Thank goodness you don't live in Scunthorpe.
diz's forum posts
P.s. I tried to find Sphere for the book club, but no dice. And by no dice, I mean its not on Amazon UK, so it might as well not exist as far as I'm concerned.
I had the same trouble, so I clicked your links and they took me to the same dead-ends:
1st link goes to the kindle edition, or a hardback for GBP46, or a "bunko" paperback edition in Japanese print, or a abridged audio cassette for GBP15.
2nd link goes to show 1 paperback book available 2nd-hand from a trader with 91% satisfaction for GBP6 and a few hard-back editions that are all from the USA and will take 2 to 3 weeks to ship.
I thought "Pit Lord" was the next hero to be released. http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Abyssal_Underlord
Anyway, those Oracle skills seem to go really well with each other.
I think the new heroes they keep adding go to make Dota even more fun - if that's possible.
Certainly not all Japanese pressings have it, but the brightness trend is there. Disk mastering differs between various companies, equipment and people - and that holds true in Japan.
Picture disks can and often do sound worse than black vinyl, since the properties of the plastics used to make them can be different to the black stuff. Having said that; I have some picture disks that sound really excellent.
In the 1980's I always looked for "Masterdisk", "Sterling", "Townhouse" and such being scratched or stamped into the run-out grooves of my LPs, since those ones would often be sonically superior to albums mastered and pressed at other plants. Also, in the LP sleeve notes credits section, I looked for "Bob Ludwig" who was a prolific mastering engineer and is credited on much good sounding 1980's made records.
There were some labels that always focused on great quality record pressings; like Blue Note and Mobile Fidelity - who cut their master disks at half speed!
Japanese pressings in the 1980's had the reputation of being much brighter in tone than their equivalent Europe and US counterparts. I have several "specialty" import pressings that I paid quite a lot for at the time and they have much less bass and much more treble than I was expecting.
Japanese pressings were sold through various hi-fi mags at the time with true claims that the plastic used was superior and pressing quality was higher than that available in the west. Various arguments have been made as to why (and even if) the mastering of Japanese records had a brighter tonal balance and answers including; a cultural preference for detail and inferior master tape copies have been made for this.
I'm not sure I'd agree with vinyl sounding "warm" in general though, as many people here claim, since a decent turntable shouldn't introduce such tonal imbalances into the music it's reproducing. I've owned turntables with silicone fluid damping in tonearm troughs (i.e. an Elite Townshend Rock) and also used tonearms with silicone fluid damped bearings (like the Well Tempered Arm and the Hadcock and Mayware Unipivots, etc) in the past. Those methods of damping tonearm-generated frequencies are extreme, but do provide for a more tonally neutral sound.
Although I've moved away from dealing with messy silicone fluid in my current deck setup (Michell Gyrodec, modified (silver wired) Rega RB300, Sumiko Blue Point Special), I don't hear much "warmth" colouration in my records at all. I think this is due to the weight and suspension of the deck, the rigidity of the tonearm and the neutrality of the cartridge.
@cloudforest: I never claimed greater "fidelity" for vinyl across the frequency range - I pointed out that vinyl had a greater frequency range than CD, which is true. You seemed to introduce various reasonings about high frequencies included (or not) in vinyl recordings that can either be mitigated against or don't really exist anyway. Spectral analysis between vinyl and CD output shows the greater frequency range that records can bring to a reproduction. Vinyl frequency reproduction is also reasonably flat to 30KHz anyway and experimental pressings have been made up to 120KHz.
Your point about mass consumption is lost on me since we are talking about a niche market for audio here and the possibilities (as Peter Walker from Quad opined) for the "closest approach to the original sound". Design philosophies that can easily and faithfully reproduce all original frequencies interest me more than design philosophies that would sharply filter out frequencies above the old "red book" standard because the designs themselves would introduce their own additional harmonic distortion. "Mass consumption" means "mp3", which is objectively lower quality than CD! Your point about the "majority" of playback systems only underlines my earlier points about the exacting nature of vinyl (or any faithful sonic) reproduction.
Recent developments in audio with SACD and higher bit-rates and sampling frequencies becoming standard for audio recording and mastering indicate that the old "red book" standard is not sufficient and that better quality (with high end systems) can be attained with improved technologies. These improvements would not have become the new standard for digital if 16 bit 41KHz was considered sufficient for "perfect" audio.
DAC designs have improved, but oversampling techniques have also been used in the early CD players to maximise the sample rate so that frequencies approaching the Nyquist limit have sufficient resolution and have reduced artifacts for brick wall filtering. The additional headroom of higher sample rates makes it easier for filters to work above the audio range and reduce phase and aliasing errors. Although perfect on a mathematical level, the actual waveform produced near the nyquist limit has always needed additional processing for the human ear.
@oldguy: That would be all well and good, except that the majority of records ever produced were recorded by analogue means. At the advent of CDs, there wasn't the convenient means to record digitally and the early CDs were "AAD" (Analogue recording, Analogue mixing, Digital Transfer). CD players have been available since the early 1980s, whereas computing power and/or commercially priced hardware that enables digital multi-track recording came much later than that.
Also, don't forget about your analogue amplifiers there! As for the most nusto thing in hi-fi I've ever seen; I was around when Peter Belt (PWB products) came to notoriety. Look him up if you don't know about his contribution to audio engineering with his statically charged paint brushes, safety pins and stickers.
Everything else @diz said I agree with completely but there's a couple of real-world issues with the statement about the frequency response of vinyl compared to CD (which is "red-book" audio not "white book" BTW).
The first is that, putting aside the frequency range for a moment, the frequency response of vinyl within that range isn't flat which compromises the fidelity with which a vinyl record can reproduce the original source. The mastering engineer can try to compensate for that but it's usually very imperfect and therefore a vinyl record won't be able to match the flatness of frequency response of a CD.
The second is that during the cutting process high-frequencies are rolled-off above a certain point due to the fact that sustained levels of those high frequencies would burn out the tiny motors used to guide the cutting head. So in reality this theoretical maximum isn't really achieved.
The third issue is that the act of playing a vinyl record gradually destroys the higher frequencies in the vinyl. The worst offender in this respect is the use of conical needles in the cartridge. Elliptical needles are better in this respect but the damage done by playing a record with a conical head is irreversible, so whether that vinyl record you picked up second-hand will have retained the higher end of the frequency range depends on what equipment it's been used with before it got to you and will continue to degrade on every playback.
The last issue is that power amplifiers often suffer from non-linear distortion when they're fed signals that contain frequencies above 20kHz, so it's not even clear that it would be beneficial to the overall reproduction of the original if the recording medium could reproduce signals containing those frequencies. It's one of the reasons why there's some debate over the merits of 24/96 as an end-user format (although it's pretty much as standard at the recording/mixing/mastering stages).
Most people are lucky if their able to hear stuff above 16-17kHz, let alone above 20kHz, and that only gets worse as people get older, so it's a moot point whether anything above the current limit for CD audio is actual required at all.
Firstly, apologies - I did mean "Red book", although "White book" does have the same audio specifications.
Secondly, the vinyl itself is encoded with a waveform and it is the encoding and transcription equipment that would reproduce it accurately (or not). The accuracy of reproduction is more challenging with vinyl, since there are many more areas of issue (both mechanical and electrical) than for digital reproduction.
The frequency response of cutting lathes is far higher than the frequency response of CD audio. High frequency content in audio is typically not sustained. Although sometimes high frequencies are rolled off on vinyl (as they are naturally on the tape masters), this is often done far above the 20KHz maximum for CD audio. Look at these traces for analogue vs digital from here:
The third issue you describe about deterioration in records is true across all frequencies and is partly down to the quality of bearings in the tonearm, the suspension and tracking weight of the cartridge, although it is inevitable with physical contact and heat generated while the needle is in the groove.
Your final issue is easily resolved with proper amplifier design. I know that my record deck cartridge will start to roll off above 50KHz and my speakers will reproduce sounds in the 30KHz range (I have super-tweeters in my transmission line speakers). My preamplifier and amplifier will be capable of also amplifying that range of sound far above most human hearing.
Perhaps an issue with modern amplification is that it uses "class D" (switched mode) power supplies and amplification, which although more efficient, add a high frequency component that compromises audio quality above certain frequencies. More expensive amplifiers can use large power supplies and esoteric amplifiers running in "class A" mode (my preferred type of amplifier) won't have the switching or high frequency distortion that lesser "AB" or "D" mode amplifiers suffer.
The issue with CDs is that the maximum sampling frequency is dictated by the Nyquist theorem, so a brick wall filter must be applied over this frequency (since the samples taken will not correspond to their sampled waveforms). But leading up to the maximum sample frequency, the samples taken will less accurately describe their sampled waveform, since there will be fewer data points per high frequency wave. It led to notion that CD sounded harsh and brittle at higher frequencies. Vinyl does not have this issue and high frequencies can sound smoother and cleaner because at those high frequencies leading up to the maximum sample rate, the analogue waveforms are more accurate.
Your final thought is an interesting one and this is where objectivity departs and subjective ideas begin. We all have different hearing abilities and these abilities change (degrade) in our lives. Although I do remember an interview with an amplifier designer years ago, who stated that although we might not all hear things at ranges above 20KHz, we may feel them (as presence or ambiance) in the same way that we can feel ultra low frequencies that we can't hear either. The fact remains that if instruments can produce harmonics beyond the standard range of hearing, why shouldn't audio equipment be able to reproduce them? The CD limit was imposed at the time due to technical constraints that closely bordered the audibility of most people, so should not be used as an absolute reference in my opinion, especially since the digital waveform degrades as it reaches the maximum sample rate.