases, particularly with rock, pop and jazz records, there was an added quality to the sound that 
had a lot to do with how much people enjoyed the song, especially as it was played over the radio. 
While the purists among us may say it's an "improvement" to go back to the master tape with this, 
some fan wanted to hear what they heard in earlier days, that was their sonic memory. This was a big 
problem with some rock and soul hits from the 60's. And there were cases like some of the early 
Contemporary Jazz recordings where the modern mastering engineer didn't listen to the original so he 
didn't even know that plate reverb was added between the tape and the disk cutter due to the very 
simple setup in the company's little studio/shipping room at that time (Sonny Rollins' "Way Out 
West," reverb problem not corrected until late premium-priced reissues).

I would say most of the third-generation reissues I've heard are not as good, and it's a big 
disappointment. The transfers being made today are generally at least 96/24 resolution and the 
sonic-cleanup tools are better and some (few) folks know how to use them more sparingly. But, master 
tapes are further deteriorated and worst of all has been the total collapse of common sense and 
willpower among mastering engineers where they blindly follow orders of tin-eared record company 
fools to "make it louder", thus crushing dynamics and producing distorted-sounded CD's, and forget 
about the lossy-format versions of these monsters, they sound doubly horrible. I am not optimistic 
about a fourth generation of reissues to fix these dumb moves, given the collapsing economics of the 
business.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Hone" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2011 2:16 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital download stats


> Not to start the LP/CD debate, yes the early  Analog/Digital converters were
> problematic, but the CDs themselves had no off center wow problems, no dish
> warpage problems, no pinch warpage problems, no groove distortion problem,
> no rushing sound due to poor vinyl, no snap crackle & pop problems, no
> sibilance distortion problem, better frequency response than most mass
> produced vinyls, no wear after several plays. So in my  opinion, there was
> more to gain from going to vinyl to CDs than there is today,  going from CDs
> to download.
>
> Louis Hone
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lou Judson
> Sent: 1 janvier 2011 13:21
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital download stats
>
> CD as opposed to Lp was arguably a step downward in quality too, back
> in the day.
>
>  Marketed for convenience and ease of ditribution, it took several
> years for CD releases to actually sound better in any way other than
> S/N ratio and playability covenience...
>
> <L>
> Lou Judson - Intuitive Audio
> 415-883-2689
>
> "more" is not a playback level
> -- an audio software warning message.
>
> On Jan 1, 2011, at 5:37 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>
> In general, I too decry the disappearance of CD-format material
> because the alternative download is generally audibly lower quality,
> which is a step backward in my opinion.
>
> -- Tom Fine
> No virus found in this incoming message.
> Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
> Version: 9.0.872 / Virus Database: 271.1.1/3352 - Release Date: 01/01/11
> 02:34:00
> 

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