What is the least compressed signal?

Hello everyone.I was wondering what everyone's thoughts might be about what is the least compressed front end signal? A friend of mine recently told me that radio signal is compressed. So I thought maybe a direct connection to a CD player? Or, since CDs are pretty compressed, maybe a record player? Thoughts?
the reason I ask is, my friend recently gave me a fantastic pair of speakers. And I've been listening to the radio through them. He had a disgusted look on his face and told me I was not using these speakers how they were meant to be used, because the radio signal is kind of crappy and compressed. I would love to use the speakers as they were intended. Meadowlark kestrel hot rods hooked up to an Integra receiver w/ kimbers
Seems a bit condescending coming from a friend. Speakers are meant to be used to listen to music regardless of the source .. it’s their sole purpose. Listen to whatever makes you happy whether it’s from radio, Spotify, Pandora, CD’s, or LP’s. There is joy regardless. Yes, you can feed those speakers a better signal than what radio delivers and hear what they are capable of. In the digital realm CD-quality and/or better will sound excellent compared to radio streams. For streaming, Tidal and Qobuz offer the highest quality if you care to pay for it. Apple Music, Spotify (paid), and the like sound pretty good for lossy-compressed music. Each service offers a free trial .. try them all and see which one suits your taste. Enjoy yourself.
If you are talking about dynamic range I suggest you look at the DR Database website. Some CDs have DR that  matches the LP of the same recording, sometimes it's the other way around. Some recording have limited DR regardless of the format. Generally a radio broadcast is not high fidelity in many or most areas of sound quality including dynamics.

BTW the bit about using the speakers as they were intended is BS. Use them for what you like. But if they are dynamic speakers then a limited dynamics source won't push then to their highest capabilities. 
My advice is go back before they started  "remastering" everything, especially CDs but also LPs, SACDs, SHM-CDs from Japan, Hi Res Downloads, you name it. Cassettes did not suffer this overly enthusiastic compression which is why they sound full and dynamic.
Here, read this:

Also google "loudness wars" for more, including the BBC's samples of Thriller.
ddjr, I believe what your friend was attempting to tell you was that radio is typically not a great source in terms of quality. Seek a more direct source, such as LP, digital file, or streaming audio from a good source like Tidal or Qobuz.  There will be a world of difference in sound quality! You will be shocked! If you enjoy listening it will be well worth the money and time invested.  :) 

As an example, if you were to hook up a CD player directly, you likely would hear a radical difference between sound quality of a CD played back versus same song on radio. Note that cables make a substantial difference in the resultant sound quality. 
Well, not just the source but everything matters. Everything. It is literally endless. Just for starters consider that your speakers are "hot-rodded" which means someone figured out that to get the most out of those speakers you first need to change the speakers themselves! Internal wiring, discrete component selection (better caps, etc) on and on. Speaker cables, interconnects, power cords, fuses, cones- on and on. 

Do enough of these and your speakers will be sounding so much better you may eventually come around to understand that when it comes to getting great sound the speakers are no more important than anything else. They just happen to be the last link in the chain.

In terms of the best least compressed source though I think its pretty obviously the direct to disc LP. With direct to disc the signal goes directly from the microphones through a mixer to the cutter. Not a lot are made because its so difficult. Not many recording studios adjacent to cutters. Each side must be cut beginning to end complete. Not a lot of performers these days capable of playing 20 straight minutes. If its more than one song they have to physically play however many songs one after the other, no stopping, there is no "Pause" when cutting vinyl. 

So the music selection can leave a lot to be desired. But hunt around, check out Sheffield (they did a lot) and when you find one it will not take long for you to appreciate what I'm talking about.
Thank you all for your comments!
But don't get confused here. There are two types of compression being discussed. Both are important.

One type is file compression. It can be lossless or lossy. When it is lossy some of the 1s and 0s are left out. 

Dynamic range is another form of compression where the dynamic range is compressed. There are good links about that above. It is a plague with no purpose and no seeming cure. And the problem is that you don't know on which recordings it is worse. You can certainly hear it. But if you want to avoid it and know what you are buying then go to the DR database linked to above.

There are those (who know far more about audio than I do) who say you can tune your system to compensate for DR compression. But that sounds like putting lipstick on a pig if you ask me. When dynamic range isn't there........it isn't there and nothing you can do can get it back.
Cassettes had the worst DR of any source at the time. The main reasons were its slow speeds and tape width. I think it was the 70’s when I had the top of the line Akai cassette deck with servo buttons and glass heads which compared favorable to others like the nakamichi decks. I also had a teac 7” R2R deck with speeds up to 7.5ips. The teac was so much better sound wise. Then 10 years ago I got an Otari 5050bl with 15ips. For a 20 year old deck, Sound quality was fantastic. 3 3/4 speed sounded like crap compared to 7.5ips, and the 7.5 ips sound was flat compared to the 15ips. Speed for tape matters
The statement of the most previous poster is correct. Tape speed is most important as pertains to sound quality. Not mentioned thus far is 8 track tapes. Sure, they were large, clunky, and due to their poor construction they often ejected from their players with a stream of tape type confetti. But......
Their play speed was almost twice that of cassettes and, during their short lived lifetime, they sounded better due to tape speed in.ips. Cassettes were smaller and not prone to mechanical failures. Note.... Both of these recording mediums were primarily built for those who wanted good music in their cars.

The previous post about the 2 different types of compression is mostly relevant.
When you fear that tuner signal might be compressed you are talking about dynamic range compression. DR compression is really bad from the SQ stand point.
File compression not so much. There's a subtle difference bewteen a high quality compresses file and a non compressed one (or lossless compressed which is to say same quality as non compressed)
DR compression is immediatly audible instead and there's not really much you can do about it except go look for another source 
CDs as a rule are not compressed at all. They present the full Red book audio signal in non comprsssed format.
I am sure I added a lot of confusion, sorry about that . . .
Recorded music has to be limited to some degree or it simply wouldn't work. Try this...find a live sound mixing board and run a mic to it from a kick drum and into nearly any amp connected to a favorite home hifi speaker. Adjust the mixer channel to flat and and a moderate level, hit that kick drum and you should hear a brief ffffttt sound. That's the sound of your woofer exploding.
When I use the word compressed I’m referring to the overly aggressive dynamic range compression that’s become common in the industry for all formats but especially CD. The Unofficial Dynamic Range Database shows this clearly in colors so anyone can understand. For you young uns out there - If the 3 colors (low, high, avg dynamic range) shown in the data base are ALL RED it means the CD has been way, way compressed. Look for the ones that are ALL GREEN. Those are the good ones, kiddies.

Wav files are the least compressed ,
and DP power amp is a Great inexpensive program for ripping cdsto a hard drive. The have a Flac file #8 which is uncompressed
and very close sonicly to a Wav file and still taking up 40% less volume.
" CDs as a rule are not compressed at all. They present the full Red book audio signal in non comprsssed format.
I am sure I added a lot of confusion, sorry about that . . ."

That is correct but it is confusing. The data on the CD is not compressed as such but many if not most CDs in the last 10 years or so are woefully compressed in terms of dynamic range.

Geoff is correct, the site he linked to is very helpful in terms of buying music and as mentioned the DR can vary widely between CD, LP and downloadable files of the same music released at the same time.

For a new audiophile one of the things that can tip you off in terms of dynamic range compression is the volume.

Put in Mark Knopfler's well produced Tracker CD. Set the volume at a moderate comfortable level. Listen to it. Then, pop it out and put in Alabama Shakes Boys and Girls CD. Do not change the volume....but hold your ears....the Alabama Shakes CD is horribly compressed and will be much louder. And even at a lower volume on your system it will make your ears tired. Subtlety is lost. And even a well written, well played album like Boys and Girls is ruined by terrible production.

And yes, as @wolf_garcia  said, judicious use of compression is a necessity and nothing new in the recording world. Done properly it enhances the music. Done with a club and a hammer it ruins the music.
Sorry to be disagreeable the data on the CD is compressed. That’s why they sound compressed. That’s what compression means, that it’s dynamic range is compressed, squeezed down, suffocated, strangled, flatlined.
Sorry to be disagreeable the data on the CD is compressed.

You aren't disagreeable, just generally wrong.

There is no data compression on the audio data for Redbook CDs. HDCD is, of course, an exception.

Dynamic range compression and level shifting is up to the engineer who makes the master. This varies a great deal depending on genre and era.  In addition, plenty of evidence of reduced L to R separation and significantly different EQ being used, not just from medium to medium but even from release to release on the same medium.

Also, while I dislike the loudness wars, the opposite, excessive dynamic range is also a bad thing. Like watching a movie when you have to turn up the volume to hear the dialogue, but then the action scenes are deafening.

Some compression is probably a good thing, and brings out more details and more room ambiance than otherwise, so treating any medium as absolutely more or less compressed ignores all of the complexities that occur when it lands on your stereo.
If the engineer compresses the data what do you think appears on the CD? Three guesses. The first two don’t count. There is no evidence of ANY advantage to overly aggressive dynamic range compression other than being able to make the CD louder. There is no correlation between dynamic range and resolution. Dynamic range is simply a ratio. There is no resolution function or ambience function in dynamic range. That’s probably what the recording industry would have you believe. That’s what the whole debate is about. That’s why they call it the Loudness Wars. If there are no dynamics it’s not music. Digital is the new wimpy.
I assumed when you guys say LP you are referring to Long play vinyl records? Which is good to hear, if I am right, because I have an excellent record collection😄
@erik_squires : "Some compression is probably a good thing, and brings out more details and more room ambiance than otherwise, so treating any medium as absolutely more or less compressed ignores all of the complexities that occur when it lands on your stereo."

Of course, but I don’t think anyone here is saying that all DR compression is bad. It has a role in making a good recording, especially with classical music which, during the course of a symphony, for example, can have a huge dynamic range which if uncompressed would lead to the need for constant volume adjustment by the listener. But even that is a compromise.

But that’s not what any of us are talking about. We’re talking about the trend in recording to utterly compress the dynamic range simply to make the recording louder. For instance, on the scale used by DR database, a really excellent recording will have a DR in the 12-16 range. Many, many current recordings by exceptional artists have a DR of 3-4.

As Geoff said, there is nothing good about that. But even artists who are involved in the recording production are letting this happen. Some of Knopfler’s CDs are marginal. Likewise, I see artists like JD McPherson go to the trouble of recording at night in RCA Studio B in Nashville, which is a historic all analog/tube studio that is a museum during the day just to get the right sound.....and still allow their music to be dynamic range compressed at the end. His stuff isn’t terrible but the point is that some idiot engineer has to make an effort to do it. In other words, it isn’t an accident, it is not a product of sloppy production, it is not a necessary compromise. It is an intentional step in the process.

And there seems to be no apparent reason for it.

Boggles the mind.

@ddjr: Yes, we are referring to vinyl. But modern vinyl is not immune. A great deal of new vinyl is made from a digital and often DR compressed source. In my little bit of research it seems that vinyl generally fares better than CDs, but not by much and not always,
Have you tried Digital Radio? Sounds pretty good to me.
"That’s why they call it the Loudness Wars. If there are no dynamics it’s not music. Digital is the new wimpy."

Hello geoffkait,

     I agree that the Loudness Wars, via recording mixing decisions, have caused a significant compression of dynamics on many cds released.  But it's my understanding that Redbook cd is fully capable of capturing and playing back the actual large dynamics naturally existing in music heard played live.  In other words, it's a conscious mixing decision to compress dynamics on cds and not a limit of the Redbook cd format itself.

    Is this your understanding as well?

My understanding is that Redbook CD is actually limited in dynamic range, compared to live sound. Let’s say Redbook CD can provide up to 90 dB of dynamic range theoretically (and 90 dB of Signal to Noise Ratio). However, the actual dynamic range of CD is also limited by the dynamic range of the recording device, which in the case of tape is probably less than 90 dB. So right away Redbook CD is limited in dynamic range since live performance dynamic range is much higher than 90 dB.

If 90 dB dynamic range couid actually be achieved in a given room that would be great! I would say mission accomplished!! But I would not be surprised at all if CDs that are not overly compressed achieve no more than 75 or 80 dB in an arbitrary room. There are other factors that further limit dynamic range, including but not limited to room anomalies, CD player problems, noise in the system.

     Everything you stated about Redbook cd makes sense to me but, if you don't mind, I'd like to know if you or any other tread readers have experienced direct to digital recordings of live music converted to,and played back as, 24 Bit/96KHz or higher FLAC or WAV computer audio files.
     I use a laptop running JRiver Media Center software, a NAS and an Oppo BDP-105 for the storage and playback of music files.  The NAS contains mainly 16 Bit/44.1 KHz FLAC files of ripped cds but also several 
 24 Bit/96 KHz FLAC files downloaded from Sound Liaison in Europe.
      These downloads are mainly recordings of lesser known small acoustic jazz and rock groups playing live at a high quality studio in Europe and recorded in real time direct to hi-res digital. These analog to digital recordings undergo minimal to no post recording mixing processes and represent the actual digital master.  Purchased downloads in the customer's preferred digital format are, therefore, literal exact copies of the original studio master.
     I've purchased and downloaded several Jennifer Gomes albums from this site that I enjoy and recommend, best described as a small jazz group doing covers of rock songs such as Springsteen's I'm on Fire and Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay.  
     My experience of the sound quality of these 24/96 downloads is that I clearly perceive them as superior when compared to Redbook cd; with a much lower background noise level (much higher signal/noise ratio), increased detail level, a consistently more solid and stable 3D soundstage illusion and definitely a lack of compressed dynamics that greatly increases the sense I'm listening to live music and not a recording.
     The main point I want to convey is that I believe the key factor I've identified in whether I perceive 24/96 recordings as superior to Redbook cds is how the recording was made.  I completely fail to discern any sound quality improvements in the unfortunately common practice of simply transferring the more popular Redbook cd albums from 16 Bit/44.1 KHz resolution to the higher resolution 24 Bit/96 KHz digital file format.  
     It is impossible to improve the sound quality of a Redbook cd by transferring it to a higher resolution format.  It appears that HD Tracks is one of the major offenders in intentionally exploiting this misunderstanding for their own financial gain.  They advertise their hi-res downloads of popular albums as being superior to Redbook cd versions, completely understanding they are just transfers with no sonic improvements and then charge you twice the cost of the original cd for a download nevertheless.  
     Not only is this an HD Tracks scam, it's also discouraging the use of higher resolution formats since HD Tracks customers rightly claim they discern no sound quality gains compared to their same album in Redbook cd format.  The only way they possibly would is if the original group rerecorded the same album utilizing a direct to digital recording method in a higher resolution digital format.

CDs as a rule are not compressed at all. They present the full Red book audio signal in non comprsssed format.
This statement is false. CDs have the expectation of being played in a car and so dynamic range is compressed. In most cases... Its an industry thing, not a technology thing.
When we master an LP at our facility, we request the master file or tape from the producer, not the one used for CD release. This is to avoid the compression that is usually on the digital release. Because LPs are not expected to be played in a car, they tend to have less compression unless the record label is being cheap about it.
RtR  master before mixdown 15ips .  
As I mentioned before, you have to do the research because there are plenty of recordings that have the same level of over-compression whether it is the CD, LP or hi-res file.

I also don't know why an engineer would think it was necessary to over-compress a medium because it might be played in the car. I get that the ambient noise in cars makes a broad DR less important but a CD with a broad DR would not detract from listening in the car in any way. The point being, there is no benefit to the compression. And if the listener simply wants more volume.....well, there is a knob for that.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing that this is why an engineer would do it, I'm just saying it makes no sense.

Likewise, the initial premise for compressed DR was that the song would be louder and therefore grab the listener's attention (or whatever) when listening on the radio or MP3. But this reason is pointless as well. The vast majority of MP3 listeners have some version of 'sound check' on by default which equalizes volume across different songs. Radio stations do the same thing.

My point in rehashing this is that DR compression HUGELY detracts from a recordings SQ and yet has absolutely no value, that I can find, and yet they keep doing it, presumably with intent since it requires the engineer to do something. It isn't an accident.

I would simply love to know why? Even engineers/producers who should know better are doing it. Why?
Who exactly is mixing and mastering for CD today????  Pretty much nobody. It's widely expected that a release will be distributed on lossless digital or something working to preserve that standard. Vinyl has lousy dynamic range. Often a separate master has to be made that's much more compressed to get the range to fit within the limits of the vinyl medium. 

It seems a lot of people here want to confuse the recording process with the technical abilities of a medium. They're two totally different things. 

This is really easy info to just look up, which people really should since there's a lot of plainly wrong information in this thread. 
Who exactly is mixing and mastering for CD today???? Pretty much nobody. It’s widely expected that a release will be distributed on lossless digital or something working to preserve that standard. Vinyl has lousy dynamic range.

>>>I realize this might make me look rather argumentative but if you examine the Unofficial Dynamic Range Database you should be struck by the plain fact, as plain as the nose on your face, that vinyl frequently has greater dynamic range than its digital brethren, sometimes shockingly so, whether it be CD, SACD, SHM-CD, hi res download or whatever. There are a great many reasons why digital doesn’t live up to its billing of 90 dB Dynamic Range, not the least of which is the concerted effort by the industry to appease teeny boppers by dramatically compressing CD Dynamic Range.
kosst_amojan wrote:

"Who exactly is mixing and mastering for CD today???? Pretty much nobody."

Actually it is closer to everybody than "pretty much nobody". I listen to a lot of new bands. I haven’t run into a single one that does not release an album on CD at the same time as the mp3, hi-res file or vinyl. And I’m not talking about a few CDs in a briefcase on a street corner. I’m talking about Amazon. And the engineering on each of those formats is often very different.

So I really don’t get your point. Yes, the CD format is a relic. Yes, it accounts for the smaller percentage of sales. But it accounts for enough sales that everyone is still producing them and releasing them.

And also said:

"It seems a lot of people here want to confuse the recording process with the technical abilities of a medium. They’re two totally different things."

The only reason there is confusion is that we are discussing, as you said, two different things.....well, three really....at the same time. 1) File compression. 2) DR range compression 3) Absolute DR capability of a medium. And that was pointed out way up the thread.

@geoffkait :"vinyl frequently has greater dynamic range than its digital brethren, sometimes shockingly so"

I have not noticed this ’frequently’. I have noticed it some. Rarely does the CD of any given recording have the best DR. Sometimes the vinyl does, sometimes the hi-res file does. I certainly have not seen enough of a pattern here to suggest one format is better than the other....and let’s be clear here....based on how it was engineered.

I do not think _any_ of the DR compression we are seeing on a regular basis these days has _anything_ to do with limitations of _any_ given medium. The DR, almost across the board on new music releases is so low that it is not even approaching the limitation of the medium. In other words, a dynamic range of 6 on CDs, vinyl and hi-res files is common, almost ubiquitous......and has nothing to do with the capability of any of those media.

I have no idea which medium is capable of providing the widest possible DR. But these days that is not even relevant since no one seems to be pressing that end of the envelope at all.

Wouldn't it be great if everyone's production quality was optimized for the medium! Then discussing the capabilities of the medium might be relevant.
@geoffkait :"vinyl frequently has greater dynamic range than its digital brethren, sometimes shockingly so"

I have not noticed this ’frequently’. I have noticed it some. Rarely does the CD of any given recording have the best DR. Sometimes the vinyl does, sometimes the hi-res file does. I certainly have not seen enough of a pattern here to suggest one format is better than the other....and let’s be clear here....based on how it was engineered. 

>Go to the Unofficial Dynamic Range Database. All will be revealed. You type in the name of the artist and the recording (optional). Check it out. Vinyl rules!

I’ve been using the dr-loudness wars database. Is the one you are referring to more accurate or more extensive?

Edit: Never mind. They are one and the same. I am quite familiar with it. Use it to research nearly all my music purchases.

I looked through quite a few albums well known for their quality of production and find that sometimes the vinyl has better DR but especially for stuff done back in the 1980s the CD and the vinyl match up pretty closely. If there is an edge to vinyl it is often very small. In some cases the CD tests better but that is rare.

That’s just looking at the highest quality CDs and vinyl. Especially among CDs there is huge variation. Most CDs that are "remastered" are made considerably worse.
It appears you agree with me. 
How reliable is that database?
It appears you agree with me.
  Maybe. Perhaps. Yes.
So if I'm reading this correctly, CD's aren't compressed. Unless they are. Vinyl sounds great. Unless it doesn't. And radio is crap. Unless it isnt.  😆
Exactly. Its just that simple.
"I would love to use the speakers as they were intended."
They were intended that you have some enjoyment while listening to them. Kind of like what you were doing while listening to the radio.

For theoretical discussion, your post above is as correct as they get. For practical use, who cares what some virtual number is.
It's an incontrovertible fact that CD and digital has vastly superior dynamic range compared to vinyl. Vinyl by itself is insanely compressed which is why you need a pre-amp with insane slopes to re-equalize it into something that sounds like music. The physical characteristics of vinyl strictly dictate how much dynamic range you can apply to the medium before the details are undetectable by the stylus or throw the stylus off the surface. Beyond that, the non-linear surface speed introduces problems with how material can be arranged on the surface and the frequency response you can get. It's like starting off playing a tape at 7.5 ips and finishing it at 2.5 ips. That certainly effects dynamic range and frequency response. Those factors are why mastering for vinyl takes a very different approach than tape, CD, or digital. 

Mastering for digital for release on CD is a much simpler process. 
Getting back to the real world for a second...

Exhibit A - Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers


Other recordings may show different results. This is one data point so to speak. What this data for Sticky Fingers shows is,

1. The CDs with excellent dynamic range from 1986 were released prior to the beginning of the loudness wars.

2. The early vinyl and CD releases have virtually THE SAME dynamic range.

3. CDs became progressively more compressed as time went on. 🏋🏻‍♂️

4. Vinyl reissues have greater dynamic range than CD reissues. In fact the recent vinyl release has THE SAME dynamic range as the first 1971 release. 🤗

5. Recent CD reissues have abysmal ALL RED 🥵 dynamic range. We call that flatlined.

6. Recent vinyl dynamic range is far superior to that of recent CDs.
Vinyl by itself is insanely compressed which is why you need a pre-amp with insane slopes to re-equalize it into something that sounds like music

While we can argue about the dynamic range and noise levels of CD vs. vinyl, I’m afraid this is not supporting evidence. I am afraid Kosst is conflating compression with equalization.

Dolby or dbx both have analog compression methods. The RIAA curve is just an EQ to deal with noise and velocity driven transducers.

As has been noted before, early CDs were severely compressed compared to their vinyl counterparts, so the mastering and the tech both impose the limits we hear.
As has been noted before, early CDs were severely compressed compared to their vinyl counterparts, so the mastering and the tech both impose the limits we hear.

>>>Actually that’s not true, whoever said it. In the early days the dynamic range of LPs and CDs was about the same for the same album. It’s the later CDs that got severely compressed. Hel-loo! That’s the whole point!  The link to the Stones’ Sticky Fingers I provided earlier today illustrates those points. It also depends on the artist as some artists’ albums never or rarely get overly compressed.
Hi @geoffkait

For some odd reason I haven't the desire to quibble with you over the meaning of "early." 

Carver showed early on that some CD's were compressed both in dynamic range as well as reduced channel separation. Of course, individual CD's varied, and the loudness wars continued even then.

Again, I think we're all talking at cross purposes:

1) Each medium has its own inherent DR limitations. This isn't really much of an issue unless you're really seeking out the limits of SQ. Most of the easily available info on the internet suggests that CDs have a wider DR than vinyl and this was a huge issue for classical music fans and one of the reasons they adopted the CD quickly and abandoned vinyl. My uncle was an audiophile and classical music aficionado. I remember a full wall in his French Quarter home nothing but vinyl when I was a kid. McIntosh components and HUGE Klipsch speakers too.

When I visited him a number of years later all of the vinyl was gone, completely replaced with CDs and there was the CD player, probably the first I ever saw.

I think sever DR compression is found more on CDs than other media simply because of timing. The loudness wars began when CDs were still the primary music media and the renaissance of vinyl was still early or even a ways off.

That anecdote aside, I have no idea which medium has the better DR and don't really care, because:

2) The bigger issue is intentional and extreme DR compression. It crosses all media and if you want to avoid it you have to do the research. There are no guarantees. And sadly, with many if not most new artists it is simply unavoidable whether CD, digital file or vinyl.

Then why are you quibbling? 🤔
Are you sure quibbling is exactly the right word?

What is dynamic compression if it's not equalizing all of the wave forms to have a uniform amplitude? That's EXACTLY what RIAA equalization is designed to undo. That's why a phono pre-amp has more gain than anything else in the signal chain. Bass is this giant, power sucking waveform that would send the needle sailing off the surface and crashing into the record were it physically represented in accurate proportion to the treble. And the treble is cranked WAY up just so the needle can pick it up. That's pretty much the definition of dynamic compression. I'm sure vinyl lovers would love to imagine that the information is somehow "pure" in it's representation, but it's only as pure as the massive pre-amp connected to the needle that undoes an insane amount of dynamic compression. We're talking 40 dB of attenuation and amplification on the ends of the audio spectrum here. That's more gain than most power amps have. 

To the crowd at large who keep pointing fingers to "dr.loudness-war.info": That is in now way a scientific analysis of the dynamic range of recordings or the capabilities of mediums. It's a database of user generated results created using demonstrably dubious methods and should not be considered useful proof for anything other than demonstrating uncontrolled experiments yield useless data. 

The only conclusion I can come to given the facts is that people generally like a dynamic range limited to about 60 or 70 dB, which would explain why some like vinyl with it's limited range so much. 
I suspect the previous post makes some critical errors in logic. First off the bat, attenuation is not the same thing as dynamic range compression. Attenuation actually preserves the dynamic range, just as increasing the gain preserves the dynamic range. Dynamic range is a ratio of levels. Thus when you turn up the volume at home you’re not getting more dynamic range.

Second, the Unofficial Dynamic Range Database is valuable because it works, and is a reasonably accurate reflection of *comparative dynamic ranges* of a great many recordings and formats. It’s a tool, a quick reference. The reason the database works is because you can hear just how shitty an overly compressed CD or LP sounds. And you can also hear how good a relatively uncompressed recording sounds, too. So, the database by and large correlates to reality. It’s demonstrably Correct. That’s the value of the database - it allows you to dodge the bullets flying around out there. If someone believes aggressive dynamic range compression yields greater resolution or anything else positive good luck with that.

Lastly, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that vinyl has excellent dynamic range compared to digital, no matter how you slice it, but especially during the past 20 years, when CDs suffered increasingly severe compression. That’s kind of the whole point. Just...look 👀 ...at...the ...dynamic ...range ...data ...base. Hel-loo!