LP vs. CD blind test! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-02-2019, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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LP vs. CD blind test!

Working in audio for decades I've always been puzzled by the fact that I've never seen what I considered a valid, scientific blind test comparing CD vs. LP (played on top level gear). . . so I just made one everyone is invited to try for themselves!

WOO-HOO!

If you don't already have this fantastic, FREE tool in your audio arsenal (Foobar ABX) I give complete instructions on how to use this necessary double-blind comparator to properly evaluate the two files, here:


STEP 1: Just like my video above describes, download and install Foobar2000, here:
https://www.foobar2000.org/download

STEP 2: Then install it and while it is open also download and install this component add-on called "ABX Comparator", found here:
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_abx
----

OK, WE ARE READY TO GO!

Here are the two, carefully synchronized and level matched excerpts I've prepared for people to download and put into the ABX test to compare. At the Dropbox download links provided, click each file's box in the upper right with the three dots [ ". . . " ] to reveal the download option. [Note: You don't have to set up an account to download the file, if you don't want to, so click "No thanks" to ignore their ads to do so.]

LP:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/43xmketr6s...cerpt.wav?dl=0

CD: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mt2ovbjg4r...cerpt.wav?dl=0

---

My results:


Although I can hear differences, if I ignore the rare, very faint pops/ticks (audible only during the quiet parts), I am impressed with how incredibly similar the two sounds are in most regards!


How about you?

Notes:

I used my Acoustic Research AR-XA turntable, designed to meet or exceed NAB broadcast quality standards and called "The single most important turntable of all time." by HiFi News Magazine (the oldest HiFi magazine in the world and the biggest in the UK), in May, 2009.

The CD version is a direct, bit accurate rip using EAC [Exact Audio Copy].
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Last edited by m. zillch; 10-22-2019 at 03:13 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-02-2019, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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If I try to ignore the rare, very faint ticks (which act as tells it is vinyl), in a quick, casual listen I can't hear much difference between the two at all, getting only 6 correct in a test of 10 trials:

foo_abx 2.0.6c report
foobar2000 v1.4.2
2019-10-02 13:13:46

File A: What's New LP excerpt.wav
SHA1: 10d60010ae6a73a470482dab54494e7cae99f320
File B: What's New CD excerpt.wav
SHA1: 8f4bc4d9b7a40590cb73b3783c2d74b40af17d1e

Output:
DS : Speakers (USB Audio CODEC )
Crossfading: NO

13:13:46 : Test started.
13:14:02 : 01/01
13:15:05 : 02/02
13:15:41 : 03/03
13:15:52 : 03/04
13:16:13 : 03/05
13:16:32 : 04/06
13:16:44 : 04/07
13:17:04 : 05/08
13:17:17 : 05/09
13:17:42 : 06/10
13:17:42 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 6/10
p-value: 0.377 (37.7%)

-- signature --
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Last edited by m. zillch; 10-03-2019 at 12:08 PM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-02-2019, 03:22 PM
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Is the mastering the same between the LP and the CD? I've read how some LP's sound different from their CD counterpart because they each go through their own mastering process. I look forward to checking this out soon.

Thank you!
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-02-2019, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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You hit the nail on the head. That's the $64,000 question.

I can tell you that using the exact same master for both is rare yet album liner notes pretty much never discuss such details. Occasionally the engineers will comment in interviews and forum posts but many seem blissfully unaware that they aren't the absolute end of the chain.

Another problem is even if the mastering engineer swears on a stack of bibles they come from the same master, CD and LP, the cutting lathe engineer can still apply certain manipulations after they receive that master before the grooves are actually etched in.
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Last edited by m. zillch; 10-02-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-02-2019, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought this on CD (praying some day I will find an affordable version on LP) because according to a forum post they come from literally the same master. Is it true though? Don't know.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_into_Clarksdale

Last edited by m. zillch; 10-02-2019 at 03:50 PM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-11-2019, 08:33 AM
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I would like to try this, but if the CD version is an SACD, how do I get that file? Or, do I have to use the CD layer? Another problem: the original recording was made in the '50s (as is my LP copy). It was clearly remastered for the SACD version, which is actually 3 channel.
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post #7 of 16 Old 10-11-2019, 09:33 AM
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You are a very brave man for starting this thread. I'm sure "the snobs" will be voicing their opinions in short order.

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post #8 of 16 Old 10-11-2019, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTVhike View Post
I would like to try this, but if the CD version is an SACD, how do I get that file? Or, do I have to use the CD layer? Another problem: the original recording was made in the '50s (as is my LP copy). It was clearly remastered for the SACD version, which is actually 3 channel.
As I wrote earlier, I use Exact Audio Copy to rip the bits from the CD. Sorry, I don't know what happens with an SACD (with a CD layer).

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post #9 of 16 Old 10-11-2019, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3db View Post
You are a very brave man for starting this thread. I'm sure "the snobs" will be voicing their opinions in short order.
Well it has been up over a week and not a single soul has taken the test, but me.


I would think no matter where people fall along the spectrum of beliefs people still would have been interested in taking the test, but I guess I was wrong.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-11-2019, 12:32 PM
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I havent really use my computer these last 4 years so havent tried this test even if it looks fun. How easy it is to hear the differences i dont really know as i have very little personal experience with using LPs(well, 35 years ago mom and dad did but that didnt sound like they do today...) but the physical carving and also physical reading of an LP is supposed to change the sound a little compared to purely digital source.
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post #11 of 16 Old 10-12-2019, 12:07 PM
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I've participated in a similar event before, and likely know the outcome (it is harder to distinguish than it might seem at first), but I may still try, I can't use foobar though, maybe will find an alternative.

Unfortunately there are very audible clicks on this recording. I think if there would be no clicks it would've be much harder, especially on such material. Can't make myself ignore clicks.


Ended up installing foobar2000 in wine (surprisingly it worked ootb without any problems, I guess that Valve money really helps)
foo_abx 2.0.6c report
foobar2000 v1.4.8
2019-10-12 22:10:20

File A: What's New CD excerpt.wav
SHA1: 8f4bc4d9b7a40590cb73b3783c2d74b40af17d1e
File B: What's New LP excerpt.wav
SHA1: 10d60010ae6a73a470482dab54494e7cae99f320

Output:
DS : Primary Sound Driver
Crossfading: NO

22:10:20 : Test started.
22:11:15 : 01/01
22:11:39 : 02/02
22:12:09 : 03/03
22:12:33 : 04/04
22:12:49 : 05/05
22:13:00 : 06/06
22:13:19 : 07/07
22:13:41 : 08/08
22:14:02 : 09/09
22:14:16 : 10/10
22:14:39 : 11/11
22:14:55 : 12/12
22:15:08 : 13/13
22:15:39 : 14/14
22:15:47 : 15/15
22:15:57 : 16/16
22:15:57 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 16/16
p-value: 0 (0%)

-- signature --
5ed112c112fb4de5fb3391b1d57a342705cf5e8c

Last edited by aats; 10-12-2019 at 01:39 PM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 10-12-2019, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aats View Post
Unfortunately there are very audible clicks on this recording. I think if there would be no clicks it would've be much harder, especially on such material. Can't make myself ignore clicks.
Thank you for posting your test results.
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post #13 of 16 Old 10-15-2019, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aats View Post
Unfortunately there are very audible clicks on this recording. I think if there would be no clicks it would've be much harder, especially on such material. Can't make myself ignore clicks.
Some people digitally edit out the ticks/pops but then others will cry "foul" and say that manipulation makes it an unfair comparison. I made it a point to apply no post processing, at all, other than selecting the start and stop points so the two song segments would be in sync and applying a tiny change in level so the two files would be the same volume.

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post #14 of 16 Old 10-15-2019, 06:45 PM
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Ha ha, I don't need blind test, when I first bought a portable CD player in the early 90s and hooked up onto the stereo to listen, I dumped the turn table in the garbage can.......For real..........And gave the whole collection of LP to my stepson. Even the little CD player opened up the dynamics. Yes, it's a cheap portable CD player, it's sounded a little grainy, but couldn't help but love the dynamics and the separation of the bass and treble. It just got better when I bought a real CD player.


Anyway, not interested in debating about the blind test, just want to say my piece.


EDIT: I know there is a unmistakable difference in sound between record and CD. Record just have a distinct sound, to me it's like retro from the good old days. I don't listen to old music, so I don't particularly want to remember back the good old days.
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post #15 of 16 Old 10-16-2019, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
Ha ha, I don't need blind test, when I first bought a portable CD player in the early 90s and hooked up onto the stereo to listen, I dumped the turn table in the garbage can.......For real..........And gave the whole collection of LP to my stepson. Even the little CD player opened up the dynamics. Yes, it's a cheap portable CD player, it's sounded a little grainy, but couldn't help but love the dynamics and the separation of the bass and treble. It just got better when I bought a real CD player.


Anyway, not interested in debating about the blind test, just want to say my piece.

Couldnt have been much of table if you simply tossed it into the garbage like you say.





Quote:
Originally Posted by alan0354 View Post
EDIT: I know there is a unmistakable difference in sound between record and CD. Record just have a distinct sound, to me it's like retro from the good old days. I don't listen to old music, so I don't particularly want to remember back the good old days.

Tom Petty's release of MOJO would counter your arguement.
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post #16 of 16 Old 10-16-2019, 05:33 PM
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I was listening to a 180 gram vinyl and realized how good those sound, to me it sounded very close if not the same as the CD counterpart.

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