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Thread: The audio miracle of 1982

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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    The audio miracle of 1982

    If ever there has been an audio advancement that lived up to the hype, including their forecast of the future of the technology, this is it. Here is an early report forty years ago. Sony did the software and since then no working CD player has ever played a note of music incorrectly. About 2/3 of the data on a Disc is devoted to error correction.

    Worth saying now that the dust-up about the early discs sounding poor because the technology was flawed was complete BS. I purchased some early Nimbus CDs from the UK and they were perfect. It was the work of stubborn or lazy recording that took forever to simply do it right. There were no esoteric secrets or magic yet to be discovered. The technology was released fully capable, as recordings were being properly mastered for the the new recording technology in Japan and the UK before the complaints started.

    https://youtu.be/_Tx6TYnPat8
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    CDs RIP

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    If ever there has been an audio advancement that lived up to the hype, including their forecast of the future of the technology, this is it.
    Thanks Clark... interesting as always.

    From the video:

    "...and what you have just been listening to is the ultimate in recorded sound. It will make all conventional disc and cassette systems obsolete. It's dust proof, scratch proof, digitally recorded read by a laser and it's called the Compact Disc."

    "And unlike a conventional gramophone disc, this is totally proof against finger prints and dust because the information is underneath a plastic film. It doesn't matter how much I manhandle that particular disc, it will still continue to give very good audio quality."

    "In addition the whole thing, all of that, the little computerized marvel, is packed in something that you can pick up, and move around like that, even shake and nothing happens..."

    "The players are due for release at the end of '82 in Japan and the United States... And the discs should be no more expensive than records now. In a way it all sounds too good to be true. Other systems, have heaven knows, have failed to live up to their prerelease promises to change the way we listen."


    Actually in many ways it turned out to be too good to be true. During the decades we have had with the technology we've been able to see how it really worked out. I'm sure we have all experienced scratched and broken CDs that skipped, produced bizarre digital noise, or failed to play at all. I don't recommend shaking your CD player, and the record companies discovered that they could over charge us for CDs throughout the entire lifespan of CDs relevance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    Worth saying now that the dust-up about the early discs sounding poor because the technology was flawed was complete BS. I purchased some early Nimbus CDs from the UK and they were perfect. It was the work of stubborn or lazy recording that took forever to simply do it right. There were no esoteric secrets or magic yet to be discovered. The technology was released fully capable, as recordings were being properly mastered for the the new recording technology in Japan and the UK before the complaints started.
    Hmmm... I will agree with you that the baseline technology and the Redbook Spec was and is solid, but the notion that not all shiny silver discs were created equally is valid. Don't confuse one with the other.


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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Widget, I imagine these polite Australian journalists could not picture discs being "stored" underfoot on the floor after the hash pipe did its work. Or the crunchy peanut butter making its way into the disc tray and leaving circular scratches. But it seems in retrospect that the appearance of those little frisbees were sometimes seen as a challenge to think up new ways to abuse them. Mistreatment of the media was never intended to be survivable in all circumstances and there was no shortage of idiots; an unfortunate combination.

    As for shaking the player, the industry had to figure that out when the portable players like the Discman were developed. As I recall the main strategy was to read the disc ahead of playback and use that record of the data instead of the parts that could not be read accurately because of the jostling. I remember salesmen touting players on how much memory they carried or how many seconds - a minute became the standard in some markets - they cached.

    My point about the recording/mastering was that not many were created equally. Most were, for years, done pretty badly. The media was certainly standardized, so I blame the way the technicians treated the process, certainly not Sony. I remain mystified how some outfits got it right from the start while others took many years to stop producing nearly unlistenable garbage. Everyone had the same tools. The remastering for CD had it as bad or worse.
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Hash pipes notwithstanding, I have had some CDs deteriorate without any visible abuse, though I see your point.

    FWIW: I have copied all of my CDs to hard drives and virtually never play silver discs anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    My point about the recording/mastering was that not many were created equally. Most were, for years, done pretty badly. The media was certainly standardized, so I blame the way the technicians treated the process, certainly not Sony. I remain mystified how some outfits got it right from the start while others took many years to stop producing nearly unlistenable garbage. Everyone had the same tools. The remastering for CD had it as bad or worse.
    Craft is craft... anyone can buy a set of chisels, but not everyone can sculpt the David.

    The chisels did get better with time and the music sculptors also got better at their craft.

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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    The reason I have not gone to music servers is my personal circumstances. It could be my time is not worth enough to me to make the calculus of the convenience factor work out here. Another factor is I tend to be patient with machines and processes.

    I haven't noticed any self destructive CDs here but some old ones might bear investigation. I do remember the first one I bought, I could check it out. Suzanne Vega's Solitude Standing. It's ironic that one of her songs was used to develop the mp3. I think it was Tom's Diner, but I'll have to verify that. It's all in Greg Milner's book. (Edit: Yes, it was. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom's_Diner ) It ends up few pop songs have had this interesting a history.

    Sonic-ally, the worst job of remastering to CD was Love, Devotion, Surrender by John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana. They recently personally remastered it to their satisfaction, but only for vinyl! Oh well, the market makes all the decisions and a monkey in silk is still a monkey.
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post

    Craft is craft... anyone can buy a set of chisels, but not everyone can sculpt the David.

    The chisels did get better with time and the music sculptors also got better at their craft.

    Widget
    Zactly

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    The reason I have not gone to music servers is my personal circumstances. It could be my time is not worth enough to me to make the calculus of the convenience factor work out here. Another factor is I tend to be patient with machines and processes.

    I haven't noticed any self destructive CDs here but some old ones might bear investigation. I do remember the first one I bought, I could check it out. Suzanne Vega's Solitude Standing. It's ironic that one of her songs was used to develop the mp3. I think it was Tom's Diner, but I'll have to verify that. It's all in Greg Milner's book. (Edit: Yes, it was. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom's_Diner ) It ends up few pop songs have had this interesting a history.

    Sonic-ally, the blow job of remastering to CD was Love, Devotion, Surrender by John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana. They recently personally remastered it to their satisfaction, but only for vinyl! Oh well, the market makes all the decisions and a monkey in silk is still a monkey.

    Who is taking the Micky out of the Monkey here?

    Some think the same of MQA.

    The interesting thing is the original mastering EQs were way superior to modern equipment.

    https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/e...ollection.html

    The mastering engineer is also the Merovingian. He can just tell the artist your recording is not suitable for commercial duplicate so your not going any further.

    The jbl 4 ways were used for mastering btw.

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    Hi Clarke,


    Your post is certain to spark different perspectives on the introduction of the CD.

    I think all us Aussies still sound that way…. Damn proud of it.

    I still recall the reaction at a hifi show when the cd was launched.
    It was not met with welcoming expectations. The Sony players were in all the exhibitors rooms. Bright, glaring were sone of the descriptions. Outfits like Wadia arrived and were sanctuary for wealthy hifi nerds.

    I did not buy a CD player until Luxman came out with its famous 105U model with a valve buffer! It does say something about me. At the time l owned a Leica R4 and l still continued to use a Teac cassette player and TDK metal cassette tape. It’s actually quite good. My star sign is Virgo..

    Go full circle and those non over sampling Philips chips are highly sort after. True R2R DACs are pouring out of China in the hope some who are old enough to know will remember the sound of real analogue. If you watch YouTube reviews a certain mature gentleman in Germany with a name like the alphabet does a great channel on consumer DACs and streamers. A younger Australian John Darko does similar online / YouTube equipment reviews out of Berlin. He is more matter of fact and speaks his mind. Do as you do. Berlin is fascinating city full of music culture.

    Mini disk made an appearance as did the audio dvd.

    I personally think a cd had the edge on streaming. Do not ask me why?

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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie View Post

    I personally think a cd had the edge on streaming. Do not ask me why?
    Entirely possible. I have never done an A/B comparison. It is very likely when the stream is from a high rez source, as the conversion from higher rate files produces artifacts that are audible. What other problems streaming might have I would be interested in knowing more about. (I use streaming a lot.) It is likely that streams vary in quality from provider to provider. I am very happy with Amazon Music HD (CD quality tier) but I am no Golden Ear.

    Some think the same of MQA.
    MQA has been of course demonstrated to NOT be lossless and I have always considered it a scam anyway. Its business model is sneaky to the max and reminds me more than anything of the DIVX quagmire. A seedy retailer (in that case Circuit City) pushing a technology ultimately generating unique revenue for them but offering no technical improvement while still restricting access to the system. FLAC was developed, by an individual I believe, to reduce music files in size with no loss of quality when expanded for playback. Its 50% file size reduction has yet to be bettered and the real benefactors of further reductions would be corporate entities, not listeners.
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    For the last couple of years I have used a Mark Levinson No. 519 as my disc spinner, streaming source, and DAC. It sounds very open and detailed and is in no way hard edged or glaring. It makes even my oldest CDs sound better than they have sounded with any previous transport/DAC or CD player that I have had. The No. 519 is also capable of full MQA "unfolding".

    I have not been able to hear repeatable differences when:
    1. Comparing a spinning CD to a stored version of the same, or a streamed version of presumably the same album and version. (Remasters or alternate versions do sound different and the meta data is hit or miss so you can not always be sure which versions you are comparing.)
    2. Comparing hi rez lossless downloads stored locally with similar streamed Quobuz files.
    3. Comparing hi rez lossless downloads with similar streamed Tidal MQA files. (That said, not all MQA files are the same. Some are definitely better than others.)

    My take on MQA is that it is being used primarily as a means of compressing data and as a marketing ploy. Since audio files; even high rez files are easily managed by modern networks and storage is less and less costly, the need for MQA seems a bit passť.


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    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    In my area, CDs and DVDs are commonly found at garage sales and flea markets for a dollar each. I'm experiencing something of a golden age of being able to find music that I like that I can also afford to buy. Today I splurged at an antique store, a BB King CD and a Mike Leigh movie on DVD. Four dollars for both. Thanks Sony.

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    I think MQA is an authentic product process and the developers most certainly had the credentials.
    But lm not sure about getting the okay from 70 something year old artists who are cloth eared.
    The folding and unfolding of the data is very ingenious.

    But there is competition from Linn and others who are embarking on their own discrete DAC technology and use of advanced FPGA which is tech for we can make it sound nice and update the niceness remotely when we think you might get sick of itÖ. Itís the Ai of consumer digital.

    Iím currently used Amazon through my mobil iFi can amp with mid level Audio Technical cans. Most enjoyable. Iíve stopped my Tidal subscription. Itís not a value proposition after trying Amazon

    Mr Widget anything ML is wonderful but to expensive after itís shipped and passed through distribution.

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    Hi Clark,

    Check out this link

    Itís a little off topic from the birth of CD but proves vinyl could well out live all the alternatives.

    https://pure-analogue.com/

    Itís a peek of at the recording process with some mastering engineers. Itís quite interesting. Some people still care.

    Kai Seemann of Speakers Corner Records gifted me some beautiful pure analogue vinyl following the completion of his 4344 project for his home system. This level of vinyl is quite impressive (intoxicating actually with some Knobs Creek Bourbon).

    While l enjoy the convenience of streaming l still prefer vinyl on a superior vinyl front end for arm chair listening. But who has time for that these days. I do it after 11 of an evening. Of course the electricity sounds better then. EEK.

    Hey, can anyone of you remember the green rubber bands to put of the outer edge of a cd? Canít remember if it was better or worse. It was around the same time the Green Felt tip pen theory for power plugs swept the planet. I do miss the friendly banter of the Melbourne Audio Club. We often had nights comparing the latest snake oil and long winded conversations at Maccaís after the monthly meetings, The MAC is one of the oldest hifi clubs in the world. It was founded by Alex Encel who at one point was one of largest Luxman distributor in the world.

    Ian

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