Coincidentally I just wrote something today that addresses this topic. I was working on a statement that explains why we at Brooklyn College continue to teach analogue photography, along with digital of course. It is written to be deliberately non contentious. But hey, this is APUG. It's a first draft and needs revision.
While digital photography has been firmly established as the current method of choice in making photographs it is helpful to remember that this mode of photography is commercially driven. The demand of the amateur market for digital photography is the reason it has caught on so quickly and widely. It also serves the commercial field quite well in the way it enables photographers to immediately check the results of their shooting sessions and to deliver results to the customers much more quickly, however far flung they may be.
For both amateurs and professionals, the portability of files, the way they can be sent from person to person so quickly, is truly a wonderful thing, since photography is, after all, communication, and we are always seeking to communicate faster and more broadly.
None of these considerations, however, diminishes photographs done in the analogue way -- that is, through exposing film or paper and developing it in the chemical processes. Film can still deliver as much, if not more, detail and resolution than digital means. But even if, or more likely, when, digital photography surpasses analogue in image perfection, it will never be able to rival the experience one has when producing finished photographic prints through their own endeavors in the traditional darkroom, and this is where college and university photography programs can offer students in the arts, and in other areas of communication, a chance to experience a form of photography where their creative ideas meet craftsmanship and the pleasure of the handmade.
For those familiar only with digital photography, learning analogue photography is both an end in itself, and a gateway to a new experience of photography, one that recognizes analogue photography and digital photography for what they are, tools in the artist’s art box, different approaches to image making, different forms of studio craft.
Er, certainly not in my experience.
Originally Posted by Arkasha
I enjoy listening to music at my audiophile friend's house.
The machine is pretty impressive, taking an entire room. 7-ways per side, 7 amplifiers - one per way, each way has from 4 to 16 speakers (actually one way has 25 speakers each side, but this was not completed yet).
The setup at the moment has got some 150 loudspeakers. This is important for reasons which I will not dwell in for the sake of brevity. In short, this stereo setup is a jewel and sounds wonderfully.
I listen only to classical music.
Symphonic music, opera, and somehow organ music are the real test of a stereo setup. Pop music, piano music, chamber music somehow compress the difference in quality between different systems. A full orchestra playing is the real benchmark.
I don't need to descend here into a meaningless "confrontation" by words because only experience can support what I say. Maybe if you come in Rome, we can arrange a meeting.
I say: A vinyl record cannot not on earth contain all the unbelievable detail that a CD can contain, but can be extracted only by a very, very advanced system.
We are still surprised, at every improvement of the machine, at what kind of minute and previously undetected details can come out of a CD.
The theory my friend has, and I believe he is right, is that the signal coming out from a CD is too rich and "harsh" for a common set-up to be able to reproduce it faithfully. What the setup cannot manage to reproduce faithfully gets distorted. The Vinyl (and, on a similar logic, tubes) "smooth" the signal and "simplify" it for the rest of the chain. That makes it more manageable by the amplifiers and speakers, which can reproduce it adding less of their own "distortion" (take "distortion" in the broadest sense, as "unfaithfulness").
In fact, my friend and I would agree that on most hi-fi systems playing a simple (voice and piano, or small band etc.) signal, vinyl (and tubes) can actually give a better result. And we do agree that the impression people have that vinyl (tubes) is superior is actual in experience, although "wrong in theory", as the experience is a mere consequence of the inadequacy of simple setups (3 ways, one or two amplifiers, 1 loudspeaker per way per side) to reproduce the signal of a CD without stomping and coughing.
What I say is: no way those scratches on a vinyl plate, however analogic, not sampled etc. can render the complexity of the sound coming out from a symphonic orchestra to the level of near-perfection a CD can. Sampling "more" than what a CD does is moot until one has a setup able to extract all the information in a CD. I do believe my friend's setup, which is by far the better sounding one I ever heard, is probably far from that goal.
I remember listening to a monstruous setup by another audiophile. A rich one, costing like a house. It performed wonderfully with pop music, voice and accompaniment. When confronted with symphonic music (Sibelius concert for violin) it failed miserably to my ear (that was CD, and tubes).
The owner and his friends agreed with me that the orchestra sounded quite bad. Strange, they said, EMI records are usually very well made! (you heard those kind of comments if you know audiophile people!).
I and my friend came later that night at his house, played again that CD, and it was on another league. And wonderfully recorded.
Look at the grooves on a vinyl record. There is, so to speak, "no information at all". I am surprised music can come out of that.
Vinyl can sound better than CD when it matches the limitation of the setup. A CD source is "too much" for most setups. The signal is too complicated and the loudspeaker cannot follow it faithfully, resulting in distortions.
This really is a long and interesting subject, which should better be debated in front of a good stereo apparatus.
PS It is a common misconception that vinyl is more faithful because it is not sampled, while CD is less faithful because it is sampled and therefore some information is lost "by design". Vinyl is a sound produced by a scratch on a plastic support. CD sampling works better.
Last edited by Diapositivo; 03-01-2012 at 05:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Whatever you are listening on, it will never be better than the master recording.
I wonder if this Sibelius concerto was recorded on analog master tape.
Vinyls are not the best way to listen to classical orchestra music because of its lower dynamic range compared to what a CD can do. Silence can be pretty close to real silence on CD but on a vinyl there is always some friction sound. The great advantage of CD play back is that everything is ajusted well right away, with turntables you need to adjust so many parameters depending on each record to get the maximum out of it. When you do though, the result is impressive.
I wish I could listen to music on good reel to reel tape, but vinyl is the next best thing with my simple setup with only 2 loud speakers (stereo needs only 2 by definition).
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Quit confusing us with facts.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
You'll wreck our faith.
Actually, stereo (or stereophonic) doesn't mean two, it means more than one.
Originally Posted by Lionel1972
We will have to agree to disagree. I, too, have listened to audiophile gear, and find that vinyl is better than CD.
Better than the live performance?
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
My preference is always for live but it doesn't necessarily make it better as far as audio quality is concerned... or musicianship.
Originally Posted by Aristophanes