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When hi-res audio can’t compete with vinyl (slight return)

  • No, I am not saying that vinyl is better than hi-res audio. For the hard of reading, this video’s title contains the word “when”, the implication being “not always, but sometimes”. And the “sometimes” in this case refers to the 2023 remaster of Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense where a 16bit/44.1kHz vinyl rip scores higher on dynamic range than the 24bit/44.1kHz hi-res download. I even double-checked this finding with someone else’s 24bit/192kHz vinyl rip and arrived at the same end result.

    Moreover, those watching the video to the end will hear me comment on how the two FLAC sets differ soundwise and how the vinyl rip doesn’t beat the hi-res download in all audible respects.

    And yet the comments section noise generated by those engaging in the either/or debate grows increasingly tiresome, especially when the conversation 1) strays into personal attacks or 2) pushes for black-and-white extremism.

    Perhaps what we’re hearing is the sound of people’s identities too tightly intertwined with their singular approach to audio with the upshot being a bunch of people talking past one another, unable to tolerate an alternative point of view because it is read as a personal attack. I’ll leave that to the behavioural psychologists among us to confirm/deny but a big thank you goes out to anyone who has watched the video all the way to the end (without skipping a segment) and has made a considered and helpful comment that advances the conversation.

    Me? I play CDs, I spin vinyl and I stream. Format evangelism is for the birds because mastering quality transcends format choice. Well, mostly. One exception forms the pointy end of this video: in order to access a master with a higher dynamic range, we sometimes have to buy the vinyl.

    🎥 Camera: John Darko
    🎬 Editor: John Darko
    🌈 Colour: Olaf von Voss
    🕺🏻 Motion GFX: John Darko
    💰 Ad segment: Jana Dagdagan

    🎵 Song IDs? Playlists of all music heard in this video – and other videos – can be found on PATREON:

    Further information: MAAT Digital

    👉 As mentioned in this video…

    Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

    When hi-res audio stops making sense…

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    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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