Hans Fugal hans at
Sun Jan 11 08:20:29 MST 2009

Aaron Toponce wrote:
> Michael Torrie wrote:
>> What about the "buy the LP" method?  If you want sound quality, then LPs
>> are frankly the only way to go.  Music that goes onto CDs is so highly
>> compressed these days (mixed too loud with practically no dynamic range
>> left) that you really don't get much of the benefit of the 20bits.  It's
>> very sad and unfortunate.  Hence the difference between a 256 kbit/s mp3
>> from Amazon and the CD would be practically nothing, in terms of
>> fidelity of most of todays recordings.
> I was of the LP fan variety for years, until I came across a sad truth.
> While the imaging and tonal quality might be there (usually, it's
> mastered with the same quality as a CD), the hiss from the needle
> scratching the record can never be eliminated. I've heard some top
> quality LP systems at CES in Alexis Park, and yet I could always detect
> the hiss. That just ruins the experience for me.
> Further, unless you're listening to HDCD, CDs are either recorded at
> 12-bit or 16-bit. If you want to hear 20-bit, you need an HDCD decoder
> on your player, and most players don't ship with it. If not shipped,
> then you're probably getting 16-bits delivered.

CDs are 16-bit, yes, and more than enough for our ears when used
properly. But because of the dynamic compression most music mastered in
the past 20 years uses only the top few of those 16 bits, which is not
enough. 20-bit is important for recording and mastering because you need
the headroom for signal processing, even when using the full dynamic
range, but it is absolutely unnecessary for our ears to have more than
16 bits. 16 is actually more than we need anyway, but it's a nice power
of 2.

Putting 20 bits on and calling it HD, is like throwing developers at a
late project. You'd think it would help but you're not addressing the
core issu. At best it gives you a few years until the dynamic
compression cult "catches up" and restricts you to the top few bits again.

Hans Fugal ;

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the
right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
    -- Johann Sebastian Bach

More information about the PLUG mailing list