MP3s

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MP3s

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:37 pm

I don't have any experience with MP3s or downloading music, so naturally my family thought it a good idea to assign that task to me. I messed up and put my wifes' A. Bocelli on my daughter's MP3 player. I burned a CD thats half Mozart and half ABBA. I don't know how it happened.

I've heard that MP3s sound quality is inferior to CDs, but when I play them through the same set of speakers I can't tell the difference. I'm guessing its a hearing loss on my part.

I never thought CDs sounded better than vinyl, either--something I attributed to the CDs have compressed data.
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Re: MP3s

Postby dai bread » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:41 pm

Somebody who was an expert in such matters told me that the difference between analogue (vinyl) and digital (CD) recording is that analogue records every single sound in the studio, while digital samples the sound. It may be sampled many times a second, but it's still only sampled, whereas analogue has everything. Whether or not it comes across through your playback system is another matter, but that applies to CDs as well.

IMO MP3 is atrocious. That's why I don't buy music from i-stores & such places. I believe improvements have been made, but they haven't come my way yet.

When burning CDs you do have to be very careful when making your selection of items to include. Most programs will happily keep on burning until the disc is full.
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Re: MP3s

Postby analog » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:35 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote: ......

I never thought CDs sounded better than vinyl, either--something I attributed to the CDs have compressed data.


CD's ought to have more "dynamic range", ie ratio of most loud to least loud sound deliverable.
sixteen bits should give 90 or 96 db vs 70 typical for vinyl. And they should be absent tape hiss. With only 44khz sampling I don't see how they can remain faithful in the >10KHz region, but then I don't hear much up there anymore anyway..

So much depends on the care taken by the guys running the recording equipment...... and it gets tweaked (compressed) for the market it's aimed to. here's a good article:
http://www.boycott-riaa.com/article/27548

There's a CD out, "Pops Roundup", which is a remastering of a 1960-ish Fiedler/Boston Pops album. The liner notes are fascinating to read - they revived the original vacuum tube AMPEX tape recorder that had been used for the original recording sessions, then cleaned and played the original tapes through it .... They avoided digital tinkering with the signals. I regard that CD as setting the bar for just how good analog recording can be.
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Re: MP3s

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:01 am

I asked for and got an Ion turntable for Christmas. I need to record my vinyl to the computer before I lose the vinyl forever. I too have tape decks (Sansui and Akai) and hadn't considered transferring the vinyl to mylar.

I'm rather dismayed by your analog vs. digital discussion. Anyone else with exerience copying analog to computers?
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Re: MP3s

Postby dai bread » Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:25 pm

I transferred LvB's #8 symphony from vinyl to computer, and thence to CD, for my Private Trumpeter to practice conducting to. The disc had been played often over its 40-year life, and the computer showed that up brutally. (Ernest Ansermet & the Swiss Romande Orchestra. I'm showing my age!)

I have also transferred a commercial Deutch Gramophon tape cassette of Mozart's "Requiem". It was taken from a 1971 Polydor recording so was probably analogue. The computer improved it. I'm not at all sure how or why, but the computer version sounds clearer. Maybe my tape player isn't as good as it should be in an Akai stereo.
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Re: MP3s

Postby analog » Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:29 pm

Please post how that ION machine works out. I considered asking for one but was afraid I'd be disappointed in the quality - does it have a good light tracking magnetic cartridge? That was my worry...

long long time ago when I got my first cd player was amazed at how it improved the sound of my system. After some listening I decided it was dynamic range improvement over my modest turntable and plain-jane cartridge ( i think a midrange Shure Bros). But just as with vinyl i noticed a lot of variation in recording quality. Absence of dust pops is sure nice.

I have a CD of Rachmaninoff playing his own stuff. It spans almost three decades and you can hear firsthand how dramatically analog recording improved from 1920's to 1940's.
I guess the idea of "biasing" the magnetic tape was a WW2 war prize brought home from Germany, so the fifties is when real hi-fidelity recording became practical.

I too have a lot of vinyl to transcribe. Some from as early as 1916.... Looking forward to learning how. Thought the kids would teach me, but they all use pirated software and I want something with an instruction manual.... And no, i'm not quite THAT old.

Dai - what program do you use to transcribe? Go in through your sound card?
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Re: MP3s

Postby dai bread » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:00 pm

Yes it does. I simply run cables from the auxilliary terminal in my amplifier (RCA plugs) to the computer's "line in" socket (standard stereo mini-jack), get the recording program going and let it run.

My card is a Soundblaster Audigy and has a built-in recording program. It uses .wav; definitely not MP3.
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Re: MP3s

Postby jamiebk » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:05 am

Be aware that RIAA has determined that even copying legally purchased CD's to your personal computer is illegal. Apparently we can't even convert our CD's (and I assume that this applies to vinyl) to MP3 so we can carry music that we have legally purchased, with us.

It is about time that RIAA's outrageous overreach is halted. This has reached the point of absurdity. :shock: :evil: :curse:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 00693.html
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Re: MP3s

Postby Shapley » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:26 am

Constitutionally, the prohibition on re-recording of music applies only to music duplicated for sale, since the Constitution only allows Congressional regulation of commerce. However, we have allowed the courts to interpret that clause to allow regulation of anything acquired through commerce.

This overreach involves things far beyond the music industry. It is being misapplied to everything from drug trafficing to photocopying. The RIAA may be the most noticable abuser, but they are only part of the picture. We have, in the supposed interest of protecting artists' financial interest, opened the gates of Hell itself. The intent, of course, was to make it easier to prosecute music pirates but, as is usually the case, the prosecution is focusing on easier targets in the hope that such prosecutions will 'send a message' to others. The road to Hell is paved...etc.

This is actually quite typical of the results you get when you allow the government to involve itself in things that are beyond its' scope, Constitutionally. There were very real reasons our founding fathers sought to limit the power of government. Think about that when you advocate more government powers (health care, etc.).

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Re: MP3s

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:30 am

In case any lawyers read this, I paid a fee for that download and burn activity I mentioned at the start of this thread.
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Re: MP3s

Postby barfle » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:38 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:I don't have any experience with MP3s or downloading music, so naturally my family thought it a good idea to assign that task to me. I messed up and put my wifes' A. Bocelli on my daughter's MP3 player. I burned a CD thats half Mozart and half ABBA. I don't know how it happened.

I've heard that MP3s sound quality is inferior to CDs, but when I play them through the same set of speakers I can't tell the difference. I'm guessing its a hearing loss on my part.

I never thought CDs sounded better than vinyl, either--something I attributed to the CDs have compressed data.

Hmmm. It should be pretty easy to get the Bocelli files off your daughter's MP3 player. They are just computer files, and they can be deleted like any other file.

Usually when you're burning CDs, your burner program has a way to list the files you put on the CD. Burning music CDs can either be MP3s and WMAs or decompressed CD files. Which program did you use?

MP3's quality can vary all over the place. They can be pretty good, or they can be totally unlistenable. Once I get my computer back in the condition it was in before my hard drive crashed, I will continue with my experiment of seeing what the minimum acceptable bit rate is for my portable player (and the environment I use it in).

The data in CDs isn't compressed, although the signal is sampled. That's something inherent in digitizing an analog signal. 44kHz ought to be adequate for most people's hearing, although there are techniques that make CDs sound harsh. If you're looking for good-sounding CDs, I recommend Naxos, and anything engineered by John Eargle (although he's rarely credited, Naxos did release two "Engineer's Choice" CDs where he chose his favorite recordings).
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Re: MP3s

Postby barfle » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:50 pm

Haggis@wk wrote:I'm rather dismayed by your analog vs. digital discussion. Anyone else with exerience copying analog to computers?

I've done about 20 hours worth.

I have pretty decent analog LP playback equipment that includes an Esoteric Sound Surface Noise Reducer (really good for clicks and pops) and an SVHS HD Audio VCR. I copy the selections from the LP to the VCR (since my PC is in another room, and ground loops and line loads are an issue), then make a 2 hour WAV file by copying the hi-fi tape into my computer using Goldwave, which I also use to edit and further process the recording. I keep the files in WAV format and do as little processing as I can (the occasional clicks and pops that get through the Esoteric are treated in about 100mS segments), then I either transfer them to a CD or encode them to WMA files. To my ears, WMAs give better fidelity for a given bit rate, and my portable player and my DVD player can both handle them.

The secret, as always, is to keep the quality high throughout the process. If your records are shot, your CD will sound like a record that's shot. You can filter and tweak it some, but there are a few recordings I realized I would never be satisfied with. You need a decent sound card and a decent recording and editing program. I don't believe there's any difference in CD recorders as far as the digital quality is concerned, but today I think it's cheaper to by a DVD burner instead, which will also burn CDs.
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Re: MP3s

Postby barfle » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:59 pm

analog wrote:I too have a lot of vinyl to transcribe. Some from as early as 1916.... Looking forward to learning how. Thought the kids would teach me, but they all use pirated software and I want something with an instruction manual....

Try Goldwave. It's downloadable, and they let you try something like 30 operations before you have to send them $45, at which time you own a pretty decent digital audio editor and recorder.
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Re: MP3s

Postby Shapley » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:03 pm

I received one of these for Christmas. It's not a high-end turntable like my old Kenwood, but it does offer 'one touch' recording of vinyl to CD. I expect the quality of the recordings to be adequate for automobile listening, but I may be pleasantly surprised.

I haven't tried it out yet, but I hope to pretty soon.
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Re: MP3s

Postby analog » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:53 pm

Thanks for the pointer to Goldwave, Barfle... will check that one out....

Giant Communist Robot wrote:In case any lawyers read this, I paid a fee for that download and burn activity I mentioned at the start of this thread.


I was under the assumption that when I pay the sixteen dollars or so for a music CD i have given the artists my fair share and the music is mine to enjoy as I see fit - they agree i can invite friends over to hear it, I can make myself a copy to play in the car or put in a fireproof vault, etc. What the artists have not agreed to let me do is sell or give copies to friends who have not paid any royalties.

So now it becomes a question - if I put a copyrighted piece on my backup hard-drive and one of those webcrawling snoop programs searches my drive and copies it unbeknownst to me, who has crossed the law? The guy running the snoop program or me?

With that logic Bonnie and Clyde would sue the patrons of banks they robbed, claiming the injuria of inaction caused them the damnum of incarceration...
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Re: MP3s

Postby jamiebk » Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:05 pm

analog wrote:So now it becomes a question - if I put a copyrighted piece on my backup hard-drive and one of those webcrawling snoop programs searches my drive and copies it unbeknownst to me, who has crossed the law?


According to RIAA, it would be you...outrageous as it is:

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.

"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."

RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."


This is total BS, IMHO This RIAA org is going to push this to the point where (hopefully) even some dim-whitted judge can see the absurdity of it. RIAA is a dinosaur organization that has failed miserably at keeping up with the technological advances of the industry. :curse:
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Re: MP3s

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:12 pm

The data in CDs isn't compressed


Yes it is. Chunks of it have been taken out and are missing. We have different premises here; I was refering to the original data--the music--and I guess you were refering to the digital code on the CD.

I was under the assumption that when I pay the sixteen dollars or so for a music CD


I didn't buy any CDs. I paid a fee to download and burn tracks.
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Re: MP3s

Postby barfle » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:16 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:
The data in CDs isn't compressed


Yes it is. Chunks of it have been taken out and are missing. We have different premises here; I was refering to the original data--the music--and I guess you were refering to the digital code on the CD.

Sampling is not the same as compression, and compression does not necessarily involve loss of data.

And even analog recordings are not complete documents of an event. They are subject to bandwidth limitations (along the lines of a digital sampling rate) and signal-to-noise ratios (along the lines of bit depth). They are also subject to analog signal manipulation (ever hear of RIAA equalization?) and dynamic range compression (to keep the soft passages from being lost in the tape hiss, semiconductor junction noise and the limitations of ths size of vinyl moleculse) and, let's face it, no microphone is perfect.

While Edison seemed to be satisfied that he could get something recognizable out of his wax cylinder recorder, modern engineers who work on audio and video recording technologies very carefully study human ear and eye characteristics, and attempt to mimic them as closely as possible. And occasionally, they succeed remarkably well.
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Re: MP3s

Postby jamiebk » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:32 pm

There just ain't nuttin' like a live performance!
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Re: MP3s

Postby barfle » Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:13 pm

jamiebk wrote:There just ain't nuttin' like a live performance!

Yes, but even then, there are elements that reduce the "fidelity" of the experience. Coughing by audience members is probably the easy one, but even the seat in the arena can affect the sound of the orchestra.

I recall many times in Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa, CA, during piano concertos, I could hear the sound of the clattering mechanism echoing off the wall to my right. It really diminished the experience for me.

I recall a few elements of a magazine article (Audio?) from probably the 1980s where a reporter sat in various seats in Carnegie Hall (?) and described the distortion from the acoustics of the hall in ways that mimicked distortions caused by audio gear of the time (including a dirty stylus).
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