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LP vs MP3 test

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Just run my first test of Blondie tracks on vinyl (new 180gm) versus 320kbps MP3 download (supplied free with LPs).

Now LPs are very old tech, no way do they record in a linear fashion so need to use RIAA equalisation through the frequency range. Very un-hifi really.

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The RIAA equalization curve for playback of vinyl records. The recording curve performs the inverse function, reducing low frequencies and boosting high frequencies.

Digital recordings, on the other hand, do not need any compression, the format provides a large signal to noise ratio so no compression is ever needed. Though they are often compressed on pop and rock music to add weight when played over the radio on a crappy transistor radio.

I think that's what happened to the Blondie tracks, as I was very disappointed with the sound of the MP3s - it was terrible actually.

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The vinyl was immeasurably better in this instance. Despite being such a crude and antiquated mechanism by today's standards it had vastly more depth and subtlety. Whereas the MP3 were a pain in the ear really - I kid you not.

Being brand new pressing on 180gm the records had no clicks or pops whatsoever. If I still had the originals (which I threw out years ago) they'd have plenty of clicks as I often played them when a bit pissed. :)

I'd expected the LP and MP3 to be rather more alike. Maybe they are bad MP3s though - will download some FLAC versions of the CDs tomorrow and check, probably both original and remastered.

I don't think this happens with classical stuff, which is my preference for musical listening - most of the classical digital stuff is pretty damned good. :)

My whim to test this stuff has cost me £400 so far, though I think it is sufficiently interesting to be worth it. :):

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diablo wrote:I'd expected the LP and MP3 to be rather more alike.



Why? The distortion added when playing through the medium of an LP is totally different to the distortion when playing via and MP3.

FLAC versions assuming same source for the master should expose any crap impart ed by the MP3, although to fair 320 MP3 should be pretty good

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smeggypants wrote:
diablo wrote:I'd expected the LP and MP3 to be rather more alike.



Why? The distortion added when playing through the medium of an LP is totally different to the distortion when playing via and MP3.

FLAC versions assuming same source for the master should expose any crap impart ed by the MP3, although to fair 320 MP3 should be pretty good


I just hadn't expected the MP3 to be so bad really.

Admittedly the first track I tried the comparison on was Europa and that was probably the worst. Most of the others I've checked since seem sort of okayish. Though the top end of the audio sounds muddy and confused on the MP3s really.

This is the MP3 Europa -
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/40311629/Europa.mp3

I can't provide a decent recording of the LP as I haven't a good mike to hand. Suppose I could link the amp output to the computer somehow - but too lazy to do that now. :D

The mixing is usually very different for the two formats. A good few years ago I bought an LP version of 'The Dream of Gerontius' (Elgar) on LP and then later on a CD box-set. Immediately I played the CD version I thought it sounded much worse, though at that time I didn't have a record deck to compare the two. I now have it on LP again - but where the fuck did I put the CD version eh? :rofl:

LPs have huge levels of distortion, surprising that they can sound pretty good really. :):

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diablo wrote:
LPs have huge levels of distortion, surprising that they can sound pretty good really. :):


Because it's nice distortion. :)

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crumbs wrote:MP3 is utter shite. Always has been. No audiophile listens to MP3 music.


Very few people can tell the difference between a CD and a 320kbps MP3, though a lot of audiophiles will tell you they can. They probably won't be able to prove it in blind tests though. :)


crumbs wrote:MP3 has to be reconstructed to analogue. It can never be as good as analogue. Even with ridiculous levels of oversampling, the basic algorithm of MP3 still has to guess some of the music. Even the best D/A converters will not produce a sound that is as good as the original analogue sound.

As for RIAA - that's how records were originally pressed. If you're buying non-RIAA pressed vinyl then you're going to fuck up your LPs in no time. The whole point of RIAA was to stop the stylus moving around wildly, causing it to wear out the grooves in your vinyl. The quality of your amp or pre-amp in its ability to correct eq RIAA will decide the final sound.

There's an old adage in HiFi: you cannot hear anything that wasn't picked up from the source.

We always used to upgrade the ability of the source equipment to pick up everything from the vinyl before upgrading any other component.


These days most studios record sound digitally from the outset. There aren't many big Ampex tape decks with 2 inch tape no more. :)

Compressed digital recording is very clever actually. MP2 + 3 keep the sounds you actually hear and throw away the stuff behind it which you don't hear. Of course it isn't quite the same but at a high bit-rate very few can tell the difference. Of course at 128kbps then it sometimes sounds rather poor. Especially on DAB pop stations which use as little bandwidth as they can get away with - then add heavy compression on top to make it worse. :eek4:

A properly mixed and recorded CD, uncompressed of course, can sound very good indeed. Some can tell the difference between SACD and a normal CD of the same album - but probably because they were mastered differently.

I have heard so-called purists say they much prefer FM radio to digital as it is 'analogue' but the path to the transmitter is always digital these days. At some times it was done by a version of 13 bit NICAM. :rofl: And it is usually compressed for the benefit of car radio and cheap transistor users.

The 320 kbps Radio 3 feed in AAC is brilliant I think.

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Recent Radio 4 prog about compression.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tvgp1

Probably not worth listening to if your pc isn't connected to a decent amp and speakers though. :):

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crumbs wrote:We always used to upgrade the ability of the source equipment to pick up everything from the vinyl before upgrading any other component.


The technology of the lp has been around for 140 years since the first retrieval of audio from grooves in the phonograph. The hard gem stylus that replaced the needle has also been perfected over some 100 years, and in the same vein as the CRT being impoved for a period of 80 years, any new technology is going to have a tough time catching up on the quality of reproduction in a short time.

MP3 is also built around something called perceptual audio processing, and so is not a development without end. As such the quality of reproduction as far as the listener is a mimic of the original source, but never a faithful reproduction.

For the audiophile there is additional question of digial over analogue audio, and which one is best appreciated by the auditory nerves that send signals from the ear to the brain.

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diablo wrote:
crumbs wrote:MP3 is utter shite. Always has been. No audiophile listens to MP3 music.


Very few people can tell the difference between a CD and a 320kbps MP3, though a lot of audiophiles will tell you they can. They probably won't be able to prove it in blind tests though. :)




I can. :) - but then I have a proper acoustically treated studio control room, with soffit mounted Genelec 1037 speakers each sitting on 120kg concrete blocks and decoupled from the soffit wall using Sylomer elastomer.

when I was building it in 2005 - the black boxes under the speakers are the concrete blocks


Image

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smeggypants wrote:I can. :) - but then I have a proper acoustically treated studio control room, with soffit mounted Genelec 1037 speakers each sitting on 120kg concrete blocks and decoupled from the soffit wall using Sylomer elastomer.

when I was building it in 2005 - the black boxes under the speakers are the concrete blocks


Surprised you didn't go down the horn route

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/Forums/Sho ... 2429#12429

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:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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What a load of bollocks!!

"Oh yah, mah eardrums are tuned to specifically differentiate between 320kbps MP3 and a piece of Bakelite with grooves in it due to the slab of fah-hakking concrete laid beneath the eleventymillion gigawatt speaker connected to a Borg side reflex amplifier lined with potatoes through the titanium core mixing desk supporting the Linear turntable playing the 30 year old vinyl with scratches and pubic hair in it!....

Cobblers, cobblers... double cobblers and some more cobblers! Mine go up to 11! :fingers:

Gentlemen.... This puts your discussion into fucking perspective!


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