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Thread: What's wrong with Digital?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Beat_Dominator's Avatar
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    Default What's wrong with Digital?

    I'm sitting here surfing the internet and listening to an old Live album of Dire Straights... ca. '84. These reviewers in the magazines have said that "old" CDs weren't created very well as the D/A-A/D converters in the studios were primative as compared to todays designs.

    Well to me it sounds AWESOME. The first thing you'd notice of course is that back then they actually preserved SOME dynamics of the performances. It is painfully obvious that there is less compression/limiting in this and other "early" CD's than modern ones. When it comes down to it, digital is plenty musical and enjoyable. Could it be better? Sure, all audio could be better. Do I need it to be better? I really don't think so, not as my setup stands right now at least

    I of course listen to vinyl and most us know it's ups and downs, but I just wanted to focus on the anti-digital things I see/hear in the HiFi community.
     
    <- Wishes Audio were cheaper, so he could buy it all!!

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  2. #2
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    That early Knopfler you were listening to was probably mastered in analog. Many DS albums were recommended by The Absolute Sound. In fact, "Love Over Gold" made their reference disc (on lp) section many times. Early digital sounded strident with an unnatural edge on vocals (particularly female.) That early digital stuff that did not sound good was usually DDD. (Digital from beginning to end.) Today's players are much more able to almost duplicate the sounds of the analog chain, but not quite. Listen to an album you have in both formats. Unless your turntable is not adjusted properly, the lp will almost always sound better.

  3. #3
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    Most modern CD's beat a lot of the earlier CD's hands down. But not all. I've got some great discs from the 80's that have had a new lease of life when I play them on my ML's. My old system just didn't realise the potential of my older CD's.

  4. #4
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    I think a lot of this depended on the ultimate target market. Cuts destined for radio play tended to pre-compress the music on the CD. Better recordings (and engineers) tried to make use of the full dynamic range available on CD, and did a better job miking and mixing the audio. I've found that almost any jazz recording is better than most pop/rock recordings because the bands and/or producers insisted on quality miking and engineering.

    I was an early adopter of CDDA, and suffered through the industry's learning curve for how to master a CD correctly. Even well-recorded analog often sounded like crud on CD because the labels simply re-recorded the 2ch analog cutting masters to CD, not adjusting for the differences in media technologies.

    Technology always improves. The gear that the Beatles recorded on was horribly primitive by the standards of even consumer-level gear today, but the engineers knew how to get the best out of it. A lot of stuff from the late 60s to early 70s still outshines many "modern" recordings.

  5. #5
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    The Beatles stuff might have been recorded on primitive gear, but the results are still great. Similarly Elvis' early '60's recordings were outstanding. When I was audtioning my latest speakers, among other albums, I took 'Elvis is Back'. The recording of 'Fever', while a little hissy, is close to state of the art.

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