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Dear audiophiles...
This thread has 21 replies. Displaying posts 16 through 22.
Post 16 made on Friday September 7, 2018 at 04:49
buzz
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I wouldn’t do this with a CDP-101 because they sounded so bad, but I would accept an audiophile “challenge” to compare an LP directly with a CD. This had to be done very carefully. I would pick the CD and LP. Obviously, they had to originate from the same recording session, and I had to use a high end turntable (properly set up, flat LP, hole in center, low wear stylus, low wear LP). For the audiophile this was going to be a piece of cake demo and their champion would win easily. I’d synchronize the start of both, then start an ‘A’, ‘B’, ... ‘B’ sequence. Out in the middle of it all, I’d get them mixed up and the LP would give itself away with a ‘tic’. The audiophile would stomp out at that point, mad, claiming some sort of trickery on my part. Perhaps so, but they were missing the point that at the high end of things, there is not much difference.

Later, when digital audio started becoming the rage, I had a little task for the listener. There were two different MP3 resolutions and a FLAC rendering of the same CD track. I asked the listener to rank them in order of preference. Regular folk got the correct ranking 80+%, self declared “audiophiles” were closer to 50% and I had to hold my giggles. The audiophile gave all sorts of excuses — low quality amp or speakers, the room, and on and on. The real problem was that their reputation was on the line and they were too tense to pay attention. At one point I presented this demo to a computer club. I was using a SONOS CONNECT:AMP and their speakers in a dreadful Community Center meeting room. Everything was simply thrown on a table. The audience was a haphazard collection of middle age and up nerds. Everyone got the ranking correct.
Post 17 made on Friday September 7, 2018 at 12:51
tomciara
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I had a “Stereo Shop” for many many years. Lots of audiophile conversations took place over that time. I did not argue with audio nuts, because I honestly believe that some people hear things that others cannot, and I was OK with that.

I am also OK with somebody saying that a turntable can sound better than a CD player. The only argument I would bring up to balance the scales, is that the turntable setup that will actually reveal excellent sound would be many times more expensive than the ordinary CD player that it has to beat. For that reason, I did not think it was a valid comparison.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." - Winston Churchill
Post 18 made on Friday September 7, 2018 at 16:35
Ernie Gilman
Yes, That Ernie!
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On September 7, 2018 at 04:49, buzz said...
flat LP, hole in center,

Well, I'm not sure we should go that far!

Everyone got the ranking correct.

I take it the ranking was, best to not so best, FLAC, better mp3, worse mp3.
I point this out because of your LP test, where I don't see which version you thought should be considered best. It is always fun to fool fools, though.
A good answer is easier with a clear question giving the make and model of everything.
"The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." -- G. “Bernie” Shaw
Post 19 made on Saturday September 8, 2018 at 03:21
buzz
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Yes, FLAC was “best”.
Post 20 made on Saturday September 8, 2018 at 09:31
highfigh
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On September 6, 2018 at 17:44, Fred Harding said...
that was an expensive box to keep in the storage bin. As I recall, it also had a digital output. Outboard d/a ?

That was the plan, since they had upper end lines for years before that model came out. The Audio Lab line was between the consumer line and Esprit, which was their high-end line and they also had the PCM-F1 PCM recorder, which also had S/PDIF out. These were designed, as were most other CD players with that output, to be connected to the new models of preamps and receivers that also had this. I don't remember them offering a stand-alone DAC in the consumer line.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 21 made on Saturday September 8, 2018 at 09:38
highfigh
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On September 7, 2018 at 04:49, buzz said...
I wouldn’t do this with a CDP-101 because they sounded so bad, but I would accept an audiophile “challenge” to compare an LP directly with a CD. This had to be done very carefully. I would pick the CD and LP. Obviously, they had to originate from the same recording session, and I had to use a high end turntable (properly set up, flat LP, hole in center, low wear stylus, low wear LP). For the audiophile this was going to be a piece of cake demo and their champion would win easily. I’d synchronize the start of both, then start an ‘A’, ‘B’, ... ‘B’ sequence. Out in the middle of it all, I’d get them mixed up and the LP would give itself away with a ‘tic’. The audiophile would stomp out at that point, mad, claiming some sort of trickery on my part. Perhaps so, but they were missing the point that at the high end of things, there is not much difference.

Later, when digital audio started becoming the rage, I had a little task for the listener. There were two different MP3 resolutions and a FLAC rendering of the same CD track. I asked the listener to rank them in order of preference. Regular folk got the correct ranking 80+%, self declared “audiophiles” were closer to 50% and I had to hold my giggles. The audiophile gave all sorts of excuses — low quality amp or speakers, the room, and on and on. The real problem was that their reputation was on the line and they were too tense to pay attention. At one point I presented this demo to a computer club. I was using a SONOS CONNECT:AMP and their speakers in a dreadful Community Center meeting room. Everything was simply thrown on a table. The audience was a haphazard collection of middle age and up nerds. Everyone got the ranking correct.

The best test is when the CD and LP have each been mastered for their own format. The CDs that used the LP master are the ones people hate. Another thing the record companies would do is occasionally change the speed of a track so they could add a song to the CD. Heard that a few times when I was learning some songs and playing along with the CD, with a guitar in standard tuning. I have at least one LP with a speed change, too- one happens in the middle of a long song.

WRT MP3 vs Red Book, Gene did a podcast with a recording engineer, who played some MP3 tracks in a way that only reveals the lost info and it was easy to hear which song was being played.

I had a customer call about the fact that the two cartridges he had bought sounded very different when he switched between the two turntables used to compare test pressings of his soon to be released album. He eliminated the switch and turntables as the culprit before calling the store and I told him they're not precision instruments, so differences will occur and the chance of this kind of comparison happening was very low because the vast majority of people would never do it, so I offered to bring several of the same model of cartridge to his house so the two which were most similar could be chosen. We found two that were very similar and once he was satisfied, he asked me for me to critique the sound, which tracks sounded best overall and which tracks sounded best at different positions of the vinyl since the beginning, middle and end don't sound the same. His LP and the CD did have different mastering and he's not a wannabe, he won a Grammy for his remaster of Stop Making Sense & has many other producing credits over the decades, as well as being the owner of a recording studio in California.

Last edited by highfigh on September 8, 2018 09:47.
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
Post 22 made on Saturday September 8, 2018 at 11:05
buzz
Super Member
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2,758
I agree that this CD/LP comparison must be carefully done. This is why I picked the media. Usually, it was MFSL discs and LP’s.

Unrelated to CD vs LP, I once had a UK, US, Japan, and MFSL UHQ copy of Dark Side of the Moon. (All copies were CD’s) There were striking differences between the tracks. I spent considerable time satisfying myself that the tracks actually originated from the same session.

With respect to cartridge variation. I agree that there are sample to sample variations. However, there is also gross variation from setup to setup. In my opinion not many people know how to properly set up a cartridge and I avoid cartridge setup if I have a cold. I worked with one customer to pick a turntable/cartridge combination. We spent an evening fussing with this. For whatever reason he purchased that combination elsewhere. Days later he brought the turntable to me, claiming that it didn’t sound as good as my demo. For a price, I fixed that issue with proper setup.

LP sounding different, depending on radius? That’s the curse of geometry.
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