Early CD transfers had another problem. At RCA (and, from what I understand, to differeing degrees at other record companies), edited reels from the recording sessions were never used in the early CD days. The main reason had to do with bookkeeping (and Jack Pfeiffer's belief that no one could hear the difference, and therefore was not worth the trouble to track down, find and physically restore the edited masters). From it's earliest LP days, RCA maintained a system where every LP side (and later every CD) had to have its' own tape. That meant that if an LP was re-issued with a different number, the later LP master would at best be a first-generation dub of the previous LP. Unfortunately, they took this a couple of steps further. Three-track (and higher) masters were always mixed down to 2-track for the LP. (One of the reasons this was done was to deliberately reduce the dynamic range in the LP master before the cutting stage.) Each new
re-issue's tape master was a dub of the most recently released LP tape master, not the original one. They continued this practice with early CDs. Also, in later LP years, they often dubbed early 30 ips tape masters to 15 ips, and used those for later LPs with the same issue numbers. The consequences of these factors was that early CD masters were sometimes as much as seven or eight generations down from the original session tapes. (It also explains why collectors often prefer earlier LP issues.)
The first RCA CDs that used the edited session tapes (called workparts in RCA parlance) rather than dubs as their source material were the Artur (now Arthur) Rubinstein CD series released in 1984, which was produced on CD by Max Wilcox. That didn't become pretty much standard practice around RCA/BMG until around 1988/9 (and even then, not in every instance).
This doesn't even allow for the improvement in the quality of digital gear over the past thirty years (a subject written about here many times).
On Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:54 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Can't get anything right this AM. I meant several thousand Hz, not kHz. I
wish we could just convert all of this to note names--life would be much
simpler! If we could talk about "My stereo gets up to quadruple High C
and yours only to the G below that," it would all be a lot more meaningful
to most people. Discussion of frequency in Hz can definitely lead to a lot
of techo-babble, but there we are.
On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 10:07 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Sorry. Need more coffee here. That cloud of quantization noise is not
> above 96 kHz, because that is where a recording sampled at 192 cuts off. I
> meant between 48 kHz (where a recording sampled at 96 kHz cuts off) and 96
> You have to keep in mind that these large numbers way up there are really
> small differences in pitch, as the numbers double per octave. Several
> thousand kHz of frequency way up there is a very small pitch spread, where
> in the lower end of the spectrum, several Hz is a large pitch spread.
> Best, John
> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:59 AM, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I am just reporting what you see in a .WAV file (in spectral view), since
>> you can't directly hear it. Noise does not look at all like music most of
>> the time. What you see extending up above 22 kHz in the spectral view of a
>> hi-def .WAV file is the extension of certain tones that have a lot of upper
>> frequency content right up into the stratosphere. I looks just like music
>> looks, not random noise. Could it be "ringing" set off by that note?
>> Perhaps. But I would expect that kind of corruption of particular notes
>> to have some kind of audible effect in the range I can hear, or to be
>> visible as in increase in energy at upper levels, which would not happen
>> with musical overtones (not what you see). All I can say I how it looks.
>> Many LPs do appear to have content up there above 22 kHz, and good
>> cartridges can capture that. What happens in the rest of an audio system
>> chain is up for grabs.
>> Since I started doing restoration work at 96/24, I have noticed some
>> things. I can also do it at 192 sampling rate, but when you do that you
>> get a .WAV file having a very visible layer of quantization noise (an upper
>> thick cloud of noise blanketing the top of the "picture") above 96 kHz.
>> It's not audible, but why put the equipment and the media thru all the
>> trouble to produce/reproduce that, when (because it is noise) it cannot
>> possibly add anything to the musical signal? At 96/24, all of this noise
>> is eliminated, and the audio signal at 96/24 is audibly indistinguishable,
>> to me, from the same signal recorded at 192. At that point, whatever
>> benefit might be gained by using 192 has become insignificant in the real
>> world--i.e., not audible, and as Tom points out, possibly damaging to
>> equipment. But that is not true at all for the comparison between 44/16
>> and 96/24, which is very much audible.
>> I think a lot of early CD's had stinky upper frequency sound because of
>> phasing errors caused by the way upper frequencies above 22 kHz were
>> filtered out, causing "side effects" in the audible signal. Not to
>> mention, human beings were doing the audio work, and not everyone really
>> knows what they are doing, or cares, then and now. I don't think any of
>> the bad rap that early CD's got were the fault of the medium itself. But I
>> agree that many of the earliest CD releases do not sound right, having a
>> "hard," unnatural treble. I think that situation improved drastically as
>> time wore on, and generally a CD issue would sound better than a prior LP
>> issue, because (1) we got rid of the groove noise, and (2) the CD's were
>> often the result of a return to the master tape. But these days, I don't
>> assume anything. I listen to a lot of CD transfers that do not sound as
>> good as the materials they were created from. That's the human factor at
>> work again, not to mention variations in equipment used, as pointed out by
>> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Mark Durenberger <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>> One refers to Rupert Neve's thoughts on why coherent super-audible
>>> response is useful if not necessary.
>>> Someone else on the list may know where his paper was delivered...I have
>>> the audio of his remarks for anyone interested.
>>> Mark Durenberger, CPBE
>>> -----Original Message----- From: Gray, Mike
>>> Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:03 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] "Why Vinyl Is the Only
>>> Worthwhile Way to Own Music"
>>> Seconding Tom's comments - what exactly *is* that energy above 20kHz?