Thread: CD vs Vinyl
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Old 07-06-2011   #90
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 5
Default Re: CD vs Vinyl

Here's a shocker for you. When CD's came out, it was proclaimed that they had a signal to noise ratio of 90dB. This was worked out by adding 6dB for each bit increase. i.e. the 1st bit (lsb) is considered as 0dB. So 15 x 6 = 90. Impressive? However, in order that there is no perceived loss of information in a complex wave form, the wave must have a resolve of at least 12 bits. i.e. you are above the noise floor when the signal spans a depth of at least 12 bits. Unlike with analogue tape, you cannot hear the noise floor on a digital system but is has the same destructive effect on a signal. Therefore, the true 0dB starts at the 12th bit which means that a CD has a signal to noise ratio of only 24dB!!!

Vinyl has a s/n of 48dB.
Cassettes have a s/n around 50dB without NR
SACD has a s/n of 48dB but an internal standard NR system improves it

A full symphony requires 48dB of headroom so that there is no loss of signal quality for the quietest notes played.
A 24 bit system offers full 72dB of headroom without NR. So a professional 24bit system with NR can get you in excess of 90dB which makes it more forgiving to work with level adjustment wise.

So red book is definitely a basket case. It might not have been so bad had mfrs agreed upon a NR standard before going to market. SACD is too little too late.

As for what the future holds, with digital systems discredited, the cost of producing vinyl in small quantities is too great for small productions, which leaves us with the 1/4" tape as the only viable method of distributing the highest possible fidelity content. At it's professional best, a digital system can only equal it.
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