Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 00:05 UTC
Multimedia, AV "On October 1 1982, Joel's sixth studio album, 52nd Street, was the first commercially released CD album... Which means CDs are 30-years-old today. It's worth noting here that 52nd Street wasn't a new album - it was launched initially in 1978, but it was selected for relaunch on the new digital audio disc, rolling out alongside the first CD player - the Sony CDP-101 - in Japan. But of course, the CD didn't spring up overnight - the road to launch started long before 1982." I'm still 100% CD when it comes to music. The act of physically holding a new album in your hands for the first time and gently placing the disk in the tray can't be matched by pressing a download button behind a computer.
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RE: I don't like cds but
by ilovebeer on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 01:42 UTC in reply to "I don't like cds but"
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Until either most albums are mastered with a compression codec in mind or else we see lossless download services, I'll still buy them and rip them to lossless.

It should be noted that compression used in the recording chain is not the same type of compression used in typical data compression. In that regard you will never see masters with data compression applied.

I'm one of those oddballs that can actually hear the difference between a cd and a compressed file (note though that cds themselves are compressed, just to a lesser extent).

Redbook audio (which is whats used for a cd) is not compressed. That is why audio cds have a strict size/playtime limit directly related to the size of the disc itself.

The exceptions are some of those new albums mastered for iTunes, those sound damn good coming from studio masters through an optimized AAC encoder. You can make most modern formats, compressed or otherwise, sound really nice if the mastering is done correctly and the encoding parameters are optimized.

The above is only (mostly) true because most modern formats share similarities in key parts of their encoding algorithms. It should also be noted that the optimal encoder settings are on a per case basis. In other words, what works well for one piece make not for another.

Mastering is the polish applied to whats already there. The only way to have great audio is to provide the mastering engineer with something great to work with. Mastering can't work miracles -- the real magic needs to happen during recording and mixing.

Sadly, however, most commercial download services are not doing this which is why I'm glad to see at least one of them start making this move.

This is a little misleading. The best `itunes music` is the product of masters produced specifically for their encoding process. Those masters wouldn't be of much use any other way. The point is that Apple doesn't have some magic encoder settings they use -- they get source material designed for their encoder chain.

Then again, most commercial download services other than iTunes are using mp3 (sometimes in a drm-protected container) and you can't make mp3 come close to cd quality no matter how you master it. AAC and Vorbis most definitely, but not mp3 which I do not consider a modern format and desperately wish we'd never see mp3 again.

You're commonly misusing "quality" in this way. Whether or not you can decode an mp3 and have it sound `like a cd` depends greatly on the source. Quality isn't something that can be quantified with "mp3", "cd", or any other other medium used to present audio data. "CD" audio can sound great or it can sound like shit. The same is true for mp3s and everything else.

For anyone who truly cares about audio quality or who boldly labels themselves as an audiophile (most of which aren't), I strongly urge you to learn what mastering really is, and how audio is produced for different delivery/presentation methods. It's a complex topic with many sub-topics. That the reason why so many people mistakenly say things like `cd quality`.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: I don't like cds but
by WereCatf on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 07:13 in reply to "RE: I don't like cds but"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Redbook audio (which is whats used for a cd) is not compressed.


I believe he is confused between compression of levels and actual data compression -- those two are indeed not even nearly the same thing. The kind of compression he refers to when he mentions CDs is typically called 'loudness' yet he goes on to compare it to algorithmic compression of data streams. That is a mistake not a single, true audiophile would make.

Here's two links about loudness: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness

The above is only (mostly) true because most modern formats share similarities in key parts of their encoding algorithms. It should also be noted that the optimal encoder settings are on a per case basis. In other words, what works well for one piece make not for another.


Indeed. The encoder isn't actually modified in any way or form as the OP seems to believe, the whole "mastered for iTunes" is all about guidelines for mastering the content for the average iTunes - user. All the work is done by the professional behind the master, there is no magic about the encoder.

Another link to share: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/04/does-mastered-for-itunes-matte...

For anyone who truly cares about audio quality or who boldly labels themselves as an audiophile (most of which aren't), I strongly urge you to learn what mastering really is, and how audio is produced for different delivery/presentation methods. It's a complex topic with many sub-topics. That the reason why so many people mistakenly say things like `cd quality`.


Heh. I'm far from an audiophile -- I can barely hear the difference between a loud fart in the forest and Sibelius' Finlandia -- but atleast I know what mastering means and how one master fits for one case and why but not another.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: I don't like cds but
by darknexus on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 12:05 in reply to "RE: I don't like cds but"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Redbook audio (which is whats used for a cd) is not compressed. That is why audio cds have a strict size/playtime limit directly related to the size of the disc itself.

My apologies, I used the wrong word. That's what I get for being awake for thirty-five hours at a stretch ;) . I meant to say cds are lossy, not compressed, and they are. They are downsampled from the original recording in order to fit on cds and also to maintain compatibility with most consumer cd players. What you get on a cd is 44.1 khz/16 bit audio, vs the 96 or even 192 khz/24 bit audio that most studios are using these days. There is often mastering done on the audio before it is downsampled as well to polish it up so it sounds good in the new format, not dissimilar to what's being experimented with using some modern lossy formats.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: I don't like cds but
by ilovebeer on Tue 2nd Oct 2012 16:25 in reply to "RE[2]: I don't like cds but"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

My apologies, I used the wrong word. That's what I get for being awake for thirty-five hours at a stretch ;) . I meant to say cds are lossy, not compressed, and they are. They are downsampled from the original recording in order to fit on cds and also to maintain compatibility with most consumer cd players. What you get on a cd is 44.1 khz/16 bit audio, vs the 96 or even 192 khz/24 bit audio that most studios are using these days. There is often mastering done on the audio before it is downsampled as well to polish it up so it sounds good in the new format, not dissimilar to what's being experimented with using some modern lossy formats.

Yes and no. What you said is true in some cases but untrue in others, it's really a matter of what the producer wants to do. You have people who believe the higher the rates, the better, but that really only shows benefit when you're doing a lot of processing. You have others who believe keeping the audio as close to the intended output rates is best because it takes the least amount of processing to get there. The "right" recording rates depend on what you're recording and what you intend to do with it. Some people believe mastering and then converting is best, while others believe converting first and then mastering is best because what you hear is the end result.

Every single recorded work is an individual piece of art, no different than a painting. With a painting you make decisions about colors, type of paint, type of canvas, type of brush, etc. With audio you make decisions about type of mic'ing, type of recording method, type of processing, etc. That's why blanket statements are so easily opposed. The same is true for video as well, but that's a whole other can of worms.

Reply Parent Score: 3