PDA

View Full Version : Did my JBLs Cause Listener Fatigue? No ! It's CDs !!



shureman
03-02-2013, 04:07 PM
When I acquired a used 080 system in 1971, I spent many a happy hour listening to my opera LPs. After getting married in 1974 I rarely spun these items. In the late '90's I purchased CD versions of these same recordings. Something wasn't the same. The vocals were now shrill and overly bright, while the orchestras seemed thin and sorely lacking in dynamics and bass. In short I found the CDs hard to listen to for any extended time, and try as I might with my loudness control I could not replicate the (to my ears) great sound of the LPs. I thought it was both the CDs and perhaps that overly bright JBL sound that was causing my displeasure.

Recently I installed a new top-of-the line Shure stylus which I had hoarded when it was discontinued. I put on the LP and...presto ! That warm, dynamic sound was back and sounded just fine on the old 55-year old speakers.

These CDs were mastered in the late 1980's but I doubt they will ever be re-mastered using newer technologies owing to costs. So guess I'll have to stick to the old LPs !!

spkrman57
03-02-2013, 06:44 PM
CD players are just like phono cartridges, they cost for the better ones!

Don't give up on CD's until you find a better CD player.

Regards, Ron

Lee in Montreal
03-02-2013, 07:40 PM
No matter what CD player is used, there were major problems until the early nineties with awfully badly mastered CDs. Not all CDs were bad, but a lot were. I had purchased within a month some vinyl and their CD counterpart. Vinyl wins outright while the CD lacks everything, and some...

4313B
03-03-2013, 02:04 AM
No matter what CD player is used, there were major problems until the early nineties with awfully badly mastered CDs. Not all CDs were bad, but a lot were. I had purchased within a month some vinyl and their CD counterpart. Vinyl wins outright while the CD lacks everything, and some...Nobody cares. Convenience won.

Nevermind that you are right. ;)

57BELAIRE
03-03-2013, 04:34 AM
and so goes the story....analog vs. digital

Lee in Montreal
03-03-2013, 04:41 AM
Convenience won indeed. CD's have now been replaced by MP3s...

hjames
03-03-2013, 12:22 PM
Convenience won indeed. CD's have now been replaced by MP3s...

No no, FLAC and ALACs, PLEASE -
MP3s are only for novices and non-serious music buffs ...

4313B
03-03-2013, 02:09 PM
No no, FLAC and ALACs, PLEASE -
MP3s are only for novices and non-serious music buffs ...I think it had to do with file size at the time.

BMWCCA
03-03-2013, 03:28 PM
I've always been curious about why some of my favorite LPs that quite early on were re-issued on CD sounded like crap.

I can take the same LP, convert it to a WAV file on my Tascam DR1, burn it to a CD, and the result replicates the sound of the original LP when played on my CD player. Why did they choose to mess with the mix to reissue some classics early-on in the CD era? Were they just messing with the treble control in an attempt to add some sizzle? If they'd left them alone we wouldn't keep hearing about these poorly mastered CDs and we'd likely not have as big a ruckus over the whole vinyl versus digital issue. :dont-know:

hjames
03-03-2013, 06:01 PM
I've always been curious about why some of my favorite LPs that quite early on were re-issued on CD sounded like crap.

I can take the same LP, convert it to a WAV file on my Tascam DR1, burn it to a CD, and the result replicates the sound of the original LP when played on my CD player. Why did they choose to mess with the mix to reissue some classics early-on in the CD era? Were they just messing with the treble control in an attempt to add some sizzle? If they'd left them alone we wouldn't keep hearing about these poorly mastered CDs and we'd likely not have as big a ruckus over the whole vinyl versus digital issue. :dont-know:

C'mon you have better computers in your PHONE today than some of those 80s and 90s mixing consoles no doubt had.
And its not just the hardware - Software is much better as well.

Tho you would think that even without a good computer,
if they'd had a good Neve console and a good engineer they could have done better than those dump-and-sell early CDs!

SEAWOLF97
03-03-2013, 06:12 PM
Well now, I have 4 active turntables in my home, plus an extensive library of licorice pizzas,
and you would expect me to come down on the side for LP's ??? NOT ALWAYS , in fact many times the CD is better.
There are awful LP's & CD's ....I don't think that you can settle exclusively on one format without losing some benefit from ignoring the other.

I posted a Julian Hersch article long ago about the differences in CD listening. The Ohio Audio Club did a blind comparison of TOTL (at that time) Sony 777-ES vs. a battery powered portable. Nobody could reliably identify the pricey unit. IE: don't go chasing expensive hardware to try to fix a software problem. The worst CD will still sound bad on the best CD player.

A great LP CAN best a mediocre CD & vise versa ...there just is NO correct answer as to which is better. A turntable now is for process oriented fiddlers like myself , but sometimes the convenience of a CD is hard to beat.

The first CD that I can remember was a Ry Cooder ...I was stunned by the lack of surface artifacts , but now, those noises are just psycho-acoustically tuned out for the large part.

summary: you CAN get both great sound and poor sound from either format , BUT getting the good sound from Lp's just takes more involvement & care.

(I typed all this with one hand whilst eating strawberry cheesecake after dinner, so no guarantees of accuracy) :blink:

BMWCCA
03-03-2013, 09:26 PM
I posted a Julian Hersch article long ago about the differences in CD listening . . .
(I typed all this with one hand whilst eating strawberry cheesecake after dinner, so no guarantees of accuracy) :blink:

Well, thanks for sharing——the cheesecake, that is. Of course the fellow is Julian Hirsch, not Hersch.


I guess the point I was trying to make is that if they did nothing at all in duping the LPs to CD back then, they'd have turned out better. I'm going direct from LP to an SD card in WAV format and it sounds just like the LP when I'm done. The DR-1 is a great little machine but nothing fancy. I just don't know why so much of the early dupes to CD sounded so awful. There had to some intentional changes in the transfer. Did the engineers not have ears? I suppose they'd have had a better chance of having JBLs in the sound room then than now! I just don't get it.

Mr. Widget
03-03-2013, 10:51 PM
I guess the point I was trying to make is that if they did nothing at all in duping the LPs to CD back then, they'd have turned out better.Not sure about that... some undoubtedly made bad judgement calls, but the number of hard glaring CDs out there tells me there is more to it than that.


I just don't know why so much of the early dupes to CD sounded so awful.See Heather's post. ;)


I'm going direct from LP to an SD card in WAV format and it sounds just like the LP when I'm done.Really? I can believe the overall tone is extremely closely matched, but I'm highly skeptical that the spatial info is all there... though the amount of spatial info is also dependent on the analog gear too. A great moving coil cart on a well set up table will offer more of a dimensional sound than a lesser analog system, but even basic analog playback typically exceeds Redbook CD.


Did the engineers not have ears? I suppose they'd have had a better chance of having JBLs in the sound room then than now! I just don't get it.I've wondered that myself. Emperor's New Clothes? I don't understand why more didn't push back... a number did, but the majority got sucked into the group think of the era.


Widget

Dave_72
03-04-2013, 05:38 AM
No matter what CD player is used, there were major problems until the early nineties with awfully badly mastered CDs. Not all CDs were bad, but a lot were. I had purchased within a month some vinyl and their CD counterpart. Vinyl wins outright while the CD lacks everything, and some...

I agree! :)

Dave_72
03-04-2013, 05:42 AM
A great moving coil cart on a well set up table will offer more of a dimensional sound than a lesser analog system, but even basic analog playback typically exceeds Redbook CD.

Widget

Exactly. To me, redbook cd sounds canned and a bit distant. The vinyl (particularly on recordings from the 50s up until the late 80s) sounds more alive and in your face. However, it does vary, and I do have instances of the CD beating the LP of the same recording.

LRBacon
03-04-2013, 07:59 PM
Shureman, your CDs that have no bass and are overly bright were probably mastered from the tapes that were originally mixed with the standard equalization for LPs.

Lee in Montreal
03-05-2013, 06:58 AM
Mastering the source for vinyl or digital is one aspect that makes sound good. Another aspect could be how the acetate is cut. The same master would have an acetate cut for, say, the British market by a talented British technician, while the Canadian, US or Aussie market would have the acetate cut by a drunken bastard looking more after a paycheck than a good job done... The differences in sound will be heard... ;-) Not to mention that records started getting thinner and thinner (at least LPs) by the early 1980s after the economical crisis (remember the Reagan years?). Company saved on vinyl. A disc with less mass will have less low end bass and will sound thin. That's why many records are reissued on 180/200gr plates. DJs knew it all, most 12" records are/were heavier to get more bass... I have some Jamaican pressings that weight the same as two US pressings... Bass, baby!!!

SEAWOLF97
03-05-2013, 07:22 AM
Shureman, your CDs that have no bass and are overly bright were probably mastered from the tapes that were originally mixed with the standard equalization for LPs.

that makes sense.


A disc with less mass will have less low end bass and will sound thin. That's why many records are reissued on 180/200gr plates. DJs knew it all, most 12" records are/were heavier to get more bass... I have some Jamaican pressings that weight the same as two US pressings... Bass, baby!!!

that doesn't.

hsosdrum
03-07-2013, 03:45 PM
Heavier (more massive) LPs are less prone to warpage - period. Bass is a function of the width of the groove (and the size of its undulations) and has nothing to do with the mass of the vinyl that's underneath the groove. Groove width vs. the playing time of the side is one of the many, many tradoffs inherent in LP mastering that is not a factor in CD mastering. It's one of the reasons that most LPs are limited to around 20 minutes per side. If you put 30 minutes on a side the groove has to be so narrow that bass suffers.

The reason that most CDs sound different from their LP counterparts is that most CDs have been mastered from different master tapes than the LPs. (There is a host of reasons why this may happen.) SO, unless you have firsthand knowledge that a particular CD and LP were both created using the exact same (one and only) master tape, inferring that any audible differences between them are the result of the format (analog vs. digital) is completely erroneuos.

frank23
03-14-2013, 02:28 PM
Good CD's can sound incredibly good. It is just that you can not get away with a mediocre CD-player. And I know manufacturers have led you to believe that digital is perfect, but it is just as analog as it ever was. I have a friend that has an 50.000 dollar CD setup, and it sounds incredible. I have a slightly less exotic setup, but it still sounds very good. And everything matters, everything makes a difference, even in digital, because it is the jitter pattern (timing of the bits) and the digital filtering (digital feedback is just as bad as analog feedback) that makes the sound.