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Variable quality of CDs ... grrrr!
Variable quality of CDs ... grrrr!
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Old 16th July 2004, 06:31 AM   #1
ray_moth is offline ray_moth  Indonesia
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Default Variable quality of CDs ... grrrr!

Hi there,

I have several CD recordings, mostly classical music, and I'm quite surprised to find a wide variation in quality between different brands.

For example, my half-a-dozen or so NAXOS CDs seem very harsh in the loud parts; Deutsche Gramophon and Philips are better but not perfect, and the best seem to be Decca.

In addition, I notice that the huge dynamic range of which the CD is capable is often misused so that, if I turn up the gain to hear the quiet pasages, then the loud passages are deafening. This is an unrealistic experience, not at all like being present at an actual concert. It would be like sitting at the rear of the auditorium for the quiet bits and then running to the front for the loud bits, and then some! It makes listening to music at home an unpleasant experience and I can't imagine why anyone would want to record in that way or why they would think anyone else would want to listen to it!

I would be very interested to hear other people's views on which CD recordings they have found to be the best, in terms of quality of sound and dynamic range.

Regards, Ray
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Old 17th July 2004, 02:13 AM   #2
tenderland is offline tenderland  United States
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Default cd quality

I understand where you are coming from. I often buy several recordings of a specific piece to find the "perfect recording " (for me)

1) I mostly listen to classical
2) RECORDINGS i WILL NEVER BUY --- TELARC, Deutsche Gramophon
they sound like tin, and cardboard in that order

my favorites would have to be

Reference Recordings( a tad brite)
Fritz Reiner(chicago symphany orchestra) - rca living stereo jvc xrcd - they lack a little presence but are smooth

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Old 18th July 2004, 12:43 PM   #3
tuneman is offline tuneman  Australia
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i've noticed the same thing! its hard to find good recordings of the kind of music i like' some are just appauling and have very obvious faults, i don't understand how it gets throught he studio like that, especially with things that are clearly audible! even to people that dont nessacarily care much for quality recordings.
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Old 19th July 2004, 07:30 PM   #4
Swedish Chef is offline Swedish Chef  Sweden
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Default Dynamic range of music

About the dynamic range of CD recordings I could not disagree more. While human hearing has a dynamic range of about 120 dB, the standard CD format has a DR of 96 dB and most recordings will not even get close to using the full range. Very few speaker systems are capable of cleanly reproducing 120 dB and this sound pressure level is easily reached in classical music on loud passages.

Perceived "loudness" is often a matter of distortion rather than actual SPL.

"Knowing what to do but not why is no use in a changing world" - The Art of Sound Reproduction
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Old 14th August 2004, 09:52 AM   #5
phowell1 is offline phowell1  Canada
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I'm afraid I have to agree with Swedish Chef, although the wide dynamic range does cause me a few headaches of a different sort.
I live in a basement apartment and while I love music with wide dynamic range, I often can't enjoy it without being conscious of the fact that with every bombardment of tympani I am one step closer to being homeless.

The best sounding classical CD I have is "The Last Recording", by Vladimir Horowitz. The engineers truly captured the sound of Horowitz's piano, and I recommend it.
perry howell
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Old 15th August 2004, 11:35 AM   #6
Brushpilot is offline Brushpilot  United States
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I can't help but wonder if the problem could be that the recording engineers are randomly given tasks which include working on musical styles or artists that they just can't stand. If they can't get into the particular music they are working on, how could they possibly make a good recording? All they could do is just watch the vu meters and "fly by instruments."
I agree, the quality often stinks.
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Old 15th August 2004, 12:21 PM   #7
pinkmouse is offline pinkmouse  Europe
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Variable quality of CDs ... grrrr!
Originally posted by Brushpilot
If they can't get into the particular music they are working on, how could they possibly make a good recording?

Engineers will be listening for distortion and general levels, etc, all the big choices about balance and suchlike are generally made by producers or record company reps, and they put their interpretation of what sounds good into the recording, just like musicians, (or conductors! ), do.

So when you buy a recording you like, it is probably mixed by a producer who wants to hear the same things as you do, and conversely if you don't like a recording, the producer has probably got different tastes...
Rick: Oh Cliff / Sometimes it must be difficult not to feel as if / You really are a cliff / when fascists keep trying to push you over it! / Are they the lemmings / Or are you, Cliff? / Or are you Cliff?
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Old 20th August 2004, 04:19 AM   #8
ray_moth is offline ray_moth  Indonesia
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Default I think I've found the reason fo rthe distortion

I've been listening to my CDs using a Philips VCD player feeding into a TV. The input to my amp is take from a line output socket on the TV. I know this is hardly a "top end hi-fi" arrangement and I intend to get a proper, decent CD player but it'll have to do for now. Anyway, what I eventually realized was that the input from the VCD was overloading the TV, causing the sound to clip. (My amp has a volume control at the input but the TV does not). However, the VCD unit does have an output level control and when I reduced the output by half, the distortion diappeared in all but my worst CDs.
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