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Topic: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s (Read 2070 times) previous topic - next topic
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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #25
Under no legitimate circumstances will the dynamic range of vinyl ever exceed the dynamic range of CD, under any frequency, given the wide performance gap and the physical limitations of vinyl playback.

Does "the record company compressed the heck out of the master that ended up on CD but not the master that ended up on vinyl count?

(Which begs the question, why can't they use the same master, minus RIAA curve and stuff like that, on CD?)

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #26
(Which begs the question, why can't they use the same master, minus RIAA curve and stuff like that, on CD?)
Because they have chosen the wrong side in the loudness war, but don't care about how the vinyl sounds, as it is a niche product?

Dan Swanö was hit by that record company policy and chose to include files with the full dynamic range mix on the CD. You would get "lossless" with dynamic range 6, and mp3s with dynamic range 11, the latter from the master he could use for the vinyl because the label didn't interfere with that one.



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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #27
Because they have chosen the wrong side in the loudness war, but don't care about how the vinyl sounds, as it is a niche product?
Perhaps these people at the labels know exactly what they are doing? After all, loundness is marketing, vinyl is marketing, streaming is marketing; these people sell, and they will do anything to get bigger numbers. All of this works the way it does because this maximises ROI. The 'media' industry is about maximising profit, not quality.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #28
How much vinyl comes with download code these days?

When physical items become merchandise, it isn't that hard to see that a bigger package has an upper hand.
Only thing better with vinyl is its higher resolution cover art. Vinyl as a format however, has no advantages over CD, none whatsoever.

they know that the record companies haven't been monkeying with the dynamic range
I wouldn't put that much faith into technical expertise of vinyl buyers.
I wouldn't either. The average vinyl buyer obviously doesn't know what the hell dynamic range is. However, pseudo-audiophiles have been hyping up vinyl for years now on various forums and such, that vinyl sounds better, and this word of mouth has been spreading to less tech savvy people that vinyl has better sound because it goes avove 44.1 kHz and that analogue sounds better than digital and similar nonsense Disregarding the very annoying clicks and pops that undeniably come with all vinyls (unless you're using a laser turntable, which are ridiculously expensive anyway), which might not be that audible with laptop speakers, but they're definitely audible once you listen to vinyl through headsets and such. Anyway, vinyl does sound better not because it's capable of sounding better than CD, but because the records companies cannot destroy the dynamic range of vinyl due to the technical limitations of vinyl as a format. Vinyl rarely goes below DR 9 or so, whereas with CD and digital streaming, they can go down to DR 3, which sounds VERY LOUD, and the waveform is basically a brick at that point; no dynamic range whatsoever.

Does "the record company compressed the heck out of the master that ended up on CD but not the master that ended up on vinyl count?
Yeah, pretty much. For the most part, they still master albums properly at first, then they use the correctly mastered album tracks for vinyl and take the correctly mastered tracks and compress the hell out of their dynamic range and put it on the CD version and also provide these DR destroyed tracks for Spotify, Tidal and similar services. This is also why buying lossless FLACs is kind of pointless if it's a newly released album we're talking about (or "remaster"), because a lossy high bitrate mp3 with full dynamic range will sound much better than a lossless copy of the same song but with poor dynamic range. So while lossless is great, it doesn't necessarily translate to higher quality. We should demand full dynamic range before we buy it.

(Which begs the question, why can't they use the same master, minus RIAA curve and stuff like that, on CD?)
Because the record companies are run by profit driven morons, who don't care about artistic quality. It works exactly like this:

"If you put the most important cultural elements in society into the hands of commercial people who want to make a profit they will bring it down to the lowest common denominator." - Richard Hoggart

Basically, the record companies are saying you're too stupid to raise the volume yourself while listening to music, so we'll do it for you, even if that means the album will sound like crap. It's completely unnecessary to compress the dynamic range just to get an increase in volume. No benefits come from this practice, especially with ReplayGain being around, and other loudness normalization features in streaming services.

The underlying problem here is that record companies have been putting out increasingly bad music since the 80s ended, and to compensate for the lack of musical quality, they're raising the volume for you :) Now while a lot of good music was still being made in the 90s, the 90s was definitely a downgrade compared to the musical magic of the 80s. When the music industry seriously began compressing the dynamic range of music albums (and singles!) in the mid 90s or so, this also went hand in hand with the record companies okaying crappy music (useless boy bands, generic autotunes-style made songs and so on). Gone were the real rock bands at this point that actually composed their own music and wrote their own lyrics. Now it was up to a handful of people, "musicians" if you can call them that (you know, the Max Martin types), who did all the music on their PCs, and mastered the "music" with mandatory hypercompression of the dynamic range. These few "musicians" have been writing most songs to the Britney Spears, Christina Aguileras, Beyoncés, Justin Timberlakes, Justin Biebers and so on. So they're in full control and they're taking orders from the record company CEOs that it's a natural law that modern music must sound as loud as possible, because God forbid that people won't like a song just because its volume isn't loud enough. You know, as opposed to back in the days, in the 1980s, when music was made with excellent dynamic range for the CD versions, and the music was really good too. You make good music, you won't need to apply inefficient band-aid like setting the volume really high at the expense of dynamic range.

If ReplayGain was around back in the days, we'd still have full dynamic range and all we had to do was to change the RG tag, and this wouldn't have been an issue. But ReplayGain came around the time when people began encoding their CDs to mp3 and so on, so ReplayGain was too late.

Perhaps these people at the labels know exactly what they are doing?
They don't. If they did, they wouldn't do what they're doing to the music. Basically, they're raping the music they're selling to us. It's really unacceptable.

After all, loundness is marketing, vinyl is marketing, streaming is marketing; these people sell, and they will do anything to get bigger numbers. All of this works the way it does because this maximises ROI. The 'media' industry is about maximising profit, not quality.
Yeah, profit above quality will always be a problem. That said, the issue here is that not only do these people not know what they're doing, but more importantly, the music industry isn't regulated and standardized. Standards are very important, and regulation is there to protect the people; in this case, our ears. Recently, EBU R 128 was developed to end the loudness wars:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBU_R_128

EBU R 128 is a great standard. Unfortunately it hasn't been adopted industry-wide by the record companies, and it probably never will as long as these record companies are unregulated and therefore don't have to follow industry standards like EBU R 128. Some have been saying for a couple of years now, that Spotify's loudness normalization setting (basically Spotify's version of ReplayGain) is going to end the loudness war, however, that doesn't mean that the current content available on Spotify will suddenly get full dynamic range, because Spotify will need the original, uncompressed masters for that. Spotify's loudness normalization setting is a good thing, and some have speculated that it doesn't give an incentive to the record companies to compress the dynamic range for the sake of loudness, but I have yet to see any change here.

That said, not all musicians destroy the dynamic range of their albums. Some musicians still provide more or less acceptable dynamic range for the CD versions (though it's still not as good as the dynamic range was in the 80s). And we're talking about a small minority of contemporary musicians who don't monkey around with the CD dynamic range.

Here's a few articles that all say Spotify has ended the loudness wars:

https://theindustryobserver.thebrag.com/spotify-ended-loudness-wars/
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/end-loudness-war
https://www.productionmusiclive.com/blogs/news/mastering-tip-the-end-of-loudness-war

It might be the case that Spotify and other streaming services will end the loudness war, but this sad state of affairs will remain like it is now for at least another decade or so. Personally I believe the record companies aren't destroying the dynamic range of the music they're selling us just to maximize profits (it's questionable if they're actually making a profit on louder music), but that it's intentional because they don't want to sell digital and lossless 24/192 of any music album with excellent, uncompressed dynamic range, whereas with vinyl it doesn't matter because vinyl is crap quality anyway. Think about it: if the music industry began selling uncompromised quality at full 24/192 and no dynamic range compression, as soon as people began ripping these albums to FLAC and uploading them on various piracy sites, you'd have studio level quality of the original masters, available for free. So the music industry I'm sure is content selling us music albums with destroyed dynamic range and giving us the misleading impression that it's high quality because it's lossless, as if lossless was the only criteria for quality.

Anyway, all that said (long wall of text here), vinyl is persisting due to it currently having better masters as far as the dynamic range is concerned, not because vinyl as a format has better dynamic range than CD (or any other digital format), but because the music industry has fallen in love with loudness and destroyed dynamic range for digital music. While vinyl really sounds like crap, most people can hear that albums on vinyl sound normal, whereas albums on CD sound loud as hell, and terrible, so they go with vinyl due to a misunderstanding that it's the analogue signal or something that gives off a better sound. People just aren't aware of dynamic range compression; it's a geek topic.
Codec enthusiast!

Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #29
Also, regarding the "better" dynamic range, I think you should give our wiki a good read:

https://wiki.hydrogenaud.io/index.php?title=Myths_(Vinyl)#Myth:_Vinyl_sounds_better_than_CD
    I'm not sure what you're trying to point out with this wiki? It's saying basically exactly what I was saying. Yes, CD definitely has a superior dynamic range compared to vinyl, as stated in the wiki:
 
 

My bad! I'd just skimmed through your rather long post and got it all tits up.
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.

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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #30
Wax cylinders are better sounding. 😂
 
+1
I think we should use the same nonsensical tone when confronting flat earthers' by saying Earth isn't neither a globe nor a flat surface, but doughnut-shaped instead.  :))
Listen to the music, not the media it's on.

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Re: Vinyl outsold CDs for the first time since the '80s

Reply #31
The underlying problem here is that record companies have been putting out increasingly bad music since the 80s ended, and to compensate for the lack of musical quality, they're raising the volume for you :) Now while a lot of good music was still being made in the 90s, the 90s was definitely a downgrade compared to the musical magic of the 80s. When the music industry seriously began compressing the dynamic range of music albums (and singles!) in the mid 90s or so, this also went hand in hand with the record companies okaying crappy music (useless boy bands, generic autotunes-style made songs and so on). Gone were the real rock bands at this point that actually composed their own music and wrote their own lyrics. Now it was up to a handful of people, "musicians" if you can call them that (you know, the Max Martin types), who did all the music on their PCs, and mastered the "music" with mandatory hypercompression of the dynamic range. These few "musicians" have been writing most songs to the Britney Spears, Christina Aguileras, Beyoncés, Justin Timberlakes, Justin Biebers and so on.
I think that every generation have said "they don't make music like they used to".

There is nothing inherently wrong with dynamic compression, autotune, Swedish producers or fit 18 year olds dancing while they sing. Just like there was nothing inherently wrong with Elvis moving his hips while performing, people making their guitar amplifier distort or the other pop music inventions. These things tends to move in waves, and just when people can not stand any more polished commercial sound, we have something like punk or grunge as counter reactions.

Loudness wars is somewhat unique in that it occurs very late in the process, someone might "master for Spotify" without the artist or recording engineers being involved in the process. And it is a solution to a technical problem that does not exist, or a solution applied at the wrong place, depending on perspective.

-k

 
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