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  • Pondering the Red Book CD

    I was reading the thread on Lampizator DACs when one comment caught my eye. And I didn't want to hijack that thread. The premise of the statement was that there is more to be discovered in the Red Book CD. Which sent me into my stack to pull something out.

    About ten years ago I was discussing all things audio with an acquaintance who had a small studio. The next time I saw him he handed me an Office Max CD he'd burned. From a master tape. Just a small but talented local act. I put it aside when I got home and it sat for several weeks before out of curiosity I played it.

    Did you ever have one of those moments where things seem to just shift? The sound quality was superb, unlike anything I had ever heard from CD before. Better than any CD I had purchased before and possibly since. That last is very difficult to pin down as this is not a commercial release with multiple copies and formats to compare it to, it's a one off of what are basically practice sessions.

    There could be several contributory factors to the superior sound. A direct copy of the master tape instead of multiple generations from the master tape, minimal processing, minimal effects, minimal compression, minimal limiting and no riding hard over 0 dB. Then there may be some truth to the theory that a burned CD sounds better than a stamped CD. One factor out of many or a combination of several?

    At any rate, it was the incident that started my gradual gravitation back towards vinyl. I can't afford to buy copies of the same performance in multiple formats searching for the best one. so for things from the 50s and 60s were usually recorded, mixed and mastered by people who actually knew what they were doing and cared about the quality of their work. Well at least sometimes. More often? Did the fact production for vinyl requires more care account for some of it?

    Or is it all imponderable and naval gazing?

  • #2
    I find it somewhat ironic that in order to wring the best sound out of RBCD (16/44.1), some say that your pockets have to be the deepest over all other digital formats. Of course many who only love the digits and have either forsaken analog or never owned analog will argue the point. My personal experience has led me to prefer the sound of DSD over all other digital formats that I either own or have heard. If it takes spending over $50K to match what DSD can pull off for around $2K and up, it doesn't make sense to me personally. I am just not that wedded to the CD format in particular and digital in general.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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    • #3
      Well one could get away with spending less than the Trinity eg. a Pacific Microsonics HDCD DAC and say the Baetis Music Server, I would hope this might inspire some ingenious designer to take another look at RBCD and come up with another solution knowing there's more to be wrung out from those silver discs. (other than of course ripping them to a hard drive or converting to say DSD.) Funny but are those silver discs going to be the vinyl of the future, rediscovering there's more on them than we thought?

      Three or four years ago at CES, LAMM was using a DAC from the French company Neodio whose designer at that time eschewed high-rez digital and wouldn't do anything until he thought we had rung everything out of a CD that he could. The DAC sounded very good in the LAMM room (or course maybe anything would) and I tried to arrange to get the DAC for review (yes me an analog person but it sounded so good that I had to investigate) but no one to my knowledge ever picked up the US distributorship. It probably would have been around $20K for the top DAC but Neodio also has other DACs in their line and would be interesting to investigate them too.

      http://www.neodio.fr Click image for larger version

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      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

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      • #4
        Myles-It is certainly possible that more musical information can be revealed from RBCD. Will it ever be the same as the continual revelations we see from LPs? Time will tell.
        Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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        • #5
          95% of my ripped files are from RBCD. As compelling as DSD has become it has little practical use for me since i'm not buying DSD downloads and invest very little in digital software. I'm still on the fence re upsampling 16/44 files to any format so at the end of the day you go with what sounds right and the older ladder dacs like the Pacific Microsonics and bit stream based Museatex bidat seem to have never ending relevance to someone like me. A year ago I borrowed a 20 year old Krell 64x DAC and on redbook it was smoother and more realistic sounding than the mytek 192 on hand.
          Last edited by Rob; 02-27-2016, 01:11 PM.
          Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

          "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

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          • #6
            I have been 100% digital for the past 4 months pondering a turntable rack for two tables. My digital collection is very 16/44.1 centric but also a large library of DSD64 and DSD128. A cheap Chinese DAC has kept me amazed at what Redbook is capable of producing. Not always the depth of your pockets but the opening of your ears. It's about the music not your financial statement.
            Marty

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            • #7
              It makes sense to me that sonic improvements from RBCD can still be expected, as technology doesn't sit still. However, will there be enough interest from manufacturers to introduce players that can take advantage of them. More and more consumers (at all levels) are moving away from digital hard copy into files, so has the appetite been soured?
              Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

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              • #8
                John the appetite of having to deal with a silver disc has. Are most recordings now created in 16/44.1 even if it is just for say iTunes?
                Marty

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
                  It makes sense to me that sonic improvements from RBCD can still be expected, as technology doesn't sit still. However, will there be enough interest from manufacturers to introduce players that can take advantage of them. More and more consumers (at all levels) are moving away from digital hard copy into files, so has the appetite been soured?
                  Good point but there are zillions of CDs still out there. So even if it's a RBCD on server, one could theoretically get benefits. Perhaps, the regular RBCD on a server would sound better than an upsampled CD loaded on the server?
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                  -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                  Comment


                  • nc42acc
                    nc42acc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    RBCD I can only see getting " better " with new technology would be through the use of up sampling or DSD conversion. In its virgin form it has all that is needed for superb reproduction. Implementation is the key IMO.

                • #10
                  But do we really need to upsample RBCD? Not necessarily as I've heard.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                  -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                  Comment


                  • nc42acc
                    nc42acc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    In my opinion Myles I see no need to up sample or convert. I am just stating this seems to be the trend in new ways to market RBCD or 16/44.1.

                • #11
                  Now that I have finished doing my big vinyl and tape ripping project, I have been using my PM Model Two to play Redbook CD's. I had earlier been very surprised and impressed by the sound quality of the CD's I have heard coming from Tim Marutani's and Alon Wolf's PM Model Twos. So now I am doing the same thing. The software is Merging's Pyramix with their Mykerinos card - same as what I used for ripping (only now at 44/16 and not 192/24 as with my rips). Definitely not as user interface friendly as other software. However, I can still stack up a bunch of CD files and play them. I've started with my rips of my FIM collection, among the best sounding of my CD's.

                  Larry
                  Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                  Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                  Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                  Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                  Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                  Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                    Well one could get away with spending less than the Trinity eg. a Pacific Microsonics HDCD DAC and say the Baetis Music Server, I would hope this might inspire some ingenious designer to take another look at RBCD and come up with another solution knowing there's more to be wrung out from those silver discs. (other than of course ripping them to a hard drive or converting to say DSD.) Funny but are those silver discs going to be the vinyl of the future, rediscovering there's more on them than we thought?

                    Three or four years ago at CES, LAMM was using a DAC from the French company Neodio whose designer at that time eschewed high-rez digital and wouldn't do anything until he thought we had rung everything out of a CD that he could. The DAC sounded very good in the LAMM room (or course maybe anything would) and I tried to arrange to get the DAC for review (yes me an analog person but it sounded so good that I had to investigate) but no one to my knowledge ever picked up the US distributorship. It probably would have been around $20K for the top DAC but Neodio also has other DACs in their line and would be interesting to investigate them too.

                    http://www.neodio.fr [ATTACH=CONFIG]n5180[/ATTACH]
                    Myles you and I have the same recollection of the Neodio Dac and transport. It was excellent even in a show situation. I'm not sure if they are still in business?
                    TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

                    Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

                    VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
                    Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

                    Piega C711 Loudspeakers

                    Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

                    Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator

                    Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cord, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

                    Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD1200s Headphones.

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      It was pointed out to me that perhaps the algorithms for 44.1 may not fully optimized and likely little further progress will occur as the effort has shifted towards higher bit rates and greater bit depths which do not present the same issues. I don't know. The same person pointed that an optimized algorithm has to take into account that at 20 Hz a waveform is sampled around 2,000 times while at 20,000 Hz a waveform is sampled about twice. Thus at higher frequencies the waveforms of the signal may not be properly encoded in the first place nor properly decoded in the second. With higher bit rates this becomes less of an issue. In pure analog there is no sampling rate per se, for most practical purposes it could be considered the equivalent of infinite. And not just tape. Didn't Bernie Grundman accidently cut a 60 kHz signal? And prove he had? That would take one hell of a cartridge to play back.

                      With the advent of other digital formats and technologies further development of CD players is effectively stymied and the result is a split to either lower or higher price point players. Even with the option to rip discs to a server of some sort, it's still the same algorithms. The change to server based systems can potentially provide some improvement to 44.1. From what little I have personally seen or more accurately heard, SSHDs and playback from RAM seems to sound better.

                      HDCD was a definite advancement, easily heard in the few HDCD discs available. My old Rotel has HDCD implemented in hardware. But like so many other things Microsoft acquired, it went to Microsoft to die.

                      Remember the Zune? Years ahead of the iPod with its interface and display. Dead. It became a running punch line on Two and a Half Men. I believe Microsoft marketing would change the sign in front of Kentucky Fried Chicken to Warm Dead Birds. And then wander off to find another good idea to ruin. Or create another massive cludge like Windows 8.
                      Last edited by Rust; 02-27-2016, 04:19 PM.

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by 1morerecord2clean View Post

                        Myles you and I have the same recollection of the Neodio Dac and transport. It was excellent even in a show situation. I'm not sure if they are still in business?
                        I posted their website/link above so figure they are still around. It does seem though they don't have huge distribution.
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                          (...) Three or four years ago at CES, LAMM was using a DAC from the French company Neodio whose designer at that time eschewed high-rez digital and wouldn't do anything until he thought we had rung everything out of a CD that he could. The DAC sounded very good in the LAMM room (or course maybe anything would) and I tried to arrange to get the DAC for review (yes me an analog person but it sounded so good that I had to investigate) but no one to my knowledge ever picked up the US distributorship. It probably would have been around $20K for the top DAC but Neodio also has other DACs in their line and would be interesting to investigate them too.
                          Some years ago I was interested by this french DAC - until I found the price ~35000 euros in France, probably more than usd 40000.00 in the US. But I remember reading enthusiastic reviews and opinions in french magazines and blogs.
                          My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

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