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  • Format Wars / Format Bias

    i see so much on the internet regarding the benefits (and adopters) of various formats, high resolution digital, DSD, MQA, vinyl, tape, whatever.

    You've seen it.

    The question may be, are these formats all good enough for any high end affecinado but we gravitate to one format for outside reasons?
    Reasonds like but not limited to the following.

    I use computers for audio because it's more accessible.
    The music I listen to was originally recorded in analog so why change it to digital.

    Could you live with any high end audio format as long as it was the best variant of that format.
    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by Greg Beron; 05-05-2017, 10:23 PM.

  • #2
    For me, i actually could care less what format it is as long as the music i want to hear is available and it sounds good. Early CDs sounded bad, so I stayed away and stuck with LPs. Digital is much better now than it used to be. I can just as happily listen to a CD rip, a 24-bit or DSD download or an LP, whichever the music I want to hear is on.

    i don't often get into buying the same albums over and over again as new formats come out, though over the past few years if I buy an LP, I try to buy at least the CD also, if not the high res files, so I can have it on the server, too.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
    Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
    Speakers: Tekton Perfect SET 15, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
    Speaker cables: WyWyres Diamond, Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
    Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

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    • #3
      I prefer vinyl pretty much over every format but its not at the top of my personal hierarchy for SQ (its tape>vinyl>digital).

      I love the physical aspect of the vinyl medium, its special by virtue of being produced in limited quantities and its manufacture requires a human's touch (essentially hand-made). its idiosyncratic in that it's imperfect and its practitioners must be masochists to certain degree, I mean the payback has gotta be great for all the hassle one endures.

      I also enjoy collecting vinyl for its scarcity not unlike an antiquarian book aficionado will obsess over a 1st edition hardcover book, etc. and NO format can beat the artwork present on an LP's jacket.

      I guess that's my bias

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      • #4
        I prefer vinyl also. It is absolutely incredible when you find that one specific album - the right pressing- that pulls the music and sense of space together. I also agree you can't beat the format for artwork and that tactile feel.

        More than that; it is about when I started my journey, I still hold my original collection of vinyl and continue to add to it. I have lots. I never adopted CD fully as it irritated me- I will likely explore streaming as I see that as a viable option for discovery and simplicity. Right now vinyl still rules.

        I am re-exploring tape but I don't expect it to take over. Too much software in vinyl and way to expensive for tapes. I've invested in a stand alone repro plus I'm building my own along with an Otari that is all fixed up- we'll see.
        Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
        Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas Lamda, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
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        Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

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        • #5
          I prefer vinyl. But sometimes if its something rare, a reissue or a still sealed copy can get expensive, so I will opt for a new or used CD. As far as vinyl goes, I often make a digital dub for the car into mp3 while making a hi rez copy to play on the computer while web surfing.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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          • #6
            I like vinyl. I prefer vinyl. It sounds good. Its fun to handle. I never turned away from it.
            But I have some CDs. CDs are ok I guess.
            I buy some high resolution files aswell though Intransfer them to 10,5 inch tape.
            Computers are so soulcrushing. Computers reminds me of work. Not music.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rob View Post
              I prefer vinyl pretty much over every format but its not at the top of my personal hierarchy for SQ (its tape>vinyl>digital).

              I love the physical aspect of the vinyl medium, its special by virtue of being produced in limited quantities and its manufacture requires a human's touch (essentially hand-made). its idiosyncratic in that it's imperfect and its practitioners must be masochists to certain degree, I mean the payback has gotta be great for all the hassle one endures.

              I also enjoy collecting vinyl for its scarcity not unlike an antiquarian book aficionado will obsess over a 1st edition hardcover book, etc. and NO format can beat the artwork present on an LP's jacket.

              I guess that's my bias
              What Rob said.
              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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              • #8
                What Mep said
                Chris
                ----------------------------------------------------------------
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                • #9
                  Wow the collective is just about one format. I am kinds perplexed there is not more tape lovers. For me I did vinyl first and tape and flew to coop when cd came out. While when I was young what I felt was great quality is not what it is now. Cd absolutely had more details and clarity too. But I was a kid or youn adult and did not have the best vinyl rig I.E. table and cartridge. So as he first CD player was horrid in comparison to vinyl or tape digital won due to its increased details. I don't recall tape being better than vinyl but not as good as cd but again tapes I bought were from clubs and quality sourcing I think was sub par
                  for me grest digital sources from analog is both very easy and in someways better as it's what I have learned from
                  amd am tuned into. I think we each have our reasons added into this as well. Myles said when I met him that vinyl is nkt just a forgone conclusion as better but it's a enjoyment in doing it. I think he is right. And if I had the time I might have gotten into it. As of now I love my digital rig and have no plans to change it. I also think anyone who would come to my place would like my music being played.
                  analog stuff.
                  otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                  otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                  sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                  new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                  thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                  thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                  kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                  phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                  speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
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                  • #10
                    Here's a thought to ponder....

                    After dealing with high end audio customers for many years I came to the conclusion, (correct or not) that we are all biased to our own systems sound.
                    I've had guys show me pictures of a wall of Sansui and Pioneer receivers with Cerwin Vega speakers tell me that their system sounded better than anything they've ever heard at any audio store or show....

                    So, maybe doesn't matter if your system is old or new, analog or digital, horns or electrostatic speakers, tubes or solid state, we all become accustomed to that particular sound and our brains adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of what we hear every day.

                    Maybe we've bought into our systems, both literally and figuratively???

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                    • Guest's Avatar
                      Guest commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Which is why it helps to hear different systems. Unless you don't want to.

                      The guy that bought my REF2SE told me: "I refuse to listen to what I can't afford."

                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Or do we buy music that sounds best on our audio systems e.g. Say closely, multimiked miked vs say something with lots of spatial information?

                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Tim a couple of my audiobuddies are like that and won't visit. Honestly I am little insulted and hurt.

                  • #11
                    I care about vinyl, tape and pcm. I like keeping things simple.
                    Christian
                    System Gear

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Greg Beron View Post
                      Here's a thought to ponder....

                      After dealing with high end audio customers for many years I came to the conclusion, (correct or not) that we are all biased to our own systems sound.
                      I've had guys show me pictures of a wall of Sansui and Pioneer receivers with Cerwin Vega speakers tell me that their system sounded better than anything they've ever heard at any audio store or show....

                      So, maybe doesn't matter if your system is old or new, analog or digital, horns or electrostatic speakers, tubes or solid state, we all become accustomed to that particular sound and our brains adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of what we hear every day.

                      Maybe we've bought into our systems, both literally and figuratively???
                      Greg-You are so right. We all judge every system we hear against our own personal reference. However, using your system as a reference and being delusional are two different things.
                      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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                      • #13
                        I did not have the discipline to maintain vinyl in good condition, so knowing myself, I bought every album in CD's as they came out. I am not much better at maintaining CD's so I bought a $600 CD reduplicatar, which uses those $1 each black blank CD's and I make a copy of the Redbook CD and use the copy until I ruin it and then make a fresh new one.

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                        • #14
                          I prefer vinyl but I also listen to high resolution digital. I listen to vinyl on my main rig on the weekends and listen to high res digital during the week. I have many high res digital copies of my vinyl but I have also purchased high res files from HD Tracks and Acoustic Sounds. My high res digital rig is modest but enjoyable and my vinyl rig is much better and something I look forward to every weekend.

                          I intend to add reel to reel analog tape back to my main rig but it will stay mainly vinyl for some time.

                          I also have a high resolution digital disc player in my main rig and own a small number of SACD titles. I have tried to like SACD and DVD-A discs but I cannot justify buying high res digital discs of the same titles that I own in vinyl and high res downloads. The SACD titles that I own are decent but not good enough to make me want to invest in another library of titles that I already own in vinyl, CD and high res downloads.

                          The CD titles that I own were bought long ago when CD was the "perfect sound forever" medium. I owned the original Technics CD player that came with a CD sample disc. I looked up that disc some years ago and discovered it was one of the first CD titles ever pressed. I tried very hard to like CD but all that it ended up doing did was to make me lose interest in music. That was close to impossible to do but CD did it.

                          I bought a number of much better CD players but it never made me love CDs. I now have approximately 600 CDs that sit in binders covered in dust.

                          One day I stopped trying to like CDs and pulled out the vinyl I would not get rid of (my ex-wife tried to convince me to dispose of my LPs). My cartridge was old and needed help. It did not sound as good as it eventually would but the sound that made me love music was there again. It was enough to make me start investing in my LP front end again.
                          Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
                          https://www.edsstuff.org

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                          Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
                          Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

                          Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
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                          • #15
                            As I noted in the swapper thread:
                            I decided a while back to aim at doing one thing - one format - well. And I chose to dedicate myself and my system to vinyl. Thus far, that direction has been quite satisfying, living la vida vinyl. ...
                            I really can't think of what I would have gone without to have a nice digital front-end of some sort.

                            I do have a multi-format player (an Ayre C5xemp) but it is not in my rack, partly because there's no room for it. To get close to my analog front-end will take bigger bucks. Maybe a nice Neodio Origine CD player, I'm guessing it'd put me maybe 3/4 of the way there.

                            There's far more music already on vinyl than there is likely to be in the future. I can't think of what I'm missing except maybe the plethora of polyphony parading past the last several years - a seemingly endless stream of Renaissance music and similar on small labels, not to mention all the Jordi Savall recordings. Maybe Speakers Corner, Tacet, or Impex will pick up some of that.

                            As far as format wars go, Ralph Karsten has it about right: "Usually when a new technology demonstrates its superiority, the result is that within a short time it supplants the older (obsolete) technology. … If digital were really bringing home the bacon, the analog/digital debate would simply not exist and neither would the LP! ... Its a simple fact that digital failed to do what audiophiles were told it would do - replace the LP."

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