Loudness Wars. This is why some people still play LPs - the best sounding version of many recordings is on vinyl.
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Sorry mate, but it was a long time ago when we just went to the store and bought the latest LP. Poor/careless mastering has been the biggest issue with digital for the last 30 years!
You might do better to go on personal recommendations from others who have checked out and compared different masterings of the same material you're interested in.
Hence also the existence of sites like this one.
In the analog age, original master tape recordings were 16bit/48 kHz. Vinyl LPs were pressed from these sources. I record all my computer audio files as DSD or AIFF at 16bit/48 kHz and they all sound fabulous via a good DAC. So, if you want hear the sound as it was in the recording studio, such audio files are IMHO the best for audio reproduction and listening pleasure.
A secret meeting was held on Jeckyl Island in which the titans of the music industry agreed to keep secret the details of how to make perfect digital. They all knew the key to long term profits was to slowly and gradually year by year go from absolute crap to slightly less absolute crap. Occasionally one will get out ahead of the others and come up with something only moderately crappy and when this happens they charge an arm and a leg. Which is cheap, because they all know if the secret ever gets out it will cost them their heads.
So that is what they have been doing for 30 years now. Analysts keep saying this cannot go on forever that people will figure out there's no there there. But so far even Michael Fremer literally saying there's no there there hasn't done anything, so it would appear the scam can continue on for quite some time.
I have it on good authority the code for perfect digital is stored in Al Capones vault, right along side the recipe for Coca-Cola.
Sam here and these are the facts that i have uncovered so far?
1. 1st press vinyl is superior in sound quality to remastered new vinyl because new vinyl is nothing more than a vinyl cd.
2. 100% dynamic compression can be removed from digital audio without the use of denoisers or declippers using the iir filter in foobar2000
3. flac with compression level 4 is superior in sound quality to all other flac compression levels! They are not the same.
4. digital audio and new vinyl has stereo + mono depth perception. 1st press vinyl has stereo + stereo depth perception FACT friends it’s time to eccept the truth about audio that i have uncovered.
due to the knowledge of vittles i will test 16/48 vs 16/44
In the analog age, original master tape recordings were 16bit/48 kHz. Vinyl LPs were pressed from these sources.
What’s the analog age? Is it the age prior to the compact disc, which became commercially available in 1980 and was 16 bit/44kHz (not 48kHz)?
If so, then these original analog master tapes by definition are not 16bit/44kHz. The Compact Disc Digital Audio standard of 16bit/44kHz (also known as "red book"), is a digital standard. It’s not analog whatsoever.
The first commercially available digitally recorded vinyl LP was Tchaikovsk’y 1812 Overture released by Telarc in 1979. It was a 16 bit/ 50kHz recording.
After the release of the compact disc in 1980, existing analog master tape recordings were digitally re-mastered to the 16bit/44kHz "red book" format. However, most new recordings continued to be made using analog equipment because digital recording equipment was quite expensive.
Over time, as digital recording gear became more affordable, recordings shifted to being made digitally. It saved time (thus money), and it gave artists and producers more tools to enhance their recordings.
This shift ushered in the digital age of recording.
Most digital masters are recorded in higher resolution than 16bit/44kHz (typically 24bit/44kHz, 24bit/48kHz, 24bit/96kHz...or higher). https://www.audiorecording.me/best-sample-rate-and-audio-bit-depth-for-recording-projects.html
You are probably aware that it’s becoming popular for artists to record on analog equipment if they can afford it, but analog equipment availability is limited, it’s extremely expensive, and it presents a financial barrier for many, if not most, recording artists.
In the analog age, original master tape recordings were 16bit/48 kHz. Vinyl LPs were pressed from these sources.In the analog age there was no digital. Original master tape recordings were analog, the whole signal chain was analog.
Sam here, and if digital audio is bit perfect and I pitch shift the digital audio by 1 millisecond (1ms) the digital audio no longer matches up perfectly to the original waveform and a new waveform is created with 100% of the original dynamic compression removed https://i.postimg.cc/xCHkd3B7/wf-before.png
Sam here if the digital recording is a direct transfer from the analog master tape why does the 1st press vinyl have stereo + stereo depth perception and the digital album has stereo + mono depth perception? and you can clearly hear the difference. when i remove the dynamic compression from digital audio the dynamic range is now the same as the 1st press vinyl version however the digital version still has mono depth perception which indicates the digital file is being manipulated on purpose?
To answer the original question, there is really only one thing you can do about this. Before buying a remastered recording check the Dynamic Range Database to see if the remaster is heavily compressed. If it is, don’t buy it. The only way to fix this problem is to not buy these recordings - seek out the originals. The Steve Hoffman Forum (link mentioned above) is also excellent for finding the best version and pressing of a particular recording.
Regarding the second question, the record companies did have an agenda, albeit a misplaced one. The original reason for hitting the master tape with severe limiting (compression) was so that the songs would sound louder on the radio. What they also found is that for casual listeners (non audiophiles) the compressed masters sounded better. When people don’t know anything about quality sound the compressed master sounds punchier and more lively. Also, if you are listing through cheap earbuds where there is a lot of ambient noise the compressed version sounds better because it overcomes the outside noise. People either don’t realize that the sound gets fatiguing after a short while or maybe they are just used to it. For them that’s how music should sound.
I had a recording studio for about 10 years from the mid 90’s to the mid 00’s. I did complete projects including recording, mixing and mastering for bands in the Portland Oregon area. Except for hardcore and metal bands where the severe limiting was part of the genre’s sound, I would always try to go easy on the limiter. However, I repeatedly found that most of the bands liked the sound better when I smashed the master all to hell using the limiter in Ozone. It was the sound they expected and they would describe the heavily limited songs as sounding "BIG."
There is some evidence that new remasters are avoiding the severe compression that we see in the Fleetwood Mac song. Steven Wilson’s work is a good example. There’s hope for the future but there are a lot of remastered albums where we just have to vote with our pocketbook.
'A secret meeting was held on Jeckyl Island in which the titans of the music industry agreed to keep secret the details of how to make perfect digital. They all knew the key to long term profits was to slowly and gradually year by year go from absolute crap to slightly less absolute crap.'
If you look at all the various Pop/Rock remasters/reissues/box sets/ Hi-Res downloads etc it's all too to easy to draw the same conclusion that the decision not offer definitive digital remasters is a deliberate one.
Just look at how many times the back catalogues from the likes of The Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, The Smiths etc have all been reissued without anything yet like a definitive version.
Even today in far too many cases the original 1980s CD issues are still deemed the best. Definitive digital releases are few and far between, at least as far as popular music goes.
The two exceptions to my ears are the back catalogues of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Those CDs already sound excellent and I'm not expecting any further improvements there.
100% dynamic compression can be removed from digital audio without the use of denoisers or declippers using the iir filter in foobar2000I don't think so, once a track has been compressed the only way to "undo" it is by having the original tapes. You can't add something back that isn't there in the first place.
Truer words so far have not been spoken on this thread. These words are the only ones need to be listened to here.
In digital, today’s re-masters are mostly just louder, as well as being over compressed. And those, sadly are usually the only ones that are streamed or downloaded.
1st release CD’s are usually the most uncompressed. And the vinyl (but channel separation sucks big time).
Just bung in the artist up the top and the album, and look for the most green, then click on it to find the cat no. and pick up a used CD on eBay for $5
Here's a classic as an example Fleetwood Mac Rumors
Ebay and Half price books are you friend, just make sure you check the database first. I also troll the groups on twitter when they release a new version that is compressed as hell. Maybe if more people bitched something would be done. Maybe we can get Steven Wilson to do all remasters. He is the exception to the rule.
@millercarbon, it seems there was another secret meeting at Hyde Island where the exact opposite 'strategy' was concocted. Based on the premise there is no perfect digital, the industry decided to put out a crappy product, but sounding just good enough (accompanied by highly agressive marketing) for the convenience argument to win the game and convince everybody to switch to the silver disc and 'perfect sound forever'. After that 'big switch' they could get away with putting out endless variations of the original sin (uh crap), known as 'remasters', accompanied by other marketing tricks like new packaging and/or redundant bonus tracks. As long as the buying public could be convinced that every new remaster would benefit from higher bit rates that technology made available or offered something 'extra', they could milk this cow indefinitely.
Like with Jeckyll and Hyde, both are real (or unreal, if you so prefer). In some cases the first cd issue still sounds best, in other cases the higher bit remaster sounds better. But alas no 'Jeckyll' or 'Hyde' stickers, so there's no way to tell which is which.
Let's ponder this question: will we ever see a 'first cd pressing' collectors market?