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ABX'ing vinyl transfer, did I do this correctly?
Kalnoc
post Aug 30 2013, 22:22
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I wanted to see if I could hear a difference between the vinyl I transferred and the MP3 of the same song. For the test I converted my vinyl transferred file from FLAC to 320CBR LAME MP3 to match the format and bitrate of the download file provided with the record. I ran the ABX in Foobar with Replaygain enabled. I listened through my computer desktop speakers. I'm new to ABX tests so if I should have run more trials please let me know. The results log is below:

foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.2.9
2013/08/30 15:31:58

File A: F:\Music\DBPoweramp_conversions_Samsung\MP3\vinyl_v_MP3test\Various Artists\Sound City - Real to Reel\originals\4-The Man That Never Was.mp3
File B: F:\Music\DBPoweramp_conversions_Samsung\MP3\vinyl_v_MP3test\Various Artists\Sound City - Real to Reel\03a_The Man That Never Was_vinyl_transfer.mp3

15:31:58 : Test started.
15:35:12 : 01/01 50.0%
15:36:58 : 02/02 25.0%
15:39:44 : 03/03 12.5%
15:41:56 : 04/04 6.3%
15:43:47 : 05/05 3.1%
15:45:04 : 06/06 1.6%
15:46:20 : 07/07 0.8%
15:49:56 : 08/08 0.4%
15:51:30 : 09/09 0.2%
15:54:28 : 10/10 0.1%
15:59:01 : 11/11 0.0%
16:00:31 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 11/11 (0.0%)


The biggest difference I noticed between the files was the sound of the cymbals. One file had a much clearer cymbal crash and fade. The track from vinyl was a "clean" transfer with no pops & clicks or hiss.

This post has been edited by Kalnoc: Aug 30 2013, 23:22
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gib
post Aug 31 2013, 04:48
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11 for 11 is definitely enough to indicate you can hear a difference. Is the difference hard to detect? 30 minutes on an ABX test is a significant chunk of time.

But the question on my mind is what exactly is the purpose of your ABX test? I understand one is a vinyl rip encoded to 320kb/s mp3 and the other is a download, but without knowing what the download is sourced from, I'm not sure what you're trying to glean from the test.
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binaryhermit
post Aug 31 2013, 05:49
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Another thing that could be an issue is that your rip could have artifacts such as rumble, clicks, and pops that are unlikely to be in a digital download that is probably encoded from a digital source.
EDIT: Also, there are issues like lining up the samples properly, the speed matching up correctly, etc.

This post has been edited by binaryhermit: Aug 31 2013, 05:52
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Kalnoc
post Aug 31 2013, 16:20
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QUOTE (gib @ Aug 30 2013, 22:48) *
11 for 11 is definitely enough to indicate you can hear a difference. Is the difference hard to detect? 30 minutes on an ABX test is a significant chunk of time.

But the question on my mind is what exactly is the purpose of your ABX test? I understand one is a vinyl rip encoded to 320kb/s mp3 and the other is a download, but without knowing what the download is sourced from, I'm not sure what you're trying to glean from the test.


Time it took was mostly due to interruptions when I was running the test.

Is there any way to find out about the recording source of the download? The downloaded file's wave form looks very different, lots of clipping, etc. That difference was what led me to try ABX'ing to see if there was an audible difference. But I know the vinyl waveform can be influenced by the levels I used for the needledrop, so I know that isn't a reliable indication.
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gib
post Sep 1 2013, 01:29
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You said that the downloaded file was provided with the record; a bonus digital copy with purchase of the album. I suppose you could try contacting the place it was downloaded from. Or, perhaps, the record company. I don't really know.

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Sep 2 2013, 22:25
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QUOTE (Kalnoc @ Aug 30 2013, 17:22) *
I wanted to see if I could hear a difference between the vinyl I transferred and the MP3 of the same song. For the test I converted my vinyl transferred file from FLAC to 320CBR LAME MP3 to match the format and bitrate of the download file provided with the record. I ran the ABX in Foobar with Replaygain enabled. I listened through my computer desktop speakers. I'm new to ABX tests so if I should have run more trials please let me know. The results log is below:

...

The biggest difference I noticed between the files was the sound of the cymbals. One file had a much clearer cymbal crash and fade. The track from vinyl was a "clean" transfer with no pops & clicks or hiss.


Are you surprised? I surely am not. Given all the built-in problems of vinyl, one usually gets pretty happy if the vinyl transfer merely sounds pretty good.

Not even high speed wide track professional analog tape is undetectable by a trained listener doing ABX, and tape is generally agreed to be a more accurate medium than vinyl.
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Mach-X
post Sep 4 2013, 08:46
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I think that the main problem(s) with your test are the inherent variables that come with the vinyl as a physical medium. When abx'ing, if there are differences in volume or speed (not all turntables are accurate, whereas digital playback essentially is) you will abx them right away. Essentially what I am saying is that even if both lp and digital download are sourced from the same, well, source, there are too many possible physical artifacts that can crop up using turntables to make your hypothesis even remotely valid, ie the slightest pop/click/warble/pitch shift will make the needle drop a dead giveaway.

P.S. I find it endlessly entertaining that an 'old guy' like Arnie detests vinyl. Most people older than I am swear by it, and I fail to understand why and it has lead to too many arguments fueled by cold beer.

This post has been edited by Mach-X: Sep 4 2013, 08:49
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2Bdecided
post Sep 4 2013, 10:09
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Of course the download sounds different from the vinyl.

If you match the levels perfectly, match the speed well and time-align the samples, and if the frequency response of your complete vinyl set-up (cartridge and pre-amp) is very accurate, and the same mastering EQ and compression etc were used for both versions, and the playback quality of your vinyl set-up is good and the stylus+cartridge and tracking properly and not worn, and you only listen to a part where the inherent background noise of vinyl is inaudible, and you listen to a part where there are no clicks or pops, and the vinyl is not worn, then you might find it impossible to hear the difference between the vinyl and the download.

Get any of these factors wrong (some of them are out of your control!) and it's likely that you will hear a difference.

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Sep 5 2013, 13:54
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Sep 4 2013, 03:46) *
I think that the main problem(s) with your test are the inherent variables that come with the vinyl as a physical medium. When abx'ing, if there are differences in volume or speed (not all turntables are accurate, whereas digital playback essentially is) you will abx them right away. Essentially what I am saying is that even if both lp and digital download are sourced from the same, well, source, there are too many possible physical artifacts that can crop up using turntables to make your hypothesis even remotely valid, ie the slightest pop/click/warble/pitch shift will make the needle drop a dead giveaway.

P.S. I find it endlessly entertaining that an 'old guy' like Arnie detests vinyl. Most people older than I am swear by it, and I fail to understand why and it has lead to too many arguments fueled by cold beer.


I will argue that I don't detest vinyl at all, I just know what it is. I still have a working turntable and several preamps with RIAA inputs. I spent a decade or two trying to raise vinyl playback to something that compared with high speed half track analog tape. It was pretty much all that we had. Everybody who tried that failed, which is why digital saw the light of day.
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pdq
post Sep 5 2013, 14:34
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Sep 4 2013, 03:46) *
P.S. I find it endlessly entertaining that an 'old guy' like Arnie detests vinyl. Most people older than I am swear by it, and I fail to understand why and it has lead to too many arguments fueled by cold beer.

I am even older than Arnie, and I can tell you that the day I could afford a CD player, dozens of records and a turntable were dumped in the trash. I now regret throwing away one or two of the records, which have never become available on CD, but that's all that I regret.
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Juha
post Sep 6 2013, 10:17
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QUOTE (pdq @ Sep 5 2013, 16:34) *
QUOTE (Mach-X @ Sep 4 2013, 03:46) *
P.S. I find it endlessly entertaining that an 'old guy' like Arnie detests vinyl. Most people older than I am swear by it, and I fail to understand why and it has lead to too many arguments fueled by cold beer.

I am even older than Arnie, and I can tell you that the day I could afford a CD player, dozens of records and a turntable were dumped in the trash. I now regret throwing away one or two of the records, which have never become available on CD, but that's all that I regret.




Maybe your turntable system just weren't good enough?

How much aging and other physical changes has effect in our hearing skills (sensitivity, range)?
Is (what one is) hearing partly result of learning (as like color vision is said to be)?

Juha
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pdq
post Sep 6 2013, 15:19
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QUOTE (Juha @ Sep 6 2013, 05:17) *
Maybe your turntable system just weren't good enough?

My turntable system was quite adequate in making all of the surface noise/pops/clicks clearly audible. It was the lack of these, not differences in frequency response, separation, etc., that made CD so clearly superior.

Also, the convenience of not having to clean the media before playing, being able to select/repeat tracks easily, not having to turn the record over half-way through Sgt. Pepper, etc., etc. ...

Not to mention, my turntable was big and heavy and needed a shelf strong enough to hold it.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Sep 6 2013, 19:36
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QUOTE (Juha @ Sep 6 2013, 04:17) *
QUOTE (pdq @ Sep 5 2013, 16:34) *
QUOTE (Mach-X @ Sep 4 2013, 03:46) *
P.S. I find it endlessly entertaining that an 'old guy' like Arnie detests vinyl. Most people older than I am swear by it, and I fail to understand why and it has lead to too many arguments fueled by cold beer.

I am even older than Arnie, and I can tell you that the day I could afford a CD player, dozens of records and a turntable were dumped in the trash. I now regret throwing away one or two of the records, which have never become available on CD, but that's all that I regret.


Maybe your turntable system just weren't good enough?


That makes good salesman's patter for high end audio salons, and empty rhetoric for science-hating audiophile forums, it does not hold up to the harsh light of science.

No matter what high end audiophiles believe, the audible problems of vinyl are not in really good playback equipment which many of us had at the time, but in the vinyl technology itself. My last analog playback system was composed of a V15III, a SME 3009 tone arm, and a Thorens TD125 turntable. Those choices would stand up today, except in the eyes of the vinyl true believers.

Remember that the high end audio press hasn't published but a few actual reasonably complete technical tests of any of the LP playback equipment that they promote. One reason is that the results of those tests look pretty dreadful by modern standards, and the other is that there has no material improvement in what they are over what they were in the late 1960s. Their claims of "new and improved" can't be verified by standard technical tests. The last true advance in vinyl playback was probably straight line tracking as invented by Rabinow or whoever has prior art. This patent was filed in 1954:

http://www.google.com/patents/US2915315

By the late 1960s and very early 1970s this had been laid out in technical journals audiophiles never read such as the JAES by the best vinyl experts of the day. There have been no new technical papers since then that found then-hidden opportunities for higher fidelity. Vinyl was what it was then and it still is. Same materials, same geometry, same old same old. The 1970s were spent pursuing alternative technologies that would make an end run on vinyl to reduce its irreducible audible failings. In the early 1980s we had digital audio players in our hands and that promise was fulfilled. No conspiracy theories, just solid, well-executed advanced technology.

QUOTE
How much aging and other physical changes has effect in our hearing skills (sensitivity, range)?


You seem to forget that the early adopters who dumped vinyl did so about 30 years ago. They could be retirement age today, but were only 35 or so when they made those decisions.

QUOTE
Is (what one is) hearing partly result of learning (as like color vision is said to be)?


I dumped vinyl in 1984 which was about 7 years after 1977 when I invented ABX. Those 7 years were spent ABXing just about everything in sight, and developing listening skills based on unbiased experimental results.


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Mach-X
post Sep 7 2013, 03:02
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 5 2013, 08:54) *
I will argue that I don't detest vinyl at all, I just know what it is. I still have a working turntable and several preamps with RIAA inputs. I spent a decade or two trying to raise vinyl playback to something that compared with high speed half track analog tape. It was pretty much all that we had. Everybody who tried that failed, which is why digital saw the light of day.


Sorry, I was being light hearted, it's just not often that I've encountered somebody from the vinyl era that doesn't swear it's the most incredible amazing sound experience possible. No matter how often I point out scientific facts like inferior dynamic range, better stereo separation, surface noise that is WAY above any possible digital noise, etc, etc, after which they usually say something like 'but digital splits your music into bits man, I can hear the graininess every time I listen to a cd', I've already lost the argument before I even get into how analog to digital conversion and back REALLY works. I don't HATE vinyl myself, but I think I HATE the idea that a piece of music that I have purchased is subject to degradation EVERY TIME I play it...now, how about a plastic encased lp read by laser...I WILL be sold that would be the ultimate format...Neil Young are you listening?
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Sep 8 2013, 13:14
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QUOTE (Mach-X @ Sep 6 2013, 21:02) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 5 2013, 08:54) *
I will argue that I don't detest vinyl at all, I just know what it is. I still have a working turntable and several preamps with RIAA inputs. I spent a decade or two trying to raise vinyl playback to something that compared with high speed half track analog tape. It was pretty much all that we had. Everybody who tried that failed, which is why digital saw the light of day.


Sorry, I was being light hearted, it's just not often that I've encountered somebody from the vinyl era that doesn't swear it's the most incredible amazing sound experience possible.


That's all about sentimentality. Only a few people are early adopters, and proponents of change are always in the minority early on. I was presold on the concept and execution of digital. I had tracked the development of digital audio and was dismayed that it took so long to become commercialized. I bought my Revox and Thorens in 1969 thinking that digital would be here in a few years and they would be my last shot at analog. I was right about them being my last shot at analog, but I was wrong about the timing.

QUOTE
No matter how often I point out scientific facts like inferior dynamic range, better stereo separation, surface noise that is WAY above any possible digital noise, etc, etc, after which they usually say something like 'but digital splits your music into bits man, I can hear the graininess every time I listen to a cd',


I know better.

QUOTE
I've already lost the argument before I even get into how analog to digital conversion and back REALLY works.


In my book you win the argument when your opponent resorts to saying something that is completely wrong. The only way he wins is if he overcomes by relying on true facts.

QUOTE
I don't HATE vinyl myself, but I think I HATE the idea that a piece of music that I have purchased is subject to degradation EVERY TIME I play it...now, how about a plastic encased lp read by laser...I WILL be sold that would be the ultimate format...Neil Young are you listening?


By means of every well-done listening test I'm aware of, 44/16 is a sonically transparent format. The only way it could be possibly improved on is by maintaining its accurate reproduction and decreasing its data footprint.
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2Bdecided
post Sep 9 2013, 09:23
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Consumer cartridges and styli improved greatly in the 1970s. What was available towards the end of the 1960s was like driving a tank through the record grooves compared with what was available in the 1980s.

It is possible IME to have vinyl playback that sounds like CD playback, as least while the music is playing. I listed the pre-requisites above. I've never managed it for classical music, and it's very rare with second hand discs of any music.

However, many people who love vinyl play me things that they claim sound far better than CD, and these vastly superior records often have many obvious audible flaws to my ears.

Cheers,
David.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Sep 9 2013, 14:07
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Sep 9 2013, 04:23) *
Consumer cartridges and styli improved greatly in the 1970s. What was available towards the end of the 1960s was like driving a tank through the record grooves compared with what was available in the 1980s.


Examples?

Here is my view of the *real* mileposts in cartridge developments:

1964 V15
1966 V15-II
1972 Shibata stylus
1973 V15-III

and that my friend is pretty well that.

Moving coil was a rabbit hole. Always had problems with moving mass.

Not even Shure claims any significant advances after the V-15 III:

http://www.shure.com/americas/about-shure/history

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2Bdecided
post Sep 9 2013, 17:38
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 9 2013, 14:07) *
Examples?
Well, you listed two from the 1970s.
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