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Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 29, 2015 08:00PM
The earlier thread about rising sales of vinyl for me interested in this topic. If you take good care of your vinyl records, and use good record player, roughly how many times can you listed to a vinyl before it starts to deteriorate? and regarding that little needle (stylus?), how often do you replace that?

Thanks
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Sam3
Date: March 29, 2015 08:30PM
Audio shops have (or used to have) a microscope where they would check your stylus and let you know if it needed to be replaced.

Vinyl deterioration happens from the very first play, but the length of time before it gets annoyingly noticeable varies, depending on various factors such as the weight of the cartridge/stylus, the tracking accuracy of the stylus and more. Higher end turntables have adjustments to set the tracking and the amount of weight the stylus will present to the record. The cheap Crosely's and their ilk will wear out a record much faster than a good Thorens or Linn-Sondek or Dual or even Panasonic turntable.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: March 29, 2015 08:34PM
I don't know the exact answer. As a matter of simple physics, every time you play any analog media, it will degrade to some degree. Whether that degree is perceivable is another question entirely. The degradation may well not be audible for some time, but friction exists, it will have a detectable impact... eventually.

Stilli are susceptible to wear, but they are made of diamond (except for the extremely cheap ones), and when that actually happens is a matter of considerable debate. I wouldn't trust anybody who's selling either needles or albums to determine exactly when. In the 80's, it was an article of faith (and thus rarely questioned) that you should play an album once, to tape it, and never again, so as to preserve its "mint" condition.

But all that understood, albums and/or a stylus wearing out are far less likely in 2015 than it was in 1975. Unless you play your records literally all the time, I wouldn't waste a lot of brain cells worrying about friction wear.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: March 29, 2015 08:36PM
It really depends on the quality of your equipment. An exceptional turntable/tonearm/stylus will track in the grooves of a record at a very light weight and not subject the vinyl to undue stress and wear.

In earlier years, with the above mentioned exceptional equipment, I would record the album on my reel to reel tape recorder, at the fastest speed, the first time I played the record. Then I would repeat this process a couple of years later on new tape formulations.

If you played the album consistently, then it wouldn't be all that long before dust got into the grooves and start a clicking or popping noise. Usually within 3 months. If you bought a very expensive record cleaner (upwards of $1000.00) you could stretch this to 6 months,

If you played the records continuously, you might get 6 months to a year out of your stylus (needle). These would usually run upwards of $250.00.

Yes, you could do it cheaper, but then you shorten the time line mentioned.

This is a basic generalization of the process.



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: RgrF
Date: March 29, 2015 08:37PM
I use to live off vinyl (even use to know how to spell it). The nature of the needle determines the lifespan of the disk. Diamond was the standard but as I recall they'd made huge advances that came just about the time the public moved on to tape and later to digital.

Back in our bereft teen days when a needle broke, we'd snap off the tip of a sewing needle or safety pin and get the same low-fi mono result. It reduced the lifespan of those old Buddy Holly 45s to about a week or two.

History of the music biz for a while was to keep reinventing media in an effort to sell the same music to the same audience at an ever increasing price tag. Then came Steve and the iPod.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/29/2015 08:40PM by RgrF.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: March 29, 2015 09:56PM
Quote
RgrF
History of the music biz for a while was to keep reinventing media in an effort to sell the same music to the same audience at an ever increasing price tag. Then came Steve and the iPod.

Oh come on, Roger. You think there was no improvement in the transition from 78s to 33s? To the microgroove LP? Even to the portability of tape cassettes (Walkman)? And of course, the CD, removing the wear and tear that analogue media were subject to. The MP3 player (which Steve didn't invent) was just the next step in digitization.

And of course, the music never changed either, right?

/Mr Lynn



"Hillbilly at Harvard"
Honky-tonk Country and Bluegrass
Founded in 1948 by Pappy Ben Minnich
Saturdays 9am - 1pm Eastern
WHRB-FM, Cambridge, MA
Streaming at [www.WHRB.org]
Be there!

The HAH weblog: [hillbillyatharvard.wordpress.com]

Topical weblog: [walkingcreekworld.wordpress.com]

On the river in Saxonville.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Frank
Date: March 29, 2015 09:59PM
Quote
Will Collier
... But all that understood, albums and/or a stylus wearing out are far less likely in 2015 than it was in 1975. ...
I don't know why that would be. Maybe the vinyl is higher quality now, catering to the audiophile buyer.
Very high quality cartridges and turntables/tonearms were available to the masses at very reasonable prices in the 70's. This is not the case anymore. To equal or exceed that quality level now costs many hundreds of dollars. The low end (< $200 or so) stuff available now is junk that will definitely wear out a record quickly. Using a highly compliant cartridge/stylus in a properly matched tonearm, playing a clean record, at a tracking force just high enough to track properly with low distortion, a record should be pretty free of noise and distortion for many plays. I have albums that still sound nearly new after 50-100 plays.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 29, 2015 10:01PM
Quote
space-time
... roughly how many times can you listed to a vinyl before it starts to deteriorate? and regarding that little needle (stylus?), how often do you replace that? ...

I don't know, because there are a lot of variables. Let's say everything is well setup and you listen to two LPs each day. I'm making this up, once a year replace the stylus? I think I saw one estimate of about 500 LP sides (250 LPs) which would indicate a quicker replacement schedule.

Usually what happens is you don't notice the degradation until one day you go "oh crap!" and then you can't deny it. Or you come into some cash and want to try a different cart, and so on.

LPs are a different story. Unless you have a favorite you must hear all the time, an LP can last a lifetime. It has to not be abused, and not listened to indefinitely. You absolutely do not need expensive turntables or cartridges to do this. A "Crosley" doesn't qualify. Its crude design is a record eraser.

For most people in a more or less continual acquisition of new music, we aren't going to WANT to hear Dark Side of the Moon or Rumours for the rest of our days. So those LPs stay fine forever. smiling smiley

Record care is whole 'other topic, but most of the noise people associate with vinyl isn't from wear or scratches, it's from dirt. Meaning, if you keep or GET them cleaned, they play as new. So if you've played an LP several times and think it's no longer as good as it should be, it probably, actually is.

Effective record cleaners are about $80 on up, more if they also vacuum, and they make a huge difference. Wiping with a cloth just moves dirt around.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 29, 2015 10:08PM
If your Dual or whatever from the '60s had its Shure set up correctly, those LPs should still be excellent. I have all of my records since I began collecting in the '70s. They are all just great, and I never had high end equipment.

Today, at about $320 for a Pro-Ject Debut and something like a $40 Audio Technica AT-95E you can get more than a taste of what decent LP replay can do. And your records will outlast you.

And in "1975" dollars that's far cheaper (and ... better) that what people paid back then for a basic Pioneer or Dual setup.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: RgrF
Date: March 30, 2015 01:36AM
Quote
mrlynn
Quote
RgrF
History of the music biz for a while was to keep reinventing media in an effort to sell the same music to the same audience at an ever increasing price tag. Then came Steve and the iPod.

Oh come on, Roger. You think there was no improvement in the transition from 78s to 33s? To the microgroove LP? Even to the portability of tape cassettes (Walkman)? And of course, the CD, removing the wear and tear that analogue media were subject to. The MP3 player (which Steve didn't invent) was just the next step in digitization.

And of course, the music never changed either, right?

/Mr Lynn

So you, a music professional, are declaring that music labels did not constantly reinvent ways to sell an old product? Seriously?

The iPod was an extenuation of that marketing concept, in fact it exploded the market. Did it not?

(I never said Steve invented anything, he sure as hell knew how to sell the existing product - did he not?)
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: March 30, 2015 01:43AM
Quote
space-time
The earlier thread about rising sales of vinyl for me interested in this topic. If you take good care of your vinyl records, and use good record player, roughly how many times can you listed to a vinyl before it starts to deteriorate?

Zero. It begins to deteriorate the moment it's manufactured.

Quote

and regarding that little needle (stylus?), how often do you replace that?

A good high compliance magnetic cartridge's (phono pickup) stylus when installed on a low pivot friction, low tracking force arm with properly adjusted anti-skating compensation will last a very long time (100s of hours) if used with scrupulously clean records.

[en.wikipedia.org]
[en.wikipedia.org]



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 01:50AM by Article Accelerator.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: March 30, 2015 05:53AM
Quote
RgrF
So you, a music professional, are declaring that music labels did not constantly reinvent ways to sell an old product? Seriously?

Of course labels constantly repackage product, to milk whatever they can of music they own. Why not? Records and tapes (and CDs) always wear out (or just run their course), new customers hopefully come along. My only beef is with companies doing remakes of hit songs with the original artists; inevitably the remakes are worse than the originals.

You, however, seemed to suggest that innovations in media were just to resell old product. That's ridiculous. And when new media are invented, it would be irresponsible not to release old music in the new formats. There is still lots of material from the 78 and 33 (and 45) eras that is still not available on CD—most of it obscure, to be sure, but still frustrating for aficionados and collectors.

Quote

The iPod was an extenuation of that marketing concept, in fact it exploded the market. Did it not?

(I never said Steve invented anything, he sure as hell knew how to sell the existing product - did he not?)

While Steve was not an inventor, he was much more than a marketer; his genius lay in making a better product: a better MP3 player; a better cell phone; and originally, a better personal computer. Yes, the iPhone certainly changed the music marketplace, as did iTunes and its imitators—new bottles for old, and new, wine.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: decay
Date: March 30, 2015 07:23AM
Wasn't it later discovered that Jobs preferred vinyl over digital for his own listening enjoyment?

Life has surface noise.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 07:23AM by decay.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: March 30, 2015 07:49AM
Quote
decay
Wasn't it later discovered that Jobs preferred vinyl over digital for his own listening enjoyment?

Life has surface noise.

Life has surface noise.

Can I steal that? Great line!

Back in the day, at WHRB we had 'scratch filters' on the studio turntable consoles. Basically what they did was filter out some of the highs. For badly scratched records, we'd put a penny or two on the tone arm, to keep them from skipping. If necessary, we'd use a quarter.

/Mr Lynn
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: March 30, 2015 07:54AM
Quote
Frank
Quote
Will Collier
... But all that understood, albums and/or a stylus wearing out are far less likely in 2015 than it was in 1975. ...
I don't know why that would be. Maybe the vinyl is higher quality now, catering to the audiophile buyer.
Very high quality cartridges and turntables/tonearms were available to the masses at very reasonable prices in the 70's. This is not the case anymore. To equal or exceed that quality level now costs many hundreds of dollars. The low end (< $200 or so) stuff available now is junk that will definitely wear out a record quickly. Using a highly compliant cartridge/stylus in a properly matched tonearm, playing a clean record, at a tracking force just high enough to track properly with low distortion, a record should be pretty free of noise and distortion for many plays. I have albums that still sound nearly new after 50-100 plays.

That wasn't well-stated on my part... if you're going to listen to a particular album exclusively on vinyl a lot of times, obviously it doesn't matter what year it is, the record and the stylus are going to wear.

I'm glad I bought and then held on to a decent turntable in the 80's, before CDs and cassettes put the vinyl market in a 30-year coma. Like you said, the cheap new stuff is junk, and the expensive new stuff is REALLY expensive...
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: decay
Date: March 30, 2015 08:53AM
I have old turntables, but from what i have read, the "Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable" is well regarded. $250.

[www.amazon.com]

The AT-LP60USB Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable is around $118 for a lower entry point. Still better than a Crosley record-wrecker.

A basic Orbit turntable runs around $180, some people like them, some say they are cheaply made. I don't have any hands-on experience.

[uturnaudio.com]



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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 30, 2015 09:03AM
Quote
Article Accelerator
Quote
space-time
The earlier thread about rising sales of vinyl for me interested in this topic. If you take good care of your vinyl records, and use good record player, roughly how many times can you listed to a vinyl before it starts to deteriorate?

Zero. It begins to deteriorate the moment it's manufactured.

Quote

and regarding that little needle (stylus?), how often do you replace that?

A good high compliance magnetic cartridge's (phono pickup) stylus when installed on a low pivot friction, low tracking force arm with properly adjusted anti-skating compensation will last a very long time (100s of hours) if used with scrupulously clean records.

[en.wikipedia.org]
[en.wikipedia.org]

Your response wants to say a stylus (100s of hours) will outlast a record (zero/instant degradation). The practical converse is true.

They both wear of course, but the answer to his question of how long a record lasts is far greater than "zero," it can be measured in decades and for most people, that's long enough. Any record that sounds noticeably bad after a few plays (let alone, one or three!) was severely abused.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 30, 2015 09:14AM
Quote
Will Collier
...

I'm glad I bought and then held on to a decent turntable in the 80's, before CDs and cassettes put the vinyl market in a 30-year coma. Like you said, the cheap new stuff is junk, and the expensive new stuff is REALLY expensive...

I'm going to disagree again with this. There are several brand new turntable and cartridge choices today that compared to what entry-level (but still "hifi") gear cost decades ago, can be cheaper in equivalent dollars.

One thing that has changed over the years is that many consumer items have gotten cheaper overall, and it's my belief our expectations of what something "should" cost have sunk, with an increase in spending dollar choices for entertainment. There are entire categories of stuff we can buy today (vid games, Internet ...( that weren't even available back in the day. So the value proposition shifts.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Date: March 30, 2015 09:46AM
Having worked in the high-end audio industry in a past life, I can confidently say that most people have simply never heard what a high-quality turntable/cartridge system sounds like. So they really can't conceive of just how good music on a vinyl record can be. Add in the lax care people take with protecting their records (for many folks the execrable Discwasher pad was considered the solution of choice), and it's no wonder that consumers have long thought that records naturally have lots of hiss, pop and crackle. But they don't...if they are properly cared for.

Of course, as a consumer product these characteristics help to explain why vinyl was replaced by CD. "Perfect sound forever" and alleged immunity from mishandling made the CD far more desirable for the average consumer.



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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: decay
Date: March 30, 2015 10:15AM
I have even read that some CD players sound far better than others; the guts make a huge difference, not even taking speakers into consideration.

I'm not against CDs or digital music - I still enjoy both - but the sad state of brick-walling releases leaves me cold for most new/current artists, unless they go against the grain.

Speaking of which - may I suggest Benjamin Booker? I recently bought his debut LP online, which saved me some money, and it sounds great.



[www.youtube.com]

Have You Seen My Son?
[www.youtube.com]



---




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 10:16AM by decay.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 30, 2015 10:44AM
Really like that LP! I saw perform last October and thanked him outside the club on my way home. What a great guy.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: March 30, 2015 12:51PM
Quote
deckeda
Quote
Article Accelerator
Quote
space-time
The earlier thread about rising sales of vinyl for me interested in this topic. If you take good care of your vinyl records, and use good record player, roughly how many times can you listed to a vinyl before it starts to deteriorate?

Zero. It begins to deteriorate the moment it's manufactured.

Quote

and regarding that little needle (stylus?), how often do you replace that?

A good high compliance magnetic cartridge's (phono pickup) stylus when installed on a low pivot friction, low tracking force arm with properly adjusted anti-skating compensation will last a very long time (100s of hours) if used with scrupulously clean records.

[en.wikipedia.org]
[en.wikipedia.org]

Your response wants to say a stylus (100s of hours) will outlast a record (zero/instant degradation). The practical converse is true.

They both wear of course, but the answer to his question of how long a record lasts is far greater than "zero," it can be measured in decades and for most people, that's long enough. Any record that sounds noticeably bad after a few plays (let alone, one or three!) was severely abused.

Actually, I agree with you. I was being quite literal in my response regarding vinyl.

By the way, that was an informative link you cited in the other thread:

[ortofon.com]
"Stylus lifetime

With proper care we find that up to 1000 hours is possible without degradation of performance. The stylus does begin to exhibit changes after 1.000 hours, but the stylus life as a whole is expected to top 2.000 hours."




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 01:14PM by Article Accelerator.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: MarkD
Date: March 30, 2015 12:59PM
I never could find decent records at resale shops. Even after I looked at the disk for catch marks, could not seem to get one without skipping. What else was I supposed to be looking for?

There were albums from some groups, just on principle, would not buy used because they were great party albums that had specific songs played and replayed by the self appointed intoxicated DJ.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: March 30, 2015 01:19PM
Quote
Yoyodyne ArtWorks

Of course, as a consumer product these characteristics help to explain why vinyl was replaced by CD. "Perfect sound forever" and alleged immunity from mishandling made the CD far more desirable for the average consumer.

I was working in a record store when CDs first broke out to the mass market. I think we had 15-20 titles hanging on the wall behind the counter to start with. One day a guy comes in asking for a refund (or maybe a replacement, I don't remember) for Robert Palmer's "Riptide" CD. He opens up the case, and the disc is in two pieces.

None of us had ever even seen a broken CD before. "Was it like this when you bought it?" I finally asked.

"These ain't supposed to break!" he replied. After a long silence, I asked him the same question.

"Naw..." after a lot of hemming and hawing, he finally admitted that he'd thrown the CD up against a wall. "But these ain't supposed to break!"
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Date: March 30, 2015 01:28PM
Throwing it against the wall was just a natural reaction to the atrocious sound quality of those early CDs!



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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 30, 2015 01:37PM
Quote
Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Throwing it against the wall was just a natural reaction to the atrocious sound quality of those early CDs!

Not all early CDs sounded bad (Dire Straits' Brother In Arms leaps to mind)... but many did.



It is what it is.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: March 30, 2015 01:40PM
Quote
Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Throwing it against the wall was just a natural reaction to the atrocious sound quality of those early CDs!

In a lot of cases, no doubt. In some though, the original CD masterings (Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly," the West German CDs from Rush and the black Harvest "Dark Side Of The Moon" leap to mind) are still arguably the best-sounding digital versions. The "remasters" since then have mostly consisted of turning everything up to compete in the Loudness Wars.

But I don't think the dude with the Palmer CD was all that concerned about sonic fidelity...
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 30, 2015 02:06PM
Quote
Will Collier
Quote
Yoyodyne ArtWorks
Throwing it against the wall was just a natural reaction to the atrocious sound quality of those early CDs!

In a lot of cases, no doubt. In some though, the original CD masterings (Donald Fagen's "The Nightfly," the West German CDs from Rush and the black Harvest "Dark Side Of The Moon" leap to mind) are still arguably the best-sounding digital versions. The "remasters" since then have mostly consisted of turning everything up to compete in the Loudness Wars.

Yeah, Fagen's The Nightfly was another early example of sterling audio on CD. Phil Collins' Face Value sounded pretty good, too, as I recall - I can still remember the chills I felt upon hearing "In The Air Tonight" played off of a CD on a really nice sound system at a local stereo shop way back in 1985.

Generally speaking, though, classical CDs got all the love in the early years of CD. Pop/rock releases, for the most part, were just the record companies pushing product. Even then, many early pop/rock CDs sounded at least OK. Two of the first CDs I ever heard were Simon & Garfunkel's Greastest Hits and James Taylor's Greatest Hits - both sounded at least as good on CD as I'd ever heard before.



It is what it is.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 03:28PM by N-OS X-tasy!.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: decay
Date: March 30, 2015 02:51PM
Found some clean German pressings in Goodwill this weekend.



4 LP box set





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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 30, 2015 05:58PM
Funny you guys mentioned Brother In Arms and The Nightfly. Both were digitally recorded, essentially skipping the ADC step, a major reason why early CDs sucked. They were both also well recorded and produced, but reissues won't bring much if any improvement due to 16/44's dead end.
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Re: Question about Vinyl records
Posted by: freeradical
Date: March 31, 2015 05:39PM
IIRC, early digital masters, before the CD became reality, had a higher sampling frequency and number of bits per sample than the CD does. DG was big on this with their classical recordings.
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