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thehifiguy
01-27-2012, 11:45 AM
I am looking for opinions on really great music sources.

WAV, FLAC, etc.

Thanks -

HFG:biggrin5:

Poultrygeist
01-27-2012, 02:00 PM
SACD and it ain't even close.

Ajani
01-27-2012, 02:42 PM
SACD and it ain't even close.

Do you prefer sacd to vinyl?

Ajani
01-27-2012, 02:46 PM
I am looking for opinions on really great music sources.

WAV, FLAC, etc.

Thanks -

HFG:biggrin5:

Wav and flac sounds the same. If you can find high res downloads you like, that would be my pic for best source.

frenchmon
01-28-2012, 06:38 AM
Do you prefer sacd to vinyl?

Can't speak for Poultrygeist but I have both...and I prefer Vinyl. Its just something about the sound...its like smoother and more natural to my ears...but I do prefer SACD to RB.

recoveryone
01-28-2012, 09:54 AM
A very subjective area and it all could come down to availability, I don't think anyone would argue that SACD or DVD-A is best source, but the limited amount of music on that medium cuts a lot of artist out that others listen to. Some have along ready made their case for vinyl, and that too has issue with limited releases/finds now days. So I guess it may come down to what is widely available to all artist and listeners, which brings back to Redbook/CD. At this point this medium allows us to be more flexable with its use. CD can be played on both home, automotive and personal players. can be copied in various forms; WAV, FLAC, Mp3, ACC..... to be used on other devices. CD may have its limits compared to SACD or DVD-A, but it may be the best source soley on its ability to be used beyond its normal design.

lomarica
01-29-2012, 09:44 AM
SACD is my reference demo source however bluray is also very good and depending on the recording even better than some SACD's.

I do have some SACD that do not sound all the great.

thehifiguy
01-29-2012, 10:37 AM
Thanks to all for the input(s)!

More would be great too.

I guess what I am looking for FLAC or WAV digital files and via an audiophile / advised recording process - or CDs that are vintage (recorded pre 90's).

Vinyl is often better than current MP3 or pop produced via Pro Tools. This is due to the lack of correct algorithms in the recording software process avoiding (now) unnecessary file compression - and more limited knowledge regarding the effects compression and mic / space acoustics.

Records themselves are no where close to properly and well recorded digital files given the nature of the record medium and extreme limits that must be placed on the cutter head speeds and RIAA equalization. That's an opinion certainly but it's widely shared by pros in the field with longer experience. My ears also say the same thing. Try an experiment by listening to an 80's produced CD and the best 180 gr. LP of the same mix.

Still need more on sources of music if anybody has it!

HFG

recoveryone
01-29-2012, 11:53 AM
I thought your question was more geared that way, but I went with the rest of the posters on best source, but again its an area that can be subjective at best. From music taste, how a CD was engineer/mastered (some older CD's sound hollow especially stuff from the 60's Motown sound, but even some of todays CD can have different sounds: soft or hard edge and that is done by the engineer) , technology upgrades, to your own system of playback choice: CDP or DAR. I mean this list can go on and on from interconnets to speaker wires. All can play a factor in somes minds or not. To match the math to math a WAV file is a copy of a CD, Flac top of the line lossless, Apple lossless, then you have Mp3, ACC, WMA, OGG to name a few....read below


Lossless:


Lossless means that, digitally, regardless of the format the file is stored in, there is no loss of data.
The raw digital music file format types in common use are AIFF and WAV.
The most common compressed digital music file format types are FLAC and ALAC.
FLAC and ALAC compress the file, much like Zip compresses a regular file, but more efficiently for audio information.
FLAC has different levels of compression, trading off file size for the amount of processing power required to compress and decompress the file.
On average, a lossless compressed file will be about 50-70% of its original size.
When de-compressed, no data has been lost.
The bit rate for a CD-quality AIFF or WAV file is 1411 kbps (kilo-bits-per-second).
Lossy:


Lossy means that data is removed to make the file smaller and the sound is altered.
The most common lossy compressed file types are MP3, AAC and OGG.
Files are compressed by removing the data storing the least audible sounds first.
This often means any sounds above 16kHz (depending on compression level) are removed, as in music, instruments only produce sounds up to about 12-14kHz for the most part, so a person with good hearing and good equipment might just be able to discern this, but only with effort.
File sizes end up about 1/10th to 1/3rd the original size.
Even after decompression, the data removed is still lost.
The highest bit rate for lossy files is (usually) 320 kbps and the common bit rates are 128 kbps and 192 kbps. Compare this to the lossless figure above.
The LAME Encoder:

LAME is possibly the most famous MP3 encoding software, as over the years the author(s) have been constantly refining it, to the point that someone posted on Head-fi a 128k VBR (variable bit rate) file and the RAW file and some people couldn't tell the difference between them. LAME has a number of settings, including the option to have the encoding rate as a constant bit (encoding) rate -- "CBR" or a variable bit rate -- "VBR". The latter is more effective as it adjusts the rate according to the complexity of the music. It includes a number of presets, from V0 to V9, which are respectively the highest and lowest default options. With the V0 setting, most people would struggle to tell that the music was compressed, without experience or training as well as high quality equipment. With V9, the sound would be like listening to music over a regular analog telephone played by someone holding an old analogue radio to the mouthpiece.


Some swear by Flac and feel its the only way to rip music, but then again it's limited use is its draw back. Mp3 was the leader due to its' ability to be alter from 320kbps down to 64kbps (early personel devices). When apple flew out itunes on the apple faithful and all their converts it became the standard, but was limited by the protection scheme that the recording industry loves. So with the backing of almost all recording co. you have just about every Home electronics, auto electronics and so on feeding into the ipod/itunes compatible mode. In reality itunes are ACC format lossy files that are 128kbps that through codecs sound as good as 160kbps you get better sound while still saving disk space. For me I use mostly 320kbps Mp3 for the purpose of being able to share those files on my home server and be able to use them in my vehicles.

tube fan
01-30-2012, 07:06 AM
I've been to dozens of audio shows, and I have heard hundreds of audio systems, and NO digital format comes close to a high end analogue source. There is a very good reason for this: music is analogue, and humans don't hear bits. In digital recordings, the original audio signal must be converted from analogue to digital, and, then, because humans hear only analogue sound, those digital bits, after being processed, must be reconverted to analogue! Digital is very convenient, but a complete waste of time IF you are interested in truly accurate audio.

bobsticks
01-30-2012, 07:27 AM
I've been to dozens of audio shows, and I have heard hundreds of audio systems, and NO digital format comes close to a high end analogue source. There is a very good reason for this: music is analogue, and humans don't hear bits. In digital recordings, the original audio signal must be converted from analogue to digital, and, then, because humans hear only analogue sound, those digital bits, after being processed, must be reconverted to analogue! Digital is very convenient, but a complete waste of time IF you are interested in truly accurate audio.

Well, that could be argued given the plethora of choices in both "Hi-End" digital and analogue...names like Esoteric and DCS come to mind for digital and the monikers of ClearAudio and VPI for the other. What is absolutely sure is that the best performance begets the highest prices.

That said, I suspect that for real world budgets a medium priced SACD player and a media server in FLAC or another loss less codec with an appropriate DAC would yield the best return on investment.

recoveryone
01-30-2012, 07:59 AM
I've been to dozens of audio shows, and I have heard hundreds of audio systems, and NO digital format comes close to a high end analogue source. There is a very good reason for this: music is analogue, and humans don't hear bits. In digital recordings, the original audio signal must be converted from analogue to digital, and, then, because humans hear only analogue sound, those digital bits, after being processed, must be reconverted to analogue! Digital is very convenient, but a complete waste of time IF you are interested in truly accurate audio.

Not to argue your experiences or preface, but if you look at many CD's you can see that some recordings are made Digital to Digital while others are Analog to Digital, so your argument may have some flaws. In todays recording studios (most likely past 20 years) all the equipment use to record is ran into digital mixing boards. Now a live show may be analog, but for recorded music (CD's SCAD, DVD-A, BR) have been processed digitally at some point. You would be hard press to find a master recording on reel to reel tape now days.

tube fan
01-31-2012, 06:50 AM
Not to argue your experiences or preface, but if you look at many CD's you can see that some recordings are made Digital to Digital while others are Analog to Digital, so your argument may have some flaws. In todays recording studios (most likely past 20 years) all the equipment use to record is ran into digital mixing boards. Now a live show may be analog, but for recorded music (CD's SCAD, DVD-A, BR) have been processed digitally at some point. You would be hard press to find a master recording on reel to reel tape now days.

Yes, you must have an all analogue recording for true high end sound. I got several representatives of "high res" digital recording at the 2011 CAS to admit that analogue tape copies of analogue master tapes were FAR superior to any "high res" digital recordings.
Fortunately, I listen to jazz and classical, and there are thousands of fantastic all analogue recordings.

SlumpBuster
01-31-2012, 08:21 AM
Excuse me while I cut through here on my way to the back room 25 cent bins...

dadmaster
01-31-2012, 05:42 PM
I tried flac it sounded preety good and in 5.1, I also like dvd audio, and now BD music that is made with same loss less process, MLP, sacd to me was a letdown. But more music is being made on BD and it's pretty darn good.
the output is 96/24 and some stereo dvd audio is higher,
a good example in Steel Dans "Everything must go" that is misprint on the cover, but it plays back 192/24 sacd anything above 22 htz is noise.

Poultrygeist
01-31-2012, 07:09 PM
I recently bought a Marantz SA8004 and listening to a Linn Klimax DS SACD disc is a treatise in amazing fidelity. I have not heard vinyl lately but I plan to give it a go as a JD9 tube phono stage is on the way from Jolida.net. Today I got out the old SL-1300 in preparation.

I watched the remake of "The Mechanic" on cable the other night and loved that TT, the big red cart and the Jolda tube amp. Anyone recognize the cart and table?

recoveryone
02-08-2012, 08:46 AM
I found this link on the Squeezebox site and it talks about how mixing engineers are the ones being pressured to make CD's sound the way they do. I have been saying this all along, that how a CD comes out is in thee hands of the engineer and not the artist in most cases:

How CDs are remastering the art of noise

Albums are getting louder and the sound quality is suffering. Audiophiles and engineers despair of the trend, but who is driving it?



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Tim Anderson
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), <TIME datetime="2007-01-17" pubdate>Wednesday 17 January 2007</TIME>
Article history (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jan/18/pop.music#history-link-box)
"I can't stand the sound of today's CDs," says Roland Stauber, a 39-year-old music lover who works in the automotive industry. "They sound harsh and loud. I hardly buy new releases any more."
Music nostalgia is nothing new, but this is different. There are solid technical reasons why CDs mastered today sound inferior to those made 15 years ago. The engineers who make the "master" - the mix from which the CD is pressed - are under irresistible pressure to compromise sound quality.
Tim Young masters albums at the Metropolis Studios in London. He has impeccable credentials, having worked with bands from the Clash and the Smiths back in the 1970s to Madonna, Iron Maiden and the Sugababes today. "Everyone's chasing immediate impact," he explains. "What happens is all the loud parts of the album have to be as loud as the opening track. So you get a fatiguing effect. There's no light and shade in it."
Young has first-hand experience of the "loudness wars", where studios compete to make ever louder CDs. "When CDs emerged as a format in the mid-80s, there wasn't a great deal you could do to make them louder. In the first half of the 1990s, various [electronics] boxes started to appear that meant you could get more apparent loudness. Mastering engineers, initially in America, started using these to make CDs louder. The impact travelled across the Atlantic," he says.
Damaged music
"In 1992 I did an album for a British heavy metal band. I got a panic-stricken message from their A&R man in America, saying 'We're really worried, the new album, it's not as loud as Aerosmith' or something. That was the start of it."
Of course, the mastering engineer has no control over how loud a CD gets played. But this is about the volume of the low-level signal encoded on the CD. Artists and record companies hope that louder music will stand out, but in practice the listener may just turn it down. Unfortunately, the techniques used to maximise the volume are damaging the music itself.
Steve Hoffman specialises in remastering classic rock albums, and he's a vocal opponent of the loudness wars. Asked to comment on recent releases, one from Lily Allen and the other from the Arctic Monkeys, he says: "Everything is loud, everything is bright, there's no subtlety in it at all, it's a sound that one would tire of fairly quickly."
Why does it sound bad? "A lot of signal processing is in the mastering stage, the type of processing that was almost impossible in the old days of analogue," says Hoffman. "Now you have digital workstations which mercilessly zap all the dynamics out of music. The other problem is overuse of equalisation (EQ). Equalisation done digitally is very harsh, and most mastering engineers tend to overuse it. You just crank up the EQ and then you compress it digitally so everything sounds like a machine gun, and then it all sounds really loud.
"Unfortunately, once the dynamics are shaved off music, it's impossible to get them back," says Hoffman. "It doesn't matter what volume you're playing at. When everything is loud, it doesn't sound loud any more. The only way that something can sound loud is if there's something quiet that precedes it, or else there's no frame of reference."
Jason Howse is a sound engineer who has worked with artists including Diva, Faceless and A Guy Called Gerald. Referring to dance music, he said: "You basically want the record as loud as you can possibly get it, because it's going to be played in an environment where level is everything." But why not use the volume control to avoid the loss of dynamic range? "That would be the thing to do," he answered, "but it's just what's demanded from record companies, not from the listener, but from record companies and artists."
Mastering engineers have little choice. "One of the myths that I'd like to eradicate is that this is all down to mastering engineers going crazy with their controls," says Young. "It's not. It's the artists and the producers who demand it.
"I had a famous 60s singer who's making a comeback this year. I'd mastered his album and I said, 'What do you think of it?' He said, 'It's great, but it's not as loud as the new Paul Simon. You've got to make it louder'."
Hitting the wall
How much does it matter? To a small but vociferous minority it matters a lot. Internet forums buzz with discussions about which older CD or LP release has the best sound as fans seek out the music of their youth.
"There's nothing wrong with distorted over-limited CDs per se," says Graham Sutton, a musician with Bark Psychosis and a sound engineer. "It's all aesthetics, after all. But what might suit Whitehouse or Merzbow might not be right for Norah Jones. It's now at the point where CDs cannot get any louder, just more distorted.
"The brick wall has been reached. I wonder how long it will be before the record companies re-re-release their back catalogue, re-re-mastered for additional dynamic range?"
Compromised CDs
Lily Allen
Alright, Still (Regal, 2006)
This bouncy pop might sound better if it were not mastered for loudness at the expense of dynamic range.
Iggy Pop and the Stooges
Raw Power (Columbia, 1997)
Remixed by Pop in 1997, this remains among "the loudest CDs ever made".
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Californication (Warner, 1999)
Criticised for excessive compression and distortion. Subject of an online petition calling for a reissue.
Oasis
(What's the Story) Morning Glory (Creation, 1995)
Exceptionally loud album that forced others to compete in volume.
Rush
Vapor Trails (Warner, 2002)
"I can't get into this album at all, it lacks clarity, the songs sound the same," says one user review on Amazon. The overloud mastering may be to blame for this perception.
Paul Simon
Surprise (Warner, 2006)
Even long-established folk stars are competing in the loudness wars, to the detriment of the sound quality.

Fred70433
02-09-2012, 04:48 AM
Vinyl and Master Tape = The best available IMO.

If you just HAVE to go digital, then SACD.

Fred70433
02-11-2012, 09:14 PM
...

I watched the remake of "The Mechanic" on cable the other night and loved that TT, the big red cart and the Jolda tube amp. Anyone recognize the cart and table?

This guy did: As I Suspected: The Mechanic IS An Analog Addict! - Blu-ray Forum (http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=173202)

tube fan
02-12-2012, 07:42 PM
Not to argue your experiences or preface, but if you look at many CD's you can see that some recordings are made Digital to Digital while others are Analog to Digital, so your argument may have some flaws. In todays recording studios (most likely past 20 years) all the equipment use to record is ran into digital mixing boards. Now a live show may be analog, but for recorded music (CD's SCAD, DVD-A, BR) have been processed digitally at some point. You would be hard press to find a master recording on reel to reel tape now days.

Yes, but 99% of my favorite records were AAA. Yes, back in the 1960s and 1970s. Digital SUCKED from the very start (even though many embraced this flawed source). It still sucks!!! My analogue based system is better than ANY digital based system I have heard. At the CAS 2011, the ONLY system that matched, much lest bettered, my system was based on analogue reel-to-reel tapes.

lomarica
02-14-2012, 09:00 PM
I down loaded the FLAC free sampler from HDtracks.com

it sounds very very good played on my Oppo dare I say close to sacd?
files sizes are about 80mb per song which is very large but so what

my only issue is their prices seem pretty high, I was thinking they would be a lot cheaper since costs would be so much lower but I know that is another issue

Rmac58
03-04-2012, 01:56 PM
How does one determine if a cd ripped to iTunes is lossy or lossless or what?
I use the highest quality transfer.
Thanks.

recoveryone
03-04-2012, 02:07 PM
What format did you use to rip the disk?
What settings did you use?

Depending on the software used, could cause any number of format to be ripped. Windows Media Player (WMP) has a default setting of WAV, All you need to do is look at the rip settings for Itunes that you use and that will tell you for sure. Itunes is ACC format and normally is a lossy format with a Kbps around 128-160 (allows for more files to fit on the players). If you read my earlier post covering the formats you may get a better ideal.

Rmac58
03-04-2012, 04:55 PM
^ Thanks, the ACC says bit rate 256 kpbs.

I use whatever software is on this iMac 2010.

What, if any, software would I need to rip cds at a lossless rate?

recoveryone
03-04-2012, 09:58 PM
^ Thanks, the ACC says bit rate 256 kpbs.

I use whatever software is on this iMac 2010.

What, if any, software would I need to rip cds at a lossless rate?

Apple losslesss (ALAC) you should gave this setting in your MAC software

Worf101
03-05-2012, 05:50 AM
SACD sound marvelous but all that "marvelousness" doesn't mean squat if you CAN'T GET THE TITLES YOU WANT IN THAT FORMAT!!!!! I can't even call it a niche format, it's smaller even than that it's vapour if you ask me.

Worf

Feanor
03-05-2012, 06:39 AM
SACD sound marvelous but all that "marvelousness" doesn't mean squat if you CAN'T GET THE TITLES YOU WANT IN THAT FORMAT!!!!! I can't even call it a niche format, it's smaller even than that it's vapour if you ask me.

Worf
Sadly so, though there is a fair (as opposed to really good) selection of classical music on SACD.

recoveryone
03-05-2012, 06:53 AM
SACD sound marvelous but all that "marvelousness" doesn't mean squat if you CAN'T GET THE TITLES YOU WANT IN THAT FORMAT!!!!! I can't even call it a niche format, it's smaller even than that it's vapour if you ask me.

Worf

I have been saying this all along, those that prefer vinyl will say it's best, and the same for those that like FLAC. but I look at the versitility of the medium. For us older folks in here we can remember how cool it was to be able to take our favorite music with us when we got our license and first car, or even being at the beach or park listening to a boombox. As with each source the package became better (high bias tape/metal tapes) to make the sound as close as possible as it did on your home system. CD's was the first format that allowed you to have both high quality and moblity with no compormise.

As for the digital format war, I say the same, FLAC/ALAC are about the best in sound, but its use is limited to systems that support them. ACC / Mp3 are more widely accepted for home/portable and auto. Both can be ripped at levels that can only be discoverd on highend systems. So you can turn your nose up at either, but you will be the one stuck at home not being able to take your music with you as you travel to work/play and so on and what audio car unit plays at audiophile standards anyway, that can over come road nosie/engine and wind? Most of us still having a hard time getting our listen rooms setup correctly to accomadate furniture, hard walls and so on.

Rmac58
03-05-2012, 09:11 AM
Apple losslesss (ALAC) you should gave this setting in your MAC software

Done, thanks.

JoeE SP9
03-05-2012, 10:21 AM
My suggestion is, be able to play more than one type of source. Buy music in the highest resolution format you can find it. Then simply enjoy!

I currently can play LP, HD Files, SACD, DVD-A, HDCD, CD and Cassette. no BR yet but that capability will be added.

Rmac58
03-08-2012, 07:16 AM
^ Good advice.

I'm a two channel guy, okay 2.1. No turntable, the SACD/DVD player is hooked up to the tv only, no HT.

My cassette deck is a quality unit (Nakamichi Cassette Deck2), I think and recently have listened to a couple of tapes I made from cds, sounds pretty good. I have maybe three factory made cassettes. That is a dying genre, so I didn't list it in another thread about costs.

recoveryone
03-10-2012, 12:35 PM
I totally agree Joe, we all may different taste in music and availability will always be key. Find the best (pending on your own use) and simply enjoy.

Sir Terrence the Terrible
03-12-2012, 09:52 AM
For me I would say for me high resolution music files, 36/352.4 khz DXD, or music on Bluray disc. Nothing on DVD-A or SACD comes close to the resolution of 24/192khz in 5.1(DVD-A only does 24/192khz two channel).

Amarand
03-12-2012, 10:30 AM
One of these days, I'd like to compare these various formats on reference speakers, and see if there are any differences. My headphones are pretty decent but...they aren't the same as drivers in a cabinet. I use higher quality MP3 files because of availability but I'm sure FLAC is pretty awesome.

crowley
03-21-2012, 05:08 PM
FLAC compared to MP3 sounds pretty special on my Marantz CR-603,
just a bit off topic though, I've heard the PS1 is an "audiophile" cd player, is this true? There was an article on 6 Moons about the PS1 being a fantastic audiophile quality player, but not sure if that is exactly correct. It doesn't make sense that the PS1 would be so cheap but such a high quality CD player.

Landy360
04-12-2012, 09:26 AM
WAV and FLAC