A self-evident truth (Vinyl LP vs. CDs vs. HiRes)

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A self-evident truth (Vinyl LP vs. CDs vs. HiRes)

Postby igorzwx » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:59 pm

If you see a "buffalo" sign on an elephant's cage, do not believe your eyes.
Если на клетке слона прочтёшь надпись «буйвол», не верь глазам своим.
Kozma Prutkov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kozma_Prutkov

It turned out that there is a demand for "genuine sound", and this demand is strong enough to influence the market.
Demand creates supply, according to "economic theory".

There is, for example, a German firm, which offers both ANALOGUE VINYL RECORDS and HiRes digital recordings, e.g. FLAC 24bit 192kHz
Though it may sound incredible to many, for the true LP connoisseur it is a self-evident truth: The classic vinyl LP can convey details of sound and music that a CD cannot reproduce. For this reason, we have now started to offer vinyl. Our ingenious combination of the best analog and digital technologies from 50 years of audio technology results in analog audio media with extraordinary qualities.
These records are issued under the product name ARTISTIC FIDELITY | REFERENCE RECORDING, providing a reference for reproductive fidelity to the artistic performance in front of the microphone. You can find out more further down or go directly to the catalog
http://www.acousence.de/index.php?optio ... 61&lang=en

Do you think that the true audiophiles are buying such "vinyl LPs"? Could they be made of the same "digital crap"?
Notice that exactly the same recordings are also available in digital format, for example:
[180g Vinyl - Album] 20607 - Shostakovich / Symphony No. 15 in A major
Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Jonathan Darlington, LIVING CONCERT SERIES Vol. 6, ARTISTIC FIDELITY | REFERENCE RECORDING
http://www.acousence.de/index.php?optio ... 62&lang=en
[FLAC 24bit 192kHz] Shostakovich, Symphony No. 15 and Mozart Haffner-Sinfonie, Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, ACO20607 (Acousence Classics)
http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-dm ... ffner.aspx
Recent attempts by the industry to establish high resolution sound carriers such as SACD and DVD-Audio have not been widely accepted for various reasons: SACD is very problematic because of its sound in comparison to the analogue standard and DVD-Audio is rather the victim of a marketing error in the shadow of DVD-Video. http://www.acousence.de/index.php?optio ... 61&lang=en

This might be understood as follows: they had already made both SACD and "vinyl LP" out of the same "digital crap" and compared the quality of playback, and the result of comparison was that the sound of "vinyl LP" was much better than that of SACD. If "crap is played through crap"... It might be played with downsampling. In any case, "the true LP connoisseurs" were not going to consume both SACDs and DVD-Audio. The conclusion was that the failure to deceive audiophiles was caused by "marketing errors". To correct "marketing errors", they have to create a "consumable myth". To deceive "the true LP connoisseurs", one may try to claim something like this:
Only the LP can transport the master quality that we are able to achieve with a sophisticated combination of the best technologies from the past 50 years of audio technology to the listener; seasoned with all the popular characteristics of a good, old, analogue record. A plea for a real future for the LP, which continues to be the best sound carrier, and also a plea for the sound carrier as a cultural artefact in its own right. http://www.acousence.de/index.php?optio ... 61&lang=en

Do they really make genuine analogue recordings?
We always use digital recording formats with a 96 kHz sampling rate for multi-track recording (since 2009 also 192kHz) and 192 kHz as master format...
The stereo mix created at the mixing console is then generally recorded at 24-bit/192 kHz resolution...
The sound quality and musicality of our DVD+FLACs, FLAC downloads, SACDs and classic vinyl records are of the very highest order, delivering a musical experience of breathtaking intensity. http://www.acousence.de/index.php?optio ... 37&lang=en

This seems to mean that "classic vinyl crap" is made of "digital crap" of low quality digital formats, such as: 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz, if not 16bit/44.1kHz.
Notice that LynxTwo capable of 24bit/192kHz has been available since 2002 http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/lynxtwo/
It seems that acousence.de is not going to invest into digital recording equipment and purchase professional devices capable of recording 32bit/384kHz digital audio format, such as Pyramix MassCore™ digital audio workstation

Instead of investing into expensive professional recording devices, it might be more reasonable to employ several economists and marketing experts to develop a better "marketing strategy" and "label philosophy".

HiRes digital recordings (FLAC 24bit 192kHz) can be purchased here:
http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-su ... estra.aspx

Although "modern" vinyl LPs do not seem to be very expensive (35 EURO) largely because, perhaps, nobody is going to buy them, modern high-quality turntables might be quite expensive (US $10,000 and more):
A laser turntable is a phonograph that plays gramophone records using a laser beam as the pickup instead of a conventional diamond-tipped stylus. This playback system has the unique advantage of avoiding physical contact with the record during playback; instead, a focused beam of light traces the signal undulations in the vinyl, with zero friction, mass and record wear. Vinyl LPs played with a laser playback system can theoretically "last forever" as there is no deterioration caused by passing a stylus through the grooves.

Current laser turntables can play most varieties of phonograph records (45s, 33.3 LPs, or 78s), and play them with high fidelity. Although quite expensive, they are favored by the record libraries and radio stations for archival use and transcription to digital media[1] and by audiophiles with extensive personal record collections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_turntable

ELP Laser Turntable: plays vinyl records without a needle

Vinyl does not seem to be a durable material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride
It might be replaced with something more durable, if "analogue LP" are to be played with a kind of laser turntables.

There is a hope that HiRes digital recordings may achieve "analogue qualities", but this might be a utopian dream. We are invited to believe that "future consumer delivery formats" will be as good as ancient vinyl LPs:
Digital eXtreme Definition is a professional audio format that brings "analogue" qualities in 32 bit floating point at 352.8 kHz. DXD preserves 11.2896 Mbit/s (4 times the data of DSD). http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

Notice that all existing Blu-ray players are not able to play the so-called "Blu-ray audio format" (192kHz) without downsampling http://morten.lindberg.no/19537/
It is very probable that the "digital players" of the future will not be able to play "future consumer delivery formats", such as DXD (352.8kHz), without downsampling them to CD format.

"the vinyl has been replaced by the CD, largely inferior in quality"
http://www.head-fi.org/t/512355/the-vin ... in-quality

HDTracks: high resolution audiophile music downloads

HDtracks has made the decision to offer music files free of DRM.
https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file ... ame=no_drm

FLAC 24bit 96kHz Binaural Recordings for Audiophiles:
https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file ... 8277163720

Head-Fi and HDtracks (David Chesky) Collaborate to Assemble A Headphone System Test Album!
http://www.head-fi.org/t/476089/head-fi ... test-album
https://www.hdtracks.com/index.php?file ... 6666666666

Free samples of HiRes digital recordings are also available for download:

See also:
HiRes 24Bit 352.8kHz WAV DXD - it works with OSS4

Notice that such "HiRes digital recordings for audiophiles" are free of DRM. The reason is simple. The true audiophiles are not stupid, they do not like to be fooled. They are not going to buy "Katze im Sack" ("кот в мешке", pig in a poke).
[A pig in a poke is concealed in a sack from the buyer http://www.thefreedictionary.com/poke ]
As a rule, the true audiophiles tend to study HiRes digital files, investigate sonograms, etc.

CONCLUSION: It might be stating the obvious, but the "self-evident truth", which seems to be becoming more and more evident, is a challenge for OSS4. It is both a grave challenge and a great opportunity. It might be an opportunity to survive in a competitive "open-source" software market. Are you ready to believe?

Pessimist is a well informed optimist.
Пессимист - это хорошо информированный оптимист.

Notice that "open-source" free software market might not necessarily be a "free market" in the sense of "free and fair competition". It may depend on "business strategies" of certain "commercial entities" which seems to be trying to make profits with "open-source" software, for example:

A competition between "analogue vinyl recordings" and "digital crap" may force the producers of "crap" to improve the quality of their produce and/or invent more sophisticated "digital deceptions" in order to fool the consumer. The Stupid Theorem http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist%E2 ... ng_theorem might be replaced with a more sophisticated "scientific deception".

To be as good as genuine "analogue recordings", the "digital crap" should have an infinite sample rate, or perhaps, at least, 1000000kHz sample rate. An obvious idea is to make "vinyl crap" out of "digital crap". However, "the true LP connoisseurs" do not seem to be going to consume "ersatz vinyl" such as "classic vinyl crap".

From my subjective poind of view, Morten Lindberg's "philosophy" sounds more convincing than that of acousence.de

The problem is how to play 32bit 384kHz, or DXD (352.8 kHz) format on ordinary computers. An obvious "workaround" might be an "exact scientific resampler".

Notice that ALSA does not seem to be able to play 192kHz without downsampling. You may try a simple experiment: disable the evil resampler of ALSA and play 192kHz waves viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4387 If you do not know how to disable the evil "linear converter/resampler" of ALSA, you may ask for help on Ubuntu forum http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?&f=326

It might be reasonable to test how your sound system is playing "future consumer delivery formats". If it does not make any difference, it does not make much sense to buy HiRes FLACs. The producers of "digital crap" really want to hear your opinion. That is why free samples of HiRes FLACs are now available for download http://www.2l.no/hires/index.html

In fact, “not many recordings fully exploit the capabilities of CD, let alone higher resolution formats” http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/speakers ... -bit-flac/
In other words, most of audio CDs are "genuine digital crap". There is a better audio format, such as HiRes FLAC.
24bit FLAC is said to be perfect. “The only drawback is the sheer scarcity of quality recorded music in 24-bit FLAC format” http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/speakers ... -bit-flac/ It may not exist in reality, but one may prove a theorem that "quality recorded music" might be produced in the future. Since it is "obvious", the producers of "digital crap" tend to claim that they can produce "crap" of better quality: “we can do much better than old fashioned 16-bit, and people can easily hear the difference” http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/speakers ... -bit-flac/ Perhaps, they can, if they are intelligent enough to be able to disable the evil converters/resamplers in Windows, MacOS, or Linux. The users of Ubuntu/Arch Linux should also remove certain "software crap" such as PulseAudio. There are, or course, a few intelligent consumers, but they might be "functionally deaf", and, therefore, they are not likely to hear the difference. If you do not hear any difference between "16bit crap" and "24bit crap", you may study sonograms with Audacity and imagine how they may sound.

You may boot an Arch LiveCD and try to play HiRes FLACs with ALSA and OSS4. The "howto" is here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4387
If you do not know what FLAC is, you may read the "definitive guide" for audiophiles:
The definitive guide to 24-bit FLAC
FLAC is of course a free, open source system like MP3…
Rather than the compressed system that MP3 used which reduces file sizes by about 80% by cutting out most of the music you can’t hear (and some that you can), FLAC used a clever ‘lossless’ packing system that doesn’t remove any music at all, and saves about 30% to 50% of space…
Compared to the mastertape, CD gives a decent but unsophisticated facsimile. Its 16/44.1 specification boasts a dynamic range of around 96dB, which is ample for most music work. The trouble is though, the quieter the signal is, the more the system distorts using the PCM digital system, which effectively sucks out the atmosphere – all the subtle ambient details – of a piece of music. In a direct A-B comparison with the mastertape, “16-bit sounds slightly vague,” says Paul Rigby, “like a primitive digital camera it simply loses the subtlety and fine detail; it’s less easy to live with than hi res digital”…
Compared to analogue, early 16-bit digital could sound spiky and hard, giving cymbals and female vocals a coldness that just didn’t seem right. Lab measurements showed that whilst CD’s 16-bit digital system gave very low distortion on the loudest parts of the music, it distorted heavily on the quieter bits – the exact opposite to how analogue LP behaved. Worse still, the digital system was prone to distorting most in the upper midband and treble, just where the ear is most sensitive…
“I have seen some really good recordings over the last decade where 16-bit was just not enough to hold all the information,” says B&W digital research engineer Albert Yong, “and given the opportunity to then listen to those recordings in 24-bits, they just blew the 16bit version out of the water”…
“Most people tend to think wider dynamic range simply means a louder, punchier sound”, says Paul Rigby, “but in a sense it’s closer to the reverse. Basically, it means all those quiet subtle sounds are far better resolved; there’s a far greater sense of space and atmosphere, and the contrast between a gentle tap of cymbal and a smash of a snare drum is more faithfully rendered. The music just sounds more organic, and less like hi-fi”…
With PCM, the two basic factors that determine the sound quality are bit depth (which determines the quality with which the analogue signal is digitised), and the sampling frequency (which is the number of times per second that the analogue signal is digitised). CD is a 16bit, 44.1kHz system, giving a frequency response of 5-22,000Hz and 96dB dynamic range.
To understand this more clearly, it’s helpful to imagine taking a digital photo of a squiggly line. The more megapixels the camera that you use has, the higher resolution the snapshot will be and the smoother the squiggle will look. This is the visual equivalent of bit depth. Then try and imagine photographing that squiggle thousands of times a second.
The more snapshots you take per second, the more accurately you can track the way the line moves, kind of like seeing a flicker-free TV picture on a top television. Liken this to the sampling frequency, and you can see how the musical waveform (squiggly line) is captured digitally.
So the more bits you use, the more natural the music sounds, and the faster the samples, the wider the frequency range…
No surprise then that in recent years, many hi-fi purists have been turning back to vinyl which – being analogue – offers almost infinite levels of resolution. http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/speakers ... -bit-flac/

Since these "self-evident truths" were published by Bowers & Wilkins, you should take them for granted, if you pretend to be an audiophile of the true faith. You have to consume such truth without hesitation. Otherwise, you are not an audiophile. You have to consume the truth about "24bit FLAC" also because you are invited to buy B&W loudspeakers:
Any speaker can only be as good as the system driving it, and any system is limited by the quality of the original source material. That’s why B&W, as a manufacturer of premium, leading edge loudspeakers, takes FLAC very seriously. http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/speakers ... -bit-flac/

This "definitive guide" deserves to be studied, although it seems to ignore Linux/PulseAudio. It provides insights of value into the nature of "digital crap". It does contain some useful information, although its recommendations for MacOS users might be misleading to a certain extent. If you really want to know how to play HiRes FLACs on MacOS, you may better read Arch Linux Wiki https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/OS ... ample_Rate Notice that the sound system of MacOS seems to be an imitation of OSS4 (or other way round). In any case, an imitation of "crap" is not a "genuine crap", by definition.

Do not forget, however, another obvious truth: whether you disable resampling in ALSA and OSS4, or not, your digital audio file will be resampled by the HW resampler of your soundcard in any case. The so-called "digital-to-audio conversion" (DAC) means exactly this: a digital signal of finite sample rate (e.g. 96kHz) is somehow converted to a signal of infinite sample rate, that is, analogue sound. If "crap is played through crap", it might be difficult to notice the difference without very special headphones for audiophiles. However, such headphones might be quite expensive (US $1,000 and more):
http://www.head-fi.org/products/sennhei ... es/reviews
Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones (US $1,500 in amazon.com)
http://www.sennheisernordic.com/nordic/ ... nes_500319
http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/ho ... nes_500319
Do not buy the most expensive ones, because with such headphones, any "digital crap" may sound like "genuine analogue vinyl". This might be obvious.

There is the so-called "Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem", known as "Stupid Theorem"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyquist%E2 ... ng_theorem

The "self-evident purpose" of the Stupid Theorem is to justify the CD format, that is, 16bit 44.1kHz:
The Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem states that perfect reconstruction of a signal is possible when the sampling frequency is greater than twice the maximum frequency of the signal being sampled, or equivalently, when the Nyquist frequency (half the sample rate) exceeds the highest frequency of the signal being sampled. If lower sampling rates are used, the original signal's information may not be completely recoverable from the sampled signal.[2] For example, if a signal has an upper band limit of 100 Hz, a sampling frequency greater than 200 Hz will avoid aliasing and allow theoretically perfect reconstruction.
The full range of human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz.The minimum sampling rate that satisfies the sampling theorem for this full bandwidth is 40 kHz. The 44.1 kHz sampling rate used for Compact Disc was chosen for this and other technical reasons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sampling_r ... ng_theorem

If this theorem were true, HiRes formats (e.g. 24bit 192kHz FLACs) would not make any sense, because 44.1kHz would be sufficient. It might be obvious that the Stupid Theorem is a "deliberate deception" (gezielte Täuschung). The hidden purpose of such theorems is to discredit "scientific knowledge" and science in general. According to "economic theory", the "impersonal market forces" are forces of "creative destruction". They seem to be able to destroy the fundamental institutions of Western civilization, such as the institution of science. Don't worry! It might be replaced with an institution of "scientific religion".

Notice that all conventional resamplers, including both "commercial" and "open-source" resamplers, are based on the Stupid Theorem, which is fundamentally wrong by definition. That is why the conventional resamplers fail to work wonders. The "open-source" resamplers proved to be a kind of "open-source crap". You see, "open source" does not always mean "good". In our day, "open source" is likely to mean "evil" (e.g. PulseAudio). This sort of evil is difficult to disable and might be impossible to eradicate. If you want to study the nature of evil, you may try to disable the evil resampler of ALSA in Ubuntu/Arch Linux. Such experiments can be made with Arch LiveCDs viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4387

There are also alternative resamplers, such as the Russian "exact scientific resampler", which are not based on the Stupid Theorem.

DACs, even the most expensive ones, also fail to work wonders http://www.audiodesignguide.com/HiResolution/index.html

There might be other sorts of "deliberate deceptions":

1. Vinyl LP can be made of 16bit 44.1kHz "digital crap".
2. HisRes FLACs, e.g. 24bit 192kHz, can also be made of 16bit 44.1kHz "digital crap". This tends to be called "upsampling".

Vinyl LP might be difficult to verify, but falsification of HisRes FLACs might be easily detected by studying sonograms, etc. It may depend, however, on the art of falsification. This might be interesting to consider in detail.

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