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Old 10-08-2007, 11:48 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Louisiana Swamp
Posts: 1,739
Default Re: The vinyl, the tape or CD debate!

I wouldn't really call vinyl pure. When I think of pure, I think of clean.Vinyl, like tape, imparts a lot of character onto the sound it carries. Is that a bad thing? No, I like the sound of vinyl- I just wouldn't call it pure. :P Some bands still put out vinyl. It has a cult following these days. Also, lots of electronic artists put their stuff on vinyl for DJs to mix with. I have a few records, but nothing to play them on. Also, records can be stereo- not just mono.

Tape... well I guess I could see why you would say it has a flat sound. I mean, it's 1/4" tape (or smaller?) and especially when it's a rock band that's probably already compressed, the tape compresses it even more. This is even before compression was used to squash everything in the radio loudness wars. Just distortion on guitar will compress the guitar sound. I still have a box of tapes around here.

CDs... man they are just perfect to me. Audio quality is great though I would like it bumped up to DVD quality (48kHz / 24bit). They are just the right length. Do we really need albums longer than an hour? I only wish they could have as much facial artwork as vinyl. That's what I would like. Vinyl cases with CDs in them. heheh

CDs too digital? Too clean? Personally, I prefer listening to music as it was intended- without getting the coloration of the media it is presented on. Also, just because the music you listen to is on a CD, doesn't mean it was recorded digitally. There are still plenty of studios out there recording with 1/2" to 2" tape. Despite the fact that ProTools has become the new standard, you will still see a lot of outboard analog gear that is used during mixing and part of the incoming signal chain for recording.

In some studios, the DAW has only replaced the reel to reel tape deck. Everything else may be outboard. Lots of engineers still prefer to mix on a real desk with outboard FX, and will even print those mixes to tape before bringing them back into the digital domain. With the right mic and preamp selection, you can color the sound in plenty of ways. The analog and digital world is a lot more blended than perhaps you are aware of. Using analog gear in the recording and mixing process will add to a 'warm' sound.

In fact, since Pro Tools became the standard, there has been a real demand on vintage analog gear. Some people think you can only get great sounds with that stuff. Any experienced engineer will be able to make a great sound with anything.

As for MP3s, they are a loss format. That means during the conversion to MP3, your converter will drop out some frequencies. MP3s will actually drop out frequencies that are audible to the ear, which is why lower bit rate ones sounds the way they do. Some people will only encode their MP3s at a high bitrate to get a near CD quality file- however at that point you really defeat the purpose of making an MP3 because the file size is much larger. The standard MP3 bitrate is 128k which isn't bad. The average listener probably can't tell the difference between it and the original CD, but I can.

It's a shame because there is a format called OGG that is a lossless format, meaning the frequencies it drops are not audible to the ear. So you get much smaller file sizes with much better audio quality than MP3s. But it's a little late since MP3s have dominated the market(?).

Wow... long post. :)
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