TOP Format


Here's my view on the formats sound quality

1 vinyl
2 Reel to Reel tape
3 Satellite +/- external DA converter
4 CD / SACD
5 DVD - A
6 Music Server
7 MP 3
how's everyone else rate them ?
rumney510
1 DVD - A
2 SACD
3 Vinyl (*If* in perfect condition, rarely true)
4 CD (HDCD and XRCD would make this #3)
5 Music Server (Serving lossless files)
6 Reel to Reel tape (very dependent upon speed, width, tape formulation)
7 Satellite +/- external DA converter
8 MP 3 (320 Kbps sound pretty darn good)

-RW-
1 DVD-A
2 CD - XRCD/HDCD only
3 SACD
4 Reel to Reel - 15ips
5 Vinyl
6 CD - redbook

In some cases CD ties with Vinyl depending on the quality of the mastering. In the case of a tie, the edge goes to CD because of the lack of surface noise.

Vinyl scores low on the list because of the importance...and rarity...of super clean vinyl to make the format sound its best, and because of the required high investment in equipment to achieve high quality playback.

I have no experience with Music Server or Satellite, but I have to believe they are both superior to MP3 as long as the formats are Lossless.
1) vinyl
2) cd
3) dvd-a - (albiet a cheaper model than cd)
4) cassette (Nakamichi)
5) mp3
6) 8 track
7) juke box single
8) victrola 78

noiseless vinyl 80% with a good rcm investment (Loricraft)
1. master tape (15 ips) under close to ideal conditions.
2. 45 rpm or DTD vinyl
3. other vinyl
4. other high quality analog tape
5. ideal FM radio live broadcasts under optimum conditions
6. SACD
7. hard drive PCM digital masters
8. DVD-A/redbook
9. uncompressed HD movie soundtracks
10. MP3--ipod nano
11. normal FM Stereo radio with perfect reception
12.XM Satelite radio

pretty much the less the original information is 'mucked with' the better the level of musical satisfaction. it's no accident the top is analog and the bottom is digital.
3 Satellite +/- external DA converter
4 CD / SACD

How can you possibly put a satellite source above CD/SACD? Correct me if wrong, but the source they are using is CD at best; the satellite receivers available are not going to match the transport of a good CDP; and last but certainly not least, satellite programming is compressed!
I agree pretty much with Mikelavigne, except I would move SACD up to rank with "other vinyl" and "other high quality analog tape", but higher than FM. The ranking at #3 and #4 is VERY dependent on the sample, i.e., differences among individual LPs and among individual SACDs are huge. I've never heard PCM masters or DVD-A.
8track, sacd
Interesting to me how some have DVD-A so low on their lists. No confrontation intended here...I just find it interesting. Tom has DVD-A below CD. Mike has it equal to CD. Fascinating. I find DVD-A so superior to CD in my system that it's not even close. However, when I was playing DVD-A, it was on an APL Denon 3910. Perhaps the quality of the player contributed to my opinion of the format.

I had forgotten about 45 rpm LPs. They do sound very, very good!
As per Mike (Lavigne) but with slight alterations:
1. master tape (15 ips) under close to ideal conditions.
2. 45 rpm or DTD vinyl
3. 33,3rpm vinyl
4. high quality analog tape (1st gen reel-to-reel)
5. FM radio live broadcasts under optimum conditions (for the experience -- not the freq range). VERY rare
6. DVD-A/
7. SACD
8. Hard drive PCM digital masters
8. redbook
9. uncompressed HD movie soundtracks / top quality casette
10. MP3--ipod nano
11. normal FM Stereo radio
12.XM Satelite radio
Many of these are sort of theoretical since, for example, few real dvd-a recordings exist.
Tvad, your comments....

****

"Interesting to me how some have DVD-A so low on their lists. No confrontation intended here...I just find it interesting. Tom has DVD-A below CD. Mike has it equal to CD. Fascinating. I find DVD-A so superior to CD in my system that it's not even close. However, when I was playing DVD-A, it was on an APL Denon 3910. Perhaps the quality of the player contributed to my opinion of the format."

*****

my response....

my perspective about DVD-A is mostly a matter of my experience; and not anything definitive. i have limited experience with DVD-A.....and have found that many of the DVD-A's i have heard have a bit of a 'digital' signature. the DVD-A hardware is much less mature than the very best redbook.....particularly with the latest EMM Labs SE gear.

for me it comes down to the fact that i get the same level of musical experience with redbook that i have from DVD-A. i do think that 'in theory' DVD-A could be better than redbook though.
DVD-A hardware is much less mature than the very best redbook...

for me it comes down to the fact that i get the same level of musical experience with redbook that i have from DVD-A. i do think that 'in theory' DVD-A could be better than redbook though.
Mikelavigne (System | Threads | Answers)

Precisely why I mentioned that my experience with DVD-A was limited to the APL Denon 3910, which is far beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of off-the-shelf DVD-A hardware.

I believe if you compared DVD-A vs. redbook on the APL, you'd have a different opinion.

However, if you're experience is limited to off-the-shelf universal players...even the Ayre...then I can very well understand your opinion.
Gregm, 'great minds think alike'.

;>)

the magic of the live broadcast of FM radio is in the fact that the source is a live mic feed and not recorded music. even though it is bandwidth limited a live mic feed is obviously the ultimate electronic music source.

these live broadcasts are not only rare but for me impossible. living in the mountains is great; but i have a 4000 foot ridge between me and the FM towers here in the Seattle area.
1. Vinyl
2. SACD
3. CD

IMHO, it all depends on your musical taste.

Rudy
#1 Vinyl... most consistent in well controlled conditions and thats the only reason it wins in general, even putting sound and tone quality differences to the side.

#1.5 CD / SACD can both do well and equal depending on the recording, and some can be at least as good in some cases to vinyl if its again the right recording and equipment re-producing it :) SACD is only obvious and or necessary for 5.1 music, 2 channel its a waste if you can get a remaster or well done original redbook or vinyl because they both with the best recordings can compete and many times sound better in the end in my opinion after many trials of all 3 formats.

But is any of these 3 superior is the real question?? not what we rate in order.. Sorry but that is just not realistic with the many things you can pull out of Redbook to come as close as possible to SACD's best or Analogs best, so none can ever prove superior, but some can prove more consistent in certain music genre's regardless of supposed advanced technology behind them.

No reel to reel experience for me...And in this case for Home use in the Real world minus a very few, this and Master Tapes I believe should be more or less diqualified from any realistic list here. And digital formats like MP3, well they are meant for the car and headphones... As for Satellite, just like CD / SACD can be corrected and D/A'ed just as well I would assume as any Digital format if its the right bits coming in and out..

Consistency is the real question with digital, but all the lossless or original Digital formats can easily achieve the same results but just does not depending on many factors and choice of mix on the recordings.
It seems to me the consensus, albeit a roundabout consensus, is coming around to the conclusion that which format is best is reliant on the quality of the recording and the playback gear. There have been many similar threads throughout the years, and all that I have read have come to the same conclusion.

My experience has been that some redbook CDs are equally good, if not superior to versions on all other formats if the playback system is able to maximize the digital source material (it need not cost more than ~$6k new...and possibly less).

Perhaps the question should be reframed to ask the ranking of formats based on average (yeah, I know...define "average"!) or commonly used playback systems, i.e. stock consumer universal players, or an entry level analog front ends.

I can only give you my listening experiances. Been trying out satellite recently (sirius) and fed it through a DA converter. Its close too cd and less etched compared to my wadia
Try it and see wht the think. I gave it the edge as its great for jazz
Rumney510, I can't deny your results, as I can't your system, but something is up with your CD playback. (It may not be your CDP, but maybe the brightness of your system is tamed by the compressed signal from Sirius.) Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Sirius too, but no where near the quality of my CDP.
I'm glad to see so many liking the cable/ sat. music.---Assuming you are going into a quality dac./w/a quality dig. cable--I was with Directv for years with a modified Sony sat.box w/ coax-out.---I am now with TWC. Player/dac-AA Prestige.
Cable Violin Concherto.--By remote control I can switch between music channels/cds; and it is much closer than most might assume.
I actually have had a Sony sacd player for 2 years. I now have 2 sacd players and no software.--Almost forgot,I have a dvd-a changer/no software there,either

Vinyl not auditioned in so long; read old/lazy,to be sure of its place
I also had directTV and was not very impressed with the quality. Sirius used with an antenna is great! Sirius also offers for an extra fee CD quality feeds over the computer. I dont have this service.
My sirius antenna feeds clocklink at 48 and not 44.1 does this mean it isnt a CD.source.

I have a wadia 861 which I dont like and it drove me to vinyl. I can listen to sirius tho withiut getting upset
Whether it be sat. or cable the 48 is standard for each. My AA upconverts 48 to 192--acording to the front readout. Those whom complain about compressed cable or sat. music channels; just don't have the right equipment. THIS does not refer to xm/sirius over the air without cable or sat.--I never heard that; and don't comment on that which I haven't heard.
To recap re.set-top boxes. Most Directv boxes do only 5'1 or maybe 48 over toslinc.---One can't expect much there.---Most cable boxes have coax-out--For most of them, the audio format can be changed in the menu to '2ch' and that is where the good audio signal can be helped by a quality dac.