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Dynamic Comparison of LPs vs CDs - Part 4 - page 3

By
(The Style Council)

This time, I am comparing the original issue of the LP and CD released in 1984 against the "digitally remastered" version released in 2000.

First of all, some statistics (note that the CD figures are "theoretical" based on a digital rip - real world performance will not be as good, in contrast the LP figures are from my recording):


Original

Remastered

LP

Peak Amplitude (dB):

-1.43

-0.05

-5.09

Minimum RMS Power (dB):

-62.90

-99.01

-56.96

Maximum RMS Power:

-12.86

-6.19

-14.18

Average RMS Power (dB):

-21.18

-13.77

-21.88

Total RMS Power (dB):

-20.38

-12.95

-21.10

Maximum - Average RMS Power (dB):

8.33

7.58

7.71

Maximum - Minimum RMS Power (dB):

50.05

92.82

42.79

Subjectively, the original CD release sounds inferior to my LP, but the remastered version sounds pretty good - comparable to the LP on a casual listen.

Looking at the statistics, however, I suspect that the remastered CD achieves better subjective performance through manipulation: the remastered version is noticeably more compressed (lower Maximum - Average RMS Power ) and has had noise reduction applied (higher apparent Maximum - Minimum RMS Power ). One could argue whether this is effectively "cheating."

Let's compare the waveforms. This is the digital rip of the original CD release:

chart3-1.jpg

In comparison, the remastered CD is noticeably compressed/peak limited, and the average volume level boosted as high as possible:

chart3-2.jpg

The LP in comparison:

chart3-3.jpg

This is the spectral view of the original issue CD:

chart3-4.jpg

As you can see, no spectral information above 20kHz . The horizontal "bands" of spectral content are probably inherent in the master tape, and probably the result of mutli -band analog equalization during mixing.

The remastered CD has similar specral content:

chart3-5.jpg

Interestingly, I'm noticing a band of "noise" close to 22.05kHz - this could be the result of dithering, or a sign that the remastered CD was taken from a DSD master.

In comparison, this is the LP spectral view:

chart3-6.jpg

Still rather inconclusive, although there appears to be some frequency content up to around 25kHz (notice the extra horizontal "band" above 20kHz).

What's New from What's New (Linda Ronstadt and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra)

This is comparing my capture of the LP vs the DVD-Audio MLP 2.0 track (at 192kHz/ 24-bits, converted to analog , and recaptured on my sound card at 96kHz/24-bits). First of all, the statistics:


DVD-A

LP

Peak Amplitude (dB):

-1.44

-3.90

Minimum RMS Power (dB):

-89.46

-60.00

Maximum RMS Power:

-7.16

-12.19

Average RMS Power (dB):

-20.36

-24.85

Total RMS Power (dB):

-18.88

-23.61

Maximum - Average RMS Power (dB):

13.21

12.66

Maximum - Minimum RMS Power (dB):

82.30

47.81

Note that LP no longer has a relative dynamics advantage over the digital recording.

But the Total RMS Power of the DVD-A is higher. If we adjusted the DVD-A recording downwards by 4.73dB (so that both recordings have the same Total RMS Power):


DVD-A

LP

Peak Amplitude (dB):

-6.17

-3.90

Minimum RMS Power (dB):

-94.19

-60.00

Maximum RMS Power:

-11.89

-12.19

Average RMS Power (dB):

-25.09

-24.85

Total RMS Power (dB):

-23.61

-23.61

Maximum - Average RMS Power (dB):

13.21

12.66

Maximum - Minimum RMS Power (dB):

82.30

47.81

LP now has a higher peak amplitude and Average RMS Power. Indeed, comparing the waveforms show that LP has higher relative dynamics, but the differences are much smaller compared to Chariots of Fire , around 1dB or less. This is probably not statistically significant, given LP's noise floor.

 

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