Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ed »

If the hierarchy of quality is correct, isn't that really an elitist, white patriarchal construct that has zero to do with the delivered quality? If ones ears are fucked and ones speakers are shit them what earthly difference does it make? So Neil Young can be actualized? Come on.

I recall the bs about limes per mm for lenses. What are the lines per mm for photo paper? What difference does it make? Whos zooming who? Speak up dammit.

ETA the implication of this is that you can implement Rob's idea but NOT actually monky with the audio. No one will notice.

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome »

sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
A question of balance... even a high bitrate mp3 is smaller than a FLAC. And disk space is cheap but not free, nor is it unlimited on things like mobile devices. I just have to be confident that the quality is probably a little better than I can distinguish.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome »

Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate vinyl, but I don't think objective sound quality is the primary appeal.
"If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight! Sun Tzu said that, and I'd say he knows a little bit more about fighting than you do, pal, because he invented it, and then he perfected it so that no living man could best him in the ring of honor. Then, he used his fight money to buy two of every animal on earth, and then he herded them onto a boat, and then he beat the crap out of every single one. And from that day forward any time a bunch of animals are together in one place it's called a zoo! (Beat) Unless it's a farm!"
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by DrMatt »

Mobile devices generally have ZERO disk space. A disk would be a liability.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

All right............'storage space'............but who's nit-picking? :)

And as far as the ultimate sound quality of vinyl, I only buy it when I can't find the release on CD and really really want it.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ceptimus »

FM broadcasts are usually stereo. They broadcast a Left + Right signal, and a Left - Right signal, which the receiver can then convert back into left and right channels. The reason they do it this way is that cheap FM radios with only one speaker only need to receive and play the Left + Right part.

To enable the two signals to be modulated onto the same carrier they are put through a filter that removes any frequencies above 15 kHz (and below 30 Hz) There is a 'pilot tone' at 19kHz with the L+R signal below and the L-R signal above.

Young kids can hear frequencies up to about 20kHz, so FM clips off some of the stuff they might hear. Us old fogies would never hear the difference.

In the UK there has been a publicity campaign to roll out DAB (digital audio broadcasting). They tell everyone about the 'improved sound quality' that DAB can offer. This is complete bollocks. The DAB format might be able to beat FM in theory, but the broadcasters choose to cram lots of stations into the available bandwidth rather than use the bandwidth to provide fewer higher quality channels. The result is that all the radio stations are worse quality on DAB than on FM - and sometimes very much worse.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

gnome wrote:IIRC, mp3 format is "lossy" but should you choose, you can create one with more fidelity than human ears can hear if you don't mind a larger file.

Personally (and it was old jj that got me on it) I think recording-end volume compression does more damage to sound quality than anything else.
It could be argued that recording-end buggery was part of what the artist intended and as such is not damage. Post recording compression however, as in radio and streaming processing is fucking with the artists intent and cannot be considered anything but damage.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

ceptimus wrote:FM broadcasts are usually stereo. They broadcast a Left + Right signal, and a Left - Right signal, which the receiver can then convert back into left and right channels. The reason they do it this way is that cheap FM radios with only one speaker only need to receive and play the Left + Right part.

To enable the two signals to be modulated onto the same carrier they are put through a filter that removes any frequencies above 15 kHz (and below 30 Hz) There is a 'pilot tone' at 19kHz with the L+R signal below and the L-R signal above.

Young kids can hear frequencies up to about 20kHz, so FM clips off some of the stuff they might hear. Us old fogies would never hear the difference.

In the UK there has been a publicity campaign to roll out DAB (digital audio broadcasting). They tell everyone about the 'improved sound quality' that DAB can offer. This is complete bollocks. The DAB format might be able to beat FM in theory, but the broadcasters choose to cram lots of stations into the available bandwidth rather than use the bandwidth to provide fewer higher quality channels. The result is that all the radio stations are worse quality on DAB than on FM - and sometimes very much worse.
Agreed on all points but one: The reason for the MPX or multiplex stereo signal broadcast on FM is that mono came first and the stereo multiplex signal is a way to keep compatibility with mono receivers. Further, it takes considerable more signal strength to fully quiet a receiver in stereo mode. That is to say, when the received signal strength falls below a certain stereo acceptable threshold, stereo receivers can switch to mono mode and continue to receive and demodulate the station with an acceptable?? amount of noise in the audio output.

This low signal strength noise shows up in the high end of the audio spectrum first and most noticeably. Back in the day, hi-end FM stereo receivers touted what was called 'hi-blend' which was an attempt to mix the high end audio components together into mono long before making a hard switch to mono demodulation. It was a stupid attempt to keep that little red light on longer while also providing a decent end audio product as opposed to the competition which did not have 'hi-blend' capability.

Cheers,
sparks

ETA: One quick question as I have so little interest in my chosen profession these days to be bothered to look it up--DAB in your country ceptimus, is it the on-channel variety found (sadly lacking) here in the USofA or is DAB proposed to use a separate band with the subsequent death to all analog broadcasts after the switch?
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ceptimus »

DAB in the UK is broadcast in designated DAB-only sections of the spectrum between 174MHz and 229MHz (FM radio here is from about 87MHz to 108MHz).

Because DAB was rolled out here earlier than in other countries, we are stuck with a primitive form (MP2 audio codec) and most stations only run a bit rate of 128kbits/s. Some stations choose to use their available bandwidth for mono transmission rather than lower quality stereo. Other countries use so-called DAB+ but after early adopters were encouraged to buy initially very expensive DAB-only sets, there is reluctance now to switch to a better system even though most of the sets available now are firmware upgradable (and of course much cheaper).

The UK government has threatened to shut down analogue radio broadcasts, including FM, a few times - at one time this was promised to happen in 2015. Presumably they would then auction off the unused spectrum to the highest bidder. But of course it's not happened and it's an empty threat for the moment - although most households now have at least one DAB radio receiver, hardly any cars, even new ones selling today, have DAB-capable radios.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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ceptimus wrote:In the UK there has been a publicity campaign to roll out DAB (digital audio broadcasting). They tell everyone about the 'improved sound quality' that DAB can offer. This is complete bollocks. The DAB format might be able to beat FM in theory, but the broadcasters choose to cram lots of stations into the available bandwidth rather than use the bandwidth to provide fewer higher quality channels. The result is that all the radio stations are worse quality on DAB than on FM - and sometimes very much worse.
I did not know that. Why would the government allow that level of division? Then it dawned on me that the recording industry is far better served by 200 stations transmitting crappy renditions than 100 transmitting essentially perfect renditions.
1) Artists get more royalties (same royalty for half the listeners),
2) the transmitted copy is not really suitable for pirating (crappy bitrate), and
3) listeners are incentivized into buying the album (a 'pure' copy).

Here's a link that demonstrates all the various standard protocols and bitrates.
http://a-bc.co.uk/audio/DABv2.wav
it's 128MB. I can hear the difference in some of them. 12kbits stereo was a hoot. It was worse than "AM Radio at night with fading and interference"
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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:CanoWorms2: If we socialize music, all the motivation for crappiness will shift. We'll be innundated with the same crappy music via the same crappy technologies for different crappy reasons.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by gnome »

sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:IIRC, mp3 format is "lossy" but should you choose, you can create one with more fidelity than human ears can hear if you don't mind a larger file.

Personally (and it was old jj that got me on it) I think recording-end volume compression does more damage to sound quality than anything else.
It could be argued that recording-end buggery was part of what the artist intended and as such is not damage. Post recording compression however, as in radio and streaming processing is fucking with the artists intent and cannot be considered anything but damage.
I accept this correction as closer to what I meant. Point of origin processing instead of done at the player level for the environment.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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ed wrote:If the hierarchy of quality is correct, isn't that really an elitist, white patriarchal construct that has zero to do with the delivered quality? If ones ears are fucked and ones speakers are shit them what earthly difference does it make? So Neil Young can be actualized? Come on.

I recall the bs about limes per mm for lenses. What are the lines per mm for photo paper? What difference does it make? Whos zooming who? Speak up dammit.

ETA the implication of this is that you can implement Rob's idea but NOT actually monky with the audio. No one will notice.

A nod, my friends, is as good as a wink to a blind horse. That is the essence of marketing. I give it to you free gratis.

I was looking at the new 4K TVs in the store the other day. They've come down in price a lot in the last year or so, BTW.
These have even more pixels than the old "Full High Definition" (1080p) that was the top of the line 4 or 5 years ago. It's about 8 million pixels for the 4K resolution compared to about 2 million for 1080p. If you put your face a foot away from the screen you can sort of see that, yeah the detail is even finer than for HDTV, which itself was a huge improvement over what we used to have in the old CRT TVs.

But really, though, are you going to notice it when you are sitting on your couch 8 feet or so away from it? Probably not. You get used to it and stop noticing the difference after a while. I think it's kind of the same thing here. You do notice if you see the lower quality again (which used to seem fine) after you become accustomed to the higher one (although I don't know if that's true with 4K vs 1080p). (And of course you can only see the difference if you are getting a broadcast signal in 4K.)

I guess that's just how it goes: what was once state-of-the-art becomes inferior eventually.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Nature of the beast.

ceptimus: Thanks for the info on DAB in the UK. I believe you have a better system than we do. Since you have a new band of frequencies you at least have the option in the future of true HD. Here in the states the digital signal is on (the original) frequency and receivers can switch to the analog signal if the digital signal grows to weak to demodulate. Bitrates range from 128k to 512k, but no higher. Our 'system' even allows for more than one digital bit stream, but doing so will compromise quality, and HD1 is always a simulcast of the analog program material. But hey, it's a fucking mp3 so why would I want to tune in? One of the more dipshit things that can be done here in the states is to produce and broadcast an HD2 signal, and then turn around and put that up on a standard analog FM translator.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Seems to be the right thread ( :? ):
This is money wrote:How Adele helped vinyl turn the tables: Sales of vinyl records up 500% in just three years

Sales of vinyl records have soared by a staggering 500 per cent in just three years as a return to buying physical music captured the imagination of the public.

Support from music chain HMV and online music marketplace Discogs bolstered sales of vinyl records, which reached 2.1million copies last year.

Sales of record players have also soared with HMV reporting that it sold one every minute over the Christmas sales period.

Just three years ago even music industry insiders were dismissing the vinyl revolution.

The surprise growth has come from sales of new releases by mainstream artists coupled with reissues of old favourites.
http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news ... years.html
So the Cool Kids® will soon snigger at our FLACs & CDs? (And know what an LP is…)
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Anaxagoras »

There is something cool about vinyl records that seems to be lost in having all your music on iTunes or whatever. Cooler than CDs too.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by asthmatic camel »

They may be cooler but they sound like crap next to CDs. That's why all us oldsters got rid of them all those years ago.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Rob Lister »

Purely a fad. You can never go back.

Besides, buying albums--digital, cd or vinyl--is for chumps.

A 500% increase sounds like a lot but that puts them at 2.5 million copies annually.

Adele--the artist referenced in the article--sold that many non-vinyl albums in one day.

Tunes has sold 2.5 billion songs thus far.

I wouldn't bet my IRA on Vinyl.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Some people like the added warmth of all those even-ordered harmonics.

'Course, technically that's called distortion.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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I had this argument with a friend a looong time ago. He was seriously into vinyl and criticized me for going to CDs early (MP3s were just a glint in the milkman's eye back then).

His system was better and had richer sound, and it was worth the special cloths and care, etc.

I: "So, how much did your system run?"

He: "$4,500"

I: "My CD player and speakers ran me $350 - most of that was the speakers . . . 9 out of 10 people will not be able to tell the difference between mine and yours. Including me."

He: " . . ."

He: " . . ."

He: "Die in a fire."

Me: (exudes smugness)
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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I recall vinyl fans screaming about how "CDs sound metalic!" Sure.

There is band that allows fans to trade bootleg recordings of concerts and practice sessions--"what? You want this crap?"--and much of the "stuff" was produced on vinyl.

Much of the work fans do is correct the speed, remove the popping, hissing, balancing, et cetera on this wonderful vinyl. Cassettes? There is, of course, "tape hiss," speed, and filling in "cassette flips!"

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

"Sounds harsh and cold" said one person to me when having this discussion regarding CDs vs Vinyl.

Why yes, it does. It's what would have been there all along without the artifacts the vinyl system adds to the original content.



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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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sparks wrote:Ears, like everything else, must be trained.
Quite!

But beyond, or better before, reproduction quality comes the quality of the take. Progress has been made there too (and unmade, with the "war for loudness"). If you listen to LPs from the 60ies-70ies, there can be enormous differences. Classical (even chamber music) often sounded dull and muddled, contrary to jazz (even big bands), blues and some pop/folk which was more often crisp and somehow transparent.
I'd ascribe that to the interests, or lack of interests, of the sound technicians setting up the gear…
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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You know who ELSE would have preferred CDs?

HITLER!!!11!!

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Witness wrote:
sparks wrote:Ears, like everything else, must be trained.
Quite!

But beyond, or better before, reproduction quality comes the quality of the take. Progress has been made there too (and unmade, with the "war for loudness"). If you listen to LPs from the 60ies-70ies, there can be enormous differences. Classical (even chamber music) often sounded dull and muddled, contrary to jazz (even big bands), blues and some pop/folk which was more often crisp and somehow transparent.
I'd ascribe that to the interests, or lack of interests, of the sound technicians setting up the gear…
Perhaps a question of production budget...

Not everyone could afford a Neumann U-47.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neumann_U47

Arguably the finest mic ever made. Just don't let the kids play with it! :)
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Witness wrote:
sparks wrote:Ears, like everything else, must be trained.
Quite!

But beyond, or better before, reproduction quality comes the quality of the take. Progress has been made there too (and unmade, with the "war for loudness"). If you listen to LPs from the 60ies-70ies, there can be enormous differences. Classical (even chamber music) often sounded dull and muddled, contrary to jazz (even big bands), blues and some pop/folk which was more often crisp and somehow transparent.
I'd ascribe that to the interests, or lack of interests, of the sound technicians setting up the gear…
There's also the issue of remastering altering the total sound volume of the production, as well as the sound volume of each individual instruments and vocals. One can argue the end result, while better quality, is not quite the original.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Image

Abbey Road. :)
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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How quaint.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Grammatron »

Maybe the remastered version has less cowbell! Is that the world you want to live in?!
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Trump promises more cowbell!

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by ed »

sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
When are you making the comparison?

After 1 play?
500?
10,000?

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Rob Lister »

ed wrote:
sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
When are you making the comparison?

After 1 play?
500?
10,000?

Supercilious technoid wanker. Yes, you. :x :x
A powerpoint presentation (in pdf) worthy of the click. Comprehensive double blind test on trained ears.

https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/t ... ard.88280/

At bitrates above 256, even the best trained ears cannot tell the difference.
Spoiler:
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

ed wrote:
sparks wrote:
gnome wrote:vinyl > mp3?

Does not depend on the bitrate?
I maintain good vinyl is better than the best mp3, but at the higher mp3 bitrates, I could be wrong. Point is, mp3 was originally invented to save disc space. Disc space is now shamelessly cheap so why bother?
When are you making the comparison?

After 1 play?
500?
10,000?

Supercilious technoid wanker. Yes, you. :x :x
Thanks ed. Coming from you, that means so much! :) BTW-If vinyl has been treated with respect and is played on good gear with a new stylus, it doesn't much matter how many plays it has had...within reason. Bigger difference comes from how it was cut and pressed and the quality of the vinyl compound itself. They are not created equally. There used to be some stuff out there called 'Quiex II' which always made for a superior (less noisy) playback experience.
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Witness
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Witness »

Pics in Pics wrote:MAG-LEV Audio – The first levitating turntable

The design studio MAG-LEV has unveiled the MAG-LEV Audio , the first levitating turntable! After the Levitating Cloud , the Death Star Speaker or the Air Bonsai , this new gadget with an innovative design uses a magnetic field to make the platter float above its base. Stabilized by sensors and a powerful algorithm, the platform is driven precisely and especially without any friction. The MAG-LEV Audio turntable is currently being funded on Kickstarter.
Image

http://picsinpics.com/tech/mag-lev-audi ... azing.html

I have some doubts. In other (unrelated) news, I read vinyl is making a serious comeback. We'll see.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Anaxagoras »

If the point is "it looks cool" then fine. It could be an aesthetic choice for some.

If they are claiming it somehow makes the sound more awesome, then I too have serious doubts about that.

Oh, and as far as there not being any friction involved, no way. Something is being rotated on a rotary shaft even if it is hidden.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

Even without hidden shafts (I blame Teh Orange Fucktard), there will still be resistance with the air and that stylus in the record groove will contribute some as well.

This is a fucking gimmick from start to finish. Vinyl is vinyl and it is inferior for reasons which are legion.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Witness »

Anaxagoras wrote:If the point is "it looks cool" then fine. It could be an aesthetic choice for some.

If they are claiming it somehow makes the sound more awesome, then I too have serious doubts about that.

Oh, and as far as there not being any friction involved, no way. Something is being rotated on a rotary shaft even if it is hidden.
Yep, mostly a visual gimmick (cool, in a way). They don't insist on friction, or its absence, but I have to disagree with the last sentence: a set of coils electronically switched – so no mechanical moving parts – could drive the disk; but details are lacking.

In other news:

Image
Source: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/08 ... lly-looks/

And this:
Digital Music News wrote:Exclusive: Patents Filed for ‘High Definition Vinyl’ Technology

The technical specifications for High Definition Vinyl, or ‘HD Vinyl,’ have now been detailed in a European patent filing exclusively shared with Digital Music News on Tuesday. This is a concept that could potentially be on the market within three years, according to details shared by Rebeat Digital, the company that filed the patent.
[…]
The ‘HD Vinyl’ name is a working title, though the basic idea is this: instead of the manual and time-consuming process currently used for creating vinyl LPs, the ‘HD Vinyl’ process involves 3D-based topographical mapping combined with laser inscription technology to more quickly generate a far superior product. Not only will the end product be vastly improved, but the time required to produce the LPs will also be radically reduced.

The result is a record that looks like the LPs being sold today, and more importantly, plays like them. According to the companies involved, the HD Vinyl disc will play on all currently manufactured turntables and high end record players, though enhanced features will be better realized on upcoming, HD-compatible turntables. “This is a completely backwards-compatible technology,” said Guenter Loibl, Rebeat CEO. “It will play on any existing turntable, you don’t need to buy a new system to enjoy the benefits.”
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/03 ... a-reality/
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by Anaxagoras »

Witness wrote: Yep, mostly a visual gimmick (cool, in a way). They don't insist on friction, or its absence, but I have to disagree with the last sentence: a set of coils electronically switched – so no mechanical moving parts – could drive the disk; but details are lacking.
Oh, well I don't know how the inside works. I just figured it was held up by magnets, but now that I think about it, that wouldn't be very stable would it?

How would you make this thing work I wonder? So that the floating turntable doesn't just float off somewhere? It' like it has to be both attracted and repelled at the same time.
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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

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Fucking magnets. . . .

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Re: Is Neil Young right about sound quality?

Post by sparks »

Just how the fuck to those things work?

But serially, regarding HD LPs--OK, so they figured out a better way to manufacture LPs. It's still in the analog realm and therefore susceptible to all the crap and corruption we used to enjoy loathe with same. Diamond stylus scraping along against some plastic. Not a good idea.

"But sparks!! They sound warmer!!!" Yea, that's because there's no fucking hi end definition ya shmuck. :P
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