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  1. #1
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    A marriage of cd and analog technology?

    Hi AR. I have had an idea for a while but have thought that it was too simplistic and must be missing something fundamental in nature. I would appreciate your input...

    The laser is a very precise instrument- it is used to accurately read the 0's and 1's on a compact disc which is spinning at high speed. Analog rules because it there is no need to sample or "dumb down" the signal to 0's and 1's. Why not marry the two technologies?

    After all, the problem with analog lay with the quality of the needle, cartridge, tone arm, platter, etc. Any physical contact between the needle and record, for instance, will ensure that the next time the record is played, it will not sound EXACTLY the same.

    If we could use lasers to read an analog format I think that we could get the best of both worlds. Your thoughts?
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    Great idea, but it might be hard to invent a laser cartridge.

  3. #3
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    It's been done. Full review at the link below. It's $21,000.

    http://hometheaterreview.com/the-fin...able-reviewed/
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    Great idea, but it might be hard to invent a laser cartridge.
    I think that you wouldn't have to make a cartridge. Why not have the "housing" for the laser lay within a bridge like structure over the spinning analog disc?
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  5. #5
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    Thanks for that link. I would imagine, though, that in much the same way that a top of the line CD player from 1990 has not only come down in price but has also drastically superior in quality, that this type of technology would have done the same.
    The round mound of rebound sound is profound and bound to pound the ground. OK, I got nuthin.....

  6. #6
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    ELP Laser Turntable. There used to be ads for in the back of steroephile all the time.

    http://www.audioturntable.com/purchase/index.html

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    I knew it had been tried, thanks for the link JoeE, you'd think if it was cost effective they might have tried to market it again with the increase in popularity of vinyl. I don't think it would ever be mainstream because it still wouldn't be as convenient as CD or downloading.

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    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phileserver39
    After all, the problem with analog lay with the quality of the needle, cartridge, tone arm, platter, etc.
    You forgot to mention lower dynamics also

    Even if lasor is used instead of cartridge, the low dynamics which is inherit to vinyl still can not be over come.

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    I really think "dynamic range" is over emphasized. I sometimes wonder if the lower dynamic is part of what people like about vinyl. And, if it was a big deal it should stick out like a sore thumb on mp3 but people don't seem to mind. DR is something that sticks out on a meter and some of us can pick up on it easily enough by listening, however, when comparing CD to vinyl I just don't think it's that big of an issue by just listening. Me personally, I don't think it's a big deal with vinyl but it took me a long time to get used to listening to mp3 on portable devices and I refuse to listen on better equipment. Sometimes I'll make an exception plugging into the car system, it's horrible on home systems, the compression annoys me.

    Another consideration and could be why the expense, reading analog with a laser I believe would require it to be converted to digital and back to analog again. The more conversions the more chance of problems.

  10. #10
    RGA
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    Dynamic range is not a problem witha good turntable rig. Good is not necessarily the same as expensive. CD and Vinyl theoretical advantages are secondary to the quality of the recordings and the playback devices to get the information off the disc.

    In a strange way you could argue that Laserdisc is an analog video format while its replacements are digital. And interestingly enough some Laserdisc folks argued the video quality of LD over DVD. I have to say I liked a number of the LD movies over the early DVDs I purchased - particularly Jaws which seemed to have better overall lighting and contrast to the DVD version - both players were Pioneers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laserdisc

  11. #11
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    "dynamic range" is something that sticks out on a meter and some of us can pick up on it easily enough by listening, however, when comparing CD to vinyl I just don't think it's that big of an issue by just listening.
    I think we need go back in history a bit as to bring shortcomings of analog more into focus.

    I don't know if you remember when CD was introduced or not, but there was alot negative comments on its sonic quality that was not much better than vinyl. The best example of that would be the first Led Zepplin albums release on CDs. There was alot of complain that CD sound was flat, compressed and lifeless. Believe me, I had a CD of Physical Graffiti.

    Later we found out that record company was using the same master that was used for vinyl pressing for CD also. And CD sound worse since it magnified the shortcomings of master tapes that had low dynamics and limited frequency response. It was only when Jimmy Page himself supervise the whole CD remastering that truly made vinyl a medium fidelity as compare with CD. Thus vinyl free fall

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    I worked for CBS tape facility during the first Laserdisc revolution. You remember the ones in the cartridges you loaded into the player so you didn't touch the disc. I remember they were very unstable and skipped frequently.

    We started replicating discs in our, new at the time, facility in Carollton Ga. We did use the same masters used for tape at the time. The high-end of the frequency range on the masters in general was limited because at the 40X speed we recorded at was very close to the bias frequency. When the two peaks aligned it would cause a "beat frequency" anomaly on the tape. I'm not sure, but I believe frequency response was -4db at 20Khz. I believe the dynamic range on cassette was limited to 60db, compared to the 100+db possible seen now.

  13. #13
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    I think we need go back in history a bit as to bring shortcomings of analog more into focus.

    I don't know if you remember when CD was introduced or not, but there was alot negative comments on its sonic quality that was not much better than vinyl. The best example of that would be the first Led Zepplin albums release on CDs. There was alot of complain that CD sound was flat, compressed and lifeless. Believe me, I had a CD of Physical Graffiti.

    Later we found out that record company was using the same master that was used for vinyl pressing for CD also. And CD sound worse since it magnified the shortcomings of master tapes that had low dynamics and limited frequency response. It was only when Jimmy Page himself supervise the whole CD remastering that truly made vinyl a medium fidelity as compare with CD. Thus vinyl free fall
    This problem persisted for years after the CD was introduced. CD really had a bad start in comparison to SACD and DVD-A. Ringing brickwall anti-aliasing filters, poor mixing, poor mastering, recycled analog masters, and the beat goes on. By the 90's, things were dramatically improving, and by the end of the decade, CD truly found its stride.

    If you have a Blu ray player, you can already hear digital and analog combined. 2L has two recordings using the DXD recording process, and it sounds very much like analog, but with surround sound added to the equation.

    The DXD recording format is much like analog in that it is sampling so frequently so much information, it is almost continuous like analog. It sounds like excellent analog, but it beats the hell out of analogs specs. If you have the equipment to hear the raw DXD data stream, it will blow your mind. Even if it is downconverted to 24/192khz, it still sounds analog(depending on your equipment), and still trashes the specs of analog.

    DXD is truly the best of the analog sound in digital form.

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  14. #14
    RGA
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    I think one of the biggest reasons for analog support was the mishandling of CD and the slogans of Perfect Sound forever. You didn't need perfect listening pitch to tell you that a good turntable systems beat the ever loving crap out of CD and their terrible players for more than a decade. Audiophiles who owned good rigs were not convinced and a decade later many still were not convinced. And when a new digital format comes out with "this is much better than CD...." you can't really blame the vinylphiles for being highly skeptical. I auditioned SACD at a "special event" with the top Sony player and a surround set-up with Martin Logan and top of the line Bryston and heard a live SACD disc and could hear a guitar behind my head - it was interesting but completely fake and artificial sounding to me. Plus it required a HUGE outlay of cash because now you had to buy 5-6 loudspeakers instead of two to get that artificial sound. They put on a few other discs - Hotel California particularly stunk up the joint on SACD and a few less than memorable classical pieces.

    So I like many decided that SACD was another perfect sound forever gimmick - not being able to copy them - ahh I surmised that this was the main reason it was brought out - charge $30 instead of $12.99 and you can't make a copy of it. Protects the industry and artists more than being about good sound quality. Then I started to read reviews of people who had $5-$10,000 SACD machines - audiophiles with excellent ears who were also reviewers preferring the sound of certain CD players and their technologies over their own SACD machines. And those CD players are still beaten by Vinyl despite the specs when it comes down to sound. Euphony, distortion, noise whatever it still "sounds more natural" provided that the turntable is up to the task. Most are not and I agree with UHF magazine that noted that turntables start to move away at over $2500. So i am not in the camp that says a $500 turntable beats $5,000 CD players - they don't. I had one and it doesn't beat my CD player (It was a NAD 533 which is a Rega P2 clone made by Rega for NAD).

    That said the DXD/DSD at CES is something else - the problem is that no average person can go and demo this anywhere and where do you buy the software - online and unhear and untried? That's a lot to ask of people who were not convinced by CD or SACD.

    And contrary to pupular belief there are many makers still trying to make turntables better and are working to make the LPs better but obviously there is less time and effort here but if there were who knows how much better it could have become - maybe there would be a Super Audio 45 today!!

    Audiophiles and DJs kept vinyl going and it has seen a steady rise in sales the last 5 years doubling the previous year's sales each year. Overall sales are pitiful compared to CD but it has never left. Interestingly some artists came out with Vinyl only albums with downloadable MP3 versions for owners. In a sense vinyl is a better protection against copying because to copy a vinyl requires real time copying and the gear to get it to sound good will be pricey.
    Last edited by RGA; 08-25-2010 at 09:07 AM.

  15. #15
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    That said the DXD/DSD at CES is something else - the problem is that no average person can go and demo this anywhere and where do you buy the software - online and unhear and untried? That's a lot to ask of people who were not convinced by CD or SACD.
    You really do not need to hear the raw DXD stream to appreciate the quality it has. 2L has done several recordings using this technology and has downconverted them(losslessly) to 24/192khz PCM for release on Blu ray. The discs can be purchased on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/2L-NORDIC-AUDI.../dp/B0025ZITT2

    You can also find some of these recordings on SACD as well.
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  16. #16
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    You really do not need to hear the raw DXD stream to appreciate the quality it has. 2L has done several recordings using this technology and has downconverted them(losslessly) to 24/192khz PCM for release on Blu ray. The discs can be purchased on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/2L-NORDIC-AUDI.../dp/B0025ZITT2

    You can also find some of these recordings on SACD as well.
    I have an order going out today for a bunch of music and can order this 2l: the Nordic Sound BluRay but my machine does not play SACD. The disc shows the SACD symbol at the bottom left. So can a PS3 without SACD play a blu-ray with SACD logo and will it take advantage of the 24/192khz PCM?

    I would prefer music with a comparable. For instance I have Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl and CD - it makes more sense to have the same album on all the formats to compare them.

  17. #17
    RGA
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    No I see that it says Compact disc on the liner notes that tells you the song listings. So it should work for CD encoding. LOL - there are too many freaking formats!!

  18. #18
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I have an order going out today for a bunch of music and can order this 2l: the Nordic Sound BluRay but my machine does not play SACD. The disc shows the SACD symbol at the bottom left. So can a PS3 without SACD play a blu-ray with SACD logo and will it take advantage of the 24/192khz PCM?
    In the case you will find a SACD copy and a PCM copy as well.

    I would prefer music with a comparable. For instance I have Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl and CD - it makes more sense to have the same album on all the formats to compare them.
    Agreed. But just like any high resolution format, everything starts with Classical music(it benefit more from it than any other genre of music), and then works its way outward to other genre's of music. Neil Diamond is also on the Blu ray format, and from what I have gathered, other artists are headed to the format as well.
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  19. #19
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    You forgot to mention lower dynamics also

    Even if lasor is used instead of cartridge, the low dynamics which is inherit to vinyl still can not be over come.

    bullocks. true, a cd has a dynamic range of what is it, 120 db, and vinyl "only" 84 db. True, you only forgot to mention that not a single recording comes even close to such numbers. The highest dynamic range I found in a recording was like, 30-40db, and that was exceptional, every single pop, and most other popular genres don't even have audible dynamic range, everything is compressed. And recordings that do have some dynamic range, are still well under 50 db...

    CD performs better in numbers, nothing more.
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  20. #20
    RGA
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    basite

    we're a numbers culture whether you can see or hear the results. Cameras with 10 mega pixels are not necessarily better than 3 mega pixels because it always comes down to the quality of the Lens. A great lens and 3.2 mega pixels is better than a crappy lens and 20 megapixels. But the number is better. Wow and flutter on my turntable is inaudible. The numbers won't be as good as my CD player's spec - but there is no question which sounds better. There was question which sounds better when I was using a Rega P2 clone however. Like a camera it comes down to the "quality" of the device spinning the disc or taking the pictures and less about the numbers.

  21. #21
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    In the case you will find a SACD copy and a PCM copy as well.



    Agreed. But just like any high resolution format, everything starts with Classical music(it benefit more from it than any other genre of music), and then works its way outward to other genre's of music. Neil Diamond is also on the Blu ray format, and from what I have gathered, other artists are headed to the format as well.
    I have another problem here. The PS3 does not have audio outputs. It has HDMI which my amp does not accept. I've had receivers in the past (top iof the line Pioneer Elite and now a Marantz) and musically they're horrible. Arggh.

  22. #22
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    basite

    we're a numbers culture whether you can see or hear the results. Cameras with 10 mega pixels are not necessarily better than 3 mega pixels because it always comes down to the quality of the Lens. A great lens and 3.2 mega pixels is better than a crappy lens and 20 megapixels. But the number is better. Wow and flutter on my turntable is inaudible. The numbers won't be as good as my CD player's spec - but there is no question which sounds better. There was question which sounds better when I was using a Rega P2 clone however. Like a camera it comes down to the "quality" of the device spinning the disc or taking the pictures and less about the numbers.

    very true also,

    but then we give numbers:

    the brick wall at 20 khz, and 20 hz for example with cd's, while vinyl goes far below 20 hz, and very far above 20khz, without problems. I know, the first reaction you'll get from people is that you can't hear those, I could argue about that, while you cannot hear the 30 db extra dynamic range, which isn't used.
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  23. #23
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    very true also,

    but then we give numbers:

    the brick wall at 20 khz, and 20 hz for example with cd's, while vinyl goes far below 20 hz, and very far above 20khz, without problems. I know, the first reaction you'll get from people is that you can't hear those, I could argue about that, while you cannot hear the 30 db extra dynamic range, which isn't used.
    And it may also be why the best CD players that I have heard don't used any Brickwall filters and actually let more of the disc get to the preamp. And what do you know these CD players tend to always be described as more analog sounding, more real, etc etc. However, they don't look as nice on the graph. Again do we want to be a slave to the numbers or our ears? I prefer being a slave to the ears since that is what I use to listen. I am listening to such a CD player right now and my other player is so unbelievably horrible in comparison. To me that is also key when evaluating any gear. How much better does one thing sound over another. Like the other thread in the analog forum - CD players also tend to sound a lot more similar to each other than they ought to. Going from a $500 TT to a $2,000 TT it is a massive striking very noticable difference. Going from a $700 Arcam Alpha 7 to an over $2k Alpha 9 not much difference. Too subtle and no one will pass a DBT kind of subtle. For 4 times the money it should be a wow strimking kind of improvement not a "I need to have it in my house for 2 months to know for sure" kind of improvement.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular phileserver39's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    You really do not need to hear the raw DXD stream to appreciate the quality it has. 2L has done several recordings using this technology and has downconverted them(losslessly) to 24/192khz PCM for release on Blu ray. The discs can be purchased on Amazon.

    http://www.amazon.com/2L-NORDIC-AUDI.../dp/B0025ZITT2

    You can also find some of these recordings on SACD as well.
    Hello Sir Terrance! If I may ask, is there a difference in DSD or DXD from SACD or DVD-Audio? I have a Pioneer DVD player which plays both hi-def formats. Thanks!
    The round mound of rebound sound is profound and bound to pound the ground. OK, I got nuthin.....

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    RGA, I know what you are trying to say but there is a noticeable difference between the Alpha 7 & 9, I'd bet money any one could hear it in a DBT.

    There are a couple of different approaches to 5 channel music, one being what you hear from Flaming Lips, Porcupine Tree or BT, where they intentionally use the 5 channels creatively for effect but there are also very good 5 channel recordings such as a Blu Ray Jazz sampler where the channels are used mostly for ambience. From the listing at Bluray.com it appears to be a growing selection of Blu music.

    The thing about having a wide frequency response it allows for harmonics.

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