- Jan 6, 2017
So the CD bass is an undistorted replication of the original studio production, but the LP bass is better every single time?
Where do I send the tin foil hat?
Well here’s what you DID say:I didn't say that; pretty obvious strawman. Logical fallacies are inherently false FWIW.
So…you said your experience of the LP bass has been never worse than CD, so either you hear them as exactly equal an awful lot, or the LP as better pretty much all the time. You are certainly saying the LP bass is equal or better than CD bass every single time you have listened. To which I still want an address to send the tin foil hat.I've yet to encounter a CD that has better bass than the same title on LP; not saying that couldn't happen.
As for your repeated appeals to self-authority:-
…outing yourself as a vinyl gear designer tells us all we need to know about your biases and the credibility of your opinions digital vs vinyl. Thanks. Appreciated.
FWIW I also outed myself as a mastering engineer. Not so much bias as it is direct experience, which to me holds more cred than made-up stories.
Let’s take a look at what Floyd Toole writes about LP in his book Sound Reproduction, about its undoubted problems and their audibility, and even more importantly to your claims, what he writes about the credibility of those who get too familiar with its sound:-
First, some context on enforced sonic changes: “In LP mastering, the changes are substantial: mono bass, dynamic compression, rolled-off highs near the center of the disc, and so forth to cope with the limitations of the medium. Digital media need no such dramatic manipulations, but mastering engineers may choose to tailor the sound…”
Regarding preservation, often the predistorted masters were kept and undistorted masters lost: “There is cause for some sadness, because some of the old analog tapes being converted for delivery through digital formats are not the original masters, which were lost or reused, but the LP master tapes used to drive the cutter heads for creating LP master discs. It seems that important decision makers thought the LP was the final development in the delivery of audio signals. These tapes have been skillfully manipulated—predistorted, in fact—to compensate for some of the significant limitations of LPs and therefore cannot sound their best when played through digital devices. The art has been compromised. This is an example of an old technology executing a strange form of revenge on the new.”
Importantly, Toole also says that the limitations of pre-digital audio also caused musicians to modify their instruments and playing styles so that they don’t overwhelm the medium: “Spectral and dynamic limitations did not flatter instruments like pianos and drums, so substitute instruments were used. Live performances came to reflect some of these substitutions and sometimes even playing styles. For example “slap” bass playing was a means of minimizing bothersome low-frequency output but retaining some of the essential sound of the upright bass. Said Katz (2004), “The bass drum was a troublemaker even into the 1950s” (p. 81). (Wrapping it in a blanket was a common studio remedy.) Katz explained as follows: “Whether in France, the United States, or anywhere in the world, most listeners who knew jazz knew it through recordings; the jazz they heard, therefore, was something of a distortion, having been adapted in response to the nature of the medium. The peculiar strengths and limitations of the technology thus not only influenced jazz performance practice, it also shaped how listeners—some of whom were also performers and composers—understood jazz and expected it to sound.”(p. 84)”. So, in the pre-digital era, the recording medium’s mediocrity didn’t just influence behaviour in the recording studio: it flowed right through into playing styles and choice of instruments when not in the recording studio. The inherent badness of vinyl has a lot to answer for.
Toole also explains how repeated exposure to LP sound over time results in LP-specific perceptual masking coming into play. This is why LP lovers, even in this thread, insist they hear no problematic artefacts or distortions —they are in a manner hypnotised to the point where they bite into an onion and think “mmm, apple”— whereas when a non-hypnotised audiophile with critical faculties intact comes across vinyl, there is a good chance they will not like all the icky artefacts that they are not perceptually masking out. “Auditory masking is a natural perceptual phenomenon…it has assisted our musical enjoyment by suppressing audience noises during live performances and, over several decades, by rendering LPs more pleasurable. If we talk here about compressing data, it would be fair to say that LPs perform “data expansion,” adding unmusical information in the form of crosstalk, noise, and distortions of many kinds. More comes off of the LP than was in the original master tape. However, because of those very same masking phenomena that allow perceptual data reduction systems to work, the noises and distortions are perceptually attenuated. So successful is this perceptual noise and distortion reduction, that good LPs played on good systems can still sound impressive.” Well, at least to the long-term LP listener.
And that’s why LP gear designers and LP mastering engineers are the worst possible judges of what that gear actually sounds like, to the unindoctrinated mind. Their words relate only to fellow indoctrinees.