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PRE-EMPHASIS: pre-emphasis increases the magnitude of some frequencies with respect to the magnitude of other frequencies in order to improve the overall signal-to-noise ratio. A corresponding de-emphasis process is required on playback so as to restore the original signal. It was used early on in the manufacturing process, but advances in digital audio rendered pre-emphasis obsolete; however, some have claimed that some pre-emphasized discs, when played back properly, sound superior to subsequent re-masters that don't have pre-emphasis. Your experience seems to indicate that SOMETHING good is going on.
I was somewhat concerned with this issue as I own a Linn Majik CD Player, and in his measurments for the Stereophile review, John Atkinson noted: "However, when it played back pre-emphasized data, there was a slight positive error in the treble, which will be just audible with those few CDs that were mastered with pre-emphasis."
So I did a little reading on the subject and this is probabaly the best threads I found: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=34336 http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/archive/index.php/t-76710.html
Bottom line: From what I gather, only a very few CD's were mastered with pre-emphasis, and none since the 1980's. From what I can tell, very few CD players had an indicator light that the CD was mastered with pre-emphasis, and that this information would not be on the CD packaging/liner notes.
Schipo, Interestingly enough, my Krell KPS25sc, ($22500.00), circa 2003. One of, if not THE finest sounding CD player, ever. Once in a while, the HDCD light goes on, or this 'emphasis' lettering goes on, and I am put back in my chair... Mouth agape...
I knew this encode scenario went away in the Eighties, so I wonder if it was utilized perhaps more than the industry let on. There is NO mention of this feature in the manual!
Not hard to believe JA is clueless to this. Extra HF should be heard without the decode, right?
Perhaps I should be asking about pop CDs produced in the Eighties that were bright and harsh? Then off to ebay and the 1 cent CD sale!
Here is another really good thread, it gets a little too technical for me, though:
"I wonder if it was utilized perhaps more than the industry let on."
I also wonder: If so few discs were mastered with pre-emphasis, then why is so much ink being spilled on the subject??
"Not hard to believe JA is clueless to this"
I'm not sure he deserves this, but you may know something I don't...He routinely does this de-emphasis check in his measurments. From what I have seen in the reviews, it's not necessarily a question of either having or not having de-emphasis--in the graphs you can see quite a difference between no de-emphasis, and a slight error. JA noted that the Quad 99 CDP-2 or Cary 303/200 didn't have it at all, while others have the wrong amount. In the Cary review, "the Cary doesn't switch in the appropriate de-emphasis. As a reasonably large number of older CDs are pre-emphasized, these will sound thin and screechy on the CD303." But in the case of the Linn the error is "slight" and would be "just audible." In the review of the $13,495 Nagra CDP, he wrote, "with pre-emphasized data, a negative 2dB error appeared in the mid-treble. With those rare pre-emphasized CDs, the CDP will sound slightly distant or polite."
Note that he says more than once that pre-emphasized CD's are few or rare, but in the Cary review he says that there is a reasonably large number! So which is it?
N, I have no exclusive knowledge here. You read for yourself that which ever way the wind blows today... The ink is, yes, why I asked for a members list. It is recent ink too, I might add. Since most of the Eighties pop sounded bright and harsh, I do indeed wonder if the Pre was implemented more than the industry let on. The recording industry that is. There are threads here as well, just type 'pre-emphasis'. Thanks for the other pastes. I am still hoping for other members with the proper players or intact memories to help with a list of material.
Tom Petty "Southern Accents".
Nice recording. Tom is quite the audiophile. His digital stuff often sounds like analog. Try Wildflowers - great dynamics.
FWIW: Benchmark DAC1 handles pre-emphasis. Many players do - if they do not then they are NOT Redbook standard players.
when this Petty CD is in my DVD player, the digital stream to my pre/pro will not allow any post processing!
If your DVD player handles other CD's ok then it is probably the same issue - the pre-emphasis - it may be forcing the DVD player to treat the data a certain way.
Shadorne, So once again it comes down to implementation. I will have to bring this CD with me to auditions, in addition to my demo favs. I talked to Benchmark today, and they confirmed a flag trips the de-emp circuit. I have been wanting to audition their dac. Perhaps I can report back on it's accuracy in this regard.