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Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: DP
Date: February 01, 2018 08:38AM
From my post about LPs from Walmart-it got me to thinking. What's the big deal about the resurgence in vinyl recordings?

1) I know that a greater range of frequency can be put on vinyl than CDs. But, I doubt I could tell the difference unless I spent a lot of money for the required equipment with the best specs.
2) Damage. LPs are easily damaged by improper handling and factors like a worn stylus, an overweight arm, lack of cleaning the disc prior to playing, improper storage, etc.
3) Amount of music an LP can have on it's surface-usually about 45 minutes worth-except, e.g., Todd Rundgren pushed that limit even tho the quality suffered.
4) Every time an LP is played, the needle wears away a bit of the surface causing irreplaceable damage to the record and the needle.
5) No scratches or pops or damage caused skipping on CDs or digitally downloaded recordings.
6) LPs take up a lot more storage space.

I just don't see any reason to even consider going back to vinyl.

So for those of you, like decay, into LPs, why?





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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 01, 2018 08:42AM
From my memories of my parents playing their vinyl, it always seemed like more of an experience, opening the case, pulling out the record, looking at the artwork, the process of carefully placing the record on the turntable, manually moving the arm. The whole process required more interaction, more presence, and shorter play times meant you had to stay involved, coming back when it was over, or if it started to skip. This is a significant contrast to today where you can stream music for a nearly unlimited amounted of time with almost to interaction.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: freeradical
Date: February 01, 2018 08:46AM
I like and buy vinyl, but not modern releases, ie. new music.

Old pure analog recordings, are IMHO, better than a CD.

However, if your master is digital, it's just plain silly to buy that recording on vinyl since you're getting the worst of both worlds.

FWIW, there were digital releases before most people in the general public had ever heard of digital. Ry Cooder's Bop till you drop in the late 70's. I think that Deutche Gramaphon was doing digital classical recordings in the mid 70's. The standards were higher than on today's CD's though...
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Bixby
Date: February 01, 2018 08:55AM
I'm not really in to them, but the physicality of it certainly lends to a different kind of listening experience. And certainly vinyl does sound different. Better is another question.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: DP
Date: February 01, 2018 09:06AM
looking at the artwork

A lot easier seeing something that's 12" rather than 4-3/4"! I remember photogs that had a life goal of an album cover for a big name artist, and graphic artists (painters, pen and ink, and other media artists) as well.

Better is another question

I recall years ago reading that you can't put the frequency range on a CD that can be put on vinyl. Many audiophiles reported this. Have things changed?





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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: tronnei
Date: February 01, 2018 09:07AM
  • Nostalgia
  • A certain amount of superiority/snobbery by those who claim it provides a better listening experience (I guess they like hiss, pops and skips with their "warmer" sounding music)
  • A better display of cover art and liner notes

I'm still holding my vinyl collection from my youth, but I'm not playing the records.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: JoeM
Date: February 01, 2018 09:32AM
Sometimes it's not merely the vinyl itself, but the vinyl coupled with a legacy system it's being played on. Old tube systems along with some phono cartridges can produce a very unique sound much different than what you might hear from digital mediums, even when played on really good audio components.

I will never forget how my jaw dropped back in the 60's when I first heard Hendrix's Are You Experienced and Zeppelin's first album on our tube record player. I own both on original vinyl and in digital formats and nothing come close to what I heard from that vinyl on that old RCA tube record player.



JoeM
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: February 01, 2018 09:35AM
Quote
DP
From my post about LPs from Walmart-it got me to thinking. What's the big deal about the resurgence in vinyl recordings?

1) I know that a greater range of frequency can be put on vinyl than CDs. But, I doubt I could tell the difference unless I spent a lot of money for the required equipment with the best specs.
2) Damage. LPs are easily damaged by improper handling and factors like a worn stylus, an overweight arm, lack of cleaning the disc prior to playing, improper storage, etc.
3) Amount of music an LP can have on it's surface-usually about 45 minutes worth-except, e.g., Todd Rundgren pushed that limit even tho the quality suffered.
4) Every time an LP is played, the needle wears away a bit of the surface causing irreplaceable damage to the record and the needle.
5) No scratches or pops or damage caused skipping on CDs or digitally downloaded recordings.
6) LPs take up a lot more storage space.

I just don't see any reason to even consider going back to vinyl.

So for those of you, like decay, into LPs, why?

I was a total digital snob who agreed with every word of that, from my first CD player in 1984, up until about 5 years ago when I got a vinyl reissue of Steely Dan’s Aja as a gift. On a lark, I dug out my old (cheap) turntable... and was blown away. I could hear whole instruments and parts I’d never heard on the CD.

Is vinyl convenient or perfect? Certainly not. But if you really care about music, it’s something you ought not discount on that basis.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2018 09:52AM by Will Collier.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: raz
Date: February 01, 2018 09:35AM
First and foremost, it sounds better. Richer and warmer are the usual adjectives. When the kids moved out, the foldout bed in my office disappeared, so I resurrected my vinyl. My son was amazed at the difference in quality.

My vinyl is still in very good condition.

But, yes, CDs don't hiss, or pop or (mostly) scratch.



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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: JoeH
Date: February 01, 2018 09:48AM
Quote
DP
Better is another question

I recall years ago reading that you can't put the frequency range on a CD that can be put on vinyl. Many audiophiles reported this. Have things changed?

Not really. The sampling frequency for a CD audio track is defined by a standard set over 35 years ago in the so called Red Book. That is at 44.1 KHz. That means a 22 KHz frequency sound is only sampled twice every cycle, and a sound at 11 KHz only 4 times every cycle. That has an effect on higher frequency overtones that vinyl can capture better than the CD digital audio format. Playback of those overtones from vinyl does depend on having a good enough system to respond to the information available.

Now for middle aged adults, loss of sensitivity to higher frequencies means most of us would not be able to tell the difference in reality. But a teen or young adult with undamaged hearing likely could if they were part of a blind test.

There have been a number of attempts to come up with digital formats that have a larger frequency range, one of the latest was SACD. It never took off in the marketplace, but you can find a number of releases and players for that format still. But blind tests of SACD versus CD at normal listening levels to see if they could be told apart found no significant difference. Half identified the CD as the SACD. At higher sound levels the CD could be identified, but that was due to the higher noise floor of the CD recording.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Winston
Date: February 01, 2018 09:48AM
Did someone say digital?










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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 01, 2018 10:03AM
Quote
DP

6) LPs take up a lot more storage space.

Says the guy organizing CDs alphabetically and can’t be bothered with iTunes. Even less space than CDs... smiley12



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Surfrider
Date: February 01, 2018 10:10AM
I never sold my lp collection, 5,000 strong.

I recently had my Dual 1229 tuned up, it sounds and works great.

There's something about spinning records that becomes part of the whole experience.

I have thousands of CD's and when I'm having a party I'll load my 5 CD changer and let it go for hours. But when it's just me and my wife of 46 years (!) I love to spin vinyl.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: February 01, 2018 10:49AM
I find vinyl way too fussy for my environment, which includes dust and cat hair. I don't want to hear pops and clicks. I got sick of dealing with anti-static measures and the hassle of having to move the tone arm to skip tracks. I have some vinyl that has never appeared on CD, and I have digitized a bit of that. But that is a lot of work.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2018 10:49AM by ka jowct.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: sekker
Date: February 01, 2018 11:09AM
As an analog engineer from years past, there is no reason a good analog to digital converter with proper sampling is poorer quality than the original file.

However, the mp3 files most people use are definitely 'lossy' copies.

I, too, do not miss vinyl. Most of my records were old and the quality was compromised by years of playback, cat hair (as noted in this thread), and poor needle quality.

If you wanted to say that higher quality video files would be worth purchasing, I would agree that the science is good in that area.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: February 01, 2018 11:27AM
Quote
Will Collier
I was a total digital snob who agreed with every word of that, from my first CD player in 1984, up until about 5 years ago when I got a vinyl reissue of Steely Dan’s Aja as a gift. On a lark, I dug out my old (cheap) turntable... and was blown away. I could hear whole instruments and parts I’d never heard on the CD.

My guess is that the equalization of that vinyl version is different from your CD version. This is a standard complaint of a lot of 70's and 80's music and why a lot of people wouldn't accept CDs. Try digitizing your vinyl version and see if it changes back.



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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: DP
Date: February 01, 2018 11:35AM
Quote
jdc
Quote
DP

6) LPs take up a lot more storage space.

Says the guy organizing CDs alphabetically and can’t be bothered with iTunes. Even less space than CDs... smiley12

I'm still old enough to worry that if I digitize everything and get rid of my discs, I'll lose the digital stuff! One day, poof! Gone into the ether... Also, it would take a lot of time to digitize everything so maybe when I retire and have nothing but time on my hands, as all retired persons have, I'll do it.





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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: February 01, 2018 11:58AM
Quote
JoeH
Now for middle aged adults, loss of sensitivity to higher frequencies means most of us would not be able to tell the difference in reality.

agree smiley

EVERYONE'S hearing WILL degrade as they age. The older you are the less you will be able to hear such differences. The more subtle the difference, the less you'll be able to discern it. EOS. old fogey smiley
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: testcase
Date: February 01, 2018 12:17PM
Now THIS is a collection!

[www.ebay.com]
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Rolando
Date: February 01, 2018 01:09PM
Agree with the above. Vinyl is an EXPERIENCE. It feels special, and frankly, you can't do much other than listen when you've got vinyl going. Its a stop everything else and listen. If you're gonna multitask, then you've got your phone for that!

The only other thing I sit and LISTEN to is the few 5.1 Music DVDs I have (Beatles LOVE) for the same reason.

My son gets this, he's taken on my old discs (only about 30) and enjoys them for what they are as well



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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: February 01, 2018 01:32PM
I was in the record business during the transition from LP record to digital CDs. The dynamic range of LPs is limited, so the masters were usually compressed, sometime highly (for pop music). When CDs first began appearing, they were criticized as cold and harsh. More often than not, they were made from LP-compressed master tapes, which revealed the artifacts of compression. Gradually the industry learned to stop compressing the masters, although there's some often done so that music can be played in cars or other noisy environments—otherwise the quiet passages disappear.

Most music today is recorded digitally, so there is no advantage to transferring to an analogue disk. Yes, there are purists who record to analogue tape, sometimes using old tube equipment, ribbon microphones, etc., and they maintain they get a warmer, more 'natural' sound. I suspect much of that is placebo effect.

The last LPs we made at Northeastern Records were mastered using a process called Direct-Metal Mastering, which skipped a step in the traditional process, and definitely made discs with less surface noise and higher frequency response than the traditional method. But aside from the larger packaging, I can see no real advantage to LP records: CDs have no surface noise, no ticks, pops, or audible scratches, and do not wear out by playing them.

That said, on the radio I like playing analogue records, because it's easy to find something you're looking for, just by putting the needle down in a band wherever you want. And there's still lots of music on vinyl records (LPs or singles) that is unavailable on CD (or if it is, I don't want to spend the money), so I play lots of them.

/Mr Lynn



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2018 01:33PM by mrlynn.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 01, 2018 05:12PM
Quote
Will Collier
I was a total digital snob who agreed with every word of that, from my first CD player in 1984, up until about 5 years ago when I got a vinyl reissue of Steely Dan’s Aja as a gift. On a lark, I dug out my old (cheap) turntable... and was blown away. I could hear whole instruments and parts I’d never heard on the CD.

This is exactly what people had to say about CDs when they first came out. "WOW! I can hear things I never heard on the LP!" Seriously, I still have copies of the old ‘80s-era Digital Audio magazine lying around from which I could pull CD review quotes with almost that exact verbiage.

It is to laugh.

Here's my take on the situation:

The consumer electronics industry has evolved to a point where it can only survive by coming up with the Next Great Thing every few years. As an example, look at TV technology. For decades the CE industry loped along selling us 240i cathode ray technology, and for decades they were able to make a profit doing so. Then TV started to become hi-tech: HD became the norm (480i > 480p > 720i > 720p > 1040i > 1040p > 4K > 8K) on displays that utilized technologies such as plasma, LCD, 3-D (briefly) and more recently OLED, QLED and, soon, micro-LED.

The capital investment required to continue to move TV display technology forward in this manner is expensive. No longer could CE manufacturers get by selling just a few TVs every year - in order to survive today, they need to not only sell as many current-tech TVs as possible, they need to create a new market for next-gen TVs every decade or so.

Since its inception, the fortunes of the home media market have closely mirrored those of the CE market. Using TV as an example again, home video technology has progressed in a very similar manner as TV technology. From videotape to laserdisc to DVD/DiVX to Blu-ray/HD-DVD (gotta love dem format wars!) to 4K Blu-ray, home video technology has more or less kept pace with TV technology, which means the purveyors of home video get an entirely new market to sell into every decade or so…. which makes them very happy.

A very similar situation exists in the music industry. For decades we had record players that played LPs and 45s (reel-to-reel players were a thing, but never reached critical mass in the marketplace), then 8-track players that played 8-track tapes, then cassette players that played cassette tapes, then CD players that played CDs (the first home digital technology!), then MiniDisc players that played MiniDiscs, then Super Audio CD (SACD) that played SACD discs, then mp3 players that played…. wait a second! mp3 players do not require a corresponding physical media!

While the advent of downloadable music was a boon to the music companies (no physical product = reduced costs), it was also something of a disadvantage. First of all, any person who has no access to the Internet is unable to purchase downloadable music. Second, the vast majority of music available for purchase online is compressed to some degree. As we have come to learn, audiophiles consider this an unacceptable state of affairs (fair enough) and are unlikely to purchase downloadable music intended for consumption by the masses. Another issue is that downloadable music does not offer the “permanence” that physical media does. Still another issue is the digital rights management often included with downloadable music.

Bottom line is that, for multiple reasons, the music industry still wants to be in the business of selling music on physical media. The problem is, the CE industry has not developed a Next Gen audio reproduction technology that requires its own unique physical media and probably never will again. It is more than happy to continue to churn out CD and mp3 players, because that is what the vast majority of people want.

SOOOO… CD sales are tanking due to downloadable music and there will not be a next-gen physical media technology. How, then, to create the next new market for physical media?

The answer to this question is: What’s old is new again.

With a bit of an assist from the current generation of hipsters (who are WAY too hip to settle for the technologies their parents grew up with), the music industry seized upon the idea of resurrecting the market for vinyl!

It’s a brilliant move, actually. The music industry already possesses tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of masters created specifically for vinyl records – little to no work is required to press new vinyl from these masters. In fact, this provides the music industry with the means to perpetuate a business model that has worked very well for them for some time now: Sell a bunch of titles on vinyl today, then create “remastered” versions of the same LPs a few years from now so that people can buy the same music YET AGAIN!

The current norm of digital mastering makes it a trivial task (and thus cost-effective) to create vinyl-specific masters that possess the equalization curve necessary for playback on turntables (assuming this is still a thing).

All that was needed was a way to convince people that they want to purchase the same music (YET AGAIN!) on a new old new format. Again, the music industry took their cue from hipsters. Soon enough, we were hearing about the “virtues” vinyl has over CD, including such chestnuts as “vinyl sounds warmer/fuller than CD” and the aforementioned “I hear things on vinyl I never heard on digital.”

Bottom line: This whole vinyl craze is simply marketing hoo-haw propagated by the music industry to create the latest "new" market that the CE industry failed to create this time around.



It is what it is.



Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2018 05:43PM by N-OS X-tasy!.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 01, 2018 05:24PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Quote
Will Collier
I was a total digital snob who agreed with every word of that, from my first CD player in 1984, up until about 5 years ago when I got a vinyl reissue of Steely Dan’s Aja as a gift. On a lark, I dug out my old (cheap) turntable... and was blown away. I could hear whole instruments and parts I’d never heard on the CD.

My guess is that the equalization of that vinyl version is different from your CD version. This is a standard complaint of a lot of 70's and 80's music and why a lot of people wouldn't accept CDs. Try digitizing your vinyl version and see if it changes back.

Perhaps yes, perhaps no. One of the original raps against CD sound was that it was too "harsh" when in fact the real problem was in the fact that masters that were created for the production of vinyl LPs were being used without modification to create CDs. Equalization requirements for vinyl and CD masters are very different (at least they were back in the '80s - I'm not sure about nowadays) and the vinyl masters sounded like @#$%& on CD.

But I think we're saying the same thing.



It is what it is.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 01, 2018 05:24PM
Quote
DeusxMac
Quote
JoeH
Now for middle aged adults, loss of sensitivity to higher frequencies means most of us would not be able to tell the difference in reality.

agree smiley

EVERYONE'S hearing WILL degrade as they age. The older you are the less you will be able to hear such differences. The more subtle the difference, the less you'll be able to discern it. EOS. old fogey smiley

What?



It is what it is.
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: billb
Date: February 01, 2018 07:24PM
Supposedly the typical vinyl buyer is 50 years old and many don't even own a turntable. They are collecting. The record companies didn't decide to push vinyl, they responded to demand. In an age of streaming music, who is to argue with the logic of the media being purchased as long as a buck is being made hawking physical media ?



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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: deckeda
Date: February 01, 2018 10:08PM
Listening to music is primarily a hobby. Imagine asking someone which plants for gardening is best, based on a set of factors not everyone cares about.

The “fun” comes from hearing that you like something because its flawed. Yeah, that’s not condescending, is it? The claimed assertion could also be extraordinarily, embarrassingly, exactly backwards. And then it got published in an Internet forum as The Truth. Ain’t that bummer.

And a crushing bore.

I’m now going to ask you which painting is best, based only on a description of how it was created and/or ask you to observe it through some gauzy material. Really good gauze though, the finest kind ever invented. The sort of gauze someone told you was basically transparent, and they have numbers to back that up. Math doesn’t lie, so it must be true.

What’s better? The answer depends on implementation, usage, what you value, or don’t value. A winner is declared for the rest of us. Thanks, I guess? The problem comes when you cherry pick something you value and either mischaracterize or otherwise push your beliefs and values onto someone else. And there’s been plenty of that in this thread.

The chief misconception I’ll mention, because it’s repeated like a skipping record. And it’s that for most people, frequency response means resolution. But for those of you that wish to hang your hat on “what the human ear can hear” (expressed in terms of frequencies / test tones) and how limited LPs are in that way, do understand you’re completely ignoring other factors that contribute to sound realism, and that most published specs never even try to “measure” that. Oops.

Remember when cassette decks claimed response basically flat out to 18kHz or more? They were not lying, they were frequently independently tested. And that’s better than most LPs can muster. I don’t recall cassettes being characterized by anyone as a higher resolving medium than LPs. Do you?

The best irony comes from remaining ignorant of the significant improvements in digital sound reproduction over the years. If it was good enough back in the 1980s, have you ever asked yourself why it’s been improved with greater bit depths, high sampling rates, better ADCs and DACs, jitter reduction, timing improvements?

And what does that say about where we are today? “All done”? Sure about that?
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: February 02, 2018 07:09AM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Will Collier
I was a total digital snob who agreed with every word of that, from my first CD player in 1984, up until about 5 years ago when I got a vinyl reissue of Steely Dan’s Aja as a gift. On a lark, I dug out my old (cheap) turntable... and was blown away. I could hear whole instruments and parts I’d never heard on the CD.

This is exactly what people had to say about CDs when they first came out. "WOW! I can hear things I never heard on the LP!" Seriously, I still have copies of the old ‘80s-era Digital Audio magazine lying around from which I could pull CD review quotes with almost that exact verbiage.

It is to laugh.

As Homer would say, "It's funny 'cause it's true."
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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: billb
Date: February 02, 2018 11:13PM
sampling rates will always only be 'good enough' compared to analogue
16 and 24 bit sound files will always probably be much more convenient



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Re: Let's have a discussion about vinyl records
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: February 03, 2018 11:47AM
Quote
billb
sampling rates will always only be 'good enough' compared to analogue

Perhaps not. Review the section labeled "Sampling fallacies and misconceptions" of this essay: [people.xiph.org]



It is what it is.
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