Lathed v Standard CDs - listen and decide

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by RobHolt, Jul 26, 2009.

?

I prefer

  1. Track A

    25.0%
  2. Track B

    25.0%
  3. I cannot detect any difference

    50.0%
  1. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    5
    Many thanks to Lee for providing two CDRs of recorded music, one on a standard TDK disc and the other identical in every way apart from having been lathed.

    Below you will find links to two tracks taken from the CDs.
    Both discs were played in turn on a Meridian 206 CD player with the output taken from the optical output and fed straight into the digital input of a Macbook Pro.
    Everything is left at 16/44.1 just as on the disc itself.

    There is a poll attached to the tread so please do listen, comment and vote. I'd suggest the comments are more important than the vote, but remember that hi-fi is meant to bring pleasure and enjoyment, so no need for screaming and shouting :)

    Track A:
    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?mnmgmjmgwgo

    Track B:
    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?b52lgnmhomj

    Track A + Track B (Zipped):
    http://www.zerogain.com/lathed-cds/long.zip

    -----

    Shorter excerpts:

    File A (short):
    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?nhnwtiynqdm

    File B (short)
    http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?vzwtnnjbzhj

    Short Track A + Short Track B (Zipped):
    http://www.zerogain.com/lathed-cds/short.zip

    -----

    Enjoy!
     
    RobHolt, Jul 26, 2009
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. RobHolt

    scott_01

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2005
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay

    I need to get out more.

    Listened to both all the way through then hard for differences. In total I've deliberately only taken about 20mins. A bit like the Keel Radical thing on PFM I didn't think there was much in it to be honest. I think a longer time is probably required to really get my brain used to unfamiliar music in order to develop personal listening 'cues' in tunes, but I wanted to do a quick A/B to see if I noticed anything jumping out. Of course the longer term approach could also be misleading but I tend to lean towards long term satisfaction as my preferred method of judgment ....

    Differences. For me I think Track A sounds a little less forced. B seemed more 'brightly lit', especially on the leading edges of vocals and the hi hat. I measure B at .2Db higher on peaks from 0 - 50sec but that's probably my shitty meter.

    Preference. Based on cranking it up and any resulting 'wince' factor I prefer A. It sounds a bit more 'analogue' and natural to me. Decay seems to be more natural and low level details are easier to hear.

    Verdict. Based on the last time I heard lathed CDs and the perceived effect (on some discs), I'll go for A as being the lathed one.

    Constraints In my system to my ears these are small differences. If I knew the music and had listening cues maybe the differences would be bigger.

    Worst case They're identical recordings and I have cloth ears, feel free to laugh.

    Cheers for posting them Rob

    System Asus Xonar Essence-SP/DIF>CA840C-XLR>E450>SHL5
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2009
    scott_01, Jul 26, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. RobHolt

    zanash

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Notts.
    stupid ....is as stupid does ...goes the old saying

    to try and hear any differences using this virtual method is without doubt the silliest thing I've seen in many months.

    in my opinion of course ....


    if you want to hear what a lathed cd and an none lathed cd sound like simply contact me and send me two cd's with a stamped address return envolope ....I cut one for free ...[ you need to send the other disc so that it has been exposed to any other influence on route that may change the percieved sound].

    so why do I see too many flaws in this ....

    firstly we must assume that both tracks have been created in the same way .....!
    secondly personal prejudices can influence the presentation ...
    thirdly transfere to digital format in my experience nullifies the effect that lathing has .....[I've commented on this before] the effect that lathing has [if any!] seems to be due to the cd transport and optical pick up systems in the cdp . As it appears to me, cdrom drives don't appear to pick up the effect [I've tried this out on ten or fifteen different cd's that I have duplicate coppies..both sounding identical] ....

    fourthly if you have both cd's in your possesion you can play them however you like ..ie blind or sighted [I'm not a fan of blind tests as you never listen to music in that way...unless your totally anal ] but thats then left up to the individual listener

    fifthly the lathed cd's need too be treated in a specific way post cutting .....we have to assume that this has been done in acordance with instructions provide.....what I'm trying to say is that we are expected to make too many assumptions .....thats not to say that every care has not been taken in the preperation of the cut disc ....it just requires us to take another leap of faith.


    The effect of cutting cd roms with the lathe .......I personally have found little merit in doing this ...the few times I've tried have left me unable to distinguish which is the cut disc and which is not ...I know some people can tell though. That again suggests that its the equipment that suceptable to the change. My Quad 99cdp2 will clearly show the differences between original discs lathed and unlathed ...but its never been any good with cd roms ...yes it plays them but some how they always sound like copies imo This effect reduces the overal fidelity cdrom produce and must minimise any differences between them . Its possible then that other cdp's may present things differently .though the few I've heard have not changed my opinion of them.

    On my travels round the country visiting people[ both on and off the forum]....one of my party peices is to take two identical disc [Cowboy Junkies Trinity sessions ] one lathed and one not .... I first play the unlathed version and then the lathed. Without telling the victim what I'm doing .....when I've then played the identical tracks, I ask if they heard any differences. I've visted over 50 people in the last couple of years ....not one has been unable to hear some changes. Not all systems have been able to portray these changes as well as others ...but everyone has made it clearly audible. Some people have been stunned by the effect and some hardly moved ...... as you would expect ...

    so to reiterate in my opinion you need to listen to a pair of original disc [not cdroms ] one treated and one not . In this way you will be able to hear what the designers of the gear originally intended ......

    by the way .....I've tried the lath on dvds too but this again has been inconclusive on my gear.
     
    zanash, Jul 27, 2009
    #3
  4. RobHolt

    zanash

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Messages:
    3,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Notts.
    having now listened to both tracks ....via all my computer based music ....its clear that there are differences


    Its not changed my opinion of this type of comparision ...
    comparing track A [which was played first ] to
    track b these are the differences I heard....[these were clear and unambiguous]
    this second track appears to be slightly blurred both in the sense of clarity and tonal balance [has a rounder plummy sound]....has a slightly sat on sound quality [a little like compression used to make radio stations sound louder] and is more closed in from an imaging perspective ....sadly it also sounds louder on my gear [visually the record level was slightly different] .... which suggests recording mismatch, who knows ! ? Which in itself would preclude any serious assumptions being made from the comparison of the two tracks ..

    of course these are only my opinions I much prefered track A to B ...but I expect that other may prefer the other !

    I repeat if anyone wants to have a disc cut please contact me ....[but don't swamp me with requests ! I do have a life outside of hifi]
     
    zanash, Jul 27, 2009
    #4
  5. RobHolt

    Dev Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5,764
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    I could not hear any differences. I haven't voted yet because I'd like to get more familiarised with the track before making up my mind.
     
    Dev, Jul 27, 2009
    #5
  6. RobHolt

    Dev Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5,764
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    Interesting that you'd criticise the methodology and yet hear differences between the 2 tracks. Can you vote on your preference?
     
    Dev, Jul 27, 2009
    #6
  7. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    5

    The supplier of the discs assures me that they are as identical as he can produce them. I've no reason to doubt his intregrity - have you?

    Secondly, they have been played on a regular CD player playing at standard speed, not ripped at high speed and then buffered.

    If a real difference exists we should be hearing it.

    The alternative is do this without control and allow the demonstrator to skew the result, intentionally or otherwise.
    I actually hope that a clear difference emerges form this test, because then we can investigate why there is a difference, with a little evidence.

    Next up will be a cable version. I'd very much like to include one of yours if you fancy loaning one.

    Fantastic.

    So send them to me and we'll do the test again.
     
    RobHolt, Jul 27, 2009
    #7
  8. RobHolt

    jimsmy

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Track A is significantly more "real" to me. Clearer. more dynamic etc.
    Regards,
    Jim
     
    jimsmy, Jul 27, 2009
    #8
  9. RobHolt

    Purite Audio Purite Audio

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    Why would cutting the edge of a cd make any difference?
     
    Purite Audio, Jul 27, 2009
    #9
  10. RobHolt

    Graffoeman

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    'Cos it's cutting edge technology - makes all the difference :D
     
    Graffoeman, Jul 27, 2009
    #10
  11. RobHolt

    Dev Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    5,764
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Ilford, Essex, UK
    Well Keith, now you have a chance to listen and decide for yourself whether it does. We can wonder about why afterwards :) (if you hear any difference).
     
    Dev, Jul 27, 2009
    #11
  12. RobHolt

    Czechchris

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found track A to be slightly clearer, but with a 'harder' edge to the music. A little more attack to the guitar nots, but at the same time I thought it a little lacking in mid-range balance.
    Track B, to me, sounded more 'musical' and balanced and the version I could listen to for longer.

    Which is the lathed one? I don't know. Nor do I know what accounts for the differences I heard, but I certainly found track A slightly fatiguing by comparison.

    My preference: Track B.
     
    Czechchris, Jul 27, 2009
    #12
  13. RobHolt

    Purite Audio Purite Audio

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,250
    Likes Received:
    1
    DEv Hi did this a while back, absolutely no difference and why would there be!
    If you feel like cutting something I have a lawn.
     
    Purite Audio, Jul 27, 2009
    #13
  14. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    5
    There are possible explanations IMO.
    Certainly if a disc isn't perfectly circular it could be increasing the workload on the drive servos and/or the laser tracking systems.
    I've no idea if this actually happens with very small disc variations, but it might.

    At least have a listen and vote.
     
    RobHolt, Jul 27, 2009
    #14
  15. RobHolt

    sq225917 Exposer of Foo

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,514
    Likes Received:
    0
    Why would recording the digital stream remove the effect, the effect exists between the spinning disc and the data stream being sent from the servo board, so recording it in this fashion should retain it perfectly.

    To my ears track B is the lathed track it sounds to have a slightly sharper leading edge and a little bit more texture to voices. The kick drum has more texture too, or sounds thinner if that's how you prefer to describe it.

    I find track A a little 'blunted' in comparison.

    I've heard the lathe before and appreciate that it can make a difference, in this case i think the difference is relatively subtle.
     
    sq225917, Jul 27, 2009
    #15
  16. RobHolt

    Graffoeman

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    A subtle difference to be sure, but I preferred Track B. Overall I found it easier to hear into the detail of the mix, instruments seemed better defined and the whole sounded less 'edgy'.

    So, for me, 'B' would need to be the lathed track or I would just have wasted rather a lot of money. :)
     
    Graffoeman, Jul 27, 2009
    #16
  17. RobHolt

    Wickfut

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    does anyone have a copy of cubase or similar ?

    put the 2 files out of phase on seperate stereo tracks and see if they cancel each other out... if they do then they are bit perfect copies and any difference is imagined , if they don't cancel out then what you do hear will be the difference between them.
     
    Wickfut, Jul 27, 2009
    #17
  18. RobHolt

    Tenson Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Messages:
    5,947
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Kent, UK
    The two files are not perfectly aligned. However I have done what you suggest already. I will reveal the results later. I don't want to influence the test. I also need to do some further investigation.

    Please, continue to vote on which you prefer or if you can't hear a difference.
     
    Tenson, Jul 27, 2009
    #18
  19. RobHolt

    jimsmy

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I compared the tracks on my computer I found it difficult to discern much of a difference. However when I burnt the tracks onto CD and compared them on my Hi-Fi, it was relatively easy to hear the difference and I definitely preferred Track A. Track B was ill defined, blurred and less dynamic. I was quite surprised that the difference was so marked.
     
    jimsmy, Jul 27, 2009
    #19
  20. RobHolt

    RobHolt Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    5
    No graphs and numbers yet - just ears.
     
    RobHolt, Jul 27, 2009
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.