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Kirsten Edkins – Shapes and Sound – comparison of vinyl AAA, Amazon 24 bits 44.1kHz) and Qobuz Download (24 bits 176.4 kHz)

Jean.Francois

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Hello,
Kirsten Edkins' album "Shapes & Sound" was recorded for the launch of Kevin Grey's new label Cohearent Records by award-winning recording engineer Kevin Gray.
Kirsten Edkins -  Shapes and Sound - small.jpg


The album was recorded entirely analog/tube in Gray's new studio, Cohearent Recording.
It was released on January 24, 2023 on Cohearent Records. So this is a recent recording made on legendary equipment, with the famous Studer C37, a purely analog tape recorder with over fifty tubes, offering excellent bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio.
Kirsten Edkins -  Shapes and Sound - vinyl03 - small.jpg

This C37 tape recorder was used for recording. For the mastering recorder, a hybrid model is used, with A80 transport and C37 electronics. You can find out more about the recorders on the tour of the DES studios. Available only on vinyl at the beginning of the year, it has been available for streaming and purchase in high-resolution format since the end of August.

For this analysis, you'll find 3 versions tested: AAA vinyl (purely analog), Amazon Music (24/44.1) and Qobuz Download24/176.4).
All three versions are dynamic with a DR14, as shown in the waveform below (from the vinyl).
waveform - Shapes and Sound - vinyl - small.jpg

Waveform : vinyl
The graph below compares the spectrum of the vinyl (white curve) with the spectrum of Amazon's streaming stereo version (blue curve).
The spectrum analysis shows a difference (yellow zone) in the vinyl cut compared to the digitized tape, as no specific mastering has been performed.
The yellow arrow indicates the maximum frequency of the Amazon version at 22 kHz, due to the 44.1 kHz sampling frequency.
Spectrum - Shapes and Sound - vinyl (white) vs Amazon (blue) - small.jpg

Spectrum : vinyl (white curve) vs Amazon (blue curve)

The vinyl version, faithful to the sound traditions of yesteryear, proves to be an authentic marvel for music lovers. Like its digital counterparts, it fully preserves the dynamics of the original recording, offering unrivalled sonic immersion. The pressing of this vinyl was carried out with impeccable attention to detail, considerably reducing surface noise. Entirely analog, this record will undoubtedly delight purists and vinyl enthusiasts alike.
Compared with the very successful digital versions (particularly 24/176), the sounds emanating from this vinyl are warmer, creating an almost tangible sonic spatiality that seems to stretch out before the listener.

You can find extracts to compare the versions, as well as all the measurements here, including the Qobuz version in 24/176.4.

Enjoy Listening
Jean-François
 

DVDdoug

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he sounds emanating from this vinyl are warmer
What does "warm" mean to you?

I used to think it means a boost in the upper-bass (or lower-mids) and perhaps some slight high-frequency roll-off. Back in the vinyl days my phono preamp had a "warm" bass boost like that (the RIAA curve was a little off). When I got my 1st CD player the bass was weaker (colder?).

But some people describe "slight pleasing distortion" as warmth, and maybe some people might describe the low-level background (RIAA filtered) hiss from a viny record as warmth...

So personally, I now try to avoid those vague words or I'll explain what I mean. Sometimes I'll say dull (rolled-off highs) or bright (boosted highs) and then I like to put the little description in parenthesis like that.
 

kemmler3D

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I think of any comparison between technically disparate formats I've seen, I think these all show the closest match. From what I can see Mr. Gray did exactly what he's "supposed" to do, which is translate the same mix to different formats with as little change as possible while respecting the technical limitations of a given format. Getting the same spectrum and DR on vinyl as well as high-res digital is (from what I understand) not as trivial as it sounds. Cool stuff.
 
OP
J

Jean.Francois

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What does "warm" mean to you?

I used to think it means a boost in the upper-bass (or lower-mids) and perhaps some slight high-frequency roll-off. Back in the vinyl days my phono preamp had a "warm" bass boost like that (the RIAA curve was a little off). When I got my 1st CD player the bass was weaker (colder?).

But some people describe "slight pleasing distortion" as warmth, and maybe some people might describe the low-level background (RIAA filtered) hiss from a viny record as warmth...

So personally, I now try to avoid those vague words or I'll explain what I mean. Sometimes I'll say dull (rolled-off highs) or bright (boosted highs) and then I like to put the little description in parenthesis like that.
Indeed, it's not so easy to describe, as it's a combination of elements due to the softness of the highs, and the bass that can be slightly less dry than in digital. Then there's the distortion of vinyl and the reduced crosstalk.
This phenomenon can be found even if the response curves between vinyl and digital are perfectly superimposed.
 
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